Celebrating Two Years of Designing

Woohoo! April 1st, 2022 marks my 2nd anniversary since publishing my first pattern. I am so proud of all I have accomplished and I am so thankful for everyone who has supported me along the way!

I know people say it a lot, but I could not have done this without you! Yes, you! Whether you’ve purchased every pattern or liked every post I have ever posted or only just discovered me – I am thankful to have you as part of my journey! A special thank you goes to my testers: I appreciate each of you so much and I am thankful to have you on my team!

I am hoping to take you on a journey this month; through some sales and prizes and games I hope to introduce myself to all the newcomers and refresh the memories of everyone who has watched me grow.

Update: enter my Grand Prize giveaway on YouTube! Expired

So, Hi! I’m Ashlee Brotzell! I am a Canadian stay-at-home mom to three adorable little kids. I met my husband at the University of Saskatchewan; he is a mechanical engineer and I have a child psychology degree (and I am a law-school-dropout).

My eldest daughter (Alice), my baby girl (Melody), and my son (Remington) posing with me (my head is peeking out at the top) and my Monstera Leaf blanket.

I learned to crochet when I was 8; it was my on-again-off-again hobby throughout the years. I picked it up again after the traumatic birth of my son in a self-therapy attempt. Regular crochet wasn’t giving my brain the challenge I needed so I started learning new things like how to read those intricate crochet charts with all the symbols, how to do crazy stitches, how to change colors, and eventually I stumbled upon interlocking crochet. It wasn’t long after learning how to do it that I thought, “hey, I could apply my art skills to my crochet skills!” (I also dropped out of art class in university – but I had a lot of previous art experience and it has always been another on-again-off-again hobby through my life).

I wasn’t sure if people would actually buy my patterns, but I was willing to give it a try.

From April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 (my first year of designing) I published 200 patterns to Ravelry. Not all of my Doctor Who patterns made it there and I even did a couple custom pieces. On Etsy I have published the larger patterns, but most of my small squares are still not available on there. I also created a YouTube channel in May of 2020 and published 32 videos by March 31, 2021. Some of those were quick snippets, some were tutorials. My family also moved twice during that period after my husband lost his job unexpectedly. To say I was feeling a bit overwhelmed is an understatement. I do not recommend pushing yourself that hard, and I am glad it is over now.

During my second year of designing my family only moved once (woohoo!) and I was able to refine how I want to present my patterns a bit more. When I started I was just doing interlocking crochet, then I added overlay mosaic crochet, and then I had to update all 200+ patterns again when I introduced mosaic charts marked with X’s! So, I *only* (nervous laugh) published 82 patterns and another 26 YouTube videos from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Plus, I was published in Crochet Now! magazine!

My goal this year is to slow down just a little bit more. *This is where you can imagine my awkward grin which tells you I am probably not going to be slowing down very much*

Here’s the celebration plan:

  • each week in April I will have different bundle of patterns on sale
  • if you don’t want the bundle you can also get a smaller discount on the featured patterns individually
  • each week I will do a pattern giveaway on a different platform (Instagram, Facebook, email newsletter, YouTube)

To enter week 1’s Instagram giveaway (closes April 9, 2022): https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cb-40OAjZPY/?utm_medium=copy_link

April 3-9, 2022: Crochet-A-Long (CAL) Bundle

To enter week two’s giveaway on my Facebook page, click here (closes April 16, 2022): https://www.facebook.com/113673156993126/posts/524391452587959/

April 10-16, 2022: Squares Bundles

April 17-23, 2022: Wall Hangings Bundle

April 24-30, 2022: Blanket Bundles

And while all of this is going on I will be working in the background trying to get my tutorials and a few patterns ready for the center-out technique! I am excited that I’ve learned something new and I am eager to share it with you.

Update: tutorials are live! Check it out

Forever Be My Always, Crochet Blanket

There’s a quote written in cursive on this blanket that says, “you will forever be my always” next to two rings on a cross. This romantic blanket is made sideways (working with the long side instead of the shorter side) and it comes with right- and left-handed instructions.

The overlay mosaic crochet pattern differs from the interlocking crochet pattern: the mesh dots have been removed from the mosaic version.

Interlocking versus mosaic version

You could get this one finished in time for Valentine’s Day! Or, perhaps for an anniversary? Or in memory of a loved one? I have some friends getting married soon, I’m going to see if I can finish it in time for them.

Get the Pattern

Use code “21FOREVERBEALWAYS” to take 25% off your purchase of this pattern until December 9, 2021. No code needed on Etsy – automatic discount.

Interlocking Details

  • Chart is 261 x 181
  • Finished measurements about 65” x 45” / 166cm x 115cm
  • 4.5 mm hook (US7)
  • Worsted weight yarn (3320-3395 yards total)
    • Main color (MC) – 1660 yards plus 75 for optional border
    • Accent color (AC) – 1660 yards
  • Gauge: 16 DC x 8 rows = 4”

Overlay Mosaic Details

  • Chart is 261 x 181
  • Finished measurements approximately 70” x 52” / 177cm x 131cm
  • 5 mm hook (H-8)
  • Worsted weight yarn (4125-4725 yards total)
    • Main color (MC) – 1375 yards (black)
    • Contrasting color (CC) – 2750 yards (pink)
    • Plus, optional envelope border – 600 yards
  • Gauge: 14 sc x 15 rows = 4”

Summer Direction CAL & August Summary

This post is going to be a mix of personal stuff, a monthly summary, and instructions for how to continue the Summer Direction CAL. You can skip to whatever part you find most interesting.

Personal

Twelve years ago, under a hot summer sun, I said “I do”. Mitch and I got married on his parents’ acreage and most of the guests took home sunburns. We were young and crazy. Now we’re just crazy. 😉

We have had good times and bad times and three babies and many moves and we have grown and changed through it all. I am not going to give you my life’s story today. I’m too busy making crochet patterns! Here’s to many more years! *grab a cup of something and celebrate with me, eh?*

Also, my Anniversary could have been a good excuse to have a sale, but I already had a sale to celebrate my family’s August birthdays and I’m going to have another sale for my birthday in a few days anyway! 😀

August Summary

This month, August 2021, marks 16 months since I began designing. I love it and I wish I had started sooner!

Like every month this year, my first pattern of the month was a gnome. “August Gnome” was the one with all the cherries. There are only a few more months to go until we have a complete blanket! “A Year of Gnomes” has been one of my best sellers. Thank you for the love!

Crocheted by CarolinevdB, overlay mosaic technique

Then I published “Baby Fish“. This pattern was the 6th extra large square (otherwise known as a baby blanket) in my “Baby Ocean & Others” eBook. I am excited to get my next Ocean eBook started! I will have 6 more patterns of this size for you all! They aren’t *baby* designs this time, although some of them are definitely still good as baby gifts. Most of them are designed for the super cool grown-ups, like me, who enjoy ocean art that can be made into a big blanket.

Mosaic crochet version of “Baby Fish”. Made with Retro Stripes from Red Heart.

Next I came out with another big blanket pattern, “Sunflowers and Butterflies”. This is a summer design that I know you all loved – you visited my ravelry page so many times that I got listed in their top 10 list! Thank you!

Interlocking Crochet sample by Semicci. This pattern made it into Ravelry’s top 10!

You may notice in the image above that the pattern listed right above mine was “The Wave 2” by Svetlana Rogatykh. That pattern was part of the Ocean-themed Crochet-Along hosted by CAL-Crochet-Along blog. I contributed two patterns to that CAL. My “Mosaic Coral Strip” was first, and my “Mosaic Sunglasses Strip” was the final part of that blanket! They have 2 more blankets as part of their Friends Around the World 6th Anniversary CAL – check out the details here: https://calcrochetalong.com/2021-friends-around-the-world-cal/

After publishing the FREE “Mosaic Sunglasses Strip” to Ravelry on August 19, 2021 I also put a FREE file in my Facebook Group for the interlocking crochet version of my sunglasses strip!

And then the very next day we started my Summer Direction CAL!

This pattern has YouTube videos for each section for both of the techniques (interlocking and overlay mosaic crochet). And each section’s written line-by-line instructions will be FREE on my website here as well.

We are about 25% of the way through this pattern so far.

You can still get the full pattern and charts on Ravelry or Etsy for 50% off until the end of September by using code “SUMMER2021“.

My 6th published pattern this month was originally published in Crochet Now magazine in issue 68 which came out in the spring. I am very proud to be published like a “real designer”! It feels very validating and a little bit surreal. 😅

Now that I can publish my “Eiffel Tower Wall Hanging” to Ravelry and Etsy I have used my normal template (that is: US terminology, written for both overlay mosaic crochet and interlocking crochet).

You can still get 20% off your purchase of the Eiffel Tower or the Parisian Wall Hangings eBook (which includes three patterns) until 11:59pm CST August 30, 2021 by using code “PARIS20“.

Summer Direction CAL

We began this Crochet-A-Long on August 20, 2021. We created the foundation rows in whichever technique you preferred (interlocking or mosaic) and you also had to decide at that point how wide your project was going to be. You may find it easier to navigate through each section from the landing page for your chosen technique.

I made a single-width sample in both techniques and then a full blanket using the mosaic technique (I used Red Heart Super Saver Stripes, colorway “Retro Stripes” for my Contrasting Color).

We have completed two sections of Chevron A and the first Dark Arrow section so far.

The next section in the Summer Direction CAL is a repeat of Chevron A again. We are now at row 49 but the video and written instructions are going to start with row 5. You may need to put a stitch marker at row 49 to remind you that it counts as row 5.

If you’re using the interlocking technique it’s important to note that you will be starting this section with the Wrong Side (WS) facing you.

Make sure you only do Chevron A once after the Dark Arrows.

August Birthday Sale!

You can probably count on this (a sale in August) being an annual thing – August is a big month of celebration here!

We already celebrated my husband’s birthday. This week will be Melody’s 2nd birthday. And next week will be Alice’s 7th. Plus, the end of the month will be our 12th anniversary!

Hand painted Merino Wool!

I was also celebrating reaching 5000 members in my Facebook group! I gave away a couple patterns and I bought two beautiful skeins of yarn for this too! I mailed the soft merino wool away yesterday – and then bought myself new Retro Stripes yarn today! Am I a yarn addict?

We made Mitch a musical piano cake. His favorite flavour: Butter pecan; from a box mix. I use melted butter instead of oil and milk instead of water. They always come out fabulous and it is quick and easy to do with little kids around.

Alice carefully put sprinkles spelling “Mitch” on top of our piano cake.

Then I made plain buttercream icing. I even forgot to add vanilla flavor! I was so distracted trying to find my black food coloring gel. We have moved twice in the last year so I guess at some point I must have decided it was too old or maybe I actually used it up and just can’t remember. Either way, it isn’t here.

My black piano ended up being a weird blue. Almost purple-black. I can blame it on young kids 🤣 but really it was me being too tired to go out and buy black. I had already gone out for more icing sugar (and then found the bag I was looking for once I returned home).

Melody and Remi took turns decorating this cake made up from the leftover cut out pieces.

I have had a headache for a few days and it really sucks when I can’t make it go away even when something important – like a birthday – comes around. It doesn’t seem smoky outside but the weather station keeps leaving an exclamation mark on my phone warning everyone that the drifting some from the B.C. forest fires can affect people with asthma and other respiratory issues. It might be triggering my headaches too.

Anyway, the plan was to use kit kat bars as the piano keys but when we went to the store they didn’t have the flavor with the white chocolate. So I grabbed something else that was on sale. And I wasn’t sure how much I would need, so I now have 4 leftover chocolate bars in my freezer. That might have been almost-on-purpose. 😬🙈🤣

We didn’t put up any decorations or balloons but we definitely will when the next birthdays come. The kids LOVE having balloons. It really marks the day as special when they wake up and see balloons and streamers.

Daddy’s lap is always going to be big enough for all three kids, right?

Mitch’s favorite gift might have been the fancy coffee beans from his mom. He is a coffee-aholic. He has even convinced me that coffee doesn’t always taste bad (I don’t really do hot drinks at all).

I tried to get a picture of us together but it was blurry and horrible and this picture of my husband looks GOOD 😍

Today I realized that I hadn’t put my patterns on sale for awhile and I decided three birthdays in a month is a good enough reason to celebrate with not only my family here but also my new friends all over the world!

Thank you for encouraging me to keep making patterns. Thank you for making them look beautiful! Thank you for being my new giant circle of worldwide friends!

You can get 30% off everything in my Ravelry store from now until 11:59 pm CST, August 13, 2021 by adding at least TWO PATTERNS TO YOUR CART! No code needed, but you have to pick more than one pattern. I thought about making it three patterns minimum because of the three birthdays but I haven’t done a sale like this before so I figured I would try just two for now.

Everything is included, even the eBooks (which are already heavily discounted)!

And, if you’re an Etsy-only user, you can get the same deal there too! 30% off when you purchase at least TWO PATTERNS, no code needed! Expires August 13, 2022.

Now I am going to get back to crocheting and drawing and hugging my family.

FATW6 CAL: Adventures in Mosaic Crochet – Ocean Theme

Good morning, Monday!

It has been so great seeing all the new projects getting started since Thursday when my Mosaic Coral Strip was released as the first section in the Friends Around the World 6th Anniversary CAL (FATW6)!

Mondays and Thursdays will be the release days of a new section – and today is Monday! Remember, all the pieces in this Crochet-A-Long have been designed by different people. The common theme is mosaic crochet and then 3 blankets were compiled from the submissions!

Each section is FREE. Some designers, like me, have included videos. I believe all the sections include a chart and written instructions, but I guess we will have to wait and see if that’s true.

This blog post of mine is going to be where I keep a list of all the sections as they are released. You can bookmark it if you like! You can also sign up for updates from the host: CAL Crochet A Long Facebook group

Also, please feel free to share your progress on this CAL in my Ashlee Brotzell Designs Facebook group. Normally, I don’t allow work by other designers but since this is a group collaboration I am making an exception – I want to see your progress! 🙂

I will link to the official CAL blog entry and you will have to scroll through their post to find the link to that section’s pattern (some are Ravelry downloads, some are on websites; different designers have different ways of doing things).

Friends Around The World: Adventures in Mosaic Crochet – Ocean theme

July 8, 2021: Mosaic Coral Strip by Ashlee Brotzell

Since this is my section I will also link to my blog entry about it and the ravelry download. Plus, my handy-dandy video walk-thru: Coral Strip on YouTube

July 12: Sally Starfish by Lynette Kosar of Lavender Cup Cottage

Look for the link to the ravelry download near the end of the article I linked to above.

July 15: Mosaic Crab by Suzanne Lively Boren

This one also has a link to ravelry near the end of the article.

July 19: Dancing Octopus by Suzanne Lively Boren

Find the ravelry link at the end of the blog article!

July 22: Mosaic Squid by Suzanne Lively Boren of Not So Boren Crochet

Suzanne was busy! This is another section she did!

July 26: The Goldfish 1 by Svetlana Rogatykh

This goldfish section also includes a tiny border design you can use at any point in your design! And the goldfish is pretty awesome! The link the to ravelry download is at the end of the article I have linked to above.

July 29: The Goldfish 2 by Svetlana Rogatykh

Svetlana’s second pattern in this Crochet-A-Long is swimming the other direction! Her Ravelry link is going at the end of the post linked to above.

August 2: Wave 1 by Svetlana Rogatykh

Another beautiful section from Svetlana!

August 5: Dolphin by Suzanne Boren of Not so Boren Crochet

You must be familiar with this designer by now! The official blog post from CAL has a direct link to her download, no Ravelry this time.

August 8: Wave 2 by Svetlana Rogatykh

Svetlana contributed so many designs to this CAL that you could actually create a full blanket with just her designs! You can get all of them in one file now.

August 12: My Anchors by Lana Ignjatovic of Loving Stitches Designs

In this CAL so far we have seen some repeated designers, but here’s a new one! This designer isn’t new to designing though; if you participated in the FATW5 CAL you may recognize her name. You can grab this anchor strip right from the official CAL blog linked above.

August 16: Dragorad’s Regatta designed by Lana Ignjatovic of Loving Stitches Designs

Another design from Lana here! It is hosted on the CAL blog so all you need to do is scroll to the end of their blog post and find the link to her pattern!

August 18, 2021: Sunglasses by Ashlee Brotzell

I have the privilege of being the final piece in this ocean-themed blanket! You can view the pattern on my blog or grab the free Ravelry download. And there’s a full walk-thru on YouTube!

After you finish crocheting these cool sunglasses, head back to the host blog and find instructions on finishing!

Designaversary Celebration Sale

I spent too many hours debating on the coolest way to do a sale and the best way to make it exciting and engaging and meaningful and blah, blah, blah… 😅

I want to be seen as creative, but not confusing. I also want to put effort into fun things like a celebration sale, but not so much effort that it feels like a drag and I regret doing it. I want to stay professional but I have no marketing training and often just try to think about what I would prefer as a customer (which, I am sure, is not always what the marketing gurus would suggest).

I was going to have 12 days of sales, where each day represents a month that I have been designing. And all the patterns I published that month would be on sale for one day (like, the first day would feature all the patterns from my first month; the second day of the sale would only be applicable to designs I published in my 2nd month of designing, etc).

But that would require a lot of work from me and would encourage multiple small purchases from you which results in more fees for me.

David Orth @davidqorth did a sale game where he doesn’t tell you how much of a discount you will get and the percentage changes every few hours so you have to decide when to make the purchase. That sounds fun, but again, a lot of hands-on work from me.

So, here’s my plan: I will send out a coupon code in the newsletter and put a code on instagram and put another code on the board of my ravelry group, and post one in my Facebook group, too – and they will be different coupons and you can choose which one to use!

So, Sunday, April 4 is the day to look for the coupon codes and they will all expire April 19, 2021! I hope you have some fun 😊

P.s. I was having issues with linking on my text but I am happy I found this colored button option! Oh, the things you learn at midnight 😅

Anniversary Celebration!

As I mentioned yesterday, I want to celebrate achieving one year of designing interlocking and overlay mosaic crochet patterns!

I couldn’t do this without YOU!

I know that marketing is one thing I need to learn more about, but for now I am just going to give everything away. 🤣

{ Check out the sale details here: http://ashleeslint.com/2021/04/04/designaversary-celebration-sale/ }

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To celebrate ONE YEAR of pattern making: ONE person will win a ONE YEAR all-access pass to my patterns! That’s right, this prize includes all of the patterns that are currently published and all of the patterns that don’t exist yet but will be published this year! Estimated value $1500.00 CAD.

Grandprize winner: all-access pass for one year!

~*~*~*~

To celebrate TWELVE MONTHS of creating crochet patterns: TWELVE people will win TWELVE patterns of their choice (this offer will also be valid on all currently published patterns and anything that gets published in the next year)! Estimated prize amount $120.00 CAD.

12 winners of a 12-use coupon code

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I have created a Rafflecopter giveaway page. I did not pay the $84 to upgrade for cool features like “viral sharing” and adding photos there. Maybe next year I will feel famous enough for that!

Contest begins on April 1, 2021 at 12:00 AM CST and ends on April 8, 2021 at 12:00 AM CST. Winners will be posted on Instagram on April 13, 2021 – this gives me time to contact each winner and confirm!

Contest is now over. The link above should take you to a winner’s list now!

From RAFFLECOPTER: We have tested your giveaway, and it displays and works just fine. I have attached screenshots for you. Can you please tell us –

What kind of device are you using?

What operating system including version?

What browser including version?

Again, you can see that it is working just fine. You may have a setting on the device, within virus protection software, or within the browser preventing your device from displaying it correctly

I will also be putting my Etsy and Ravelry stores on sale at some point this month! And, I have at least 2 new patterns to publish, so, stay in touch!

P.s. I will be checking that entries were done properly as well, so make sure you’re following the instructions!

Continue reading “Anniversary Celebration!”

My one-year designer anniversary!

This post should start with a bunch of pictures of my face making surprised, confused, ecstatic, and bewildered looks! HOW did I manage to become a crochet designer and spend an entire year doing this already!?

How come I didn’t do this sooner? How long can I keep doing this? How did I get so many followers and supporters on all my various social media sites? And, why do I have so many social media sites? 😆

At this time last year I was trying to wrap my head around how to create an interlocking crochet pattern. I managed to publish my first pattern to ravelry on April 1, 2020.

I now have 200 patterns published to Ravelry! Quite a few are also on Etsy. Almost all of my patterns are written for interlocking and overlay mosaic; I did try my hand at “regular” crochet patterns too but I don’t find it as enjoyable.

I have met (online) so many kind and creative people this past year. There are over 3000 members in my Facebook group. I have over 1400 followers on Instagram, over 1800 subscribers on my YouTube channel, and I actually don’t know how to check how many of you are subscribed to these blog posts. And I am failing at being regular with the Mailchimp newsletter 😬 but I really appreciate everyone who has shown their support there too!

Honestly, I am so thankful to everyone who has supported me through this first year. I can’t believe how validating and rewarding it has been. So many little dreams-come-true. 🤩

I need to give a special shout-out to David Q. Orth. His pattern, Doctor’s Orders, is what got me hooked. His kindness through this first year has been a breath of fresh air.

My brown and yellow, “Doctor’s Orders” blanket; designed by David Q. Orth

Plus, his designs are amazing and that inspires me to do the best artwork I can. He started designing only a few months before I did and it has been nice to grow beside each other.

I am also very thankful for Kate Dudman! She has been a source of emotional support, an encyclopedia of knowledge and experience, and a fun friend to chat with. She puts a lot of time and effort into her facebook group, Interlocking Crochet World, and it is a great resource for everyone!

I also put my new friend, Neetsey, to work shortly after becoming acquainted. She has helped me with ravelry and other “business” things but is also a good shoulder to cry on. It is really too bad the shoulder is only online, the internet is still lacking the human touch. We will meet someday! And, her little dog too! 😉😆

I credit my new friend, Kimberly Windsor-Johnson, as the kind push that has helped me keep moving forward. Her encouragement and creativity have buoyed me a few times. And, of course, I needed another virtual shoulder for my many moments.

There have been others through the past year who have shown me how to believe in myself, even when it’s just a single comment. I appreciate the constructive criticism as well as the compliments and I am thankful that not everyone has given up on me.

I have made mistakes this year. That’s to be expected when learning so many new things and filling my schedule to the brim (ok, it was definitely overflowing: started designing, sold our house, hubby lost his job, moved twice, homeschooling my eldest, and a global pandemic? Ya, it was a stressful year lol). I am sorry for the disappointments and I guarantee I will not be perfect in the future either.

I have disappointed myself a few times as well. But I have also grown.

It’s hard to have a plan for the future of “Ashlee Brotzell Designs” when I really don’t know what I expected or what I can expect from myself when a hobby blows up into a job.

First and foremost, I am a mom. I am a wife. My family is, and has to remain, a priority.

Secondly, my own mental health is a balancing act between pushing myself to grow without pushing myself off the edge. 😅 I want to keep working at designing but I don’t want it to be “work”. This is therapy. This is me-time. This is supplemental income.

In short, my goals for the next year are to keep designing, keep trying new things, but with a stronger focus on balance.

I still have a lot of things on my to-do list. Even more on my wishlist. And a lifetime supply of inspiration.

Tune in tomorrow, when I will tell you how we are going to celebrate this momentous occasion!