Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lots of Exciting News!!

For those of you who have been eagerly awaiting a new pattern, our Houndstooth Hat pattern is out to testers right now. The pattern itself should be ready for release no later than Wednesday.

To show support to our fans, we will give away a free copy to one winner who posts on this comment. The winner will be chosen by on Monday morning so get your comments in! :)

The pattern will be offered at a special introductory price of $1.99 for one day only. After that the price will be $2.99. All pattern purchases can be done through our Ravelry shop.

We will also be releasing our Elephant Appliqué pattern within a week of the Houndstooth Hat. This will be our first of what we hope will be many free pattern!

Now that we are getting the hang of pattern writing, and now that we have a group of pattern testers set up, we are hoping to start releasing patterns more regularly.

Several of you have asked why we haven't posted photos of any Valentine's Day or Easter Hats... With the Memory Blanket Project at its deadline for shipping squares, Kathy and I are going to be consumed with working on those through the month of February.  We will, however, still make time for custom orders.  If you find something around the Internet that you'd like us to make for you, we will still be welcoming custom orders.  Send us a photo of what you're looking for and we will gladly give you a quote!

Some more big news: We have partnered with a local photographer for professional photos of our items!  Spark Studio Photography has joined forces with Hooking Housewives to help us provide high-quality professional portraits of the items we produce for you.  We want to encourage all of our fans to check out her work on her Facebook page and show her some love!!!  We have a few items are picked out and on the To-Do List that will be going to her within the next couple of weeks so watch for upcoming pictures.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

365 Project: Granny Style Update #3 & New Project

Well, that didn't last long.  There are a few more squares that have been done, but unfortuantely, it didn't take long to realize and and accept that this is a project that is just not feasible right now.  Between regular orders, the memory blankets, and taking care of our own families, there is not enough time in the day to sit down and complete a different granny square everyday - at least not right now.  :(

I was really hoping to pull this off, but it's not going to happen.  However, in place of the 365 Project: Granny Style, we are participating in another fun project.  That project is "Rockin' Out Christmas".

Heidi Yates, owner and designer of the fabulous Snappy Tots, is hosting "Rockin' Out Christmas" and is helping us all to get motivated in planning ahead for the holidays.  After getting so busy last year that I had next to no time to make the gifts I wanted to do for my family and friends, I decided I was getting a jump start on it this year.  On the 24th of each month, Heidi will be asking for photo updates on what everyone is working on and you will also be entered to win fun prizes.

I don't want to post too many photos here since many of our friends and family read the blog... that would ruin the surprise come Christmas time.  However, I'm happy to give you a sneak peek of what I've been working on this week:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Memory Blankets for Newtown

As a parent with a school-age child, and Kathy have bothing a daughter and grandchildren in school, we were deeply affected by the Newtown tragedy that occured at Sandy Hook Elementary School prior to Christmas.  We immediately knew that we wanted to do something but didn't know what to do or how to do it.  After some talking with some fellow crocheters, we were put in contact with Heather Bowling and Stacy Blass of Crazy Hookers Crochet Creations.  They had created a group on Facebook for the Memory Blanket Project.  After chatting back and forth, the four of us joined forces with Ashley Couturier of Good Lookin' Hookin' to really jump into this project.

To explain the project to those who don't know, the project is being completed in phases:  
PHASE 1:  We have been collecting 6" granny squares from anyone who wanted to help.  The only rules were that the squares be 6x6" in size, be made of worsted weight yarn, and be shipped out by January 31st.  Yes, we are still receiving squares regularly - actually, almost daily!  Whenever someone has their squares ready to ship out, they contact one of the 5 of us and are provided with shipping information.  To date, Kathy and I have received over 1000 squares between the two of us... it's amazing to see how many people have jumped in to help with this project!

These are all of the squares we had received as of last weekend - we've received more since this shot was snapped.  Keep in mind that many of those stacks you see are at least 10-15 squares high, if not more than that!!  

PHASE 2:  Heather, Stacy, Ashley, Kathy, and I are all going to have to edge and assemble the squares we've received..  After much discussion, we decided it would be best to assemble them in school color.  Kathy and I have opted to edge everything in white yarn first, then we will assemble them into blankets with the green yarn.  In an attempt to simplify the assembly process, we have started to sort the squares randomly into separate boxes, with each box representing one blanket.  We are starting with 11 blankets worth since we already have enough to technically complete 10 blankets but have many more squares coming.  Because we want each blanket to represent people from all around the country (and even the world in a few instances), none of the boxes has a full blanket worth of squares in it yet.  We are adding to each as the squares come in.  I'll have pictures of this process in the coming days.

PHASE 3:  We will be working with the Memory Blanket Group to host "Adopt-a-box".  This will help cover the cost of shipping the blankets to our distribution point.  The great part is that Heather and Stacy, both living in Pennsylvania, will be making the trip up to Newtown to personally deliver and distribute the blankets within the town.  Our original goal was to make 26 blankets, one for the family of each victim.  As we had more and more squares pledged, we branched out and decided to try to make enough blankets to distribute 1 to each of the classrooms.  We want all of the students and faculty to know that we realize that those who lost their lives are not the only victims of this horrible tragedy!  If we have more blankets on top of that to donate, then so be it - not a single blanket will go undelivered.  

To those who may be wondering, yes, we realize that a press release came out several weeks ago that the school and town that no more gifts be sent.  We did contact "Assist Newtown", the group that was set up after the tragedy to assist with all donations.  We have received confirmation from them that our project was approved for distribution.  That was the greatest thing we could have hoped for.

If you crochet and are interested in joining up with us, you still have time.  You can request admittance to the group here - all requests are being approved and you can find all of the information you'll need to participate in the files section on the document titled "Please Read!"  

Here at Hooking Housewives, we are all for promoting awareness for all kinds of diseases.  When one of the teachers from a local elementary school approached me about making something to donate to an auction the school is holding to support Relay for Life, we were immediately willing and ready to help.  With such a crazy schedule these days, I wanted to do something that was relevant to the cause but wouldn't take long to make.  Thanks to our friend Heidi Yates, creator and owner of Snappy Tots, we had access to the Wrapped in Hope Scarf.  The weather here along the Alabama/Floriday Gulf Coast has finally turned cold so we are hoping that this scarf will bring in big bucks to help the cause.  

If you're interested in this pattern to make one for yourself, as a gift, or to donate to charity, you can get it for free here

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Favorites #3

Here we go again... It's Friday so you all know what that means.  Our Friday Favorite this week is our Sock Monkey Hat.  So far, we have created 2 different designs of Sock Monkey Hats and are ready to see what we can come up with for you!!

From now until next Friday, you can pick up any Sock Monkey Hat for only $10.00, including standard shipping.  You can choose our traditional style, rainbow style, or create your own style.  Just email us here or message us on Facebook to order yours!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

365 Project: Granny Style Update #2

Realizing that I haven't posted photos of the latest squares for our 365 Project, I figured I need to get on the ball.  Things have been hectic for the Hooking Housewives these past couple of weeks.  We've been filling orders, getting ready for twin grandbabies (Kathy), gearing up for Girl Scout Cookie sales (Jamie), and working hard on the Memory Blanket Project for the families of Newtown, CT (more information to come soon with photos).  Needless to say, photographing granny squares hasn't been at the top of the list of to-do things.  But now, things are calming down some as we get into our routines.  I don't have all of the squares up through today posted, but here are a few to keep you interested in the meantime!  :)
JANUARY 5, 2013
By Anastacia of Anastacia Knits

JANUARY 6, 2013
Topsy Turvy
By April Moreland for Crochetville

JANUARY 7, 2013
By Patrizia Pixani for Crochet Patty

JANUARY 8, 2013
Ripples on a Coral Reef
Interweave Crochet:  Chain Reaction Afghan Project by Crochet Me
Download your free copy here!
JANUARY 9, 2013
from Anchor Style Square Panel Bag
by Coats Crafts
(I eliminated the picot stitch from the last row and instead double crocheted all around.)

JANUARY 10, 2013
Front Post Ripple Square
by Amelia Beebe for Crochetville

JANUARY 11, 2013
Petals of Spring Mays
by Aurora Suominen of Dragonfly Mom of 2 Designs

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Favorites

I can't believe it's Friday already!?!  That's a good thing for those of you who have been eagerly awaiting this week's Friday Favorite special.  In honor of the upcoming Holiday of Love - that's right, Valentine's Day is right around the corner - we are offering our Little Miss Ladybug Hat at a great price.

This is a pattern created by Bonnie Potter, owner of Sunset Crochet.  If you're a fan of great patterns, Bonnie is one of the best.  Her patterns are easy to follow and are sold at great prices.  If you sign up for her email list, she even sends out free patterns from time to time.  Check out her Facebook page for more information!

The regular price for this hat is $12.00 plus shipping.  From today until the end of the day Thursday, you can get this hat for $9.00 with free shipping!!!  And even better, you don't have to get it in red. You get a few options for the hat this week:
1 - pick the base color of your choice
2 - pick the color for your ladybug spots
3 - pick whether you want polka dots or mini hearts

To take advantage of this fabulous deal, send us your paypal email address and your choices for numbers 1-3.  (If you're not sure which colors are available, these hats are made using either Red Heart Super Saver or I Love This Yarn colors.  Click on the name of each brand to see the colors available.  Overdyed and sport weight yarns are not applicable.)  We will send out invoices as soon as we receive your request.

Hats will be made in the order in which payment is received and are normally mailed within 2 weeks.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pattern Sharing/Trading

We want to thank our friends, fans, and family for listening to our ranting and raving today.  As some of you may or may not know by now, a friend pointed me in the direction of a Pattern Sharing/Trading Group on Facebook this morning.  She was concerned because she had seen a young lady offering to trade a copy of our Ninja Turtle Hat Pattern.

Before I get into things, please know that this group does not appear to have been created with the intention of being a sharing/trading group.  The majority of the posts are actually just people posting photos of their own crocheted creations or asking for tips/suggestions regarding issues they are having with certain patterns. Unfortunately, just with many things in life, there were those who took advantage of this group and were offering patterns they had purchased for sharing or trading with others.

The girl who was offering to trade our pattern had in fact purchased the pattern from our Ravelry page on December 31st.  I wasn't initially able to confirm this since Ravelry wasn't showing it, but I was able to locate the purchase this evening.  She insists that based on information she found on the website, patterns in general are not bound under US Copyright Laws.  This means, according to her, that she is free to do with our pattern as she pleases.  I am, as a business person, looking into this further.  In the meantime, she also claims that according to this article she found, "Selling an item relinquished future control over that item unless BOTH parties agree otherwise or unless otherwise specifically stated by law."  As we pointed out to her and want to make clear in an effort to prevent any future issues, by purchasing or winning any patterns from Hooking Housewives, you are agreeing to the terms that are stated within the pattern.  This includes, but is not limited to, the purchaser having no rights to the sharing, trading, or redistribution of any kind of our patterns.

In addition, regardless of whether the print and/or pattern are covered by US Copyright Laws, copyrights of photographs are legally binding.  Many of you may not know that I am, in addition to a crochet designer and creator, a photographer.  It is not my career choice any longer as it is not a realistic way to help provide support for my family.  I do, however, still retain the copyrights on every single photo that I publish, whether as a part of a pattern that we create or as a photographer under the name of Sophisticated Snapshots Photography.  If you choose to share or trade our patterns, you are also doing so with my photographs, which is a separate violation of US Copyright Laws in itself.

Please understand that we here at Hooking Housewives are not trying to discourage anyone from purchasing our patterns or those of another designer.  We regularly purchase patterns from our favorite designers, many of whom were also being shared/traded within this group.  The designing community is aware of a new and now private group on Facebook that is still sharing our designs illegally.  For those who are not members of this group and who do not wish to partake in this dishonest practice, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  We do not want to alienate the large number of you who have been so supportive of us.  As stay-at-home mothers, this is the main way that Kathy and I are able to contribute to our families' incomes.  Kathy is disabled and unable to work so every penny counts.  I am able to work, but because of the job market in the rural area in which we live, it's more financially beneficial for me to stay at home rather than putting my youngest son in childcare.

To thank those of you who want this pattern but have not wanted to pay the regular $2.99 for it, we are offering a special for you from now until the end of the day on Wednesday.  Through our Ravelry page.  you can purchase the Ninja Turtle Hat Pattern for only $0.99 using the coupon code "thanks".  You can get to the pattern from here. 

We plan to have several new patterns coming your way in the spring.  We will start working on the writing of a few hats soon and will be looking for testers so keep a look out the announcement!

~ Jamie

Saturday, January 5, 2013

365 Project: Granny Style

In past years, I have unsuccessfully attempted to complete a 365 Project. For this project, you choose to do one thing everyday for an entire year.  In both 2009 and 2012, I attempted to do this project with photography.  While it may sound like an easy challenge, I promise you that it is anything but easy.

For 2013, I have may the decision to try completing one granny square or other granny motif each day.  I'm still going back and forth with what to do with the squares, though I'm leaning toward assembling each month's squares into a blanket, resulting in 12 afghans at the end of the year if I'm successful.  

One thing I've learned from trying this project with photography, is that you have to be prepared for whatever may come up.  That means I'll be planning my squares ahead of time so I have a general idea of how much time I may need each day.  The squares and motifs will vary in size and difficulty level so no one gets bored - meaning me or those of you following me on this journey.
I hadn't planned to do it as a crochet along throughout the year, though I have started to rethink that.  I am thinking that later on in the year I may list an entire month of squares that I will be working on, along with links where you can find the squares, and offer it as a CAL for those who want to play along.

If you are doing your own 365 Project, crochet-related or not, please post your link in our comments section.  We'd love to follow along and see how you're doing.  This project is more successful if you have people cheering you on along the way.

Now, on to the fun stuff...  I have completed the squares for January 1st thru 4th so far (the 5th will be started after I finish typing this) and wanted to share photos for you to see.  I'll be posting about the project at least a couple of times each week.  We also have a page on this blog where you'll be able to see the pictures of each square, along with the info pertaining to it.

JANUARY 1, 2013
New Year's Eve
By Sherry Welch of Heartmade Blessings
JANUARY 2, 2013
Open Cross
By Aurora S. of DragonFly Mom of 2 Designs

JANUARY 3, 2013
Monkey in the Middle
By Donna Kay Lacey

JANUARY 4, 2013
By Julie A. Bolduc of JPF Crochet Club

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Favorites

One of the new things we'll be trying for 2013 is a series titled "Friday Favorites".  With this series, you will get a great deal.  Each Friday we will list one of our items at a greatly reduced price.  You will be able to purchase this item at the discounted price from Friday through the following Thursday.

In honor of our favorite team, the Alabama Crimson Tide, playing for the BCS Chamionship on Monday night, this week's Friday Favorite is the Houndstooth Beanie.

The regular price on the Houndstooth Beanie is $12.00 + shipping, but this week only, you can pick it up for $10.00 including shipping.  And, because we know that not everyone is an Alabama fan, you can get the hat in up to 3 colors of your choice.  These hats look great in your child's school colors or your favorite sports team's colors.

To take advantage of this amazing deal, send us your paypal email address and choice of colors - we'll send out your invoice.  Orders are normally shipped within 2 weeks of payment.

If you have favorites of your own that you'd like to see us include in our Friday Favorites, let us know.  You just may see it there in the coming weeks.  ;)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's Finally Here!!!

After talking and debating, we have finally responded to our fans and will be hosting our own blog!  We have a lot of plans for 2013, so in addition to our Facebook page, you'll be able to get all of the information here. From time to time we will be offering special discounts to our fans here so make sure you sign up to receive our updates via email!

This blog is still a work in progress, so please be patient with us as we work on figuring out what we want to include.  If you have recommendations for things you'd like to see, please let us know.  We plan to have pages set up for those who want to follow our 365 Project: Granny Style throughout the year.  There will be photos of the squares we do each day, as well as information on where you can find information on the pattern used.  There will be a fan photos section where we will gladly include the pictures you send us with our products on you and your loved ones.  The biggest plan for 2013 is that we are planning new patterns that we will offer.  Some may be offered for free, while others will be available for purchase through our Ravelry and Etsy shops.

We will be working with Davis Designs and Photography over the coming weeks to get our custom logo created - maybe we'll even ask for our fans opinions before making the final design decision.  ;)

Thanks to all of you for helping us to make our dreams a reality - 2012 was more successful than we could have ever imagined or hoped for!!!