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Welcome Friends! Please be patient while I add more info. I have SO much to share with you. Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

 A friend of mine gave me this recipe about 25 years ago and its really delicious! Everytime I fix it for a carry-in dinner, people want the recipe. I tried to find a recipe like it in Pintrest and the web, but couldnt find one exactly like it, so I thought I'd post it here. So sorry I dont have a picture! I forgot to take a picture when I made it for a gathering last  night, but will take a photo next time. I rarely fix it because of the sugar, but it's OK sometimes, right? This is simply delicious and I hope you enjoy it!

Bowtie Pasta Salad with Broccoli and Bacon

1 box pasta (Bowie or spiral Rotini - 16 oz)
1 bunch fresh broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1/2 sweet red onion (I use Vidalia when they're in season)
1 pound bacon, cooked. Break up into small pieces when cooled (I only had 1/2 lb, but more is better!)

Sauce
1 1/2 cups Hellmans mayonnaise
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tb vinegar (I used pale cider vinegar)

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Mix all salad ingredients in very large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix  sauce ingredients together, disolving sugar, and pour over salsd.
Refrigerate, but do not put bacon in the salad til it's ready to be served. Otherwise the bacon will get soggy. Once the salad is done, you you may want to taste it to see if you need a few dashes of salt. I did that, even though the recipe doesn't call for salt.

Note: I think this time I used about 2 cups mayonnaise, because my broccoli head was bigger than usual. Also, the original recipe calls for 3-6Tb of vinegar, but I think that's too much. You may like it with more vinegar. The original recipe also says to use 3/4 - 1 cup sugar, but I used a little over 1/2 cup instead. Let me know how it turns out!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Free Clip Art for Crochet and Knitting

I have put a few websites together that offer free crochet, knitting and sewing clip art, images or graphics, but have also added links to where you can purchase clip art for a small fee. There are so many cute graphics. I could have spent many more hours searching through all these images and photos! You'll have fun going through them too. Of course, these are just a few and the are 100's more! If you know of some good websites that offer free ones that I don't have listed, then please, let me know and I'll add them! I can imagine these images on your blogs and even printed on mugs snd tote bags! Have fun!
http://m.123rf.com/photos-images/crochet.html

http://allthingsclipart.com/crochet.clipart.htm



https://www.shutterstock.com/search/crochet


http://www.clker.com/clipart-164482.html


http://us.wow.com/image?q=Crochet+Images+Clip+Art&s_it=img-ans&imgId=8D72C0699B05FB4B3F9C2E3B9404A07957678211&s_chn=225&s_pt=aolsem&v_t=aolsem


Etsy - for purchase $3.00
https://www.etsy.com/listing/269693604/sale-crochet-woman-in-armchair-with-yarn?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=crochet%20clipart&ref=sr_gallery_26

Many more at Etsy!! So cute!
https://www.etsy.com/search?q=crochet+clipart

Other Clip Art and Photos for Purchase
http://www.canstockphoto.com/illustration/crochet.html#types:[2,4]

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Taco Salad in Crispy Bowls

This taco salad is a lot like the ones you buy at Taco Bell. After all, I bought the crispy bowls from them. I don't know how many people think of this but instead of baking tortilla bowls in the oven, I just go to Taco Bell and buy them for 50 cents each. It's well worth it to me because you don't have to bake them yourself and it is the original shell from Taco Bell. That was always my favorite part of the salad anyway! I don't know what all they put in their salad, but here's what I put in mine. It's delicious and everyone loves it! I hope you do too!

My Taco Salad with Crispy Bowls from Taco Bell

Ingredients  - Serves 6

2 lbs ground chuck or round
6 large shells purchased from Taco Bell
Lettuce,  shredded
Tomatoes , chopped
Vidalia sweet onion, chopped (or green onions)
Black olives, sliced
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 packets taco seasoning
Grated cheddar cheese
Optional - Sour cream, avocado, Ortago taco sauce

Brown ground beef in large skillet. Drain fat. Add taco season packets and add 1 1/3 cups water. Stir and simmer til most of the liquid is gone, about 30 minutes. Note: you don't want to make it too dry.

To Assemble Salads
Place shell on microwave safe plate and microwave for  30 seconds. Put about 2/3 - 1 cup meat inside bottom of shell. Use more or less meat, as you desire. Then put in layers on top of the meat, the lettuce, tomagoes, onion, black beans, black olives, ending with cheese.
Add sour cream, taco sauce and avocado if desired.



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How To Go About Getting a Crochet Book Published

The past 11 years, I have been asked this question many times. In fact I have spoken at crochet events on "Getting Published". One of my talks is how to get published for the first time in a magazine, but this post will focus mainly on getting your own book published.

You Need to Have a Burning Desire

I will give you information I learned from other designers back in 2006 when I wanted to do my own book, but I'll also give tips I've learned from my own experiences. When I first started talking about wanting to do a book I had been designing professionally for a little over a year. That's not a long time in the designing world, but I thought " why not try?" After all, I had 57 designs accepted for publication my first year of designing, and didn't see any reason to wait. And besides, I was so anxious to do this! That's my first tip. You really need to have a tremendous desire to write a crochet book! I say that is very important because your passion and enthusiasm is what will get you through the sometimes strenuous long hours, days and months before you will be ready to turn the manuscript in.

How Much Time Do They Give You To Write the Book and Get the Manuscript In?

The publisher normally gives you around 9 months to finish up, but by the time everything else is done (the tech editing, photo shoot, book design, corrections, proof reading), it will be about a year before the book is actually on the shelves. This can vary with each publisber. And they may even ask you how much time you need. With my latest book, Colorful Crochet Lace, I signed the contract in the fall of 2013 with my due date June, 2014, but they didnt have it scheduled for release till the summer of 2015. When I asked why they said it was because they had another lace book scheduled for 2014. I later found out it was a knit book, not crochet. But you have to expect there will be things you may not be happy about and you just have to go along with it. They even wanted me to cut some of my favorite designs, and that really bothered me! Everything worked out in the end though, and I'm using those other designs (mostly Boho for my blog and Ravelry store).You may have some input, but the publisher makes the final decision on things. They did allow me to have a say on which garment I wanted on the front cover and several other things, but I just want to prepare you.

 Like I said, the normal process takes 9 months to a year, but in the case of my first 2 Kooler Design/Leisure Arts booklets, (Crochet in Style and Crochet Young and Trendy), my 14 designs in both books were accepted and actually published within 5-6 months! The reason for this was that I had the projects all finished and when I contacted them, they had a  "slot" to fill and I was at the right place at the right time! That was so exciting! When I submitted those designs, I had never even submitted to a magazine before, so never even tried to get published. Later some known, designer friends said, "Mary Jane, do you realize that sometimes it takes a designer 20 years to get a deal like that!?" I had no idea, which made it even more exciting! After those booklets had been published, I found out that was very unusual though and would rarely ever happen that quick. I got busy designing again and went on to get more and more garments and accessories accepted for publications later that year (2005).

I really wanted to do a book, like many of you, but had no way of knowing how to go about it. You may have the same desire and questions I did and I'm here to help you! I felt lost and had no idea of how to get started. So I just began emailing various designers I knew of who had published books on crochet. I had met some personally at the Chain Link Conference or TNNA but others I found on the internet, after seeing they had a book.

My First Step in Finding Out What To Do

I had the idea to email crochet authors to ask how I could get started and even if they thought I should be pursing this, after such a short time designing professionally. I was pretty nervous thinking I'd be bothering them, because we all are very busy with many deadlines. I probably wrote 10 authors for advice, hoping I'd hear back from at least one. To my surprise, I got a reply from each person I had written. All but one, wrote back being very supportive and encouraging in my quest to write a book. The one negative email I received said, "You have not paid your dues and should not be trying to write a book". I was shocked she said that to me! I was thinking, "Not paid my dues? I have been crocheting for over 36 years!" It really upset me and if I had listened to her, I probably would not have been a successful crochet book author to this day. I'm so glad I did not listen to her. The others were so sweet to give me long, detailed tips or advice on how to go about accomplishing this dream of mine. I'm telling you about this person because you need to know there will be people who are negative and you can't let anyone discourage you from achieving your dream.

Which Publisher Should I Send my Book Proposal To?

I know from experience, this question can haunt you, but it's one of the most important of all. You can drive yourself crazy trying to decide on this. I suggest going to some place like Barnes and Noble or any place that carries crochet books. Plan to take your time, because you don't want to be rushed with this step. Be sure and take a notebook and ink pen with you for taking notes. Look through all the books that catch your eye. You want to notice their format, how many photos they have, if they have stitch pattern charts, how small or large the print is, how many pages, their style and whether or not they have a cover that pops and catches your attention. These things are all important. You want to look at every detail, even whether or not they have a photo and info on the author. I'm surprised that some publishers don't think it's important to have a section for the author. With my first 2 books, the publisher (Krause - branch of F +W)  gave me a whole page spread toward the back. This impressed me.  Even though you have written down info on several publishers, you can only submit your proposal to one at a time. It's considered unethical to submit your book idea to more than one publisher at the same time. It's easy to find their email addresses on the web, along with whether you should send your query letter by email or regular mail. For 11 years, I have always communicated by email.
After saying all this, I got this advice from a designer/publisher back in 2006 who taught classes on getting published, so I don't know how up to date it is. She said,
"Get a copy of Writer's Market and read the list of publishers there. Sometimes, they have requests from publishers looking for writers."

Write a "Query" Letter

Even though you are allowed to send the proposal to only one publisher at a time, you can write each of them a "query" letter at the same time. The purpose of this letter is to ask them "permission" to send a proposal. You never send a proposal to a publisher without asking their permission. One reason is because they have many people contacting them and let's face it. They are very busy people and the only proposals they want to take their time to look at, are ones they are interested in. When you tell them what your book is about and the details, they'll know immediately if they've done a book recently that's similar or whether or not they think it will sell. They're only interested in book ideas they know they can make money on. Anything else is a waste of their time. But if you have a really good, and unique idea, they will want to latch on to you and will ask you to send your proposal right away. You may get multiple publishers wanting you to send them your propossl, but as I said, you only send it to one. If they are all interested, after reading your letter, that's more stress on you, wondering which one it should be. All 20 publishers were interested in my proposal and I can't tell you how hard it was for me to finally decide who to send it to. That's another story in itself. If you're interested, let me know, and I'll be happy to tell you why I chose the one I did.

How Much Info Do I Give Them about My Book?

At first I worried about giving them too much information on my book, because I didn't know if they would steal my idea! But I can assure you, if you are writing to a known publisher, you have nothing to worry about. They are honest and professional and are not going to steal your idea. So rest easy! Not only that, but once you have written down your idea, it is automatically copyrighted, as long as you can prove its yours. Back in 2007, when I came up with my Graduated Stitch Method of making fitted and shaped crochet garments without increases or decreases, I wrote a letter with all my info on this and mailed it to myself so it would have a postmark with a date.

Some Things to Include in Your Query Letter 

1. You don't want to make your letter too long or they may not read it. Most people in the know would say it should be only 1 page. But make sure you tell them what your book is about and the better your letter is, the more it may persuade them. Once you write the letter ask a friend to read it and let them give you feedback on whether or not it sounds interesting.
2. The Book Acquisitions Editor will be the one reading your letter and the most important thing to them is that they want to know how your book idea is different from all the other crochet books already published. They are interested in "new ideas" - not just your designs.
3. Give them ideas for a title. You want them to imagine this title in print! Giving an idea for a sub-title may help too.
4. You need to tell them where you have been published along with a couple of pictures of your designs.
5. Not only your experiences in the crochet world, but you can list your background like jobs, etc. I mentioned being a supervisor for House of Lloyd/Christmas Around the World, Real Estate and my singing career.
6. Sending pictures of your already published designs is important but if you have any designs you want in the book that are finished and photographed on a mannequin or person is a good idea. They will see your work visually and not just read about your descriptions. Some publishers request you to send one of your finished designs along with your proposal (if accepted), so they can see your work up close. They will also want a sample of one of your written patterns.
7. Publishers are also interested in what social media you are a member of, mainly because they need to know if you are willing to help promote your book. This is important to them and you'll be far more attractive the more you can do to advertise yourself. This includes posting about it, setting up book signings, which better your chances. This is something to probably reserve for the proposal, when accepted. When a publisher sends you a proposal package, they will ask you lots of questions and this is one of them.

Advice from Susan Huxley (designer/author/publisher) who gave a talk at a conference I attended. This is advice for proposals that have been turned down:

                      "Publishers have expert advice, trend information, and 
                          reader interest polls at their fingertips. Perhaps what 
                          you're offering isn't marketable? Or the niche is too 
                          small to turn a profit?"

What Happens after the Proposal is sent?

After you've decided on a publisher who gave you permission to send your book proposal, they will probably send you a proposal package with lots of questions and this is when you can go into much more detail about the book. You need to have patience as you sit back and "wait", crossing your fingers that they'll like your book idea. I was told from the beginning that it could take up to 3 months to hear back from a publisher. This really concerned me because many of my designs were trendy and I was afraid by the time the book was published, they would no longer be in style. But to my surprise, I heard back from the publisher the first week on all my books!

What Happens After Your Proposal is Accepted?

After your book has been accepted they will send you a contract. My publisher sends you a cash advance. This is because they are a traditional publisher, who pays for all costs to make the book happen and they write you a royalty check 2 - 4 times a year. Of course, if you are self publishing you won't get the cash advance or royalties. That's another story. Some people have been very successful at this, but I would not recommend it on your first book. There is so much involved and you need to be more known in order to market your own book, to make your job easier. I've never self published, but have considered it and may do so in the future. You can read more about self publishing vs traditional publishing from Kathryn Vercillo of Crochet Concupiscence, one of the most popular crochet related blogs on the web.

What Happens After Your Contract is Signed?

Half of your advance will be sent after they receive your proposal and you will get the second half after the manuscript is turned in. They will also send you a packet either by regular mail or email with much more information on how to begin the book. You won't be alone. They assign you an editor and she will help you along the way and the two of you will become very close with all the communication! She'll send you guidelines to go by and a sample layout of a way you can make sure everything will fit onto the number of pages. You'll be so excited to get started! My advice to you is that no matter how busy you are with other things in your life, make sure you work on the book every day, even if it's for a short time some days, because it's easy to get behind and you will start to panic. While I was working on my last book, Colorful Crochet Lace, my sister was in the hospital for 15 days and I stayed with her every day. It was hard to focus and keep my mind on crochet since I was worried about her, but if I had it to do over I would have made sure I worked on my designs there too. I ended up having to hire 4 professional contract crocheters to stitch up some projects that were actually photographed for the book because I just ran out of time. Don't put off getting things done, no matter how busy you are. Let your desire to see the finished book in your hands and in stores be what drives you!

 Good luck to you in your quest to have your book published! If you have any questions or think I have left anything out, don't hesitate to ask!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Proposal - How To

The following article is by Susan Huxley, a well known designer, author and publisber. She recently passed away and it was a sad day in the crochet designing community. We will miss her along with her expertise on designing and getting published. These are just a few tips to remember. This can apply whether you are thinking of submitting an individual design to a magazine or if you are wanting to write a book proposal to send to a publisher. Remember, though, you should never send a book proposal to a publisher, unless you have sent them a "query" letter, and they've given you permission to send your proposal.

Proposal - How To - by Publisher, Susan Huxley

A great design and good instructions speak for themselves. In
this case, the packaging, mounting, etc. aren't important to me.

If, however, I 've been working with someone who stretches the
definition of "professional " or know that I need instructions that
need to be very good because I'm short on time or patience, then
I start paying attention to the way that a proposal is assembled.

The following is far from complete, but I don't have time to offer more at the moment.

1. Attitude in the cover letter. If the designer sounds arrogant or
"demands" things, I walk away.

2. Typed proposal and cover letter. If things are handwritten, I
wonder if I'll be stuck inputting handwritten instructions. My
budget only allots a certain amount of time to work on each
project. I have to find ways to work within those hours: inputting
copy and walking a designer through software gobble into my
time.

3. Computer skills and software. I need to know if our technology
is compatible and the level of the designer's familiarity with her
software.

4. Sketch of the proposal. You look really professional when this
is mounted. But I don't like it because I have to tear it off the
mount in order to get it into a file folder that will fit into my cabinet.
Now putting on my designer hat: I can't draw worth beans. My
secret weapon is an old sewing pattern catalogue. I find a
garment that has a similar shape to the one that I'm making,
trace it off, and then revise the details to match my proposal.

5. Description of the proposal with specific technical details . . .
not just "romance."

6. Loose swatch tagged with name and contact information.
Don't mount it.

7. Timeline. It's great when a designer tells me how long it'll take
her to write the instructions and make the garment.

8. Email queries are great, but don't send complete details and
don't send attachments without first gaining permission. Some
publishing house email systems are set up so that emails with
attachments are rejected.

9. Example of unpublished, unedited instructions.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Writing A Crochet Book - My Experiences

           My Thoughts as the Process Happens

 My intention is not to discourage anyone from trying to get a book published. I just want to be "real" and let you know what all it involves. Even with the stress of deadlines, it is well worth it! Your excitement and desire to see the finished book is what will keep you going!
There is tremendous pressure with writing a book. Especially doing a pattern book. There is so much more involved than doing a regular book. With a pattern book you not only have the table of contents, dedication, acknowledgments, "how to" sections (with explanations and diagrams, chapter headings, description of the design, etc) you also have to spend months designing clothing from scratch. I get an idea in my head and then do a sketch. (See photo below) Sometimes they don't always come out right. Most of the time they do, but if they don't, you either have to take it all out and start it over or change it up from your original concept. Occasionally, a "mistake" turns out to be better than what you envisioned! Then it takes me sometime hours to type up a pattern, making sure every little word, comma, and * is in place.

Sketches for Positively Crochet - Before and After
Crochet language is not like regular language or regular grammar. If you plan to submit a book proposal, its imperative that you study the proper crochet language. Any little error could throw the whole pattern off! (as far as someone being able to understand it)  Then after it is typed up, you have to grade the sizes. Grading the sizes just means you are writing the instructions for the other sizes, by adding more rows and stitches.  This is sometimes very difficult to do. What it involves is deciding how much bigger (in inches) you want the next size larger to be. Normally you would make the next size anywhere from 2" - 4" larger, depending on how snug or loose you want it to be. The Yarn Standards website has measurements you need to go by. Then you add sizes from size xsmall to 3x. More and more people are asking for the larger sizes, and all books don't go up to 3x. This is very important to me, so I usually include these sizes in my crochet books. I want to do what people are asking for. I think that's one reason my books have done so well.
The math is the worst partof the book process for me. It's easy with some patterns but very difficult on others, especially figuring out the correct number of stitches and rows on a lace garment. You add stitches and rows according to the extra inches for each size. This is usually "in multiples of....", which is the number of stitches it takes for the stitch pattern you are using. By "stitch" pattern, I mean a section that shows a pattern such as a "pineapple" or "shell". In other words you would say the stitches on each "shell" would be "in multiples of...".

Tunique Unique Pullover
Colorful Crochet Lace

Then after a garment or accessory is finished, I find a model (usually my daughter, Jamie, or my DIL, Anca) and we have a little "photo shoot". I take pictures of 1-3 items at a time and this has to be done many different times on the other items. I want to have my own photos and I also take pictures so the photographer and the publisher know how the item is supposed to be worn or photographed. Believe me, sometimes they get something backwards in a book and you cringe at the thought of it being wrong in the book for all eternity!  I take many different shots of 1 item and even pay people for this because it does take time.

I'm posting some of my own photos I took before sending them to the publisher.


Scallop Shells Capelet from
Crochet Young and Trendy
(Worn here as a cowl)

Then it's a matter of getting the photos on the computer, cropping them and putting them on a page with a description. Your description is usually in the book on the pattern page. They call this "Romance" langusge because you are trying to describe the item in a way that will influence the reader to want to make it. Then I send the picture and description to the publisher/editor to approve it. So far they've liked everything I do, and the positive feedback is important to me. After that, I have to find a pattern tester who will make the item to see if they can follow my instructions. The publisher does not require authors to hire pattern testers, but most do. I want to be absolutely sure the pattern is correct and understandable before being sent in. I tell the tester not to ask me any questions unless it is absolutely necessary, so I can make sure its clear and easy to understand. I also tell them to make any notes on the pattern that is not clear or if they find where I left off things like "sew side seam" or "weave in loose ends". Sometimes a pattern tester doesn't get back to me for a while and they loose their notes or forget where they made changes. This is frustrating, because I may have already paid them. For Positively Crochet (published 2007) I hired 18 pattern testers. For Crochet That Fits (published 2008), my editor had wanted me to remake some things in other colors (first time that's happened) and since I didn't have time to remake them, I had to hire contract crocheters to make the actual piece that would be photographed for the book. (you pay them more). I guess I hired a contract crocheter on 4-5 things in my last 2 books. But then I do all my finishing, like sewing the seams, adding an edging, etc.

Cloverleaf Top - Positively Crochet

About every 3 weeks, I'd get a group of designs tagged and mailed in to the publisher. They require you to label the item with a note. I ususally pin the label (or attach with yarn) on the back of the project, indicating which side it is. They want you to include the name of the project, size the sample is made in, your name, phone number and email for identification. I have my own custom made fabric labels I sew inside all my designs, making it easy for them to know which is the front and back. I ordered mine from Charm Woven Labels, and I had them print "An Original Design by Mary Jane Hall" onto some black labels with white writing, but also on some cream labels with blue writing. I found out they are no longer in business, so I found Label Weavers for you on the web.  They're great and it makes the
My custom "designer" label
garment look more professional. The special little details  will impress them! We have to mail in the first half of the designs on a date they give you (with paper label of info on each item) so they'll know the designs are actually getting done and you won't have to send them all at the same time when its time to turn in the manuscript. They require this too. I think it's a good idea, because it motivates you to get them done.

Très Chic Neck Warmer - in Colorful Crochet Lace
( worn here as a Capelet)




After mailing the items I have to go over each written pattern (10-20 times each, with fresh eyes everyday) looking for errors or anything that needs to be reworded. Of course there is also the author bio and author picture to be taken, and I have to have a list of all the yarn companies who donated yarn for the book (with their contact info) and even info on stores where I bought notions, such as purse handles, buttons, ribbons, beads, etc, from places like Michaels, JoAnns, Hancock Fabric, Hobby Lobby.


To get the whole manuscript ready to send, I hired a friend who came over to my house to help get it all together in the right format the publisher requested. On Positively Crochet it took us 4 days to get everything together, but on Crochet That Fits it took us only 4 hours, since we knew what we did the year before. I still had to go over everything again with a fine tooth comb before actually emailing the whole manuscript. So even though my friend, Cindy, helped me get it all together, I didn't actually get it sent that day. It took me 4 more days and nights to get it all perfected.  I litterly stayed up all night for 4 nights in a row and had only 3 hours sleep each day getting it ready to send before the deadline.

Cap Sleeve Top from Crochet That Fits
Aftef I thought everything was finished, I found that we left off a pattern for a hat. Then I had all kinds of trouble trying to email the manuscript  to my editor. Even though I tried to send it in 5 parts in zipped folders, she came back saying they were each too big for her email program. They were too big because of the pictures. You have to insert your own photo with the actual pattern, so they'll know where it goes. You do this with all the diagrams and schematics too. So the pictures make the files huge. The contract also tells you to send the whole manuscript on a CD, and I also have to send a hard copy (paper copy) of the whole manuscript. I finally got the manuscript on a CD and my husband overnighted it for me.

In the meantime I was stressed wondering if I would meet my deadline. I had heard many talks at conferences from seasoned designers saying "If you miss your deadline, the publisher will never work with you again!" The speaker that day was a very well known knit and crochet designer and author named Melissa Leapman, snd she said that had actually happened to her. So that's what was on my mind, but I finally got it all sent!

La Vie en Rose Shall - in Colorful Crochet Lace
The next step is that after the editor and tech editor have gone over the book, they will send it back to you to check on any corrections they have made. It usually comes back marked up, but try not to stress over this! It may not be as bad as you think. This is a very difficult process for me, because when the tech editor changes some of the wording, it's hard to know if it's correct, without me actually making the item over so I can follow along. Sometimes the tech editor makes mistakes or if something is copied and pasted to rearrange a sentence I'm really stressed out. This is the most frustrating part of all! You just have to "let go" and "trust" that everything will be ok.


Update (2016): I wrote this years ago and things were different this time when I wrote Colorful Crochet Lace. F+W, the publisher on the other books, partnered with Interweave Press and some ways of going about things were different. They did not require me to put the manuscript on CD and I did not have to mail them a hard copy. They just wanted me to send it by email, which was great. Another thing that was different was that instead of me contacting the yarn companies to order the yarn, Interweave contacted them and had them send me the yarn. They also got together all the info on the yarn companies for the back of the book. I had to do that myself before. With the new book, they just had me email all the photos separately from the patterns, which made it easy. Of course I had each project numbered so they'd know how to identify the patterns with the photos.

Toddler Capri Outfit - in Positively Crochet

Pink Filigree Capelet


Well,those are just some of the things you go through when writing a crochet book, but I hope I have helped you in some way to know what to expect! There are a lot of headaches, but believe me, all the work and stress that goes into it is worth it! There's no other feeling like getting that book, "your baby", in the mail and actually holding it in your hands! Look for more blog posts on How to Get a Book Published.

Pink lacy Capelet below is from the booklet Crochet In Style. It has very long fringe.

Writing A Crochet Book - My Experiences

           Writing a Crochet Book - My Thoughts as the Process Happens

 My intention is not to discourage anyone from trying to get a book published. I just want to be "real" and let you know what all it involves, even with the stress of deadlines. It is well worth it! Your excitement and desire to see the finished book is what will keep you going!
There is tremendous pressure with writing a book. Especially doing a pattern book. There is so much more involved than doing a regular book. With a pattern book you not only have the table of contents, dedication, acknowledgments, "how to" sections (with explanations and diagrams, chapter headings, description of the design, etc) you also have to spend months designing clothing from scratch. I get an idea in my head and then do a sketch. (See photo below) Sometimes they don't always come out right. Most of the time they do, but if they don't, you either have to take it all out and start it over or change it up from your original concept. Occasionally, a "mistake" turns out to be better than what you envisioned! Then it takes me sometime hours to type up a pattern, making sure every little word, comma, and * is in place.

Sketches for Positively Crochet - Before and After
Crochet language is not like regular language or regular grammar. If you plan to submit a book proposal, its imperative that you study the proper crochet language. Any little error could throw the whole pattern off! (as far as someone being able to understand it)  Then after it is typed up, you have to grade the sizes. Grading the sizes just means you are writing the instructions for the other sizes, by adding more rows and stitches.  This is sometimes very difficult to do. What it involves is deciding how much bigger (in inches) you want the next size larger to be. Normally you would make the next size anywhere from 2" - 4" larger, depending on how snug or loose you want it to be. The Yarn Standards website has measurements you need to go by. Then you add sizes from size xsmall to 3x. More and more people are asking for the larger sizes, and all books don't go up to 3x. This is very important to me in doing crochet books. I want to do what people are asking for. I think that's one reason my books have done so well.
The math part is the worst for me. It's easy on some patterns but very difficult on others, especially figuring out the correct number of stitches and rows on a lace garment. You add stitches and rows according to the extra inches for each size. This is usually "in multiples of....", which is the number of stitches it takes for the stitch pattern you are using.
Tunique Unique Pullover
Colorful Crochet Lace

Then after a garment or accessory is finished, I find a model (usually my daughter, Jamie, or my DIL, Anca) and we have a little "photo shoot". I take pictures of only 1-3 items at a time and so this has to be done many different times on the other items. I have to have my own photos and I also take pictures so the photographer and the publisher know how the item is supposed to be worn or photographed. Believe me, sometimes they get something backwards in a book and you cringe at the thought of it being wrong in the book for all eternity!  I take many different shots of 1 item and even pay people for this because it does take time.

I'm posting some of my own photos I took before sending them to the publisher.


Scallop Shells Capelet from
Crochet Young and Trendy
(Worn here as a cowl)

Then it's a matter of getting the photos on the computer, cropping them, putting them on a page with a description. I then send it to the publisher/editor to kind of approve it. So far they've liked everything I do, but the positive feedback is important to me. After that, I have to find a pattern tester who will make the item to see if they can follow my instructions. I tell them not to ask me any questions unless it is absolutely necessary. And I tell them to make any notes on the pattern that is not clear or if they find where I left off things like "sew side seam" or "weave in loose ends". Sometimes a pattern tester doesn't get back to me for a while and they loose their notes or forget where they made changes. This is frustrating, because I may have already paid them. For Positively Crochet (published 2007) I hired 18 pattern testers. For Crochet That Fits (published 2008), my editor had wanted me to remake some things in other colors (first time that's happened) and since I didn't have time to remake them all, I had to hire contract crocheters to make the actual piece that would be photographed for the book. (you pay them more) I guess I hired a contract crocheter on 4-5 things in my last 2 books. But then I do all my finishing, like sewing the seams, adding an edging, etc.

Cloverleaf Top - Positively Crochet
About every 3 weeks, I'd get a group of designs tagged and mailed in to the publisher. They require you to label the item with a note. I ususally pin the label (or attach with yarn) on the project with name of the project, size, whether its the front or back, my name, phone number and email for identification. I have my own custom made fabric label I sew inside all my designs, making it easy for them to know which is the front and back. I ordered mine from Charm Woven Labels, and I had them print "An Original Design by Mary Jane Hall" onto some black labels with white writing, but also on some cream labels with blue writing. I found out they are no longer in business, so I found Label Weavers for you on the web.  They're great and it makes the garment look more professional. The special little details  will impress them! We have to mail in the first half of the designs on a date they give you (with paper label of info on each item) so they'll know the designs are actually getting done and you won't have to send them all at the same time when its time to turn the manuscript in. They require this too. I think it's a good idea, because it motivates you to get them done.

Très Chic Neck Warmer - in Colorful Crochet Lace
( worn here as a Capelet)

Aftef mailing the items I have to go over each written pattern (maybe 10-20 times each with fresh eyes everyday) looking for errors or anything that needs to be reworded. Of course there is also the author bio and author picture to be taken, and I have to have a list of all the yarn companies who donated yarn for the book (with their contact info) and even info on stores where I bought notions, such as handles, from places like Michaels, JoAnns, Hancock Fabric, Hobby Lobby).


To get the whole manuscript ready to send, I hired a friend who came over to my house to help me get it all together in the right format the publisher requested. On Positively Crochet it took us 4 days to get everything together, but on Crochet That Fits (since we knew more about what to do) it took us 4 hours. I still had to go over everything again with a fine tooth comb before actually emailing the whole manuscript. So even though Cindy (my friend) helped me get it all together, I didn't actually get it sent that day. It took me all night, all day the next day and all night again the next night till 4:30 am getting it all perfected. I litterly stayed up all night for 4 nights in a row and had only 3 hours sleep each day getting it ready to send before the deadline.

Cap Sleeve Top from Crochet That Fits
Aftef I thought everything was finished, I found that we left off a pattern for a hat. Then I had all kinds of trouble trying to email it. Even though I tried to send it in 5 parts in zipped folders, they came back saying they were each too big for my editor's email program. They were too big because of the pictures. You have to insert your own photo with the actual pattern, so they'll know where it goes. You do this with all the diagrams too. So the pictures make the files huge. The contract also tells you to send the whole manuscript on a CD, and I also have to send a hard copy (paper copy) of the whole manuscript. I finally got the manuscript on a CD and my husband overnighted it for me.


In the meantime I was stressed wondering if I would meet my deadline. I had heard many talks at conferences from seasoned designers saying that "If you miss your deadline, the publisher will never work with you again!" so that's what was on my mind!. But it finally all got sent!

La Vie en Rose Shall - in Colorful Crochet Lace

The next step is that after the editor and tech editor have gone over the book, they will send it back to you to check on any corrections they have made. It usually comes back marked up, but try not to stress over this! It may not be as bad as you think. This is a very difficult process for me, because when the tech editor changes some of the wording, it's hard to know if it's correct, without me actually making the item over so I can follow along. Sometimes the tech editor makes mistakes and this is the most frustrating part of all! You just have to "let go" and "trust" that everything will be ok.

Update (2016): I wrote this years ago and things were different this time when I wrote Colorful Crochet Lace. F+W, the publisher on the other books, partnered with Interweave Press and some ways of going about things were different. They did not require me to put the manuscript on CD and I did not have to mail them a hard copy. They just wanted me to send it by email, which was great. Another thing that was different was that instead of me contacting the yarn companies to order the yarn, Interweave contacted them and had them send me the yarn. They also got together all the info on the yarn companies for the back of the book. I had to do that myself before. With the new book, they just had me email all the photos separately from the patterns, which made it easy. Of course I had each project numbered so they'd know how to identify the patterns with the photos.

Toddler Capri Outfit - in Positively Crochet

Pink Filigree Capelet


Well,those are just some of the things you go through when writing a crochet book, but I hope I have helped you in some way to know what to expect! There are a lot of headaches, but believe me, all the work and stress that goes into it is worth it! There's no other feeling like getting that book, "your baby", in the mail and actually holding it in your hands! Look for more blog posts on How to Get a Book Published.

Pink lacy Capelet below is from the booklet Crochet In Style. It has long fringe.