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Speed Crocheting and Conde Naste

THE most random experience of my life began a few months back on November 23, 2015. A few days before Thanksgiving, I received this email:

I work on the Casting Team at Condé Nast Entertainment, which is the digital arm of all of the Condé Nast brands (GQ, Wired, Vogue, Glamour, etc). Condé Nast Entertainment is producing a cool video for The Scene and is looking for people who can do things impressively and incredibly fast with their hands. This will likely shoot at our studio in downtown Manhattan.

We would love to have you casted in our video for Speed Crocheting.

Initial thoughts:

  • Speed crrocheting? Yes please.
  • This could be fake.
  • NYC? How cool!
  • Wait, how did they find me?
  • I reeeeeally hope this isn’t fake and/or an elaborate plot to kidnap me.

So I replied and chatted with the recruiter. They wanted to plan something for December. Didn’t hear details so sent a follow-up email cause if there was speed crocheting happening, you’d better believe I wanted to be a part of it.

Silence.

Then in February, things got real.

They sent a few dates when other fast-fingered-friends (a Yo-Yo guy, fast clapper and a fast pizza maker) would be filming in NYC and asked which date would be best. March 4th, 2016. It was settled. They booked me a flight, sent me a hotel reservation and told me they’d see me in a few.

People have asked how they found me and I don’t know. If I had to guess, I’d say they saw this 5 year old video of me speed crocheting and thought I’d do. (I laugh thinking how I do SEO for a Fortune 500 company so it’s literally my job to optimize content; the other three speed crocheters never stood a chance.)

Leading up to my departure, I FaceTimed with the Producer and his assistant, Jeff and Joe, and they asked what I could make in about 2 minutes. They suggested a coaster or a circle. I said, “How about a flower?” Their reactions were the most excited I’d ever seen two men get about crocheting. “A FLOWER?!” Uh yeah, sure, I told them, 2 mins is enough time to make a flower.

A flower it would be.

I got a call from Marco, the prop guy, and we talked about colors of yarn and what he could buy. I asked what I should wear. He said there was no wardrobe guy. Fair enough, Marco, my hands will be the main focus. I told him I’d get a manicure instead of a new outfit and awkwardly laughed.

The filming was on Friday at 2pm so I arrived Thursday night. I had Friday morning in midtown to myself and couldn’t be more excited to explore the city alone. (My sister was planning to come, but with the short notice, I couldn’t convince her to buy a $550 plane ticket.)

Friday morning, I woke up at 6am, walked .75 miles to Times Square to watch Good Morning America film. I met Robin Roberts when she came to greet the fans. Hearing I was from Pittsburgh, she responded, “WTAE!!!” Heck yes, Robin – WTAE!!
robin-roberts

I then picked up $17 tickets to see Les Mis (thanks to my friends at GMA who gave me the tip on Broadway for Broke people and cheap same-day tickets), treated myself to brunch of eggs benny (my fav), and headed off to Conde Naste’s studios.

I got lost trying to take the subway there, but they’re right next to the World Trade Center Memorial. I went up, saw the studio, met a bunch of people and they told me to stand behind a table and crochet while they shot aerially.

Um, I don’t crochet standing up. That’s crazy.

So they got me a chair and I repositioned myself. But to be honest, it still wasn’t great. As any crocheter will attest, when you crochet your elbows rest almost at your hips, hands at about mid-stomach level. Normal. To get a shot, they had me stretch out my hands so they were centered over a table. Elbows on the table.

studio

Imagine telling a basketball player they had to shoot free throws sitting down at the foul line. Same thing. Possible, but awkward. It was strange and I’ll admit didn’t set me up to do my best. I was dropping stitches and wasn’t as fast as I’d been practicing.

It was still great, though, and the camera man said my skill was the one he was most excited to see.

After 8 or so takes of crocheting in a silent studio of 10 men watching, it was a wrap. They did one final take with just sound to get the sound of the yarn scratching over my hook. Marco the prop guy fed me the yarn as I was crocheting so it looked like the yarn was almost appearing out of nowhere. So fancy!

Conde Naste paid me $200/hour, said thanks and I left.

marco-studio

And here it is!! My 1 minute, 43 seconds of fame. Enjoy.

After filming, I made my way (yarn and hooks in tow like a bag lady) to McSorely’s, the oldest Irish pub in NYC (thanks for the recco, boss). I sat down, ordered light beer–you’re given a choice between light and dark–and also got the fish ‘n chips.

I’m fine traveling and eating by myself and was enjoying the atmosphere.

Before my meal arrived, an elderly gentleman wandered over and sat down. I heard his life story. Turns out, he was an 86 year old actor and we joked about him being old, his kids never visiting and his wife who attends two Broadway shows a week. God bless NYC.

nesbitt

I spent the rest of the weekend putzing around NYC doing touristy stuff. Stayed in Times Square, read in Central Park. Took selfies at the MoMa, devoured Shake Shack and muddied my way through the subway. It was a fantastically relaxing weekend. I even got to see an old friend, Sam, though we took zero pictures to prove it.

starry-night

Overall, one of the most bizarre, thrilling moments of my life. I told my mom this trip was a clear picture of how God blesses us. This trip served no purpose besides bringing me joy. I wasn’t saving lives, I was crocheting. A talent God gave me and led me to discover when I was 8 years old. It’s as though He thought up something that I would LOVE and made it happen–just for the fun of it.

Crocheting has marked many seasons of my life.

I remember dealing with death when my crocheter teacher lost her battle with cancer four months after we had our first lesson. I remember recovering from scoliosis surgery when I was 14 and crocheting while learning to walk again. I think back to long drives I made in college to go to craft shows. I remember moving yarn to each new home. I think of the conversations I’ve had with The Knotty Knitters. God’s given me so many good, sweet moments in life and some of the big ones have been marked by this simple hook-and-needle craft.

Thankful I can add this crochet weekend in NYC as another reminder in my life of God’s faithfulness.

Crochet, Free Patterns, Projects, Uncategorized

Crochet Flower Pattern

Crochet Flower Pattern

Having a go-to crochet flower pattern should be every crocheter’s goal. This crochet flower isn’t fancy, but it works up quickly and is great for adding detail to a project.

Crochet Flower Pattern

It’s a great flower for beginner to learn – I’ve even written out the crochet abbreviations and taken pictures along the way so you know exactly what to do. For the more experienced crocheter, this is a good “base flower” that you can add more petals to (why stop at 5?) or a second layer for added volume.

Crochet Flowers

Crochet Flower Pattern

Materials:

  • Crochet Hook & Yarn – Any Size! Depends on your project, but this will work up with everything from thread to bulky yarn
  • Flowers below crocheted with a size H (5.0mm) crochet hook and worsted weight yarn (Vanna’s Choice)

Directions:

Chain 3, slip stitch into first chain to form a ring.

Round 1: Chain 2 (counts as a double crochet). Work 9 more double crochet into the center of the ring (10 DC total). Join to top of chain 2 with a slip stitch.

Round 2: Chain 3 + 1 (counts as chain-3 space plus 1 single crochet). Skip 1 stitch, single crochet in next stitch. *Chain 3, skip 1 stitch. Single crochet in next stitch.* Repeat instructions from * to * around two more times. Chain 3, skip next stitch. Single crochet into first chain-3 space to join Round 2. (5, chain-3 spaces).

Round 3: Work 4 double crochet and one single crochet into first chain-3 space. First petal complete. Into next chain-3 space, work [1 single crochet, 5 double crochet, 1 single crochet]. Repeat for next 3 patterns. Slip stitch to first single crochet to join.

Fasten off.

Crochet Pattern
Round 2 after Chain 3 + 1, Skip next stitch, single crochet, chain 3
At the end of Round 2. Join last chain-3 with a single crochet into the first chain-3 space.
At the end of Round 3, after 4 petals have been made.
At the end of Round 3, after 4 petals have been made.
Crochet Flower
Finished Crochet Flower!

Crochet Flowers Pattern

 

Uncategorized

Survey: What Posts Do You Like?

Hi friend – I need your opinion.

I mostly write a blog post if I’ve created a new pattern or when I finished a project, but that just seems selfish.  I’d be interested to hear what you’d like to see on this blog.  Do you like the content I’m writing?  What would you like to see more of?

Crafty democracy at its finest.

Take the poll below and let me know your thoughts… Thanks!

* What type(s) of content would you like to see more of on JJCrochet.com?

Uncategorized

Life

There are things in life more wonderful than crochet.  I know – blasphemy, right?

In the past two weeks, I have been a bridesmaid twice – once for my older brother’s wedding (Brother Bill) and the second for my good friends, Rachael and Andrew.  It is weekends like these that make me high on the beauty of life.

Brother Bill got married in Pittsburgh; Rachael in Buffalo.  The great thing about being in back-to-back weddings, though, is most of the prep work is only done once.  I’m already tan and  my nails are done.  I would jokingly tell people, “This is as good as I can possibly get right now!”  I believe the bobby-pin count after wedding #1 was 75.  (A hairstyle that takes 75 bobby pins is out of control, if you ask me.)

The two weddings were different – one a family one, the other for two good friends.  The weeks leading up to the weddings required different amounts and different types of work, yet both were equally special.  I am so thankful to have been a part of Brother Bill & Ahsley’s lives for 23 years and to have spent 4 years in college with Andrew and Rachael.

Weddings are an especially sweet time of seeing old friends.  I got to see people I haven’t seen in over a year since we graduated college and it was great to catch up.  The funny thing is, with good friends, you can be 600 miles apart, but when you get together, it’s like no time has passed.  Those are friendships worth maintaining.

I’m sorry for the nostalgia and emotions I’m sharing (this is a big step for me), but I wanted to share my thoughts with you, blog reader.  Coming off these wedding weekends, it helped me put things in perspective, and I’d encourage you to do the same.

Life is about “weddings”, in the larger sense of the word.  It’s not about the bridesmaids dresses or the center pieces.  It’s not about all you can achieve at work, or how clean (or not clean) your room might be. It’s about inviting others to speak into your life and investing time to be a part of theirs.  It consists of those moments standing proudly with your friends as they make a commitment before God to grow together. It means  creating memories and enjoying the different personalities and quirks and ideas of others.

It means creating community.

I am so blessed to have been a part of not one, but TWO beautiful weekends this month.  How could life get any better?  I pray God’s love and continued blessings over the new marriages (and for my brother to hurry up and start having kids – Aunt Jayna needs some kiddos)!

And now, since there is nothing more enjoyable than looking at other people’s wedding pictures (yeah right), here are some glimpses into my life:

The Siblings
Siblings
The family
The family
New Sister!
New Sister!

Wedding Party #2
Wedding Party #2

Kiss
There’s a long story behind this one, but essentially, I’ve been the third wheel for the past 5 years…HA

Go enjoy your “wedding weekends” and fabulous life – More crochet things next time, promise!

Uncategorized

All About Crochet

Learn About Crochet - 7 Interesting Facts by JJCrochet

While researching my favorite hobby–crocheting–I came across a few interesting facts that made me love crochet even more. I didn’t think it was possible to appreciate it even more, but it was and I do.

Share if you learned something new and interesting about crochet!

HTML Code:

<a href=”http://jjcrochet.com/blog”><img style=”border-image: initial; border-width: 4px; border-color: black; border-style: solid;” title=”Learn About Crochet” src=”http://jjcrochet.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/crochetinfographic.gif” alt=”Learn About Crochet – 7 Interesting Facts by JJCrochet” width=”610″ height=”676″ /></a>

Sources: 
http://www.crochet.org/newslet/nl0997a.html,
http://penniepackard.hubpages.com/hub/A-Brief-History-of-Crochet
http://penniepackard.hubpages.com/hub/A-Brief-History-of-Crochet
http://www.crochetmemories.com/crochet10.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crochet
Projects, Uncategorized

Improving my Quality (of) Life

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions. If I want to do/ change/ fix/ enhance something, well then I do it. But now that I’m on my own and making money, I decided I wanted to improve my quality of life.

This idea of improvement stemmed from “Treat Yo Self Two-thousann’leven” from Parks & Rec (watch the video – you won’t be disappointed).

I decided, no more eating frozen chicken nuggets for dinner.  No more buying clothes that are only on sale.  No more skimping and being frugal (within reason, of course).  No more!  This year, I’ve determined to improve my quality of life. If you remove the “of” in that statement, it sounds even more exciting: I want to improve my quality life. Yes, much better.

So besides cutting out frozen poultry from my life, what does “improving my quality life” entail?  Great question.  Essentially it’s just me spending more money on myself, but here’s a list of things I came up with just now:

  • Buying sweet smelling, loose-leaf tea
  • Crocheting something for myself (done)
  • Picking up the bill for a friend’s dinner (done)
  • Designing new business cards for JJCrochet (done)
  • Purchasing a pair of shoes at full price, just because I love them (done)
  • Splurging on that cookies ‘n cream milkshake (done)
  • Making it a priority to call out-of-state friends (done)
  • Ordering custom stationery and writing to friends (partially done)

In completing that list, I realized most of my “treat yourself” things include food, but I guess it is what it is. The stationery I marked as partially done because that is my latest endeavor.

You see, I came across PowderBluePapers on Etsy and figured custom stationery was the perfect place to start.  I told myself it was okay spending over $1.50 on a notecard–I was worth it– and placed an order.

My cards arrived in the mail today and can I just tell you, they have improved my quality of life.  I am so happy.  I didn’t know it was possible to get this much joy from notecards, but I did.  Here they are:

I cropped my address off from the bottom of the notecards, but know that it is there and it is beautiful.  I can’t wait to improve the quality of life of others when they receive little notes from me in the mail.

I also splurged and bought myself mini-moo cards (from Moo.com), and as expected – LOVE. I ordered half the cards with a floral design, half with images of crochet hats and knitted cowls.  My family hated them, mocking: “Hi, here’s a half-business card,” (giggles) “Hello, do you want this tiny piece of paper?”  (mocking laughter), but I think they’re great.  Just want I wanted for JJCrochet.  I treated myself and I enjoyed it!

I have started 2012 off treating myself and I must say that I am enjoying it.  I am too thoughtful and good to myself, ha.  But what it really comes down to, is what am I willing to spend my money on and why don’t I spend it on others?  I’m trying to be more conscious of my spending, more purposeful, but also remembering it’s okay to let myself go sometimes.

What are some ways you could treat yourself to improve the quality of your life and the lives of others?  Maybe it’s going to a movie or buying that new purse or calling an old friend.  Whatever it is – DO IT!  Life is too short and you deserve the finer things in life, and that most certainly excludes frozen chicken nuggets.

Uncategorized

Jo-Ann Fabrics: Coupons, Discounts, & Reward Cards

Jo-Ann Fabrics has their very own coupon page.

Yes, you read correctly.  This new page is regularly updated with printable, online and in-store current Jo-Ann Fabrics coupons and hosted on Jo-Ann Fabric.  I don’t want to take full credit for this, but I’ll take partial credit.  I help manage Jo-Ann’s online advertising (I know – dream come true, right?) and one of my suggestions to their marketing team was to have a dynamic coupon page hosted directly on Jo-Ann’s site.

I’m thrilled to see this new design because, like you, I’ve been there.

I’ll peruse pages on Jo-Ann’s site looking for crafty supplies, load my cart up, but right before I check out, I’ll hit up Google looking for Jo-Ann coupons.  Sometimes I’d find coupons on other sites, sometimes none at all.  But now Jo-Ann has current coupons located on their site.  Yes, please.

To view Jo-Ann Fabric’s Coupon page, visit here: http://www.joann.com/coupon 

Jo-Ann Fabrics Printable Online Coupon

Along with coupons, Jo-Ann’s offers a number of discounts cards and programs.  If you haven’t heard of them before, now is a great time to sign up for one.  Last year, I wrote about Jo-Ann’s VIP card, but I’m happy to tell you Jo-Ann now offers a lot more reward programs (outlined below)

jo-ann-fabric-student-discount-cardYou can receive one of these discounts (ranging from 10% – 15% off your total purchases).  Jo-Ann offers 3 different types of reward programs and chances are, you fall into one of these categories:

  1. Teacher Rewards (15% off every purchase for any teacher – home school, private, or public)
  2. VIP Card (10% off every purchase)
  • A Reseller (work those crafty genes!)
  • Part of a crafting guild or organization (ie. Quilters of America or Your Local Knitting Group)
  • Any Non-Profit
    3. Student Discount  (10% off every purchase. New!  Jo-Ann now offers discounts for high school and college kids!)
With any rewards card, you’ll get either 10%-15% off every purchase – that includes regular AND sale price items.  An extra bonus that is great when stocking up on craft supplies!
Jo-Ann Fabric VIP Non-Profit Discount Card Rewards Program

To read more info about the VIP reseller and non-profit cards, go here: http://www.joann.com/vipdiscounts/

Jo-Ann Fabrics is all about rewarding their customers, which I appreciate. They’re really tying to improve user experiences and care a lot about customer loyalty.  Hey, they have the best selection around and with great prices and reward programs like their VIP card, they have my business.

Sign up for one of their reward programs and start saving!

Uncategorized

Fred Has Been Bombed

Hide yer women, hide yer kids. Fred, AKA Mr. Rogers, HAS BEEN BOMBED.

Yarn bombed, that is.  (Though not by me.)

Mr. Rogers Crocheted Sweater

I was on my way to the Pirates’ Game this weekend, walking along the River, when I spotted Fred in a lovely red crocheted sweater.  Too cool.  (Although when I saw it, the sweater looked more like a poncho with a front zipper… What happened to the sleeves?)

Turns out the sweater was designed by Alicia Kachmar, a Pittsburgh crocheter and artist.  You can read more about the sweater construction here on her blog.

Mr. Rogers Crocheted Sweater - Pittsburgh

Mr. Rogers Crocheted Sweater - Pittsburgh

Mr. Rogers Crocheted Sweater - Pittsburgh

If you happen to be near Heinz Field or PNC in the next weeks, you should stop by and see Freddy for yourself.  Man, how I love Pittsburgh.

Craft Shows, Uncategorized

Hand-Spun Merino Yarn

Read the title of this post.  I’ll give you 3 guesses as to what I bought at an Arts Festival this weekend.  If you guessed a skein of hand-spun merino yarn, you’re right!  Woo!

Hand-spun Merino Wool Yarn

My mom and I spent this hot Saturday afternoon browsing at a local Arts Festival.  It was a pleasant few hours and certainly nice to be on the other side of the booths for a change.

One of the tents caught my attention:  It was a booth with hand-spun yarn!  Although the yarn was lovely, the lady working the booth was not.  She was a little distracted and not very helpful, but I thought the yarn was worth it despite her poor customer service.  See pictures below, I hope you’ll agree.

Hand-spun Merino Wool Yarn

I ended up purchasing 104 yards (1.4oz) of hand-spun, hand-dyed Merino wool yarn.  Yum.  It was a special treat (from myself to myself).  I think it’ll be just enough yarn to make a hat.

Hand-spun Merino Wool Yarn

Hand-spun Merino Wool Yarn

One of these days, I’d love to learn how to spin.  I have some roving I purchased a while ago, but never got around to learning how to do it.  Anyone know how to spin and want to team me? I’ll make you a haaaat. 🙂

Hand-spun Merino Wool Yarn

Uncategorized

The Deceptive Summer

My goal this summer, like summers past, is simple.

Crochet.  Blog.  Live.

A month into summer and I’ve done all three, just more  living than blogging.  I haven’t meant to be deceptive, it’s just that I’ve been…

1. Climbing mountains in Maine with Apartment 416,  (Yes, we can be active)

2. Walking the Strip and seeing Celine Dion in Las Vegas,

3. Seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time with my 81 year old grandpa,

California Ocean with Grandpa Grassel

4. Walking down Hollywood Boulevard and seeing Charlton Heston’s imprints (You know, the HUNK from “The Ten Commandments“)

Charlton Heston

5. Even seeing Taylor Swift and NeedtoBreathe in concert.

Needtobreathe

 I’ve been away from home from May 29 – June 16th traveling to PA, New Jersey, Maine, Boston, Las Vegas, LA, and Hollywood.  Some trips with family, others with friends. I saw the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans in the same week.  It was fantastic, but it’s good to be home.

So much has happened.  I finished hexy and mailed her off a few weeks ago (pics coming in the next post!).  My time traveling provided me with inspiration for new patterns so I’ll be offering new free crochet patterns in the upcoming weeks.

I know it’s summer, but keep those hooks busy!

Uncategorized, Videos

My Best Friend’s Engagement (JJCrochet Style)

While this appears be a personal blog post commemorating my friend’s engagement, it is related to crochet. You see, one of the benefits/ awful requirements of being my roommate is helping make ridiculous JJCrochet videos.  What better way to celebrate an engagement than with JJCrochet?

Rachael Genders is one of my good friends.  We met freshman year and have been friends ever since.  Despite our slightly awkward start (I called her “Ashley” for 3 weeks straight…), we’ve become kindred spirits.  Currently, I’m living with Rachael and 2 other girls in Room 416.

Not only have I been friends with Rachael, though, I’ve also known her now-fiance, Andrew, for a while.  He is a gem.

Rachael and Andrew started dating 3 1/2 years ago and got engaged last Friday, April 29th. We couldn’t be more thrilled!  They are a radiant couple that exude joy and happiness.

Here’s the thing: Getting engaged at our college is a big deal.

 

Andrew’s Friends Jumping Him after a Basketball Game

We celebrate engagement by “Creeking” the guy.  When two students get engaged, the guy’s friends jump him and  take him to the creek that runs through the middle of campus only to plunge him into the waters as a “right of passage.”  Loud cheers of “Wolffffff Creek, Woooolf Creeeek,” can be heard ringing throughout campus.

The best part about a Creeking is  to see if the guy will struggle.  Last week, Andrew was creeked by his friends.  Let me tell you, he was a fighter.

On the Bridge Down to the Creek.
Andrew Still Struggling to Break Free From the Mob on the 10 Minute Walk Down to the Creek.
The Happy Couple Post-Creeking! Rachael Receives a Wet Hug From Her Groom-to-Be.

And now, as promised:  The link of how Rachael’s and Andrew’s engagement is related to JJCrochet.  It’s magical, really it is.  Watch the video below to see how Andrew proposed!

Uncategorized

Gus the Spud

This is a non-crochet, but real-life blog post.  One of those moments you know will slip away if you don’t chronicle it.  A moment that won’t be funny in a week, but one you’d like to remember.  I couldn’t think of a better way to immortalize my dear friend Gus than to blog about him so here goes.

Allow me to start from the beginning by introducing you to the latest member residing in Apartment 416:  Gus the Spud.  Though my college has a single-sex residence hall policy, Gus has been living in our apartment, or more specifically, on our kitchen counter, for the past 2 days.  He was an old spud, but was happy and optimistic, cheery and gregarious.

Gus the Spud

As Dave Matthews said, “Life is short, but sweet for certain.”  Gus truly lived by that principle.

Gus was first discovered by my roommate and me as we were cooking dinner two days ago.  We wanted a side of potatoes with our chicken so we reached into the 10-pound bag of potatoes we’d bought three months ago.  We were greeted with SPROUTING SPUDS.  Gross.  Some potatoes had a few sprouts, some more than others.

One spud in particular stood out:  Gus.  Unlike his fellow potatoes who had spuds growing every direction, Gus had an unusual cluster of sprouts only on one side.  I saw him and knew he had to stay.  After drawing on a face and propping him up against a vase, Gus was born.

It was simple and just felt right.

The following morning, Gus mysteriously left a note for our apartment, wishing everyone a good morning and a great day.  (I’ll let you in on a secret – it was me.  I wrote the note).  In the evening, when we returned from classes and meetings and busy days, we were greeted with a less positive note.  Gus had taken a turn for the worse.

He had given up on life.  After only two days, it became too much for him.  Instead of the cheery face we had gotten used to seeing, he was dead.  Dead.  Just like that.  I was devastated.  Gus had left a single, simple note reading, “Girls, life is rotten… it’s time for me to go.”

Gus the Spud is dead.

I’m not certain who wrote the note, but my suspicious are my roommate, Jenny, who wanted Gus gone from the instant he was born.  She denies her involvement, claiming she loved Gus, but I have my doubts… Either way, it’s truly a tragedy.

Gus, was given an honorable burial (read: pitched in the trash).  You will be missed, my little spud friend.  Thank you for all the laughter you brought to our life.

RIP GUS March 28 – March 29th, 2011.