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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

They sent a link afterwards so I got to see the final product, but as it’s not published yet, I’m not able to share it publicly. You’ll have to wait with the rest of the world!

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 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

 

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?

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!

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

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.