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BOOK REVIEWS


DELICIOUS BY DESIGN. Twinkie Chan, author of Twinkie Chanís Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies, poses with a tasty looking lemon coconut cake tissue cozy crochet project featured in her new book. (Photo/Stephanie Lee)

From The Asian Reporter, V20, #30 (December 20, 2010), page 12.

Twinkie Chanís new book reveals secret ingredients for food-inspired crafts

Twinkie Chanís Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies

By Twinkie Chan

Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010

Paperback, 96 pages, $14.99

By Sarah Eadie

The Asian Reporter

íTis the season for giving, and with the economy still struggling, people are looking to do-it-yourself projects to save them from the blues of paying post-holiday bills. But before resorting to glue guns and popsicle sticks (does grandma really need another hand-painted pen holder?), take a peek at Twinkie Chanís Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies.

Twinkie Chan has been selling scarves and other adorable accessories since personal websites became popular with young people in 2005. "Everyone had these vanity websites. I wanted my own website, too," she states.

Since moving from the suburbs of California to San Diego, she had been knitting scarves to keep out the costal chill. "I didnít end up wearing most of them, so I had about 12 scarves sitting in my closet. I put them up on my website and they sold really quickly," she says.

Chan moved her small business to eBay, where people started bidding like crazy. Bidding wars resulted in some of the scarves selling for $200 to $300. "It was incredible," Chan recalls, "I kept waiting for it to peter out, but it never did."

At first, she kept working full time at her day job, breaking out her knitting needles only on nights and weekends. As her client base grew, she began to devote more time to her digital store.

From the beginning of her online business, there was pressure from fans of the site who knew how to crochet for her to disclose her patterns.

"Iíd get e-mails from grandmas saying, ĎIíd love to crochet a cookie scarf for my grandkids ó would you send me the pattern?í and Iíd have to say Ďsorry, no,í" she recounts. "I was scared about diluting my business."

The solution? Her business partner proposed she sell her patterns in a book and landed her a book deal with Andrews McMeel Publishing.

The only problem was Chan didnít have a collection of patterns. Since her best friendís grandmother showed her how to wield a hook at the impressionable age of 10, she has been playing with the craft to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

"I had lots of notes and samples, but not a collection of patterns," Chan explains. Preparing her book required her to go back through her notes and document her creative process. "I drew 99 percent of the drawings and most of the photos were taken in my living room," she laughs.

This casual approach to crocheting makes her book a friendly read for new and intermediate crocheters alike. Beginners will appreciate the simpler projects like Twinkie Chanís personal favorite ó the pizza scarf. "Itís fun and easy to make. Itís just a big triangle," she smiles.

Veteran knitters will appreciate Chanís encouragement to personalize her patterns and the options she provides for them to do so. The cookie scarf, for instance, lists chocolate chip cookies, pink frosted sugar cookies, iced oatmeal cookies, vanilla chocolate swirl cookies, strawberry swirl cookies, and white chocolate chip cookies as options for crocheters to mix and match into their own custom creation. Diehard Chan fans will notice a number of new projects, such as the strawberry mitts and the felted spaghetti scarf.

Twinkie Chanís Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies was released in early November. Chan spent the following weeks touring the west coast promoting her book. Her last stop was in Portland, with appearances at Powellís City of Books, Twisted, and the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale at the Oregon Convention Center.

"I rarely tour, so Iíve had fun visiting friends and meeting fans I had only chatted with on my blog," Chan says.

Her tour has since ended, but Chan is not stopping to rest on her laurels. She is continuing to expand her business with Yummy You ó a mass-produced line of the more popular scarves, hats, mittens, and other apparel.

To learn more, visit <www.twinkiechan.com>.

To buy me, visit these retailers:

Powell's Books

  Amazon