Saturday, July 31, 2004

Audio entry

Elaine, Mary Ann, and Jennifer, all members of The HHCC, hopped into the van with Gracie and I -- and off we went cruising down the highway on our way to Massachusetts.  Ritu and her son joined us a bit later.

Gracie did all the driving (Thanks, Gracie!!) while we all chatted about my attempts of knitting (we determined that the "button hole" was done by my attempt to do the crochet technique known as "fudging" when there's a problem ... and we determined what happened to cause half of a missing row). 

We were headed to Amherst, MA -- to the Fiber Arts Center  -- to see the 2003 CGOA Juried Exhibit on it's last day of showing.  The works in this collection have traveled all over the country being placed on exhibit, and today was it's last day of being a "collective."

As I walked around and looked at each piece, I reflected upon the 2003 Conference that was held in Chicago -- I recalled the pieces being great, but here in this center, the pieces seemed to have more life.  It could have been that the lighting in this Art Center was much better than that offered at the hotel last year, or that I was just being nostalgic.  Whatever the case may be, I really enjoyed seeing the works together again.

After the Art Center we were starving, so we headed to Pizza Hut and had a lively discussion of our favorite pieces we saw at the exhibit, and later let our conversation drift over to what it's like to shop at WEBs.  Since we had "newbies" with us who've never experienced shopping there before, it was fun to describe the place and watch their eyes grow big like children awaking on Christmas morning to see that Santa was there ... oh the anticipation!!  (LOL)

But before heading to WEBs we opted to visit my favorite bead shop ... Beader's Paradise in Northampton.  They moved recently, so it took us a few minutes to locate the store ... and a bit longer to find parking.  

We all had fun looking at the beautiful selections.  I purchased many "findings" (jewelry connectors), and selected pretty beads for my daughter's upcoming project.  I can't wait to share them with her tomorrow!  I picked out a beautiful amethyst bead -- quite large in size, and an assortment of smaller ones for myself.  I plan on crocheting myself another wire & fiber necklace!

While waiting for everyone to finish with their purchase, those of us that were done waited outside on the sidewalk and absorbed some of the town's atmosphere.  "Hmmmm," we said to each other, "there's a tattoo parlor next door to the store.  Do we tell our spouses that we opted to spend our money on beads, or on a new tattoo featuring a hook & a skein of yarn?"  ... we laughed.  Of course WE DID NOT get any tattoo's, but we did store this information in the back of our minds in the event we need to explain away any of our new "stash" items ...

Onward we went ... to WEBs.
WEBs has to be the largest yarn store I've ever been to.  I'm sure it will be the largest yarn store you've ever been to too ... and if you haven't gone then I highly suggest that if you're ever in the neighborhood of the state of Massachusetts, that you go!!

So with this in mind, I observed that they're making the front of their store larger!  Unbelievable!  What's more unbelievable is that I contained myself!  I got one bag of lavender colored yarn (a wool/acrylic blend) for a whopping $20, along with a few novelty yarns.  Gracie cleared them out of cream colored alpaca that "was to die for;" Elaine packed her bag with novelty yarns of pinks, and blues, and ... well you get the picture.  I'm not sure what Jennifer purchased, but I do know the color purple was involved.  Ritu bought some thread. 

Now Mary Ann was a different story.  She was having a blast running back & forth, back & forth  ... and nearly bought the entire lock, stock & barrel.  (Don't fear, I think she may have left a skein or two behind! ) ... A slight exaggeration -- yes.  She came home with bargain priced treasures galore!!

On the way home, when we made the audio entry for today, we discussed ways of getting Mary Ann's new stash into the house ... apparently she's well experienced in "Mission Impossible" and has a plan ... we all had a good laugh.

What a great field trip!

Friday, July 30, 2004

Flip Floppin'

At the National CGOA Conference, there's a Crochet Exchange.  If you've visited my past entries from this week, then you learned that Prudence Mapstone of Australia, author of the book Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting & Crochet, received the black beaded amulet bag I designed.

So, in the exchange, what did I receive?  Jill of St. Louis, MO (the "show me state") made the flip flops in pink.  And they're just my size too!

Unfortunately, I can't keep them.  No, sadly, I cannot.  Apparently this is because they are mostly pink with a touch of purple...and this means of course, that all seven-year-olds lay claim to anything of this color combo.  And, although they do not fit my daughter, she claims that one day they will.  (darn!)

Jill, if you're reading this, I think you did a fantastic job, and I want you to know that I appreciated them for the little bit of time my daughter allowed for me to keep them.

The flip flops on the right (greenish) are the ones I made a day prior to the Conference.  I had planned on wearing them to the sauna and to the pool.  But that was out as Mr. Hubby the Police Officer ensured I got no where near the sauna (heat on my back, he reasoned, is a BAD thing!) ... so I never got to wear them at the Conference.  These flip flops are charming.  Ha! -- that's not me complimenting my own work, but actually commenting on the actual charms, flip flop charms to be specific, that I adorned them with.  (I know, they're hard to see in this photo.)

These my daughter has permitted me to wear out of the house, and so I have.  Mostly to the doctor's office where they've caused quite a stir, as people exclaim, "Hey they're not only charmed, but they've got fur!!"

You can do the same, just visit the website for Lion Brand and get their free pattern.  Then purchase two inexpensive charm bracelets, cut them apart & sew the charms on!   J

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I am NOT defecting!

I have this driving restriction of 20 minutes.  (If you're just tuning into my Journal for the first time, the restriction is from recently rupturing two discs in my back) ... this means that I am still unable to visit the store, Knit Together, and converse with the staff about my latest endeavor ... knitting.

Actually, I just spoke on the phone with Liz, an employee of the store, and it took her a moment to register the word "knitting" that I uttered from my mouth.  I think she's in shock.  I know I still am!

"Thus far," I said to Liz, "my scarf has a button hole, and more curves than I do,  and," I added, "what tension?"

We had a good laugh.  A really good laugh!

Meanwhile, Mr. UPS knocked on my door.  My new books arrived.  I got Donna Kooler's encyclopedia of knitting, and Maggie Righetti's knitting in plain english.  Since I enjoy the crochet versions of these two books so much, I thought I would enjoy/learn something from the knitting versions as well.

So am I, in news of this, defecting from crochet?  Oh perish the thought!

Rest easy, and be assured that I'm not.
                  
Crochet is my true artistic passion. J

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Inspired

There are days that are, and there are days that ARE!  Today is one of those "ARE" days!  What does this mean?   

  To me, this means that we go on our daily routines not knowing if an action we took somehow effected someone else, and hopefully in a positive way.  We don't know until we're told -- and that's what makes an ordinary day an extraordinary one! :)  

An example of this would be my Journal here, that I've been pretty good at updating fairly regularly with my thoughts that are Crochet related.  The most recent being those of the 2004 CGOA Conference that include pictures, and both typed & audio updates.  (And I'm not done sharing thoughts on that topic yet, either!)  

Well, here it is three days home from the National Conference, and I'm receiving wonderful emails from people from all around the world stating how much they've enjoyed visiting here, and some of the effects it's had on them:  

Janet: I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your journal.  Reading of all you exploits has encouraged me to join CGOA!  I just filled out my application and paid my dues.  My SO told me that we could even try and make the conference next year in Oakland.  I am so excited, and it is all because of you.  I don't know if there is a local club down this way...but I will check as soon as I figure out how to do that.  I really just wanted to say thank you!!!!!


Jeanette: Good Morning Dee,  Thank you for your wonderful stories and pictures that I have enjoyed.  As I live in Australia this was the only way that allowed me to visit


Jacqui: Thank you so much Dee for your wonderful journal on the conf.  How I wish I could have been there to share it all. ...Hopefully I'll make next years one though.  Your journal at least has brought it much closer for me.


Vicki: It sounds like the conference was a huge success and lots of fun.  Great job, Dee as I know it had to really take some time to put all of that together with the photos, audio, and text.  I, for one, have enjoyed it very much and appreciated your time.


If you're interested in what the CGOA has to offer, just click on their logo above and visit their website.

Thank you all for inspiring me!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Relishing in Conference Memories

What a fantastic week it was!  

If it had not been for my dear husband driving me up to NH, caring for the kids -- and me! -- I think I would be one very sad lady for missing such a great event.  But fortunately for me, I married a fantastic guy!  

 I briefly noted yesterday that I went to the doctor's for my visit.  He was pleased that I did not over do it and regress in my healing.  He still hasn't lifted my driving restrictions of 20 minutes, so I still cannot resume teaching classes.  So, while I wait and heal I'll work on the baby blanket pattern I'm designing for the Adult Ed class planned for September in Stamford, and practice some more of my knitting.  

Yes, I have been working on that knitting ... doing a scarf.  Something simple, you know.  (And for the record, no, I'm not defecting from crochet!)  With this scarf I noticed that my loops on the hook, er, needle was increasing.  So I got my "increases" under control -- you know, by using a crochet technique called "fudging," ... but I'm not sure about that half-missing row!  What happened there?  Eish!! ... Good thing this is just practice!  Yesterday, I ordered myself two books on knitting as I do want to learn a bit more, if anything, to aid those knitters that come to me to learn crocheting.  I figure, if I know where they're coming from, it will make it easier to teach them.  :)  

Some of the results of my attending the Conference include:

  • Meeting people interested in joining my Chapter, or starting one themselves.
  • Encouraging other Chapters to start online Yahoo groups for their states to help Crocheters find each other like the ConnecticutCrochet group does ... several people said they like this idea and plan on doing it!
  • Noticing that this Radisson was willing to change my mind about the chain (no pun intended) ... they were happy to bring chairs and pillows to each class I was in, functions I attended and so on; brought the refrigerator to my room promptly so I could keep my ice packs in rotation ... just fantastic.  Nothing like the cold-hearted Radisson in Chicago!
  • Sitting with Darla Fanton and having a heart-to-heart discussion about my CGOA Membership level -- what can I say?  I'm going PROFESSIONAL!  (I'll still get to have Melissa Leapman as my Mentor, but she feels I'm more than qualified to be a Professional rather than an Associate).  And then today, as a result of my Journal (& the FF group)  I had a great online email exchange with a lady named Holly  -- I encouraged her to become a Professional or Associate Professional member & she just emailed me to say she's off to the CGOA website to do just that!  Wow!  What a great feeling this is!!

  • Oh, did I mention that I just received a packet in the mail from Stitches East? ...it's a packet requesting I submit class proposals for 2005!   With all the positive feedback I got on my work at the Conference, and that from my local students, I think I just might do that!  Wish me luck! :) 

    Monday, July 26, 2004

    CGOA Conference: Day 5

    I had no classes scheduled for Sunday, the last day of the Conference ... I knew we had to return to Connecticut and had a lot of packing to do.   We slept in, and that felt wonderful!   It was the first time we had slept in since arriving!   Checkout was at 11:00 and we were scrambling.  

    To my horror, I had forgotten to request Pauline to autograph her two books,   "How to Crochet", and "Crocheted Lace."  And I still hadn't picked up my books of Noreen's "Creative Crochet Dolls" that Linda of Grafton Fibers was holding for me and needing to be autographed.  "Was I too late," I wondered.   

    I put together a Satin Hands set to donate to the CGOA Sunday Raffle, gathered Pauline's books, the CGOA's Hooks I had with me, and set out with my daughter while my son assisted my husband with loading the vehicle and finishing checking out of the hotel.

    I let out a huge sigh of relief when I saw Pauline in the lobby!   (She's still here!!)  She gladly autographed my books for me and said she's honored that I use her "How to Crochet" books for some of the classes I teach.

    I then hooked up with Linda and got Noreen's books.   I chatted with Linda a bit and advised her that my Chapter will be contacting her with a request for a Specialized Order for our 2004 Commemorative Hook.   Then I "borrowed" three of her hooks and headed to the CGOA Hook Collector's meeting.

    At the meeting we discussed that I will remain holding the collection until they are cataloged and photographed.   Hopefully I can take some photos that are worthy of a booklet of some sort that was discussed during the meeting.   During this time, the hooks that I "borrowed" were passed around the group and they all decided that Grafton Fibers will make next year's 2005 CGOA Commemorative Hook.   I'm not at liberty to say what it will look like, nor the size.   But I know it will be beautiful.

    Since I was sitting with Ruth, an HHCC member, I was able to leave my books with her.   She was going to take Noreen's last class at the Conference and said she'd request they be autographed for me.   

    On the way home, my daughter took to the "Wonder Weaver" and has been nonstop since.   And me? ...I'm still tinkering with the knitting (hear that Kathleen?  I'm doing it!! LOL)  I was even knitting at the doctor's office today and I met a Crocheter! (I ended up inviting her to join the HHCC'ers for a meeting sometime too!)

    In the days to follow, besides catching up on laundry and emails, I'm sure there will be more details from the conference that I may have over looked, or want to dive a bit further into ... in the meantime, I invite you to share your conference experience(s) with me  -- and if you have photos, feel free to share the link; I'd love to look at them  :)

    CGOA Conference: The Member's Fashion Show

    Put a bib on and enjoy the photos my sweet husband took for me!   I know pictures don't do quite the same as being there, so if you missed it, then you'll want to mark your calendars for next year -- pack your bags -- and head to Oakland, CA which is where the Conference will take place next year!

    I had hoped to be a part of the Member's Fashion Show, but I knew my daughter would be too shy to go up by herself, or with anyone else.   So we sat "in the front row" with members of the HHCC and enjoyed the Event.  

    My children were the only ones in attendance.   I know $40 per ticket is a bit high to pay for children to attend something, but it was something I thought was important for them to experience.   And they enjoyed it immensely!  They got to watch me be recognized by the CGOA for the volunteer work I do for them (I'm their Email Correspondent) by receiving a Certificate of Appreciation.   I thought that was very nice of them to do that!  At the end of the Event, they did the Raffles, and unexpectedly called my children's names.   They presented each of them with a "Wonder Knitter" and they were tickled.  

    Later, many attendees approached me and said that I have the most well-behaved children; that they didn't even know children were in the audience as they were so still and quiet.   And many said, that it would have been nice if they could have perhaps modeled some children's fashions... (perhaps the next time the Conference is close to home & they're over their "shyness" stage a bit...)

    The fibers, the colors, the designs ... were absolutely amazing!   I liked this show much better than the one on Friday morning.

    (NOTE: I'm missing some names/designs for some of the photos...if you can help me out in filling in the blanks, I'd greatly appreciate it!)

    Saturday, July 24, 2004

    Audio entry

    What a day!   It really started out the night before when my phone started ringing off the hook.   Apparently, as I was in my room resting, while having my back seriously iced down, the Annual Meeting turned into a horror story.   Since I wasn't there I don't think it's my place to pass on what I heard secondhand.   I do know that my Chapter members were quite upset and I requested they come to my room and discuss what happened.  We assessed the situation, calmed down a bit, and planned on gathering for breakfast for this morning.

    Breakfast was great.   We stuck out due to our purple shirts, and laughter! ...Later another member joined us (Ruth, with her husband Ron), and later we invited Prudence to dine with us.   I felt it was important to be with my Chapter members; but in doing so I missed the CGOA Officer's Meeting.   (Perhaps next year I'll be able to make it.)

    In my morning class, which is where I made my audio entry for today, Tosca passed out a baggy to each participant filled with over 50 samples of yarn!   We had fun looking at her samples, including one made of bamboo!  

    Afterwards was the Chapter Development Luncheon.   I thought the lunch was to have been more than the bag lunch we had been getting, but that wasn't the case.    I sat with HHCC members Elaine and Pat and was thrilled to learn that our Chapter won the Mapquest Challenge.

    We came in second for the Hat Challenge ... we had 168 hats.   The NYCCG had something like 450.   Other Chapters participated too, so in my eyes, we're all "winners" as many will benefit from our combined efforts.  :)

    My last class at the Conference was Tambour Crochet, again with Tosca.   She passed out many samples for us to try the technique on, but my back was throbbing.   So I ended up apologizing to Tosca and left the class about an hour early.   I didn't want to end up like last night and miss out on more events -- especially because tonight is the Member's Fashion Show and this is the event I'm bringing my family to enjoy!

    So, up to my room I went, I got iced, and then met with another magazine editor.   She said she liked my work and is looking forward to me contacting her with pitches.   Yes, I know it's baseball season, and at that very time that the NY Yankees & the Boston Red Sock teams were acting like misbehaved children fighting in the field -- but it's not the same type of pitch.   In this case, she's looking forward to hearing some of my ideas.  :)

    OK ... time to get ready for the Member's Fashion Show.... 


     

    Friday, July 23, 2004

    CGOA Conference: Day 3

    The third day of the Conference started early this morning with a fantastic Fashion Show Breakfast that combined garments both crocheted and knitted.  The items were all beautiful -- Prudence's red Freeform wrap was a huge hit, as well a new vendor showing items made of real fur "yarn" ... everything was just beautiful!  (I found it odd though that the flicker of flash bulbs seemingly only went off when crochet was on the runway!)

    After the breakfast I was approached by Prudence & she gave me a kiss -- apparently she got my amulet bag in the Secret Crochet Exchange and said she loved it! 

    My classes started with Bodacious Blocks ... yes, with Prudence!  It was a great class and I got to meet Jean Leinhauser, who owns the Cafe Crochet/Crochet Partners online list, and has many, many credits for putting out numerous crochet books throughout the years.  What a pleasure it was to meet such a great lady!

    After class I got to sit with Nancy Brown (of Crocheter's Companion) and discuss the Hook Collectors Group.  We discussed last year's notes, and I suggested that Linda of Grafton Fiber be considered ... maybe a wooden Tunisian hook ... I don't know if they'll take my suggestion or not, but I thought it couldn't hurt to suggest it. 

    My next class was to have been a demo of working with thread with Tosca Mark.  But since my back was hurting, I opted to skip the class and go to my room to ice my back. 

    My final class for today was with Kathleen Power Johnson.  The class was a lot of fun -- even if it was KNITTING!!  Yes, that's right, I tried knitting.  I kept messing up big time, but was able to get some stitches right.  (It was fun to tell Kathleen that my fiber was allergic to my needles -- but it was a riot when she said she thought it was the needles allergic to the fiber!  LOL)  Because the class was fun, I found it easy to relax and I think I learned a thing or two -- we'll see in the long run.

    I will miss being at the Freeform Dinner tonight, and the CGOA's yearly meeting because I'm now in my room with ice on my back.  It's pretty sore, and I think it's best I rest so that I can participate in all of tomorrow's activities.

    It's been a great three days, and I'm so glad I was I was able to come!

    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    Audio entry

    To awake to another blaring fire alarm ... at the same time was just UNBELIEVABLE!! 

    My day started with breakfast with several people who are members of the Crochet Partners website; it was great getting to meet them!  We were identified with little blue granny squares with a pony bead.  (I hope this is a start of a new tradition!)  I tried to do an audio update of the CPers saying "Hi" but it didn't go through -- I don't know what's going on with AOL Audio.  I hope it shows up.

    Then I was off to the class on Freeform Crochet Dolls with Noreen Crone-Findlay.  I went in with a preconceived idea of what I wanted my doll to look like ... I wanted something that reflected romance ... love, how I feel about my relationship with my dh ... but she threw in a monkey wrench into my plans ... she said to create the doll from the heart; to crochet from the heart.

    And so I did.

    And I was moved.  I felt an emotional connection to my work like I've never experienced before. 

    We had to show our dolls at the end of the class.  Mine reflected the colors I've come to associate with New Hampshire ... greens, pinks, and blues.  But more importantly it consisted of two emotions I'm experiencing right now ... pain and jubilee ... pain from my back/jubliee of being at the conference.  And this is what my doll reflected.  It was a really moving experience for me and I'm not sure how to describe it.  I just know that I want to feel that connection again, and so I'll pursue it some more in the future. 


    At lunch I got to sit with Mel (she lives in CT and loves freeform BIG Time!); Prudence Mapstone, and Noreen.  The lunch could have much been better -- but I was in heaven sitting with these lovely and talented ladies!

    I had the afternoon off since Nancy Wiseman's class was canceled.  So I went to my room and vegged out a little bit while getting "iced".  I crocheted up a hat for the Chapter Challenge, and finished the item I was working on for the Exchange to take place at the Keynote Address -- a beautiful black, beaded, amulet bag!

    Then I met with Karen Manthey, editor of Crochet Fantasy.  She said she liked my work and plans on contacting me to do some work for her in the future.

    With my family's help, I turned in our Chapter Challenges -- the Mapquest board and the Hats.  I'm really happy with the end results we turned in.  Considering only 1/3 of our members participated, and that we just came off of a Charity drive, I think we did a terrific job!  The question is, how well did the other Chapters do, and do we have a snowball chance against the NYCCG?

    At the Key Note Address, I got to sit with Margaret Hubert, Prudence Mapstone and members of the NYCCG (of which I am also a member of).  The theme was looking back at people that have helped the Guild grow.  The appetizers were ... well, hmmm, let's say they made too little and the wait to serve the rest of the people was extremely slow.  The presentation though, was good.  In the exchange I received a pair of flip flops that had been crocheted over with a lovely pink furry yarn .... and they're my size!!  I wonder who received my black beaded amulet bag?

    When they opened the Vendor's Market I didn't really have a chance to check it out ... my dh & kids "kidnapped me" ... we went to Wendy's for takeout and drove to a place they've been enjoying going to nearly daily -- to a place that overlooks the airport.  It was pretty watching the airplanes come & go in the night.

    Now I'm beat.  It's 10:54 PM as I edit this entry to reflect these thoughts, and it's time to turn in.  I pray that fire alarm remains quiet!

    Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    Audio entry

    The first day at the conference started off with a blaring fire alarm!  OH NO!!

    So I got the kids up, put my back brace on and headed down three flights of stairs with my husband ... Gwen, the President of the CGOA was ahead of us.  We saw three fire trucks in front of the Radisson, but no one seemed to care...

    "Where is everyone else," we asked each other.  (Apparently throughout conversations with others in the building, anyone not on our floor missed this morning exercise.)  Hopefully, we thought, that would be the ONLY fire alarm going off during the conference.

    Professional Day was packed full of great information!  I feverishly took notes, and can see that I will be doing some more reading/research on the topics they covered.

    Afterwards I had a meeting with Karen Whooley of Kustom Krafts; she liked my work and we'll see if we can make a connection to get some of my patterns published.

    Then I headed to Prudence Mapstone's room, where she showed me (and other admirers from the freeform group list) the most fantastic lace I've ever seen ... Prudence said she received it from one of her students who is from Turkey.  Listen, if you're ever invited up to Prudence's room to see fiber goodies -- go!!  It's amazing the treasures she has!

    By then I was in much pain and opted to rest a bit.  I was very late in attending the Pizza Party -- but everyone had a blast with Pauline Turner at the helm.  There were a lot of great looking socks there.  My roommate from last year, Willena, had the most outrageous orange socks ... I loved them!

    I've got pictures coming ... it's just really slow downloading/uploading with an "air" connection (instead of dialup, dsl, or cable.)

    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    We're Here!

    We just finished unpacking ... and that includes putting up our picnic table.   Yeah, we brought that with us too!   We figured the kids will want to do their coloring & such while waiting to do various activities and it's better than tripping over them if they were sprawled out on the floor.   (I wonder what the housekeeping staff will think when they come in to straighten the room and see a picnic table!)

    Oh, it's not one of those huge ones you see in backyards or at parks ... it's a portable picnic table that folds into itself to become flat like a suitcase ... complete with handle and all.   The important thing is that the kids like using it.

    Anyway, enough with the table!

    I'm here! We're here!   It took us about 4 1/2 hours and that includes a stop to ice my back and grab a bite to eat at Subway.   Not bad!  

    My first event to attend is Professional Day, and that starts at 8:30 in the morning.  This will be my first time attending this feature offered for the Professionals and Associate Professionals (that's me) members of the CGOA.  The theme is "Crochet -- from theme to concept."  Jocelyn Sass will show us how to take the mystery out of writing patterns, while Carolyn Christmas, Janet Rehfeldt, and Karen Whooley will do a presentation on self-publishing.  Trisha Malcolm will cover topics as what's hot on the market and how to find these trends.

    I can't wait!!

    Hitting the Road

    It's been slow going packing for four -- well, three really, as my husband will do his own. But, still slow as I need to watch that I don't over do it. Just as soon as the laundry is done ... we should be on the road about a half hour after that. (Yippee!)

    Do you believe in omens? On the way home from the doctor's this morning, Pink came on the radio singing that song about "Getting the Party Started." I cranked up the tune and relished in thoughts of the upcoming events ... ah, I needed that! (LOL)

    While at the doctors' this morning, one lady sat next to me as I worked on another chemo hat.  She said she was a knitter, and once I started the topic on the upcoming various events (the Conference, Stitches East, The Knit Out & Crochet Too...), she whipped out a note pad and started taking notes.  She said she used to make hats too, but didn't know who to donate them to ... so I gave her some ideas.

    Then another lady came out into the waiting room and smiled at me.  She recognized me, but I didn't recognize her.  She said, "Hey, aren't you the lady I see crocheting everywhere?  Weren't you here the other day working on that hat?"

    I smiled, and said "Yes, I think I am that lady, but no, this is another hat."

    She said that "...[it] was a nice thing to be doing ... crocheting for those in need."

    Then while I was in the examination room getting my therapy, the doctor inquired too about the hat. "Is that the same hat you were working on the other day," he asked.

    "No," I replied. "I started this one the minute I got here and sat down in the waiting room.

    "Oh," he said. "Then you must be fast."  (it was either that, or admitting he was a little behind in seeing his patients as the hat was nearly finished - lol)

    "Nope, I think my speed is about average ... about 50 stitches in three minutes time...no where near Lily Chin's World record," I replied.

    "Man," he said, "you are into this, aren't you?"

    "You have no idea," I exclaimed.


    Oh!  The dryer went off ... ROAD TRIP!!!!!!!!!

    NH, here we come!!

    Monday, July 19, 2004

    Preparations

    Here, you would think we were training for the Olympics, and preparing for Christmas, all while trying to divert national disaster!  All because we're gearing up for going to the Conference, which is only two days away! 

    Yesterday I enlisted the help of one of the Bead Team* members in picking up a few hats for the Chapter Challenge, and enlisted the help of the other Bead Team member for crocheting long chains for me to tie them together.  If you are a member of another Chapter and reading this, then know that we have One Zillion Hats!  But of course to think this, you must know I have a competitive edge to me, and I'd only be saying that because, well, my Chapter rocks!  (LOL)  To find out just how many hats we have, you'll have to be at the Conference, or wait until I reveal the truth at a later date.  All I know, is that there's no way I'm lifting that 700 gallon tote box!!  (OK, I've exaggerated a bit again, but not about lifting it!)

    This morning I will finish working on my portfolio, as my Mentor says, "You should *definitely* prepare a portfolio to showcase yourself.  Be sure to include designs (photos, sketches/swatches, sample typed-up patterns if you have them), a bio/resume, and bring along some business cards that you can hand out so people know how to contact you."  (Thank you, Melissa!) 

    So, I've been pouring over images of works I've done, trying to put some order to them to "showcase myself."  Man, is this tough!  Thankfully, when I first started teaching my husband insisted I start taking pictures to keep a record of them.  If I hadn't listened to him, I'd be up the creek without a paddle.  But I was good, I did take pictures.  I hope the editors I will be sitting with understand I'm an amateur photographer...

    I'll also pack up the CGOA Crochet Hook Collection, books I'd like autographed, my supplies, and, oh -- can't forget the other Chapter Challenge -- The Mapquest Board!!  I'll be picking that up this evening as we need a few more things (no, really, I'm not kidding!) ... as I understand it, The Board ROCKs!

    So as I carefully maneuver around suitcases, coolers, totes, toys, children, and other hurtles today, I will still be taking it slow.  I will get done what I can without straining myself as I want to continue healing. (I give the Girl Scout honor on this!) Which reminds me ... I've got to go get ready for this mornings doctor appointment ....

    *Bead Team consists of my two children who love to do various crafty things.  One of which is helping me prebead for my crochet projects.

    Sunday, July 18, 2004

    Supplies, Supplies, Supplies

    Yesterday I went shopping.

    Is that a big deal?

    I think so -- considering that at the beginning of the week I couldn't walk; I couldn't sit, and I couldn't lay down without being in sheer, absolute pain.

    So, I went shopping.  It was a necessity. (But don't all women say that?)  No, really it was! 

    I put together a list of materials I'll need for the classes I'll be taking at the upcoming Conference after looking through my rather extensive stash and decided there were a few things I had to have.  No, really, I'm not kidding!

    So with my husband as my chauffeur, and my "Bead Team" as my shopping assistants, out we went.

    I had to get some items for the Freeform Crocheted Dolls class I'll be taking with Noreen Crone-Findlay ... mostly some charms, beads, safety pins, decorative papers, ribbon, yarn, and such.  Oh, did I say yarn?  I needed it.  No, really, I'm not kidding.

    I had to get knitting needles.  No, really, I'm not kidding.  Size 7 needles attached to a 16" cord, in any material except for aluminum, for the Simple Knitting for Complicated Crocheters class I'll be taking with Kathleen Power Johnson.  (I was to have gotten size 5 too, but this will have to do!)  Which reminds me, I need to work up my swatches for this class! 

    Then after shopping for supplies, I needed a few things from Kohls.  No, really, I'm not kidding.  (I like that they took care of me, offering me an additional 15% discount on my purchase, as this translates to more $$ to spend at the Conference!)

    The end results, with all kidding aside, is that I got the bulk of the items I needed, and I'm now paying the price.  I stayed out too late, too long, and I've had a minor setback.  I'm being iced, and am considering if Advil will help, or if I should take one of the prescribed meds.  No, really, I'm not kidding.

    I shouldn't have pressed my luck.  It's going to be interesting to see how I survive the wonderful events at the Conference ...

    Mental note to self: don't over do it again!!!

    Saturday, July 17, 2004

    Audio entry

    As promised, here's the link you've all been asking for:
    Crocheted Lace: Techniques, Patterns, and Projects by Pauline Turner,
    published in May 2004.

    Keeping in theme of "crocheted lace," I received a most beautiful Thank You card from my new niece for the Garter Belt I crocheted for her and presented to her at her Bridal Shower.  I nearly cried when I read the card -- I was so happy that she liked it. She wrote:

    "...I love the garter!  It still amazes me how you could come up with something so intricate from yarn/strings.  I love getting heartfelt gifts that mean so much..."

    If you want to make the garter belt, the pattern is available for free here: McCall's Bridal Garter Belt.

    Friday, July 16, 2004

    Audio entry


    In today's therapy session, my doctor included some "twisting" and stretching in addition to the other treatments, and while doing so, this song got stuck in my head.  So I thought I'd share the tune/lyrics so you can sing it along with me .... soon enough I'll actually be able to do the Twist Again! ...

    Let's Twist Again
    Chubby Checker

    Come on everybody clap your hands
    Now you´re looking good
    I´m gonna sing my song and you won´t take long
    We gotta do the twist and it goes like this

    Come on let´s twist again like we did last summer
    Yea, let´s twist again like we did last year
    Do you remember when things were really hummin´
    Yea, let´s twist again, twistin´ time is here

    Yeah round ´n around ´n up ´n down we go again
    Oh baby make me know you love me so then
    Come on let´s twist again like we did last summer
    Yea, let´s twist again, twistin´ time is here

    Come on let´s twist again like we did last summer
    Yea, let´s twist again like we did last year
    Do you remember when things were really hummin´
    Yea, let´s twist again, twistin´ time is here

    Yeah round ´n around ´n up ´n down we go again
    Oh baby make me know you love me so then
    Come on let´s twist again like we did last summer
    Yea, let´s twist again, twistin´ time is here

    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    We can rebuild her. We have the technology.

    We can rebuild her. We have the technology.
    We have the capability to make the world's crochet enthusiast woman, better.
    Dee Stanziano is that woman. She'll be healed as she was before.
    Better . . . stronger . . . faster.


    That little blurb above is actually from the opening lines of "The Six Million Dollar Man." I couldn't resist tweaking it and putting it in today's journal entry as it reflects my doctor's happiness with my progress in such a short amount of time.  I only whimpered a little bit in today's therapy session which is a major improvement from my sobbing with pain at the beginning of the week.  I'm quite happy about it too! 

    Remember yesterday's journal entry where I won a doll from Noreen's new book?  Well today she sent me an email and wrote, "Oh Dee!  I am sending you tons of healing love and light and prayers!" -- little does she know that I received that light today!!  (Thanks Noreen!) J

    In today's session I received my ultra sound therapy, my inferential therapy, a spine stretch, and something new. Yeah, that's right -- laser! I have no idea what the actual tool looks like, so the graphic I stuck in here could be entirely wrong -- I just know that it was not a painful procedure.  Apparently laser is the latest technology in the medical profession, and as I understand it, it helps tissue to regenerate/heal faster.  Cool, I'm on the cutting edge of medical procedures -- Steve Austin, watch out -- I just might get my own TV show saving the world from itchy fibers that split within nanoseconds!

    I'm doing so well, that I was OK'd to do local driving starting tomorrow -- but nothing more than 20 minutes. He reluctantly OK'd me to go to the Conference, but this means that I will have therapy tomorrow, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, AND I had to promise that I would take it easy. (You know I will, as I don't want to go through this again! I'd rather go through childbirth again than to experience this kind of pain again!!)

    So, now that I'm slowly mending, this means I'm able to spend a small portion of my day today sitting up.  Ah, this means I can do a little crocheting!!  I have a hat that I want to finish up, and then perhaps get to a little bead project I've had on my mind.  Yes, I said "little" -- meaning I want to keep the projects light weight as I still have pain with my ribs and don't want use of the shoulders to "tug" on those muscles too much. I promise, I will go easy!

    One thing I do want to add, I am really enjoying reading this book by Pauline Turner!  She's going to be at the conference, so you know I've got to get her to autograph it for me!

    Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    Out of Commission: Part II

    The verdict is in; I ruptured two discs in my spine.   They will heal, but will take at least 90 days to do so.  The doctor said I could start feeling better within a month's timeframe.   For now, I will aggressively do what I must to feel good enough, and be healed enough, to attend the Conference next week.

    Unfortunately, this means that I needed to step down as Host of the Pizza Party.   Since I will be sitting in Professional Development Day for most of the day, I wanted to make sure that in the likelihood I cannot make the Pizza Party, that the CGOA has someone else that can do the job.   I was so looking forward to doing this with Nancy Brown.

    But not all is "Doom & Gloom." I just received some very exciting news!  Noreen Crone-Findlay sent me an email this afternoon, notifying me that I won her large white doll with Celtic interlace wings (featured on p 50) of her new book called, Creative Crocheted Dolls: 50 Whimsical Designs.  I am so excited!  If I could get out of this bed & jump up & down, I would!  I'm so excited that I won her contest, and will treasure this doll!  Thank you Noreen!!!

    Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    Out of Commission

    I was sad to have had to cancel today's classes; I so enjoy teaching.  But the pain in my back was so intense, I knew there'd be no way.  So starting at 10:30 this morning, I have been Doctor hopping.

    So three Doctors, seven Nurses, six X-rays, ultra sound & inferential treatments, blood work, one near fainting spell, pain medication, inflammation medication, a Chinese lunch, and an MRI later, I can say that we know at least one good thing of this ... it's not cancer.  So now the suspicion is perhaps a slipped disc; my MRI will be read in the morning, so we should know by then.  All I can tell you for now, is that the part that hurts also extends to my ribs, and makes breathing a bit painful if I do so deeply.  (Click here: WebMD with AOL Health - Disc Problems )

    This is not at a good time to be laid up, and it's driving me nuts -- I have so much to do in preparation of the upcoming Conference,  but, my DH said not to worry about it, so for the time being I won't.

    In the meantime, I want to say THANK YOU to all of my students from Knit Together that called today to wish me a speedy recovery ... I greatly appreciate it!!

    Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel better -- enough to get a few good stitches in, or at least able to read through Pauline Turner's new book.

    Monday, July 12, 2004

    Ramblings from Bed

    I don't know what I did to myself, but I'm confined to bed with a very sore back.  Fortunately for me, my kids are taking great care of me -- they're keeping a heatpad on my back, covered me with their favorite blankies, and have read seven childern's books to me in the past hour. 

    My son asked if I'd be doing any crocheting today, and when I said "no" he replied, "Oh, then this is bad.  You must be in a lot of pain."  (Isn't that cute?)

    So I'm laying on my side and it occurred to me that it would be a great option if we could rotate the monitor orentation (change it to sideways) for moments like this.  For real though, TG for laptops -- yes, my kids brought it in for me to use while laying in bed.

    I'd like to send a HUGH Thank You out to Brittany for creating the animated doll graphic for my new free pattern I created -- its for creating caps (hats) for kids with cancer.  I know these types of graphics are prized by kids, and when I asked if she could create one for me with no hair I thought I'd be pushing my luck.  But in this morning's emails, there she was!  I am so tickled!  Thank you, Brittany!

    (Hmmm, I wonder if those are crocheted appliqu├ęs on the jeans, and if that's a belt made of thread granny squares  ... hey, just because I can't crochet today doesn't mean I can't think about it!  LOL)

    You can visit Brittany's journals by clicking on any of the following:

    Brittany's Attic
    A Blog A Day

    Celebrity Corner

    Princess Pink's Top Doll Sites

    Sunday, July 11, 2004

    What if your prom date wore a crocheted Tuxedo?

    You went out and bought a stunning dress, had your nails done, and your hair.  Now all that's left is to wait for your date.

    Would you be expecting him to show up wearing a tuxedo he designed and crocheted himself, "...resulting in an outfit that appeared to be equally influenced by Elvis and Fred Astaire"
    ??

    You can read the article by clicking here:
    Aspen Times

    And if that doesn't inspire you to read the article, then perhaps this will: 
    the boy's brother liked the tuxedo so much that he opted to crochet one for himself!

    Saturday, July 10, 2004

    Audio entry

    Has it been two weeks already since my nephew married his sweetheart? Wow! Time does pass by quickly!  (To read about the Wedding Details, CLICK HERE)

    To recap the event, my son and daughter were in the wedding party (thus the image you see of the two walking together) ... he was the Ring Bearer, and she, the Flower Girl.


    To the left is the pillow I created, without a pattern, that is seriously beaded. (I hope to receive more pictures that will show it off better.) To the right is my son, walking with my daughter, proudly carrying it down the aisle.  You can barely see in the corner of the pillow the crystal beads that dangle down and glisten in the light.

    Pictured to the left is my sister-in-law, whom I adore. She is the Mother of the Groom, and had borrowed the shawl I actually crocheted weeks before to wear to my son's graduation. It was beautiful on her, and I only wish the photograph would do more justice.

    OK, and a sneak peak (on the bottom right-hand side) at the wrap I was inspired to make when we went to New Hampshire during Memorial Day Weekend. I wore the wrap at the Wedding, and I plan on wearing this wrap at the upcoming Conference as well.

     (One never knows, I just might write up the instructions one day and submit it to an editor ... if I do, you'll learn about it here first!)

    It's been fun reliving the memories of the Wedding, and of each stitch, but now it's time to head to the beach -- and bring my "small, personal item" I'm crocheting -- a "one of a kind"-- for the Crochet Exchange during the Welcome Reception for the 2004 CGOA Conference ... all I'll say is that it's really pretty, and made of thread.  I'll keep you guessing for a while.  :)

    Friday, July 9, 2004

    Getting into the Basics of Reading

    AOL is preparing to celebrate it's first year of offering Journals to their subscribers, and in this honor, I thought I'd add the image of the torch to my Journal too.

    I think the Journals are a great way to allow people a medium, an outlet if you will, to express their thoughts, all while encouraging reading.

    A report released Thursday by the National Endowment for the Arts says the number of non-reading adults increased by more than 17 million between 1992 and 2002.

    When I heard this reported on the late news last night, I was not shocked.  We are in an age where people are in need of instant entertainment, and our children are being raised to crave the instant entertainment as well.

    How many times have we seen children glued to little electronic box toys in their hands?  And now our vehicles are coming complete with DVD and video players!  An example of this is when I witnessed, during the recent local Fourth of July fireworks display, a group of young children preferring to sit in an Explorer and watch a video rather than go out, run around and engage with other children!  It's that instant entertainment need.

    I'm a huge advocate for saying "NO" to television (my children are lucky if they get to watch three hours worth -- a week!); saying "NO" to electronic hand held games, saying "NO" to the games you hook up to your television -- but I love to say "YES" to books! 

    My children, since being out of school for the summer have read at least  20 books thus far.  They enjoy watching the country side pass them as they ride to our destinations; and they love to use their imaginations.  I'm not saying "nah, nah, nah, nah-nah, my children are better than yours" ... what I am saying is that I'm taking a stand and saying "NO" to constant instant entertainment, and that I'm letting my children see me read.  And I read, a lot!   I can see, in my family, that it makes a difference.

    I think that if kids need to keep their hands busy besides holding a book, then place a paint brush, crayons, crochet hook, knitting needles, needle & thread, beading kits, looms -- something, anything -- that will allow them to get creative and make something from their imaginations.  Let them create something they can hold in their hands.  Let them see that an hour spent on a hobby is more productive than zapping some dude on an electornic game.   ...Let them even create their own book, complete with illustrations and story line, on topics that interest them.  All that is needed is a piece of construction paper folded in half with blank pages inside. 

    And in thinking about it, that's much like what my AOL Journal is to me ... a little book that I've created that allows me to share my thoughts, and get creative.

    Books I'm currently reading*:
    on parenting:  "A Toolbox for our Daughters" by Annette Geffert & Diane Brown 
    to my kids: "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
    for me: "Star Trek; Imzadi Forever" by Peter David

    *This inadditionto all the books, magazines, and such that I read for my art form, Crochet.

    I challenge you to pick up the AOL torch, start a Journal, and track your progress with whatever you'd like, and then pick up a book and read it.  Summers are a great time for that.

    Thursday, July 8, 2004

    Audio entry

    Whew!  It is so hot out there this afternoon ... hot and muggy.  Yuck!

    Hopefully thoughts of last winter will be enough to cool everyone down just a bit.  (Yes, those are my children standing on about 3 1/2 feet of snow!)

    I just did my first audio entry; I hope you like it.  It's my goal of "reporting live" from the upcoming Conference so you can see (if I can get my digital camera working), hear, and read every juicy detail I experience.

    As for my audio entry here, I mention my new subscription for Spin-Off ...I subscribed to it through the website BlueDolphin, where I saved a few dollars and helped the nonprofit crochet group, The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, raise funds at the same time.

    Lighting my Candle at Both Ends

    I was out late last night with the other hookers doing our Coffee, Crochet & Chat session at Borders.  While there, we worked on the "starters" (13 chains, turn, 12 sc across, for a total of four rows) that will be handed out at the Knit Out and Crochet Too event taking place in NYC come October 3rd.  (Yes, I'll be there on that date, and you can come & meet me and other crocheters and knitters too!  I'll give more details on this as the date gets closer.)

     While I was at Borders, eating my dinner of Carrot Cake with an apple juice, I flipped through Lily Chin's new book, "Knit and Crochet with Beads," and through Pauline Turner's new book, "Crochet Lace." 

    Lily's book is packed with inspiring designs for both knitters and crocheters.  Pauline's is too.  Oh, which to choose?  Since I had already spent nearly a zillion dollars on beads and findings yesterday, I knew I couldn't go home with both.  One book would have to wait for another day. 

    So I leafed through them again, and opted for Pauline's book.  I did so because her book has more information on technique ... and that's something I can learn from.  A good example is right in the beginning of the book where she starts talking about three different chains you can use to start your work.  Three different chains?  Yep, I said that too.

    I bet you're wondering if I tackled the wire & bead earrings again, right?  Yes, I did.  I used a 28 gauge wire and some seed beads and got two earrings done ... I just need to put them on wire hooks now.  I did try with some sterling silver, but did not have enough wire.  Someone emailed me a link for the website www.myrontoback.com --  saying they have the silver reasonably priced.  I'll be investigating this after the Conference.

    Today I'll be lucky to squeeze in any crocheting at all.  I've created a "To Do" list in order to prepare for the Conference, and that list is two pages long.   ...hmmm, I still have the ever-stretching hat issue to address too...

    I guess I best get that candle out and light both ends...  J

    Wednesday, July 7, 2004

    Design Complications & ...

    I've been working on my hat for the upcoming competition this weekend and hit a snag ... I used some of my Berroco's ribbon yarn I had in my stash from last year, and although I crocheted it tightly, and with an "F" hook, it's stretching. 

    What is ribbon yarn? While most yarn and thread has a round and twisted consistancy to it, ribbon yarn is flat, and comes in different widths, texture, color and so on.  The main thing to remember is that it is FLAT.  And that the wider the ribbon, the larger the hook you'll want to use to create your project with.

     So, getting back to my project, it's stretching so much that calling it a lamp shade instead of a hat would be fitting.  So now, I'm thining of ways I can fix this.  My first thought was to crochet a band and attach it.  This method failed.  It's still stretching too much. 

    So, my second thought is to weave floral wire into the work.  I'm thinking that it would then only stretch as much as the amount of wire I weave in.  Starching the hat I don't think will help ... it's too big and heavy; but I'm also not ruling this option out entirely.

    Other design complications seem to be with the crocheted wire earring instructions in the latest Bead & Button magazine (which I enjoy so much!) -- perhaps I was too tired last night to read the instructions correctly.  I'll have to give it another try sometime today, or consider perhaps doing a pair of my own design.  I'm thinking that it would be fun to wear a pair at the upcoming Conference.

    I was proud of myself yesterday -- I came home with no new goodies (yarn) after teaching.  But I know next week may be a dangerous week because while I was there Mr. UPS stopped by with 19 LARGE boxes of yarn.  I'm sure they'll have new treasures to show me which will, somehow, end up getting adopted ((giggles & grins))

    Today, I'll be off to the Coffee, Crochet & Chat sessions at our local Border's book store.  This is an event that is sponsored by my local CGOA Chapter, The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, and Borders.  It's a great way to just hang out and meet new crocheters -- while checking out the latest Crochet books and magazines at the same time.  

    If you're feeling a bit sheepish today and want to have some fun too, then you may want to check out these two links:    Sheep Game  and  What Kind of Yarn are You?

    (BTW, the link for B&B magazine mentioned earlier will lead you to the website where I subscribe & renew most of my magazines; I haven't found a place with lower fees yet!  I get asked this quite a bit and thought I'd share it with you too)

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    UPDATE (3:01 PM):  I just returned from the Coffee, Crochet & Chat session from this morning; there's another one tonight that I'm also looking forward to. After the session this morning I went to the store known as CraftBasket, and had to strongly refrain myself from touching the new colors of Fun Fur that they have in stock.  Being on a fiber diet is tough!! ... but I must remain strong as I know the Vendors Market at the upcoming Conference will have treasures that I MUST have!  (LOL)  But, just because I was good with saying "No" to fiber, doesn't mean that I was as strong to beads and findings.  Yes, $70 worth came home with me.  Fortunately, I have immediate plans for the items I purchased ... including trying to make the earrings featured in the August issue of Bead & Button that I mentioned earlier.  Did it help that I had the "Bead Team" &  with me?  Of course not!  (LOL)

    BTW: If you click onto the Fun Fur image above, it will lead you to the official Lion Brand website ... and they even have free patterns you can try.  Same goes for the Berroco Ribbon Yarn image ... it will take you right to the official website of Berroco.  Happy drooling.  J

     

    Monday, July 5, 2004

    AOL Keyword: Hobby

    I'm so excited; I'm featured ... well not me per-say, but my work is ... featured on AOL's Hobby page!
    (NOTE: Please give the image time to load.)

    I had received an email from them requesting permission to use my image, and then thought nothing more about it.

    Then this morning I went to see if they have Fourth of July things I can have my children do (it's a rainy day and taking them fishing for the first time is out) and found myself looking at my crochet work! 
    (Yee Haw!)

    I tried to put a link to the AOL Hobby page, but could not get it to work. I don't know if it's because it's an internal AOL page URL or what. So if you're a subscriber to AOL, you can go to keyword: HOBBY and it will take you to the actual Hobby page.

    On a Crochet Note: I thought I had finished my DD's camisole, but yesterday I found some pretty bead trim I had on hand.  So I added it and love the way it adds so much fun to the garment!  And best of all, she loves it too. 

    Today, I plan on catching up on my emails, and finishing my hat for the contest.  The hat is causing some creative conflicts (should I do this, add that?  What about if I did that or this?) ... the hat must be done by next weekend, so that's where my concentration is at the moment.  The hat is a blend of conservative goes funky.  LOL  At least I'm having fun with it.  J

     

    Sunday, July 4, 2004

    Happy 4th of July!!


    Happy Fourth of July!!

    In 1783, when the US won it's Independence, the Fourth of July became a holiday in many places. But it was in 1941, during WWII, that our Congress declared July 4th a Federal holiday.

    In a conversation with my Mother the other day, she told me how she's crocheting the US Flag -- "her own design," she said.  She's crocheting the 13 stripes of red and white, and will be sewing stars she purchased onto the blue.  I love that she just crochets without a pattern.  This is mainly because she's yet to learn how to read one, so the next time we get together, we'll change that.

    We owe Betsy Ross a lot of graditude for creating our first flag (Thank you, Betsy!)  In the meantime, there are actual patterns available on the market for crocheting the US flag -- of which, at the bottom of this entry you'll find free pattern links for.

    If you click onto the animated flag image above, you can test your knowledge about the US flag (I got 9 out of 10 right), and learn more about it.

    Have a great day celebrating and remembering why this country is so great! J


    Free Crochet American Flag Patterns:

  • LION BRAND® HOMESPUN® Crocheted Americana Afghan
  • American Star graph from Citiusa.com
  • About.com has many listed here
  • Saturday, July 3, 2004

    Historical Yarn; More Invites

    Last night the family enjoyed the local fireworks.  One of my favorites was one done in a light green, pink and purple with little glittery specks.  If I didn't know better, I'd say I was referring to the tam and camisole I had just finished crocheting for my daughter.  It was a great display and a time to reflect upon why our country is so great.

    Yesterday I discussed that James Buchanan was a crocheter, and that Franklin Roosevelt was a knitter.  So in continuation of my Historical Tea Party thoughts, I decided to do a little research of how images of fiber were used in American history.  I learned that the image of yarn has been used in other Presidencies.  This means I have two more invitations to extend for my Historical Tea Party. 

    Once you become a servant of the government, your image, your likeness, is no longer "yours" -- it's public domain.  And political cartoonists enjoy this liberty by drawing how they feel a particular President is doing (this practice still continues today!).  Please note that I will not be sharing my views on government policy, how good or bad a particular President is or was -- I'm merely thinking about how those in power either used fiber art, or were portrayed as using it.  That being said, I'll let you draw your own conclusions about our history, polices and such.

    The first I'd extend an invitation to today is Abe Lincoln, one of our most honored Presidents pictured in the cartoon on the left. The cartoon, from an 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly, depicts Abe as untangling a ball of yarn that represents the turmoil the country was in -- the southern states wanting to exercise their rights to leave the Union; and the Union wanting to keep the country together as a whole, while granting freedom to a people in need.

    (Now if they had another cartoon later on to follow it up after the civil war, it should be one of him knitting ... to represent becoming a "close-knit" country again; or one of him crocheting, as we're "all linked together.")

    The second invitation today would be given to
    William Taft.  In the cartoon to the right, yarn was once again utilized to depict confusion. Taft is shown as having too many issues for a President to deal with, and apparently, judging by how tangled he is in the yarn, he was really confused!  (Don't worry William, we can help you untangle it at the Tea Party and even teach you how to knit or crochet it.)  This cartoon, not shown in it's entirety, is Joseph Keppler's 1910 cartoon for Puck.


    Now, let me give some credit:

    1.  Lincoln's cartoon is available for sale at the following website:
    http://www.sonofthesouth.net/ebay/newpics/h1861p208b.jpg

    2. You can see Taft's cartoon in it's entirety, and learn about other Political cartoons by visiting http://cartoonmagazine.com

    Friday, July 2, 2004

    Historical Tea Party

    Once again, John Scalzi asks those of us in AOL Journal Land to do an assignment; this one in honor of America's birthday, the 4th of July.  Our assignment is to state which of the Founding Fathers you'd want to hang out and have a beer with and why.  We could include any President in the assignment, and/or any famous American in history.  (Dude, I like this assignment!) 

    As I share my picks, if you're not familiar with my various reference points, please feel free to click onto the links and learn more about American History.  J

    Well, since I don't drink beer, I opted to change it to tea; Long Island Iced Tea, that is.  And since tea has a place in American History (Boston Tea Party), I thought it only fitting.

    If you've visited my Famous Crocheters webpage, then you already know that the first President I'd invite would be a no brainer ...  yes, it would be James Buchanan, our President from 1857-1861.  Yes, because he was a crocheter!!  (To learn about his presidency, click onto his picture to the right)

    The second that I'd invite, would be another President that dabbled with fiber ... and he was a very popular President, based on the history text, having served four terms   Who was it? ... It was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served as our President from 1933 to 1945.  (Click onto his image to learn more about his Presidency) ...Now even though Roosevelt was not a crocheter, he did enjoy the art of fiber -- he was a Knitter!

    I think I'd also extend the invitation to our most humanitarian President, Jimmy Carter; to the Inventor George Washington Carver, and to Football great, Rosy Greer. 

    While we're crocheting or knitting, and sipping on our spiked tea (we'll have to get James to loosen up a bit as history reportedly has him as a rather "stiff and proper" fellow), I'd love to have the conversation stem on how the fiber arts have served in American history, and their take on why fiber art was perceived as "feminine" (although thankfully, this perception is rapidly changing!).   Our conversation would include who introduced them to the art form, how it did or did not help them with their stress, and how it effected the American economy (cotton farms, manufacturering and so on), to aiding those serving our Country.

    Serving our Country?  Absolutely.  There were actual pattern books printed to help the many, many women, children, and perhaps men, to crochet or knit needed hats, scarves, hospital slippers, blankets and such all to aid our soldiers.  And this continues today too...

    **Note: I don't know if President Jimmy Carter knits or crochets, but anyone that goes out there and builds houses for the homeless is alright in my book!  I'm sure he'd be able to contribute to the conversation as most knitters & crocheters give from the heart too.  J

    So now it's your turn; fiber-listically and historically speaking, who would you invite?

    Thursday, July 1, 2004

    Rev It Up: Born to be Wild -- Details

    I was surfing through AOL about a month ago and discovered that they have a "Hobby" page. I've been a user since 1997 and just now figured this out. Where have I been? (LOL)

    In any case, I discovered it, and opted to share an image on the Members "Share a Photo" section. And it's causing reactions, which for the most part I think is pretty cool.

    The best response so far is that AOL notified me that they'd like to use the image for a future feature on their hobby page (Yee Haw!!), and the not-so-good responses are those asking why I didn't post the pattern too.

    So, even though I left a "review" with my photo explaining why there's no pattern included , I thought I'd address it here too ... as I want to set the record straight, and to do it with a twist of humor:

     Dee's Top Ten Reasons for not Posting the Pattern:
    10. I am wearing the tiara.
    9. I'm known for whipping things up as I go along and not writing down the pattern unless I intend to share it (thus "it's an Original" vs. "it can be duplicated")
    8. I sold the afghan and a child somewhere in Germany is enjoying it.
    7. My husband hasn't taken his Harley Motorcycle out for a spin since we had kids
    6. I'm still enjoying wearing the tiera
    5. To do so would violate copyright laws.
    4. You can help raise funds for Project Linus by purchasing the graph for the motorcycle from
    www.citiusa.com just like I did.
    3. I want to encourage you to get creative too, with or without wearing a tiara
    2. Harley Davidson and Winnie the Pooh are registered trademarks and characters
    1. The area where the photo is available for downloading on AOL is for photos only; not for patterns.

    To get the humor about the tiara, you'll have to read some of my past journal entries. I do want to note that AOL does not let you "preview" the image before downloading it, so I superimposed it on the image of the page you see here ... kinda like a sneak-peak. J

    If you opt to purchase one of the graphs, please note that I have NO AFFILIATION with that website/group -- I have done business there and think it's all for a good cause.  She does have a free pattern (a heart) that you can print out and try ... and should you get stuck, visit the website www.stitchguide.com as it has little video clips you can watch right on your PC for free -- including on how to do color changes.

    I hope this clarifies the issue and that we can all get back to crocheting. For me, I'm working on a tam & camisole in lieu of the dress my DD requested ...  The hat is done, and the camisole is still on the hook...my goal is to finish it sometime today.

    ***To get to AOL's hobby page, use their keyword "Hobby" ... from there you'll see options to click onto for sharing photos -- and even reach the AOL Message Board for Crocheters. ***