Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Passing On Family Traditions

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with one of the mothers I met through my kids school.  While our kids played in the sprinkler together, we sat out side watching -- and crocheting.

Cindy is hoping to keep a family tradition alive after the passing of her beloved Mother-In-Law this past spring.  It seems that her MIL would crochet slippers for the entire family and give them out every year at Christmas.   When I learned how close Cindy was to her, and that she had no clue how to make slippers, I presented her with a little gift.  Yes, it was a pattern book on slippers, and I told her I'd help her if she needed it.

So here we sat, enjoying the great outdoors, going over how to read printed instructions.  Cindy knew how to crochet, but she didn't know the names of the stitches she was creating.  But we soon fixed that.  Before long, she was increasing, decreasing, and whipping around (man! she's a fast crocheter!) so that by the time we were ready to leave, she had one slipper nearly complete.  At the rate she's going, I have no doubt that she'll be able to carry on the slipper tradition!

Her oldest son, a fourth grader, kept checking up on us.  At one point I asked him if he'd like to learn.  He asked, "Is it hard to do?"  I said, "No. It just takes practice, and all that it is, really, is a series of loops built upon other loops."

So later, just before we left, he asked his mother if he can learn too.  She looked at him and said she'd teach him after she was done with her slippers.  She asked him what he'd like to make -- a scarf perhaps?  He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know, but that sure looks like fun." 

Not wanting to miss an opportunity to encourage a youngster to pick up the hook, I told them about how a local store has some camouflage yarn ... perhaps he'd be interested in getting a skein to make his first scarf. 

... it looks promising.  J

My nephew, also a fourth grader, IM'ed me this morning (Instant Messaged) and we got to chatting about crochet.  I knew my mother had taught him how, and so I inquired on how he was doing with it.  He said to me that he's ready to learn more.  Hmmmmmm ... one of my local stores is having a sale on pattern books this week ... I think I'll pay them a visit and see if there's anything "boy" oriented I can get to surprise him with ...

Monday, August 30, 2004

It's Not Fair

It's not fair.

This past weekend I've had time to ogle over the latest issue of Bead & Button, and of course I'm very pleased that once again they've included a beautiful crochet project -- in fact, it's pictured right on the front cover, and of course, I want to make it! (If you're interested in the magazine, click onto the image & it will lead you to magazinevalues -- it's where I get most of my subscriptions at a fraction of the regular rates)

Then, I received an Instant Message yesterday from Rose. She said at one point in our conversation, "I put all my WIPs in one container and I'm resolved to complete them."

I replied, "...and they all fit in one container????!"  Oh, I was so amazed!

Nope, it's not fair that there's just not enough hours in the day to do each and every project that I dream up, run across, or am inspired by. (lol)  In all fairness though, I have been working on finishing up many of the WIPs I have (WIPs, by the way are "Works in Progress") and I find this is a great feeling.

But, I'm still curious though on how is it possible that she got all her WIPs to fit in one container?  I look at my WIPs and wonder if such a container exists that they all can fit in...

Then there's more unfairness ... give the journal, "Have you any Wool?" (link is to the left) a visit and you'll find that she's put images up of her work room. Oh man! (excuse my excessive drooling) -- she has a room to work in!   I've only had dreams of such a room, and now Rose, the lady I mentioned earlier, tells me that she too, may have such a room now that her daughter is off to college -- and my own mother tells me she too, now has such a room!  OK, where is this bandwagon?? I want to jump on!  <<grins>>

Ladies & gents, I raise my hook and salute those of you that have few WIPs and a room of which to work upon them.  For now, I'll get back to work in my WIPs and dream of such a work space. J

Sunday, August 29, 2004

More Ribbons

As long as I was having fun putting together the ribbon images from the CraftAdventure, I thought I'd add an entry that showed the Ribbons I won from last weekend.

If you're interested in seeing the "Wedding Traditions" pillow & amulet bag closer, you'll want to visit the website, "http://www.darana.org/gallery/crochetwithdee"

I'll be trying my hand at drawing figures today ... I'll be using them for the "design your own poncho" workshop.  ...and, if DH can get my new PC up & running again (it crashed about two weeks ago), then I can get back to working on my fall/winter class schedule.  But of course, I need to get my DH to stop doing cartwheels -- he's still celebrating with my DD about her ribbons from yesterday!  (LOL)

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Audio entry

It was a very "hot" time at the CraftAdventure ... so much to see, so much to do, and lots of sweat! (LOL)

I've edited this entry to add a few images of the items that ribboned in the Crochet category.


Road Trip!

Today is the BIG DAY ... The CraftAdventure

   What is the CraftAdventure?

The CraftAdventure is a yearly event that celebrates and showcases artwork, including crochet, in 25 different categories. Items that are judged that won ribbons will be on display during what is known as The Big E -- the ninth largest state fair in the United States. This year, they have the American Spirit and Ground Zero Quilts on display. To learn more, you can visit their website (just click onto the image on the right) ... or GO!

My group will be there in just a few hours ... we'll be the ones with the purple T-shirts on, having fun with yarn.

See you there! :)

Friday, August 27, 2004

Hey, it's Featured!

I've spent the day fighting with my DSL connection ... decided to go with dial-up this evening and found that my Journal is featured under AOL's keyword: Books for an entry I did in July.

(It's not the best picture of me ... it was taken at the CGOA Conference during the "height" of my back pain.  I'm wearing one of Prudence Mapstone's gorgeous freeform works)

Tomorrow, which is only 44 minutes away, is a big day.  My crochet group and I will be headed to the CraftAdventure in West Springfield, MA, to see how we judged, and more importantly, to do a crochet demonstration.  I hope to do a "live" audio report, so check back often.

Crochet Book Recommendations for the Beginner

Today I thought I'd have fun answering a question from one of my readers:

in your opinion, what are good books for a beginner? Also, do those books contain something about the different yarns and how they are to work with and what sort of results one can expect to achieve? Thank you! Sheila

Great question, Sheila!

There are a number of great booklets out on the market today; they range in price of about $5 - $8 each. Inside they have diagrams on how to make the basic stitches, and have a few patterns to try. But I like to recommend books that are just a wee bit more expensive. The reason? Because they're books that you'll grow into instead of out of!

The first book, Crocheting in Plain EnglishMaggie Reghetti's, Crocheting in Plain English, is a great choice.  It's written in "plain English" so that it's easy to understand, offers common sense tips, and covers some topics that you won't find elsewhere ... like how to fix/repair crochet. 

She also discusses in her book about yarn wear -- meaning it's durability; how to do gauge measuring, about hook sizing ... even a diagram that discusses the various parts of the crochet hook. 

I like this book so much that I bought myself the Knitting version and I'm devouring it!

The next book on my list of recommendations for the Beginning Crocheter, is Pauline Turner's "How to Crochet."  I like this book because of the way she has it broken down into sections with projects to match the sections.  An example of this is the first section where the reader learns about the chain -- and the first project you do is make a bag using the chain stitch.  Then, as the skills increase, so does the difficulty level of the projects.

I enjoy using this book in some of my Workshops, and when yousee me walking into the class, there's a good chance you'll see the blue bag I made based on the pattern in this book. 

If you're in one of my Absolute Beginner classes, you'll hear me rave about those two books!

For children, I recommend the book, "Kids can Crochet" by Gwen Blakley Kinsler.  The projects are geared for youngsters ready to crochet up their own fashions from scrunchies to scarves.

The book is available in soft or hard cover.  I like the pictures; they're very bright and "fun."  (I went with the hard cover because I want it to last as I've found younger hands tend to be a bit "harder" on books.)

The last book I'd like to recommend is Donna Kooler's "encyclopedia of crochet."  (click onto the title to see the book.)  This is a book more geared for the crocheter that has a little more experience, but it covers topics such as fibers, history, and such.  It has patterns to try, and stitch variations too.

I own every book listed here, and they show wear for the amount of times I've used them!  If you're interested in finding out more about the books, just click onto the image and it will lead you to Barnes & Noble (I do a lot of shopping w/them!).

To learn more about books I enjoy in my "private library," then you may be interested in visiting my website at www.CrochetWithDee.com -- just visit the page called, "Dee's Book Review."

As far as learning about the different fibers -- how they feel, how they work up, books such as Maggie's that I mentioned earlier can tell you, but I recommend that you experience it.  Get one ball or skein of yarn that you're interested in, and work it up into two squares using the pattern's gauge instructions. 

One swatch will be abused by you ... wash it & dry it per the manufacturer's recommendation as many times as you can BEFORE working up your project.  Then compare it to the swatch that hasn't been washed.  Look to see if the color held up, the size, and the fiber.  This will tell you if it's worth your time to work with.  And if it doesn't meet your standards, look at it this way -- you'll only be out of the cost for the one skein, instead of the time, energy & money it took to create the entire item!!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Secret Plans

I went to WEBs in Northampton, MA, on Monday after dropping off items at the CraftAdventure.

While at WEBs I got a great buy ... I got a bag of yarn called Filatura Di Crosa/Adhoc Piu (see picture to the right) for just $10 ... that's 10 balls for a buck each! (That means I got it for about 80% off! Too bad I only got one bag of it; lol) It's an acrylic & wool blend, and the color I got is a variegated of oranges & greens. (I made the background & text here to reflect those colors.)

My plan is to secretly crochet a sweater or cardigan for my son's upcoming birthday. I showed him the yarn today -- just inquiring if he liked it. He held the yarn in his hands and ran his fingers over a strand of the fiber. He nodded his head, and then turned the yarn over and looked at it some more. Then he said, "I like the rainbow look, and it's soft."

He has no idea that it's for him, and now knowing he likes the fiber, I'm sure he'll be pleased with what I create for him.

Now, the only problem is do I crochet him a sweater or a cardigan? Decisions, decisions! LOL -- Oh, a pattern? Of course not. I'll be using what is known as the Modular Technique of working from side to side instead of from the neck down, or the waist up. This will allow me more creative freedom, and eliminate that "mismatch" variegated pattern we sometimes see when we add on new skeins.

If you're interested in learning about the Modular Technique, you'll want to get your hands on the out of print book called "Modular Crochet" by Judith Copeland. Expect to pay big bucks for it as it's a well sought after book; sometimes you can find it listed on eBay.

If you're interested in the yarn, Elann.com has it on sale too -- just click onto the yarn image to get to the website ... or you can contact WEBs to see if they have any left (www.yarn.com)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Treats for Me

I decided to treat myself to two new books today.  The first one, Embellishing with Beads by Nancy Nehring, is one I've had my eye on since first seeing it listed on the B&N.com website (btw, click onto the title and it will lead you to the book to view for yourself).  What persuaded me to order it?  PieceWork magazine had a fabulous write up and it sounds like a book that would interest me.

The second book, Freeform Knitting and Crochet by Jenny Dowde, is barely off the press -- it's that new!! (Again, click onto the title if you'd like to see the book on B&N's website.) I'm a member of the online freeform group and this book is getting glowing reviews.  Many are stating that the section on color is more than worth it's weight in gold. 

My order should be here, says Barnes & Noble, in about a week.  That should give me plenty of time to finish the poncho sample I've been working on for a Workshop I'm putting together.

Oh the excitement of waiting for these new delectable books to arrive -- I can't stand it!! LOL

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Family First

This is a first for my family ... three generations are in competition at the same event, in the same category.  Can you guess it?  Yep, Crochet!

My mother started crocheting about two years ago -- she can't read a pattern yet, so she makes her own designs up using various colors and beads, mostly with just single crochets.  She turned to crochet after being in an explosion at her job that caused 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burns.  The crochet has helped her regain mobility in her fingers and hands.  She makes about 20 afghans a year now, and is, in her own words, "a fiberholic with a huge yarn stash."  She has an afghan entered, but doesn't know it - yet.  She lives in Florida and mailed my husband, myself, and our children each an afghan.  They are beautiful.  I told my mother that she should enter some of her work to be judged; but she's shy.  So I decided to do it for her and see if the Judges agree with me.  I hope they do because I think it will encourage her to take her crocheting to the next level -- meaning, learning how to read patterns.

My daughter, who is 7, crocheted a beaded Rosary.  Her stitches are far more regulated than last year's which means her technique is improving.  She's already announced that next year she hopes to enter a belt.  That's the way to do it! ... start the youngsters off with simple projects, let them dabble and play until they're ready to learn more!  This means that she's ready to learn how to do stitches, and that alone makes her a "winner" in my eyes.

And then there's me.  I entered the wrap I was inspired to create during a trip to NH; a hat, and a simple freeform purse.  It's not quite what I had in mind to enter, but with all the therapy and "down time" I've had with my back, I'm happy that I was able to enter. Period.  If I hadn't, then this "Family First" of having three generations involved would not have been possible.

The items are being judged this week; we'll find out how wedid come this Saturday.  And, I wonder, will this "Family First" inspire other families to do the same, and will the items inspire others to pick up the hook?  I hope so!  :) 

My Own Olympic Moment

On Thursday I mentioned that I was entering some items in a local fair for judging ... I learned of the results on Friday night when Grace called me.

She asked, "Do you want to know?"

I said, "Yes. Well, no. Yeah, um, no. OK, but nah." I was so twisted with emotions of whether I should learn the results or not. So after another minute of hemming and hawing, I said "Yes, tell me."

And she did. Slowly.

Perhaps she did so because she needed to find a lull during my screaming.

She said, "The brown stole -- Blue."
         I screamed with delight.
She said, "The green/pink & fun fur child's sweater -- Blue!"
         I screamed louder, with joy.
She said, "The 'Wedding Traditions' (meaning the pillow & amulet bag I made for my nephews' & nieces' wedding this past June) -- Blue! ... ...and," she continued, "the Trophy for 'Best in Division!!!'" 

            OK ... scream with me, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"

OMG!! The three items I entered all ribboned!!

When I went to the fair grounds yesterday to pick my items up, the lady running the fiber arts exhibit said that they really enjoyed my pieces and are looking forward to my creations for next year. They were pleased to hear that I have plans of selling the Child's Sweater to help raise funds for my non-profit crochet club that travels around the tri-state area, promoting crochet, and aiding local charities.

Then one of her assistants approached me and inquired about the pattern for the wrap. I told her I haven't written it up yet. "Oh, then do you need to take the piece," she asked, "I had so much fun modeling it." I laughed, and thanked her for the compliment. Then they both remarked that the Wedding ensemble was breathtaking. I smiled and thanked them again.

It's a fantastic experience to enter into competition, and win -- but as you just read, some of my pieces were well enjoyed by some of the volunteers running the Fair. And who knows who else they may have inspired to pick up the hook and try. And that's my main reason for entering these pieces ... to inspire.  I know, as I viewed my items and looked at the items surrounding them, I certainly was!

If you're interested in having your work judged, pick an item and start searching the Internet for information on your local Fairs. Or, if you live in Connecticut, just click here for a listing.  There's no other feeling quite like it than when someone approaches you and states that your piece that is on display inspires them! J

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Something's Fishy

Today is Sunday ... besides the usual rituals of the weekend, this is a time when many men enjoy going fishing. Since I live in a lake community, everyday, actually, is a fishing day -- mostly for the male gender of our species. Don't get me wrong, we have females that fish too, just not as many.

And this role reversal is true with crocheting ... there are more females that crochet than males.  But this is changing.

To the left of my Journal is a section called "Other Journals" ... if you scroll down you'll see that there are two crochet journals created by men. One is David's and the other is "that crochet guy's" ... it's been a long while since David has updated his journal, but you can still get a feel for the pride he has in his crochet abilities. And speaking of pride, "that crochet guy" has quite a lot of talent -- and he updates his journal fairly regularly.

My Uncle Teddy once told me not to discuss crochet around him. Apparently as he was growing up he got into mischief, and as a form of punishment he had to sit on the front stoop and crochet -- so that all his friends could see him and it would a form of "shame." How unfortunate that he's grown to dislike it because of what it represents to him.

Fortunately though, for others, men are starting to find the value in crochet; from it's calming effects to it's mathematical qualities. And since their numbers are growing, they have also started gathering and sharing their experiences, such as at the Yahoo! group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/menwhocrochet/ . I think this is great. So in doing my part in encouraging men to crochet, I found this great website where they can learn to crochet their own fishing lures.  (To get to the crocheted fly patterns, just click onto the image ... it will take you right to the website offering them.)

Can you see it? The guys all sitting in the middle of the lake with their lines out waiting for a nibble, (perhaps with a beer in hand) as they discuss techniques of crocheting their own lures.  Oh, I just love the imagery!!

 Have fun "getting hooked!"

Saturday, August 21, 2004


I had a fantastic time teaching in Stamford today ... the Crochet Crash Course for Beginners was so much fun!  It was great to get this group of ladies comfortable with creating stitches for the first time and making them into "happy hookers."

When I got home, again my husband delighted me by handing me the mail.  Today I got the September/October 2004 issue of Piecework.  I love this magazine and devour it from cover to cover, often times going back and rereading it.  This magazine features a variety of types of needlework, and I think it's great for increasing one's knowledge about the other needlecrafts even if I don't enjoy them -- yet!

In this issue, Carol Ventura, known for Tapestry Crochet, has two features.  One is a pattern for a tapestry crochet "Cat Pillow," and the other is an article on "Tapestry Crochet around the World."  If you're not familiar with Tapestry Crochet ... this is a method of using two or three strands of yarn for a given row, working over the colors not needed at the time.  This creates a very stiff fabric which is great for baskets, bags, and other items where stiff fabric would be best suited...and it's done with the single crochet stitch.

Also in this issue are some articles of children -- "Needlework in Classrooms" and "Schoolgirl Art and Education."  I'm looking forward to reading these two articles as children and fiber arts are something that interest me strongly.

If you're interested in this magazine, the best website I've found to subscribe is at BlueMountain.  There the subscription is under $20 instead of the regular $35.  (click onto the magazine image and it will take you to the Interweave website where you can learn more about the magazine, but if you want to subscribe and save $$, be sure to click onto the Blue Mountain text you see above.)

Lastly, I'd like to thank Sheila for emailing me today with two (new-to-me) crochet Blogs/Journals to check out.  I liked them & added them to my growing list.  If you have one for me to check out and possibly add, please feel free to email me the link.   ...Hey Sheila, keep me posted on your progress with that afghan; I want to celebrate cyberly with you when it's finished! J

Friday, August 20, 2004

Picking a Crocheted Gown

AOL is celebrating it's first year of offering it's members the option of having online Journals, also known as Blogs.  (I started my Journal here in January -- Wow, that's eight months ago!!)

There's a "big to do" about the AOL Celebration, which includes a cyberspace Ball.  So in thinking about "cyberly" attending this gala event, of course I'd need a gown.  And, since it would be a gown I'd be wearing, naturally with me being a crochet enthusiast, it would have to be entirely crocheted!

So the search for the perfect crocheted gown was on -- and I found two!  I am undecided which to wear so I'll let you, my readers, decide.

Both dresses are featured on the website known as Vintage Textile; they have many items that are just to die for!  But we'll, for now, just concentrate on the two gowns since the Ball is this weekend as I still need to get my hair done up proper for the event. J

The first dress (on the left) is from 1905 and is a crocheted Irish Lace gown.   It features large three-dimensional motifs that just makes the jaw drop while admiring it; it's stunning really.   To see more (including close-up) images of this dress, click onto the image.   It will take you to the website that is currently selling it for $3600.

The second dress (to the right) is a gown that just screams romance.  It's handmade Irish lace, from 1912, is absolutely beautiful with elegantly cut open skirt panels and train with floral designs adorning it.  (Go ahead, wipe your chin.  It's not proper to drool so excessively.)  As with the first dress, click onto the image to visit the website that currently has it for sale ($3200) to see more pictures.  

Knowing from my own experience in crocheting Irish Lace (I did a floral doily with raised motifs that took 75 hours to make), these dresses have some serious time put into them, and I'm sure they were admired by many who saw them being worn during their time. 

I'm guessing that these two dresses took thousands of hours to create -- and perhaps more than one crocheter.  They're from an era that didn't have clothing mass-produced, and a time when finer details really mattered.

Amazing, huh?  J

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Surf's Up

Last night my dear husband and I were discussing if it's time to get rid of our second line that we use for surfing the Internet.  My position was, we could save $25 dollars every month, and in a year that adds up to $300 -- and of course I've been thinking of ways to "invest" that money to further my crochet enthusiasm.

But as Lady Luck would have it, she left our house this morning and let Murphy in.  Yes, my DSL connection is down, and I'm using the second line for my Internet connection at a baud rate that is so prehistoric.  I guess this means I'll have to put my fiber dreams down for just a bit longer and keep the second line until we can figure out why the DSL connection is so unreliable.  Hopefully though, Lady Luck will return and stay with me -- at least through the weekend as I've decided to enter some items for Judging this weekend.  (Since Murphy is here, I'm going to opt not to say what I'm entering lest he do something extreme like spill his coffee on my entries or send an attack squad of butterflies to carry items off and hide them.)

Speaking of luck, or the lack of, my vehicle's access remote died on me yesterday.  I was sitting at the local grocery store in the middle of the day, dying of heat when it took some 10 minutes for it to have enough juice to let me start the engine.  Fortunately it was only 10 minutes, or else we would have had ice cream for dinner last night.

My point in bringing this up, is that my backup remote (which was at home yesterday) is broken too.  It works -- it's just the little do-hickey that allows it to hang on a keychain that's broken.  So, I'm now toying with the idea of crocheting a little "pocket" for it so I can use this remote as we try to figure out what happened to the other remote.  I'm thinking the braided wire I mentioned the other day would be an excellent material to create this "pocket" with as it should hold up to wear & tear.  Anyway, this will be my "job" today as I prepare to put my items for the judging together and deliver at the fair grounds tonight.

And getting back to the subject of surfing, one last thought I'd like to share is a new movie review that states the movie Surf's Up  will "...be an animated mockumentary taking audiences behind the scenes of that seminal sporting event: The Penguin World Surfing Championship. Destined to possess the thrills and spills of the Olympics, the World Cup and the International Crocheting Championship combined..."

You can read the review entirely by going to
Of course, if they could actually get the penguin to crochet in a
championship (on or off a surf board) -- NOW that would be a movie to see!   J


Character References:
Dear Husband:  himself; a great guy, really!!

Lady Luck:  sounds better than having a rabbit's foot -- and you never know, she might be a crocheter too!
Murphy:  As in Murphy's Law "If anything can go wrong, it will." 

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Latest Fashion Craze: Ponchos!

Have you looked around lately to see what the latest fashion is?
     Even though it's still summer, these items are proudly being worn.
          And stores are promoting them as "must haves" for the new school year.

What are they?  Ponchos!  Ponchos! Ponchos!

I remember as a kid, that my mother's best friend, Alice, crocheted me a poncho.  I lived in Colorado at the time, and mostly used the poncho for twirling around these bars they had set up on the playground.  I have no idea how I never lost my stomach contents doing all that twirling, but the poncho was one of my favorite garments, right next to my baby blue pants set.

In recalling the details of this poncho, my mind is telling me that it was similar to a granny square look -- not a bunch of granny squares, but one huge one with a hole in the middle so I could stick my head through.  And it had draw strings with huge pompoms at the end.  I'd lay my money down that it was yellow; my mother's favorite color for me.  (I'll have to ask her if she has any pictures)     

Now my email addy, and the CGOA's (I'm their Volunteer Correspondent) is flooded with requests for patterns for crocheted ponchos.  I hadn't any.  But fortunately someone posted a website, a Journal really -- also known as a Blog -- that is collecting links for them (I'm saved!!  LOL) and I checked it out and I'm impressed.  There's a growing list for crocheted ponchos (marked with a "C") and knitted ones too (marked with a "K") You can check it out to by  going to faery crafty's journal at (copy & paste) http://faerycrafty.blogdrive.com/archive/140.html

Come this fall, I'll be teaching a "Design Your Own Poncho" two part class -- those taking it should have a lot of fun.  Yesterday, while teaching in Stamford, Haley, one of my students, started designing one herself.  She picked out her yarn colors based upon some beads she fell in love with and intend on using for the trim.  She worked up a small swatch using the colors and I think it will come out stunning. 

Half the fun, I think, is picking out the colors and the yarn textures to use that suits your likes.  If you know me, or getting to know me by reading my Journal here, then you know I'm an advocate for "doing your own thing" and making truely personal works.  I think it's worth playing around with swatches to get the look, the feel, and color combinations you're looking for.  And we're not even talking about incorporating beads yet!  LOL

And, speaking of fibers, thanks to the faery crafty's journal I mentioned just a bit ago, I took a test this morning to find out which flock I follow, and apparently, I don't.  (But we already knew this, didn't we?  LOL)  Read on:

You are a - Neutral Sheep! Congrats - you do what you like! You make your own rules, not follow the flock!

Click here to see which flock you follow

Monday, August 16, 2004

Each One Teach Two

Teaching children to be involved with fiber arts can be very rewarding, and be something that they enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Can that be said about the handheld games?  Well, maybe.  Perhaps if they opt to go into designing games for future users, or if the military needs "rapid eye-hand movement skills."  But, after the game is done, what do they have to show for their efforts?

So, to get children thinking, to get them creative, fiber arts is a great place to turn.  And many middle schools are learning that children involved with fiber arts during class, actually improve in their skills to concentrate!

The Craft Yarn Council of America (www.craftyarncouncil.com) launched a new program called "Each One Teach Two" -- where they challenge you to teach two people crochet, and they in turn teach two how to crochet.  The official URL for this campaign is www.eachoneteachtwo.com -- here there's fantastic graphics and guidance to help  teach someone this fantastic art form.  (You can get there by clicking onto the graphic.)

I know the term "her" appears in the CYCA's text a lot; don't let that stop you from teaching "him" too.  There are many men that crochet -- some famous, and more that are average "Joes."  The point I'm making is that if a child is interested, regardless of gender, teach them!!

I received a fantastic email from designer Carolyn Christmas (carolynchristmas.com) today with a tip for teaching children ...  if you get a group of parent & child sets, swap parents.  Let someone else's parent teach a child; this will help both the child & parent relax and make the learning process easier.  I've yet to try this tip but plan to.   (Thank you, Carolyn!!)

So, before school starts, give it some thought.  Plan on getting involved and teaching just two people how to crochet, and then urge them to teach just two people.  You can even present the two you're teaching with Certificates ... just visit the CYCA's website to download it. 

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Girls' Nite Out

 Last night was our "Girls' Nite Out."

Members of The HHCC gathered together to work on assembling brochures for our three major demonstrations coming up:

  • CraftAdventure
  • The Eastern States Exposition
  • Knit Out & Crochet Too in NYC

    As we finished assembling the some 500 three-page brochures, we moved on to crocheting the "starts" that will be used at the Knit Out and Crochet Too event in NYC.  The "starts" are little squares, 12 stitches wide, and 4 rows high, that will be given to those interested in learning how to crochet at this huge event.  I'm guessing we did some 200-300 of these things. 

    The funny part about the evening is that anyone looking in would have thought that we were being taped for a new type of car commercial.  Here we were, a group of ladies working in unison and our topics were not about our children, our jobs, our latest crochet projects.  No, for some reason, we got to talking about cars -- and this of course is, in the eye of most males, a bit unusual.

     We did chat about the need of a roomy interior, but that's an expected "girly" topic -- we dove in deeper and talked about chassis' and eight cylinder verses six cylinder, and handling, and braking, and driving over whatever is in our way to the LYS.  <<grins>>  Yes, we looked like a new type of car commercial ... sitting there with our crochet hooks flying, deeply engaged with a polite debate of BMW vs. Mercedes, Toyota verses Nissan, and why on earth Hyundai would have it's batteries a "special order" item as if it were a high-preformance vehicle (or high-ticket priced vehicle) like the Mercedes.

    Now should such a commercial appear on the airwaves, I'd like it to be our group that actually gets filmed.  Not a bunch of actresses doing a recreation.  Afterall, they'll need to know how to crochet, and who better than us?  J
  • Friday, August 13, 2004

    Starting a Crochet Group, Cont.

    I was asked by one of my Journal Readers the following:

       Speaking of Crochet Clubs... I've so wanted to create one myself, but I have experience in my frigid northeastern state with trying to start groups. The weather tends to isolate people so much. One time someone doesn't show up during a snowstorm.. and the next time they don't want to explain why they didn't show up... etc.. People just wander off. That's why I volunteer with Seniors. But it would still be fun to have a regular crochet group. Do you have any pointers for people who want to start one?

    Absolutely! J

    One of the "perks" of joining our Chapter is that those with computer access are granted access to a private community we set up -- for members in good standing only.  Here we chat about a variety of crochet topics, and what's so nice about it, is that it bolsters a "family" like community. 

    And, only once in the near three years since starting our group did we have to "cancel" a meeting due to weather -- but it really didn't stop us from having our meeting.  We jumped online to our private community and utilized the Chat Room feature.  It was quite fun even though there was a blizzard outside.

    Also, when members don't show for a meeting, we don't pry.  It's natural for "people to wander off" as there are outside forces pulling us in different directions.  We do let them know that they were missed, and go over some of the details.  Having a program of what to expect (even loosely) helps...as well as having a friendly calendar reminder sent automatically of the upcoming meeting. 

    You can do the same!

    We utilize Yahoo! for our private group -- it's easy to set up and maintain, and it's free.  For more ideas, visit my journal entry from the day before and you'll be able to get more ideas.

    But remember, I cannot stress enough, that FUN must be a part of the fundamentals of your group. 

    Now, I was asked another question by the same reader:

       The screen name (darkhorsemare) comes from a Bugs Bunny vs. Yosemite Sam cartoon (can you guess which one?).

    Oh, I'm going to be tested! (LOL)  Thank goodness for the power of the Internet!  Here's my answer:

    "Ballot Box Bunny" (Freleng; 1951):

      CN: The Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam Russian Roulette ending gag is cut; so, this cartoon short ends with "dark horse" being elected as the "New Mare". The term of "dark horse" refers to one who receives unexpected support as a candidate for the nomination in a political convention.
    Whew!  :)

    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    Stitches Getting Caught in a Bunch

    Several months ago I came across an article that stated impoverished women of Poland, and other countries, are stopping their crochet of traditional items such as doilies.  Since most men don't "slick back" their hair with grease as they once did, the need to protect furniture has dropped (doilies, also known as antimacassars, were drapped on the backs of chairs where the heads would rest, and on the arms of chairs "in case he got the urge to run his fingers through his hair and forget about the grease"). 

    This means that these women are not making money.  So they looked at what was hot on the market, and that would be weddings.  In all due seriousness, here in the States, I believe this is a mulit-billion dollar business, so there's apparently room to get in on the action if you have the right product.

    So they started crocheting thongs.  Yes, that's right, those "weggie" undergarments.  And business was good.

    Now, they fear their church, as the church is  "So unhappy, in fact, that the local priest has even been naming and shaming the thong-makers in church on Sundays."  (you can read the article for yourself by going here: Pope's altar cloth makers turn to a more profitable line - thongs)

    The story has a good point, the ladies are making money that they need, and with that money they are helping fill the collection basket at their local churches.

    I know, looking across at my own children, that if I were so in need to make ends meet, I wouldn't be ashamed to crochet whatever the market dictated. 

    I hope the Church and these ladies can come to a compromise.  Life is short, and something like this is no reason to get "stitches caught up in a bunch."

    Wednesday, August 11, 2004

    Goodies From Afar

    There are times when you can just sing!   It doesn't matter if you cannot hold a tune because of tone deafness -- you're just given this one-time-ability to sing -- with joy, that is. 

                         Today is my day.  (I'm so happy, happy, happy!!  I love treats & surprises!  LOL)

    Look at what I got in the mail!!  Susan, a member of the online Freeform group, who lives in Illinois and attended the CGOA Conference, sent me this little gem with a challenge to "try it."  She says it's "Braided copperwire [that] acts very much like yarn."   Oh, I love challenges!!  

    Where she got this, I don't know, but you know I'm going to ask!!

    The hook you see pictured with it, is actually an upcoming prize for my Crochet Club's 3rd Anniversary.  It's a collectors hook that was made for the SouthWest Ohio Chapter of the CGOA by www.celticswan.com -- If you're interested, they may have more ... visit the Chapter at SouthwestOhioCrochetGuild.com to inquire.  I used the hook to give the copperwire a bit of dimension.  Isn't it pretty?

    I wouldn't dare think of trying the copperwire on the Celtic Swan hook because, one, it's not mine (--yet!  I could win it!); and two, the copperwire, although soft, could scratch the hook up.

    Now, what to create with that copperwire ...  

         any suggestions?  J

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    Creating a Crochet Group

    I recall the first time I thought of creating a Crochet group -- I was excited with thoughts of all that we would learn from each other, together, how'd we impact out local charities, and of friendships that would build.

    I recall also, of wondering, gesh! -- how do I go about this??

    At the time, I was teaching crochet at just one location, and had "regular" students.  These "regular" students and I always had fun together and so one day we got to talking about the "what if."  You know, the "what if we started a group for crocheters to come together..."

    At the time, I was a new member of the Crochet Guild of America, so I visited their website and looked at their Chapter link.  I looked to see if there was a Chapter near us ... nope.  Closest one was in New Jersey.

    So the next thing I did was look at the suggestions of what a Chapter can do together, and thought, "We can do this!"  So I spoke with the "regulars" and we agreed, with four of them plus me, we met the minimum number required.  We filled out the paperwork and mailed it in.

    Although we had five co-founders, that first meeting only had three of us there.  We settled on a name, on a meeting time, location, and dues.  We were ready for members to come.

    And come they did!  Here it is nearly three years later and we have 35 members.  We've learned from each other, learned together, assisted our local community, and made many new friends.

    You can start your own group too.  It doesn't need to be a Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America ... it can be just a group that gathers at a local coffee shop, library, or other place.  (Our first meeting place was a store's classroom)

    You can find others to join you by going to your local paper's website & seeing if they have a Community link and add a blurb about your forming group.  You can put flyers up in local stores (grocery/craft shops), at libraries, coffee houses, schools ... meaning if they'll let you post it, do it.  The more exposure you can get about your group, the better the chance of finding other Crocheters in your area.

    Use the Internet to your advantage
           ... you can post to the Crochet.Meetup.com website and see if there are people already planning a get-together (the International Crochet Meetup Day happens in 28 days).
           ... you can create an online group by using websites such as Yahoo! to create a group for your area like my group did just a few months ago.  Ours is called ConnecticutCrochets and it's already got people talking about where they're from.
           ... you can use online message boards, such as AOL's (keyword: crochet), or the CGOA's (accessible through
           ... you can join online groups that share the same crochet passions as you. 

    CrochetPartners (
    www.cafecrochet.com) is one of the online groups you can join to find people interested.  And lets not forget our local craft/yarn shops that help feed our addiction for more hooks, yarn, patterns, and notions.  Usually they'll have an idea if there's others interested in starting or joining a group too.

    Lastly, you may want to consider joining the Yahoo! group known as "chapter_info" where you can post questions about CGOA Chapters, look for other members & so on.

    he best advice that I can give in starting your group is that the word "FUN" be an important part of the fundamentals, the backbone, the structure of your group.  After all, laughter is contagious!

    Monday, August 9, 2004


    Last night, my husband and I finally watched the first Spiderman movie.  If memory serves me correct, this movie was a RAVE with all the menfolk, but I don't recall much of what women thought of it.

    All I can tell you is that each time Spiderman shot webs from his wrists, is that it was an endless supply of fiber.  I don't know if in the second movie they have him married off yet or not, but if not, then they may soon have more women swooning over him than anticipated if they all start thinking like me.

    Imagine being married to a man that can "spin" up your fiber for you at a moments' notice.  No need to be worried about gauge; running out; dye lot ... yeah, and that would be another thing to investigate ... how to dye those luscious webs into a wonderment of color.

    Have you ever looked at a freshly spun spider web?  It glistens and shines.  Think of that for the next garment you have in mind!  (LOL)

    Now this idea of using the webs to create fiber out of did not entirely come out of my mind ... the movie makers did make the Aunt into a knitter and so, well, one thought leads to another, right?


    For those wondering if I went to yesterday's meeting or not, I did.  J

    And a lot of it had to do with, besides the meds, Holly, who I mentioned in yesterday's post, who wrote back to me stating she took my advice! 

    I took your advice and changed my Crochet Guild membership to a professional membership.

    I just wanted to do cartwheels when I read that.  Then she gave me a dish of her own advice:  I think you should go to your meeting!!  It might just be the thing that will put you over the top toward feeling better.  And if it doesn't...it probably won't kill you.  Life is way to short to miss anything we don't have to miss.  I wish I had a crochet guild in my area.  I'm thinking of starting one but I really don't know how to go about it.

    Thank you, Holly!  I took that advice and went to the meeting -- and it was a shot of happiness that really perked me up!  We had so much fun together; I'm really glad I went!

    Holly is not alone in wondering about how to start a crochet group, so I think I'll address that in tomorrow's entry.  For now, I'll leave you wondering about what it would possibly be like to work with a fiber made by an insect.  Well, technically, we already do, if you think about it a bit more ... from a worm.  It's called "silk."

    Sunday, August 8, 2004

    "Hook Crochet"

    When we start to play with the vocabulary in our Crochet World, it's interesting of what we'll learn.

    I have a page on my website dedicated to the way crochet is pronounced.  In a nutshell, it's a French word, and that means the "t" sound is ignored.  So it's really "croshay" that we're saying.

    So, if we take the French word, Crochet and mix it with another French word, velour, we get (drum roll please!) VELCRO!

    So in thinking in this line a bit more (hey, when you're sick & all you can do is just "be" it's amazing what the mind comes up with), I wondered if there was velour yarn.  So I hopped on the Internet this morning and sure enough, this website is offering a velvet yarn safe enough for babies to enjoy: kertzer.com/babyvelvet -- I'll have to make myself a note to see if I can get a skein of this locally to try.

    Holly sent me a Get Well-Wish email and said, "I enjoy reading your blog and so have followed your back problems on top of the virus.  Poor thing. I'm amazed that you can keep up with your blog."   Holly, you're not alone in that thought.  Fortunately for me, my dear husband has abandoned his laptop.  Alright, he didn't abandon it.  I took it over.  It's mine, mine, mine, and he's not getting it back!  Ever!  (That is, unless he asks.)  The laptop has been a lifesaver for me, helping me keep in touch, and semi-productive for the past month.

    Now today is my Crochet Club's monthly meeting.  I've never missed a meeting since we began it in 2001.  I am at war with myself as I so want to go!!!   I wouldn't be able to speak, so our Vice-Presidents would have to handle the aspect of running the business section of the meeting ... And it's such an important meeting, too,  as I have goodies I want to raffle off to members that couldn't make it to the Conference, there's voting for our upcoming Anniversary to be done, a presentation by Margaret Hubert about the Process of Getting Published, and one of our members will be going over how to create a designer scarf.  I am feeling slightly better; I think the antibiotics are helping (I know the pain meds are because I've resumed drinking & eating soft foods)  so my energy level is higher.  Do I dare go?  It's in 4 1/2 hours.  I mean, if something were to go wrong, I couldn't be in a better place as the meeting is held inside of our local hospital....  Do I dare go?  Hmmmmmmmmmm......

    Saturday, August 7, 2004

    Thumbs, er, HOOKS UP: Crochet Fantasy

          As I'm still not up to par: still unable to speak, or swallow without being in sheer pain (the tylenol with codeine is now taking care of that problem, as the antibiotics attempt to combat this nasty germ I picked up from GKW! -- and to top it off, I'm still dealing with my two ruptured discs too -- I refuse to let these things beat me down!...), I got rather excited when I my husband handed me the latest issue of CROCHET FANTASY that came in the mail.

         Knowing Ponchos are all the rave, it was wonderful to see some variations in this edition, along with some gorgeous sweaters ... including a pattern for a man's sweater, all to consider trying.  But what got my heart pumping with the most excitement, was a new addition to the magazine that they're calling an "installment."

         It's called "Kids' Corner" and it's for "...getting the word out and [to] attract a new generation to the craft of crochet, [they] decided to dedicate a section of [their] magazine to the designs that will appeal to a younger audience."   I showed the section to my young daughter, who dabbles in crochet, and she got so excited!  She couldn't believe that a publication had thought about kids crocheting and she said, "This is MY section?!!"  -- isn't that great!!

         I'm looking forward to flipping through the pages some more, but thought, if you are a subscriber, or would like to become one, then you might want to know where I get my subscription from.  I get it through magazinevalues -- through this link I only pay $6.97 for my year subscription, and I help my Crochet group raise funds that permit us to travel the tri-state area, teaching and promoting crochet while helping our local community.

         In the meantime, I'd like to thank all of you who are sending me email well-wishes.  That means so much to me!  I promise to personally respond to each and every one just as soon as I can.  J

    Thursday, August 5, 2004

    Toying Around

    Who was I trying to kid yesterday when I said I'd wait and finish the knitting project I started on the wooden needles before going to my new Denise interchangeable set?

    I must have been delusional with my 103 degree fever (no joke, I'm actually not feeling well, and think I got some sort of "Summer Flu") when I made that statement.

    I was awake for a total of about three hours yesterday, and it was in the morning that I had the longest stretch of "functionality."  So I picked up the wooden needles that are said to be a size 9.  Then I put the cables together and set it up with a size 9 too.  But before starting, I opted to roll the wooden and the acrylic needles between my fingers.  Are they the same size?  No!  They didn't feel like it.  The acrylic felt a bit smaller! So I grabbed the acrylic 10s and rolled them between my fingers with the wooden needles; they felt to be the same in diameter as the wooden.  (It is true that I could have actually measured them, but that required more strength & energy than I had at the moment.)

    So, I worked the little piece I already started off the wooden and onto the acrylic.  Wow, I actually saw an increase in speed as the yarn and the needles seemed to enjoy each other's company!  Since I started running low on energy I let my thoughts drift into what I could create with this little experiment I was toying with.

    I settled on a poncho for my daughter's Barbie.  When it was about 2 1/2 wide I cast off, and inserted my hook, joined the ends and at the bottom I crocheted a border using the Loop Stitch.  For the top, I crocheted a ribbing (3 stitches high).  It came out quite cute; my daughter loves it as she can use it as a poncho, skirt, or top for her Barbie.  I didn't have enough strength to sew my ends in -- that will have to wait until I'm feeling better.

    Again, today, I've slept most of the day away.  But as was true yesterday, I had more strength in the morning ... so I decided to knit another little sampler ... six rows in size 10, six rows in size 9, six rows in size 8 ... and so on.  I only got to the size 8 and had to put it down.  My goal here is to see how the sizes of the needles effect the drape/texture of the yarn.  I do want to note that the yarn says to use a size 2 needle ... but yesterday's little experiment with the 9/10s made for a very soft fabric.

    I want to urge others who are curious to toy around too.  Make swatches with hooks/needles too big, or too small as what the manufacturer recommends.  You'll learn a lot about the yarn/thread characteristics, and might stumble upon one that you just love the end results of! 

    Wednesday, August 4, 2004

    My New Toy

    Yesterday, I did it -- I returned to work!  It felt so good to be back in the store, teaching.  And buying!  (lol)

    From reading Maggie Regetti's book, she highly recommended cabled needles (I still have such a hard time of saying needles ... I keep calling them hooks!), and I had a gift certificate I've been sitting on for the past 8 months (eight months!  I know, I know -- I just wanted to be sure of what it was that I wanted to spend it on!)

    So, this is what I decided upon.  I choose the Denise Interchangeable Needle system, along with four skeins of various yarns that I'll be using to design a crocheted ponco with.

    Each knitter in the store took a look at my knitted scarf, and acknowledged I had some "trouble spots" but declaired it "...good over all" and that "...the tension looks good, except at the end where it looks like you lost interest and wanted to just get the project done."  There wasn't much laughter, either, as I had expected.  Just a "chong" of the gong they hit in honor of my scarf.  They were impressed with my edges ... I smiled and said, "Thanks, they're crocheted!"

    At the end of my first class a lady came and sat at the table ... she was knitting.  I was discussing with one of my students that I seem to enjoy twisting my knit stitches.  I must be reading Maggies books too much as I would have sworn, based on the image in the book, that this lady was Maggie.  She was just as sweet as can be, taking the time to show my (crochet) student and I the magic of using twisted stitches and "untwisting" them.  She declaired the technique as faster, and of course I was all ears.  She then introduced herself to us -- Barbara, it turns out, is her name, but in my mind, I'm thinking "that's Maggie!" 

    So last night I took my new toys, the Denise needles, out of the case and just toyed with assembling them and such.  I want to finish the fabric I have on my wooden needles that I started first.  I don't want to end up with a zillion knitting projects as I do with crocheting!  J


    PS: If you'd like to learn more about the Denise Interchangeable Needle system, just click onto the image above.

    Monday, August 2, 2004

    Audio entry

    Yesterday, late in the evening, I found my missing needle.  Mysteriously, it lay not far from where I placed it, and next to it lay a shiny blue crochet hook.  Hmmm, I wondered, how did that get there?  Of course, I let my imagination wonder:

         There, in the corner, he stood.  He wasn't pleased with the coo and decided to step forward.  "I think we owe Woody an apology," he said quietly.
         At first the hooks didn't hear him, so he repeated himself as he gently pushed through the crowd.  "I said, I think we owe Woody an apology," and added, "and I think we should return him to his twin." 
         The boyes looked over towards this hook that was now speaking up.  "What's this," quipped Milward, "why should we?!  Because of him and his twin, we're being ignored!" 
         Clark chimed in, "Yeah, but Ms. Dee paid the ransom.  Didn't we each get a skein of yarn like we asked?"
         Members of the Balene Battalion smiled at each other, as this meant that their mission was successful.
        The hook that first spoke up was now standing next to Woody, working on turning him loose.  Woody looked at him and wondered why he was helping him, being his hero.  Once freed, he said to Woody, "Go to your twin, and help Ms. Dee learn your ways.  Show her that although your speed may be slow, it's technique that she wants.  She'll appreciate hearing that from you as that's her creed." 
         Woody looked at him, as did all the other hooks.  He continued, "There is room enough for the both of us -- and in time I'm sure we'll be working together."
         Susan Bates stood and decreed, "Let it be known today, on behalf of this great hook who stepped forward, that the rivalry between us and needles is no more!  Let it die here, and let it be known throughout all the land, that we can work in the same owner's hands!"
         Bones slapped his knee and said, "Well, I'll be golly!  That's the way it should be!"  They all laughed at this, and cheered. 
         During this time, Brittany looked over to Aero and asked, "Who was that shiny blue brave hook that spoke up?"
         Aero looked over towards him with respect, and replied to her, "Why, that was 'Hero!'"

    Now I want to add, that my husband inquired, after reading yesterday's Journal Entry, if, after paying the randsom, I was setting myself up for more needle kidnappings.

    I told him that I don't think so, as there seems to be a slow understanding emerging between the two groups.

    And sure enough, I finished that scarf last night. I finished knitting it, added a simple crochet border going around, and then added some fringe.  It may not be perfect, but that's OK.  My first crochet pieces weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination either. J


    NOTE:  All the names used in this imaginative story of mine are all actual names of Crochet Hooks, and that no needles were hurt in any way.

    Sunday, August 1, 2004

    Fiber Art Rivalry

    As a passionate crocheter, I've long known about "rivalry" between us and knitters.  And I've come to the conclusion, based on my new knitting experiences, on why:

    1. Knitting is ssss  llll oooo wwww.  I mean, come on already, five days into working on this scarf, and it's still not done?  If that were crocheting, it would have been done in five HOURS!

    2.  Crocheters use more raw materials.  About a third more.  This means when we shop at our local yarn shops we buy more leaving less behind for the knitters.

    3.  In reading Maggie Regetti's book, she says there is only two stitches in knitting, the "knit stitch" and the "purl stitch."  Oh, I think that's the root of the problem right there as there is so much more to crochet!!

    4.  Knitting needles are susceptible to kidnappings.  I think this is what happened last night when I set my knitting aside to assist my husband with some DSL trouble shooting (don't ask!) ... when I came back to resume my knitting, one of the needles was missing.  I swear I think my crochet hooks banded together and kidnapped it.  I can only imagine the scenario...

         "What's your name and rank?" yells Silver Goose.
         "Mmma-my name is "Woody" and my rank is size 9" whimpers the needle.
         "Are you aware, Woody, of the grief you're giving our Ms. Dee?!" shouts JPR.
         "I swear, I don't know what you're talking about.  Whhhat did you do with my twin?" asks Woody.  "Where are you holding him?"
         It's been a long time since the boyes have seen any action, so they all gather around, they sense the questioning is just starting to get good. 
        "Our Ms. Dee has been working on a scarf for days now, why isn't it done yet?!" barks Clover.
          "It's not my ffffault, really!" replies Woody nervously, "it's Ms. Dee!  Sssshe just doesn't 'get' it!  I can sense with my twin that she really misses you guys!"
        "Is that a fact now, Woody?" replies Grafton.  Grafton looks at Susan Bates, the ring leader who gives a simple nod, upon which they start exiting the room to have a private conversation.  But before leaving the room, Grafton looks back at Woody and replies, "Don't even think about going anywhere or we'll turn the Graydogs loose!"

    I hope you read this lightheartedly, as it was written, I'm still a newbie to knitting and reserve the right to change my opinion(s) ... what's this? excuse me just a minute ...

         hmmm, what's this note?

    Give us each a skein of yarn, and we'll turn the needle loose.  You've got five minutes to respond before we convert him into a tunisian hook. 
                                       Signed, the Balene Battalion

    Oh dear!  Wish me luck ....  J