Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pointed Observations

Yesterday my children started their new school year.  I'm not one of those parents that cheer for this day as I enjoy, rather we enjoy spending time together.  But I did as any normal parent would do when faced with a few hours of alone time ... I headed to our local Borders bookstore and hooked up with another crocheter for coffee.  We had a great time catching up and I even got some more rows done on my scarf for the Scarf Contest that will be held at the upcoming NYC "Knit Out & Crochet Too" event.  At one point a woman sitting across the cafe approached me and complimented me on my knitting.  "Oh!  It's not knitted," she exclaimed as she petted the airy softness of my scarf. 

"No," I replied with a big grin, "it's not."

"Oh, I see that now; you only have one stick in your hand," she commented.

"Yes, it's a crochet hook." 

"You're right," she said.  "I should have recognized that.  Your work is beautiful."

I thanked her.  If I were reading a mystery novel I might have thought that would be "foreshadowing" -- a hint of things to come later on.  But since it was real life, heh, I just took it at face value.  A compliment from a knitter; I like when that happens!

After picking my children up from school we then headed into NYC for another "Knit Out & Crochet Too" meeting.  Upon walking into the conference room nothing looked "unusual" ... until we took our seats.  This is when Mary, the coordinator of the event, announced there were no crochet hooks for us to create the "starts" with.  This meant that all the volunteers involved in planning this big event would be busy knitting them.  GASP!!

"Oh, hmmm," I quietly said. "I'm not a knitter.  I use those sticks to keep my hair up."  As the meeting took place with many plans coming to a close I looked around the room.  Everyone had needles in their hands, knitting.  Even my daughter!  I felt left out of the party.  Could I possibly remember how to create those stitches with out twisting & warping them?  As I wondered why I never quite found the time to practice a little, I asked my daughter for her help. 

She climbed on my lap, cast on a bunch of stitches and did the first row.  "Now you do the next row," she encouraged.  I took a deep breath and took her lead.  "Like this," I asked. 

"Yes, Mommy."

"Are you sure I'm not pulling the yarn up the wrong way; the way you end up twisting your stitches?"

"You're doing fine, Mommy."

"I'm at the end, I don't remember.  Do I chain one to turn?"

"No Mommy." (I swear she rolled her eyes at me!)  "That's crochet you're thinking about."  She took the hooks needles and began the next row effortlessly.  Fearlessly.  "OK, Mommy, I did the third row, you do the last."

I did, and I think our little "start" we created came out pretty good (see image #2).  For dramatic effect I could say we continued on but fortunately sadly they ran out of yarn.  I really should put in some more practice time with the sticks!

Some details from the meeting:
1.  There will  be Knit and Crochet Speed trials.  If you're fast with your stitches, then this is the place to enter! 

2.  The New York City Crochet Guild pledged 1,000 preemie hats for the Caps to the Capital" campaign.  Make that 994 now as Barbara, the NYCCG President, got six from me yesterday.  (See image six; she didn't care that I hadn't tucked my ends in; "I'll do it for you honey," she said. "Just be sure to get me four more!")   {{chuckles}}  If you'll be attending the KOC2, why not see how many you can donate too!  Click here for the details & free patterns!

3.  It's not too late to submit your Doggie Fashions!  Click here for the details!

Lastly I want to thank my son for being our photographer yesterday; I think he did a wonderful job, don't you?Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thoughts about the CraftAdventure

Ever since the founding of  my CGOA Chapter, The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, our members enter items for judging into what is known as The CraftAdventure, an event held in West Springfield, Massachusetts. 

In all the years we've been attending, I'd have to say that this was the leanest ... in entries, vendors, and spectators.  Was it the weather?  Was it the economy (ie. gas prices)?  Even Priscilla made note that this event wasn't as it has been in the past.  I certainly do hope they can turn it around as this year marked their 30th year celebrating being the "largest fiber & fabric art showcase in New England."

So what about the ribboning?  I wanted to see how the judging would do between two different venues.  So I entered my Red Ribbon winning Sun Dress from the Bridgewater Fair into the CraftAdventure.  Kind of like comparing apples to oranges, or along those thought lines.  Based on the results here it won an Honorable Mention (there was no ribbon on it at the event so I didn't know until today when I was adding links to today's entry.)

My daughter won a Red Ribbon for the crocheted slippers I mentioned about a month ago that she was working on.  (Dare I mention that she finished them in the parking lot just moments before entering them???)  I must say that it's a great "How to Crochet" kit for anyone looking to get their child crocheting. 

We had another member enter a toddler sweater with three car toys; she won a Red Ribbon too.

Since the event was so quiet, it gave us more time to spend with the other demonstrators.  My daughter learned how to do macramé and how to weave.  I think it's the weaving that she really enjoyed the most!

After the CraftAdventure we left to visit AC Moore.  For some, visiting a yarn shop is no big deal.  But when a store you like to shop at is over 45 minutes away, it's a big deal.  So we bought some goodies.  Amazingly, I didn't purchase a single skein of yarn!  What's that all about???  Hopefully I'll recover!  LOL

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Caps to the Capital

Averages.  Sometimes they're not really averages at all.  Consider that on average about four bloggers a day mention the Caps to the Capital campaign that is being sponsored by the Save the Children organization.  capsforthecapitalThey're busy crocheting, like Sherri, or knitting, like Cindy.  What an amazing testament of online activism!  Newspapers are picking up the cause too, like Ohio's Beacon Journal with the article, "Sisters pass the hat for newborn caps" -- it's an article about children out to save children.  Amazing really.

On average, it takes about an hour, less for a more experienced crocheter, to create one preemie hat that will help save a child's life.  Is giving up an hour of our time worth it?  I think so.  An hour for a life.  Think about it.  We can be a part of the growing number of people willing to help save four million newborns born worldwide! 

Our caps would prevent, says the Save the Children foundation, 70% of those deaths!  An hour for a life.  And on average, that's saving 319 babies per hour!
"Many of these deaths could easily be prevented with cheap interventions, such as with knit [crocheted] caps to keep the newborns warm ..."
                                                             ~Associated Press, May 9, 2006

Now, if you're in the Connecticut area and need help in learning how to crochet in the round to create the Caps ... contact me.  I will gladly volunteer my time on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning (8/30, 8/31, 9/1) at the Borders bookstore located in Brookfield to assist you.  Please contact me to confirm.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Oh My! RAK'd again!

This week I have fallen in love. We're not talking casual flirting, infatuation, or even high school crushes here.  We're talking love, love, love!  I love my RAK'ing gift, a beautiful Indonesian Rosewood Crochet Hook, complete with a captive ring and a glass Pink Ribbon Bead with silver insert by the creative team of BrainsBarn ... Annie and Brian.  And you know it's love when your heart skips a beat and you're left speechless:

They included a note which stated,

Because you are a crochet cheerleader...
Because you are a caring, unselfish person...
Because you are a great mom...and it shows!
Because you are a tireless volunteer...
Because you just care ...

Pick any of the above! and please accept this as a token of our appreciation and as a reminder for what the CGOA was all about... not only for crochet but in helping Breast Cancer Awareness.

Oh my; I'm blushing!  What an absolutely delightful surprise to find this treat in my mailbox!

How I met Anne and Brian:  I met Anne first; she posted to the online group known as Crochet Partners and we've been keeping in touch ever since.  When I discovered that her husband creates crochet hooks I wondered if they could create one for me that included a Giraffe.  (You know me & my giraffes!)  Anne wrote back that if I could find a giraffe I'd like placed on the hook then they could certainly do it for me.  I'm still searching for the allusive giraffe (you'd think that since they're such tall animals they'd be easy to find; not so! LOL) 

So flash forward about a year or so and we're all at the CGOA's National Crochet Conference ... turns out Anne and her husband were the winning bidders of the bra I donated for the auction!  I walked up to them and introduced myself and it was like an instant family reunion!  What wonderful people they are!  ... and for those that would like another look, here's Brian wearing the bra:

It seems they've been busy RAK'ing other's too:
       See what Amie screamed
here when she opened her mailbox ... what's this? Drew is seeing snakes?

Anne & Brian, Thank you for the RAK'ing!  I feel like a Fairy Princess with a magical wand that will create beautiful stitches for my charity works to come!  :)
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Thursday, August 24, 2006

MMMMMM, waffles!

I plan on entering into the KOC2's "Scarf Contest" that will take place on September 17th. Red Heart Symphony YarnSince I'd like to enter/donate more than one scarf, I thought it best to get something on the hook now!  Why wait until the last minute to start a project, right? 

What you see in the image to the left is "the" actual scarf I'm designing -- similar to the one I created just shy of a year ago.   I'm using Nancy Nehring's "Waffle Weave" technique (not to be confused with the "waffle weave" stitch. Two completely different breeds ... like horses & zebras.) with a very large crochet hook along with
Red Heart's "Symphony" yarn.  The yarn was included in my "Goody Bag" from the recent Conference I attended this summer.  I've been waiting for the right project to come along to try the yarn and I'm glad I did!  The yarn has a subtle mix of colors with an incredible soft mohair feel & look to it. The fact that it's machine washable & dryable (it's an acrylic) made it perfect for a donation project.  As I work up each row I can't help but stop and pet the softness of the fabric I am creating!  It's that yummy!

As I mentioned just moments ago, the Waffle Weave technique is not the same as the Waffle Weave stitch. The technique utilizes the single crochet stitch that is pulled within itself to create that dimpled look often seen on thermal underwear, or the stable sheets used on horses(and as long as you're checking out the stable sheets, check this out too -- it's crocheted.)  

If you're looking to learn this technique, then check out Annies Attic -- you'll find two booklets offering instructions & patterns with this technique ... 
(Click here to get to
, and don't forget to use code ERGSHIP to get FREE SHIPPING. Word has it the offer expires on 8/26/06!)

So then, what is the Waffle Weave stitch?  The stitch requires working around the posts of stitches (rather than the traditional top loops) Does this sound like the Basket Weave stitch to you?  It should; its the same thing!  Designer Kim Guzman has afree pattern offered on her website; go here if you'd like to try the stitch.  And if you need visual help with seeing how to create front post and back post stitches, again, you'll want to visit AnniesAttic -- but this time to view their helpful video clips.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

KOC2: Doggie Idol Fashion Show

Mary Colucci, Executive Director of the Craft Yarn Council of America, emailed me and asked if bloggers could help spread the following information for the upcoming New York City "Knit Out & Crochet Too!" event.  Mary, I'm delighted to assist, and I'm looking forward to seeing all those wonderful pooch designs:

Doggie Idol Fashion Show

We’re prowling for the cutest knitted and crocheted canine outfits to feature at the September 17th New York City Knit-Out & Crochet 2006 in Union Square Park. The winning entry will be determined by the New York Knit-Out audience, and there will be prizes for the winning sweater and, of course, for the owner’s dog.

The number of entries must be limited so we need to hear from interested dog owners no later than September 5th. Here are the guidelines:

• The sweater must be an original pattern.

• E-mail* a digital photo of your dog wearing the sweater along with descriptive copy about the sweater, your contact information, both e-mail and daytime phone contact.
E-mail to:
Snail mail to: Mary Colucci, 333 E. 69th St. #7J, New York, NY 10021

• The owner and his or her dog do not have to be present to win. If you would like to submit your dog sweater but you and your dog would
not be able to model it at Knit-Out, please send us exact sweater dimensions so that we can arrange for another dog to wear the sweater. If you are in the New York area and would like to have your dog model his or her sweater, please let us know. If you are considering this, we stress that your dog must be comfortable in crowds!

• All entrants will be contacted by September 7th about whether their dog sweater was selected for the Knit-Out Doggie Idol Fashion Show. Unfortunately, the number of entries must be limited.

Join us: It should be a howl!

Bloggers planning on attending the NYC KOC2, please help pass this News Release on behalf of the Craft Yarn Council of America:
Thanks, ~Dee

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Monday, August 21, 2006

mission accomplished

Freeform Jacket Awarded Blue Ribbon

Two different patterns, altered by me, come together to create this sweater set that was worn at the CGOA Fashion Show. Awarded Blue Ribbon and BEST OF SHOW!

The dress I created for my daughter to wear at the Fashion Show was awarded a Red Ribbon (2nd Place). And two side notes here:
1. The coordinator said she was tickled to see crochet get BEST OF SHOW. She said it had been a "long, long time since Crochet won this honor."

2. My crochet work did generate interest. I have some phone calls & emails to write. Mission Accomplished! {{Big Grins}}

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

UPDATE: Mini-Dee Ribboned!

The weather cooperated -- that big thunderous rain storm held off to create a most beautiful day to go to the fair and see how Mini-Dee (my daughter) and I did. 

 While I hate to leave you all hanging by a thread on how my work faired (yeah, you know I love cliff-hangers!), I do want to note that Mini-Dee did quite well!  I highlighted her story on the KtogBlog since the staff played a big roll in teaching her how to knit -- no pictures yet, we're experiencing some software issues.  Nothing a sledge hammer PC reboot can't fix. 

So, hang tight.  I promise more details will follow in the near future! 

WIPs 'N Chains

Every so often that "administrative paper work" stuff has to be caught up on -- and it's not my favorite thing to do.  Instead of being "chained" to the desk, I'd rather play with my crochet hook to come up with new designs and new class concepts.  But since the paperwork won't get done by itself, I must devote some time today to keeping it updated. 

Fortunately though, I can look forward to a reward.  Later this afternoon I'll go and pick my items up from the local fair.  When I do, I'll find out how they did in the judging; I am really interested in finding out if there were any comments/interest in the pieces.  I do hope they inspired someone to want to learn how to crochet, or in trying a new technique.  (Everyone needs WIPs & WIMs, right?) 
I'm also looking forward to seeing all the other entries -- after all, I enjoy being inspired too!  :)

And speaking of WIPs 'N Chains, if you're up for a bit of par-tay-ing  today, then you'll want to grab your yarn and favorite crochet hook and go visit with Kim.  She says, "In honor of this auspicious occasion" -- she's celebrating her first blogiversary -- she has decided to "host a little game" complete with prizes! 

Kim, happy Blogiversary to your "
WIPs 'N Chains!"  (BTW: I thought you might enjoy a good chuckle out of this as much as I did.) 

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Interesting Moments ...

I love when I teach; I get to meet so many people and share very interesting moments, such as with Sonia today -- in helping her discover what happens to our fabric when we change our crochet hooks from the manufacturers "recommended" size, to one that will either stiffen or soften the drape in such a dramatic way.

And in meeting Guido Stein who came into the shop just hours before his engagement party ... it seems he's a knitter, a
podcaster AND promoter of the Boston Knit Out & Crochet Too! event that will take place on Sunday, September 24th.  We shared quite a lot of laughs, especially when he said, "Knitting has been called the new yoga, and Crochet the new knit." 

While I'm working out the details to possibly attend the Boston KOC2 (it would be my first time attending the Boston KOC2), Guido made a very interesting comment.  He said they NEED crocheters to not only attend this event, but to also volunteer!  So how about it Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont & New Hampshire crocheters?!!!  I know from my own experience in volunteering for the NY event that it's a very rewarding experience!!  Go ahead & get involved!!

Sonia & Guido, it was wonderful to make your acquaintance today!  :)

I also had fun visiting with Lola today (ah, the tie-in to today's tune) Lola is a cartoon and is well worth checking out day-to-day as on some days there are some related to the fiber arts.  Because the comic is copyrighted, I won't show it here, but will give you the link.  Check it out daily & have a good laugh.  Lola by Steve Dickenson &Todd Clark

Friday, August 18, 2006

Pins & Needles, er, Hooks

I spent yesterday afternoon placing the final touches on the freeform jacket I had started earlier this year.  Let me tell you, entering items into competition is a sure-fire motivator to get those stalled projects going!  LOL

Why that happens, stalling I mean, no one really knows for sure.  We can put the blame on our busy lives, but I tend to think that would be a lie.  I think it's the yarn's fault.  Oh, no, not the yarn we're currently working with.  No, that yarn has already settled into the routine of things; found it's place in the "pecking order" of our stashes, and on the list of projects we have planned. 

No, I'm talking about the new kid on the block -- you know, the fibers that jump into our arms as we visit local yarn shops where they all cry like newborns.  "Pick me up," they wail.  "Take me home," they coo.  "Play with me now!" they scream.  You get the picture.  Yeah.  It's the new kid, the new yarns, we bring home that causes the project disruption.  Don't even get me started on beads & buttons!  They're culprits too!

So finally getting that freeform jacket done yesterday was a great feeling!  I do hope I got all the pins out!  [yikes!]

Along with the jacket, I also prepared the tank top and the "Lacy Leaf Cocoon" that is featured in the Spring issue of Interweave Press' "Crochet magazine," and the sun dress I created for my daughter to wear/model at the Fashion Show. These are the three things I decided to enter into our local Bridgewater Fair competition.

My daughter entered a crocheted purse and a knitted scarf.

While we won't know how we faired (nice pun, eh?) until Sunday, I think we already won.  No, not in the sense of a Ribbon, but more so in promoting crochet. While we were dropping our entries off last night the pieces received a lot of compliments from the fair workers/volunteers; even a discussion into the freeform process took place. So, in my mind, if the workers/volunteers are interested in our crochet works, then perhaps fairgoers will also be interested.  And if one of them -- just one! -- is then inspired to pick up a crochet hook then I accomplished what I set out to do.  (Isn't this the cue where someone should hand me some pom poms??)   "Rah!  Go Crochet!"   {{Big Grins}}

Thursday, August 17, 2006

KOC2: Counting Down to September 17th

What a gorgeous summer day we had yesterday; it was perfect for a drive to the City to attend another Craft Yarn Council of America's "NYC: Knit Out & Crochet Too" planning meeting.  Mark your calendars -- this most fantastic event is only a month away!!  And did I mention that it's FREE to attend??  Yeah, mark those calendars & blog about it if you're going! 

During the meeting we worked on "starts."  Starts are little squares, 12 stitches by four rows, that will be used in the Learn to Crochet/Learn to Knit tent.  Even my children got into the act of working on the starts; it was fun to see them getting involved. 

As we worked on the starts we finalized some of the event details.  The first thing I can share is that the demonstration schedule is pretty much set, and happily I'll be one of the demonstration teachers again:

Do plan on coming to see me either for the demonstration or at the Guild tent (more on that as the event gets closer).  The next detail I can share is the Scarf Contest!

Here's how it works:
1. You crochet up an original scarf.  It will be donated to the
Orphan Foundation of the America's Red Scarf Project.  Note that scarves for this DO NOT need to be created in red yarn!

2. Should you be the First Prize Winner, your scarf will be featured in a popular needlework publication.  Should you be a Runner-Up, you will receive some prizes.

3.  IMHO, everyone that enters a scarf is a winner in my eyes -- last year some 2,500 students in the program received a scarf as a part of the Red Scarf Project.  Go ahead, give a scarf; give a hug.  And if you can't make it to the event but still want to donate a scarf, then you can mail your scarf right to the Orphan Foundation; visit their website for details.  Don't forget to blog about it!  :)

The Fine Print: The contest is open to all ages.  Entry forms will be provided at the Knit-Out Crochet Too! event. All entries must be an original design to win.  The winners will be announced at the Knit-Out Crochet Too! event and you must be present to receive  your prize.  Judges decisions are final; all scarves entered become the property of the Orphan foundation and will be donated to America's Red Scarf Program.  Prizes are awarded as presented and cannot be redeemed for cash.  Also note that the Contest is sponsored by the Craft Yarn Council and is not affiliated with CrochetWithDee/CrochetingWithDee; I'm just a volunteer happily passing along the details.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

RAK'd by my "First"

From across the North Pacific Ocean I have been RAK'd again!  This time by none other than Prudence Mapstone of the website -- she sent me her latest book "Never too many handbags" which launched me into a shopping frenzy earlier this morning! 

Some background in how I got to know Prudence:  For me, Prudence was my first introduction to Freeform Crochet.  It was in the winter of 2002 when Barbara, the Founder of the New York City Crochet Guild, contacted me.  "Dee," she said, "you should really come to the City and take this workshop!  Prudence's freeform work is incredible!" 

"Freeform?" I had thought to myself, "what is that?" Around that same time I had received a crochet magazine in the mail and (if memory serves me correctly) on the cover was a cream colored vest that just knocked my socks off.  (I'll have to see if I can relocate that magazine.)  I remember practically salivating over it and madly eagerly flipping through it in search of the "must have this pattern now!!" -- only to discover that in freeform there really is no pattern.  Freeform is more of a journey to create beautiful works where traditional rules of crochet (and knit!) are broken, and where many crochet techniques & stitches are blended together to create incredible one-of-a-kind art fiber works.  I immediately signed up for the workshop and had a most marvelous time.  Not only is Prudence's freeform incredible, but she's a total sweetheart!

So this morning as I flipped through Prudence's new book I found myself inspired -- salivating really --over freeform once again.  What a fantastic book! 

Based upon her recommendations I popped on over to to order the mesh bag used to attach the crochet work to -- I've decided (that as soon as time allots) I want to create a freeform bag that is somewhat "giraffe" in theme.  I'm thinking of following the the giraffe colors & shapes of their skin (is it skin or fur? I dunno, but I do know that I like the shapes and colors!) ... I think creating a purse in this theme will make a very fun project for me!  And I think it would be a perfect project to use my incredible buffalo and soft Peruvian alpaca yarn in ... (go here to see some incredible giraffe images!)

For those interested, Prudence will be returning to The States for another visit.  She has a one evening workshop planned & will be conducting it for the wonderful NYC Crochet Guild on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 28th.  Registration for non- NYCCG members are now being accepted.  Contact the NYCCG for more information; visit their website at

Thank you, Prudence, for the inspiring RAK'ing!!

**RAK'ing: Random Act of Kindness.  August 1st was National Girlfriend Day, but I'm suggesting we celebrate our friendships all month long by RAK'ing.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mystery Project Revealed?

On the way home from the wedding yesterday I stopped by our local hospital to briefly attend our local monthly crochet meeting.  Prizes were awarded for the Flip Flop contest, details were discussed for our upcoming busy time (visit Priscilla's blog for more details) where we'll be traveling & offering free beginner crochet lessons, and where our member Margaret Hubert announced that her latest book, Hooked Throws: 20 Easy Crochet Projects, is hot off the press.  This means I can reveal the project I hinted about 310 days ago ... yep, check it out, that's my stitch work I did for Margaret featured on page 12.  Margaret presented me with an autographed copy and showed me where she mentioned my name in her Acknowledgements.  She is such a classy lady! ... and the book is awesome too!  It even includes a pattern for entrelac crochet that everyone went wild for when I mentioned the new attitude I took on back in February ... do check it out!  :)

Recently I was asked about how one can "get their name on the list" to do stitch work for designers, so I think, based upon my excitement in helping Margaret, that it is fitting that I discuss it briefly in today's entry.

If doing stitch work for designers is something you're interested in doing, I suggest that you put together an online portfolio of the crochet work you have done.  These are either works you created yourself, or by following a published pattern.  You do not want to feature pictures of works you've done for other designers as the work does not belong to you -- it belongs to the designer (thus the reason the work I did for Margaret was covered in the above image).

The images you have in your portfolio should be clear.  This means that the image is easy to see/focus on the project without interference of your surroundings.  Last year I wrote an entry on how to take better pictures ... click here to visit that entry and learn things like the "rule of thirds." 

Next, you'll want to practice your gauge skills.  Some designers will request you send them some gauge samples, so practice is always key.  And when you do send your samples in they'll be looking for other things too ... like how clean your work is (does it smell of animals or smoke?  Is it covered in pet hair?)  Keep these things in mind.

To get your name out there, join some crochet groups -- local if possible, and definitely online.  The larger groups, in my humble opinion, will get more "public announcements" of "stitchers wanted."  If memory serves me correctly such a call went out on
Crochet Partners about a week or two ago. 

Once you see the call, respond professionally.  Let the designer know what type of work you like to do (thread vs yarn, and the technique(s) you like most).  If you have your portfolio online, provide the link, as well as how you'd like to be contacted.  If the designer is interested he/she will then let you know.  And keep in mind that you need to be able to commit the time to the project(s). 

You may not get rich doing stitch work for designers, but if you are interested in trying out new projects before everyone else does, then by all means, it's a lot of fun to do!  :)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Fairy Tales Do Come True!

The wedding yesterday was just incredible!  It was like watching a fairy tale come to life!

Congratulations Crista & Jeremy!

Now, because I know many are wondering why I put my hooks down, these two images should be explanation enough.  First, the Bride's Cake: traditional carrot cake with cream cheese icing ...

... and the Groom's Cake ... dark chocolate layers topped with creamy chocolate icing that was decorated to represent all the landscaping he did to make the wedding/reception area so spectacular! His cake was a surprise to him (planned by his new bride!) -- and he loved it!  Actually, thinking back, his cake made a huge impression on all the guests!  The "rocks" on the cake are edible!! LOL

 I was thrilled to create these cakes for them! Does this mean that there was no crochet for the entire ceremony? Well, actually, crochet did make an appearance during the rock portion of the ceremony. It turns out the groom used to love his "wowie" (his baby blanket) and his mother presented her rock wrapped in a piece of it. Yeah, not a dry eye around; it was a really touching moment!

If you'd like to see larger images of the cakes, visit my flickr site at

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Rock on!

So this is it! Crista and Jeremy's big day and the weather forecast can't be any better for an outdoor wedding!  ... and since the celebration will be going on until -- oh, I don't know, perhaps into the wee hours? -- there's a good chance of us seeing the 2006 Perseids Meteor shower tonight.  How fitting is it that this adventurous couple, that met while car racing, be blessed with one of the most spectacular sky shows?  Rock on!

To answer Sheila's question:  ".....and you HONESTLY did NOT crochet anything for the bride?????"  No, Sheila, amazingly (yeah, I'm still stunned over this self-admission) I didn't.  I haven't figured out what to create for them -- yet.  But, feeling guilty I guess, I had my daughter help me in crocheting some "bows" for the gift.  Does that count?  :)  This is the same couple that received the Overlay Crochet coasters I created awhile ago when I attended a workshop held by Melody MacDuffee.

On that note, I'm off.  I need to prepare my speech I'll be giving when I present my rock (part of the five elements) during the ceremony.  But fret not, visit for Episode 5 -- and be careful! -- that Rowans Carnival Shawl looks mighty tempting!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Idle Hooks

Since yesterday my crochet hooks have been idle.  That's a rarity around here.  Silent hooks.  And even more rare, they will not be picked up again for several more days.  And it's all for a good reason!

I've exchanged my hooks for a spatula.  To quote Florence Henderson (known for her roll on the Brady Bunch television program) "I'm cooking with Crisco" -- well, actually I'm not cooking.  I'm baking.  And baking.  And baking.  Then I'll be doing some major icing ... I figure about 20 pounds worth!

When I'm done there will be a magnificent wedding cake for my niece and nephew-to-be.  Actually, based on early (American?) tradition, there will be two cakes.  A bride cake and a groom cake.

The wedding will take place on Saturday and will incorporate the five elements that embrace the natural world: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
(You can learn more about this here)

Besides being very excited for my wonderful niece & nephew's-to-be upcoming nuptials, I'm interested to see how the five elements work together.   You see, besides witnessing the union of these two great people, this will also be a learning experience for me too -- I hope to use the experience as a launching pad of inspiration for the International Freeform Fiberart Guild's latest challenge.  Click here to see last year's challenge
(note: I did not participate in that challenge, but do check it out as the pieces are incredible!)

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

And the Next CGOA Conference Will Be ...

JULY 12-15, 2007

in Manchester, New Hampshire!

additional details will be announced at as they are finalized.

Free Patterns? Who Knew?

Free shipping at!  Code:  AUGFSA625I certainly didn't!

Yesterday on the Crochet Partners list (a most fantastic online crochet group to belong to!) it was posted that
Joann's has free crochet patterns.

Whaaaa? I thought.  How many times have I shopped online with them?  A lot!  Then how come I didn't notice the free patterns?  Because I didn't go looking for them. See, this is what happens sometimes when yarn is waved in my face.  Forgetaboutit!

Armed with this new information I decided to revisit Joann's and discover the patterns myself.  I clicked onto the big "Project Ideas" link they have, then a little click onto the "Yarn & Stitch" option, admired the picture of the lacy cropped crocheted cardigan they have pictured, and then clicked onto the "More Project ideas" link and I was there.   Apparently I need to poke my head out of my yarn stash more often!  What a great discovery!  :)

Monday, August 7, 2006

Would You Believe?

If Destiny joined you for a playdate when you were a child and forewarned you you'd become a yarn addict, a hook addict, a pattern addict, and a bead addict, would you believe?

If Faith met you on the playground and told you waiting for UPS, FedEx, and DHL for your latest crochet goodies would become a fun experience in your adulthood, would you believe?

If Hope were at the library and motioned for you to come over, and you did, and then whispered sweetly in your ear that one day your name would be in a book, would you believe?

If Charity bumped into you at a local store as you were shopping with your parents for winter clothes and told you one day you'd create items for others in need, would you believe?

Sunday, August 6, 2006

I Need Closure

Do you ever get the feeling that you simply cannot move on unless there is a proper/perfect closure?  In life, it seems, I enjoy the quest of getting that closure, and today I got a little bit of that when I attended a local bead exposition.  What? Did you think I'd venture off the crochet topic and touch on relationships?  No, no such luck today!  {{grins}}   Actually the event was called a "Bead Fiesta," and I had heard about it when I attended the recent morning session of the "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" event I've been mentioning this week.

So, getting closure.  Part of crocheting jewelry means, besides having the most wonderful, the most beautiful-ist, most terrific-icall-ist beads in color, texture, and shape -- we also need the right closures.  I'm talking clasps!  Toggles!  The piece that holds it all together!

As I wondered from vendor to vendor this afternoon I searched and searched.  I knew exactly what I was looking for thanks to the new catalog I received from Fire Mountain Gems in yesterday's mail.  I wanted a clasp or toggle that included a jewel (or perhaps lots of jewels!)  with beautiful detailing swirling around it -- perhaps something like this or this (click to see)!  Yes, I wanted to pick out the clasp fit for a Queen!  And yes, I'm looking for grandeur!  I thought for sure one of the vendors would specialize in this as eventually all projects, beaded, strung, or crocheted, eventually need to come to an end -- and will need closure.  But it wasn't so. 

There was nothing there but beautiful beads.   Ugh!  The self-control I had to exert from adopting more was excruciating!  I did manage to find one vendor that had magnetic clasps and I recalled how an attendee (Ruth) at the morning session of "Coffee, Crochet & Chat," had raved about them.  I bought two and will use them for future bracelets I have planned (inspired by the recent Tunisian Jewelry class I took with Kathleen Power-Johnson at the Conference).  I'm not sure how they'll hold up/together for a heavy necklace, but they are pretty.

So as my quest for the perfect closure continues, the wait to complete my "inspiration" -- going on 144 days now -- will too.  Is there hope for me?       {{chuckles}}

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Guest Blogger: Casey

Hi, it's me, Casey, Dee's daughter. Or as my dad likes to call me, the next Lily Chin.  He says that because I like to crochet and do fun stuff with my stitches.  My mom has been busy crocheting up a hat with linked stitches so I thought I'd do a blog entry for her.

I've been busy crocheting too. When I went to the Coffee, Crochet & Chat evening session with mom this week, one of the ladies there gave me a big bag of yarn.  There was all different kinds of yarns in it.  Eyelash, sparkley, and a kind that looks like a ladder.  They range in colors of pinks to silvers; I like them all!  They're pretty fancy and they're leftovers from the lady's projects.  The lady is a member of our crochet group.  Her name is Celeste.

I was happy to get this bag of treasures and couldn't wait to crochet!  I borrowed a hook from my mom -- one of her wooden ones she got from "Graydog."  I sure liked using it much better than the metal hooks I have! 

I started with 12 chains with one as my turning chain.  Then I worked it up into a circle that later turned into a basket shape.  I made some more chains then connected it to the other side and when I was done I had a pretty purse for my Barbie.  I'm on my third designer purse for my Barbies.  Maybe my mom will take a picture of them for me.  I'll ask her.

I can't wait for the next monthly meeting so I can show the lady who gave me the bag of yarn all the pretty purses I've made.  I think she'd be happy with my crochet work.  {{Thank you Celeste!!!}}

If you have kids that want to crochet like me, visit my website at There's fun games, fun things to make, some books, and some stories of other kids learning how to crochet.  If your kid has a crochet story and would like to be added, let my Mom know!

Oh, and let me say a Thank You to Lily Chin too for letting me sit in one of her classes at the Conference with my mom for a little while.  She sure had a lot of projects to show everyone!

Friday, August 4, 2006

RAK'd by Sheila

Yesterday I mentioned attending the "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" sessions sponsored by my local crochet group; I was lucky and attended both the morning and the evening sessions.  What I didn't mention yesterday was that I brought one of the items I was so wonderfully RAK'd with.  No, I decided to wait in sharing the details (on my blog) about the RAK'ing because I thought it deserved it's own journal/blog entry.  And I think you'll agree.

Many of my readers have gotten to know Sheila either by her thoughts she shares with us here at my blog (in the comments sections), or by reading her blog, which is now back on AOL as "
Needles and Hooks" that represents her love of knitting sewing and crochet.  (As far as I can recollect in all of Sheila's postings, she is not a knitter.)

When I first "met" Sheila, it wasn't through our commonality of crochet.  Nope.  I met her through an AOL message board when I was looking for help getting started with my blog.  Geesh; I think that's 2 1/2 years ago now!  She was quick to offer me great advice, helpful tips & hints and such.  Then when she admitted to me she crocheted I told her I wanted to read about it -- on her crochet blog.  And she did.  Then, every so often, she'd sneek in entries about her sewing passion, and recently blogged about quilting some beautiful bags.

Then one day she posted a picture of one of her quilted bags saying she was going to ebay it -- so naturally I contacted her immediately: "Sheila," I pleaded said, "I simply must have one of your beautiful quilted bags!  Name your price!"

Little did I know she intended to RAK me with one -- she inquired about my favorite things (I like coffee & giraffes), and later, right under my nose, she blogged about it (but never mentioned who it was for!) -- then to my delight, she surprised me with it!  (I know I'm gushing on with run-on sentences, but it's really my unconstrained excitement!)  Isn't it wonderful?  Look at all those giraffes!  I'm not a quilter, but I do know she put a lot of time, energy, effort AND creativity in it!  I'm still marveling over it!

I brought my new bag to our local "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" sessions and the girls women just went wild over it!  Sheila included pockets inside to help keep me organized, and included little button holes here & there to allow for me to thread various yarns through for projects needing to seperate the fibers.  And the bag is lushiously big -- big enough to carry all the items I need for the various classes I teach.

But that's not all folks!  Sheila also included beads for my children, and crocheted rosettes (not pictured) for me.  Am I spoiled or what?  :D

Thank you soooooooooooo much Sheila!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  I love it!!!!!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Linking Stitches at the Coffee, Crochet & Chat

Yesterday I attended both sessions of our monthly "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" session that's sponsored by our CGOA Chapter, The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club.  While my children enjoyed coloring and sipping on a cool vanilla bean-shake, I got into a fantastic discussion with Priscilla about larger hooks, softer drapes, and linked stitches.  Read about her thoughts from this discussion at her blog, byhookorneedles.

When I went to find more information about linked stitches on the Internet I found little, so I thought I'd touch on the subject a little today to help explain a bit more on what they are, what they look like, and ways to experiment with it a bit. 

Linked stitches, I think, are a lot of fun to experiment with.  iconicon Besides creating a fabric that is more solid, it can also change the way the fabric looks merely by changing where the linking is taking place.  To create the link, do not yarn over first.  You'll insert your hook into the linking location, draw up a loop, then insert the hook into the normal stitch position and complete as a normal double crochet stitch.
Say we want to link double crochet stitches (you can link much, much taller stitches if you'd like), then traditionally the stitches are linked at the horizontal crossbar of the previously created stitch.  If we look at the International Symbol I drew (upper right), you can see where the linking takes place.  Take heed!  Once you start linking your stitches, you may find that it's quite addicting!  It creates a gridded look, much like the Tunisian technique does.  Intrigued?  Good!  Then check out the book "Crochet Your Way" for more information/instructions on getting started.  Your local library may have it available for loan.  (The link provided to this book today is to which is offering a $1 shipping special -- and they do offer great prices on crochet books; it's worth looking into, IMHO)

OK, so now that I have you thinking about linking your stitches, lets move onto the "what if's.  What if we moved the traditional linking spot ... what would the stitches then look like??

In Priscilla's case I showed her how to link her double crochet stitches by working into the bottom side (the bars if you will; see #2 in picture above) of the stitch rather than the crossbar.  This creates a more traditional looking double crochet stitch but with a slight slant.

And what if we worked the link off the top of the (back) vertical loop from the previously made stitch?  (I tried to show it in the picture above; look @ #3 where the hook is inserted) What happens then? 

Well, this is the most difficult of the three ways to link your stitches -- but I think for those traditionalists out there that want to link their stitches but keep their stitches looking more like a true double crochet, then this is the linking method they'll want to use.  Again, I want to stress that this is the more difficult of the three, so there won't be any speed-crocheting being done here.

Note that all three ways of linking will result in a more solid looking fabric!  If you're thinking of using this technique for a pattern that uses traditional stitches, keep in mind that the linking will pull your fabric in -- making a smaller gauge!  So swatching is imperative! 

Experiment with it, and if you'd like to learn more, consider taking a class with me on this technique come this fall! 

Image Notes: For my swatch featured in today's entry, I did one row of each method of linking separated by a row of single crochet stitches.  This ensured all my linked stitches were facing right-side up.  Also note that the first row stitches were "cut off" when I took the picture.  Your traditional looking linked double-crochet stitches will be larger.. my swatch was not blocked. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

withdrawal symptoms are not for the weak

I'm sure many are blogging about the heat wave that is gripping the US right now.  Here in Connecticut it's no different.  We're expecting 112 F degrees (that includes that humidity factor) for today and my thoughts are naturally on my children.  It's imperative I ensure they're kept cool and to do so where I can also feed my crochet addiction.  But of course.

So with this sweltering heat in mind, yesterday I took them to a local hotel -- to utilize their indoor swimming pool.  Many people don't realize that local hotels open their pools to the general public for a nominal fee, so I do suggest checking it out if you too are looking for ways to stay cool.  (And while we're on the topic of water, it's easy to quickly think of mermaids -- so how about checking out Linda's felted mermaid that was featured in her booth at the Conference a few weeks ago -- she's beautiful!! Learn more about the mermaid by visiting the Grafton Fibers journal.)

The only problem with being at the pool all day was that I missed my crochet.  Oh, I had it with me, but because I crochet with beautiful wooden crochet hooks, I didn't want to take the chance of something happening to them.  I could have used metal or plastic hooks but those have thumb rests -- eck!  I need hooks without thumb rests, so without an alternative hook to use, I never got in a single stitch in yesterday.  I think this was an error in my part as I think I began to experience crochet withdrawal symptoms like never before!  It wasn't a pretty sight.  Hands twitching -- wanting to hold a hook between my fingers with that wonderful rotating motion (I don't hold my hook traditionally in either the pencil or knife hold); wanting to feel the fiber slipping through my fingers; wanting to pet the work hanging off my hook.  Oh, the agony!  Fortunately though, Ruth offered me the Fiberology 101: The Origin of Yarn that allowed me to starve off the worst of the withdrawal symptoms last night.  (Thank you Ruth!)  I was at least able to get in a few hours of sleep.

But this morning I couldn't take it any longer.  My thoughts screamed at me, "I must crochet!"  Already I could feel the day becoming sticky hot.  I broke down and caved to the summer heat thus finally turning the air conditioner on for the first time this season.  While yes, it does mean we'll be much cooler, I know I'm going to miss the sweet sounds of summer -- the birds singing, the squirrels crackling, crickets chirping, wind chimes clanking, lawn mowers humming -- and the "beep beep" of the UPS truck possibly notifying me that my
AnniesAttic and FireMountainGems orders have arrived ... ah, what I give up for my crochet addiction! (of course I know UPS won't be delivering today since I just placed my orders this past weekend, but one can dream!)

So I'm off -- to bask in this gloriously cool air to fulfill that addiction by creating some beautiful crochet stitches, work on my fall class schedules, prep some items for upcoming fairs -- and to photograph what was in that gloriously wonderful RAK box!!