Thursday, November 30, 2006


I am truly, deeply, sincerely honored that so many helped in reaching the 3rd Annual "60 Scarves in 60 Days" goal!!  A big, huge, gigantic, mamothed sized Thank You goes out to each and every one of you!!

We left off on Tuesday being shy of nine scarves to reach the goal.  In that time, here's what happened:

Sheila, who is in the middle of moving, put aside her packing to start another one;
Le-Teisha donated 5 knitted and 2 crocheted scarves to a homeless shelter;
Laura has five scarves that will be going to a homeless shelter in San Francisco;
"divablueknight" completed two scarves over the Thanksgiving holiday;
Melanie rocks in with her seventh, and an eighth one on her hook;
Valarie donated two to her local church today;
Maddy donated one;
and Lucy, a second grade teacher, crocheted two children scarves and donated them to her school's "Caring & Sharing" campaign.
Beata who is learning the stockinette stitch knitted up a scarf and will be giving it to her local Christian Ministries
Sherri completed three more!

Then, if we add in the 3 additional scarves I worked up in the past two days...

                   Are you ready for this?

                         No, really?  Are you ready for the GRAND TOTAL???  

                                        Oh, you all know we rocked the count this year, don't you???
                                                           Yeah, you know it!!

We did it!!!  We surpassed our goal!!!

A total of 76 77 80* Scarves were crocheted and knitted for our 2006 "60 Scarves in 60 Days" Challenge!!  That's TOTALLY AWESOME!!

Congratulations everyone and thank you so much for participating!!!

Those scarves will be much appreciated by someone in need in your community!! :)

* This total may change as there's still a few hours of the month left!  If you've created a scarf to dontate, please leave a comment here or send me an email to have yours counted!  :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge Update

Sheila over at Needles and Hooks has completed her seventh scarf for this challenge;
Olga donated two;
Shelley donated one;
Melanie at  My Crochet and Ramblings journal, pledged to create one but was able to crochet six;
Priscilla over at By Hook or Needles created at least 12 (Priscilla, please correct me if I'm wrong)
Sherri at Sherris Needle Arts crocheted three;
and Wendy gave two crocheted scarves to a group that gives handcrafted items to children's charities in New York City.

Awesome job ladies!!!  Thank you so much for participating!! 

Then, if we add in the four I finished weaving in the tails to late last night (bringing my total to 18) this brings our total count to 51 ... we need NINE more scarves by the end of this month to meet our goal of 60 Scarves in 60 Days!! 

It's easy to participate:  You crochet, knit, weave, sew a scarf and then give it to a person or organization in need.  There's no shipping involved!  You do the work, your local community benefits!  Once your scarf is done, you send me an email or leave a comment here to have yours added.

All we need is NINE more in two days!!  I knowwe can do it!!  Go ahead, start a scarf tonight to give to someone in need!  :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hot Off The Hook

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with their friends & family; I know I sure did.  I've been busy crocheting scarves for the 60 Scarves in 60 Days drive (THERE IS STILL TIME FOR YOU TO PARTICIPATE TOO!), and this ...

This is from the new book, "amazing crochet lace," by Doris Chan that I have been raving so much about.  Taking into consideration the "pesky" fiber I opted to use [ladder ribbon] it worked up amazingly fast! I would like to share some of my notes about this project:
1. I used a different join technique. Instead of sewing I opted to crochet the sections together.
     A. The join between the body and the sleeves is a series of slip stitches and chains that decrease in number the closer I got to the shoulder. Once over the shoulder I slowly increased the number of chains again. This gives the effect of a lattice look that I do like. I think in using this joining technique it gives my daughter more "growing room."
     B.  In creating the sleeves, under the arm to the cuff is all slip stitched.  I then created a more prominent cuff by crocheting a few rows of single crochet stitches.  This also meant I had less ends to weave in when my project was completed.
2.  I decided the garment body needed a little more weight to help showcase the stitch design as the ladder ribbon is so light!  I therefore crocheted four rows of single crochet stitches around on the bottom.  The neckline has one additional row of single crochet stitches to give it a more finished look.
3.  The project took about 2 1/2 balls of  Euro Gioco ribbon worked up with a "J" 'Graydog' crochet hook (Graydog hooks are available on ebay only).  The end result is a garment that would fit a child in the size 6-12 range comfortably (my mannequin is a size 12)

All that is left for me to do is sew on a label and wrap it up -- even though my daughter watched me crochet it she thinks its a sample for one of the stores I teach at.  Sneaky of me, huh? :)

Note:  "Ladder Ribbon" gives both crocheters and knitters a run for their patience.  If you can work with a fairly easy tension and not mind that your hook may pick-up/drop partial portions of the ribbon (translation: slight frogging for correction will be needed from time to time) then do give it a try.  I LOVE the way this project worked up using it, and Doris' pattern was a pleasure!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy T-Giving!

I made this Turkey a few years ago; don't recall where I got the pattern. I did some searching on the Internet and found some similar:
  • (rear view of turkey)
  • for even more Thanksgiving Day themed patterns
  • Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    Question From Reader: Skill Level

    Dear Dee,
    I read where you wrote about making things and giving them as gifts. I recently learned how to crochet but am not sure about my skill level. I want to make scarves for my family this year but want them to look nice. When I'm looking at patterns, how do I figure out what skill level I am? Thanks, Lisa

    Dear Lisa,
    Thank you for writing in; I think it's wonderful that you're considering crocheting scarves for your family this year. I tend to think of scarves as "extended hugs" -- and everyone can use a hug/scarf now & then, right? :)

    You stated you recently learned how to crochet, this means your skill level will depend upon how much practice you've put in. Over at the Craft Yarn Council of America's "Yarn Standards" website they have four levels listed:
    Beginner, Easy, Intermediate,and experienced. The levels are just guides -- don't let them stop you from crocheting something you have your heart set upon!

    If you are comfortable with the basic crochet stitches (mostly knowing how to create the foundation chain, the single crochet, half-double, double) then you are a beginner.  Look for patterns that focus on the stitches you know where little shaping is required.

    If you are comfortable with mixing your stitches up and can do color changes with some shaping, then you're in the "easy" category.  I don't like calling someone's skill level as  "easy" (it just doesn't sound right! lol)  so I'll refer to it as advanced beginner.  Look for patterns that have repetition in the stitch work. 

    If you are comfortable with color changes and stitch variations, along with shaping, then you might want to look beyond making scarves ... caplets and ponchos are still hot items to create!  This is the intermediate level.

    If you are comfortable with difficult stitch patterns (like the Herringbone stitch), can do a variety of crochet techniques, can shape your work, work with a variety of fiber weights, and create finishing touches, then this makes you an experienced crocheter.  I often times refer to this level as the advanced level.  The fiber world is your oyster --go and pluck your purls.  (Yes, crocheters can purl, and if you know how, then surely this is your category!)

    The key is not to be intimated by your level.  These levels were created to help crocheters choose projects they may be more comfortable in doing -- or in challenging themselves with!  I say, if you can read the pattern, understand the stitches involved, and can keep accurate count of stitches/rows, then go ahead and work on the pattern(s) you have in mind for the gifts you'd like to give.

    Remember to always leave long tails at the beginning and end of your work -- and properly weave them in!  If you run out of time, consider giving a "gift certificate" that states what you will be creating for the receiver.  You can even opt to let them pick the color(s)!

    I hope this helps, Lisa, and should you run into any stitch difficulties, give AnniesAttic a visit as they have little video clips you can watch on your PC for free. 
    Thanks again for writing in,

    Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    "This is the work of my heart"

    There has been recent discussion on what can be called as Craft and what can be called as Art. Many state that the beauty behind the craft/art being appreciated all stems from the beholder. I ask, is this true? Does one view a crocheted stuffed animal as a sculpture, or as a toy for a child -- or could it be both depending upon who is defending it as craft, and who is defending it as art? Is there really a difference?
    Pronunciation: 'kraft
    Etymology: Middle English, strength, skill, from Old English cræft; akin to Old High German kraft strength
         ... an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill <CRAFTS sewing and carpentry, pottery, as such>

    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin art-, ars skill acquired by experience, study, or observation
         ...the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects ; also : works so produced
                                                            ~ Merriam Webster Dictionary

    With the official start of the holiday season just days away, television commercials are already bombarding us with the "buy this to win their heart" mentality.   I'd much rather view the  commercial(s) I found on youtube on national television as I love their message:  "When you make something by hand it means I was thinking of you ... it says I give you something more valuable than my money ... this is the work of my hands ... this is the work of my heart ... and now I give it all to you ... this is what it says when you give a gift that was made by hand." 
     I think this should be the message we promote so heavily during the holiday season, don't you?

    Take back your holiday from over commercialism and hand-held electronics that show no outlet for creativity.  Create some crafts, some beautiful art by hand for your loved ones and encourage someone else to create gifts by hand.  Go ahead and ignite the creativity in your friends and family through work you've created!  Encourage the use of hands for more than a gameboy -- encourage them to create something that can be felt, something that can be appreciated for years to come.  Some ideas: 
         * Give a scarf that can 'hug' during the cold winter season.
         * Give an afghan that can warm and comfort loved ones living far away.
         * Give a tapestry's basket or wall hanging inspired with colors perhaps used by their favorite artists.Free shipping at!  Code:  DECFSA625
         * Give items (ipod/cell phone/treasure bags) that they can use year round.
         * Give a gift certificate to a local craft/yarn store along with a "handmade coupon" for them to redeem it with you to learn a new craft/art together.

    For this holiday season, I'm almost done with the project I started for my daughter, and hope to crochet a sweater for my son (in Tunisian perhaps?); plus my daughter is almost done with the project she started for her dad.  I'm also still working on the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge -- I can sure use your help in reaching that goal by the end of the month!

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Yarn Dreams

    I love to see crochet and knit on the fashion runway.  In fact, I dreamed last night that I was leafing through a "posh" magazine -- a catalog really -- that was filled with jewelry findings*.  On the cover was an image of a woman wearing a rainbow colored dress, crocheted entirely with the Tunisian technique, with ribbon inserts woven through. (aka the Crochet'n Weave technique).  It looked amazing!  I don't recall seeing the model wearing any jewelry, so naturally one could wonder why she was there.  But, remembering this was my dream, there she was wearing this incredible dress on the cover.  I made note that I wanted to contact the publisher to get more information, but then my alarm clock buzzed and that was the end of that.  Bummer.  I would have loved learning more about the yarn that was used.

    "Crocheted lace edged the little stand-up collar. Crocheted lace spread out in a bow on Ma's breast, and the gold breast-pin held the collar and the bow. Ma's face was lovely. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were bright." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder; "On the Banks of Plum Creek"
    I wonder though, could the dream have been influenced by a youtube video I watched recently?  I'll let you be the judge; the only difference between my dream and the video is the scary 1980s shoulder pads (those aren't coming back in fashion are they?  I shudder to think so).  Thankfully my dream was void of those linebacker images!  LOL

    Click Here to view the video ... it's by Ormo and shows how yarn is made. At the end of the video is a fashion show showing knit designs created with their yarn line. It's a cute video until, like I say, the shoulder pads make an appearance.  At the very least it's interesting to see the inside of a yarn factory -- where more dreams are made.  :)

    *Jewelry Findings: bits & pieces (beads, gems, clasps, etc) used to create your own jewelry.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Resistance is Futile

    I confess!  I couldn't help myself!  No matter how many times I said to myself that I wouldn't start another new project until I finished the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge, that ends at the end of this month.  I, Dee the crochet addict did it: I started another project!  Resistance, so the Borg say as a "collective", is futile.  So rather than fight the urge, I gave into it.

    But I don't think it was entirely my fault.  Doris had a hand in this!  She, by sending me her terrific new book, exposed this weakness I have!  I have been enjoying reading her book, "amazing crochet lace," so much that I have been unable to "abandon"it.  I've been taking it with me everywhere and reading it addictively like a high-suspense mystery novel.  And so it is that today I broke completely down, grabbed some Euro Gioco ribbon yarn I purchased at an awesome sale earlier this year (I purchased it for a whopping $2 a ball! What a bargain as it normally sells for $10!), grabbed my "J" hook and started the "farpoint topper" featured on page 90.

    Now I know what you're thinking here, "But Dee, Doris wants you to use an 'N' hook and Lion Brand's 'Incredible' ribbon yarn!"  Yeah, I know!  But I don't have "Incredible" in my yarn stash (yet), so when you "gotta" crochet, you gotta!  ... and I'm loving the results!  I'm on round 13 of my first pentagram and love the "beaded" look the "ladder" ribbon is creating.  It's also working up very, very quickly!  And yes, I'm very much aware that there is a huge difference between using a large ribbon yarn with a large crochet hook vs. using a thinner ladder ribbon yarn with a smaller hook.  Thankfully I have experience in working with the ladder ribbon yarn or else I'd still be insanely itching to try one of Doris' patterns!

    I figure that if I play my cards right (meaning if I can work this up on the sly), I should be able to complete it in a very short amount of time -- plenty of time to assemble, block, and wrap it up for MiniDee for Christmas!  I'm already picturing her wearing it over a white turtle neck with her favorite jeans:

    Pentagram Motif in progress

    The other "resistance is futile" moment came late last night -- AnniesAttic just had to send me an email announcing their fantastic year-end sale.  Now there's the anticipation of waiting for my order to arrive! ... And let's not even mention the new Herrshner's catalog that just arrived in the mail.  I'm so weak! LOL

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Question from Reader: Teaching Children Crochet

    Dear Dee: I know you probably get this a lot, but I'm trying to teach my daughter how to crochet. She has been playing at it since, well, I can't really remember a time when she hasn't. She's 5 and she is so excited since I told her about a year and a half ago that I would teach her when she was 5. I'm having trouble though. I just watched the video of your daughter crocheting and read that she was 5 when you taught her. Any tips, suggestions, anything?
    Thanks, Beata

    Beata I think you have a great question, and many of us -- parents, grandparents, Scout leaders, teachers -- have that same question.  How does one go about teaching fiber arts to children?

    I think the first thing you need to do is evaluate the child you're interested in teaching.  Ask yourself the following questions:Margaret Hubert sharing crochet techniques with MiniDee
    1.  Who initiated this?  You or the child?
        If it was the child, awesome!  It will be a little easier to teach them.
        If it was you then you might need some "coaxing" material (I'll touch on that in just a bit)
    2.  What kind of attention span does the child have?  Can the child sit still for great lengths of time (15 to 30 minutes) without needing to move onto another project?  If so, great!  If not, you may need to wait until the child is a little older.
    3.  What kind of hand/eye coordination does the child have?  Is the child in the process of learning how to write?
        If the child has great hand/eye coordination then this is good!  But do be careful if the child is in the process of learning how to write!  This is because many Kindergarten and First Grade teachers are spending great lengths of time in training the child how to "properly hold a pencil."  If you teach the child to hold the crochet hook a "wee bit differently" than the pencil hold being taught in school then there is a good chance you'll get a call from the teacher.  No big deal here, I just want you to be prepared.  Yes, this is the voice of experience here; I was called in! (LOL)

    So, if you've established that all three questions state your child is ready to learn then go for it!

    Teach the basics, such as the slip knot and the chain.  At first my daughter didn't grasp the tension in the left hand so I let her pick the loops off with her fingers.  When she tired of making plain chains, but still wasn't ready to make actual stitches, I coaxed her by having her add pony beads to the mix.  She chained many pretty beaded necklaces (one of which she won a Blue Ribbon & Best of Show for the Junior Division for!), and later her own Rosary that she used in her First Communion (she won a Blue Ribbon & Best of Show for that project too).

    To ensure she was encouraged to practice, I'd invite her to come sit close to me so we could crochet together.  I would let a few weeks pass before gently asking her if she'd like to try properly controlling her tension.  If she was content to pick off the loops with her fingers then I let her; if she said she wanted to try the proper technique then I'd show her.  It wasn't until she was 6 1/2 that she properly grasped the tension.  Now with that under her belt her crocheting skills grew -- she was getting faster and her chain stitching more regulated.

    I let more time pass, still inviting her to sit with me so we could crochet together.  Finally she was ready -- she asked me to show her how to do the single crochet!  In the two years since she learned the single crochet stitch she has tried many more crochet stitches and techniques including the Bullion/Rice stitch (that requires many, many yarn overs!  ... she's done as many as 20 yarn overs for the stitch with ease!), and the Tunisian technique.  She's starting to look at my pattern books and I think it's just a matter of time before she asks me to teach her how to read them!

    I think the key in teaching your own child how to crochet (knit, paint, sew, etc) is to let them go at their own pace.  By letting them do so, by answering their questions when they're ready, and by gently(!) inviting them to learn more, that you ignite their passion and creativity.  I never critiqued my daughter's work until recently, but I always do it with a gentleness to it such as:  "This looks great sweetie, but did you know if you did XYZ that your work will appear neater?"  or "I love how uniform these stitches look, is there any way you can get these stitches to look the same?" A child always wants to please their parents, so wrap the critiques with slight challenges and you'll see them wanting to try it.

    Beata, I want to stress that the above is my experience in not only teaching my daughter, but other youngsters as well.  I've witnessed way too many times in my crochet classes where some parents were harsh on their children for not immediately picking up on the lesson. As a direct result the child shuts down their interest in learning and that breaks my heart to see when that happens. I believe that if you offer the lesson wrapped with love and patience, your child will learn much more than mere stitches! 

    I do hope that this helps, and I do hope you visit my daughter's website at with your daughter for additional inspiration.

    Thanks for the great question!

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Spotting Crochet Fashions and Budding Designers, Part II

    Seven months.  Has it really been nearly seven months since I first wrote about Spotting Crochet Fashions and Budding Designers?  ... more specifically, has it been that long since I've mentioned crochet designer Doris Chan?  Has it been that long since I placed my order with anticipation, great anticipation at that, for her new book: Amazing Crochet Lace?  It has! 

    And here I sit tonight with a hot-off-the-press copy beside me -- a few weeks prior to it's official release date!  But it's not from my order!  So readers, just how did I manage to get my hot little hands on it?  If you guessed Doris arranged for it then you'd be right!  She emailed me a few weeks back and asked if I'd like to do a preview --  to be one of the first to see it; I replied, "Sure!" 

    Earlier this afternoon a package was waiting for me at the bottom of the hill.  (When you live in the country, mailboxes are nowhere near your house.  You need to walk, or in some cases drive, to get to your mailbox.  I opted to drive since I was headed out anyway.)

    When I saw the package from the publisher, did I wait? -- no, no!  I did not!  I had to rip it open right there, right then!  Anticipation you see, gets the best of me at times, much like a kid experiences when visiting a candy shore prior to having a nutritional meal.  I was like the Tasmanian Devil ... ripping through the packaging like a tornado to get to the prize inside.  I'm sure it was a sight to seen!

    Seven months of waiting was over!  There I was, in front of my mailbox, with my vehicle's engine idling, soft rain sputtering on the windshield, with Doris' new book in my hands!  As I flipped through the first few pages I was instantly stopped by a most lovely picture of Doris' mother, surrounded by the story of how Doris eventually came to embrace her crochet roots.  I don't recall how long I sat there reading her story, but I do recall looking up and finding my neighbor waiting to get to her mailbox.  Slightly embarrassed I was so enchanted with the story images of Doris all "girly-girled" as her mother crocheted that I forgot I was blocking the mailboxes, I decided to close the book, give a friendly wave and move along.  Getting to the conclusion of the story, and viewing deeper contents of the book, would have to wait.

    Lion Brand® Incredible Yarn Later, when I returned home, my daughter joined me in  eagerness in flipping through the pages of the new book.  We found page after page filled with beautiful creations that I, rather WE, want to work up -- my first project would be the "farpoint topper" featured on page 90.  Its a pentagram motif with a spiral center worked in Lion Brand's "Incredible" nylon ribbon! Or maybe my first project from the book should be the "plum blossom capelet" featured on page 34; or the "sambuca jacket" ... Hmmm, it looks like I have some deciding to do.  Perhaps some yarn shopping too.

    So, was seven months of anticipation worth it?  Absolutely!  It is an amazing book filled with tantalizing patterns for all crochet levels and I do recommed it!  Even the photography is outstanding! (The projects are in color and the models are in black & white -- you can see they really put a lot of thought into the creation of this book!)   If you ever looked at older fine crochet lace patterns and thought they would look fantastic worked up in modern fibers -- and larger -- then this is the book to check out!  Doris' designs are lovely & fun ... and I can't wait to to get started on one!  :)

    Sunday, November 12, 2006

    Crochet Rules!

    It's a dark, rainy, gray day where everything is damp and everyone is pretty much staying indoors to stay warm and dry.  Earlier in the day though we, MiniDee and I, ventured out to attend our monthly crochet meeting.

    While we were there MiniDee seemed to be in a "snuggle" kind of mood.  Just as she had when she first started learning how to crochet when she was five, she climbed onto my lap and started crocheting.  I didn't mind; I was in a "snuggle" kind of mood too.

    She started with a simple chain and then inserted her hook here, went there, and then seemingly everywhere.  In a short time she had crocheted a beautiful beaded necklace for herself.  She then decided she needed to create a bracelet next and without planning or fuss, she let it happen.  It was like watching magic happen.  She had no directions and no rules to follow.  Just total freedom to do what she wanted with the yarn, waving her crochet hook around, looping, as if it were a magic wand.  It was wonderful to have her cuddled next to me; I enjoyed this precious moment with her.  Fortunately, I decided to video a little of her magic and you can enjoy it too:

    Crochet Rules!

    Now that we're back home she's popped a bag of popcorn and has set up the movie "Escape from Witch Mountain."  She's calling to me, "come on Mom!  Movie is about to start!  Get your crochet!" ... Let it rain.  We have warm memories to weave into our lives.  :)

    Saturday, November 11, 2006

    A Very Special Day!

    Proclamation Nov 11, 2006

    The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club was founded by: Ruth A., Kay P., Hilda N., Ruth Y., and myself in 2001. It is a Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America.

    Today is also Veteran's Day.  Thank a vet and remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, their lives.  Freedom is not free. 

    Thursday, November 9, 2006

    Subtle Stripe Scarf

    I have been busy crocheting up a storm, the latest charity project nearly done. I decided that I love the way it's coming out and thought you, my readers, would enjoy a simple pattern that sort of "stripes" up as you go. What I also like about it, mostly for beginner crocheters, is that it encourages counting -- simple counting that will aid in the learning crochet experience!  And, the scarf is created out of the most basics of crochet stitches: the single crochet, half-double crochet and the double.  Go ahead and give it a try! 60 Scarves in 60 Days The scarf I have pictured will go towards the 60 Scarves in 60 Days drive that ends on November 30th

    Subtle Stripe Scarf:
    Copyright 2006 Dee Stanziano; All Rights Reserved; for personal/charity use only


    Worsted Yarn (enough to create a scarf to your desired length)
    Crochet Hook per yarn manufacturers
    recommendations (or to your satisifaction)
    Tapestry needle

    Ch 16

    Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, and in next 4 ch, hdc in next 5 chs, dc in remaining 5 stitches.  (15 sts)

    Row 2: Ch 1, turn work, sc in ea dc st, hdc in ea hdc st, dc in each sc st. (15 sts)

    Repeat Row 2 to desired length.  The scarf will work up looking like a subtle row was added in the middle.  Enjoy -- it works up very fast!  :)

    Tuesday, November 7, 2006

    Question From Reader: Crocheting With Beads

    Dear Dee,
    I would love to learn how to add beads to my crochet work but don't have the time to spend pre-stringing all the beads.  Do you have any suggestions?  Thanks, Myra

    Hi Myra,
     There are a number of ways you can add beads to your crochet work!  First, let me state that I found it a wonderful experience to use a fiber that was pre-sequined for me this past summer when I designed a dress for my daughter.  It was a breeze to use and a real time-saver; all I had to do was crochet my design! 

    One of the first fibers to arrive on the scene "pre-beaded" (that I noticed) was Berroco's Laser FX.  The Laser FX is thin thread with sequins pre-strung on for you.  It sold for about $13 a skein and it was a lot of fun to use.  In the years since it first came out the price has gone up (as it has on all fibers), but it's still fun to use when you want to add some sparkle magic to a special project. 

    Moda-Dea Beadnik Yarn Since that time there have been some new arrivals on our local yarn/craft shop shelves worthy of being experimented with.  One of them being Moda-Dea's Beadnik Yarn!  It's prestrung with beads or sequins in a large variety of colors when compared to Berroco's Laser FX.  The yarn is thicker too, so it's not necessary to run it along another fiber unless you want to.  Some fiberholics think it's a bit pricey, but then again, when the time saving factor is added in along with the fact that you don't need to use it with another fiber then I think it's a steal!  (It sells for about $6 a ball)

    Now if prestringing your fiber, or buying prestrung yarn is not an option for you, then you might want to check out a little tool called "The Beadler."  This tool helps you put the bead on per-stitch!  You can learn more about it here:  Yes, I do own one and I do love using it!  ((Hint: If you don't own one, put it on your Holiday Wish List!)) 

    Lastly, for even more control over where your beads are placed on your work, you can always sew them on once your project has been completed.  I did such this past Spring when I wanted Swarovski crystal beads randomly placed on a shawl I crocheted.  I loved the end results!  :)

    So, no matter which option you opt to go with, adding beads to your crochet work can be a lot of fun!  For more information & patterns to try with beads, give Sandi a visit at

    Great question Myra!  Thanks for writing in!

    Monday, November 6, 2006

    Holes are for Gophers

    How is it possible to tinker with a crochet technique when watching the Colts vs. The Patriots football game?  Didn't I say just a few weeks ago that I found I had difficulty designing while watching listening to the World Series?  Interesting enough, the football game with 60,000 people in attendance were, for the most part, quiet.  Weird.  Aren't they required to cheer or jeer?  I'm not complaining, I'm just saying it made for some great crocheting last night while sitting next to Mr. Dee who was watching the game ...

    Click for larger view

    So while he watched the game, I worked on a scarf for the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge.  It's a simple design of 14 double crochet stitches; I planned on going until the skein of yarn ran out.  So, because I am an experienced crocheter, I decided to throw in a little challenge: to figure out another way to get rid of the dreaded "hole" caused by the "turning chain/skip stitch" rule used for double crochets.  Do you dislike the hole too?

    I think I found what will work for me and thought some of my readers might like to give it a try.  If you do, please let me know your thoughts. 

    Here's how I got rid of the holes:
    Chain 3, yarn over, insert hook into top loops of 2nd chain, yarn over & pull through chain and one loop on hook (watch your tension here, it might get a bit tight), turn work, skip 1st stitch, insert hook into 2nd stitch and pull up a loop.  Work off in normal double crochet fashion.

    Now, when it comes times for the next row, be sure to work into that turning chain or your stitch count will be wrong.  If you have a tension issue then change the chain 3 to chain 4.  I'm really liking the way this looks!  :)

    In the photo above, please note that the same hook (pictured) was used for all samples, and that both yarns are Lion Brand's "Micro Spun."  None of the samples have been blocked.

    Saturday, November 4, 2006

    A Look Back

    Last night I put the finishing touches on one of the items I'll be displaying in my "Quick Crochet Gifts" class I'm teaching on Tuesday.  The finishing touches was really two buttons covered with bead work that I had purchased earlier this year at One World Button in New York City.  As I held it in my hands to admire I started thinking back to my very first projects ...

    Squares that looked trapezoids, or worse -- like triangles!  Circles turned to mis-shaped ovals that looked like they spent too much time under a rolling pin.  Oh, yes, I do remember those projects well!  I remember the frustration; I remember the wonderment too.

    I'd be frustrated because I wanted my projects to come out perfect, while also wondering what caused my project to go amiss -- and now what was I to do with it?  Do I continue on and hope for the best, perhaps fudging it (meaning to insert my own type of correction) ... or do I rip it out and begin again?

    I don't recall that it mattered which option I went with.  I was getting in a lot of practice, learning from my errors: learning to correct them and learning to enhance the errors for a new look. 
    I certainly didn't become "good" at crochet overnight; it took me a long time to understand the rules of crochet. 

    As I continued to look over my work last night and recall those thoughts, I fell asleep.  I dreamed my family bought a mansion and surprised me with it.  As I took my first tour of the house I was amazed at it's beauty; the fine details throughout the huge house.  When we arrived to check out the last room I found that my husband, Mr. Dee,  had already had movers move my yarn stash in.  It was placed on three shelves high (40 feet or so) on the walls.  "How am I to reach my stash?" I asked him.  He replied, "You'll have to work at it." 

    I looked around the room some more.  In the room on every lower shelf and table was every one of my first crochet projects; many I had long ago forgotten about.  My oval hats, my trapezoid blankets, my triangle scarves.  My, I have come a long way in my crocheting abilities ... while it was fun to revisit those early works, it is nice to know this was just a dream.  :)

    Friday, November 3, 2006

    Overlay Crochet: An Update

    Many of my readers ask about the Overlay Crochet technique that I often discuss here ... it's a technique developed by the ever-lovely Melody MacDuffee.  Previously, the only way to see her work would be through various magazine publications (of which I am delighted to have a few), or through pictures others (such as myself and Allie) have posted on the Internet.  The pictures offered in today's blog entry are the simple overlay pieces I turned into coasters for my niece's Home Warming in 2005.  In fact, I got "caught" crocheting them at our local library

    I'm delighted to announce that Melody now has her own website which includes pictures of her beautiful work, class information, and more!  You can visit her at:  ...and she'll be coming out with a new book called "Crochet Overlay Jewelry" really soon.  Of course it will be on the Wish List I'll be providing to Santa right after Thanksgiving!  LOL

    Thursday, November 2, 2006


    I received notification that it's now time to cast votes for the Vivi Awards of which I'm honored to be a first-time nominee in the Best Crafts Category.  There are many wonderful journals to vote for, so I do urge you to go and vote!

    Now, in order to cast your vote it's also  important that I state that you must be an AOL member, or signed up for AIM to do so. If you're not signed up for AIM, you can do so here -- it's free AND it will allow you to leave comments on AOL Blogs (in the AOL world we call them Journals) -- I just love when my readers leave me comments!

    For more information about the Awards, and on where to vote, visit here. Voting will take place until Monday, November 6th.  (I'm not sure if there's a specific time you can vote until on 11/6, so get those votes in early!)

    Wednesday, November 1, 2006

    "That was totally Wicked!"

    Yesterday was a scream!  I dressed up as a crochet fanatic by wearing one of my crochet pins -- oh, wait, that's nothing new; so I guess I didn't dress up for Halloween after all.  Bummer.  Maybe next year I'll dress up as a knitter, or a seamstress! ...  Ah, but I did bring in the headless crochet hook to class!  Wha ha ha ha ha

    We had such a ghoolish time together that we decided to hang out a bit after the class was over.  While we had fun chatting up a storm and working up more stitches, the store seemingly filled with many crocheters.  (Should I dare think that perhaps they were all knitters dressed up as crocheters for Halloween?)  It doesn't matter; it was great seeing so many crocheters at one time! 

    Then last night, at my sister-in-law's, our last stop on the Trick or Treat door bell ringing tour, we got to talking.  She inquired if I'd be interested in reintroducing her to crocheting -- she had made an "endless granny square" afghan many, many years ago and now she's interested in picking up the hook again to create some scarves.  While we were talking my nieces asked if I'd teach them too.  I happily agreed.  So on Thanksgiving Day, after all the joys of cooking & cleaning are over, we'll hold a mini crochet class.  Now that's a dessert I'm looking forward to offering!  :)