Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wrapping it Up

It's getting down to the wire ... and based upon this morning's news reports, only 8% of Americans are ready! The rest of us, myself included, are way behind!


Every year I crochet three scarves and my children nominate which teachers will receive them. I have two out of the three completed:


On the left, in a beautiful burgundy color with lots of sparkle, is a scarf I crocheted using the Bushy Stitch. Normally I do not mix "complicated" stitches with "complicated" yarn as the textured yarn will hide the stitches. But in this case I thought the stitch and the yarn worked well together. For the edging I used Solomon's Knot. The yarn I used was Paton's Silverlash. It's pretty enough to go from evening wear to the ski slopes if I do say so myself!


On the right, is an incredibly soft delight! I used Plymouth Yarn's Baby Alpaca Brush Paint with the Waffle Weave technique (for those new to crochet, the Waffle Weave technique and the Waffle Weave Stitch are not the same!) . The result was dimpled fabric that striped up on the diagonal! To frame the scarf I used Lion Brand's Fun Fur. I couldn't ask for a better color match!

To say it's dreamy soft, and light!, would be an understatement!

The third scarf is still in the works. This one I am knitting, using a single hank of recycled silk yarn. The colors remind me of acrylic paints, and will be perfect for the art teacher. I have about a foot more in length to go -- not bad for having started it last night! So back to stitching I go! :)

I wish you all a Merriment of Stitches and a Happy New Yarn!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

CROCHETERS CHRISTMAS EVE

In 2005 there was a knitter's version of the NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS making rounds through various online groups. Unfortunately it was never revealed who the orginal author was. The author of the knit version was revealed this week to be Nancy Massaroni, a knitter from New York. (Many thanks to Sparrowrose for researching this!)

In 2006 I took the knitter's version and rewrote parts of it for crocheters ,and then posted it to my AOL Journal where my blog resided for some 4+ years. Although my version of it can be found in my blog archives here on blogger, I do not have access to edit the entry to give Nancy the proper credit. Just moments ago I credited her in the Comments section of that entry.

Now I find my crochet version is going around various internet groups with "author unknown." The author is not unknown; I'm right here. ... so please, if you're going to share the poem, do so with the proper credit ... to Nancy and to myself, Dee Stanziano. Better yet, just give the link to this entry. *<;)


CROCHETERS CHRISTMAS EVE
Original knit version by Nancy Massaroni, 2003

rewritten (crochet version) by Dee Stanziano, 2006

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished crocheting not under the tree.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'Cause the heels and toes had not a stitch there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all,
And the sweater for him was six inches too small,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I put down my hooks to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn I heard such a noise,
I thought it would wake both Dad and the boys.
And though I was tired, my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

But what I heard then left me perplex-ed,
For not a name I heard was what I expected,
"Move, Berroco! Move, Lopi! Move, Addi and Clover!
Move, Boye! Move Woolease! Move Reynolds --move over
Paton, don't circle 'round; stand in the line.
Come now, you sheep will work out just fine!
I know this is hard; it's just your first year,
I'd hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer.

"I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing.
And then, in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned 'round St Nick I did meet.

He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe,
And his clothes were hand crocheted from above to below.
A bright Fun Fur sweater he wore on his back,
And his toys were all stuffed in an cro-knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.
The scarf 'round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I espied a small label,
"S.C." was duplicate stitchedon the cuff,
And I asked, "Hey, Nick, did you crochet all this stuff?"
He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to crochet when I was a kid."

He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair,
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I'd laid my hooks and yarn for a cap.
He quickly began crocheting, first one cap then two,
For the first time I thought I might really get through.

He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks.
While I sat back drinking scotch on the rocks.
So quickly like magic his stitches they flew
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me,
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year start your crocheting sometime around June!"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wish Granted


I said, "I need to sleep in."


I said, "I need time to catch up."


I said, "I need a day to have fun with my children."


Mother Nature heard me and granted me my wish.


No school today. No running around.

Just a day of shoveling, crocheting, snowball fights, and catching up.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Process Vs. Project

This past Sunday, at our monthly crochet club meeting, I admitted, out loud, that I am enjoying learning how to knit. Members I've known for years, who know me as a die-hard crocheter (still am, by the way!) were in shock (as much as I was when I first admitted this to myself). Once over the shock they said they were happy for me, offering me congratulations on overcoming a hurdle I have been trying to clear for years! Happy with this acceptance, I decided to treat myself to the holiday 2008 Knitsimple issue. (I figure if a magazine has a title of Knitsimple it has to be my beginner speed, right?)

What I found interesting, that could translate to all of the fiber arts, is the column "last stitch" written by Laura Bistow. The article is titled "process makes perfect." Laura states that she is a 'process knitter: one who is content to click away without an ultimate purpose,' whereas the 'project knitter is one who is compelled by a great pattern or [is] confident enough to make [something] someone would really wear.'

With all that is going on in my life at this moment, I find that I am compelled to be a 'process stitcher' (regardless if it's crochet or knit), allowing myself to think about possible solutions, making mental holiday lists, and so on. Yet, the conservative in me demands that this 'process stitching' eventually end up as a useable end product (thus also making me a 'project stitcher' too).

As I watch my stitches slip from my crochet hook (and now the needle too), it seems to help me melt stress away. The projects I am working on are not challenging. Rather, I want the freedom, the pleasure, of simply making stitches that will allow me to journey into deep meditative thought. I don't care if my stitch count is right, if it looks pretty, or if I should have used a smaller hook/needle for my ribbing. Right now, making mindless repetitive stitches is what is important to me; allowing the process to give me the fuel to press on, to tackle what needs to be. And should it result with a scarf, or two, or a dozen, perhaps with a few blemishes, then that's OK with me, for now. Stitches can always be easily ripped out later to be corrected, perfected, right? :)

Readers, what about you? What type of stitcher are you? A 'Process Stitcher," or a "Project Stitcher?" Have events in your life ever changed the type of stitcher you traditionally are?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tim-ber!


As tough as things are, there are still some traditions we are keeping. One being heading to the Jones Family Farm in Shelton, Connecticut, to get -- or actually, to cut down -- our Christmas tree. Dee Jr. gets that honor, and the smile on his face as he and his sister haul their prize down the hillside is fantastic. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world! :)

Check out the hat that Mini~Dee is wearing. I crocheted that hat for her back when she was in Kindergarten! At the time, it was perfectly matched to go with her winter coat, and she was thrilled! Now, here she is in the sixth grade, having received many more hats I've crocheted for her year after year, but this is the one she keeps wearing! LOL

We'll be decorating the tree this weekend and I'll be using lots of crocheted items on it ... snowflakes, the gingerbread man Sherri made for me, the ornament I won last year from the International Freeform Guild's auction ...

And, under the tree there will be various gifts I've crocheted. Hats and scarves mostly. How about you? Will you be giving the gift of crochet this holiday season?

Friday, December 5, 2008

"These Are the Times ...

that try men's souls." ~Thomas Paine

In my living room is a sea of hats, scarves and mittens, as well as new toys, that will be going to our local Salvation Army later this afternoon. As I look at each set to ensure they are correctly labeled, I find I have mixed emotions.

I am sad. Sad that every year the need for such items grow. And sad because people are needing to abandon volunteer positions to seek out employment, or get 2nd jobs to make ends meet. (Our local TV News station just did a segment on volunteer shortages and how it's effecting local communities.) Where would we be without volunteers?

On the otherhand, I am thankful. Thankful that I belong to a wonderful crochet group that is able to put their collective stitches together to make such a contribution to our local community every year. I know that even though my family is currently in a tight situation, we still have it better than many other families. And this sea of hats, scarves, mittens and toys will certainly make a difference this holiday season. It will let these families know we care.

There is still time. If you have some extra yarn and a little time, consider crocheting or knitting up a scarf for a local charity. Yes it's sad they're still needed, but it is more heartwarming to know we can make a difference, one stitch at a time. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reader sends in the dogs!

Haley writes: I'm worried that you have been kidnapped by Archimedes and we need to send the Graydogs out to find you!!


Haley, and all, thank you for your concern. My family and I are fine. It's funny you mention Archimedes and Graydog in the same sentence -- Mini~Dee rocked her math project, earning a perfect score (she had to do a verbal presentation as well), and I, a few weeks ago, received another beautiful Graydog crochet hook ... but fear not. We are -- and will be fine.

So what happened? Where have I been? ... Here at CWDland we're going through a rough patch due to Mr. Dee's employer deciding to get rid of some 13,500 of their 18,000 employees. This means we've been focusing our energy internally, coming up with various game plans to keep our family afloat. It also means, aside from working on class proposals to submit for the 2009 CGOA Conference, that I have been working on my resume and researching various companies I am interested in working for. Next I will be brushing up on my interviewing skills. I'd love to stay/work in the crochet/fiber/fashion world, so if anyone has a lead, I'm all ears! :)

What does this mean to you, my readers? It means, for now, my virtual daily blogging about crochet has to change to either a few times a week, or a few times a month. Once the dust settles and we have a better idea of where we stand, I'll be able to settle into a predictable routine for sharing my passion for crochet.

For many, change does not come easy. We get comfortable and then fear the unknown. I'd like to think of this time as a challenge. The road might get a little bumpy, but I think, in the end, we'll be OK. It has to be, after all I have a new Graydog crochet hook that needs to be "walked" regularly. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Knee deep in Archimedes

Is it Wednesday; really? Where does time go? Aside from sulking about the economy issues (my Mr. Dee's employer has announced an 80% layoff plan, so we're waiting for the yarn to hit the fan, so to speak), I have been busy being Mini~Dee assistant for her math project. My job, as she worked on her display poster, was to pepper her with questions, preparing her to answer possible questions she may be asked about Archimedes.

Prior to this, I had suggested she pick Daina Taimina who ignited the world recently with her coral reef exhibit, using crochet to teach hyperbolic mathematics. Mini~Dee decided she did not want to include crochet in her project, so after a long while at researching possible candidates, she picked Archimedes.

Archimedes was a guy who lived for math. He spent his life coming up with new concepts and formulas. He figured out Pi, levers, and, as my daughter puts it, he figured out today's fashionable mobius. Yes, she put that in her report, complete with a figure made of pipe cleaners wearing a mobius she made out of ribbon trim! LOL

Now she is considering bringing in the crocheted mobius (pictured on left) I designed earlier this year -- so the kids would have something tangible they could see and touch to grasp the concept of a circle with two useable sides. Naturally, I'm thinking she should crochet one on her own, or one we could both work on together, so she can give it to her teacher for Christmas. We'll see.

My lesson to Mini~Dee ... no matter how much you try to escape it, math is crochet. And crochet is math. :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

2009 CGOA National Conference

It was announced this morning on the Crochet Partners group (on Yahoo) that the 2009 Chain Link/CGOA National Conference will be held in Buffalo, NY, August 5th - 9th. (There are no official announcements on the CGOA's website, but they did post more pictures from the 2008 conference.)

For me, that's a six hour ride (2 hours further away than Manchester, NH) -- and it's also a kick in the pants to get my passport since Niagra Falls is just a 20 minute ride away -- as well as the Canadian border.

I was just reading a news article yesterday that they expect a huge rush of folks trying to beat the new law requiring you have a passport to travel to our neighbors, Canada and Mexico. And this means that naturally I'm going to want to now about local Canadian yarn shops to visit ...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dictionary of Fashion

Have you watched the new tv reality series, Stylista, yet? If not, that's OK. It's a show based on a group of people trying to win a job at Elle magazine. Along with the usual behaviors associated with reality series, this one provided an interesting tidbit: during one of the challenges all of the participants were given a dictionary. Not any old dictionary -- but a FASHION DICTIONARY! I had no idea such a thing existed. So I hopped on Amazon, looked it up and decided to order the The Fairchild Dictionary of Fashion!

It arrived yesterday and it is FILLED with lots of fantastic information. Naturally the first word I looked up was crochet:

Crochet: (kro-shay') 1. Fabric made from a continuous series of loops of yarn made with a single hooked needle. Originally developed in the 16th c. as an inexpensive method of creating a lacelike fabric. Modern textile machinery can create fabrics that have the appearance of crochet.
2. Adjective used to describe apparel made by crocheting.
3. Term used from 14th to 17th c. for a hook or fastener, e.g., a hook attached at woman's waist for suspending a pomander, or a fastener on a shoe.


The first thing from that definition that popped out at me is that it states crochet dates back to the 1600s -- not the 1700s as most other resources note. (Personally, my jury is still out on this one. I'm still trying to find information on my mummy ...)

The second thing I noticed was "modern textile machinery can create the appearance of crochet" ... which means they have of yet to invent a machine that CAN crochet. Just because it has the appearance of crochet doesn't mean it is crochet! So this means crochet remains a fiber art form that MUST be made entirely by hand!

The third was a great explanation on why I keep seeing button fasteners on eBay listed as crochet hooks. Really, crochet hooks and button fasteners are not the same thing. To be sure, I looked up pomander. Pomanders were balls of fragrant herbs and/or flowers worn at the waist from the 1500s to nearly the 1700s. OK, good to know.

After checking out crochet I decided to flip through the book and pick a word at random; I landed on "godet."(pronounced "go-day') It's the name of the inserts I used in designing the pink & white skirt for my daughter! Way cool. I can see this book will become a very valuable addition to my reference book collection. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America is in for a change

Karen said it best this morning: "I woke up this morning to the news that Barrack Obama is our new president & Dee is knitting?!?" Amazing, right? Who knew I'd be in the national news? (wink wink)

Yes, not only have I been knitting, but I am also attempting to write my very first knit pattern! So far I have "Cast on 36" written down. Now I need to figure out the k1, p1 lingo, then test it out. If it works, I'll share the pattern here. It's for a preemie cap.

What made knitting finally "click" for my crochet oriented brain? I'm thinking it's all that tinkering I've done with the Amazing Needle, Priscilla's cheering me on, and me finally figuring out that I can use crochet terms/concepts to get my hands actually making stitches with two sticks rather than just one. Obama was right; America is in for a change -- Dee IS knitting! LOL

...so to celebrate, I went nuts over on eBay winning this auction:

I figure if I'm going to be knitting, then I'll need the toys, er tools, that go with it.

Does this mean I am abandoning crochet? Absolutely not!!

What it does mean is that I'm experimenting with becoming bi-textural. -- And, that I can finally give Mini~Dee back her knitting needles.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Paleontology Discoveries

We spent yesterday at the Peabody Museum located in New Haven, CT, where Dee Jr. was a competitor in the 11th Paleo-Knowledge Bowl. Knowing the day had a lot of downtime (waiting) involved, I decided I would attempt to knit up a scarf for the 60 Scarves in 60 Days challenge.

Using Margaret's cast on method, I cast on 20 stitches and set to work. Mini~Dee again noted I was creating my stitches wrong and tried several times to correct me. But it was no use. I was enjoying what I was doing, even though it was wrong. My stitches were even, and better yet -- NOT twisted as they have been in past attempts. Mini~Dee just shook her head at me.

Soon, a woman approached me. "Hi Dee," she said, "you may not remember me, but we met at a school function and you encouraged me to go to the Internet for some crochet patterns." I did remember her and gave her a big smile while finishing the row of stitches I was working on. "Well," she continued, "you created a monster out of me! I've been crocheting nonstop ever since!" Then she looked at what I was doing and she got a puzzled look on her face. "Dee, are you knitting?!"

I laughed. Indeed I was. And in public! I explained that I'm trying to learn (again). Maybe I'll eventually be able to combine the two fiber art forms for some really creative projects. She agreed that it's a good idea to know both. "You know, I learned how to knit first," she confessed, "but I like the speed of crochet so much better." I invited her to one of our meetings; I hope she comes.

video


Time went by when I was approached by another woman. "I was watching you through the reflection in the display glass and had to come see what you are doing. Do you mind if I sit with you and watch?" I explained to her that I'm trying to learn how to knit and so my form/style may not be correct as my daughter has already informed me. And so she went into her bag, pulled out her own knitting project and knitted while she watched me.

"Ah," she said, "you don't knit wrong. You knit Scandinavian. I've watched the Scandinavian's knit that way, and they make the most beautiful lace with the tiniest of needles!" I was in shock; I knit Scandinavian? I'm knitting in a way that is comfortable to me and is NOT wrong?? Whew!! I felt like doing the Snoopy dance! We continued to sit together for quite awhile, stitching and chatting. By the end of the day my charity scarf was nearly 3/4 done! I invited her to join us for a meeting sometime too.

It turns out Paleontology discoveries can be quite educational! :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Welcome to the High Wire Act

It was late last night when I revealed a reoccurring dream to my husband. The first time I was driving on a seemingly familiar road late at night. Eventually I passed a gray building on my left that was set low into the hillside to the point where my attention was distracted because you could easily see into the 2nd floor windows while driving by. The building had a familiar feel to it. I am unsure if it was a yarn shop. However, once I took my eyes off the building I realized I was at a dead end. I came to an immediate stop with plenty of distance between me, the brick wall, and the cliff behind it. I remember being terrified.

The second time I dreamed this dream I left my attention on the building even longer. By the time I was able to stop my vehicle the nose was touching the brick wall. Again I was terrified.

The third time I was unable to stop. I crashed through the brick wall and felt myself falling down the long cliff. Not a pleasant feeling to awake to.

My husband, who listened to these details from my reoccurring dream, said it all made sense. He said they all revolve around the AOL issue: The first time I was able to stop in time. This meant I felt I had plenty of time to move all my material from AOL. The second time was me feeling the pressure of the move, that time was running out but I could still save everything. The third was feeling the loss that I although I moved/saved what I could, the event was out of my control and that I wouldn't be able to save everything in time. I would be free falling, relying on the new hosts for my blog and website, hoping my fans find me without too much trouble.

I think Mr. Dee hit the nail on the head with this interpretation. I was not able to save everything, and AOL did just as they said they would. They closed every website and journal they hosted, and cleared out the FTP space as well. I was there for 10 years.

Starting today, it's a new chapter, a new adventure. No safety harness, no safely net. Last night's dream was about chocolate. Sweet, dark and rich chocolate. It could have been due to all the candy I enjoyed eating from the kids Trick or Treating. Or it could mean, this change was meant to be and that I will see it as a delicious experience. I think it was the latter; it was meant to be. That said, let me officially welcome everyone to the NEW CrochetingWithDee blog and website. May our new adventure together be as satisfying as treating ourselves to our favorite chocolate bar, or yarn. Or both. :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pointedly Scary Thoughts

My son has decided he will be John Lennon, from the famed 1960s Beatles group, and my daughter decided she will be the American Girl doll, Nikki, for Halloween tonight. Jennifer had asked what I'll be and I replied I was going as me. However, I'm rethinking my answer.

I was trolling around on YouTube for some crochet videos when I somehow got switched over to the pointy stick videos when I discovered this one:



What a cool concept! If I had the Flip Knit books I wouldn't need to drag poor Priscilla out of her house each time I twisted a stitch! I searched for crochet versions but couldn't find any. I wonder why. I'm sure there'd be a market for it!

Anyway, while I'm taking the kids out Trick or Treating tonight, I decided I'll be dressed up too. As a knitter. Scary thought, huh? :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Crochet News to Me ...

I took a little break from the site move and ventured over to Ravelry. I checked into the "Knit and Crochet Show" group and discovered something interesting ...

They were talking about being unable to watch the emmy nominated PBS show because, like mine, their local PBS station doesn't carry the show. Drat, right?

Well, I discovered tonight that the entire season 2 is available on DVD!

So I ran over to my local library's website and placed a request for it! Don't want to wait for your local library to offer it? Then you can order it right from the Knit and Crochet Show website!

Back to work ... must hurry before the AOL ghouls are let loose.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Losing My Mind?

Just when I thought I was nearing a clearing in the woods, someone went and stuck another forest in front of me! Here I was, thinking that once I'm done with the blog/website move I'd be able to pick up my hook and happily crochet ... only not so. AOL has decided I don't have enough to deal with. They announced they will no longer host images/pictures. Should I start re-screaming now? I know a bunch of pictures did not transfer over from my AOL Journal to my blog here (such as those from the CGOA Conferences) ... so now along with moving the images to a new host, I also have to think about if I want to invest the time to go back and edit those postings. Arg!

Looking forward to a little relief from looking at a computer screen all day, this afternoon I brought my bag of crochet to the children's after school band practice. I'm the band's "Mom," so it's my job to keep the kids in line while they await their lessons. One of the children, we'll call her Sunshine, (she has a sweet, bright personality), asked me last week if I would teach her how to crochet. I said sure. Bring a skein of yarn and a hook and I'd be happy to. I reached into my bag to discover I left all my crochet hooks at home. More Arg!

So there I was, hook-less when Sunshine walked up to me this afternoon with a big smile on her face. Sunshine was ready for her lesson! She reached into her bag and pulled out her yarn and her ... knitting needles. Knitting needles? Gulp. This would be interesting.

I apologized. I explained my position: I'm a crocheter not a knitter. But if she were willing, we could test my memory together. She was game. I taught her how to cast on using Margaret's technique (I like to use it for Tunisian crochet), and then I showed her how to remove the loops from one needle to the other. Hey, I'm thinking, I not so bad at this, you know, teaching knitting stuff. This knitting was feeling good -- real good. I was playing with yarn! Ah, bliss!



Then my daughter came over and looked at what we were doing. "Uh, Mom, that's not right," she declared. I apologized to Sunshine again, restated my positon, and turned her over to the Pro, my daughter who quickly set her straight. (I was teaching the "twisted stitch" method. I am sure Priscilla is shaking her head at me as she reads this.)

What was I thinking; teaching knitting!? Clearly I must be losing my mind ...

... or maybe, based on the enjoyment I got from it, it's a hint I should give knit another go?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Crunch Time

Less than 5 days remain until AOL shuts down all of the web sites and journals it hosts. Less than 5 days. What does this mean? It means a lot more work needs to be done! For me, I have just a few more webpages to move/recreate/tweak. For you? If you have a website or blog that links to AOL'ers such as myself, you'll want to change the links to reflect the new sites, or if you don't know where that person has moved their material to (IF they moved their material), you'll want to delete the link. I still can't believe AOL is doing this; I don't consider it a good business move.


If you wish to link to me here, use the url: www.CrochetingWithDee.com
If you wish to link to my website, use the url: www.CrochetWithDee.com
This way, if I need to move again in the future, you won't need to change the links on your site(s).


On the bright side, I have received word from my MAC user readers that the RSS feed is now working! Yea!! It took reading a zillion pages on RSS feeds, tweaking html code, signing up for this and that, endless cups of coffee -- and, whew!, I'm delighted it works! How about you PC users? Is the RSS feed working for you?

On top of that, I have updated the ICheerforCrochet ring:
I Cheer for Crochet
Powered By Ringsurf
If you're not a member of the I Cheer for Crochet squad yet, we're always looking for new Crochet Cheerleaders. All you need is a blog or website that is at least 80% crochet, and presents it in a clean & positive way so that all ages/tastes can be inspired to give crochet a try.
I'd love to update the button for it and think it would be awesome if one of our cheer leaders designed a new one for us. In fact, I will reward the designer with a "Top 10" position in the ring. Let the designing begin! :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

RSS Feed Issues ...

Having used AOL for the first four + years of blogging, I've been unknowingly spoiled hampered. They did everything for me: columns, comment notifications, color/style choice, and RSS feeds.

Now that I am on my own I've found this to be a huge learning experience -- and opportunity to get creative. Why, just this week I learned how to make my column to the right a little bit transparrent ...

But something is wrong. The RSS function is not working. I went over to the feedburner site to get my new blog validated and it came up with a lot of code violations. ((Kinda sounds like I'm a bad landlord, right? lol))


  • style attribute contains potentially dangerous content

  • two entries with the same value for atom

  • content should not contain woohoonamesaved attribute

  • content should not contain object tag

Are you scratching your head too, saying, "Whaaat??"
I'm not sure how to correct the violations as my self-taught html coding skills are quite rusty. I think the violations occurred during the migration from AOL to here. But rest assured, I am looking into it. If I can fix it, I will. If I can't, well, I do appreciate you visiting with me and I hear my coffee is pretty tasty. I'll keep a pot on just in case you want to visit me here rather than through an RSS feed. ... And if any of you know some simple fixes I could try, I'm all ears.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

News to Me

I love learning new things about crochet, and this week was filled with various bits of information new to me.

First, to my jubilee, after waiting years (how many, I don't recall exactly, but it's been enough time to say years) it has been confirmed that Patricia Arquette is a crocheter! Ha! I'm so exited to learn this! I suspected she was when I watched one of her appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. They were talking about Halloween, Trick or Treating and such when she reached behind her seat and pulled out an adult sized costume of a Sock Monkey. Based upon the quick close-up shot, and Patricia talking about how long it took to create it, I guessed it was crocheted. But she never said! And so I waited, and now I couldn't be happier about being right about her!

So, there I was, over at the Knit One, Save One website when I noticed they have a Celebrity Caps Game we can play. Not only was I able to correctly guess Patricia's hat right off the bat, but I also learned that Rebecca Romijn is also a crocheter! So that's two new "Famous Crocheters" to add to the growing list! Yes!! :)

Then second, earlier this evening, as I flipped through today's mail to discover the Nov/Dec issue of PieceWork arrived, I discovered the article: "Zigzagging Rags into Shirred Rugs." You guessed it -- it's an article on a crochet technique that was fashionable in the mid 1850's! So it has been added to my growing list of types & techniques of crochet! (Have I mentioned that PieceWork is one of my favorite magazines?!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Progress!

The sun is shining, I have a stick (really a branch), several pages completed on the new site, and a full cup of coffee. Yes, this means things are coming along -- and more importantly, I am happy with the results! True, not much of actual crocheting, but it is progress, right?

I have about a handful of pages left to overhaul/move, and then to do "snap shots" of the old pages to archive. And then it's just a matter of tweaking, which I can do any time, right?

One of the pages I successfully revamped was my "Crochet Fun & Games" page. Since I couldn't move my word search (it wouldn't fit), I made a new one. I also made a Fallen Word Puzzle, but in going back and looking at it, it's missing! It's a big red X. Drat. I will have to investigate that later and see if I can get it restored. Also, along the lines of fun & games I have a new jigsaw puzzle you can solve right online. I hope to move the Crochet Bingo game over perhaps later tonight. Check it out and let me know what you think! :)

Oh, and about that branch? ... the electric company sent a crew to take down our "Charlie Brown" tree today (yes, the tree really did eat kites!). I asked them to save me a branch ... I'm thinking it needs to have some "Charlie Brown" type of crochet hooks made out of it. {VBG}

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brown Bag Luncheon: Knit One, Save One

In the weekday afternoons I can be found crocheting while parked at my children's school. I get there early so I can get a good parking spot -- and sneak in some stitches. This is how I was able to crochet 20 Tulip Preemie Caps in seemingly no time at all.

Yesterday, along with the 18 caps we collected at last month's "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" gathering, I delivered them to the Save the Children world headquarters located in Westport, Connecticut. Linda, who also had caps, Grace and Elaine, fellow HHCC'ers, also joined me. We were there for a special "Brown Bag Luncheon" to teach their staff members how to crochet for their "Knit One, Save One," campaign.

About 15 of their staff members participated, bringing their lunches to the conference room. Each was given a bag of yarn, a hook & a pattern to get started. There were lots of giggles, lots of stitching, and several caps taking shape towards the end of the luncheon.

We learned that they already have caps arriving, filling Dan's cubical at the moment. (Dan was one of the participants.) It was a great way to spend the afternoon, passing on our love of crochet for a good cause. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rhinebeck: NY Sheep & Wool Festival

I was to have joined some fellow HHCC'ers on Saturday for a day of fun at the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, only it wasn't in my cards. I awoke with one of the biggest migranes of the year. It was horrible. And I missed seeing my friends. I was bummed.

On Sunday I received a call from Nancy, checking in on how I was doing. She was heading back to the festival and wanted to know if I'd like to join her. Since I was feeling better I was game.

Upon arrival we went immediately to the Author's Booksigning Event. Our goal was to say "Hi" to the wonderful Doris Chan. She was the only crochet author there and there were many Chan-Fans stopping by to buy her books and get her autograph. It was really great getting to see her.

Nancy and I then met Chris from Australia. The three of us wondered around, visiting and petting many delicious fibers ... many, many indeed! The weather was beautiful -- sunny and slightly crisp as one would expect for an autumn day (nothing like the sub-zero degree weather reported from the day prior). We met up with members from the New York City Crochet Guild, ate, shopped some more, and listened to some live music. It was a lot of fun!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Truckin' along ...

I feel really bad about yesterday's post. I've been under a lot of stress with this move and to find someone lifting my material really pushed my buttons yesterday. Seriously, I'm more of a happy-go-lucky kinda gal, so I'm going to put that behind me and move forward today.

First, I want to address the vehicle situation. No, I still don't have my wheels back, and yes, I REALLY am driving around town in a huge six-wheelin', extended cab truck I borrowed from my father. It's so big that the kids nicknamed it "the tank." It's a trip driving that thing, and my daughter, Casey, is doing everything in her power to tempt me to see just how much yarn the "tank" can haul. I'm going to guess a lot. I don't know what it is about driving it, but when the kids are not riding with me, I find that I'm turning the radio station over to some hard rock and nodding my head to other big truckers as we pass on the road. Weird. It brings back memories of being on the Harley, giving the secret hand signal to other bikers that share the same passion ...

So this got me to wondering. Is there a cool signal for crocheters and I'm just not aware of it? If there isn't, we should create one. This way we can acknowledge each other as we pass each other in the store aisles ...


Second, you may notice that I'm tinkering with the blog settings here. The advice columnists advise not to change too much all at once, so I'm trying things out slowly. Please let me know if there is something you'd like added.

Third, AC Moore has teamed up with NaturallyCaron.com for a "Naturally Baby Contest." The contest starts today and runs until December 1, 2008. You can find out more about this contest by going here. The only catch is that you need to purchase the yarn from AC Moore, and there isn't one in my area. Should Casey get her wish to see how much yarn the "tank" can haul? Do I dare?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Can See You ...

There has been an increase of activity of, shall we say, the borrowing of articles, descriptions, and such from various web sites from some individuals wanting to "gather" all the "important" information to create their own crochet site, regardless if they are knowledgeable about the information they are lifting. And without asking the owners permission.

I want to let this individual know that I can see her. I can see her climbing all over my site, the specific page she's concentrating on, and I assure you, it's not for good reasons. And I want to let her know that it is NOT OK to take someone else's work and pass it off as your own. It's called COPYRIGHT infringement and/or PLAGIARISM: the act of passing someone else's work off as their own. AND it's AGAINST the LAW!! You know who you are AND I know who you are. Continue and I will go public!

Just because I am in the process of moving my material does not mean I do not still own the copyright to my work. If you want to build a "comprehensive" web site then DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK!!

My sincerest apologies to my regular readers; this is out of character for me. However, I do not appreciate being robbed of many years worth of work and wanted to ensure this individual knows we are on to her.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Plugging Along ...

I lost my brakes for the 3rd time in just as many weeks. Turns out one of the hoses for my ABS needs to be replaced. It will be days, and an untold fortune, until I get my wheels back. Normally I wouldn't report about such a thing, but in this case I know it will impact my spending at the upcoming Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY, next weekend. First, the repair bill will force me to spend less on yummy treats, and second, if I don't have my wheels back in time, I won't have space to haul all my goodies home .... sooooooooooo, yeah. It's a bummer. But on the bright side, at least I'll have brakes and this will allow me to (later on) stop to go shopping at my LYS instead of just driving by, unable to brake. Right!? So there's my silver lining. Tell me there's another silver lining to this -- that you'll be attending the S&W too; maybe we could meet? I have it on my calendar for Saturday.

The other silver lining is that on Monday I'll be in Westport with some of my fellow HHCC'ers, helping the Save the Children foundation with their "Knit One, Save One" campaign. I have 16 preemie caps finished thus far; my goal is to have 25 finished so I can deliver them on Monday. I'm working on them mostly in the afternoons while waiting to pick my children up from school. Most of the caps I have crocheted thus far have been with my Tulip Preemie Cap pattern which I am tweaking to include the stem. If you would like to be a pattern tester for me, go here to give it a whirl. Please let me know if you have any difficulties with it.

Time for more coffee and more work ...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Please Pardon the Dust ...

... and the moving boxes ...
... and the lack of crocheting (on my part) ...

The important thing here is that the crochet hooks & yarn are safe, and that you, my readers are finding me here! {{YES!}}

I know the blog design is seriously lacking (no, seriously! Isn't it drab to you too? Where does one go for a splashy blog design? I never had that option over at AOL!).

The amount of work involved in moving the CrochetWithDee site is huge. I should have hired a moving van. Just for the yarn alone! heh heh heh

Over at the new developing site I have opened a "Web Store" ... listing items from my personal library & stash. Feel free to begin shopping ... because in about a year from now, I'll be moving FORreal! Right down the block. And I'm learning, the less I have to move, the more time I'll have to crochet. :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Phase III almost complete

I have given up on moving my children's "Cornnecticut.com" journal over to blogspot ... it was just too much for my brain to deal with this week.

Instead I decided to make it into a website using freewebs.com.  Using their blog option, I moved over one month's worth of journal entries and will give it a few days to see how it "feels."

Anyone interested in checking it out can go to: http://freewebs.com/cornnecticut/ or just use the original url:   http://www.Cornnecticut.com

Once the move is completed, this will leave me with moving my Crochet(ing)WithDee sites.  I really am dreading this.  Finding the right home for them is important to me.

Question:  I know all the images I have in my FTP space will be wiped out when AOL makes this blunder of closing down all sites it's hosted for it's members, including it's PAYING members, such as myself.  What will happen to all the images hosted in our journals/blogs?  Hosted in our AOL photo albums?  Does anyone know?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Phase I and II Complete

When AOL made it's announcement to close Journals and Hometown I totally freaked.  I have much more than my Journal to find new homes for.

The first step was to take the way outdated site for my CGOA Chapter and move it some place where updates can be made fairly quickly and easily.  I decided the website was a dinosaur.  What our group needed was a blog -- so the material would always be fresh!  You may keep tabs on the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club by visiting  http://thehhcc.blogspot.com/   ... or you may reach the new blog by visiting the old url: www.thehhcc.org.

The second step was to find a home for my daughter's website, Casey's Crochet.  It had been awhile since her site was updated and so with AOL deciding to close, perhaps this was a good thing.  Not only did I find a new home for her site, but it also came with blogging options, so who knows, maybe she'll become an official blogger too!  :)    ... you may reach her new site by going to http://www.freewebs.com/caseyscrochet ... or you may reach it by visiting the old url:  www.caseyscrochet.com

As far as Cornnecticut.com, CrochetingWithDee.com, and CrochetWithDee.com goes, I'm still working on that.  Cornnecticut should be fairly easy, but the two CWD's will be a challenge due to their sheer size.  I'll keep the coffee on, for sure.

Thank you, everyone for all the recommendations, please do keep them coming!  :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Moooving Along With the Herd

I spent a fantastic day visiting with my Auntie, and with my Mom (who is up from Florida) today.  I come home and find an email notification that AOL will be closing down it's website and blog (journal) services.  YIKES!!!

Therefore, along with the rest of AOLers in my shoes, I'll be needing a new place to roost.  And QUICK!

Recommendations are greatly needed! 

I'll be keeping the dot coms so finding the new sites will be easy ... but I will need to figure out how to save years worth of blog entries, and get a new website up and running before October 31st.

This means blog posts here will be much, much fewer until I can find some new digs.

So please, if you have recommendations on where I should move both my blog AND website, please let me know ASAP!!

Many thanks,
~Dee

Monday, September 29, 2008

Very sheepy after a day at the fair

I have coffee brewing; a big pot.  I am tired.  Very tired indeed but have much to do today.  Crocheting too!  :)

My family and I spent yesterday walking our legs off at the Eastern States Expositon.  It was the last day for this fair and there was much fun to be had, complete with dodging rain drops and finding the best fudge vendors in all of the land!  (OMG the Pumpkin Pie Fudge is fantastic!!)

One of the highlights yesterday was getting to meet Linda, the lady who entered that beautiful victorian crocheted gown that she hand-spun the hemp for.  She was a delight to meet and said the dress is from a pattern that was published in the early 1980s, and for those wondering about the hemp yarn she spun -- she spun it to be "Z" twist.  I gave her my card and invited her to join the many thousands of other crocheters, knitters, and spinners on Ravelry.  I hope she does.

Coffee is ready, enjoy the pictures.  :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stemming Along

Raveler (one who participates in discussions on the Ravelry.com site) Lynne suggested, after I posted my Tulip preemie pattern for use in the "Knit One, Save One," campaign, that I should add a little green leaf and eventually a stem.


I'm tinkering with the idea ... here's prototype #1 where I decided to add a base & stem to the Tulip cap:

 

 

If there is interest I'll attempt to provide the "how to."

 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Stitch One, Save One

I really enjoyed participating in the "Caps to the Capital Campaign" spearheaded by the Save the Children organization last year (see blog entry here).  I crocheted over 80 preemie caps, part of the 282,000 caps collected from around the country!

Then I saw a little blurb that at the recent CGOA Regional Conference (if memory serves me correctly) Save the Children announced a re-launch of this program ... requesting folks once again crochet and knit caps to help save babies lives.  Could this be true? 

It is!  The campaign is called "Knit One, Save One," part of Save the Children's "Survive to 5, Save the Children's commitment to saving the lives of babies." and children.   Get involved, pass the word.  :)

NOTE:  If you have access to Ravelry, I have started a new group dedicated to this drive:  http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/knit-one-save-one

Monday, September 22, 2008

Deliciously Spoiled

Remember this project?  I found the pattern in a German magazine called "ONLine" back in February but didn't work it up until June, taking nearly three weeks to finish. 

The pattern is called "Model 13" in the ONline Stricktrends 14, Frühjahr-Sommer/Spring-Summer 2007 issue.  (for those interested in googling it.)

In one of the groups I participate in on the Ravelry website, a few months ago we were discussing our favorite crochet magazines and I mentioned this one.  (For the record, ONLine magazine is a bi-textural magazine featuring crochet and knit patterns.)  From time to time I would go to the ONLine website and dream about getting more issues.  Dream I say because finding them here in the US has proven to be very difficult.
 
Why not order them directly from the ONLine website?  Good question!  Because shipping the magazine to the United States (just shipping mind you) was over $50!  For a magazine. Their policy is to use an overnight carrier rather than postal service.  Fifty dollars for shipping, I don't think so.  So dreaming and wishing continued.  As did our conversation on Ravelry.

Then one day I received a private message with an offer too good to pass up.  Now I'm the proud owner of not one, not three (I found two issues on clearance at WEBs), but SIX issues -- and every issue is delicious, packed with inspiration!!!  The interesting thing about my magazines is that those I purchased here in the States have the directions in English, and the magazines direct from Germany are in -- you guessed it -- German!*  How cool is that?!!!  Thank you Hilary!!!  :)

* No, I do not speak/read German, however, this adds to my collection of "crochet patterns from around the world" where I have patterns from Japan, France and Russia.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Skinny on Lines

As a 5'2" tall woman I like to wear vertical lines.  Vertical lines, we've been taught, not only make the eye go up and down giving the illusion that we're taller, but also that we're thinner.  So vertical lines it is, and has been since, well, since forever, or at least since the second grade when I started to have some say over the clothes my mother purchased for me.

It seems it's all a myth!  Apparently those vertical lines are not going to slim me down!  A bunch of UK scientists got together to do a study and found that vertical lines make us look six percent  w  i  d  e  r .

WIDER! 

Eish!  Kind of makes me wonder if we really did send a man to the moon.  :/

So now I need to ask myself, do I crochet myself up a garment from the neck down (creating horizontal lines), or do I continue to favor vertical lines because it seems to handle gravitional pull better (forgetting the study results for a moment)?  What's a girl to do?

I think I'm going to continue crocheting up what I like, regardless of which way my lines/rows go -- and I'm definitely asking Santa to consider bringing me one of these.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

HHCC'ers 6th Appearance at the Big E

Yesterday was a lot of fun!  Our CGOA Chapter, The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, made it's 6th appearance at the Eastern States Exposition, locally known as The Big E.  For six years we have gotten up early in the morning, traveled north to West Springfield, Massachusetts, to promote and demonstrate crochet for the day.     According to the Big E officials, there were 75,661 attendees yesterday -- a new record for "Connecticut Day" -- and I think we talked crochet to about half of them throughout the day!!  (*a slight exaggeration, yes, but it sure felt like we did, and it was a blast to do so!)

What was different this year is that we were provided with a wonderful booth, and that FEZA provided us with yummy yarn to crochet with for the day.  Mission accomplished: there was a steady stream of people coming to our booth and talking crochet with us!  One of my favorite visitors was from Vermont ... "How long have you been crocheting," I inquired.

"About four weeks."

"Fantastic!" I exclaimed.  "And what was your first project?"

"A chain."

I smiled.  "And how long is your chain?"

"About 20 feet!!  Now I'm working on a scarf with real stitches."

This visitor was a young man of seven years.  And his brother crochets too.  ((I asked his mother to email me some pictures of their crochet work so I can post it here.  I hope they do.))

When not (wo)manning the booth I got to check out the entries and talk with the coordinator a bit.  There was some confusion about if my skirt had placed, and after a few minutes the mystery was solved.  It did.  (Flip through the pictures to see how it did.)  There were many wonderful items for the eyes to feast upon!

A fun time was had by all!!  :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

On the Crochet Radar

When you are out and about in your daily life routine(s), do you find your crochet radar going off like mine?  Do you get excited while standing in the check out line that the customer in front of you is wearing crochet?  And if so, do you secretly study the stitch construction, the color combination?  Do you tap them on the shoulder to inquire about it?

What about when you visit your local library?  Do you check out what is in the display cabinets?  Do you visit your local historical society from time to time to see what local treasures they might have?  Do you take pictures of crochet you see in store fronts as well as inside?

I do!  LOL

And so today I want to share some photographs I've taken around town: at my local library, at my local department stores, at a local fair ...  I find it fun to see where I'll have my next local crochet sighting.  How about you?  :)

    

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Reader's Result: Crocheting in Circles

The other day I featured a question from Tiffany who was having difficulties crocheting with rounds/circles.  The hat she was working on was looking like a doily. 

After my post she went back and tried again.  Check out her finished Textured Spiral Hat! ...

Tiffany reports that her "... daughter loves it, and [she's] very happy with it."

I think she did a terrific job!!  :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy International Crochet Day!

An entry at The Big E

Today is the second annual International Crochet Day!  How are you celebrating it?

I've been busy playing with a technique (possibly new, not sure, some investigation on my part will need to be launched), and working on another scarf for the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge.

I'm also pretty stoked that today is the Opening Day of the Eastern States Exposition (aka The Big E).  I have no idea if my crocheted entries have ribboned or not, but I am excited that people will be looking at my work.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall especially around my vest ....

Speaking of The Big E, when I dropped off my entries last Saturday, I saw the dress you see here on the left.

The only information I know about this item is that is was crocheted by a lady named Linda who lives in Massachusetts AND that it is NOT entered into the crochet category.  The woman who crocheted this gorgeous dress entered it into the hand spinning contest -- the dress is made entirely out of hand-spun hemp!

In discussing the dress with the event coordinator she agreed to let me take a picture of it so that I could blog about it.  She said she tried and tried to convince Linda to also allow it to be judged in the crochet category too, but she said no; she only wanted to enter it into the hand spinning contest.  We have no idea if it's an original pattern, or if it's one from a pattern.  It would be great to know the story behind it!  It's such an inspiring piece!  :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hot off the Hook

My children's school has an auction every fall, and wanting to beat the "last minute syndrome" of figuring out what to donate, I decided to work up this "All Shawl," designed by Doris Chan, using Cascade Yarns "Quatro" yarn.  I used a "L" Graydog crochet hook and a wee bit more than 2 1/2 hanks ... I love the way it came out and am thinking perhaps I should crochet one for myself.  What do you think?  :)

Doris' pattern can be found on Ravelry for free.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Question from Reader: Going in Circles


Dee- I am a new crocheter. I followed the pattern you set, but instead of a hat, my piece looks like a  doily. There's no form to it. Can you tell me what I did wrong? I followed the toddler directions.
Thanks so much.
Tiffany


Hi Tiffany, thank you for such a great question!  You're not alone, many new crocheters get a little confused when learning how to crochet in rounds.
 
Let's look at my pattern instructions for the Textured Child's Spiral Hat here.  In reading my pattern we notice that the first six rounds are created with increases evenly spaced out.  This means that if done correctly, yes, your crochet work will lay flat and take on the beginning appearance of a doily (in the picture below I have 4 rounds completed; the illustration shows where I've placed my increases for each round.):

Once the increase rounds are complete, each round thereafter is created stitch for stitch.  So if you ended with 60 stitches in Round 5 for the Toddler Hat, every round there after will have 60 stitches in it.  This will cause the work to "cup," building up the sides of the hat.  If you completed Round 6 for the larger sized hat, then after round 6 every round will have 72 stitches in it, again, causing the work to "cup."  If you have exceeded, say, Round 10 and your work still looks flat like a doily, then there is a good chance you're still increasing AND that there may be a tension issue.  Note that Round 7 says no more increases.  (Since you're doing the smaller size, your stitch count for Round 7 and on should be 60, not 72.)  Count your stitches, and if need be, check that your tension is under control.

There are other hat patterns available on the Internet, in magazines, and in books that will have different shaping as you go round by round.  The Spiral Hat Pattern we are discussing here is very basic in shaping to aid in learning how to crochet in circles.

Keep in mind, as you crochet, counting your stitches is very important.  Failure to do so will result with fabric that ripples (too many stitches) or buckles (too few stitches.)

I hope this helps, and that when you're hat is done you'll share a picture  :)

Sincerely,
~Dee

Monday, September 8, 2008

60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge Update

I am absolutely amazed that we have over 71 participants for this challenge over on Ravelry! And I am thrilled we have returning participants ... people like Sandie, Tracie, Jane and Melanie

This being the first completed week we're off to a roaring start with 10 scarves already completed!  Some will be going to the Special Olympics, some to local homeless shelters, and to local Salvation Army centers.  I can't wait to see what we do this week, and who the scarves will be pledged to!  :)

Thus far, I have one scarf completed for the challenge.  I'm calling it "Doublemint" because it's two sided (the picture on the right is the swatch I created to show what the technique looked like):

 

Sorry, no pattern available at this time. I will state that the scarf was inspired after assisting someone on Ravelry. It's amazing where one will find inspiration!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Flattery

Last night I attended my children's Open House session at their school.  While waiting for all the other parents to arrive, I decided to sit in the back row, take out my crochet project and set to working on my third Doris Chan "All Shawl."  (This shawl I'm using a beautiful sock yarn of wool/bamboo/nylon.  The color is variegated, almost coral in color, and it is working up not just lacy, but also very soft to the touch.)  This shawl will be donated to the school for their upcoming fund raiser and I thought it would be appropriate to work on it while at the school to start a little pre-bidding hype.  {VBG}

As I worked on the shawl many of the parents I hadn't seen over the summer break approached me and commented on my work.  Many also couldn't resist the urge to give the stitches a little pet, commenting on how wonderful it felt.  Before I knew it there was a small group of parents surrounding me, discussing my work.

"Dee crochets in her sleep.  You could crochet in your sleep if you wanted to, right Dee?"

"Dee is so talented, she can do anything with that hook!  I bet she could even recreate the top my daughter is wearing tonight!"  (see photo on right)

"I never see Dee without a hook in her hand.  It's like her own personal magic wand!  It's amazing all the stuff she makes!"

Maybe I should hire them to do PR for me!  (lol) 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Packed Up & Ready to Go!

It's some 90+ degrees outside and although I'm hotter than melted butter on popcorn, I'm smiling.  I just finished packing up my hot cinnamon candy mobius, the "crochet your knit" vest, and the Sweet Swinging Pineapple Skirt my daugher wore on the CGOA Fashion Show runway -- all  to be delivered to the Eastern States Exposition, the ninth largest state fair in the United States.  All three items have already won Blue Ribbons elsewhere, but this is not why I have choosen to enter these three items.

I entered the mobius to show that even with the most basic of stitches, in this case the single crochet and chains, can create beautiful stitch patterning.  I chose to enter the vest to further promote that crochet has another side to it.  And I chose the skirt to show what one can do with doily patterns.   I am hoping these three items will inspire someone to pick up a crochet hook for the first time, or to pick it up again after a long hiatus.  :)

The fair starts next Friday, September 12th (which just happens to be INTERNATIONAL CROCHET DAY!), and runs for three weeks.  My CGOA Chapter will be there demonstrating on what is known as Connecticut Day in the New England State Building.  For more information visit www.TheBigE.com

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fifth Annual "60 Scarves in 60 Days" Challenge Kickoff!

It's that time of season again!  The nights are getting cooler, tree leaves are starting to turn color, and there's a hurricane (Gustav) that will most likely cause a ruckus with the cost of gas and heating fuel straining even more family budgets!  What this means is it is time to look to our local communities and see where we can help someone in need by crocheting or knitting a scarf!

Want to participate?  Here's how:

  1. Crochet or knit a scarf (or more) for charity. You can use a pattern (give credit to the designer if that’s what the pattern calls for!), learn a new stitch, or create your own pattern.
  2. Pledge it for a local charity near YOU; no need to ship! Check with your local homeless shelters, Salvation Armys, religious institutions, and schools to find a home for your scarf/scarves.
  3. To have your scarf count towards the goal, let me know by
    A. leaving a comment here on my blog. .. don't forget, if you're a blogger, post about it on your blog and give us the link!
    B. sending me an email with your count
    C.uploading an image on Ravelry, labeling it ”2008 Scarf for 60 Day Challenge.” 
  4. The scarf/scarves must be created by hand between September 1st and November 31st, 2008, midnight, eastern time, to count.   (That's right, we actually increased the days to 90 so more scarves can be created this year, but we're going to keep the challenge title the same since it's kinda catchy, easy to remember.)
  5. Any skill level, age and gender can participate! Spread the word!  If you're on ravelry, join the discussion here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/60-scarves-in-60-days-challenge.  As of this blog post, there are 49 people already there, ready to take this challenge on! 
  6. If you have a website or blog, feel free to save the 2008 challenge image in the upper right to your own computer and then display it on your site proudly!

This Challenge is a great stash buster AND does YOUR local community good!
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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Doorway to Release the Soul

I finished Aunties' shawl yesterday, tucking in the last of the tails and letting the children parade around the house to model it for Mr. Dee.  Since it was raining yesterday I had to wait until today to block it.

Shawl for Auntie; pattern by Doris ChanSince I do not have a large house with a spare bed, or spare flooring for that matter, blocking for me is an outdoor activity.  After a search for my blocking tarp was fruitless, I went to Game Plan B and decided to hang it on the clothesline.  (It turns out my father borrowed my tarp to keep my china cabinet nice while he's storing it.  Note to self: buy another quality tarp.)

Oops!! Can you see the error too?I soaked the shawl in the SOAK detergent and gently squished out the excess water.  I hung the shawl on the line and stood back to admire my work.  Was I seeing things?  I stood there and starred at my stitches.  I must have been standing there for awhile because Mr. Dee came running up to me, "What's wrong?" he demanded to know.

I laughed, pointing to my work.  "It looks like I left a doorway to release my soul* from my work," I replied.  (* there is an Indian tribe that believes if hand work is perfect it traps the soul of that individual.  If I can recall the name of the tribe, I'll post it here.)

"Ha!  That's a true sign that it was made by hand," he remarked, "and I would have never have noticed if you never have pointed it out!"

He's right, it's not a big error, and it is a sign that the work was made by hand.  Of course this also teaches me to go back to using my OTT lite when crocheting into the late evening hours.  :)


Project info:
Pattern by Doris Chan ... "AllShawl;" available on Ravelry
Yarn: six skeins of Simply Soft Shadows and a wee bit over two skeins of Berroco's comfort
Hook:  2008 CGOA Commemorative crochet hook by
Brainsbarn.com

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Where does time go?

My children started their new school year this past week.  One day, while they were at school, I found myself flipping through some old family pictures when I came across this one ... it's Mini~Dee, at age five, practicing her crochet.  She was wearing her jammies, looking for a good excuse to stay up just a little bit longer.  And what better excuse is there other than to exclaim having "one more stitch syndrome" while looking for the praise of a parent who shares that same addiction?  (Yes, she got to stay up a bit later that night! LOL)  That was the year she started kindergarten and I got called in to see her teacher.

"Mrs. Stanziano," her teacher had said, "we have a problem.  Your daughter does not want to conform to holding her pencil the correct way.  I called you in to seek your help."

She was interrupted by an unexpected visitor to the classroom.  Seeing it would take a few moments until her return I went into my project bag and pulled out my crochet, starting to make some stitches in a mitten I was working on at the time.

The teacher returned and observed me crocheting.  "Perhaps that is the problem, Mrs. Stanziano.  Does your daughter crochet too?"

"Yes," I replied. 

"That explains it then!" she exclaimed clapping her hands once for emphasis.  "She's holding her pencil as if it were a crochet hook!"

That teacher never questioned my Mini~Dee's pencil hold again, and today as a middle schooler, her penmanship is just fine.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A ripple in time brings generations together

Today was the start of the new school year for my children, so it has been a flurry of preparation collecting all the needed school supplies and getting in those last minute play dates.  One of those play dates was with my beloved Auntie.  She lives about 75 minutes away and we planned to spend the entire day together, packing up some of her treasures as she will be moving soon.  Naturally I couldn't resist inquiring about where she collected this treasure and that treasure from, and she seemed happy to tell me the story behind each one. 

As the hours slipped away, we found ourselves laughing and laughing, and then finally we were done wrapping and packaging all her trinkets.  For an 81 year old woman, she seems to have more energy than I!  She got up from the table and said, "I have something to show you.  Wait here."  As I waited I grabbed my project bag and began crocheting.

Auntie's proof she was once a crocheter.When she returned to the room she said, "I want to show you proof I was once a crocheter like you."  In her hand was an aged plastic bag, yellowed with time.  Slowly she untwisted the fastener and opened the bag.  "This," she said, "I had to borrow from my friend.  I made this for her many, many years ago, back when I was working at the hospital.  I would work the 3-to-11 shift, standing, rather than sitting, in the Nurses Station so I could see when the patients' lights went on requesting assistance.   I crocheted these in many colors to represent many holidays, and would fill them with candy."  She slowly pulled it out of the bag and started fussing with the rippled stitches.  "I made this by punching holes into the bottom of a washed out bleach bottle and crocheting around it.  Then I made up the handle and attached it.  Many nurses and doctors asked me to make them for their kids, and so I did."

As she told me her story I admired her stitch work.  Her stitches were made with precision.  Each one just as wonderful as the one before, and the one after it.  "I have to give this back to my friend or she won't ever talk to me again," she went on.  "I just wanted to show youI crocheted too."  When I was done admiring it she took it back to wrap it back in the weathered plastic bag.  "Oh, what pretty colors!" she exclaimed, taking note of the project I was working on.

"Oh, you like it, Auntie?" I asked.

"Oh yes!  I like the way the yarn changes color like that," she replied.

"Good," I said, smiling.  "It's a project I'm working on for you!  But you can't have it until I see you next month.  I brought it with me today to see how the fit is coming along -- and especially to see if you like the colors!"

a shawl for Auntie still on the hook."For me???!"  She was pleased.  "What will it be when it's done?"

"A shawl."

"How did you know I needed a shawl?"

"I'm your niece.  Now stand up and let me take some measurements." 

And she did.  I have about 10 more rows to go, including the trim.  She's such a sweetie!