Thursday, January 31, 2008

Time Travel?

I am currently reading Dee Jr.'s book, "Shoeless Joe & Me" by Dan Gutman.  Gutman has written a series of books about a boy who has the ability to travel back into time using baseball cards.  Each time he goes back he learns a bit about history, and tries to improve upon it.

... And now that I'm on Chapter 8, where the boy has successfully transported himself back to 1919, it got me to thinking: What if I could use a collecter's Crochet Hook to travel back into time.  What information would I seek; what would I want to see?

The most immediate desire would be to go back to that fateful day when I was surfing the Internet and found myself on someone's website.  It had a host of crochet related items on it, one being the CGOA logo.  I clicked onto that logo and it brought me to the CGOA's website -- my life has been enriched because of that.  I would love to know who's website that was and extend a huge Thank You to him/her.

I would also want to travel back and find out what ever happened to the pink & white baby ripple afghan I was working on when I was eleven.  And travel back further to see the label of my first skein of yarn, and the name of the first crochet hook I ever used.  I'd love to be able to answer if it was wool, cotton, or acrylic.  Bates or Boye.

I'd want to travel even further to see my own mother learning how to crochet, and further yet to see who crocheted a baby blanket for her -- was it my great grandmother?  I'd also like to see my Uncle sitting on the stoop (steps) crocheting as a form of "punishment" when he was a kid!

I'd want to go further back to watch the wagon trains heading West while watching the birth of the Granny Square.  And I can envision many, many more visits into the past to learn more about crochet first hand.

What about you?  If you had a magical vintage Crochet Hook that can take you into the Past, where would it take you?  What would you want to see?


Also a REMINDER:  If you haven't already, today is the LAST day to enter into my Blogiversary Contest!  Visit here for more information.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Unofficial Ravelry Awards of 2007

It seemed to take forever (about a month or so) to get into Ravelry, where at one point I was standing behind some 10,000 fiberholics just like myself to get in -- but once I was, I found it to be a great place to hang out with other people who enjoy crochet as much as I do! 

Then, before I new it, I found myself nominated in their first ever "Bobbys Award" -- where people were nomintated for various categories.

It was such an honor to be nominated in the category as "Most Educational Crocheter."  

                        . . . . . . . . . .  

Then I found out yesterday that I had actually won -- which left me speechless!  (Perhaps because
A. I hadn't thought about actually giving a speech, or
B. I wasn't wearing a beautiful crocheted evening gown like this at the time, or
C. because the stitches in my mouth, along with a swollen chin matching the looks of Jay Leno's, was/is proving talking can be difficult at a time like this.  lol)

Regardless of why I'm speechless, I am humbled and honored!  Thank you Ravelry voters!

...oh, and they said there will be prizes.  I'll post a picture when it arrives.  (Hmmm, I wonder if it's a golden ball of yarn??)


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Not Total Abandonment ...

I was up to some good-hearted mischief yesterday, and today, actually at this precise moment, I've just returned home from some oral surgery. That's no fun.  I did crochet in the waiting room and yes I do have a tale to tell.  But that will have to wait until I'm feeling better. 

Until then, enjoy this little video clip which shows technology trying to keep up with all of our yarn consumption demands.  I found it quite interesting to watch:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How Did You Do?

Awhile ago, in my  post from October 8, 2007,  I asked the question, How was the blue bag on the right created? Was it with Crochet, Knit, or Both?

In that original blog posting, many of you enjoyed sharing your answers with me by participating in my poll.  And, as of today, 16% of you believe it was entirely knitted, 23% believe it was entirely crocheted, and 53% believe it was created by blending the two fiber art forms together.  --And only 4% of you were not sure. 

So, who was right?  Those that voted that the little button bag was created with both forms was correct!  The body was crocheted, and the flap was knitted.  How did you do?  Were you one of the few that was unsure, or one of the 39% that was fooled?  :)

Great!  Now take a look at the two images below.  Both are hats that I just finished up late last night (although I do still need to finish writing up the patterns while it's fresh in my mind).  The hat on the left was created with Berroco's Merino Heather -- a very yummy fiber that I treated myself to at my LYS (local yarn shop) this past Friday afternoon, and the hat on the right was created with Bernat's Soy, part of their "natural" yarn line; also quite yummy to work with! 

Both of these hats, featuring the same crochet technique I used in the blue bag above, will be part of a new class workshop I am designing for the very near future. Do I need to add that I'm quite excited about this technique, and think you will be too?!! I am also shopping for a publisher who is interested in these designs as I'm sure that there are many of you out there who would love to learn this crochet technique while making a great hat that, at the same time, fools the eye as to which fiber art form it belongs to.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Flipping With Joy!

  ˙ǝɔuǝɹǝɟuoɔ lɐuoıʇɐu ɹǝɯɯns ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ (ʎɹɐnɹqǝɟ ɟo puǝ ǝɥʇ spɹɐʍoʇ) slıɐʇǝp ɥʇıʍ ǝʇıs ɹıǝɥʇ ǝʇɐpdn oʇ ɯǝɥʇ ɹoɟ ʇıɐʍɐ puɐ ɯoɔ˙ʍoɥsʇǝɥɔoɹɔpuɐʇıuʞ˙ʍʍʍ ʇısıʌ uɐɔ noʎ ɹo/puɐ 'ʇuǝɯǝɔunouuɐ lɐıɔıɟɟo ʎɯ ɹoɟ ʇıɐʍɐ puɐ ɯoɔ˙ǝǝpɥʇıʍƃuıʇǝɥɔoɹɔ˙ʍʍʍ ʇɐ ǝɹǝɥ pǝunʇ ʎɐʇs uɐɔ noʎ  ¡ʎoɾ ɥʇıʍ ƃuıddılɟ ɯ,ı puɐ 'uǝddɐɥ oʇ ʇnoqɐ sı ƃıq ʎllɐǝɹ ƃuıɥʇǝɯos


Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Things We Do ...

... to amuse ourselves when we lock ourselves out of our homes in 17 degree (F) weather ...

We wind hanks of yarn into beautiful balls of inspiration.

Yeah, I'd say I'm due for a little pampering, and I plan to do just that tomorrow.  My LYS (local yarn shop) is having a sale, and I'll be there to fill up on happy endorphins.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oh NO!!

It's a sad day for crochet; one of my beloved hand-turned crochet hooks lost it's tail end. Not sure what happened; I was crocheting another chemo cap yesterday afternoon, while at the children's school, when the tail end flew off.  The children gasped; I went into shock.

Mr. Dee said he'll try to repair it, but I think I'll need to replace it.


Apparently I am not alone ... check out what happened to Dani's ....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Isn't that wonderful!"

We spent the day yesterday celebrating my Aunt's 81st birthday.  She's not so tickled to be turning 81 so when we took her out to lunch yesterday we told everyone she's turning 29.  Even at 81, she has more energy and spunk than me!

Prior to picking her up I asked her what she'd like for her birthday.  "You know what I'd really like, honey," she said. "I'd like if you could crochet me another hat.  A black hat."

OK, so I'm thinking that she has some sort of hat fetish as I've crocheted her three hats (and two matching scarves) in the past couple of years.  She must have been reading my mind because then she said, "I have a big head, honey, and need a bigger hat."

Ohhhhhhhhhh!  OK, so that explains it.  I tell her no problem, that I'll grant her birthday wish.  I packed up two black yarns from my stash, one brand being Vanna White's, and the other Caron's Simply Soft "Shadows."   When I went to pick her up she had an article cut out from the September 2005 issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  The article was called, "Homespun gets chic" featuring Lily Chin.  "I was wondering, honey, do you know who she is?"

I smiled.  "Yes, Auntie, I do.  In fact, I spent this past Saturday with her," I answered, pulling out my digital camera to show her pictures from the Workshop.  She gave me a huge smile. 

"Ohhhhhhhh, you KNOW her!!!  Isn't that wonderful!  Then I know her through you then!"  Then she chuckled.  "Isn't that wonderful," she repeated, "you KNOW her."

At the restaurant, after finishing our lunch, I knew we'd be there for awhile chatting away, catching up, so I pulled out the yarn and let her pick which she'd like her new hat to be made of.  She chose Caron's Simply Soft "Shadows."  I made my slip knot and began the hat using half double crochet stitches.  Soon our waitress came over and started talking to us about her crochet passion.  My Aunt, being the sweetie that she is, told this woman all about me -- and that I KNOW Lily Chin.  "Isn't that wonderful," replied the waitress.  The waitress then asked if I could stop back in when the hat was completed as she'd really like to see it.  Auntie told her I live too far away, but that she would come back in to show her.  :)

After we returned to Aunties home, I continued crocheting her hat, allowing her to try it on every few rows.  "This," I said to her, "will be a truly customized hat made to your exact specifications.  If there is a problem, fear not as I can always rip out what doesn't feel right and then make the adjustments as needed."  It didn't take long to get the hat "just right" and complete the finishing touches.

When the hat was completely done she sat petting it, happily examining it.  "I can't believe you sat there making this for me in such a short amount of time.  Wait until the girls (her friends) see it!  They'll be so jealous!  Then I'll tell them you KNOW Lily Chin!  That'll really get their goat!"

She's so cute!  Happy 81st Birthday Auntie!  ~D.


Here's a link to the pattern featured in the 2005 issue of Better Homew & Gardens by Lily Chin that Auntie had cut out for me to see:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Celebrating with a Contest

How is it possible I let my 4th Anniversary of starting this crochet blog slip by??  I missed my own anniversary by a week???  YIKES!!

This means we'll need to immediately start celebrating!  So, here's the deal: you have until January 31st (2008), midnight eastern time, to leave me a comment or pop me over an email telling me about your most favorite blog entry you read here at; if you can tell me WHY it's your favorite then I will add your name to the crocheted hat twice. 

Then, on February 1st there will be a random drawing.  The winner will receive a $20 Gift Card to spend at   For those participating in this celebration contest, please be sure I have a working email addy for you as the Gift Certificate will be sent to the winner via email.

Free shipping at!  Code:  JANFSA835

There are four years worth of entries here, so read on and tell me which stands out the most as your favorite.

I love anniversaries, don't you?  :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Top-Down With Lily in the City

Trying to find time on Friday to do my homework for Saturday's class was more difficult than finding a needle in a haystack.  However, I did manage to locate a few missing tapestry needles ...

enjoying one of Lily's great classes in NYCEarly Saturday morning I met up with Grace at the commuter parking lot and we were then off to New York City to join other members of the New York City Crochet Guild for the class, "Crocheting From the Top Down" workshop with Lily Chin. 

Even though I only completed about 50% of my homework, I found the class to be fantastic!  We went over every type of sweater construction one could think of -- from side to side, raglan, drop shoulder, and more!  We even got to witness Lily blushing (I will hint that there was some winking involved, but that's all the detail I'll publicly share.  lol)

By the time the class was over my mind was already full of ideas, one of which I hope to chronicle here to be judged later this summer.  I plan to name the entry, “Yes, it’s ENTIRELY Crocheted” and it will include three different crochet techniques that will make the judges wonder “what is crochet, what is knit?” (that's a "whole 'nother topic for a different day.)

Thanks for anther very informative class, Lily!   Big winks, ~D.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Your Local Library is a Great Resource

With March being "National Crochet Month" I am delighted that I was able to confirm today that our Connecticut CGOA Chapter will have two Library displays to celebrate it.  One will be at the New Fairfield Library, Img from 2007 HHCC Bethel Library Display focusing on Irish Lace, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daugher, Rose focusing on "Crochet: Then & Now" -- with pieces from our crochet past to our crochet present. This display will include a variety of crochet including antique Irish Crochet to our modern day Freeform techniques.  Our display will be available for viewing during the second half of the month.

Our other library display will take place at the Bethel Library, and there we will be concentrating on "Tools of the Trade" -- a look at the different types of crochet hooks, as well as other "tools" and the end results.  This will include crochet techniques such as Tunisian, Hairpin, Broomstick, and more!  This display will be for the entire month of April.

I think having two library displays this year will be pretty exciting!  And of course, when the time comes closer, I'll do more blog posts about them.

This also brings to mind of how wonderful it is that we have free public libraries!  Did you know that in 1848, The Boston Public Library became the very first free library in the United States to lend material, giving people the opportunity to have access to research material, general reading material, and various forms of the Arts!  This is the same time period of the Great Potato Famine in Ireland where crochet became THE leading industry helping to save millions of lives!
Crochet Your Way
I know here in Connecticut our local libraries do a FANTASTIC job of getting various materials for loan to it's patrons.  And yes, this means crochet magazines, books, and videos!  I look at it as a means to check out materials that I am unsure if I want to splurge and add to my private collection.  By checking the book out of the library, I have LEGAL access to try a pattern -- and if I run out of time (they usually give about three weeks to borrow the material), I can always renew it.  This is how I fell in love with the book, Crochet Your Way.  I borrowed that book so much that eventually I purchased it for my private collection.  I like to think of it as a means to "test drive" books if I'm only interested in a pattern or two.

The next time you see a book or magazine with a single pattern you'd like to try, then I encourage you to visit your local library and request to borrow it like I do.  If they don't have it available then there's a good chance they can get it via "intra-library" loan (the act of them borrowing it from another branch in your state to then loan it to you).  The more crochet materials you request, the more, eventually, they'll start stocking their shelves with more crochet material to have on hand for your visits. 

And, the beauty in borrowing the material is that you have LEGAL access to it for personal use.  Test driving crochet patterns, with legal access, honoring copyrights, and not spending a dime to do so -- it doesn't get any better than that -- unless you tell your crochet friends & family about this fantastic, and FREE, crochet reference resource too!  :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

She's got Form, She's got Grace, but does she have Yarn?

I sent the children outside moments ago to have some fun snowboarding; they're really enjoying learning how!  This gives me a few quiet moments to get my thoughts together as I've been so busy that I feel if I don't write everything down that needs my immediate attention, I'm afraid they'd be completely forgotten.  [yikes!]

One of the tasks I've been working on is the homework assignment -- assignments really -- for an upcoming Lily Chin class I'll be taking in New York City with my gal-pal Grace.  Grace is well known for whisking me away on fiber adventures, and this weekend will be another one of those fantastic times.

So last night we were chatting on the phone when she started telling me about some difficulties she had with one of the homework aspects.  She said she finally figured it out, but had thought she was going to go crazy.  Then she let out one of those big laughs.  I love when she laughs; she has a great sense of humor.

After the call I decided that perhaps I should start on the homework assignments too.  So I went rummaging through my vast yarn stash searching for a skein, or two, of plain worsted weight yarn that would do the trick.  I must have been searching for quite some time because my children came looking for me. 

                                          "Hey Mom, are you ever coming out of there????"

It took me a moment to realize that I have been SOOOOO good in using up some of my stash for charity projects that I've cleaned myself out of "lonely" skeins.  Wow!  I don't think that's EVER happened to me before!  All I could find were what I call "packs" -- bundles of yarn containing six or more skeins with the same dye lot.  Drat!  Now I had to decide which "happy family" I was going to break up.

Grace called back, and while chatting with her some more I decided I'd use up some of my Caron "Simply Soft Shadows."  It was an easy decision really.  We decided that on the way home, after Lily's class, we'll stop at an AC Moore store -- they're promoting a huge yarn sale, and well, by the looks of it, I need to adopt some more.  :)

And how am I doing on my homework assignment?  Not so good; I have a lot more to do!  Wish me luck.  :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Winter Wonderland

We spent the weekend celebrating Mini~Dee's birthday some more; we had a great time spending time together. Who knew that her birthday wish was to extend the celebration by another day? LOL

We awoke to a beautiful Winter Wonderland (see image on left; it's a partial shot of part of my street).  Since school was canceled for the day, the children gleefully spent the morning learning how to snowboard on our little hill, and then afterwards we enjoyed sipping on delicious hot chocolate, complete with mini-marshmallows.  

* - * - *

There is more good news to report!  The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America, has been invited back to participate in the 2008 Connecticut Sheep & Wool Festival come this April.  All day I've been designing various items in my head of what I'd like to create for this special event, using natural fibers of course.  (For those unfamiliar with Sheep & Wool festivals/fairs, they promote the use of natural fibers like wool, alpaca, silk & such over nylons, acrylics, and so on.  So we want to ensure we're following their guidelines.)  I haven't decided which project to settle upon yet, but I feel as though I am getting close. 

If YOU were going to promote crochet in a world dominated by knit, what would you choose to crochet?   Would it be a particular crochet technique, or a particular project...say like crocheted socks? 

If YOU were visiting a world dominate of knit, and stumbled upon a crochet demonstration, what would you hope the crochet demonstration included?

Please, do share your thoughts as you can help make the HHCC's 2nd Appearance a most successful one!  :D

Friday, January 11, 2008

What Type of Crocheter Are You?

I've spent quite some time on the Ravelry website today.  One of the topics brought up was that crocheters have a fear of learning something new and there was an inquiry of why that is.  As I read the post, a news article I recently read came to mind with the simplest of explanations:

Quick Start: If you're a Quick Start who wants to crochet, you'll probably buy some yarn and a hook, get a few tips from an experienced crochetmeister, and jump right into trial and error.

Fact Finder: You'll spend hours reading, watching, asking questions, and learning about crocheting before actually beginning to use the tools.

Implementor: You pay less attention to words than to concrete objects, so you might draw a pattern of a crochet stitch or even create a large model using thick rope, before you go near a needle.

Follow Thru: You'll likely schedule a lesson with a crochet teacher or buy a book that proceeds through a yarn curriculum, learning new stitches in order of difficulty.

None of these approaches is right or wrong. They can all succeed brilliantly. But someone who's programmed to use one style will feel awkward and discouraged trying to follow another. ~Martha Beck, from the article "Knowing your 'action' style could lead to success"

As a crocheter, and as a Certified Crochet Teacher having taught many, many wonderful classes, these explanations ring true for me.  Do you see yourself in there too?

Often times I am asked about how one should go about stretching their crochet abilities.  My answer is usually to learn a new crochet stitch.  Fortunately for us, Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss saw a way to make every day a learning opportunity for us by creating the 365 Crochet Stitches A Year calendar365 Crochet Stitches a Year: Perpetual CalendarNot a calendar that is good for just one year -- but rather one that is a perpetual calendar -- one that we can use year after year after year, to use as a reference guide, or as a way to challenge ourselves and learn something new.

Say it is your birthday and you were treated to several new skeins of yarn.  What to do with it?  Turn to your birth date and use that stitch to create something beautiful for yourself; and repeat this practice every year.  How about a wedding, or birth of a new baby?  Same deal!  Use the stitch featured for that date to stretch your crochet skills!  The more you stretch your crochet abilities, the more comfortable you'll feel about learning more crochet stitches and techniques no matter what your learning style is!  ... and if you make an error, that's OK!  There's a reason crochet has an excellent reputation for fixing/ignoring errors!  But you won't know that until you try it, right? 

So, now that you know what kind of crocheter learner you are, and now that you know about the Perpetual Crochet Calendar, the only thing that is standing in your way at this moment is my blog.  Go ahead, try something new, then come back and leave me a comment of what you learned today ... and from time to time, I'll blog about what new stitches I've learned from the Calendar too!  :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Girls, their Dolls, and Buttons

American Girl, Nikki, models sweater & cap set designed by Dee StanzianoWhen Mini~Dee received her American Girl doll, Nikki, from Santa this past Christmas, I knew it would be just a matter of time before I would ask if Nikki would mind modeling for me while Mini~Dee was in school.  Lucky for me Nikki was game!  

As I held Nikki in my hands I wondered, what would be the first garment to come off my crochet hook?  I had to wait; the right time, and the right fiber would soon reveal itself to me.  Fortunately, the wait wasn't long.

Yesterday my CGOA Chapter held it's monthly "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" session at our local Borders book store. Joining us for the first time was Judy, a mom from my children's school.  As Judy worked on a beautiful baby ripple afghan she was improvising, with a tiny "C" crochet hook and fingering weight yarn, we got talking about our daughter's obsession with American Girl dolls. As we chatted, I decided I would design and crochet up an "American Girl" sweater set in honor of her daughter's upcoming birthday.

Fortunately for me, the right yarn had arrived the day prior from Herrshners!  It's Universal Yarn Inc's "Twister" and is a blend of polyamide, wool, acrylic and cotton.  (Herrshners has it on sale, and is presently offering free shipping; yes, I do plan to order more!)  Using an size "H" Graydog crochet hook, I set to work, weaving in the last of the ends at midnight last night.

The only thing that is missing to make this gift set complete is the perfect closures on the sweater.  I spent this morning rummaging through my button collection and found nothing that says, "YESSSSSSSSSS!" -- so I'll be off to my local Joanns later this afternoon to see what they have available. I'm hoping the perfect buttons are there as Judy's daughter's birthday party is on Saturday -- not enough time to comb the Internet and see what's available in the whole wide world. Wish me luck. :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Question from Reader: Crocheting in Circles

I thought maybe I would spend some of that time making some 'chemo' caps in honor of Kim (and of course Pamela!). I have never crocheted in rounds, usually holding my crocheting to things like afghans and scarfs.... which brings me to the question I have for you! Do you know of a free (or know where I can purchase) a good -beginner- pattern for a cap? ~astaryth

Astaryth it's good to hear from you; Happy New Year!   I also think it's wonderful that you're thinking of crocheting some chemo caps in honor of Kim and Pamela. 

Crocheting in circles is, IMHO, addictive -- especially when it comes to creating hats & caps for those in need.  They work up so quickly once you unlock the mystery of how they're created! 

Prior to starting your pattern I suggest pre-reading the instructions to understand what type of circle it is that you'll be creating.  It will either be a circle worked in "rows" -- where each round is completed by joining to the top of a turning/lifting chain with a slip stitch, and then creating new lifting/turning chains for the next round -- OR it will be a circle that coils around and around and around, much like a shell one would find on a beach or in a tourist shop.

one of the many chemo caps Dee has donated over the years

Is there a benefit of one type of circle over another?  Yes and no; each circle has it's beauty, and each has a drawback -- it is in understanding the type of circle that makes each fun to create.  Take the completed each round circle.  When you're done with each round, you're done; there's no second guessing.  With the circle that coils around -- using a stitch marker is HIGHLY recommended; forget where you are it could mean disaster. 

Does this mean the coil version is not a good choice?  No!  The beauty of the coil version is that there are no unsightly turning chains!  So really, it comes down to what the individual crocheter likes.  My personal favorite is the circle that coils around as I can continue on without having to break my rhythm to create turning/lifting chains -- I'm one of those crocheters who like to go! go! go! once started.  {VBG}

How to CrochetDoes this mean I've always been good at crocheting circles?  Goodness no!  It takes practice -- and no matter which circle you decide to use -- it also takes serious counting of those stitches a must!  Too few stitches will cause the work to cup, and too many stitches will cause it to ripple. 

So, now that you know that there are two types of crochet circles involved in making hats (as well as many other items), and that counting is a must, you're good to go! go! go! too!    You can practice with my Textured Child's Spiral Hat pattern here, google other patterns available on the Internet, or check out various books available on the market and at your local library.  The caps I crocheted for Pamela, that she loved so much, can be found here: Lacy Chemo Cap.  One of the best books available with detailed information on crocheting circles is Pauline Turner's "How toCrochet" book.

Remember, Astaryth, I warned that crocheting caps is addictive -- I've crocheted nearly 50 chemo caps since mid-December!  Crocheting chemo caps in Kim's and Pamela's memory is a wonderful thing to do.  I'll crochet up some in their memory too.   :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Little Faith ...

I want to thank my Guest Bloggers for doing a fantastic job! Please, everyone, give Nancy, Jennifer and Beth a Crochet Hook Salute for filling in for me! I greatly appreciate their willingness to help me when I was feeling so blue over the loss of Ruthie.

Although I am still in shock over losing her, I believe she sent me the message, "GET BACK TO CROCHETING ALREADY!!"

How do I know this? This past weekend I journeyed into New York City with my family. While we were there we stopped at St. Patrick's where I lit a candle in Ruth's memory.  My husband said, "Ruthie, show us a sign you're OK!" and soon thereafter we believe she did.  As we toured more around New York City, people wearing crochet started appearing EVERYWHERE!!  Hats, scarves, baby blankets, on toys, in window displays -- it was amazing to have all that crochet "just appear!"

So I will listen to Ruthie and do just that ... get back to crocheting!  Thank you again, girls, for helping out with being Guest Bloggers for me -- and to all of you who sent condolences. 

Friday, January 4, 2008

Guesting for Dee

Hi Folks,
Well Dee was brave enough to let me have a go at her lovely site!  Hope I don't mess it up too badly!  lol
I'm Nancy from NLS Stitches ( and I belong to the same local Crochet Guild of America chapter as Dee.  She's taught me a lot in the 6 months I've been a member.  Super neat, super nice lady, but her kids and I still need to have a rematch at the snowball fights! :D  The kids say they won,(of course! [tongue in cheek]), I say I won.  We'll let her be the final judge and referee. Better watch out Dee, a bad decision could mean you're in the mix!!!!  {VBG}
I just picked up most of the yarn I need to make my 6yr old her own Jane Sneddon Peever sweater. (more pics of patterns at my site) She loves the Double Feature pattern I made for her two nephews last year, and I finally have the time to get hers made for her. It's from Peever's second book, More Crocheted Aran Sweaters, from Martingale Company.  Of course, the majority of it has to be in pinks.  (what is it with little girls and the color pink?!?!  I'm beginning to understand why my granny really did not like that color!!!) Besides the neat patterns in this book, I love the fact that multiples of the stitch patterns are given, and sizing charts are included.  I've switched yarns a few times doing these patterns, and had no problems getting a good fit because of that.
I'm also participating in my first ever crochet-along, doing a Cluster Hooded Scarf by Peter Franzi of Hookerbear Creations at  Peter was kind enough to make this pattern available as his Christmas present to any interested in Crochet Partners at Yahoo Groups.  I like his patterns!  Lots and lots of texture! ~ My favoritest way to crochet. :D   I started my scarf yesterday, and I only have one side of the hood left to do, then stitch up the center seam, and viola, my scarf will be done!  Sorry, my picture doesn't do this pattern justice.  Check out Peter's site for a better look.  In my picture, the scarf ends are folded over onto each other at the bottom of the picture, and the middle/upper part is the almost-finished hood.  And wouldn't you know it, just when I'm about ready to wear it, the temp is going up into the 50's this weekend!!!!  That's my kind of luck.  LOL

Thursday, January 3, 2008

guest blog for Dee

Well, Miss Dee asked for some guest bloggers and I decided to step up to the plate or shall I say hook???

I've lately decided to try something new, well, not necessarily new, but new to me!...thread crochet!! I don't know about you, but all those teeeeny-tiiiiiny hooks and that barely there thread was very scary to me! Who in their right mind would want to work with that??? Doesnt it make your eyes hurt?? Your hands cramp?? And who has the time??? Come on!!! One simple item could take days to make!


But, my New Years Resolutions for 2008 was to learn some new crochet techniques. So I figured I'd give it a try since I already had lots of crochet thread on hand.


I thought I'd tackle some baby booties. While I was scrounging around in my bad-o-hooks looking for those tiny steel ones, I realized that if I wanted to do this right I should invest in some new hooks that you can actually read the size on! (LOL!! Most of the ones I had were old, well used, and free.) Off to Michaels I ran an invested in a new set of Susan Bates.


I am proud to say that my first pair was a success! Those tiny little booties are sure to put a smile on some new mommy's face! Looks like I may be making some more! They werent that bad, LOL!!  But, please, can someone tell me how to keep my yarn hand from cramping up?????


Jennifer J. Cirka

Jaybird Designs

Re: blogging for Dee

At the start of the school year, my friend Jan took leave of her current employment as the Home Economics teacher at our church's academy.  My friend Amy took over the reins.  Amy promptly decided that some renovations were in order for the room.  It WAS long overdue.  She's changed out the tables and chairs, put on a fresh coat of paint, cleared out most of the old supplies, organized the supplies that remained, etc.

I'm not sure exactly what all she got rid of, but I do know that two huge industrial-size trash bags (and one large box) of yarns were donated to me.  Did I mention how big those bags were?  Did I mention how much I adore Amy?

About this same time, it was the time of year to start the knitting/crochet club back up at church.  I felt a pull towards creating items for those in need. The Prayer Shawl Ministrycaught my attention. Based on the number of people on the church's prayer list, plenty of people need them. I have to admit that I was a little anxious about how I would pay for all the yarn for these projects.  And in walks Amy with all that yarn.

Even if you haven't got a clue where to start, simply do a search for <i>crochet for charity</i>.  There are free patterns, organizations, and blogs.  All for the charitably inclined.  The possibilities are practically endless. 

Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)

If you would like to see some pictures, some of the shawls I've made are here:

Beth Newbern-Hallam

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Missing Ruth; Needing Guest Bloggers

I'm having a rough time trying to remain positive; my thoughts keep turning into complete mush ... the loss of Ruth runs so deep.  I'm in need of guest bloggers for a few days.  If you're interested, please let me know and I'll email you the link where you can directly send your post.

Many thanks,