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


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. *<;)

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


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. :)