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,

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 .


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.

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  :)


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


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!