Tuesday, June 30, 2009

oh Nancy!

I tuned into Mary Beth Temple's "Getting Loopy Show" last night, as I do nearly every time, by calling in. By now Mary Beth knows the "203" area code is me. Last night she informed me I wouldn't be the only "203" on her switchboard -- last night's guest was also from Connecticut! That guest was Nancy O who owns a gift/yarn shop in Ridgefield.

I've long heard there was a new yarn shop in Ridgefield, but Route 7, having been under construction since the dawn of the dinosaurs (or at least since the invention of the automobile), usually is enough to deter me from venturing in that direction.

As we were listening to the show last night Nancy O talked about how she got turned on to crochet with Doris Chan's All Shawl pattern -- and that she had already crocheted five of them! It was then I decided I would venture south, deal with the notorious Route 7 construction mayhem, and visit her shop. After all, I am on a button hunt, and Nancy O said she had a nice selection.

This morning, with Dee Jr. as my assistant (and practicing his photography), we did it! We visited Nancy's shop. Upon entering we were warmly greeted by MaryAnn -- one of the warmest receptions I've ever received walking into a yarn shop! She marveled over my project, asked about crochet, and began assisting me in looking at buttons. There was not one of those "Oh, so do you knit?/Don't you want to learn how to knit?" questions -- if I could paint little red hearts around her name for this blog entry to show how much I appreciated NOT hearing that, I would! (That's MaryAnn and I looking at the buttons on the right.)

Soon Nancy O arrived. We got to talking about Doris' All Shawl, crochet, the Getting Loopy Show, and my project -- which she called "Chanel Worthy" ... ((OK, I'm totally flattered now, no one has ever said that about my crochet before)). I picked out one style of buttons and purchased 8. While I'm not sure if these buttons will be THE buttons for this project, I am sure I will be visiting Nancy O's shop in the near future -- possibly sooner once the construction on Route 7 is completed. While the yarn selection is not large, the warmth, and acceptance as a crocheter is huge!

PS: Nancy O also gave me a "signet" -- I picked out a dragonfly, and then she gave me a tape measurer too in honor of it being my first visit to her shop. You just can't beat that kind of hospitality. Don't know what a "signet" is? Then you need to listen to Mary Beth's Getting Loopy Show! :)
PSS: Mini~Dee was not available for this adventure as she is participating in a NASA program this week.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Button Junction, what's your function?

The CGOA Conference is just six -- SIX -- weeks away!! Wow!! There is so much to do to prepare! I know the time will fly! Perhaps you saw my 'tweet' yesterday about a project I'm working on -- a sweater for me to wear while at the Conference...

I worked on the last sleeve last night and in looking at it this morning I see I have some ripping to do -- it's larger than the first sleeve. What this means is that although my stitch count was correct, my gauge/tension went wonkie. What was I watching while crocheting? Ghost Busters. I was laughing so much that it totally threw my gauge off. It happens.

I also discovered yesterday that my button collection is not as vast as I'd like for it to be. I had filed in the back of my mind the perfect closures for the sweater ... only I had misfiled that information in my brain. It shouldn't have been filed in the "button" category, but rather the "jewelry." What this means is that I'll be hunting for the perfect closures for this garment.

Why is it important to have the perfect buttons/closures? Because they make a statement. This is why many people who understand this concept replace buttons on store-bought garments -- and have been doing so for eons.

Personally, I like to think of the garment as a sentence with the buttons/closures as the punctuation. If I want my "sentence" to be tame, I'll pick out plain buttons that will not call attention to themselves. If I want it to be a question, I'll pick out buttons that ask, "What WAS she thinking?" ... and if I want it to make a declaration ... then the buttons/closure must convey that. And that is the message I'm looking for this latest project on my hook; a closure that will compliment the crochet work while also accentuating it. And so the hunt is on!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Murder Mystery Crochet Project

Do you like trying to solve a good mystery? How about solving a crochet murder mystery? Or even better, a crochet murder mystery Crochet Along Project!?!

Back in September members of the "Hooked on Murder, Dying to Crochet" Ravelry group got a chance to do just that! To take clues I've assembled from Betty Hechtman's first crochet murder book, "Hooked on Murder," to create a mystery project crochet along!

As it is now summer time -- and what better time to read when not crocheting? -- I thought it would be an excellent time to bring the Mystery Project Clues out of Ravelry and share them with everyone. ... however there are some rules I ask people to follow:

1. Print out as many copies as you need for you and/or your group to use. (If you are a librarian and would like to offer the Mystery CAL to your patrons, you have my blessing.)
2. Drop me an email or leave a comment here that you will be giving the Mystery Project a try.
3. If you have a blog, a website, or online group, Do NOT link back directly to the pattern. Rather I ask you link back to this blog entry, using this link:
4. If you'd like, email me pictures of your finished Mystery Project; I'd love to show them off here on my blog.
5. NO -- and I mean NO -- answers or hints will be provided by me -- so please do not contact me (or Betty) and ask/bribe ... well, maybe bribe, if it's really yummy yarn ...

OK that's it. CLICK HERE for your free PDF Murder Mystery Crochet Project Clues -- you will need adobe to view it:

NOTE: Betty has two other crochet murder mystery books available for your summertime reading pleasure:

  • Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    I'm an (Influenced) Material Girl ...

    One of the fondest memories I have of the 2003 CGOA Conference was in having Willena Nanton as my roommate. Not only is Willena an extraordinary crocheter, but she is also an avid Barbie collector. ((Recently Willena was a Guest Speaker at a HHCC Meeting.)) I thought I was a big-time fan, but certainly Willena proved she was way more into Barbie as Cinderella, crocheted costume by Dee for Mini~Dee in 2004Barbie than I was as she beautifully turns top Barbie designer fashions, such as Bryon Lars', into stunning crochet outfits she wears on the runway at Barbie Conventions.

    I know I am not alone in being influenced by this "Material Girl" ... Myra, founder of the International Freeform Group, was too. (What about you? Have you ever crocheted or knitted something for Barbie? Do you have a link to a picture? If so, please post it in the comments section below.)

    Naturally this has me curious -- just how many crocheters are/were influenced to crochet items for the world's most famous "Material Girl?"

    ... and because of her influence on so many, I'm wondering, shouldn't Barbie be made an Honorary Member of the CGOA? That would be so cool, IMHO.

    You know that we are living in a material world
    And I am a material girl

    ~Madonna; crocheter

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    "Where is your crochet?!"

    Yesterday was the last day of school for my children. It was a day to sit in the audience and watch our children accept their hard-earned awards and think thoughts not of rain, but of fun in the sun.

    At the end, parents gathered and started discussing with each other what they will be doing with their families over the summer break. That's when it happened. Several parents stopped talking and looked at my hands. Wha? I wasn't drinking an illegal 2nd cup of coffee (although I wanted to!) ... then the comments started flying! "Dee, are you alright?" "Feeling OK?" "Where is your crochet?!"

    You know, it is not often that I leave my crochet at home, but yesterday I did. There were some other parents that usually sit in the same row with me, and together we would crochet or knit quietly while listening. But not yesterday. It seems we all left our projects at home. That was weird. I wonder, was the moon full?

    Friday, June 19, 2009


    With Cotton Candy now off the hook and awaiting final touches, such as weaving in the ends, securing the handle(s), blocking, and adding a lining -- why, yes, it is a bag! -- I have a little bit of time to do some flirting ... in fact, I've already started...

    Before I go much further than the swatching I've already started, using luscious extra fine merino wool (dk weight), I must stop and ponder. Do I really want a pair of sandals made of wool?

    While this wool (called Sublime by Sirdar) is heavenly to pet both as a ball and worked up, I must question my sanity of wearing wool sandals in the summer; Isn't that an oxymoron or something like that? And would I survive should they decide to felt while I'm wearing them? Oh sure, Connecticutican's are well known for wearing socks with sandals, but really -- wool sandals? Cotton might do, but cotton lacks memory. If cotton lacks memory, and I'm questioning my sanity, then who is driving the hook? Get where I'm going with this? I could turn to acrylic, but then I discovered during the sock workshop my Chapter had in April that I'm not crazy about the feel of acrylic on my feet.

    Maybe I should go back to drinking more coffee. Things made much more sense to me back then.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Website Outage

    For those of you who have been trying to visit my website at http://www.crochetwithdee.com and couldn't -- or for those of you who have been trying and it has been giving you difficulty -- my apologies.

    Last night my website provider added a new node to their database to improve the system stability and speed and unfortunately ended with data corruption.

    They are estimating the system will be fixed by 6:00 AM Eastern Time.


    I've watched enough police TV drama shows to know what a hijacking is, so I'm fairly certain the following is an accurate description:

    This morning I was sitting at my local Borders bookstore for our 2nd monthly morning session known as "Coffee, Crochet & Chat." I was well behaved, drinking green tea (sticking to my one-cup-of-coffee-a-day-diet), chatting with the ladies, and working on "Cotton Candy" when the hijacking took place.

    We were sitting in the lounge area, I in the seat closest to the emergency exit. Ruth to my left, Kathy to her left, Judy to her left, and so on. We were all busy crocheting, catching up, discussing things like Jack's recent visit to Danbury...

    I was just finishing up a row when a woman three tables away shouted, "Hey, HOLD THAT UP!" To me, it sounded kinda like "Hey, it's a hold up!," but then she shouted again and I knew I had heard her wrong. Maybe it was because of the repetitive whistling ... but that's another story. I didn't pay much mind because it's not often people yell at (or about) me. As far as I knew, she could have been yelling at someone to hold a book up so she can see the title...

    Kathy nudged Ruth and Ruth nudged me. "She's talking to you," Ruth said.

    Wha? Startled, I looked up. By now the woman who had shouted was standing over me. "Give me your work, give me the hook, and the thread too!" she demanded as she took my work from my hands and began to walk away.

    I wanted to protest. I was in shock. What was going on? OMG! What is wrong with me? I just let that woman -- who I did NOT know -- take my crochet away without even so much as a whimper! They say you won't know if you'll be one to "take flight or fight" in such a situation until it happens. I didn't do either; I was more of a deer in headlights ... frozen.

    Kathy smiled and said my crochet work had just been hijacked, and that is a lovely compliment on my work!

    Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. Hijacked? I swallowed hard, and looked towards the woman.

    Fortunately the woman didn't go far. She was showing my work off to her friends. Within moments she returned with it, unharmed. "We're knitters," she said, "and we've never seen crochet so beautiful! Thank you for letting me show your project to them."

    Wow!! With compliments like that, I guess having my WIP (work in progress) hijacked for a few moments was worth it. ((grins))

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Kreativ Blogger Award

    On June 3rd, Priscilla awarded my blog with the Kreativ Blogger Award, stating, "Dee is a good friend both online and in the real world. I can't think of another blogger promoting the art of crochet more fervently than she does." Thank you, Priscilla, I am honored!

    The rules with this award are simple:
    List 7 things you love
    Link back to the person who gave you the award
    Pass it along to 7 other bloggers

    Seven Things I Love:
    1. My family, and all that encompasses it.
    2. My friends, and all that encompasses it.
    3. Auntie Gloria's spaghetti with meatballs, and Mom's "Grape Leaves" <-- not sure if that's the proper name.
    4. The simple pleasures of life: smiles, laughter, hugs, and crayon art from the heart.
    5. Mother Nature's "Firsts" ... first leaf sprout, first sunny day of summer, first turned leaf, first snow storm.
    6. Wind in my hair be it from sailing, skiing, or rides on the Harley.
    7. And of course, crochet, and all that encompasses it.

    It took me awhile longer to select 7 bloggers for this award. I wish the rules were to award all your favorites, but since I must stick to seven, the following are my nominees:

    Seven Bloggers, in no particular order, I think deserve this award:

    1. Vashti. She always has cool information about various designs she is working on, and the techniques she uses.

    2. Margaret. Margaret is a globe-trotting walking encyclopedia, book writing machine, and is filled with energy! When I grow up, I wanna be just like her! :)

    3. Astaryth. Although her blog is not centered around crochet (but does include it from time to time), her photography of the animals in her life is fantastic! A must visit for animal lovers.

    4. Doris. If Doris were a book, I'd spend the entire summer sitting under a shaded apple tree reading about her life adventures. The fact that she is also a beloved crochet designer, well, nuf said!

    5. Sheila. Sheila has had to go private with her blog for personal reasons. What I like about Sheila's blog is in dealing with health issues and the problems that arise from having to return living with her parents, she dives into her love of sewing and crochet as an escape.

    6. Nancy. Nancy is one of those adorable people you can't help but love. She is a budding crochet designer and has such the sense of humor!

    7. Jennifer. Supermom, and now Professional CGOA Member! Jennifer is taking the crochet world by storm and it's been a real pleasure watching her spread her wings and take flight!

    Monday, June 15, 2009


    I think many of us crocheters were born to be flirters, don't you?

    The word flirt has an unknown origin, but first appeared in use somewhere around 1580; this is based upon the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It means to come close to or to reach towards with interest.

    And this is how I am ... one who tends to come close [in finishing a crochet project] when I suddenly decide I want to reach towards something new, perhaps even, dare I say?, dangerous![such starting a new project]. I'm like a moth to a flame, baby! LOL

    No matter how hard I fight the flirting urge, eventually I can't help myself and succumb. And for that I'm blaming my DNA.

    And so, it has happened again. There I was yesterday, perfectly content on working on my Cotton Candy project. I am so close to finishing it I can taste it! When wham-o! At our HHCC monthly meeting yesterday Nancy shows me some antique pattern books in the HHCC's library when I see these -- I instantly want to crochet up a pair. They're called, "Flirtation Walk" Sandals. They're just so cute; with or without the little yarn dolls on them!

    When I returned home from the meeting I immediately went to my stash and pulled out three balls of soft merino yarn to start the new project in the colors of black, white and plum. Then I looked at the pattern and realised there is no sizing information or gauge provided. In those days crocheters were mind readers; they knew what hook to use, and what the gauge was merely by placing the pattern book up to their foreheads. Or so I'm guessing that's how they did it.

    Maybe it's best I return to my Cotton Candy project and finish it. You know, rather than flirting with possible disaster?

    Saturday, June 13, 2009

    Sneak Peek: Cotton Candy

    Have you ever had that feeling like you have a pit in your stomach? For me, it's been that way nearly all week ... since returning home from the Museum of Natural History on Monday. (Yes, the same museum the 2006 movie is featured in.) At first I thought it was a severe case of motion sickness (I'm not one who can crochet or read while in a moving vehicle). But it was more than that -- it was a stomach virus (compliments of NYC or the entire 6th grade class, I'm not sure)! Yuk!

    While I did my best to keep up with the kids (marathon week @ their school as the last day is quickly approaching) and with work (creating a new website for someone), the rest of the time I've been recuperating.

    I'm feeling a little better today and have been trying to catch up with my emails, and even do a little crocheting. But, before I could crochet today I got that "pit in the stomach" feeling again -- but this time because I was panicked! I couldn't find my "Cotton Candy" project I've been mentioning! At first I thought I left it in the Museum as I had worked on it there (I love to crochet in public!), then I thought perhaps I left it on the coach bus ... and I had Mini~Dee searching every inch inside my vehicle to no avail. Cotton Candy was missing!

    Then it dawned on me, I've been sick! ... I looked on my night stand and there is was! Whew! (Sometimes it is so difficult to see the obvious! LOL)

    Every sequin you see there had to have the hole hand-punched, and every sequin was placed on, one stitch at a time; a real labor of love! The project is not done yet, but I thought since I was MIA for a week, a sneak peek should make for a good bribe to my readers. At least I hope so.

    Can you guess who made the crochet hook?

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    ((snicker, snort))

    Last night I served my mandatory "volunteer" time at my children's school, serving as a "runner" during Bingo that helps the school raise money to keep tuition down.

    Usually I bring some soft yarn and quietly work on crocheting chemo caps as I await the excited "BINGO!" shout (or shouts depending upon the number of winners for that particular game). But, since all I have on my crochet hook at the moment is my "cotton candy" project, I didn't want to bring it with me and later be upset to have it smelling like cigarette smoke (some judges take off points for projects having an odor); and I had no time to grab a skein of yarn & hook for chemo caps before dashing out the door -- but I did grab Mary Beth Temple's new book, "Hooked for Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot" ... and I shouldn't have. Seriously.

    When one is in a Bingo hall it is important to be quiet. Apparently, very quiet. Bingo is a serious game, and missing one called number could be the difference between going home empty handed, or going home a winner, perhaps with the jackpot. Why shouldn't I have brought the book? Because Mary Beth got me into trouble. ((snicker))

    As I read the various chapters I started laughing. At first I was laughing real quiet like, being respectful to the Bingo players. Then I started softly chuckling; I got a few glances my way. As I continued to read I tried to hold the laughs in, but that only made it worse. Then, when I got to the chapter on Mount Yarn, I just couldn't hold my laughter back any longer -- I burst!! It was as if Mary Beth had a bird's eye view of my own personal Mount Yarn!! ... Ah, if looks could kill! ... reluctantly, I put the book away, apologized, and then returned to the seriousness of calling out numbers and verifying Bingo winners. ((Mount Yarn -- snicker, snort))

    At the end of the night several lady Bingo'ers approached me. "What? No crocheting tonight?" one asked. "Yeah, we like it better when you crochet," another one added. "Oh, yeah, bring some yarn next time and make more chemo hats! It's amazing how quick you make them!" the third one exclaimed. I got the message.

    I am half way through the book, and I have Bingo duty again next week. I'm thinking I won't be bringing Mary Beth to anymore Bingo halls...

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Hey, What are YOU doing Here?

    I feel as though I have been jet-setting around the world -- only staying local. ((grins))

    Mom's visit officially ends (for me) tomorrow; not a day I'll be looking forward to as our states (FL and CT) are so far apart and we seem to have so much fun together...

    and speaking of so far apart ...

    Have you ever visited a local yarn or craft shop to unexpectedly find someone there that you know? That happened to me earlier this week, where I ran into Karen at AC Moore. There I was, 1/2 a state away and bumping into Karen; what a treat!! :)