Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CGOA 2010 ChainLink Conference: Tuesday

Today was our Family Day. We got up early and decided to go to Settler's Green Outlet Center. Had we consulted a real map before heading out we may have been inclined to change our minds and head to Kittery, ME as that would have been closer. Did it really matter? No. We enjoyed the ride; we enjoyed the scenery. We barely noticed the heatwave. And, gasp, had we been here once before? It looked sooo familiar!

Indeed, in retrospect, we had. Back when the conference was first held in Manchester (in 2004 I think) we had decided to trek out and visit the Patterworks store (Patternworks used to be in Poughkeepsie, NY, before being sold and moved to NH). We didn't stop for any yarn shopping; there would be plenty of opportunity once the Vendor's Market opened...

We had a fantastic time shopping and returned to the hotel late in the evening. Dee Jr. claiming he wasn't tired and wanting to utilize his new laptop decided he'd join me in the lobby for some cro-celebrity sightings while I snuck in some stitches. I signed into my Twitter account and let him tweet every time he recognized someone from the crochet world:

12:12 AM Jul 7th via web @WoolMountain spotted!!
12:12 AM Jul 7th via web .Dee Jr. tweeting... Melanie Mays spotted!!
11:51 PM Jul 6th via web .Dee Jr. tweeting... Doris Chan (designer) spotted!!
11:47 PM Jul 6th via web .@CrwKnitWear spotted!! (Karen)
11:12 PM Jul 6th via web .@RebecaVelasquez spotted!!
11:11 PM Jul 6th via web .Dee Jr. tweeting... NAncy Smith spotted
11:06 PM Jul 6th via web .Dee Jr. tweeting... Lily Chin (designer) spotted
11:03 PM Jul 6th via web .Dee Jr. tweeting... Amy Shelton (founder of Crochetville) spotted!!
11:01 PM Jul 6th via web .Dee Jr. tweeting... Tammy Hildebrand spotted!!
10:57 PM Jul 6th via web .Dee Jr. tweeting... Marty Miller (president of the CGOA) spotted!!

Dee Jr.'s last Tweet of the evening read:
12:56 AM Jul 7th via web was fun chillin' in the lobby, meeting new peeps & (mom) getting some stitch work done. 8:30 arrives early; calling it a nite.

I think he did an excellent job!

Tomorrow would be an "all day-er" ... I was greatly looking forward to attending Professional Development Day, having lunch with the Professionals, and later taking an evening class.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CGOA 2010 ChainLink Conference: Monday

Yes, I know, you've all been waiting for the juicy details from the 16th Annual ChainLink CGOA Conference (also known as The Knit and Crochet Show) ...

First my explanation for the delay: last week, in the middle of unpacking & trying to get caught up, my vehicle lost all power ... steering, breaking, you name it ... and I had a tailgater. When I get an inconsiderate driver behind me like that I slow down as a safety precaution, eventually finding a safe place to pull over and let the idiot jerk pain-in-the-yarn pass me. On this particular day, I believe this practice of slowing down saved my daughter and I! ... when my power steering went out it took every fiber of my being to maneuver my van safely off the road -- and in doing so I put tremendous stress on my spine (I have 2 ruptured discs) causing instant pain that required being iced -- A LOT! Sitting at my computer was very uncomfortable. I'm now down to one icing a day, so I am improving.
Service Announcement: Remember folks, that vehicle in front of you can run into trouble at any moment! It is always best to leave a safe distance, just in case!

Then the throat of fire began; I don't recall it ever being this sore, during the summer, since the summer before 9th grade ... sigh.

Did I mention I'm starting to feel better? :)

So, ChainLink 2010. Where do I start??? At the beginning, naturally.

Of all the CGOA ChainLink's I've attended (Chicago, NH, PA, NH, NH, NY, NH), I would say this was the most RELAXED I felt -- PRE-conference. I owe a lot of this first to my great husband, Mr. Dee, who took care of all the auto details (tire pressure, fixing 2 flat tires -- on the same day!, cleaning my van, and removing the rear seating to accomodate all my class supplies and our luggage). And second, to my children, Mini~Dee and Dee Jr. as they worked so diligently in assembling the class supplies & handouts for me. True, they've done this for me in the past, but this year it seemed to run so much smoother. Maybe with the kids being older and more responsible had a lot to do with that, or maybe it is because I bribed them? Also, add to this that having my items for the Fashion Show completed BEFORE actually leaving the house for the conference could have been a big factor too! (lol)

Since we were leaving mid-afternoon we were concerned our commute from Connecticut to New Hampshire would involve hitting 4th of July "going home after the long weekend" traffic. Sweetly, we didn't. It was smooth sailing driving the entire trip!

At the hotel it was like deja vue, only about a foot taller (the kids had grown!), and we were tree-less* -- yep! we were in the same room we were in during the 2007 CGOA Conference ... and we were already star-struck with Mr. Dee having spotted Rita Weiss & Jean Leinhauser! As this was only Monday night, we wondered: Who would we see next?????

We unpacked, and since it was late, we decided to call it a night. Tuesday would be our Family Day.

*tree-less: in 2007 we were asked to haul a tree to the Conference for a Free Form display. Story is here. In 2009 I brought some tree branches to the Conference to give to Brian of Brainsbarn for some future hooks; you can see one he has made for me thus far here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Question from Reader: Short On Yarn?

Last week I received an email from Susan:

Dear Dee,
I found a crochet pattern I love and bought yarn for it, only to discover I didn't have enough yarn! I bought the exact yardage the pattern called for. Do you know why I ran out? Baffled, Susan

Yes, Susan, I do!

I've discussed this "yarn shortage" issue on my blog here a couple of times, and I think it is always a good topic to keep coming back to as there is nothing worse, imho, than being short on yarn!

There are a few reasons why we would be short on yarn:

  1. our gauge is off. Not all crocheters crochet alike. Some make tight stitches, some make tall. Some even "rob" yarn from stitches by yanking on the (feed) yarn as each stitch is made. After teaching crochet for a number of years and watching others crochet, I came to label these styles as "Riders," "Lifters," and "Yankers." In 2009 Doris Chan wrote an excellent article, called "Gauge Crashers" for Interweave Crochet magazine, and followed it up with this blog entry. We also discuss these crochet styles often over at the website. Knowing what type of crocheter you are AND matching the designer's gauge is important, so if your gauge is off, you could be burning through more yarn than you should.

  2. Dee's project is short on yarnnot all yarn is created equal. This has to do with the actual dye that brings color to our yarn. The more dye used, say for a red, blue or black yarn, the less yardage you will get per skein/hank when compared to a white, cream or yellow yarn because the dye adds weight to it. When the yarn is weighed, the dye used takes up the weight of yardage; the more dye, the less yarn we get per skein/hank. And certainly, this can differ from skein to skein, even within the same dye lot. (in the picture is a project I am working on (ignore the color variance as that is sunshine poking through the tree leaves when I snapped the picture) -- using the same yarn from a factory sealed bag, one piece is short 3.5 rows worth of stitches! This is why I'm happy I have more yarn!)
  3. knots, knots, knots, otherwise known as "unwanted gifts from the yarn manufacturer." Since we need to cut the knots out of our skeins/hanks rather than work them into our projects, we could find ourselves short on yarn with each rejoining we need to do. (OK, why do we want to cut the knots out? Because knots eventually come undone and will cause a big hole in our work. And prior to the knots coming undone, they'll keep popping up in our work like big ugly pimples. And who wants ugly pimples in their crochet work? Eww!)
    Are the knots in our yarn legal? Yes. Yarn isn't the same as say Ben & Jerry's ice cream where when they mess up they sell the goofs as "Seconds." Are the knots a pain in the neck? Yes. Fortunately, if you find a skein/hank with WAY too many knots (hey, it happens!) most yarn manufactures will be happy to replace it. Unfortunately, not always are they able to match the dye lot.

What this means, Susan, is that when you shop for yarn for a given project ALWAYS buy one or two skeins/hanks more than what the pattern is called for. This will ensure the dye lot matches AND that you will have enough to finish your project.

Thanks for writing in! :)