Saturday, May 25, 2013

Family & OK-lahoma

What a heart-breaking two weeks! 

Don't Bully This Crocheter!
RIP Uncle Teddy
Uncle Teddy.  He loved to tell his childhood stories and having us roar with laughter.  Usually at our gatherings I would have a crochet project with me and he would watch me create my stitches with interest.  As we talked he would slowly reach out touching the growing fabric and start this childhood story: "You know, when I was kid, I crocheted...."  Only he didn't do it for pleasure. "... Oh! When I got into trouble, and usually that was very often, I would be punished with crochet!  While my friends played ball, I had to sit on the front stoop -- crocheting -- where they could all SEE me doing it!!"  I'd watch his face as he recalled these "punishing" sessions; he didn't look angry at the 'shame' of publicly looping yarn around a hook, rather he looked kinda peaceful.  "...and they would tease me," he'd add while reflecting.  "And you know what I said to them?" he'd ask all serious like, "I told them if they didn't stop that I'd kick all their ___!!"  And then he'd laugh and laugh.  "And I did too!  I kicked everyone of them that teased me!!"  Naturally I would always ask him if he'd like to do a stitch or two on my project, "What? So you could tease me too?" Clearly, he did not like to be teased, and no, I wouldn't have teased him.   I am so going to miss him!

Just one of the estimated 12,000 homes destroyed by the
Oklahoma Tornado. This house belongs to my cousins.
Oklahoma Tornado.  In 1995 the company I worked for sent me to Texas for two weeks of training. During the weekend I rented a car and drove to Oklahoma to spend a weekend with my Uncle John (Uncle Teddy's brother); the last time I had seen him I was just a young girl.  Uncle John served in the Army for both the Korean and Vietnam Wars earning the rank of Command Sergeant Major; and Uncle Teddy served in the  U.S. Air Force as a firefighting paratrooper during the Korean War.

While I was visiting with my uncle I met my 2nd cousin Alexis. She was just a young girl at the time; one of those sweet-things that you just want to bottle up and keep forever!  Although she doesn't know it (maybe if she reads this blog post she will now!), I really credit her sweetness for changing my mind about having kids; yes, she was THAT sweet! For years I had the crayon picture she drew for me hanging on my fridge, eventually replaced by pictures my own kids crafted. 

This week the home her mother and brother live lived in was destroyed by a huge tornado. We are absolutely delighted they are OK.  To help them during this difficult time, through Memorial Day, I am giving them all the proceeds from pattern sales through my Ravely store.  To those who already have, or would like to help me help them, I thank you!

And to all those, who served like my two wonderful uncles did, thank you!  Although you are gone, your dedication, service, and sacrifices for our Country is very much appreciated!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened Along The Way ...

Ever get distracted while working on a project?  Did you do a *facepalm* once you discovered what happened to your project while you were distracted?  Be honest now, you've experienced this too?  Yes?  You are not alone!

Oops??  (Reading my crochet work)
Yes, even though I consider myself a well-seasoned crocheter, I do get distracted while working on a project now and then.  Sometimes it is a bad thing -- like tension going wonky.  Other times it could be the thinking, "I got this," and continuing the pattern (or rather what you think is the pattern) while getting absorbed in the movie you had on as "background noise" without stopping to ensure you're still following the proper instructions.

This is exactly what happened to me while working on Mia's Collar.  Hooboy.  In the image on the left is the comparison of my work vs the image from the pattern.  Do you see what I did? How did this happen??  If you follow me on my new Facebook page ( then you already know.  For those that don't follow me there yet, I stated that fully intend to blame this on the scary 2012 movie "The Woman in Black."  Admittedly, I'm still a little freaked out over that movie!

wet-blocking my version of Mia's Collar
I did the math (number of rows x number of increases I should have had), and decided to let the pattern deviation stand. Otherwise I'd curl up in the corner with my bottle of Tylenol and repeat "Rip it" a million times over...

Would this approach work for all patterns?  The answer is no.  Especially if you were creating a fitted garment.  And, let me be very clear about this -- usually errors/pattern deviations eat yarn!   In my case, this is a "collar" which could also be considered a short shawl or wrap, and I had plenty of yarn to play with.  So for me, this time, my booboo didn't make as big of an impact on my project as it could have.  Whew!

Now that my project is in the wet-blocking stage I am already thinking of giving the Mia pattern another try.  If I do, I think I'll stick to playing one of the Star Trek series in the background.  ;)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Question From Reader: "Pre-made Crochet?"

Dee, I love your site! It is informative, detailed, easy to navigate and so creative with lots of fun things. My question is : Is there fabric that is already crocheted that can be bought and just sewed onto a dress? I hope this makes sense? I tried to google this and nothing comes up? I would love to purchase pre-made crochet fabric to attach to a skirt or dress?
Thanks, Jade

Hi Jade,
You have a great question: is there pre-made crochet available for purchase?
"Pre-made" vintage crochet trim

The answer is yes.

I have purchased both vintage and modern "pre-made" crochet pieces in the recent past, so my thinking on this is that there should be some available, although the search may need to be a bit more creative...

True crochet is created by human hands, not by machines. Therefore finding "large" pieces could require purchasing an entire project and possibly dismantling it (combing yard/garage sales, or goodwill stores is a good way to find some tablecloths you could utilize). Otherwise, crochet trims are sometimes found at craft stores (I found some at Michaels Arts & Crafts some 6+ years ago), and vintage pieces on auction sites like ebay. You may want to use words like "crochet lace trim" but be careful -- some of what is labeled as crochet is not TRUE crochet -- it merely mimics the look and IS machine made.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book Review: "Crochet Book 1"

Queen Anne's Shawl
Alium Ascot

I met Rebecca Velasquez several years ago at one of the Crochet Guild of America's conferences, and we've been keeping in touch ever since.  I knew she wanted to design crochet patterns that would include projects tween girls to adults would love to wear, and I'm delighted that she has accomplished this through her new ebook through Quince & Co, called "Crochet Book 1."
Pauline Hat
Waterlily Mitts
Marigold Sweater

In her new book, retailing for $13 (US), five lovely patterns are included: Queen Anne's Shawl, Waterlily Mitts, Marigold Sweater, Alium Ascot, and Pauline Hat.  Not only is the photography inspiring, but in looking at her pattern for the Waterlily Mitts (which I am itching to get started on!), her patterns are typed in easy-to-read fonts, and includes International Symbol diagrams.  Another cool bonus -- if you only want one pattern rather than the entire book, you can purchase just the patterns you want!

Interested in trying to win a copy of her new ebook?  Leave a comment below, including a way on how Rebecca can contact you.  One random winner will be announced soon!  Increase your chance of winning by visiting & leaving comments at the other blogs reviewing Rebecca's new book: