Sunday, May 30, 2004

Memorial (Fiber) Day Weekend, Cont.

The trip to Patternworks this morning was fun -- the scenic drive was inspiring even if we did get a bit lost.  At least we found a possible new vacation spot for sometime in the future ...Meredith ... which is on the NW edge of Lake Winnipesaukee.  The blue-blue water, surrounded by the small green mountains (sorry, I've BEEN out West, and the mountains in the East are not mountains to me ... not in comparison to the Rocky Mountains...) 

Anyway, the ride there was beautiful.  I imagined a new project in the future that incorporates the blue & green colors and once at Patternworks, I ended up with yarns of those colors.  I treated myself to two new pins ... 'YARN DIVA" and "I (heart) to Crochet."  I also picked up some charms, and leafed through Lily Chins new book on knitting & crocheting with beads.  (She has some pretty pieces in that book!)  I also picked up a ton of various types of white yarns ... not a cream white, but a white's white ... again, for a future project I have in mind.  I cannot believe how difficult it's been to find white mohair, but they had it.  I bought the one ball that they had.  I also got one ball of white angora.  MMmmmmm.  It's so soft!!

Afterwards we headed to Sanbornton for the "Rendezvous" (pronounced 'rän-di-"vü -- yeah, I know, it's another one of those French words that don't look anything like the way it's pronounced.  Anyways, I'm not 100% sure, but this website may be their official one: Northeastern Primitive Rendezvous at least the pictures they have will give you an idea of what the event/people looked like.) -- we met up with my BIL (brother-in-law) and his family and had fun visiting.  Everyone camping there was dressed in traditional dress of the 1700 period and was living in make-shift tents as they did in that time.  Many of the women were wrapped in crocheted shawls or blankets (granny square) Later when my niece showed up with her new baby without a hat, I went to our van and took out one of the new cotton yarns I had just purchased at Patternworks and without a pattern, whipped up the 5-week old baby a little bonnet.  Considering I only used single and half double crochet stitches, and had little time to do it, it got rave reviews.  (Hopefully I'll be able to put a picture of it up soon.)

It was fun being there & who knows, maybe one day I'll be tempted to dress as if I lived in the 1700's and partake in this interesting event ... and of course, you know, I'll have my wooden hooks flying ... crocheting various items that would have been utilized in the period.

For now, it's a swim in the hotel pool and then an evening of studing the map to see where in Vermont Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory is.  Tomorrow we'll be headed back home.  Hmmm, maybe I should see if there are yarn shops on the way home that we should stop at too... LOL 

Memorial (Fiber) Day Weekend

Yesterday my family and I drove to attend the Massachusetts Sheep & Wool Fair.  Last year when we attended it was a cold and damp day.  This meant that the attendance was low and we had the vendors pretty much to ourselves.

This year, the weather was a perfect spring day ... and there were many people enjoying the event. 

One of the vendors at the Fair was offering camel rides ... these camels had two humps and riders sit in the valley of the two humps.  My husband took each of our children on a ride.  My son didn't care for it (the camel got a bit spooked and the ride was not smooth), while my daughter loved it (the camel was more calm at this time).  For my husband & children, it was their first time ever being on such an animal; my husband said he enjoyed the ride and thought " was fun to watch the camel's trainer keep the animal under control." 

We discovered that my husband left our cash at home (was this a ploy to keep my fiber hunting to a minimum?  LOL), so I was limited with what treasures I could come home with.  I opted to collect business cards of vendors whose fibers I was interested in.  In the interm, my family met another nice family and they learned about the sheep horns ... about when they break off (as was the case for one of the poor sheep at the Fair) that the the horns grow back -- perhaps not in the same shape, as nature will have it regrow in the direction & shape needed to rebalance  the weight on the head.  As we learned yesterday, the horns will end up weighing within an ounce of each other.  The kids were fascinated. 

The family told us we should visit the Tregelly's Fiber Farm (which turns out to be the owner of the camels they had rode!) ... they said the farm offers a fantastic view of the area, has a petting zoo, and more.  We wrote it on our map and will put it on our list of future places to check out.  We were also invited to visit their farm.  (I'll edit this entry & insert their farm name here later)

In the Judged entries there were a few that were crocheted -- a very pretty striped purse,and a pretty purple sweater with various crochet stitches.  Both done in hand-dyed, hand spun yarn.  Stunning really!

We didn't stay long at the Fair as we had a long drive ahead of us.  Today, we're in New Hampshire -- attending an event that has people living as they did in the early 1700's.  But first, perhaps a little detour to Patternworks....

BTW: If you're interested in attending the Massachusetts Sheep & Wool Fair, it's still going on today and well worth the drive!

Monday, May 24, 2004

Fifty New Students...

I had voluntary Lunch Duty patrolling the First Graders today.  As I walked around ensuring "all four on the floor" (legs of chairs not tipping into the air) and that everyone had catsup, I worked on one of the caps for cancer (the pattern is almost ready to post).  The kids asked  who the hat was for, and if I would teach them, and I said, "Yes.  When you're eight, come see me."  

Afterwards, when my time was up, I started to walk back to my vehicle to leave when I heard kids voices coming from the other side of the building.  I walked over and found it was my son's class, the Kindergartners, out on recess.  Still crocheting, I walked over and offered to assist.  The kids became engrossed with the hat I was making and asked a million questions.  They asked if I would teach them, and I said, "Yes.  When you're eight, come see me."  The other Mom's asked if I could come more often as this was the tamest they've ever seen 30 children all at once on a playground. 

I was thrilled that they were so curious.   I finished the hat and the kids each asked if they could have a sample of my yarn -- it was so soft.  Homespun.  How much more deliciously soft can you get?  ...And they were happy.  Many said they couldn't wait until they were eight.   It was fun to explain the crochet art to all of these kids, and about what I was doing.  Who knows, perhaps in two to three years I'll have fifty new crochet students...

Disclaimer:  I could have advised the kids that they can learn at a younger age, but eight is the youngest age the stores I teach at will take them -- if they're seriously interested, I won't turn them away. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Caps for Cancer (Pattern nearly Ready)

I'm very frustrated this evening ... after spending a day trying to create a new page with my pattern for Caps for Cancer, I've about had it with the new DSL connection!  ARG!!!  I just want to scream!!

Plus, to add to it, I'm trying to learn how to get to my old files on my old hard drive -- they're there, it's just that the new hard drive doesn't want to recognize the programs and that means I'll have to reinstall them all.  More Arg!!  (All this for an image to add to the pattern page?  Life has to be easier than this!)

Yes, I'm frustrated, (sigh) but I know this pattern will do people, with much bigger concerns, a lot of good.  So I'll go back & plug along until the job is done.  :)

One thing I have done this evening to resolve the logging off issue is that I went back to dial-up and this is giving me a more stable connection to AOL and the Internet.  (Lord help the phone rep I call tomorrow!! -- may I get enough crocheting in tonight to keep me from becoming a beast tomorrow!!)

I did amaze myself today ... in the interm of many times trying to work on my website I had apparently left off Sally Kirkland from my Famous Crocheters list -- so now she's there.  The list is growing!!  (yea!)


I'm crossing my fingers that I'll have the pattern up in the next few days.  Now, where is my crochet hook....?

Saturday, May 22, 2004

OMG! (CGOA Conference)

Normally I don't get excited when I receive bills in the mail, but today is different.  I saw that the full amount for the events & classes I registered for the CGOA Conference in NH was applied to this month's Discover bill.  This must mean that getting the official confirmation from the CGOA can't be far behind! 

I registered for

  • Noreen Crone-Findlay's "Freeform Crochet Dolls"
  • Nancy Wiseman's "Crochet with Wire & Beads Bracelet"
  • Prudence Mapstone's "Bodacious Block Stitch"
  • Kathleen Power Johnson's (gasp!) "Simple Knitting for Complicated Crocheters"
  • Tosca Mark's "Fiber Savvy" and "Tambour Crochet"
  • I can't wait!!! :)

    Plus, to add to my excitement, it turns out that Kathleen Power Johnson visit's the Stamford area every so often, and knows the store I'm teaching at.  I invited her to stop in sometime so I can introduce her to the owners who are just fabulous!  (

    I went to AOL keyword "Journals" a little while ago and read where other Journal owners like to end their entries with a question, so I thought I'd do the same today ... and I'll provide a link so you can find the answer too ...

    Interested in learning about past CGOA Conferences and it's history?  Then visit the webpage -- the first CGOA Conference I attended was last year's and it was awesome!!  :)


    Thursday, May 20, 2004

    Types of Crochet / Anniversary

    I've spent a good portion of the day updating one of my webpages with more different types of crochet, and now have the count up to 68.   I'm waiting to get two more types confirmed -- that would bring it up to 70.   Whew!!

    As far as I know, it's the only webpage on the Internet that has such a collection (I've been searching, and haven't found others like mine yet).  My goal is to see if there are 100 different types/techniques of crochet -- not just stitch variations.

    I also found some fun dictionary terms that were Crochet related, so I created a new webpage to house those, and then found two great references (patterns) to add to it.  I can't wait to find more of these little word treasures!  :)

    The other good news is that today is my dh's and my anniversary.  Seventeen fantastic years!   He brought me white roses, and a new PC which he's still in the process of hooking up for me (I'm guessing that he wants his laptop back).  I gave him a promise -- we'll be going out to shop for a new cellphone for him.   Ah, the gift of communication; the backbone of a great relationship!!

    The day we were married I gave him a set of wireless walkie talkies and told him that I hope that our line of communication is always open.   And it has been.   (getting too gushy, huh?)  Well, if one were to compare our relationship to crocheting, we'd be two chains in a link with a great foundation!   <<grins>>


    Tuesday, May 18, 2004

    Update: Sticking to my Fiber Diet

    Alright -- so I blew it today!  I should have known that I'd jinx myself if I let the cat out of the bag (about my fiber diet) ... and ended up adopting some pretty beauties this afternoon when I was finished teaching at the ever-wonderful store called Knit Together.

    Really, though, I have a plan for them!  I'm teaching a class on Introductory Free Form and decided that I'd make a Bridal Money Purse with this technique.  The yarns I purchased today were all white ... and next week I swear, well I won't swear, but I will try to behave and only purchase a button to pull the purse together in a stunning way.

    Geesh!  Who knew that sticking to such a diet would be so tough?  How on Earth did I survive going on this diet last year????

    Sticking to my Fiber Diet

    Last year I went on a fiber diet and it worked out well, so unofficially, I started this year's fiber diet last month and I seemingly am doing good sticking to it.  OK, that's not entirely true.  But I am trying to stick to it.

    I "lost" about five pounds and gained 25 hats so far.  Not bad if I do say so myself.

    Oh, let me explain.  My fiber diet has nothing to do with losing weight, it has to do with controling my Yarn Acquisition Syndrome.  I've written in my journal here before about how yarn leaps into my arms, and leaps into my cart all screaming "take me home with you" and the difficulties of just saying "No!" ... well, since I plan on attending the CGOA National Conference in July, this means that I need to make room for all the new adopties that will come home with me from this fantastic event.  My fiber diet also helps me put a few dollars in the bank so I can afford to bring those new fibers home too!

    So I actually started the fiber diet arount the time my son got pretty sick (he's much better now, Thank You!), and I'm making pretty good headway.  Along with the hats I've also made about 10 preemie blankets that will be donated this summer.  I'm hoping to make more in the weeks to come before the deadline.

    My ultimate goal here is to lose about 20 pounds (in yarn) and see how much I can create for charity before National Charity Week in August.  :)

    Sunday, May 16, 2004

    She Said... (Daughter Explains Crocheting)

    My daughter is the youngest member of our CGOA Chapter ... and apparently she's been listening.

    As my daughter was crocheting a chain for me, my son inquired as to what the difference is between knitting and crocheting.

    "Well," she said, "first, knitting has two 'T's, and crocheting only has one."

    "What?" he asked, not quite understanding the significance of her answer.

    She huffed a little and said, "That's alright, you're not a crocheter yet, so I'll explain it to you."  (Did I say she's 7 and he's 5?)

    So he looked at her intently while she crocheted away and explained the difference to him ... careful that he understood the significance of what she had learned from me earlier this year.

    "Knitting has two T's in it, this is because it's created with two needles."  She looked at him; I smiled as I watched this conversation take place.  "Crocheting," she went on, has one T in it because it's made with one hook."

    "Oh," he said, and shook his head as if in agreement.

    <<That's my girl!!>>

    Thursday, May 13, 2004

    Beads, Beads and more Beads

    I hit the motherload of sales for beads today ... seed beads, that is. 

    I was actually on a mission to find summer clothes for my son at Target this morning when I opted to stray just a bit.  I didn't think I could get into much trouble, as they don't carry yarn.  But, as life would have it, I turned around a corner here, and a corner there to find myself standing at the endcap with a huge sign reading "CLEARANCE" ... and there stood thousands of seed beads all screaming "TAKE US HOME WITH YOU!!"

    So what's a responsible shopper like myself to do?  Yes, I did.  I looked; I touched; I dreamed.  I thought of the bead store that was once in Danbury that closed long before I would get bit by the BAS bug of which there is no cure (Bead Acquisition Syndrome).  Would these beads dare to jump into my cart?  I looked around; I swallowed hard.  I even clicked my heals three times.  Would this save me from the tempation of adopting all these little beauties?  (Nah!)

    Now that I am home, I dare not to look in the shopping bag laying at my feet to count the many little containers that now call my home their home.  And, judging by the weight of the bag, there must be at least 20-30 little packages of them!

    Fortunately, I can utilize all of these little treasures.  Forty-three cents for 30g of seed beads was a steal of a deal ... and it's a steel hook that will help transform their individual beauty into one that's a collective.

    Now comes the hard part.  What do I want to crochet with them? 

    Decisions, decisions!!

    Sunday, May 9, 2004

    Mother's Day

    Mother's Day!

    A day to celebrate all that is wonderful and fulfilling, and to relish in every moment children bestow the honor of celebrating this day to.

    Now if we roll those family videos, especially at my home, we'll see happy gurgling babies, totting toddlers, and energetic children quick with the smile -- and in the background, some sort of hint of crochet in progress.   The two, children and crochet, seemingly go hand-in-hand.

    I've been inspired to crochet for my children.   At first, little blankets that went from cradle to car seat, to sweaters, belts, hair "ribbons" and scrunchies, ponchos, treasure bags (pattern is on my website), and now another "blankie". 

    My children have also inspired me to crochet for other children -- a special comfort pillow afghan for a terminally ill child; children going to the Salvation Army in need of hats, mittens, and scarves; children sheltered at a battered woman's shelter; and for the wee'ist of babes, preemies, who fight for their very lives.

    With this in mind, I intend to lift no finger today -- unless it's for giving hugs, pats on the back, gentle hair tossing, or for tension with my crochet.   Perhaps one of those giggles & smiles will inspire me even more as I crochet from the heart.

    Happy Mother's Day!


    UPDATE 5/10/04:  Yesterday my children presented me with gifts, and what touched me deeply were the handmade cards they both worked so hard on, with the skeins of yarn they each insisted Daddy help them get. 

    My daughter picked out a funky yarn called Patons "Twister" (which I mixed with Berroco's "Lazer FX" sequins and quickly worked up a fun scarf) because she said, "The colors looked like a party, and all Mothers should be celebrated."  My son picked out Bernat's "Baby Coordinates" so I can make a baby blanket for a baby in need.  They're so thoughtful.  There are days that I wish there was a time machine so I can stop them from growing so quickly so we can cherrish all of the wonderful & special moments even longer.  I hope your Mother's Day was just as touching.  :)

    Friday, May 7, 2004

    It's "Just" -- A Challenge!

    It's Just, and it's a challenge.   After I explain this, perhaps you'll be up for the challenge too!  :)

    Just a little over two years ago a woman sent me an email that was, shall we say, a bit less than positive.   In a nutshell, she didn't like a particular positive word I enjoy using, because she said, I use it excessively.  

    In the time since receiving the flaming I've been thinking if there were words in my vocabulary that could be interpreted as a bother, and thus could be something I improved upon.

    And I think I found that word. The word is "just." It's a word just like "um, a, cool" and so on that are used as fillers.   (Did you see how I just used the word just, and there, I did it again?   Yeah, that's just what I'm trying to explain.)  I think I just use the word Just just too much and I am now making it my personal goal to cut down.

    As a Crochet Teacher, when I'm describing a stitch technique, I've heard myself say, "Insert the hook just..." or "...just take the hook and..." and for a newbie just starting to (arg! there's that word again!) learn how to crochet, it's not "just" ... it's a bit more complex than just "Just."

    So as I attempt to combat this injustice of "just" that I think I may have inflicted upon my friends, family, students, and such, I challenge you to also find a word you use excessively -- and try to remove or reduce the amount of times you use it. Over all, I think it will make for easier communication for all parties involved :)

    *Disclaimer: the word "just" was over used in this entry to emphasize how a word can become an annoyance.   I really don't use the word "just" that much (or at least I hope not!), but in certain circumstances, I do notice it and am trying to correct it.

    Tuesday, May 4, 2004

    Famous Crocheters

    While awaiting for my afternoon crochet students to arrive this afternoon, I decided to leaf through the book called Celebrity Scarves, which is a book about exactly what the title states -- Celebrities and Scarves. Most of the scarves are knitted, but there was one that was Crocheted and this lead to the discovery of another famous crocheter to add to my growing list featured on my website.

    I don't know why it's difficult to find famous crocheters, but when I do, and it's documented in some way, I add them to the list. Do you have one for me to add too?

    Monday, May 3, 2004

    Mentor Assigned: Melissa Leapman

    I'm so excited!
    I just received word (via email) from the CGOA Professional Development Chairperson that they have a mentor for me and it's none other than  Melissa Leapman!!!
    Who is she? Melissa Leapman is a well known designer of knitting & crochet patterns, such as those featured in the crochet book called Sweaters for All Seasons, and she's a dynamite instructor too!   I had the pleasure of taking two workshops with her when The HHCC had her as a Special Instructor last year.

               Are you interested in having a Crochet Mentor too??

    If so, consider joining the CGOA as an Associate Member (there's no additional cost) and they will pair you up with someone that will help you reach your goals! 

    In the meantime, I'm going to go do some cartwheels of joy.... it's hard to contain all this excitement!!  (LOL)

    Sunday, May 2, 2004

    A Woman's Strength

    I read a quote today that really seemed to say it all and hit my funny bone at the same time (I don't know who penned it):

      --A woman is like a tea bag, you never know her strength until you drop her in hot water.

    In thinking of all the multitasking, deadlines, roll playing, and other demands placed upon us either by choice or not, I am amazed at how much we accomplish! 

    I'm asked many times if I ever sleep because of the amount of classes I offer, that I develop for future offerings, along with the time I volunteer (in real life and online), that I spend with my husband & kids, that I offer for my Crochet Club, that I crochet for charity, and so on -- and I assure you I do sleep -- but I try to let the little stuff slip by that I deem unimportant.  Otherwise I think I'd go utterly insane.

    Some examples of this include getting the oil changed every 4000 miles instead every 3000; instead of doing the dishes the minute they're dirty, I let them pile up and do them in the evening as the kids are working on homework.  I let the laundry pile up on the weekends (isn't time with the family more important?), and save errands for doing after picking the kids up from school (after all, a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts to discuss the "hard day at school" is more fun over a jelly filled donut).

    But getting back to that quote, I feel that if I'm dropped into hot water like a tea bag, this magical super-hero cape seems to appear and for the most part, I'm able to whiz around and get the job done (is it crocheted?  probably!).  I'm amazed at this incredible strength that seemingly comes from no where and helps me accomplish so much!  And as far as getting the crochet job done -- I think I'm just thankful that I'm able to crochet for small bursts with my eyes closed.  Resting up for the next emergency that will test my strength.  :)

    Saturday, May 1, 2004

    Brain Storming for CraftAdventure

    The CraftAdventure is just months away and it's time to brain storm over possible items to crochet as an entry.

    What is the CraftAdventure?  The CraftAdventure is a fiber arts competition/show held in West Springfield, MA -- items that win ribbons (Blue, 2nd & 3rd Place) are then held over to be displayed during The Big E (the ninth largest state fair in the US). I understand that the booklets are at the printers and should be going into the mail soon. 

    The special theme for this year is Lighthouses and I have a couple of thoughts of what I'd like to's just a matter of brainstorming to come up with a project that inspires me.   Here's a link to a free lighthouse pattern I found online:

    You can participate too -- they have enteries coming from all over the US and around the world.  If you don't want to participate, perhaps you'd be interested in going to the event just to check it out.  Either way, visit their website to learn more. :)