Thursday, September 30, 2004


Last night I was called by a pollster ... I was asked a zillion questions of which I provided answers to.  But then I was asked what color I was ... I said "waffle."  The pollster said, "No, no, what color are you?  Are you white? Black?..."  I held my arm up and looked at it closer.  "Um, well, maybe pancake.  Yeah, I think I'm the color of a tasty pancake."

"OK," he said, "I don't see a spot to put that answer, but I appreciate you telling me this.  Now, another question, what nationality are you?"

"American," I replied.

"No, no, what nationality are you?  Are you white? African American?..." he interjected.

"Nope.  Just American.  One hundred percent American, actually," I responded.  And now I can't help but wonder why he would think I was anything but American.  I mean, I don't speak with a twang, or drawl, or anything like that.  Hmmmm.

So while I ponder this, it brings my mind to an issue I've been seeing with various groups I belong to and it's called "fiber snobbery."

And if the pollster were to be quizzing me about my thoughts on this, it would go something like this:

"What type of fibers do you use?" asks the pollster.

"I like them all," I respond.

"No, no, that's not what I meant.  I mean, what type of fibers do you use?  Acrylic? Wool? Cashmere?..."

"I like them all," I repeat.

"Would you say that you're one that likes to purchase high end yarns, or the cheap stuff?" the pollster would ask.

"I'd like to purchase them all," I reply.

"No, no. You can't do that.  You have to tell me which one you prefer, high end, or the cheap stuff."

"It depends," I'd reply.

"I don't have a category for depends, " the pollster would huff.

"I don't know how to answer your question.  I'm American, I'm the color of a pancake, and I don't care which fiber I use as you're not giving me enough information for which I'd use the fiber for," I state.

And this would, naturally, confuse the dickens out of the pollster of which he'd thank me for my time and hang up.

"Fiber Snobbery" is a real attitude that creeps up once and a while.  There are those that can afford the high end fibers, and those that cannot.  Some of the ones that can afford the fibers, that have this attitude, will, shall we say, "gently tease" those that cannot afford the finer fibers and make them feel inferior.

My position on this, since I'm being polled anyway, would be that those in the position of being able to afford the finer fibers should consider sharing with those that are, gently stating, "financially challenged" -- I'm not saying that they should foot an entire bill, but to perhaps share some yardage so that others can experience it for themselves and see what the reference is.  And, that if that person still wants to utilize the less expensive fibers (be it that that's all they can afford, or that's what they prefer), then they should be accepted "for which they stand" and be applauded.

I think there's enough room for everyone ... and if we stop breaking ourselves down into little groups, and instead call ourselves "Fiber Artists," then I think we'd be united to enjoy this fantastic art form happily together instead of discriminating over differences.

If you've gotten from this a bit more than a fiber reference, then good for you.  Tell your pollster your color (name it after a food you like), and tell them your nationality -- American.  Then, use whatever fiber floats your boat.  J

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

That's my Mom. She's famous!

When you walk into a classroom of 5 and 6 year old kids, they can't help but be curious.  And when it's the parent of one of the students, then that little child's chest tends to puff out, a smile sweeps across their face, and a boast of "That's my Mom/Dad!!" goes out to the classroom.  This is your moment of knowing "You've arrived" and hold a special place in your child's heart.

This has happened to me enough times for me to recognize it -- it's a moment of connection between child and parent, and it's a moment to cherish  as I'm told that the world changes once they become teenagers.  So, this moment belonged to my son and I, and I drank it up.

What I wasn't expecting was what followed ... "She's Famous!"

Who's famous?

I looked around the classroom and saw no one else other than the teacher.  I turned around to see if perhaps someone famous was behind me.  Nope; just the door.

My son had turned to his young friends and was exclaiming, "That's my Mom.  She's famous!"  He was proud of his Mom and wanted them all to know that he thinks I'm famous.

Really?  I am?

I certainly don't feel like I'm famous ... I do happen to know many people around the world thanks to my love of crochet and the desire to share it and learn from others as well.  So would that make me famous?

At the dinner table my son relayed the story of my visit to his class with the family -- and how he thinks I'm famous.  "Well, she is, Dad.  She travels all over and everyone knows her!  ...she's a famous crocheter!"

With that twinkle in his eye, and big smile on his face, I sure felt famous at that moment

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Crochet, er Martha, er Both Gets Media Coverage

Every local newspaper, every news station wants to carry the story of Martha Stewart heading off to serve her sentence. And it seems, for the next week, we here, local to the prison Martha has requested to go to, will have to tolerate the CNN and such news trucks camped outside the main gates along Rte. 37 -- and hopefully it won't disrupt traffic too much.

I bring this up this morning as each article I read on this topic crochet is mentioned. It seems that crocheting is allowed in prison, and this seems to be true around the country ... depending upon, I'm guessing, the security level, and if it benefits local charities or not. (

I'm not sure if the yarn and hooks are donated to each prison, or if our tax dollars pay for it, but if it benefits local charities, then I'm all for it.

Regardless if Martha will actually get to do any crocheting, we'll have to wait and see. (If a reference is needed on how to Crochet, they have a page dedicated to it on the website for the "
Martha Stewart Living" magazine.)

In the meantime, CNN & others, if you're reading this, then you might want to cover the back door entrance too.

words to live by

The Ridgeway Record (PA) had an artilce about a new Broadway production stating:

     Van Aken reminisces about her grandmother, and an analogy about "doilies," as she begins to write her life "doilies." Her grandmother's words, begin and end her show, "Life is like a doily. It has its holes and flaws, but you must never quit crocheting. Just keep moving the thread and eventually it will turn out OK.".

I don't know if anyone has gone to see this production yet, but when I read that, I thought, "Wow! Now those are words to live by!"

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Let the Good Times Roll

There are times when life is good, and there are times when life is a feast.

Yesterday, was a feast.

After great discussion, my husband and I decided to venture out and surprise the kids by taking them to The Big E.  This is the same event we had planned on going to on Wednesday but couldn't due to my son and I being so sick.  So when we woke the kids, we told them to dress quickly -- that we were taking them out to breakfast.

We never go out to breakfast, so the kids naturally got quite excited about this prospect and were game.  Of course they had no clue that our idea of "out to breakfast" was the drive-thru of Dunkin Donuts.  (lol)

A Dunkin Donuts and an hour and a half later, we arrived at The Big E -- the kids were naturally on to us once they noticed all the signs for the event posted everywhere.  Traffic was bad, but considering we were 4 of the 153,912 people that attended, we got there in record time.

Once we inside the gate, we went to the New England State Building where we said hello to Doris and Marci -- they're the one's responsible for this building's events.  They were happy to see us, and inquired about how my son and I were feeling.  "Better," I said, "but still taking things slow."  (We had the stroller just in case, an item we haven't used in a good year & a half.)

Marci told me how the "Happy Hookers" (my group's nick name derived from the name "The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club") solicited a man, a woodcutter, into making crochet hooks for them.  She told me where he was located, and after taking some pictures of my groups items on display we were off to locate him.

We found him in the area known as the Craft Common.  His name is Rich -- and he's a charmer.  His wife is a dear, too.  He was happy we found him, and he showed me the hooks he had designed for one of our members.  The hooks are now in my possession ... lol ... for delivery, of course, but that still buys me time to drool over them!   Just check out the image of his hooks! 

As we walked around the fair some more, there were many crochet sightings ... from ladies wearing garments trimmed in crochet, to entire "blouses," and babies  lightly covered in crochet blankets, or shielded from the sun with.  But there were also many vendors selling "fashion scarves" and ponchos!  ...Many more sightings than last year, that's for sure!

One of the best crochet sightings was found in what is known as the "Grande" building.  The Grande building offered free arts & crafts for children, of which my kids just loved doing -- and as they did so, I wandered around a bit.  They had many crocheted items for sale, from afghans to hats, mittens, potholders & such.  And they also had items on display.  Apparently, they had their own ribbon contest, and two of the ribbon holders were MEN!  (is it a coincidence that I've been writing of men & fiber lately?)  Check out the images of their beautiful work!

Finally, in noneother than the Connecticut State building, I found a vendor called "Spinning A Dream" selling hand spun, hand dyed yarn.  I came home with one done in an array of purples called "Persian."  I plan to one day felt a little purse for my daughter.

The Fair ends on October 3rd.  So if you go, keep your eyes peeled and see what crochet sightings your eyes will feast upon!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Audio entry

The NYC branch of CBS News broadcast last night a story about "Think knitting is just for women? Think again!" -- the reporter also states that he's tried knitting. 

To hear a piece of the report just click onto the audio portion of my entry here ... unfortunately, CBS pulled the video from their website just minutes after I found the report, so I cannot offer you a link.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Men Meet Monday Nights But Not to Watch Football

I'm not one to tell you who you should cast your vote for come this November, but when I read an article that states " important [Bush/Kerry] feel the sportsmen's audience is, [that it] reflects a sort of macho image that they're both anxious to exude at this time [which is something that] the International Journal of Crocheting won't," -- I can't help but raise an eyebrow and question this. (you can read the article by clicking here)

I think these two need to take a second look at what our men are doing. They're not only enjoying hunting, climbing, and sports, but as I've stated before, they're also crocheting! ... as a matter of fact, it was reported on NBC5 News that "Men Meet Monday Nights, But Not to Watch Football."

Now, I don't particularly care which of the candidates wife's' cookies win (see first article), but, if they'd like for me to be a taste tester then sign me up and pass the cookie jar my way.

But if they're going to say that what crocheters think of politicians don't count, then perhaps the pollsters should get busy because in 2002 the Craft Yarn Council of America commissioned a report by Research Inc. that found that there are some 38 million people that crochet or knit.

Hmmm ... 38 million seems to calculate to being A LOT of voters!  Perhaps the term "macho" needs to be redefined so that candidates for office can also show voters their ways of dealing with stress ... such as with grabbing a crochet hook and enjoying the rhythm of creating stitch after stitch ... something James Buchanan, our 15th President, who served from 1857-1861, knew a bit about.

PS: Peter of has graciously granted me permission to use his image from his website for this entry.  Go ahead, give him a click, er, visit!  J

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Edible Crochet!

Perhaps it's because this is my third day without my traditional cup of coffee first thing in the morning, or perhaps it's because in the last three days all I've been able to keep down is one bowl of soup ... regardless, my mind is on food.

And how fitting it is that the November issue of Crochet! magazine should arrive and right on the cover they tease me with the headline "Edible Crochet Basket"

That's right, "Edible."

Remember all those times as a child growing up that your parents told you to stop playing with your food?  Well, here's Crochet! magazine giving us the green light to go against all those motherly and fatherly teachings that were drilled into us -- giving us the OK to not only play with our food but to also crochet with it!!

And it's about time!!

The concept is easy ... you will need a clean STEEL hook, dried of course, and clean hands, and a bunch of licorice candy in string form.  You'll need to keep your tension eased as you don't want to stretch the candy to the point where it will break ... and oh, heck, if you make a mistake, from my own personal past experience of crocheting with candy, just eat it! 

Think how pretty a crocheted licorice chain would look going around the bottom and top edges of a cake, or look down the middle of a gingerman or gingerwoman cookie.  Or on top of a cupcake.  (Oh, man, this is making me hungrier than I already am!!)

And, while you're at it, don't stop there, try crochet with your spaghetti too ... or even dough (and then bake it up and see what results).

The bottom line here is to experiment.  Don't let "rules" hold you back from opening the door of possibilities.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Update: The Big E

So how was the Eastern States Exposition?

Well, judging by the phone calls from HHCC members that attended, they had a great time. That's right, I didn't go.  No, my son and I seemed to have gotten a case of what we suspect is food poisoning. There was no way we could leave the preverbal porcelain bowl to make the trip to MA and last a whole day. The whole family is truly bummed.

I did, however, when my nauseous moments were low, get to peruse the new Vogue Knitting magazine that arrived in the mail. There's some pretty sweaters featured, and you know me, I just couldn't help but think that they'd be prettier with crochet added. 

I do appreciate all the comments that you, my readers, have been leaving me. And I like to take the time to answer questions here when I think other readers would like to know my answers. So today I'll address Jeanie's questions in regard to the 2004 CGOA Member Fashion Show. (If you missed the original journal entry on the show, you can go
here to see all the pictures.)

Jeanie asked: "How does a gal get ahold of some of the patterns for the beautiful garments modeled at the conference? Are they available for purchase somehow? I absolutely adore the items designed by Joy Prescott, Willena Nanton, Lily Chin (I know she has a book out), Doris Chan, and so many others! "

First, let me say Thank You to Jeanie for all the wonderful compliments she left; they really helped to cheer me up today! So, Jeanie, looking at your question above let me see if I can offer some information on each designer you inquired about:

Joy Prescott: Joy does a lot of original works, mostly in the technique known as freeform. You can see some of her works by visiting this webpage,, and by visiting Prudence's too (see below for her website url)

Willena Nanton: I had the utmost pleasure of having Willena as a roommate last year. This woman is absolutely incredible, and we share many of the same interests -- including collecting Barbies!!
Except Willena takes it a bit further ... she also attends the National Conference for Barbie Collectors and participates in their fashion shows too...the outfits in the fashion show are those replicated by the participant after a design that appeared on a Barbie...and Willena's choice of fabric? You guessed it! She CROCHETS the entire outfit! She showed me videos and it was just one huge "WOW!" after another coming from my mouth! You can find one of Willena's designs in the CGOA book called, Today's Crochet" by Susan Huxley. She has more designs being published so keep an eye out for this budding designer!! (Click onto the image here to read up the review from the Barbie National Conference)

Lily Chin: Does Lily Chin need a write up? This woman is known around the world, holds the title as the World's Fastest Crocheter, and creates works for well known designers. If you visit the NYCCG's website, I believe they have a little video clip of her guest appearance from the David Letterman show. Lily's latest book out is called, "Knit and Crochet With Beads", and you can find a dress she designed in the Interweave Press' special Crochet edition.

Doris Chan: Doris, I found from sitting in classes with her at the 2004 Conference, is a lady that serious about crochet and is quick with a smile. She was charming and insightful, even offering to chat with me about aspects of breaking into the design business. She has designs just about everywhere ... you can see some of them featured in the Interweave's special Crochet Edition (
or just click here to get a little peek.)

Prudence Mapstone: Prudence does not use patterns to create her fashions. Well, actually, yes she does, but not quite like you may be thinking. Her crochet work is done in small little motifs that she joins together to make a larger fabric. She'll make several pieces of the fabric and then lay them on a sewing pattern, or a pattern shape she cut out. She'll continue the process until she has her desired effects. She has a great book out called, "Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting & Crochet," and her website is

Margaret Hubert: Margaret has designs EVERYWHERE!! From magazines, to books, to videos. A talented lady that happens to be a member of my CGOA Chapter that has a heart of gold. Her freeform work is beautiful, and you can locate her videos on her website at -- and if you're lucky, you might be able to find one of her OOP books listed on eBay.

There were many publishers & editors sitting in at the fashion show, so don't be surprised if you see some of the fashions modeled popping up in new publications!

And, one of the best ways to locate designers is to join online crochet groups.  Several, including Margaret & Prudence, are members of the FreeForm Group; some are members of the Crochet Partners group; and so on.  By being a member of these online groups, you can learn more about them -- which makes collecting their works/books/patterns even more exciting -- and then of course meeting them in person is more than icing on the cake!! (Talk about bliss!)

Jeanie, I hope this has helped, and I'm delighted that you visited with me.  J

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Eastern States Exposition

Today I'm busy preparing for The Big E.

The Big E stands for The Eastern States Exposition and is a huge 17-day state fair held in West Springfield, MA
I will be there, with my family and CGOA Chapter members on the day known as "Connecticut Day," which this year falls on this Wednesday, September 22.   We'll be there in the building known as "The New England State Building" displaying various types of crochet and providing free lessons -- complete with free hook & yarn.

If you go, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself -- we're hard to miss in our purple Club attire.  Also, be sure to check out all the fiber arts that ribboned at the CraftAdventure event that took place this past August ... including my daughter's "Blue Ribbon & Best of Show - Junior Division" entry!  (Can you tell I'm one proud Mama?!?)

With this in mind, it may be a few days until my next journal entry ... but you never know, I just may phone one in and share in the excitement of this event! 

To learn more about The Big E, you can visit their website at:

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Update on Ivan's Mess

Yesterday, as the neighborhood learned to exist a bit without electricity, I spent some lovely crochet time with my daughter. She curled up next to me after choosing purple Red Heart yarn from my private stash, grabbed a hook, looked up at me and said, "I'm ready Momma, show me how to make a blanket."

Her goal is to make a blanket for her toy horse. So she created her starting chain, and I did her first row of stitches for her. In doing so, it gave her a little "meat" to hold onto. She's in the transistion of changing her technique of "finger picking" (meaning she uses her fingers to pick up the loops and take them off the hook) to "letting the hook do the work." She got an entire row of stitches done before the call for a pizza run disrupted her concentration. (BTW: my husband did the pizza run for the entire neighborhood and the kids found this quite exciting ... you know ... to get to GO somewhere where there was electricity... lol) And in case you're a new reader of my journal, my daughter is seven, and as I type this, she's back to working on her "blanket."

Our power was restored this morning, around 4:00 AM. It was a rough day toughing it without power, and more so during the evening.

Sleep? Who could with all the noise from the engines of the heavy trucks, the noise from the truck buckets going up & down, the commands being shouted from various workers ... and need I say chain saws?  But as sleepy as I am, I'm thankful that these people came out in the dead of the night and restored our electric service.

So what's next? We need to assess if anything was damaged in the basement (from the flooding) and we need to fill in areas of the lawn where the worker trucks sank in and had to "peel out" to get out of the muck. I can't do much, I'm still on a physical limitation of what I can pick up. But I can stop my crochet work now & then, point my crochet hook and offer my 2 cents.

Ivan promised to behave ... check out the rainbow (on the left) that he seemingly offered as an apology for making such a mess.

Here, the crew work during the night

Q & A's on Poncho from Thursday's Entry

On the Internet group known as Crochet Partners, my poncho has been being discussed. One of the members wrote:

Okay, Crocheting-Dee! I will have to admit that your poncho is also the most beautiful poncho I've ver seen! What stitch? What pattern? What yarn? Black or purple - it is 'da bomb'!!! So hip and FUN!
-karen in AL

And in yesterday's journal comments:

I love this poncho, too! And I like it in the blue. My niece has asked me to make her a poncho and I've e-mailed her several pictures to choose from, however, I suspect she'll prefer this one once she sees it. As I live in Edmonton Alberta, it's not likely I'll be able to attend your workshop, so may I purchase the pattern?
Mary "

So I thought I'd address these questions and others that I've received:

1. What did it cost to make this poncho?
     The materials I used were all high-end yarns ranging in price from $7 a skein to $15. I used approximately 10 skeins of yarn.   (I'll let you do the math.)

2. What size hook did you use?
     For the entire project, regardless of what type of yarn I used, I stayed with the same hook. A "Graydog" size K.

3. What stitch(es) did you use?
     Because I wanted the yarn to take center stage, I kept all of the stitches simple, except for one. Depending upon the fiber being used, I did single, half-double, or double crochet stitches. One row, near the top, is of the rice stitch, also known as the bullion stitch, or "crochet on a roll."

4. Is there a pattern available?
     No. It's a one-of-a kind.
     The workshop that I teach is about design elements and how they effect different types of bodies and personality traits. This allows the class participant to go and create original ponchos for themselves or others that will flatter the individual.

5. What color is it? Blue, Purple, Black?
     It's black. Really, it is!!
     Unfortunately black is one of the hardest colors to photograph, and the combination of flash and sunlight combined forces and "altered the photo coloring." In all due honesty, I don't think my hair is that bright orange either.

6. How long did it take you to create the poncho?
     Off and on, sneaking in stitches when I could, it took about two weeks. The most time consuming aspect of the poncho, believe it or not, was knotting the fringe ends. (One of the yarns was "unraveling!!")

7. If you were to make it again, what would you change?
     I think I'd omit the bullion/rice/roll stitch row. The weight of the poncho is pulling them ... in essense, the stitches are being stretched. I'm already thinking of "going in" and fixing it somehow to prevent further stretching.

8. How did you pick the yarns that you used?
     For the past three years, I've been collecting black yarn. A skein of this, a skein of that. Then I went through the collection and picked out those of various textures. Then I went in and selected those skeins that had what I call "a punch of color" and selected those with "punches" that matched even though they were from different manufacturers. Finally, I decided upon two black yarns that "glitzed" ... that reflected light. This helped give the poncho a "life" of it's own.

9. Can this poncho be done with less expensive yarns?
     Oh, absolutely!

10. Would you consider parting with it? Selling it?
     My husband asked the same question! ... no, this poncho I designed for me. We crocheters have the habit of giving or selling nearly everything we make and rarely treat ourselves. This is my treat to myself.

11. What would the washing instructions be like?
     Since it's made with a variety of different fibers, handwashing and laying flat to dry is the only method I'd consider.

12. Are you going to make one for your daughter?
     No! (lol)
     Actually, she already has two ponchos I've created for her. One is green & white from Sirdar's eyelash yarn. The other is of "American Indian" theme complete with feathered trim.

14. Where do you teach?
     You can learn about the design elements by calling Knit Together and signing up for the Workshop. Knit together is in Stamford, and the workshop is being offered several times. (

15. Can you send me the workshop handouts?
     I can appreciate that those living further away may not be able to attend my classes/workshops. The handouts I provide in this class serve as a reminder -- I think having just the handouts may confuse those that are not in the class to receive the personalized instructions.

16. For those of us needing to use actual printed instructions for creating a poncho, what do you recommend?
     There are a variety of free patterns on the Internet, and many books and magazines are coming out with new ones all the time. If you're into the retro look, check out magazines and books from the 1970's ... using today's fibers, yesterdays patterns will surely help you make your own "da bomb" ponchos tooJ

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Audio entry

Just as I was stirring my coffee, I heard a huge crack followed by a big bang!  Now my electonic devices with "power out alerts" are beeping like crazy. It will be many, many hours until we have power restored.

Poor Josie!  That's the tail light to her car!

And poor Joe! That's his beloved PT Cruiser!

...and as long as things are going to be a little "nutty" around here until power is restored, I decided to get in touch with my "inner squirrel" and find out my squirrel name:
                     Dee from this day forward you will also be known as:
                                                Doctor Crazy Whiskers

You can find out your squirrel name too. Just visit

Friday, September 17, 2004

Needlework at the Doctor's Office

My husband came home from work with some of his own crochet stories:

"I was in the doctor's office when I saw two ladies sitting there busy with their knitting & crocheting.  So I said to them, 'I see you're knitting, and you're crocheting.'

Immediately both women looked up at me and smiled.  They were impressed that I knew the difference between the two and inquired if I did needlework too.

'No,' I said, 'I don't, but my wife does.  She does both but prefers to crochet.'  The older lady who was crocheting smiled and nodded her head as if in agreement.  I just thought it was fun to point out to them that I knew what they were doing."

My husband also brought home some crochet work for me to look at ... he said a coworker has an afghan that's been passed down through a few generations and is in need of repair work.

I don't do repair work ... I have too much on my plate to be taking on any more work, but I said I'd look at it and offer my diagnosis.  So he reached in and pulled out a granny square afghan.

I wasn't surprised.  I've seen about 10 granny square afghans, this year alone, that needed repair work.  I looked over his coworkers' blanket and gave him the bad news.

"It's been repaired once before ... see the thread?  The squares are falling apart, the trim is too.  And we're not even talking about the need to take the afghan apart to replace squares that are completely missing." 

It's in really sad shape.  "Is there no hope for it," he asked?  "It's like a family heirloom."

I told him it could be repaired, but the amount of work that would be required to fix it would be about the amount of time to create a brand new one from scratch.  Yes, it was that bad!!

I did make one recommendation for him to take to his coworker.  "Have them have it mounted in a shadow box," I said, "this way, they will still have the afghan to pass down, and with it displayed as art, it can still be enjoyed without further risk of damage."  He seemed to like this small ray of hope to share with his coworker.

So what happened?  Why are all these granny square afghans needing repair?  Well, it comes down to the tails.

When we crochet, we should leave a long tail (about 4"-8" long) when we begin, and a long tail when we finish (again about 4"-8" long) and weave them in.  When the tails are cut off next to the slip knot, or the ending chain, it's a disaster waiting to happen as the knots come undone and the work starts to unravel.  As in the case of the granny squares I've been seeing, the squares are coming apart at each color change, at the joinings, and on the trim.

I wanted to pass this information along today in case you're creating something for gift giving at the upcoming holidays -- keep your tails long and weave them in when you're done.  You can even use a little bit of fabric glue to help secure those ends.  Longer tails are better and help ensure the longevity of your work.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Pretty Woman, er, Poncho

    Yesterday started with the temperature in the high 50's.  That's a bit cool, so I thought it would be a great time to wear my Poncho to keep me warm.

At my children's school, one of the parents walked up to me and began inspecting the poncho closely.  She pet it and played with the fringes while she said, "Wow, this is so pretty!"  A few moments passed and she asked, "Was it hard to do?"

I said, "Thank You," and continued, "I'm teaching this workshop starting on Friday ... join us and see for yourself."

She smiled.  From the corner of my eye I could see other Mother's looking my way.  Were they looking at my Poncho, or at the children going inside the building?  I waved good-bye to my kids, and went to the local Mall to process a bill payment.


While I was walking around Sears checking out their latest inventory and compiling ideas for gifts for my son's upcoming birthday, I noted that they had some Ponchos on display (yeah, I wandered over into the Women's department -- you know, a little sightseeing for myself?  LOL)  On one rack they had a huge sign "Knitted Ponchos with Crochet Trim."  Try as I might, I could not find ANY crochet on any of those Ponchos.  They were entirely knit.  Arg!!

So I walked around some more, and perhaps it was my imagination, but women were doing "double takes"  ... you know, where they look you over, go back to what they were doing, process what they just saw and HAD to look again? ... Yeah, like I said, it could have been my imagination, but it appeared that this was happening.  I was getting the "once over" and then that second look ... it happened throughout the store.

I was sure I didn't have broccoli in my teeth, and I was sure my zipper was up.  I know I didn't have my pajamas on, so it wasn't a dream.  Were they checking me out because of my poncho?

I found a cashier that needed some company (I don't like lines) and she asked me where I got my Poncho.  "I made it," I replied.

"I've never seen anything so beautiful," she said.  "Is it crocheted," she asked.

"Thank you," I answered, "yes, it is crocheted."

"Was it hard to do," she inquired, "I'm a knitter."

"No," I replied, "Crochet is not hard to do.  It just takes a bit of practice, just like anything else that we learn for the first time."

"Your Poncho is beautiful.  I should see about learning how to crochet," she exclaimed.

I smiled, and told her about the locations that I'm currently teaching at.  She seemed quite excited when I left the store and returned back to the school to do my volunteer lunch duty.


I pressed the buzzer to request entrance into the school.  No answer.  So I waited a few moments as I know how busy the office can be at times.  The secretary walked by the main doors and saw me standing there.  She let me in and said, "My now, don't you look all dressed up today!"

I smiled.  "Thank you," I said.

"I bet you made that, didn't you?"  She asked.

"Yes," I replied, "I did."

"Incredible," she replied, "It's really beautiful."  And off she went back to the office.

I waited in the lobby for entrance into the kitchen.  Two of the other helpers arrived and commented on my Poncho.  They liked it too.


Later, I stood outside and waited for the final school bell to ring.  As the children started exiting the school, another mother approached me.  She reached for the Poncho and remarked how much she liked it.

"Oh, what would something like this cost," she asked.

"It depends upon the fibers that you choose to use," I replied.  "These fibers are all (except for one) high end."

"Oh, so you're not going to tell me?" she asked.

"No," I replied and chuckled.  "Then I'd have to admit it to my husband, and if he knew, I'd never be allowed out of the house with it."  (wink, wink)  And then, I noticed with my peripheral vision, I saw many heads turned my way ... looking my way.  It had to be the poncho!

Later, I told my husband about my experiences when I wore my poncho out in public.  He said, "It is truly beautiful," and started to sing, "Pretty Woman." Then he said I should wear it at next year's CGOA National Conference. 

                  You got to love when your loved ones support you!!  J


Note:  The image of my poncho looks blue/purple ... in reality, it's black.

Some of the yarns used were:  Trendsetter Yarns "Glamour"
                                               City Lights
                                               Debby Bliss "Cotton Silk Aran"

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

New Classes & Workshops

If you're interested in taking a class or workshop with me, I have my September & October schedule posted on my website,

Right now, I have Classes and Workshops scheduled at the Stamford and Brookfield locations, and I am developing classes for the Bethel location, which I'll announce when ready.

Yesterday, I received some sad news from one of the stores I teach at -- they'll be closing their doors come this December.  Which store?  The Craft Basket.   So this means that after October, based on my conversation with the store owner, there will be no more classes offered there.  I know many will be sad with this store's closure.

If you'll be attending the New York City location of the Craft Yarn Council of America's "Knit Out & Crochet Two" event on October 3rd, I'll be doing an instructional crochet demonstration with my gal, Grace --  go!  Introduce yourself!  I'd love to meet you!! J

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Four Year Wait is Over

Four years I have hunted.  I have searched.  I have waited.  I looked high; I looked low.  I looked locally; I looked via Internet.

In the end, it was the Internet that came through -- and more specifically, an auction on ebay.

I set up one of those "auction finders" on ebay, where they notify you when a specific item you're looking for comes up for auction.  Four years.

I received an auction notification two weeks ago, checked it out, and then held my breath.  I wondered if any of the lists I belonged to would broadcast this auction.  They didn't.  I breathed a moment of relief, then held my breath again and made my bid. 

I wondered, would my bid hold?  Would someone else discover this auction and outbid me in the last nanosecond?  I mean, we're talking four years of hunting, of wanting, of wishing.

And then I got sidetracked.  Off I was, taking care of this and that, forgetting to watch the auction close ... until it was the next day.  It felt like I had rocks in my stomach as I went online and scanned my email. 

"You have 537 emails, of which 300 were just from the day before."  None of it, surprisingly, was spam.  I scrolled through my mail ... then I spotted it; an email from ebay.

                    (I won!!   Oh my!  Oh my!! I won!!  I won!!  I won!!)

I don't ever recall getting this excited over winning an auction on eBay, but there I was ready to ask my husband if we had any champagne on hand!  We didn't.  So I settled for a 'high five.'

What did I win?

The elusive, out of print, hard to find book, called "Crochet History & Technique" by Lis Paludan.  (Interweave Press; ISBN 1-883010-09-8)

Now my postgal (can't call her a man) just delivered my new treasure and as I flip through the book, page by page, I can say with no hesitation, that it was well worth the wait.  A four year wait!

What an incredible book -- just leafing through it and seeing all the pictures of antique crochet works going back to about 1500 ... Wow!!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Promoting and More Pink

Thanks to GG's comment she posted on yesterday's entry, we have another "pink" to add for October 8th ... Yoplait is also having a Breast Cancer fundraiser ... For every pink lid consumers mail in by Dec 31, 2004, Yoplait will make a $0.10 donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (Thank you GG!!)

So this means, on October 8th we can show our support by registering to wear jeans to work (Lee Jeans/Charlie Sheen promotion); share pink M&M's; enjoy a Yoplait yogurt, AND crochet up a pink scarf from the Lion Brand Breast Cancer Scarf Kit!


And speaking of promoting ... today I did volunteer lunch duty for the 2nd Grade, and as I patrolled the classroom, I had a skein of yarn tucked under one arm as my hands quickly went to work staring a scarf that will be donated to charity. Just like last year, the kids all asked a million questions --- and were surprised to watch me continue with my crocheting as I gave them my attention, and not my work. A few of the students eventually looked really closely at their teacher and happily discovered that she was wearing a beautiful red crocheted sweater.

After the lunch was over, it was time for recess. So out we went and joined the rest of the classes out on the playground. I continued working on my scarf and was delighted when other grade students approached me and happily declared that their Mom or Grandma was a crocheter too. (So this means, if you have kids at home watching you crochet, they are, whether they admit to it or not, proud of your creations -- if only you could have heard these children raving today! Oh, I tell you, it was fantastic to hear it in their voices and see it on their faces!!)

Afterwards I went to the Craft Basket, a local store in Brookfield where I teach classes. I decided that for the CYCA's KOC2 (Knit Out & Crochet Too) Scarf Contest I'd design a special scarf with the Lion Brand's fun fur in pink...of course to help raise more awareness! The store also had the Lion Brand Breast Cancer Scarf kits, so if you're local to me and want to pick it up, it's there for $7.99

   ...At least you know what I'll be tinkering with tonight! J

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Pink & Jeans: October 8th

At my crochet club's meeting today I took a good look at our members. I was astonished in thinking how many of them are cancer survivors, of those that have family members in treatment, and how it impacted their lives.

I think my life is much richer for getting to know these fantastic people who are survivors.  Fortunately, their cancer was detected early!

But while women are encouraged to be checked, as I encourage men to crochet too, I think it's important to encourage men to be checked for breast cancer too ... apparently, for them, those being diagnosed with it is on the rise! (read about it here: Rise in male breast cancer linked to obesity)

Lee Jeans, and Charlie Sheen (their spokesperson), is asking companies and organizations nationwide to allow employees to wear denim on October 8th, in exchange for a $5 donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Think about how much greater of an impact, and how much more funit would be while wearing our jeans, when support is also shown by sharing a bag of delicious M&M's -- with special pink & white M&Ms...

... and then to also add wearing a beautiful pink crocheted scarf from a kit Lion Brand sells with proceeds going to Breast Cancer -- wow!  Talk about a fashion that makes a statement!! 

Finally, to spread the support even more, we can also mail our bills and correspondence with the US Breast Cancer postage stamp -- which through sales has raised some $10 plus million dollars since it was first introduced in 1998. (I've been buying these stamps since they were first introduced.)

To register for Lee Jean's Denim Day, you'll want to visit this link:

To learn about the special M&M's Pink & White candies promotion, just click onto the M&Ms image above.

To learn more about the special Breast Cancer Awareness postage stamp, click onto the image.

And to order your special Breast Cancer Scarf kit to crochet ... yep, you got it, just click onto the image and it will lead you to the Lion Brand website.

                          Here's to seeing Pink & Jeans on October 8th!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

One Great Nation

As we remember the events and lost souls of three years ago today, we should also reflect that we are a great nation that pulls itself up by it's boot straps and overcomes great odds to achieve our goals.

Although this news article is not 9/11 related, the overall theme of letting nothing stop us from overcoming obstacles is: 
 "Even after four strokes, state's crocheting queen is unstoppable"

God Bless America!

Need to Make Weekend Plans?

If you're looking for inspiration, and looking to make some weekend plans, then you might want to consider enjoying one of the Knit Out and Crochet Too events that are coming up ... starting tomorrow!!

CYCA's "Knit Out & Crochet Too"
      *Boston, MA:  September 12
      *Nevada, MO: September 17 &18
      *Portland, OR:  September 19
      *Washington, DC:  September 19
      *Marquand, MO:  September 25
      *Redmond, WA:  September 25
      *St. Louis, MO:  September 25 & 26
      *Philadelphia, PA: September 26
      *Dallas-Ft.Worth, TX:  October 2
      *Columbus, OH:  October 2
      *NYC, NY:  October 3     

I'll be at the New York City event on October 3rd, along with members of my CGOA Chapter.  Actually, we'll be more than "just there" -- we'll be in a tent with the NYCCG (NYC CGOA Chapter) promoting crochet and our groups.  So, I hope, if you opt to go too, that you'll stop by and introduce yourself.  We're hard to miss ... we're the group wearing the purple T-shirts with the gold lettering on the back!

For more information, you can visit the Craft Yarn Council of America's website at -- and take note!  They're looking for original scarf designs and will award prizes!  The scarves will be donated to Warm Up America!  (for more info on the Contest, go to their webpage at http// )

And remember, this event is FREE to attend!! J

Friday, September 10, 2004

Making a Business of It

There's a huge desire to want to be your own boss, to control your destiny.  And there's a larger desire to do it with something that you're passionate about -- like Crocheting.  

Every month I receive many emails asking, "How can I turn my crochet into a business?" so, I decided to share my thoughts on having a crochet business here as I think even if you're not thinking of this yet, perhaps one day you may. 

Starting off, I think it's important to be realistic about the amount of time you'll be dedicating to you business.  If you intend to sell finished items, then you'll need to realize that it takes serious time to crochet your inventory and/or custom orders, and that not everyone will want to pay you for your time, and supplies.  Some people spend a great amount of time commuting to work on trains, and find the ride to/from work is a great time to work on their inventory.  I met a woman several months ago that makes crocheted beaded bracelets during her commute time -- a labor of love that takes about 25 hours to create one bracelet, and she sells them to train riders for $75-$100 a piece.  (Her product: crocheted bracelets; her market: fellow commuters) 

An example of a starting business can be found from the TV show, "Starting Over." Yesterday, on the show, one of their residents announced that she's started her own crochet business.  She calls it "L Chain" (named after a train line in Chicago, and the crochet chain stitch) where she is selling completed crochet items from her website at The "L" Chain Store(Her product: various garments; her market: fans from the show & Internet shoppers.) 

If you intend to become a designer, then you'll need to have time set aside for designing, writing patterns, submitting them, and so on.   If you intend to become a crochet instructor/teacher like me, then you'll need to time set aside for creating samples, working on materials for classes, and promoting.  You'll also have to figure out the whole pattern issue as there's copyrights involved.  Plus there's tax issues, public relations, and yes, where to store your stash/inventory, and more business issues to investigate. 

Sometimes, businesses start as a means to help ends meet, such as with crochet designer Jenny King, who really got her start nearly 25 years ago while she was in college.  She designed and crocheted bikini's to help make spending money.  (Her product: custom bikinis; her market: fellow students headed to Spring Break)

So with this all in mind, where do we start for gathering our information? 

I recommend Crocheting for Fun and Profitstarting with reading the book,
Crochet for Fun & Profit by Darla Sims.  This book was published in 2000,  and will help you discover how to profit from your crocheting.  In fact, it may become the "Bible" of your business, helping you figure out home-business basics like setting up your workspace, to figuring out where your market is.  It includes basic information on crochet (how-to's) and some patterns too.  Even if you only plan on crocheting to benefit a charity, then you'll want to check out this book!  

Me?  I first started my "business" because I needed  to be with adults. (visit my website and click on the option "About Dee: Getting Started" to learn why I needed to be with adults.)  My "business" allows me to work around my children's school schedule, and the money I earn from my teaching supports my fiber,book & hook addictions.  My next goal is to get more of my patterns I create for my classes published! :) (My product: crochet classes & workshops; my market: local students looking to learn/improve upon crochet skills)

The second thing I recommend if you're interested in becoming a professional, a business owner, that you consider joining the CGOA (if you haven't already) and upgrade your membership to "Associate Professional."  -- you'll get paired up with a mentor, similar to that like the "Starting Over" tv show, that will help you reach your dreams and goals.

What are you waiting for?  ...getting started is just a stitch away.  :)

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Let's face it, I'm a "groupie."

Let's face it, I'm a "groupie."  When I'm done writing my entry here today, there's a good chance that you may consider becoming one too.  Or perhaps you're already one, but just don't know it yet.

I decided to discuss this topic as many emails and comments in my journal all stated that they were happy to have found my journal and my website as I offer information, that I think, is or will be, helpful in our crocheting.

So the next step is to find others that enjoy crocheting too ... be it for help in finding patterns, locating local yarn shops while on vacation, looking for (or to give) cheers for projects completed, or more!

It doesn't matter if you're on the go-go-go, or if you're home bound, being a "groupie" has it's rewards.

The term "groupie" means to be an enthusiast, an aficionado.  Ah, now there's a good word to learn about today, aficionado!  This is an old Spanish word dating back to 1845 that means "a person who likes, knows about, and appreciates a usually feverently pursued interest or activity" -- like crochet!!  (Merriam-Webster dictionary.)

To me, a "groupie," or to say it with more gusto, an "aficionado" is a person that regularly posts to message boards, such as AOL's Crochet board (
Crochet Crafts ); The CGOA's Message Board ( Crochet Guild of America Message Board ); The CYCA's Forums ( Craft Yarn Council of America Phorum - - Forum List ) -- or actual online groups where your email is filled with up to a zillion emails a day (I average about 300 with the online groups I participate in.)

If there's an aspect about crochet you like, then there's bound to be a group for it.  Thread?  Irish Motifs?  Freeform?  Tunisian?  Granny Squares?  ... yes, yes, yes, yes, yes -- websites such as Yahoo! will unfold hundreds of groups (I think the last time I checked there were some 600+ groups just for crochet!)  ... and using keywords will help narrow it down.  This past fall, we even started a crochet group designed to help bring crocheters in the state of Connecticut together -- and it's growing!

If you look to the left, under the heading of Favorite Sites, you'll see that I have listed some of the groups I belong.  Two of the largest are Crochet Partners, and Spin List where there are a few thousand members.

Being a "groupie" means that you can learn from others, and if you're not shy about sharing your knowledge, then you can help pass on information too. 

Then there are the times when you get to meet a fellow "groupie" in person -- and that's a priceless experience!  Two groupie aficionados coming together to share their passion makes for very inspiring stories posted on these boards & groups -- go ahead, jump in.  The water's fine!! 

...and if you're already a "groupie" leave a comment here with the name(s) of the groups you belong -- you never know, someone else visiting today may be interested in joining your group! :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Let There Be Light

I just finished putting the finishing touches on my poncho that I crocheted for an upcoming workshop I'll be teaching.  Fortunately, I've got enough practice in to practically make my stitches without looking, and I have my special lights to help me. With this poncho being nearly entirely done in black, I needed both the ability to "feel" my way to my stitches, as well as my lights or for sure, I believe, I'd have gone blind!

Natural-Light Floor Lamp
There is a trick to helping the eyes concentrate on darker colors. And that is to place a white towel, sheet, or paper under your work. This allows for light to bounce off the paper and onto the back side of your work making it easier to see where the stitches are. (The opposite is true when working with bright colors such as white; here, you'll want to place something dark under your work to absorb the light to make seeing stitches easier.)

One of the best investments, or actually two of the best investments, I've made since I've seriously gotten into crochet, are my lights. These are lights that throw "natural bright light" but without the bulb emitting hot heat. The unit to the top left is offered by Hammacher Schlemmer and is the renown Ott-Lite brand. Clicking onto the image will bring you to the website where they're offering it for $179.95

My first unit, a floor model, I got through Technoscout (now named firstStreet). It's very similar (a knock off) of the Ott Lites, and I love it! It sits behind my couch "reaching over" my head and reflects the light beautifully onto my work with no annoying heat. The one pictured to the right is a special offer by firstStreet for $59.95 in celebration of their new name; clicking onto the images will lead you to them.

My second unit, similar to the one pictured to the bottom left, is a travel model. I got mine through eBay because at the time, I couldn't wait for it to go on sale and I had found a reasonable auction. (But Oy! The $hipping costs!) Now it appears more companies are realizing the demand for these lights and are offering them. Regardless, I have my travel model and I take it with me when I attend workshops away from home -- usually those workshops that are held in hotels as the lighting is so poor.

The two light units below are offered by Staples, and just like the images above, if you click onto them they will lead to that website -- I do want to note here that they're offering the travel unit for $59.95, and the floor model for $89.95 (both with free shipping).

Ott-Liteý VisionSaverý Task Lamp Sometimes the warehouse stores offer these types of lights, as well as local craft stores, so it's worth checking into. I've ordered online from Staples and firstStreet before, so I know they're good companies to do business with. Ott-Liteý VisionSaverý Executive Floor Lamp

The reason I'm bringing this up now is because I've decided to put one of these lights on my husband's "Wish List" because I keep seeing him "sneak time" in under my light. When I asked him about it, he said he really likes the light for when he's doing his reading. I offered him the use of my Travel unit, but he said no. He doesn't want to get attached to it and then have me need it once he's fully 'hooked' on it (I love puns! LOL) And since he does a lot of reading, I'm thinking this would be a great gift to give him this year. After all, I like when he admires my crochet creations, and this means we need to preserve his eyesight as well as my own.

The lights you see pictured here are just a few companies offering them. If you're on a shoestring budget, or don't have the space to put in another lamp, then you may want to check out the new light bulbs being produced by GE. They're called, "Reveal," and cost about $5-$8 for a 4-pack.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Another Item for my Wish List

On Saturday, I wrote about crochet hooks that I'd like Santa to stuff in my Christmas stocking this year ... and while I had his ear this weekend, I added another item to my Wish List.

It's the second edition of the NYC Crochet Guild's calendar -- the only Crochet Theme calendar known to exist on the market, and they just became available on September 1st!

The nonprofit NYC Crochet Guild is a Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America and is, I believe, the largest chapter with some 1 gazillion members. OK, that's an exaggeration. But they do have over a hundred members and, like my chapter, they're growing in leaps & bounds.  The calendar is put together, including original patterns, by members of the NYCCG, and proceeds from the calendar helps them tremendously.  If you're interested in ordering it, or getting a sneak peak, then you can do so here:

(In fact, our two chapters will get to "hang out" with each other at the upcoming Craft Yarn Council of America's "Knit Out and Crochet Too" event that is taking place on October 3rd. I had so much fun there last year; I can't wait for this years! ... you can learn more about this event by visiting the website

Now, getting back to those fantastic calendars ... I was lucky to get the first issue last year (2004's) -- now, you know I want this year's (2005's)!  In looking at their website, it looks like they just may have a few 2004's left ... who knows, perhaps one day they might become a hot collector's item J

Sunday, September 5, 2004

Which is Easier? Crochet or Knit?

Being one of the top AOL Editor's Picks for the week has introduced many to my Journal that may otherwise never have found it.  I have been very happy with all the positive comments left in my Journal, and have enjoyed all the emails as well.

So I thought, as I plan on camping in front of my TV for the next day getting updates on Hurricane Frances and abandoning my PC, that I'd answer a question that was posted by Nettie, who's journal,
JerseyGirl, ranked #1 this week:

She asked: "I used to crochet when I was younger........but would have no idea how to even start now.........I completely forgot how to do it!  Is crocheting more difficult or knitting?"

Nettie,  I'm delighted that you visited with me and asked this question.  I do want to confess that I am very biased; I am devoted to crochet.  So of course I'm going to say that crochet is easier.

Now lets see if I can back up my bias with some facts:
     * Crochet is done with one hook instead of two needles
     * Crochet is done one stitch at a time
     * Crochet can change directions, patterns, size with ease at any time one wishes it to
     * Crochet is more forgiving when mistakes are made ... one can "fudge" or rip out work and rebuild easier
     * There are more books, videos, websites out on this topic now than there has ever been in the past

And based on the review of Melissa Leapman's new book, "
Cozy Crochet" that will soon be released, the ratio of crocheters to knitters is 3 to 1.  And I think with numbers like that, it says a lot about crochet's ease to learn.

So, if you're just learning, or want to get back into crochet, there are ways to learn.  If you want to go it alone, and try to learn from a book, then you may be interested in reading my Journal Entry from August 27 (
click here) where I discuss various book recommendations for the beginner.

Then, I suggest you visit websites such as:
... the Crochet Guild of
America's ( -- be sure to check out their table on turning chains!

... the Craft Yarn Council of America's (
-- check out the learning graphics!

... the website known as StitchGuide ( -- just click onto the crochet option and sit back and enjoy the little free video clips you can watch right on your PC!

If you want to learn from an instructor, then I suggest you start with a search on the Internet ... using words such as "Crochet Teacher Classes" or "Crochet Instructor Classes" and adding the state you live in (Crochet Teacher Classes Connecticut) should net you results of finding classes in your area.  If there are no hits for your area, check with your local yarn & craft shops, religious institutions, YMCA's, and libraries.  There's usually someone around that knows the basics of crochet.

Finally, Coats & Clark has a CD Rom you can purchase called "Crochet Made Easy" -- it can be found in some craft stores, and at times on ebay.

And for those that are following Hurricane Frances, you may want to check out this link that shows the latest satellite images:; I'll be watching the areas of Melbourne, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville where I have family.

Color in our Lives

For most of us, color is a major part of our lives.  Our holidays are marked with colors, such as Red and White for Valentines, Orange and Black for Halloween, and Green and Red for Christmas, and experts tell us how color effects our appetites (the color blue helps suppress hunger).

Regardless, we all have our favorite colors and we usually stick to them when we decorate our homes, our wardrobes, even the automobiles we drive, and especially when we crochet something for ourselves.

Me? I'm the queen of plain. I tend to like neutral colors like cream ... but I like details. The more detailed and neutral the color, the happier I seem to be.

But I've noticed something in the past couple of years ... I'm being driven to purple.  Purple!  Purple!  Purple! 

Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with purple.  In fact, I'm told that purple is the new 'black' and everyone should have purple in their wardrobe.  But what's driving me to it?  Why not green, blue, orange, or yellow?  They're great colors too, right?

Well, apparently, I've found my answer through colorstrology.  It appears that Lilac is my birth color, and since lilac is part of the purple family, it's all now starting to make sense.  When I visited the website and looked up my birth month, it stated "...for the month of February [your color is] Sheer Lilac.  Inspiring and imaginative, this color invokes the qualities of humanity and kindness."  There's more to it, and it goes on to also say that I should wear it to "...enhance [my] spirituality and compassion."

So the next time you see a lady passionately ogling over purple fibers in your local yarn shop, don't worry.  It might be me plugging into my spirituality, and I'll be compassionate enough to leave a few skeins behind.  J

Saturday, September 4, 2004

Hooks for a Cause

In the Special Edition magazine I wrote about yesterday, Interweave Knit's Crochet issue, there's a section that discusses Crochet Hooks from the past (page 11) which I found very interesting. But it's a small blurb to the right, on page 10, that raised the eye brow of potentiality ... meaning, potentially there is an opportunity to add another hook, two, or three to my growing collection!

Crochet hooks can be made of nearly any material ... as long as the tip has a notch for grabbing yarn/thread and pulling it through loops already waiting on the hook, and as long as the user can be effective with it, then it counts. In my collection, I have them of various ages, of various metals, acrylics, woods -- even glass.

So what does this have to do with the blurb I saw in the magazine? It's what I call an "awareness" blurb -- where there are hooks that although are unsized, they're hand carved (BEAUTIFULLY, if I might add) that are being sold to help encourage women's economic independence in Nepal. And, for being hand carved, they're a steal listed at just $16.95 each. You can see these hooks listed on the website at

Yes, I plan on making an order. I just have to decide on which hook(s) I'd like to add. (Since I have been such a good girl this year, perhaps I can persuade "Santa" that my stocking would really appreciate being stuffed with these hooks that are for a good cause. I mean, if we really think about it, the holiday season is only about 16 weeks away, and that's plenty of time to place an order & await for shipping, right? LOL)

So, the next question is, do I use all the hooks in my collection? I do, almost. When I get new hooks, and this includes antiques, I do take them on a test drive by working up a small sampler square. I make a mental note if the hook works with my crochet technique. If it does, then I do use it again. If it doesn't, then it gets set aside to one day be mounted & framed.

My favorite hooks are those made of wood, with some girth to them. This is because my crochet technique has me rolling the hook between my fingers, rather than having my wrist doing all the rolling motion. If the hook is too skinny, or has a flat thumb/finger rest, then I can't crochet comfortably. My favorite hooks thus far are those known as Graydog (you can find them listed on the auction site known as ebay) as they balance in my hand beautifully; even those of which that are jeweled (go to my "Crochet In the News" webpage on my website and you can see one of my jeweled hooks).

The best advice I can offer, is that you try every hook you come across and make your own mental notes. What works for me, may not work for you. It's a preference thing, and it's worth the time to find what tools work best for you. And who knows, maybe you'll get hooked on collecting crochet hooks too. J

Friday, September 3, 2004

Magazine Review: Interweave Knits "Crochet" -- Special Edition

There has been, as I've discussed before in my Journal, a long time rivalry between crocheters and knitters. I've never understood it, but I have felt the cold shoulder from some that believe that only knit is worthy of one's time and fiber, and that crochet is only for those on a shoestring budget.  That generalization can't be further from the truth!

As I understand it from the CGOA's Professional Group, at the National NeedleArts Association (known as the TNNA -- of which I'm also a member of), they had a Fashion Show showing both knit and crochet garments ... and it was the crocheted garments that stole the show.

I witnessed this myself when I was at the CGOA's National Conference this past July, I attended a Breakfast Fashion Show which also featured both knit and crochet -- and my own personal observation was that flash bulbs went off far more times for the crocheted fashions than those of which were knitted. (to see images of the fashions, please go to "view older entries" option in my Jounal and go to the month of July)

This being said, Interweave, a company known for producing books and magazines of various gorgeous art forms, opted to take it's KNIT magazine and do a special issue on Crochet.  It officially hits the retail market on September 7th, so this is like a sneak-peak preview...

Pam Allen, the editor of this issue, states as she describes about her staff learning about crochet, "As we discovered more about the history and innovative uses of crochet, it became clear that we were only sampling a smidgen of what crochet has to offer." (Welcome aboard, Pam; we've been waiting for you!)

This special issue is packed not only with patterns by top notch designers for items from sweaters, hats and bikinis for children (and more!), but also various articles that are interesting ... such as Lily Chin's on growing up as a Crocheter, and Bethany Lyttle's on tapestry crochet.

I'm also impressed that they put time into the little details ... and by this I mean the advertising! The advertisements are just as yummy -- and they reflect crochet from page, to page, to page!

Now, since I have a copy, and since you probably want one now, lets get into where you can get one too.  I've seen online groups discussing that our local Barnes & Noble have it; and since Borders carries the normal Knit version, they may have it too.  Your best bet is to call your local Yarn Shop (not the craft stores, but the YARN ones since this is what they specialize in).  If you're local to me, I understand that the store in Bethel, CT, known as "A Stitch in Time" has them in.

If you cannot get it locally, then you may want to order it directly from Interweave themselves. But be warned, the shipping is a bit hefty ($4.50 for the first issue, $0.50 for each additional). You can learn more about this magazine by visiting their website (clicking onto the magazine image above will take you to Interweave's website).

But remember, if you want to subscribe to their magazines such as Handwoven, Beadwork, Interweave Knits, Piecework (I subscribe to this & love it!), Natural Home, or Spin Off (I also subscribe to this one too), then you may want to order through
BlueDolphin and save yourself some bucks. 

So what happens now?  Will they produce another issue?  I don't know.  The best thing we can do is to write them and let them know our thoughts.  As I understand it from the CGOA's Professional Day at the National Conference, they need our feedback ... constructive criticism and raves all help shape future publications. J

Thursday, September 2, 2004

More Luck

As luck would have it, compaired to yesterday, Lady Luck is sitting with me today. :)

My husband's car started; I got the kids to school on time; I received the issues of Interweave Knit's special Crochet edition I ordered for my Crochet Club (I'll do a review on it tomorrow); and there was no waiting in the Doctor's office when I went for my physical therapy today.  (I got to go right in! )

Then I see that I made it as #3 on the Editor's Journal Picks...

So, as long as Lady Luck is sitting with me, I decided to go to ABC's website and print out the form for an Extreme Home Makeover ... hopefully as I take pictures of my home to submit with the application, they'll realize that my yarn stash is also used as "extra insulation"...

Wednesday, September 1, 2004

As luck would have it...

Ever get the feeling you've been everywhere, but nowhere in particular?  That's me today! 

This morning my husband's car broke down, and it was also our children's first day of school.  It was also our day for "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" at our local book store in Brookfield ... eye ya-ya-yie!  If only I had a super hero cape!!

I got the kids up, got them dressed, shoved everyone into the vehicle and zipped hubby off to work; then we dashed back home and as the kids finished getting ready for school I did my journal entry for today and printed out one of the upcoming class schedules to turn in.  With no time for a shower, we flew to the school just in the nick of time -- snap, snap -- got two quick pictures and chased them into the school to ensure they were on time.  Then I raced back home, jumped in the shower; ignored the constantly ringing telephone; dressed; grabbed my crochet project and was back out the door in 15 minutes flat.  Twenty minutes later I smiled as I saw my best friend, Patti -- gosh, I've missed her!  She joined us for our Coffee, Crochet & Chat session ... and then just as I was ready to go order some Carrot Cake for breakfast, Ruth, who was also there, said, "Hey Dee, knowing how your morning went, I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't have any."


They didn't.  (Arg!)  So I settled for a banana nut muffin and sat and enjoyed the slow pace of great conversation & crochet ... ah!

Afterwards, I went back to the school to get my wee-ones and off we headed to Dunkin Donuts to get their "First Day Back To School Celebratory Donuts" ...

Now, if you've been paying attention to my story, then you'd know that something "badish" would happen ...

And it did.  Dunkin Donuts was closed for renovations.

And if you've really been paying attention, then you'd know that something "goodish" would happen.

And it did.  Starbucks was open.  We went in and found a Mom from the school with her kids.  We got "Celebratory Cookies" and sat outside and had a nice chat.  Then we headed home ...

And the children declared, "We have no homework!! Yea!!!"

Please, a moment of silence as you know the "badish" is coming ...

Yes, the children have homework for me.  They took out about 500 pounds of text books that "need to be covered with X, Y, or Z" and two reams of paper marked "forms needing to be filled out and returned by tomorrow."  And I read the "homework paper" for the rest of the week ... apparently, I'll be assigned more homework for the next two nights.  Eish!

I can't allow this to cut into my crochet time tonight, especially since I've still got to fly across town and pick my husband up from work ... so I've decided that I'll fill out one set of papers, put the duplicate ones for my other child into the printer and "copy" them!!  (Whoo hoo!)

Now as I sit here all proud of myself for coming up with some sort of solution, I receive an email from AOL (don't worry, it's good news) ... apparently they like my journal and have opted to feature it on their Hobby page.  This means, right now -- I'm featured on two of their pages (Keyword: Books  and  Keyword: Hobby) ... you gotta love that!  :)

And it seems, right at this moment, I just received another notification from AOL ... and you guessed it ... they want to highlight my Journal as  one of their "Editor's Weekly Picks" (keyword: journal) ...

So, apparently, I am everywhere, and still have the time to do what I enjoy most ... enjoying my family & friends while getting in some stitches now & then.