Sunday, October 31, 2004

Ghoulish Thoughts


Happy Fiberween, er, Halloween!  (lol)

How spooky is it that today is our longest day (25 hours) -- and this answers the question I posed earlier this month: Which is the longest month of the year?

October!  And it's because of this pesky daylight savings that has us turning our clocks back an hour to "save daylight."  (But I don't see how daylight is being saved when it's going to be dark at 4:00 PM leaving the children no daylight time to play outside.  If there's a petition going around looking for signatures to  end this daylight practice, then please point me to it!)

So, an extra hour today.  How will I spend it?  Well, to add more spook to the day, I know it won't start with a shower.  We've sprung a leak near the water tank and apparently it will be a while until it can be fixed.  Fortunately, I did have enough water in the tea kettle to spook out a small cup of coffee.  If I hadn't, then it would have been a real frightful moment! 

I've got two more scarves on the hook for the 30 Scarves in 30 Days Challenge.  One I take with me (like last night, when we went to Home Depot to get plumbing supplies and a carriage mishap smacking into the back of my foot sent me to the vehicle to "rest" -- man! did that hurt!), and the other scarf is for working on while I'm here in the house.  My guess, since I'm unable to shower for a while, is that I won't be going anywhere until the water is restored.  So working on the scarf will be on my agenda.

Pictured to the right is my (beheaded) ghouls, er kids-- check out their little crocheted Halloween pails.  One of the ladies in my crochet group made three and auctioned them off at one of our fund raisers.  The faces are painted on; isn't that a great idea?  Before you ask, I don't know where she got the pattern from.  But if you're serious about knowing, I could inquire.  :)  My goblins will be using the pails again this year and hopefully they won't notice when I raid their pails for the candy corns; my favorites!

Finally, I was surfing the Internet last night, looking for a poncho pattern to use my new recycled silk hanks that arrived a few days ago.  I found an interesting pattern and then my dsl connection failed.  Now, I'll have to go spooking around for it again. 

              Here's to hoping your Halloween is filled with tricks & treats!
                              Have a safe & happy one!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Enjoying Today

I have the day off ... yes, it's a fantastic day because for the first time in weeks, including weekends, I did not have to wake to an alarm clock.  The children have the day off from school and we are spending the day together.  I love days like this!

Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep: A Yarn about Wool While I was enjoying my coffee this morning (and they had fun making beaded necklaces), I ordered the two books you see to the left, to surprise them with.  They loved going to the Sheep & Wool shows and watching the sheep being sheered and getting to ask questions, so the Farmer Brown book will be a great way to remind them of their experiences at the shows.  And I figure the Christmas Yarn book will be a great way to start the countdown to the upcoming holidays.Shall I Knit You a Hat?: A Christmas Yarn

I also surfed on over to a new website (to me) called "Black Purl Magazine" and decided to subscribe to it's newsletter. I'm glad I did. The magazine is dedicated to not just various forms of fiber arts -- but to the soul that inspires it.  In the first newsletter I received (you'll need adobe reader if you opt to subscribe too), I found it inspiring to read all the articles, two of which are on crochet: Freeform beading, and Freeform Crochet.  They also mentioned the book, "Color Works: The Crafter's Guide to Color" that sounded so wonderful in their review that I added to my order today.  Of course this means I'm going to enjoy another "Santa day" soon, huh?  :)

Last night I decided to put off working on the Scarf Challenge and work on some Treasure Bags that will become gifts this Christmas season ... the intent is to fill them not with bogus credit cards as you see here, but with gift cards!  I added the buttons to the pull strings so the bags would be pretty to wear around the wrist.  They're even large enough to tuck a, oh, how do we say it delicately? ... hhmmmm, a "pad" for those needed times...yes, you can even tuck one of those in, along with a tube of lipstick or chapstick.

The yarn I used was Gedifra's "Distrato" which is a woven fiber that goes from smooth to slightly furry.  The color intensifies where the fur is. It's so silky to use; I just love it, and I love how the bags came out.  I've mentioned it here before, but if you missed it, you can get the pattern for the Treasure Bags by visiting my website at

I want to note that the Treasure Bags pictured above are, at least on my PC, nearly true to size, and it was Rose who inspired me to make these bags with the Distrato. 
Thanks Rose!Rose has made them to hold her cellphone, CDs and more!

Thursday, October 28, 2004

catching some "Zs"

I crashed last night.  Never am I asleep by 8:30, but that's what happened. This means that I missed watching the Red Soxs win the World Series (not that I'm a baseball fan, but my husband was watching and it's always nice to cozy up and crochet something). So, I because I was catching some "Zs" instead of some 'yarn overs' I wasn't able to work on the scarf challenge last night.

I did manage to get the swatch done yesterday, and get it, along with my poncho, shipped off to the publisher yesterday. Wish me luck that they'll like the them. :)

I want to mention a big THANK YOU to Stephanie of New Fairfield for donating a scarf to the Challenge yesterday. She's a new crocheter -- only been crocheting for three weeks now --  and decided to donate her first scarf.  She's off and running with her new found passion and I can't be happier for her!!

So while on the topic of helping others, I thought you might enjoy this article:
Knit together: Projet aims to keep community warm

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Santa Arrives Early

It's like Christmas morning here, with packages arriving that are filled with goodies -- all for me! (lol)

I came home yesterday after having a fantastic time teaching at the Knit Together store in Stamford to find that my "Crochet Santa" delivered three very wonderful things:

First, Santa (aka the maillady) delivered my new Graydog Crochet Hook. I've been on the hunt for a size "P" Graydog hook for the past 18 months, so to finally have one in my hands is amazing!

If you haven't heard of "Graydog" then let me introduce you to them. They are hand turned (and sometimes jeweled) crochet hooks that are created by a husband and wife team, Bill & Jill, in California. They started selling their hooks on ebay in the late 1990s and have a huge fan base. I am their self-appointed biggest cheerleader.

They have a couple different crochet hook designs -- you'd have to look on ebay to see them to get an idea of what I'm referencing to -- but the concept is simple. They design the hooks with different crocheter needs in mind. They have a hook with a flat thumb spot now, the "Charley" hook, and then the one I love, the one that is purely rounded with the barrel or the midsection a bit larger. I like it this way as it works with the way I crochet quite well.

The second item Santa (aka the maillady again) delivered was the latest issue of Piecework Magazine. I love this magazine because it seems to embrace all the fiber arts, and this month they have a special article on "Preacher Lewis's Mission of Crochet." I'm halfway through the article and am enjoying it immensely! They also have some crochet patterns to try, along with exposure to other fiber arts, and they do this in such a way that you can't help but be inspired!

The third item Santa delivered (aka UPSman) is the recycled silk hanks I ordered through the website that helps various organizations. I can't be more pleased! Six beautiful hanks all wanting to be worked up, in crochet, but of course!

But then, this morning, Santa delivered another treat via email. It was from Ang W. stating that she's helping with the 30 Scarves in 30 Days challenge! Yea!! She's donated a scarf to her local food bank in St. Stephens!

OK, so our current count then is:
   1 scarf and two hats from Cris of Danbury
   1 scarf as posted by Robin Anderson (scarf to go to YMCA homeless shelter)
   1 scarf from Lori of Greenwich
   1 scarf from Ang W (scarf went to homeless shelter in St. Stephens)
           (THANK YOU LADIES!!!!)
and I now have 10 done ....
that brings us to 14 of the 30 Scarves in 30 days Challenge.

If you'd like to participate, just crochet or knit up a scarf and let me know via email or posting here where you intend to donate it. Together, we can reach this goal and make a difference to someone in need! :) I have this grin across my face this morning, much like that of a child that awakes to find Santa had left wonderful treasures.  I love when days are like this!

Monday, October 25, 2004

yeah, I can see that I'm going to be needing more coffee

I cling to my cup of coffee this morning as I type this entry ... it's my lifeline to the awake world (lol)I was up late last night working on the costume, and technically I could call it nearly done.  But looking at it now with my eyes pinned open, it's apparent that I cannot sew in a straight line.  I can crochet in a straight line, but not sew.  And no, apparently dark blue thread sewn in a crooked line does not look good on the light blue material. (arg!) So you know I'll be ripping those stitches out and will give it another try.

And just how did those patternless rectangles come out?  Well ... the crochet trim looks good on them.  Lets concentrate on that thought instead of what shape my rectangles actually are, OK? (lol)

The trim was done with the Lame ... I ended up crocheting the variegated and the black together utilizing the single crochet stitch instead of the broomstick lace. This is because,

  • The pattern lied. It said 2 1/4 yards of trim were needed for the costume. Uh, yeah, more like 12-14 yards would have been needed if I added it the way they wanted it.
  • So this means I did not have enough fiber to crochet the true required trim. Instead of each "rectangle" receiving four rows of trim, along with the sleeves, and the bottom of the costume, I improvised! And, even if I do say so myself, the trim looks great! ... No trim for the sleeves, but for each "rectangle" and the bottom of the costume there's a beautiful stripe of this Lame single crochet trim. You gotta love that!
  • The third problem I had is that I ran out of the black Lame. With this in mind, I'd like to share a tip with you, my readers.  (But first let me get in a sip of coffee ... ahhh!).  Anytime you buy a dark colored fiber to crochet/knit with -- BUY EXTRA!! This is because most are sold by weight, not length. And to make a fiber dark, it requires more dye. And more dye means that fiber will weigh more and you'll get less than you would have compaired to it's lighter color cousin! Thankfully, I had an extra spool of the black Lame on hand!

    So, while we're giggling about my sewing adventures, I'd like to switch gears and mention that I received a question from Deb yesterday. She had questions about a MAM afghan. (MAM stands for "mile a minute" where thin and long panels are created and later joined to create an afghan.) Apparently she was having difficulty with her tension. She reports that she's a tight crocheter, so I suggested she bump up her crochet hook size until she comes close to matching the needed gauge. And that brings us to one of my coffee breaks from yesterday. Yes, I was surfing the Internet, and apparently found that there's a music CD called "Loose Crochet." (Click here to hear a sample; you'll need Windows Media Player to hear it.) I don't know, they kind of sound like a local band with a grass roots/grunge sound. What do you think?

    Alright, my coffee cup is empty and this means my break is over. Got to go finish that costume and get ready to do lunch duty this afternoon while gettting to work on the sample for the publisher and prepare for tomorrow's classes and get the plans in motion for my son's upcoming birthday and tend to that dryer that keeps buzzing and .... yeah, I can see that I'm going to be needing more coffee. J

  • BTW: If you're signed up for receiving alerts for my journal entries, you may on occasion receive quite a few.  I don't know why, but there are times that the journal entry just does not digest html coding well, and that means I have to go back in and fix it so that what you read is relatively clear thoughts instead of a bunch of jumbomumbo.

    Sunday, October 24, 2004

    I'm a crocheter, not a sewer

    Yesterday, while on a coffee break from working on meeting my deadlines, I did a little surfing on the Internet.  Now this is not necessarily a bad idea, after all, as of today, Christmas is only 61 days away, and I'm the type of person who likes to be ready for it before the end of November.

    So doing a little surfing now, I reason, helps me rein in those "cursed" creative juices to find/create the right gift for each person on my list. And this brings me to the HSN website. For those of you with cable TV, you know what those initials stand for. For those who don't, like myself, HSN stands for Home Shopping Network.

    Every time I visit a website that offers various goods, the first search I do is with the word "Crochet." I can't help it. It's an addiction. It's a quirk. And I like it.  :) So this is what I did at the HSN website yesterday --  and the search brought me to an item that I had to question the description of.  A "crocheted bracelet." See it there on the right? Does it look crocheted to you? (you can click onto it to get more details.) I don't think so. 

    So this means that
    A. they don't know what crochet looks like, because the bracelet looks more like knit, or  
    B. they used the term "crochet" loosely which can mean "the interlocking of looped stitches," which it does appear to be.

    Yarn Around and Layette Set with 9 Skeins Multi Colored YarnIt is pretty, but I think the description would be better if they said, "knit." I do want to note that they have a great little page in their crafting section on learning how to knit and crochet ... which is pretty cool for a company that prides itself for selling various items on TV, including the "Yarn Around" layette set (see image on left; you can click onto it for more info)

    So, 61 days, and counting down.  And what did I come up with for ideas? Well, while my husband was setting up my sewing machine for me (I still have a weight lifting restriction on my back), I decided to work up the Himalaya yarn I had received as a treat in my goodie bag from the CGOA Conference that took place this past summer. I crocheted a Treasure Bag using a "H" hook, and it will become a great little change purse -- for myself!  (Won't that be a surprise when I unwrap it?  LOL  Maybe I can persuade my dear husband to stuff it with that pretty "knitted" bracelet!)

    I also got another scarf for the challenge nearly done ... needs about 10" worth of rows before it's finished -- and yep, during the first game of the World Series, I took over the house! This means that I was making the cording for the costume, and thanks to Margaret Hubert, I knew how to do it! I took three balls of thread (white & silver, silver, and gold & metallic gold) and matched it with a iridescent thread I had from the 2003 CGOA Conference goodie bag, and twisted and twisted and twisted until I had a beautiful looking cord several yards long. I had this thread stretched out over three rooms, so you know it sure made things interesting!  LOL  When I was done, I made another, but replaced the irridesent thread with a metallic blue and made a shorter cord. Then this morning, just before this break, I started crocheting the trim that I will ultimately (later today perhaps?) be sewing onto this costume.

    My biggest problem with this costume is that they want me to cut some rectangles to make the head piece, but they provided no pattern for it.  OK, for those of you who are experienced with sewing, perhaps cutting a rectangle is not a difficult task. But they're asking me to cut in a straight line. Four times. On fabric. I'm a crocheter, not a sewer!  Oh, this is going to be interesting!

    Saturday, October 23, 2004

    Introducing: Casey's Crochet


    I'd like to introduce a brand new website called Casey's Crochet, and if I do say so myself, it's about time there was a website like this!  (

    What does the website have to offer?
         It's a website offered by a child (hmmm, I wonder who's, lol) that offers a place for other children to safely go to to get encouragement to crochet, knit, or do some other type of fiber art.

         It's a place to go to find links to other sites offering instruction, to learn why crochet is fun, and to see images of the child offering the inspiration.

         As far as we know, there is no other crochet theme website out there that was created specifically for children.   -- and as time goes by, there will be patterns offered, and yes, they will be by her.

    Have I peeked your curiosity yet?  Yeah, you know you want to -- go ahead and visit it and feel free to post your comments here.   We're looking for feedback to make it a fun & safe website for children to be able to visit.

    Scarf Count Update: 
         1 scarf and two hats from Cris of Danbury
         1 scarf as posted by Robin Anderson (scarf to go to YMCA homeless shelter)
         1 scarf from Lori of Greenwich
                        (THANK YOU LADIES!!!!)
        and I now have 8 done ....
    that brings us to 11 of the 30 Scarves in 30 days Challenge.

    If you'd like to participate, just crochet or knit up a scarf and let me know via email or posting here where you intend to donate it.  Together, we can reach this goal and make a difference to someone in need!  :)

    Thursday, October 21, 2004


    George Lucas, the guy behind "Star Wars" did a little groaning -- and is now starting a new magazine for education.

    In the article, Lucas starts new educational crusade Magazine seeks to spur change in the classroom, Milton Chen, the foundation's executive director, is quoted stating, "...[Lucas got this] idea started last year, while gazing at the bountiful magazine racks at a Borders Books store, groaned about the titles devoted to dogs, cars, gardening and crocheting ."

    OK. So, um, George? If you're reading this, then you might want to know that those bountiful magazines for crochet, at that particular Borders, got there through a lot of groaning. By many, many people. They didn't just arrive there by the wave of a magic wand. People went to the store, called the store, called the home office and HAD TO REQUEST that they carry it! And now, they'll be carrying one less, thanks to it "not being profitable enough."

    So if you're going to groan about an abundance of magazines, George, then groan about something else ... perhaps about the 20 pounds of catalogs that will start arriving daily in our mailboxes until Christmas, you know, the ones we didn't request. Yeah, I'd say that would be a more productive groan session.

    Now if I sound a bit sarcastic, or if I seem to have an edge to my entry, my apologies. It seems life threw another speed bump -- at the 11th hour it was announced that I had to bake something for the school bake sale. And wouldn't you know it, there's no icing in the house. Not even the raw supplies to make it from scratch!

    Ah! Oh hear my groan!!!?


    Want to help?

    There are 24 days left of my self-goal of 30 scarves in 30 days. And, for the moment, I think I'm on track as I have six completed. But we know life has a way of having things easily come in the way of reaching our goals ...

    Such as my daughter declaring that the costume I intend to sew for her is not needed 10 days from now, but in 6! This means that she needs it in time for dress rehearsal. Of course this creates a problem as I intend to crochet the trim for the costume using the
    Broomstick Lace technique with a metallic variegated Lame yarn. My thoughts are that the metallic yarn worked up in the Broomstick Lace (just one row) would make a fabulous trim.  But we're talking a four-day difference and I would need to make several yards of lace for this costume.

    There are many other speed bumps in reaching the 30 scarves in 30 days too, so it was suggested by Haley, one of my students in Stamford, that I put the challenge out to my readers to help in reaching this goal.

    I loved the idea and thought about how it would best work, and came up with this: If you'd like to help me reach this goal of 30 scarves in 30 days, all you need to do is crochet (or knit) a scarf and donate it to a local charity in your area (this way, no one has to ship anything!) ... then either send me an email with your name and the charity you will donate it to. -- or just leave a comment here.

    What fun it will be to see if perhaps together, we can reach this goal. And the best part is that it doesn't matter what your skill level is, from beginner to advanced, this is something we can all do!  Just ask Lori of Greenwich!  She's a new crocheter and donated a cream & brown scarf to go the Salvation Army drive.  (Thanks Lori!)


    Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    Is that a real poncho?

    I thought, as I run around like Chicken Little crying "the sky is falling, the sky is falling!" that I would give you an interesting link to an article about ponchos. (The article was brought to my attention by Grace -- thank you, Gracie!)

    Is That a Real Poncho? - The hideous new trend afflicting America. By Amanda Fortini

    Rose asked me the other day, "Dee, do you ever sleep?"

    I laughed and said yes. Then we got into talking about the upcoming holiday season. She said she was at a loss as to what to give everyone. I said, "Crochet them all a '
    Treasure Bag' and stuff each one with a gift card that matches their personalities."

    Rose laughed and said, "Dee, where do you get these ideas?  I love it!"

    "It's a curse," I replied.

    "Oh, I'd give anything to have such a curse," she exclaimed.

    And we laughed.

    In the meantime, I crocheted two more scarves for my self-goal of 30 scarves in 30 days. And I purchased the fabric to sew my daughter's costume. AND of course I got the curse -- a crochet brainstorm (LOL) that I would crochet the trim for the costume instead of buying a trim and sewing it on. Honestly, I can see a point in my immediate future where I wont have the opportunity to sleep! (LOL)

    Now, speaking of ideas, this leads me to my poncho. I'll be headed back to Stamford today -- hopefully, with all this rain we've had over night, the roads won't be too bad. The real question is, what fibers will make the cut (see post from Sunday for clarification)???

    Sunday, October 17, 2004


    Look what publication squeaked out in August and missed my "new book radar!"

    I got to see this new book first hand yesterday while I was in Stamford teaching.  My first thoughts were, "Wow! What a great book for the beginner!" The graphics are bright and clear, it's on a spiral ring so the page will stay open by itself, AND the book cover can be turned into a stand so that it sits up for easier viewing. How great is that?! 

    I love that it has patterns (belts, bikini tops, pillows, and such) as well as different types of stitches. So for those of you looking to give the gift of crochet this holiday season (which is nearly 60 days from now), I'd recommend giving this one (or putting it on your list as items you'd like). If you're an experienced crocheter, then you may enjoy looking at the book, but I don't think you'll find anything new.

    So, getting back to being in Stamford ... at the store, Knit Together, I had fun with the two classes I taught. One was on the technique based on my poncho I mentioned awhile ago that received rave reviews.  The ladies in the class had a lot of fun going around the store and selecting yarns that they liked.  It was like turning kids loose in a candy store and saying, "put all the candy you like in your basket and we'll figure out the commonality later."  It was great!

    The day prior to this class I received an email.  A publisher is interested in my poncho! So now I have two weeks to work up a swatch, and written directions (instead of being based on technique) The beauty of this is, that I need to make another poncho that's lighter in color, that in the end, if it's selected for publication or not, I will have another beautiful poncho.   I need to make another poncho because black does not photograph well. So when I, or other store staff members had a free moment yesterday we filled a basket with various types of fibers.

    Actually, we had two baskets ... one in hues of blues, and the other of mulberries. At the end of the day I put one basket away, and left the other on the table, where it will remain until I return to teach crochet on Tuesday. (The store is closed on Sundays & Mondays) On Tuesday I will narrow down the selections until I have just the right colors and fiber textures I'm looking for. So for now, I can concentrate on the written design element, which if everything falls into place correctly, will end up being published in 2005.

    Of course I need to add that while I'm doing this, I also need to sew a costume for my daughter. No, thankfully, not for Halloween. I get a little more time than that -- it needs to be ready by November 1st. So that gives me at least an extra day. Now, to figure out how to sew... lol

    So what does this all mean?
         It means that I want this new book, "Ready, Set, Crochet," so I can create new classes for my beginner level students.
         It means that my goal of making 30 scarves in 30 days with be tougher to achieve, but not impossible.
         And it means that in the next two weeks you, my readers, may not see as many postings from me because I'll be hard at work trying to meet the poncho and costume deadlines.

                       "On my ready, get set, Crochet!!!"

    Wish me luck!

    Saturday, October 16, 2004

    Clicking to Aid...

    Have you seen them? A variety of websites that helps raise funds for various organizations and causes and your only cost is to visit them and click onto the designated button to get your click registered?

    If you haven't seen them or heard about them, then here's your chance to learn a bit on how they work.  I do want to say upfront that I have no affiliation with these websites -- I just like what they represent.  People helping people. 

    One such site is The Breast Cancer Site: Fund Mammograms for Free All they ask is that you visit daily and just give them a quick click. The way it works is that the website has sponsors. And each time you click, the sponsors pay X amount of money towards the cause. It's up to you if you then want to shop through the sponsors links and help them raise additional funds.  But otherwise, helping this cause is free.

    Along those lines I received an email from an online group I belong to that stated I could purchase some recycled silk while helping to provide food to the poor. How could I resist? I ended up, with my purchase, of helping to provide 100 bowls of food. (they've since gone "out of stock" on the silk hanks, but they have other already made silk goodies that are very affordable!! ... just click onto the image to visit the website)

    But I didn't stop there. This website, known as carries other "stores" as well ... for The Animal Rescue Site, The Child Health Site, and the Breast Cancer Site I mentioned earlier. So while I was ordering the recycled silk, I went to the Breast Cancer store and ordered a pin. That sale will now help pay for a mammogram.

    Like I said, you're not required to shop. They're just looking for the clicks that the sponsors support. Should you opt to shop, you'll do that much more good. And I know, once my recycled silk arrives, I'm going to enjoy whatever I create out of it knowing that the purchase helped someone in need.

    Friday, October 15, 2004

    Finally we can get some satisfaction!

    Yesterday, while teaching crochet to a beginner, I was advised that one of the mother's in my daughter's class was shocked.   As the story goes, she was doing lunch duty, and as the children prepared for recess, her son went to his desk and before her eyes, he pulled out a crochet hook and a ball of yarn.

    When she inquired about what he was doing he said, "I'm crocheting, Mom.   We're all gathering under the tree to practice our stitches."

    Crocheting, Knitting, any art form really, is great for both genders.   It helps with dexterity, eye & hand coordination, concentration, increases math skills, and helps with stress.   And best of all, it also helps with esteem ... especially when they discover they can do it!

    Well, apparently this mother hasn't heard that many men crochet ... so I rattled off a few ... James Buchanan, Rosey Greer, George Washington Carver ... and now we can add Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones to our list of fiberholics.  No, he's not crocheting ... but according to an article in USA Today, he's been introduced to knitting during a recent fashion show that stated, "The crochet and knitting trend has fashionist as carrying yarn and needles in their expensive totes."

    Well, alright!  Finally we can get some satisfaction!

    Thursday, October 14, 2004

    Scarf Challenge

    November 14th is the deadline.

    It's a toy drive, and a hat, mitten, and scarf drive.  All to benefit our local Salvation Army.

    My goal is to make one scarf per day until November 14.  This means my goal is to have at least 30 scarfs done by then.  As of this morning, as I rub my sleepy eyes, I have four done.

    I'm not using any patterns; I'm just making it up as I go along.  You can do the same.  Just pick a simple stitch ... the single crochet, the half-double crochet, or the double (each stitch will make a different density fabric), then decide if you want to work in length, or width.

    My general rule for making scarves for warmth, is to make a scarf that's as tall as the person, and to omit fringe for young children (for safety).  My rule for width, is to make it about as wide as their hand, and perhaps a bit wider than that.  Remember, these scarves are for staying warm, especially here in the New England weather which can get quite raw.

    If you need a pattern to create a scarf from, then there are many websites, such as my own, that offers them.  There's many books available too.

    If you get stuck, just remember to give the website a quick visit.  They have little videos you can watch on your PC for free.

    In the meantime, I've got just enough time this morning to sneak in a few more stitches on the scarf I started last night...

    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    Sad to say Goodbye

     Last week, Jean Leinhauser, owner of the Crochet Partners website, and author of a zillion crochet, knit and craft books announced that the magazine known as Crochet Fantasy will cease to exist after it's December issue.  (let me make it clear that Jean does not own Crochet Fantasy)  This has not been publically announced on Crochet Fantasy's official website, and in fact, they're still taking subscriptions.

    I inquired with Nancy Brown, the current President of the
    CGOA, and author of Crocheter's Companion, if this was indeed the last we'd see of this fantastic magazine. "Sadly," said Nancy, "it is true. Offinger (the CGOA's management company) received notification from the owners (American Crafters) of the magazine making the announcement."

    And the apparent reason appears to be that the magazine is not profitable.

    As I learned this week, magazines do not make much revenue off of our individual subscriptions. Their revenue comes from advertisers, and apparently it's not enough to keep this magazine afloat.  And this is a magazine that just recently went through an overhaul (major improvement, imho!), and that just recently added a much needed "kids corner" to inspire the next generation, that readers were very happy with.

    OK, so let's say that the magazine was not profitable enough. What I don't understand is why they don't introduce more/different types of advertising, such as:
    * Computer companies (after all many crocheters are online, or will be, and that means there's a need for computers, and upgrades!)
    * Candy (in the latest issue of Crochet! magazine they had a pattern for crocheting with licorice, and I know many were scrambling to find a retailer/supplier of the string licorice to experiment with this.)
    * Home Decorating (How many of us are searching for ways to store/display the growing stashes of yarn, hooks, and books that we're proud of?!)

    Why is it that the advertisements seemingly focuses just on yarn and lights when there's more "outside of the box" revenue that they can be considering that relates to this art?

    I'm not sure. But I do know it will be sad to say good-bye to another great magazine.


    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    10,000 Milestone


    Can you believe it? Ten thousand times this journal/blog has been viewed! What an accomplishment!

    I have received wonderful compliments and encouragement from you, my readers. I am delighted that you enjoy visiting with me so much.

    So, as I prepare to head off to teach today, I say lets have a cyber party to celebrate this milestone.

    So in planning such a party, wouldn't it be neat to give all the attendees a Crochet Party favor? I did a quick search on the Internet, and found this cute kit. (I want to note that I've never done business with PlumParty, so I cannot attest to their business practices, but you can click onto the image to visit their website.)

    Now along this line of thinking, my daughter (age 7) put together little crochet kits so that she can offer them to her school friends who are interested in learning from her. I bought the last remaining packages of the Crystallite hooks (aka plastic) that one of the stores I teach at had (they're going out of business). I then gave her four skeins of yarn and had her use my ball winder to make little balls of yarn. She then took these items and placed them in a quart freezer bag, added a sheet of basic instructions and sealed the bag. She can't wait for school to start this morning -- of course I won't allow her to go in with all the kits at once, but bringing one a day seems reasonable. (I'll be discussing this with the school principal to ensure it's allowed. Otherwise, she can give them out as "Halloween Treats" at the end of the month.)

    Now, back to this cyber party ... how about using crystal hooks as stems on chocolate lollipops, where the lollipop itself can be made to look like a ball of yarn. And we can use knitting needles as skewers to hold small pieces of meat or vegetables. Hmmm...more hooks, or knitting needles to use as stirrers for drinks. And we can have little crocheted flower napkin rings (click onto the image to see the pattern.) ...

    We can even hire the musicians known as "Dr. Hook." They were popular long ago. To have such a cyber-fiber oriented party, what else do you think we can to this milestone celebration?

    Monday, October 11, 2004

    Stitches East 2004

    Ah, Stitches East.

    What a great time it was on Saturday!

    HHCC members Grace, Celeste, Jennifer, Lucille and I commuted to New Jersey together.  Even though we took a "slight detour" (ie. got off wrong exit) we made it there in record time.

    While we dreamed, petted, admired and shopped with the many, many vendors, I had fun meeting up with various people:

    Looking at the pictures, here's the description:

    1. (L to R) Grace, Lucille and Celeste.  We were hard to miss in our purple chapter attire.  Many people approached us and said they were "...glad Crochet was in the house."

    2. That's designer Doris Chan and I.  She gave me a new nickname ... "rascal" (LOL) as she adored some of my purchases, asked where I got them, then went to the vendor only to learn I had "cleaned them out of lock, stock and barrel."  (Sorry about that Doris! <G>)

    3 & 4.  That's designer Margaret Hubert modeling her awesome freeform technique.  (please don't drool on your keyboard -- yes, her work is stunning!) 

    5.  That's Gwen Blakey-Kinsler who is also modeling beautiful freeform work.  She's sitting next to her book called "Kids Can Do It: Crocheting" which she was autographing.  She's also sporting a new hair style which is very flattering on her.

    6.  That's Nancy Brown, the current President of the Crochet Guild of America, and the author of the book, "Crocheter's Companion."

    7. (L to R) Carol Ann, Sarah, and Diane (I so hope I got the names right, ladies!  Let me know if I made an error!) from Pennsylvania.  They are members of the online group known as Crochet Partners that I'm also a member of.  It was a pleasure to meet these wonderful ladies!

    8.  This is Diane, one of our newest members of our Chapter.  I just loved that poncho she was wearing!

    9.  Ah!  Some of my loot I came home with!  Surprisingly, I did not purchase that much yarn.  Just three, yeah, you read that right, just three balls of yarn came home with me.  My goal this year was "tools of the trade" and I managed to get several.  Here's the breakdown:  Beaded stitch holder, purse clasp, two charms (crochet hook & "chain"), Wraps per Inch tool, and yarn weight measurer.  I also bought a few other items but need to keep it under wraps as they're future gifts for my Chapter's Third Year Anniversary that's coming up next month.

    10.  This is a close-up of the two charms and the stitch holder.  I was like a kid in a candy store when I saw these!

    It was a fantastic day!  I'll be there again next year, and perhaps you will be too?...

    Sunday, October 10, 2004

    Oh go ahead, take a peek!

    Wow! Stitches East was fantastic yesterday! I'm very tired this morning, am battling a poor DSL internet connection, all while also preparing for my CGOA's Chapter meeting today, so it will take me a bit of time to post images & details from this very fun event.

    Had I known that there was a live cam there, I would have posted the link and given my readers an opportunity to try to find me at the event.  Regardless, you can still take a peek to see all the action for today, which also happens to be the last day of the event. Just click to see the
    Stitches East Live Cam.

    Briefly, other exciting news I'd like to share is spotting images of my Chapter on other websites that has been fun to find. We think one of our members is in the background of the image featured on Lion Brand website, and our sign can be spotted in their E-newsletter (October 6 issue). Just as soon as I can find some time, I'll put the links to these on the HHCC's blog/journal.

    Saturday, October 9, 2004

    "Blindfolded, behind her back, and between her legs!"

    Waking up at 5:00 AM is brutal.  My hat is off to those of you who do this on a daily basis.  So while I'm trying to get my bearings from being up so early to prepare for going to Stitches East today, I thought I'd leave you with this tidbit of news I received yesterday.  It's written by Mary Colucci of the Craft Yarn Council of America:

    Lily Chin just called me from the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London, to announce that she has again won the title of the World's Fastest Crocheter, defending her title against Susan Briscoe from the U.K. Her final score was 86 double crochets in three minutes to Briscoe's 63.

    The two also competed in 2002 in New York City. Though slightly below her 2002 winning total, which was 92 1/2 double crochets in three minutes, Lily was very pleased with her winning numbers because the yarn selected for the competition was very slippery and difficult to work with.

    You will not be surprised to learn that Lily could not resist a little showboating at yesterday's press conference--crocheting blindfolded, behind her back, and between her legs! I should also mention she wore her cowgirl outfit, complete with holster for her crochet hooks. The U.K. may never be the same!

    She has been interviewed by Woman's Weekly magazine, the U.K.'s leading women's shelter publication, a publication from Sweden and was off to do a radio interview right after we spoke.

    Congratulations Lily!!

    Thursday, October 7, 2004

    Contraband Inspires!

    I was picking my children up from school when my daughter whipped out a crochet hook and small bundle of yarn from her uniform pocket.

    I wondered, "Did I see that right? Did she sneak crochet into school?" I looked at her with a puzzled look.

    "What," she asked.

    "Where did you get that hook from," I asked, "is it mine?"

    "Yes," she replied. She had this look upon her face as though she was going to be in trouble -- major trouble.

    "Is that so," I said, "and what were you doing with it at school?"

    "Some of my friends asked me if I could teach them.  They said they liked watching you do it when you come to our class for lunch duty, so I brought two hooks to school.  CJ has one and he will give it to me to me on Tuesday," she said timidly.

    "When did you have time to teach your friends," I inquired.

    "During recess," she replied.

    I turned to move an item in the vehicle and when I turned back around, one of her little friends was standing next to her, smiling proudly, and holding a crocheted chain high in the air for me to inspect.

    I smiled. I told Kelly she did a great job!

    "I learned how to crochet today," Kelly exclaimed.

    "You sure did!" I smiled at her and then shifted my glaze over to my daughter and said, "and you must have had a great teacher!"

    My daughter smiled proudly but still had that I'm in trouble look upon her face.

    Kelly ran off to be with her Mom, pleased with her accomplishment today. And rightfully so.

    I turned to my daughter and said, "I wish you would have told me you were taking crochet into school. You know our rule about letting me know about what you're bringing."

    "Yes," she said softly, "I know."

    "I wish you would have told me," I repeated then added, "because I would have found more hooks for you to bring in and put together little balls of yarn too."

    She smiled at me. "Really," she asked.

    "Yes," I said. "Perhaps it's something we can work on later tonight after your homework is done.

    And with that her smile grew. Who knew she'd be teaching the second grade class how to crochet!?!!  I'm proud that she wants to share it with her friends. 

    Preparations: Stitches East

    Today I'll be running errands ... delivering this or that, with hopes of regaining the room in my vehicle. It's very important that I do it today as it's the only time I have. You see, I'm headed for another fiberlicious event called Stitches East! that is being held in Atlantic City, NJ this upcoming weekend. Actually, it starts today!

    Members of my
    Crochet Club will be joining me on Saturday for a blissful day of shopping -- they'll have some 200 plus vendors there! I've got my luggage rack carrier primed and waiting to be loaded up! (LOL)

    Margaret Hubert, Gwen Blakley Kinsler, and Melissa Leapman are just a few of the many teachers that are there this year. (I won't be taking any classes -- just shopping & saying "Hi" to all.)

    Alright ... so I've got to clean out my vehicle, gas it up, and get to bed early tomorrow. It's a 3 1/2 hr ride -- one way. Oh I can't wait!!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2004

    Scrumblers Unite

    With October being the month of Breast Cancer Awareness, and Lupus Awareness, I thought I'd add one more ... primarly because it benefits women.

    The Global Fund for Women supports women's human rights through grants that addresses "economic independence, increasing girls' access to education and stopping violence against women."

    With this in mind, I checked out the new website called
    "Scrumblers Unite Around the World" that was created to help raise funds for this purpose.  Fiber Artists, Margaret Hubert and Prudence Mapstone lent their Freeform talents to come up with the most fantastic must have products that I am adding to my Christmas Wish List ... and the best part is 100% of the profits raised from the Scrumblers website are donated to the Global Fund for Women.

    I love the lunch boxes, mugs, sweatshirts ... I just need to decide which colors ... and the sweatshirt that says "Will Work for Yarn" -- oh yeah, that NEEDs to be in my wardrobe!  (LOL)

    By the way, if you were one of the lucky ones that got to attend this year's Big E event, or the CGOA's 2004 Conference, or got to attend one of my classes at the KnitTogether store yesterday, then you may have seen the logo used for this website.  It was created by Margaret, and is just stunning to see in person!

    Monday, October 4, 2004

    2004 CYCA KOC2 in NYC

    What a weekend!!

    I spent Saturday "constructing" with my husband and kids.  We took a bunch of pvc pipes (you know, the plastic plumbing pipes?), and the connectors and measured and cut, measured and cut, and measured and cut some more until we erected a self-supporting frame that we could hang a large sign on and also to support hanging crochet items for display.  Then, we took it apart and packed it up.

    On Sunday, it was an early rise as six members of the HHCC and I commuted to NYC together.  We arrived around 9:30 in the morning and set to putting up our table.  The morning air was crisp, but the sun was shining, so we knew the day was going to be great.

    Our first inclination that there'd be more people attending than last year, was when our table started getting crowded well before 11 AM (see middle image)-- and the event didn't start until Noon!!  Last year it was reported that some 20,000 people attended; I won't be surprised if this year the numbers are doubled, or even tripled!

    I got to meet many wonderful people -- some showing off their beautiful creations; some admiring the poncho and hat I was wearing; some introduced themselves from online groups we enjoy.  Being recognized as "Dee of CrochetWithDee" was really thrilling for me -- I'm honored that many of you sought me out and introduced yourselves!  :)

    The vendors were great too!  They handed out free knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarn, magazines, patterns -- nothing was for sale, so it was all done for free!

    There were magazine editors there, and designers such as Lily Chin, Melissa Leapman, and Judy Swartz (I ran across the street to B&N and quickly purchased Judy's new book, Hip to Crochet: 23 Contemporary Projects for Today's Crocheter, and then had her sign it.  What a treat!)

    The only unfortunate part was that my demo partner, Grace, got sick.  She was so sick, she couldn't do the demonstration.  So one of the HHCC members, Celeste, volunteered to assist me.  I put 50 copies of a brand new pattern I wrote on the table for participants to take.  Within a minute they were all gone.  (Don't despair!  Just as soon as I have a bit of free time, I'll post it on my website,  The demo was a lot of fun to do, and I'm looking forward to doing another next year!

    If you'd like to attend a Craft Yarn Council of America's "Knit Out & Crochet Too!" event, just visit their website to learn more!  You can go just to have fun, or you can help to organize your own Knit Out & Crochet Too! event!


    Check out the video the NYCCG put together of ABC news promoting the event!

    Friday, October 1, 2004

    Is Wonder Woman's airplane available?

    I don't know what over came me.  Perhaps it was the "fiber" diet I've been on, or perhaps the thought of having no thoughts at all and just "enjoying the moment."  

    All I know, is that I ran around the store today, feeling as though I was Captain America -- with these super hero powers -- shopping to my hearts' content.

    Really; what was I thinking?!  

     Now it is true, and I've mentioned it before here, that one of my yarn haunts that I teach at is going out of business.  I'm truly sad about this as they've been working so hard at improving their yarn selection and just started carrying "the fun stuff."   

    So, as I went in today to teach my classes, I was pulled aside and told to shop.  Not to wait.  "Do it NOW!" was the stern advice I got from another employee.  They've been running a sale all week -- entire store 25% off lowest price -- and the yarn section has been hit hard!  They had a special promotion for employees that I didn't know about, but once I was advised of it, I felt a surge of excitement.  

    So, I (pretendedly) donned on the Captain America costume and zipped around the store with my cart.  I had four skeins of this, four of that.  Three of this color, and of course, since this matches, six of that.  A little of this, a little -- oh, who am I trying to kid? -- it's more like a lot of that!  The only thing that could stop me was not having a cart large enough!  (Darn!)  

    Admittedly, not everything I purchased will be for my consumption, but in the meantime, I will need to figure out where I'm going to store it all!!!!  I doubt I can get the shield to camouflage it all.  Hmmmm.  I wonder if Wonder Woman's airplane is available for storage....

    Welcoming in October

    So here it is, the longest month of the year, October.  It's a month of awareness:  Breast Cancer.  And it's a month of vibrant colors.

    I did two entries last month in preparation of thinking pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness and I encourage you to participate in some way too.

               pink & jeans: october  and 
    Promoting and more pink

    I also encourage you to take nature's fireworks display, the color changing of the leaves that is affectionately known as foliage, as a cue to add to your crochet projects.   I mean, is there ever a better time to mix your greens, reds, oranges & yellows  together?   ...just be careful about mixing olive green and burnt orange together.  If you do, you'll be in the throwbacks of the 1970s.  LOL  (yes, this has recently happened to me!)

    BTW: Do you know why October qualifies as the longest month of the year??