Monday, February 28, 2005

Vacation is over -- or is it??

There's a major snow storm that's to visit our area sometime today.  The storm is to stay overnight and dump 10-14 inches of snow.  This means there's a good chance I won't need to hear that alarm clock go off tomorrow, and possibly Wednesday too (when the second storm is forecasted to arrive).

Fortunately, yesterday, my daughter and I, along with a good friend, visited THE INNOVATIVE BEADS EXPO that took place in Poughkeepsie, NY.  This was our first bead expo that we ever attended so we had no clue what to expect.  We paid our entrance fee and went inside and was very impressed.  There were 25-30 different bead vendors there ... one after another with the most delicious beads you've ever seen!  (If you're interested in knowing if the Expo will be in your area, go back and click onto the link ... they'll be in MA in a few weeks!)

Thanks to Mom, who sent me some spending money for my birthday, I treated myself to a few goodies.  I purchased two small orange & red flat disc like beads with a larger matching one.  These were for adding to my crocheted beaded wire & fiber necklace.  (I did attach them to the necklace last night and am very happy with the end results.  I DID take a picture, but with a regular film camera.  Picture will be posted sometime within the next millennium.  No, really, when I get the pictures back, I'll post them.)  I also bought a pendant, a few odds & ends of other beads and then had my daughter pick out her own beads.  ((Thanks, Mom!!))

Afterwards we decided to stop at AC Moore since we don't have this craft shop near us.  Ohhh.  The store was hoppin'!  Tons of activities for the kids to do, Clifford the Dog was walking around the store, and the fire department was there with their talking/driving dog.  My daughter was having a field day!  I even managed to scoop up some more beads and charms for future projects!

We stopped at one morecraft shop where I managed to pick up some items that we'll need for my daughter's upcoming First Communion.  One item was a ribbon with flowers on it.  I will be adding crochet to the sides of the ribbon to make the ribbon wider, and lacier looking, while helping to tie in crochet to the crochet bible book markers my friend is crocheting for this event.  The ribbon will be used in the veil I need to assemble.

Yes, once again, I am well stocked before the start of another major snow storm.  I say, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!"

Saturday, February 26, 2005

FIRE WARNING: Sirdar Spinning Ltd.


Having seen the horrific pain 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns can inflict upon a loved one (and I'm not even touching the topic of skin graphs!), I am urging my readers to take heed to this Fire Warning issued by Sirdar Spinning Ltd:

"Fizz incorporates a viscose content which, combined with the loose construction of the yarn, means that it will ignite when exposed to naked flame.  In view of this IT MUST BE KEPT AWAY FROM FIRE AND OTHER SOURCES OF IGNITIION SUCH AS CIGARETTE LIGHTERS, GAS COOKER HOBS, CANDLE FLAMES, ETC."

You can read more about this safety warning by visiting Sirdar's press release on this.  It also includes information about a possible product recall, and how you can contact them.



Friday, February 25, 2005

Extravaganza Continues

Yesterday we decided to take a ride to Saranac Lake to visit the yarn shop called "The Knitting Corner."  The yarn shop was one that Arlene, a member of the Crochet Partners online list, told me about.  Saranac Lake is 11 miles from Lake Placid.  As we were driving around the town, we saw a beautiful crystal palace -- all made of ice.  (Go back to the link and check it out!)

Thankfully Arlene provided us with the phone number to the yarn shop as they had apparently moved.  When we arrived at the tiny store we were greeted by a very warm and friendly lady that apparently had been to the same 1980 Celebratory Ice Show we had been at the night before.  "Oh yes, I was there," she remarked, "...and I had on my 1980 hat with all the Olympic pins I had collected at the Olympics.  Oh, what an experience that was!"

So while we were there, I let my daughter pick out some yarn.  I got a Patons pattern book, and she picked out two skeins of yarn and the book Sunny's Mittens: Learn to Knit by Lovikka Mittens.  I must admit that this is a very cute book to encourage children to try knitting as it starts out with a story about a little girl wearing out her mittens her grandmother had lovingly knitted for her.  So now, after reading the book, my daughter has declared that just as soon as I know what I'm doing (with my knitting adventures), I'm to teach her.  Hooboy!   I'm thinking, maybe we can try knitting the mittens together.  I'll do one mitten, she can do the other and sometime in the future we'll end up with two mittens.  :)  

After returning to Lake Placid, we took a ride up to White Face Mountain.  We arrived there about 15 minutes before they officially closed.  We walked around the base lodge with the children, and ended up in the gift shop.  There we found ski hats for sale ...mostly CROCHETED ski hats for $21.  The hats were crocheted using single crochets in the "spiral method" ... all done in the back loop only (this creates a "ridge" on the work) -- the brim was knitted.  As we walked around the store, I received more compliments on my hat.  "Where'd you get that hat?"  "Can I buy that locally?"  I guess it's time to submit proposals to get the pattern published.  [[wink wink]]

We watched the news last night and saw that our home area was getting hit with a snow storm -- 3 to 6 inches of snow.  It just started snowing here, so it may make our trip home a bit longer.  That doesn't matter; as long as we're together we're a happy family.

Arlene, thank you again, for the yarn shop recommendation!!  See you all when we're back in Connecticut!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Birthday Extravaganza Update

 Lori wrote me: 
       "How does it feel to be 25?  Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you... "

Twenty-five, eh?  Hmmm, I think it feels great!!  Wait until I tell my husband of my wonderful new youth!!  LOL  [[ Thanks Lori!!! ]]

Celebrating my birthday here at Lake Placid has been wonderful.  Yesterday we started off the day with a tiny bit of shopping before heading to the dog sled rides.  At the store we let the kids pick out a few treasures.  They picked out some postcards and Olympic Gold Metals, of which they proudly wore for the entire day.  At the dog sled rides we got a kick out of the lead dog, Pepper.  For some apparent reason, only known by the dog, he likes to run sideways.  Absolutely hysterical to watch!  The ride was great; the kids liked how fast the dogs could pull the sled. 

We then returned to our shopping of which my husband found a bead shop named "Just Bead It" -- oh I had a FIELD DAY shopping to my heart's content!!  I got to speak with the owner who apparently grew up in Wilton, CT, and strongly recommends I visit the bead shop in Norwalk (since it's closer to me).  Now, I've only just recently heard of the bead shop in Norwalk, but if I can be in another state and have the shop recommended to me, then it MUST be worth checking out.  "Oh, yes," she replied, "they specialize in one of a kind beads."  Oh, I am so pumped; I've got to check it out as soon as I can.

While we were in the "Just Bead It" shop, I received many compliments on my crocheted Winter Hat, as well as the hat I had initially crocheted for my husband -- only my son was wearing it.  The compliments continued from shop to shop that we visited, including in the store called "Where'd you get that hat."  {{grins}}

There were many crochet sightings throughout the day ... hats and scarves mostly, but I did see HUGE crocheted snowflakes for sale, and hackie sack balls.  Haven't found any local yarn shops yet, but I really haven't had the time to hunt them down.  In the early evening we went on a horse drawn sleigh ride (Pete and Pat were two huge horses, not Clydesdales, but close in size), and concluded the evening with an ice skating show that paid tribute to the 1980 Olympics.

Today we're off to go see the ski jump site and visit White Face.  It's going to be another great day to celebrate my birthday.  :)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Presidents & Gems

Puzzled?  Two entries from Dee in one day?  Oh, how I spoil my readers!  {{grins}}

I'm just preparing you for the next few days when I'll be "MIA," but you never know!  I may phone in some entries so check back daily!

Now with it being President's Day and all, I forgot to mention that while we're celebrating, we should keep these two Presidents in mind:

          President Franklin D. Roosevelt: Knitter
                 President James Buchanan:  Crocheter

And finally, because I know you'll miss me, I want to leave this gem for you all to enjoy -- watch it when you have about 8 minutes of quiet time, with a great glass of wine (or your favorite beverage).  Be sure to have your computer speakers on before going here: PITTI IMMAGINE FILATI N. 56  (it's a review of the 2006 spring-summer yarn collections)

Problem Solved

My hubby and I sat down to have our serious talk.  I suggest all couples do this.  As we did so, I grabbed my "K" hook and six balls of yarn I wanted to use up.  "Can you concentrate on our conversation and crochet at the same time," he asked.  "Yes," I replied as I proceeded to make my slip knot and starting chains.

As we discussed where we are and where we want to be I stitched.  We chatted about our immediate future as well as our long term goals.  I stitched some more.  As we agreed of where we want to be and set a time table, my stitching had grown.  "What are you making," he asked.  "I'm problem solving," I answered.  "I want to use up some yarn in my stash while creating something to solve an immediate problem."

"Oh, I didn't know you could solve problems with crochet," he replied.  "Absolutely," I said, "and this will be a basket to hold my current Work in Progress."  He got excited, "Really??"  What this meant is that I wouldn't need to leave my WIP exposed ... it would be neat and contained, and easy to tote around the house.  "So, how will it work," he asked.  "It will be a basket and will sit on the table or chest," I replied.

Well, I finished the project last night.  What I failed to do was recall that the fiber I used has a mind of it's own.  Perhaps I should have looked it up and saw what the manufacturer had to say about it PRIOR to starting my project.  I used (now discontinued) Berroco's "LUXE" ... and right on their webpage it says, "a magnificent, hosiery type yarn that drapes like a dream."  Hello!!  Why would I want "drape" if I want it to become a basket???  Yes, my basket, even when I used two strands together, flopped over.

As I played with thoughts of stiffening the project, I ultimately decided against it.  The fiber has such a nice sheen to it, and I fear the stiffener will take that away.  So, quick as a bunny, I decided to see what I could raid from the kitchen.  Oh, not for food, but for something to help give my basket body.  What I found was an inexpensive bowl that I use to tote food to various pot luck events.  I put the bowl inside and like magic I had a most beautiful creation.  Will I continue to call it a basket?  No, I don't think so.  I made me a "bowl cover."  And now it sits on top of the chest.

"See," I said, "I solved a problem.  I have my spot to put my WIP, used up stash, and now made a tiny bit of room in the kitchen cabinet."  I think I'll use up what fiber is left and crochet handles for my "bowl cover" and sew them on.  Perhaps they should be done with a bit of wire in them to prevent the fiber from "draping like a dream, er, nightmare."

Sunday, February 20, 2005

March 19 FIELD TRIP!!!

To make up for yesterday's entry, and an interest in shopping with me ... IF you can make it, here's the plan:

Members of the Crochet Partners online group from surrounding states will converge upon the store known as WEBs on March 19.  You do not need to be a member of Crochet Partners, but if you are, it will be that much cooler!  (If you wish to become a member of Crochet Partners, you'll find the link to the right -- just be prepared to get 50-100 emails a day, or set the option for "digest."  There's some 2000 crocheters there!)  [ 6:09 PM UPDATE:  If you are from Crochet Partners, crochet this Shamrock and wear it on the Field Trip!  This will help us determine that you're from that group.  Likewise, if you're not from Crochet Partners, but still want to be identified as part of the field trip group, crochet the Shamrock and add a ribbon to it.  It will be fun to spot each other!]

From the Danbury, CT, area, we will be leaving the Michaels parking lot (actually in Brookfield) at 9:15 AM.  This should put us in the Norhampton, MA area around 10:45-11:00 AM (not including any potty breaks along the way).

For those that have never experienced WEBs before ... you're in for a big treat!  It's a huge store filled with lots of yummies ... yarn that is!  If you can't make it, then you might be interested in going on their VIRTUAL Tour by Clicking Here(how huge is this store?  It's in an airplane hanger!!) There's another yarn shop right around the corner called "Northampton Wools," a chocolate shop (to die for! Mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm!) on the main corner, and a bit up the road is an awesome bead store called "Beader's Paradise."  We'll be eating lunch there too. 

And of course this is all weather permitting.  So bring your money, your walking shoes and cameras.  It's set to be a very fun day!!

Why March 19? 

Well, the Month of March is NATIONAL CROCHET MONTH and what better way to celebrateit than by meeting a bunch of other crocheters and celebrating over beautiful skeins of yarn??

Crochet Wishing ...

I know, I know!  Dee, what happened to yesterday's entry??  Well, I was hit with another headache that really knocked me out of wanting to do anything yesterday.  I took Tylenol and slept for most of the afternoon yesterday.  It did help, but not completely; I still have traces of it today.  My concern is having two headaches in the span of one week.  This is how my children's recent illness started -- with a headache.  I'm hoping that's not the case here because this is my "Birthday Week Extravaganza!" 

I did manage to crochet another "monotone freeform pencil/pen holder" last night, and got to see the TV show "SNL" show off a little bit of crochet fashion.  I love having crochet sightings like that.  Today, I had fun "wishing."  I took the image from the website and pasted my face onto one of the models wearing a beautiful crocheted Chanel dress.  It was absolute hysterical, and boy!  Did I look GOOD!!  It was the quickest weight-loss I've ever experienced!!  I did like the hairstyle on me, so perhaps I'll think about getting mine cut that way.  If you'd like to see some FANTASTIC crochet fashions, including the dress I mentioned, then CLICK HERE.  Keep in mind you'll be seeing the real models' face, not mine.  (I'd paste the hysterics here, but don't want to infringe upon the photographers' copyright.  So you'll have to use your imagination.)

It's nearly time for me to update the "About Me" section of my journal and I'm thinking of adding two new titles there ... one from Gwen, who calls me a "crochet cheerleader" and one from Sheila who named me "the bomb of Moms" (Rose so loves to call me that at the store!  LOL).  So, while I contemplate adding these two new titles to my "Crochet Enthusiast" title, what other information would you, my readers, like to see added?

Friday, February 18, 2005

"One Yarn" gets rave by young Art Critic

Yesterday I wrote about Bonnie Pierce winning the Award for "Crocheter of the Year," but I forgot to mention the crochet work I did on Wednesday night that was inspired by her!  

One of her works she posted about was a "monotone" freeform piece -- it's a style of crochet that has many directions, stitches and such but all done in one color... one yarn.  So I decided to give this a try for myself and see what I could come up with.  I first grabbed a variegated skein of yarn and set to work.  Yuck.  I hated it.  Yes, those are strong words to use to describe one's work, but when you don't like it, there's only one thing to do.  Yes, I "frogged" it.   

Then I went into my little "snow bag" of goodies (if you've been a regular reader of my journal here then you know that when the weather forecast is "snow," we are told to rush to our stores and stock up on staples.  I have plenty of staples, food too -- but never enough yarn! ...thus this explains my ability to find a skein of yarn perfectly waiting in a shopping bag to be created into something!! LOL).  I pulled out a red skein of plain o'yarn from this "snow stash" and then headed to the kitchen.  

I really hate hand washing dishes -- AND the recyclables.  But tonight I was glad.  I KNEW what was there, in the clean recyclables, screaming to be turned into something wonderful.  It was the container to the icing I used for the cupcakes I baked for the school bake sale.  Yes, I decided I'd create freeform and cover this container to create a pencil/pen holder.  

So, with "F" hook and yarn in hand, I set to work.  I first crocheted a flat circle to cover the bottom of the container, and then started working on the sides.  I used a variety of stitches (bullions, crunches, shells, clones knots, Tunisian, post stitches) and even a few flowers.  In the end it turned into a "piece of art" that my 6-year old son claims has an "eye and ear."  "Look," he said as he held my creation in his hands, "you can feel, see, and hear about crochet, and in the end it turns into something pretty like the flowers you added."  Ah!  With an Art Critic like him, how can I possibly go wrong???  

Sorry, no pictures at this time -- I'm returning the new digital camera.  The camera is a piece of, well, um, to say it nicely, garbage.  We'll have to wait until I get something of a higher quality.  In the meantime, you can check out Bonnie's "one yarn" freeform piece by clicking here.  Cool, huh?    J

Thursday, February 17, 2005

And the "Crocheter of the Year Award" goes to...

...Bonnie Pierce!!

My first introduction to Bonnie was through the online group known as Crochet Partners.  When I first joined, she was one of the ladies that sent me an email welcoming me.  Then we started exchanging emails on various topics which lead to her granting me permission to provide a link to her website on my one-handed crochet webpage.  Is she one-handed?  No.  But she holds her hook & yarn in one hand which someone with one hand might find useful.

As time went by, and with much prodding by Barbara of the NYCCG, I finally got my act together and joined the online Freeform group.  Bonnie was there too.  I got to read about many of her crochet works, and I also have to admit that it caused excessive drooling and much admiration on my part.  I encouraged members of both groups to submit items into the CraftAdventure, of which Bonnie did.  The first year she did, she submitted a beautiful framed (crocheted) butterfly.  I recall she won a ribbon, but I don't recall which one.  Then last year she submitted a pretty blue freeform vest of which she won a Blue Ribbon. 

In that time, she also had a book projects going on -- perhaps you've heard of the series "Crochet on the Roll" ... it's a series of projects all having to do with the Roll stitch (also known as the Bullion stitch).  You can visit the website to see the books & the special "long necked" hooks they launched to go with the books.

Now, Bonnie takes her place as "Crocheter of the Year" and stands next to last year's winner, Nancy Nehring (author of the book, "50 Heirloom Buttons").  The award was granted by Interweave Press.  You can read about the award HERE, and see Bonnie's winning piece HERE.

                                      Congratulations Bonnie!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Techies meet Crocheters who want to Design

So you're computer savvy and want to add crochet to it so you can start designing your own stuff.  OK.  So what's available on the Web?

Well, yesterday, I learned that through the website you can get software that will help you design filet crochet patterns.  Click around the website and you can even check out their demo on the software.  The cost is $35-$45 depending upon how you order the software.

Next up is the program called "Knitware Design" that you can checkout at the website that claims it's a "shaping software for knitters and crocheters" from everything from clothing to afghans.  You can read a crochet review by visiting here: -- and to add icing to the cake, they even offer a free download so you can check it out prior to purchase: -- the average price is about $50 depending upon which vision of the software you order; but it can cost more depending if you opt to purchase more versions.

Then there's the "Instant Stitch Deluxe Edition" software program -- I actually purchased this one last year.  But, due to my PC crashing, I never got a chance to reload it in my new PC and play with it.  I recall paying about $30 for it.

"Pattern Maker" (offered on the website) claims it's a cross-stitch program that lets you easily create original designs by "virtually" stitching with a mouse.  I had read on a website that it can be adapted for crochet, but found no supporting evidence of this.  If you have it and use it for crochet, please let me know.  This software sells for $50 -- $100 (depends if you get the professional software or the regular standard edition).

Also at the website is the software called "PC Stitch" that sells for $50.  It allows you to import any image and then have it "graphed."  It's really for cross stitching, but you can imagine taking your image and turning it into a graph to create great crochet works simply by changing colors with your crochet stitches.  There used to be a free demo version of this software on the Internet, which I recall playing around with a few years ago.  I don't know if it's still available for trial prior to purchase.

Along the same lines at is another software program call "Stitch Studio" for designing your own pictures/imagery.   There's another version called "Stitch Simplicity" -- I'm not sure of the differences of the two programs but they claim it's also good for tapestry crochet designing.  They DO have a demo version available for download, and if you like it you can purchase it for $20 -$90

The website has it's own version for Tapestry Crochet (cross stitch really, but they say it works with any type of fiber art needing grids).  It retails for $99 and has a free demo that you can download -- including a free screen saver of various needleworks from around the world.

Getting back to the "PC Stitch" software that I said I wasn't sure if there was still a free download available or not (for demo purposes) ... it helps if you visit their official website!  LOL ... yep, go to and you can give it a try before purchasing.

These are just a few of the software programs that I've found on the Internet.  I'm sure there are more.  I'm still searching for the one I saw at the Stitches East event that was held in Atlantic City last Fall.  When I find it, I'll post about it.

In the meantime, if you use a software program for your crocheting, please post here and let us all know about it, including if it's worth the time, energy, and funds to invest in it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

surviving on coffee

I'm not much better for wear, today, having had my son wake me a few times during the night.  I expected that he would, but now that the reality that daytime has arrived has hit, I can see that I will be surviving on coffee today.  And yes, this means I'll be stopping at Starbucks on my way in to the yarn shop.  I'll stumble in, hike up my pajama pants and peer out of the one slightly unsleeping eye and say, "Excuse me?  Yes, I'd like to order a superHUGE a cup of coffee, heavy on the caffeine. Thank you."  Of course they'd want to know what size superHUGE really is of which I'd reply, "...give me the entire pot of coffee!!"  I'm sure they've seen this type of sleep depraved condition before.  LOL

On the crochet front, I did manage to crochet and KNIT a bit yesterday.  I decided that between tending to the kids that I'd sneak in a stitch here and there.  What resulted was me cleaning out my "crochet tricks" bag (the bag I use to carry my "tools of the trade" in).  I had buttons scattered everywhere in that bag and decided I needed a small "Treasure Bag" to contain them.  So I crocheted the body of the bag and knitted the flap.  Dee knitted???  Yes, I did, but it wasn't a lot.  We're only talking like a 2" square on size 10 (I think) needles.  Besides, it didn't come out perfect, so rest assured I'm not converting!!!  Being an "extreme novice" to knitting I wasn't sure how to decrease, so I did as we can in crochet -- I FUDGED!  All I can say is that I'm happy with the end results.  My buttons are contained!  :)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Not a Good Day

The day started with a "lug" in my bed -- my sick daughter sprawling out, squishing me onto what I call the "edge of reality" (after all, if you don't cling to that edge tight enough it will surely be a "reality" when you hit the floor!). 

I am sleep deprived and now am off to go pick my son up from school.  He's now sick too. ...And it's snowing outside.   Oh, this isn't good!  I'm stressed.  (lol)  I need more coffee and I need my crochet!!!

Sunday, February 13, 2005


As promised, here's the rundown of the latest issue of Elle magazine ... issue for March 2005.  Let's turn to page 172 and begin our drooling:

From a tunic top by Daslu ($221), rhinestone-center crochet pins ($80), cotton sleeveless dress by Tory ($395), to a freeform bikini ($140), the fashions are just beautiful and inspirational(Did I mention the pumps?  They don't mention how much those  will set you back!)  The key here, to these fashions, is exactly what I've been saying for weeks now:  FLOWERS are IN!! 

They have crochet flowers on the tunic, on the dresses, on the flats (shoes), on the freeform bikini, the rhinestone pins, and the shorts!!  Yes, sirie!  That gopher may have predicted six more weeks of winter, but everywhere I'm looking I see FLOWERs!!!

The article (as brief as it is) states, "Today crochet is experiencing a renaissance, appearing on everything from handbags and gloves to jaunty sundresses."  The article encourages you to "...invest in some of these key pieces" for your wardrobe and end with, "after all, isn't that what modern luxury is all about?"

You can be on the cutting edge of fashion too by crocheting flowers and adding them to your work.  A quick search on the Internet will get you some free patterns, or you can check the book by Donna Kooler, or Maire Treanor for more flower ideas.

And what am I currently working on?  Yep, finishing up the little Rose Broaches to have my kids pass them out to their teachers tomorrow for Valentines.  :)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

... So how cool is that?

In the mail yesterday was the latest issue of Elle magazine.  I flipped through it quickly, on the hunt for crochet, naturally, and I found it -- a whole page dedicated to how awesome crochet is for your wardrobe!  Since I'm about to get ready to go teach today, I don't have the issue in front of me.  So I'll talk about what they have featured perhaps tomorrow.

I spent most of yesterday just relaxing, hoping the migraine will go away.  It hasn't.  I still have traces of it today but at least I'm functioning.  My daughter, though, spent the day at "Camp Couch."  Yeah, she's sick.  So yesterday we snuggled together on the couch and watched Margaret Hubert's video on freeform crochet.  This was her first time watching the video all the way through, and she got a kick out of seeing me in the video (I'm at the end, in the segment with others participating in one of Margaret's workshops).  Afterwards she said that after she's done crocheting her scarf she wants to crochet Margaret's spiral.  She also said she liked watching how all the stitches are made.  So how cool is that? 

Also on the crochet front, I took my son to a birthday party last night.  I left my crochet in the car on purpose.  When I went inside with him several of the Mom's were surprised that I didn't have it with me.  "I'm on break," I replied with a smile.  Well, that didn't stop them from wanting to talk about it.  They commented on how much they liked seeing my creations, how they enjoyed seeing the little "cat's cradle" ropes the children came home with, how I should call my local library and put in another crochet display, and so on.  Wow; I was on Cloud 9 to see that they had so much interest in it -- and yes, my son had a good time at the party too.

Friday, February 11, 2005

On the Cutting Edge

I'm nursing a head-splitting migraine today, so my entry today will be short, but sweet.  On a crochet list that I enjoy someone posted about an exhibit that combined crochet and balloons.  It's really cool and very much so worth checking out!  So I thought I'd share it you:

The article:  Knit One, Swirls Too
The artist:  Agata Olek

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Heart of Gold Inspires New Pattern

For your crocheting pleasure and charity-giving hearts, I managed to post a new pattern yesterday.  It's a pattern that I designed during a beginner crochet class I taught this week; inspired by a woman with a heart of gold.

It seems that she volunteers time with the homeless, and she came to my class with the goal of learning how to crochet so she can help one of her homeless ladies crochet preemie hats.  So, as the class progressed I developed the pattern so they would be able to crochet these hats together with relative ease.  She was delighted and gave me the biggest hug at the end of the class.  So to continue this goodwill feeling, I've added this new free pattern to my website, and think it would be perfect for a beginner crocheter to try.

Meanwhile, I'll be on the hunt for a childs' cape pattern ... I might design one myself, but I'd like to get an idea of what's out there first.  I've got two months to crochet one for my daughter's "big day," but knowing how busy I've been, I at least want to put this project on my radar!

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Stocking Up -- on Aliens?

So, another snow storm is forecasted to hit our area. How can that be when I've already got spring freshly planted in my head?! Well, at least I had the common sense to stock up on supplies again. LOL

I picked up a soft yellow mohair that I'm adding yellow pearl hearts to; it's a scarf I started crocheting yesterday. It will be light enough to wear in the early spring months. I also picked up some
white Linie 136 Luna (oh, it's delicious!) for a future project, and some other odds & ends I need for sending in the pattern proposals. Let it snow! LOL I'm ready!!

And while I'm talking about yarn and projects, I was asked by my boss if the alien scarf can be created in crochet as it can in knit. It's a pattern that when looked straight upon, looks normal. But when looked at sideways an alien head appears. You can see a picture of one under construction by
Clicking Here.

What do you think? Can crochet do it too?

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I received a phone call tonight from a concerned neighbor.  Apparently someone in the neighborhood has opted to keep three ducks as pets, has clipped their wings, and lets them roam the hillside during the day.  For those neighbors who have a ton of money invested in beautiful spring flowers, these ducks will eat them all.  And apparently these ducks are fearless as they waddle up and down the roads looking for various things to eat.  Dogs don't scare them, and people are nothing to them.  They do as they please and when they please.  I doubt they'll come to my house; all I have to offer is an assortment of weeds.  Those aren't nearly as tasty as all the designer flowers next door...  Yep, I've been warned.  The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly are roaming the streets.

News that, perhaps you'll find more interesting than the flower killing birds, is that Crochet Fantasy has their main webpage back up announcing that they are under new management.  The good news is that this management saved the publication and have changes in mind for it.  The bad news, as it states on their website, they will not honor any subscription that is not done directly through them.  Check it out for yourself...

I wonder.

I read Chris Watson's article called "Bookends Mostly about Wally" which contained the following quote:

"When my Gramma read her Bible of an afternoon in her rocking chair, I could hear the holy words enter her mind.

I could hear the sunlight slant into the room and crash yellow against the wall tapestry of a Grecian lady with an amphora on her shoulder.

I could hear dust avalanching down the shaft of light, its great boulders booming like a brace of timpani against an inner wall!

I could hear a web screeching from the body of a spider crocheting a food trap in one high corner."

Wow.  That really moved me.  Silence.  When is the last time you've heard silence and enjoyed it?

At my home, aside from normal conversations and bursts of giggles, it's fairly quiet.  I like it that way, and I think my kids do too.  I find that I think better, and they do well with their school work.  I find that I can enjoy the rhythm of my crocheting better, and it's encouraging when the kids pick up their hooks and snuggle against me to do their own stitches.

I find that I enjoy the sound of the slight friction of the fiber against my wooden hook, and I find that the "popping" sensation of working a stitch through a previous row seems to have a more magical "pop."  I wonder if the kids pick up on this too.

Don't get me wrong.  There's times I crank up the radio, mostly to mask the fact that I can't sing for beans, but it's not that often.  I read somewhere that there are fewer than 7 places on the earth that can go 15 minutes without a single manmade sound being heard.  Spring will be coming soon; a time for birds to be singing and crickets to be chirping.  I wonder if I strain just a bit if I'll actually be able to hear a spider crocheting a food trap in one high corner.  I wonder.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Watching Smiles Blossom

I feel as though I've been running a marathon today ... running here, running there.  Doing this, doing that.  I've been making dents but I need more time.  Little things are slowing me down -- mud puddles, ice, and a flaky dsl connection. 

One of the best parts of today was during lunch duty at my children's school.  I brought with me a skein of yarn to work into something. What, I didn't know.  A hat, a baby blanket?  I thought the inspiration would hit as I walked around the room.  Little did I expect that it would be inspiration from 30 children!  

It seems they're rather keen on the string games.  Cats Cradle I think it's called.  And they asked me to crochet the strings for them.  I managed to create a few with what little time was remaining and promised to return with more the next time I do lunch duty for the first grade.  The kids were happy.   

The ropes are easy to make ... just chain 125 stitches with an "I" hook, join with a slip stitch to the first chain and end off.  Hand it to a kid and watch the smiles blossom!  :)

Sunday, February 6, 2005


I did it; I updated my daughter's website, Casey's Crochet. It's amazing how much time goes into typing code to make the page appear the way you want it. My new books were a great help, but I did have a difficulty in getting a page to load properly and ended up going to an AOL Message Board for help. I'm delighted that someone came to my aid so quickly.

On her webpage I added a "scroll window" for the YARN KUDOs she gives kids who want to share their crochet or fiber arts story. This window will allow for future growth as more stories are added. I also added these two new books that are coming to the market that are geared for children. They look promising and I'm looking forward to checking the books out with my daughter -- and my son!

BTW: for those interested in creating their own blog/journal outside of AOL-land, the book, Integrated HTML and CSS, that I mentioned the other day has a chapter dedicated to it. Check it out if you're interested.

In the meantime, I'm toying with the idea of submitting two of my designs for consideration in an upcoming publication .  The deadline to get the material to the publisher is coming up fast.  The question is can I get the material together quick enough (and professional looking) in time to submit it? 

Saturday, February 5, 2005

Hooking Up

Last night I updated three of my webpages: History, Famous Crocheters, and Types & Techniques. It looks like I'll be updating Famous Crocheters again ... I love when I can add more famous crocheters!   On those I need more information on, I have another person to add with Patricia Arquette to request your help in determining if they're a crocheter or not. This  other person is Linda Grey who played the roll of SueEllen on the TV show DALLAS. Reportedly, she can be seen crocheting on one of the episodes. I can remember when the show was on, but I wasn't allowed to watch it, so I can't say for sure. This is why, readers, I need your help in making this determination.

On the magazine front, upon request I received the January 2005 issue of Craftrends.  It's a publication for retailers; it's not your normal craft type of magazine. They have an article in there on helping crochet blossom. It quotes Mary Calucci of the CYCA saying what we already knew ... "...from our research there are actually more people who know how to crochet than know how to knit." Yep, the numbers are something like three to one.  Cool, huh?

So the biggest thing to do then, is to get those crocheters out of the closet and help show the manufacturers and the publishers that we enjoy what we do. One way is for crocheters to hook up with each other and help each other further their crochet skills, another is to visit your local craft and yarn shops and bring in the goodies you've crocheted -- show them what you're interested in!  This will help them determine what supplies and classes you might be possibly interested in.

I learned the other day that there's a small group that gathers at our local Starbucks coffee house on Tuesdays to crochet for charity. I also learned through the ConnecticutCrochet online group that there are three ladies in the same area -- one of which knows of a local group of knitters & crocheters that enjoy stitching and bitching together.
I love it!!

Friday, February 4, 2005

New-to-me Books

Being mentioned on Carol Alexander's newsletter really upped the amount of visitors to my website which is great!  I'm delighted that so many have opted to check it out.

But with so many visitors it's also a reminder to me that I want to overhaul the site ... I want to make it easier to navigate and give it a fresh new look. So, I invested in two new books, Integrated HTML and CSS: A Smarter, Faster Way to Learn, and HTML: Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks. Just leafing through the Tips & Tricks book has spurred ideas to add to my daughters' website.

Since I'm not a big football fan, while the family will be busy watching the big game this weekend, I'm planning on curling up with my new books and my computer and see what magic I can come up with.   I know the transformation won't happen overnight, but it's a start.  Wish me luck! :)

Although I did not purchase it, I did enjoy leafing through the book, " Hooked on Crochet: 20 Easy-to-make Projects for Hip Hats, Bold Bags, Swingin. I think it has great projects for the beginner, beginner-intermediate crocheter to try. The photos were very tempting, and I think a crocheter looking for inspiration would enjoy this book. So if that's you, feel free to check it out!

And speaking of books, I found out that a friend of mine got me
Margaret Hubert's new booklets on freeform crochet -- autographed! I found out about them by accident; they were to have been a surprise for my birthday. I'm tickled!


For those that receive alerts for my journal entries, please accept my apologies.  It seems AOL Journals is having a hard time digesting html coding today.  What I see when I am typing, to what happens when I press the save key is a complete mystery.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

This Explains it All

My kids helped
me with this
cartoon last
night -- of
course through
a lot of
laughter, giggles
and grins. Hey,
what can I say
except that I
agree with the

On the more serious side, I managed to hook up the new printer and get it going.  I nearly freaked out a bit because I forgot to check what "additional cable" I needed when I purchased the printer, but Luck was with me; the old cable worked!  As far as the old printer, looks like we'll be sending it back to HP to see if they can fix it.  In the meantime, I'm delighted to have the ability to print from the pc again!  Whoo Hoo!  (Go ahead, give me a 21-hook salute!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Audio entry: Talking Crochet

Check it out: Talking Crochet With Carol Alexander

BTW: It was an honor to have met Carol last summer at the CGOA Conference in New Hampshire!  And it's an honor to be highlighted in her newsletter.  :)

Making Arrangements

I have a design concept in my head and I am eager to work it up; I need to wait though.  The "prototype" was a hit yesterday when I showed it off the store.  It generated a lot of buzz, so I'm thinking I'm on to something here. The owner of the store is going see what is involved for arranging to order some items I need for the design concept.  In the meantime, I'm going to look into what's involved for submitting the idea for publication.

I'll be headed to the monthly "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" session at our local book store today.  That's always fun!  You can set one up in your area too.  All you need to do is find a public location that has plenty of seating.  Then approach the manager and ask if it's OK to set aside one day a month to have regular "visitors" come & do their "hooking" in public.  OK, knitting too.  {{wink wink}}  Let the manager know that, say it's a coffee shop, that those visiting will buy coffee, or if it's a book store, say how the visitors will help bring in "traffic" to the store ... it's a win-win situation.  You'd get a place to hook up with other crocheters, and the store gets potential customers.  And what arrangement can be better than that?  :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Crocheting is HEALTHY!!  Is there a "trick" that helps you overcome temptation?

                        Diane:  I crochet. If my hands are moving I can't eat.

I saw this posted in an email from an online group I belong to and loved the simplicity and the truth behind the answer.

As one "maintaining" her weight (while still looking to "reduce" her weight), I agree with that answer.

Crocheting is HEALTHY!!

If your hands are busy, you're not eating.  And for those readers who smoke -- guess what!  If your hands are busy, you're not smoking!!

AND... based on the calorie burning info I've recently read, if you burn 40 calories an hour for kissing, guess how many you'll burn crocheting for an hour!!  A LOT!!

Now, I also want to recommend that we get up and stretch about every 15 minutes ... this helps get the blood flowing a bit, and helps the eyes too by focusing on items further away.

Here's other exercises we get from our crocheting:
1. Running:
       a.  after the cat who stole the ball of yarn while you were working with it
       b.  after the baby who thought the ball of yarn was something fun to hurry and throw in the toilet
       c.  to the nearest yarn shop to replace such balls of yarn, and while there to scoop up other goodies to increase STASH

2.  Stretching:
       a.  to pick up that crochet hook that just keeps slipping out of your grip and falls to the floor
       b.  to reach for crochet project while sitting in 5:00 PM rush hour traffic.  While you're sitting there getting in a few stitches you wonder why they don't call it "slow hour traffic."
       c.  while frogging those last 20 rows because you forgot to put in two cable stitches.  Each tug on the yarn results in one good stretch.  Don't forget the stretching while winding it all back into a ball.
       d.  to reach for that last skein of yarn in the top bin.  You also get some great knee bends in too if you opt to pray that the color lot will match!

3.  Weight Lifting:
       a.   Those totes of yarn previously stashed in the trunk of your car to the inside of your home while loved ones aren't looking.
       b.  The afghan a gazzilion times as each square is lovingly added on. 
       c.  those project bags as you go from home to crochet class, and back.  You'd be surprise how much "stash" you can pack in them!

LOL;  what else, readers, can you think of to add to this list?  Carry on the idea in your journal/blog.  Then, return back here and leave your journal/blog address for others to come visit you.   :)

Hey, and if you still don't believe me that crochet is great for exercise, well then, CLICK HERE.