Tuesday, February 28, 2006


On Saturday Lori asked, "Since March is Nat'l Crochet Month, can we do some kind of "event" to highlight crochet at KT?  I'm not sure what it would be but I dreamt about it last night..."

Ah Lori, you're a crocheter after my own heart!  I know you're a total addict now that you're dreaming about crochet just like I do!  {{grins}}

For those interested, the store Lori mentioned, KnitTogether, has selected a special day to help celebrate National Crochet Month.  On Saturday, March 18th they're inviting both crocheters and knitters to come to the shop and join the staff in creating chemo hats.  I cannot make this event but will be providing one of the crochet patterns for free.  You'll want to contact the store for more details.

If you find yourself in the Bethel, CT, area, on Thursday, March 16, then you'll want to come visit the
A Stitch In Time shop where I will be offering a free demonstration on Irish Lace.Consider helping Stacey assemble afghans for Warm Up America. visit http://www.bethsholomstratford.org/warmupamerica.html for more information!  (If you're Irish, then it's a double bonus because crochet is a major part of Irish history!)

Tomorrow I'm a busy bee too ... to officially kick off the National Crochet Month, in the morning I'll be at the Borders book store (Brookfield, CT) from 10 - Noon showing anyone who's interested on how I assembled the blanket pictured to the right (please bring your own squares).  Later in the afternoon, I'll be helping my crochet club set up a Crochet Display at the
Bethel Library.  The theme for the display is "Crochet: Yesterday to Today." 

If you can't join me for one of these events, then please consider doing something to help celebrate the month.  Read
Robin's entry (my guest blogger from last week) to get inspired!

Or maybe you'd be interested on one of the 30 ways to promote crochet?

No matter what you choose, opt to do something to celebrate it.  And then share your celebration with a family member, a friend, or even an online group!  It's infectious!  Help spread the wonderment of the Art of Crochet!

Retailers Celebrating National Crochet Month:
Celebrate National Crochet Month!
Joanns is celebrating with FREE shipping
use code CRAFT625 for all orders over $25.
Offer good until 3/31/06

Herrschners is have e-specials ... specials only offered
if you're signed up for their emails.  (Click here for signing up)

Monday, February 27, 2006

I've Got a New Attitude ...

Songs have a way of getting stuck in your head, especially when they relate to how you're feeling.  Hmmm, I wonder if Patti Labelle is a crocheter ...

I'm feeling totally inspired!  During my "Birthday Week Extravaganza" last week, I opted to drive to Pawling and take a class with my crochet heroine, Margaret Hubert.  I had taken a class with someone else a few years earlier on entrelac crochet and I never grasped the technique.  This had a lot to do with the instructor grabbing my work out of my hands and exclaiming, "Oh, let me do it for you!" It was the worst crochet class I ever took, and it made me feel intimidated to try the technique on my own.

So when I explained to Margaret what had happened in the other instructor's class, she agreed with me: a student will never learn if the instructor/teacher rips the work out of the student's hands and does the work for them!  

Margaret had me take out one of her entrelac instructions (visit her website if you're interested!)  I had been waiting to play with, but hadn't because of the negative feelings I had associated with that aforementioned awful class.  She had me start off with my slip knot, my chain, and then just mere moments later had me entrelacing with bliss!!  You can see me there on the right (in red) as one very happy birthday girl!

At the same time she had Robert (not Peter! -- sorry, that's a joke from the class) who is a die-hard knitter, learn how to crochet a traditional granny square.  We had a marvelous time with Margaret, the store's staff, and with each other -- particularly because we kidded each other about being a "snob" towards our favorite fiber art -- all while reaching our goals!  What a riot of a good time we had!

In the end, I learned how to entrelac, and Robert learned how to crochet beautiful granny squares. And Margaret showed us how to finish that last round/row stitch to make it look seemless.  Really now, look at Robert's granny square to the left; can you see where he started/ended his last round? (need a closer look?  Click onto the image!)  Now that's what I call a beautiful finishing technique!

In return for Margaret unlocking the entrelac technique misery, er mystery, for me, I got her turned onto the wonderment of blogging!  Working with Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino is a dream!In fact, she mentions this very class in her blog entry today!  :-)  (click here to visit her)

What have I created with the entrelac piece I started in class?  Nothing -- yet!  I'm still practicing, tinkering with the technique.  I might make a pillow cover, a scarf, or a handbag.  One thing for sure is I've got a new attitude towards entrelac and I'm loving it!  (to see a larger view of my entrelac work, click onto the image)

*** For those interested in visiting the Yarn & Craft Shop and giving Marie, the owner, a visit, she's located at 24 Charles Coleman Blvd, Pawling, NY.   (845) 855-1632  AND, be sure to let her or Francis know if you're a member of a crochet or knit guild to receive a discount off your purchase! 

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Olympians and Winners

During the time of the Olympics I finished crocheting nine chemo hats that were donated, along with many more from members of my Crochet Club to our local hospital. Now today marks the ending for the 2006 Olympics of which my family and I enjoyed watching a good amount of it -- topped off with many, many crochet sightings, and a chance meeting of an actual Olympian! 

It was fantastic to watch the various Olympians in their events, but what was really cool is what Apolo Ohno said before he raced and won is Gold Metal metal last night.  He said he does the sport not because of the possibility of winning a metal, but because of his love, his passion for his sport.  I can certainly identify with that here.  I crochet not because of the possibility of winning ribbons, but for my love, for my passion of my chosen art form.  Well said, Apolo! 
(and the race was exciting to watch!)

And getting to meeting that mysterious Olympian ... for those that have been long-time readers here, you may recall that this time last year my family and I went to Lake Placid.  We had a blast going on dog sled horse sled rides, to watching an ice show where the memory of the US 1980 Hockey team's coach was honored, to seeing a castle sculpted out of ice, to visiting a small yarn shop ... ah, memories. And souvenirs!

On Friday night my son opted to wear one of his souvenirs, a gold Olympic toy metal, to a Japanese restaurant we went to. There they sat us with another couple and soon my son noticed that the man had on an Olympic emblem shirt. They got to talking about the Olympics and turned out we were sitting with Andrew Seras, who competed in the
1988 US Olympics, and his lovely wife.

Today he coaches wrestling.  And he had some good advice too.  He said, "You got to believe you can win no matter how big your opponent is."  Isn't this true when we're learning a new technique, a new stitch, or trying a new fiber for the first time? I think so. Without the thought of "I can do this" I thinkwe're destined to fail at some time or another.  If you say you "can't" then you won't.   When we do fail in our various attempts at crochet it's called "frogging:" the art of rip, rip, ripping one's work out.  That's not necessarily a bad thing -- especially if you can learn from it.  This is why it's important to believe you CAN do it.  It may take a few tries, but eventually you "can win."

So that's my little nugget I'd like you to walk away with today; to believe in yourself, in your crochet abilities, in your passion for crochet. The rest will eventually fall into place.

So go ahead, venture out and try something new.  You never know, you just might like it, right
Margaret {{big grins}}  Or even possibly winning a Birthday Guest Blogging Contest, right Elaine, Amy, Michele, Robbin, Sandy, Tina Marie, Karen, and Ellen?  Think about your blog entries and how many people will benefit from your fantastic entries that are filled with your love, your passion, for crochet!  {{bigger grins}}  Yes, that's right the winner was selected today and it was Michele's name that was randomly selected as the Winner.  I will be notifying Michele shortly that she is the winner of the $20 Gift Certificate to JoAnnsCongratulations Michele, and thank you to all those who entered!  :)  (BTW: use shopping code FEBPER620 to get 20% off your entire order ... including sale prices! code good until 2/28/06)

joann.com Gift Cards!

(Snafu Note:  For those that receive alerts for my journal entries please note that the links to the individual bloggers got garbled & caused text to be omitted.  I have corrected the problem.  My apologies for any confusion. ~Dee.)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

And So She's Back ...

I'd like to thank all of my Guest Bloggers for writing such wonderful entries about what we love so much: crocheting! Each one was filled with passion, and was absolutely fantastic!

So a BIG SHOUTOUT of THANKS goes to Amy, Elaine, Ellen, Karen, Michele, Robin, Sandy and Tina Marie!!  Thank You!!!  Job well done!! :D

     {{Insert sound of greatly appreciative applause here.}}

I will be announcing the Winner of the Birthday Blogging Entry contest tomorrow, so you'll want to be sure to come back and see who wins.  (I think that should be enough time for me to whip up the crocheted hat to draw the winning name from, don't you think?)

In the meantime I have some serious catching up to do!  I have photos that need downloading, uploading & hosting along with fiber adventures to sort out in preparation to share ... but first, I must look into procuring that last slice of Birthday Cake, and to attend the Bead Exposition taking place this weekend ... 

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger: Elaine
Titled: Blogging "About" Vintage & Different Crochet Stitches Today

Found some great stitch's  online while I was browsing into the wee hours of the morning & ran into my favorite place About.com for crochet stitches that many of which go way back in time (circa 1890-1900's) and are rewritten by Sandi Marshall.  I learned how to make the Crazy Stitch-or AKA Brick Stitch, which is the next stitch that I will use on my poncho that will be started tomorrow. There are no multiples needed, the stitch simply says chain the amount of stitches needed! Then there is the Diagonal Shell How To page that you can access there. This one is a multiple of 4+1. All the Diagonal Shell stitch photos on that page are copyright 1998 by Sandi Marshall, licensed to About.com, Inc. Per copyright law, please do not redistribute, in any form. These how-to's are for your own personal use only Needlework and Copyright Law FAQ, US Gov. Copyright Website FAQ, Copyright Myths Explained .

Lastly I want to mention the Roll or Bullion stitch How-To featured there. This is a circa 1900  stitch. It will take more yarn to do, but I believe you will like it so much that you will decide it is  worth it. I have tried to pick out stitches that are decidedly different & certainly not the usual how-to stitch guide, no slip stitch, sc, dc or trbl! These unusual stitches all look like fun & stitches that could replace regular stitches used on any number of your patterns for a nice change of pace.
Elaine in n.nv

Guest Blogger: Sandy

I have started, but not finished, a crocheted purse. Need to visit a nearby yarn store where stones are sold. These stones have holes so that they may be sewn to the purse. Then the purse will be finished. Just finished a baby afghan last night for a friend's baby. Have put my personal afghan on hold - actually I failed to purchase enough yarn. My daughter keeps saying that my fiber stash is too large. She keeps thinking of items for me to crochet. Have a wonderful week, Dee.

Some Birthday Greetings

PS:  CrochetWithDee blog/journal has hit the 60,000 Visitor Mark!   Thank YOU!!  :D

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wednesday Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger: Ellen
Titled: Blog For Dee

My name is Ellen and I’m a crochet-a-holic.
Somehow, a day without crochet is a day without, well, fun. have several projects that I’m juggling which is actually pretty rare. I’m very much a start one, finish it, start another kind of person.  I’m currently working on an afghan of my own design, with a very short deadline. Three weeks for an afghan is a tight schedule for me.  Luckily, my three year old son and four year old daughter like to “help”.  They hold the Kacha-Kacha counter for me while I crochet and I randomly say, “now” so that they can click it and theoretically keep count of my stitches.  I actually had it rigged up on a block of wood at my foot so that I could tap my toe and count my stitches at the same time.  It was such a good idea that the kids took it and won’t give it back!

Waiting in the wings after the afghan, I have some luscious wool yarn ready to do some felt experimenting. Jane Davis’ Felted Crochet, inspired this yarn purchase. I thought I would start with her “bowl” design. I thought it might make a great “conversation piece” to place somewhere of honor in our home. Now I need to go buy some treasures to show off the project Hopefully though, it will be gorgeous enough to stand on its own without the distraction of contents. Several years ago, my Mom gave me a piece of wool artwork that a friend of hers made.  Her friend raised the sheep, shorn, spun and dyed the wool. Then he sort of twisted it around a wire that was bent in the shape of a bowl/vase.  I always loved that piece. Maybe I’ll place the two items near each other.

Back tothe present.  I also have several other projects swimming around in my head, that I feel like I am working on, but in reality, I haven’t gotten to them yet.  I want to do a skirt, and a vest (not a set), I just bought a baby booties booklet.  I realize I have never before made anything with a hood, so I want to do that too.  I realize that I’ve never tried tatting, tapestry crochet, Nancy Nehring’s waffle weave technique, or explored enough bead crochet.  Hobbies are supposed to be relaxing, but I find it exciting. I stay awake some nights excited about the projects that are waiting to be created! I have a whole folder full of scraps of paper, napkins, receipts, etc that have sketches on them of designs that one day I might get to.  Of course all these ideas won’t resemble the finished product that will evolve into whatever it wants to turn into. What technique or project is on your list to do soon? Now, I got myself all excited, I’m going to go start that bowl!
Ellen Gormley
Original Crochet Designs

Guest Blogger: Robin
Titled: March is "National Crochet Month"

March is "National Crochet Month" which means for a whole month we will see (hopefully) special sales, new books and articles on the art of crochet. But how do you celebrate a whole month of crochet?

You could start by making more people aware of what crochet is and what it looks like. When most people see someone working with yarn, they presume it's knitting. You have to crochet in public to be effective with this suggestion.  You can (gently) point out that what you are doing is called crochet, it uses one hook and can create beautiful fabric suitable for any purpose, from a lacy shawl to a warm bedspread. You can point out your stitches and explain what you're creating and howit will look when you are finished.

Another way to celebrate is to make new converts. Perhaps at school or work or your place of worship there are people interested in learning how to crochet. You could have a small teaching session at lunch time or maybe after the activity. At your church, you could concentrate on making prayer shawls. Maybe at school, some scarves in the school's colors. And at work, maybe a lapghan because some workplaces are cold, even with the heat on.

Or maybe you could teach your siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins or children or anyone else who would be interested. It's not that difficult to spend some time teaching a child how to master the basic single crochet stitch. By the way, if you're a righty teaching a lefty, use a mirror so the lefty can see how the yarn and hook is manipulated. You can also help a person who has some basic knowledge of crochet and help them gain more skills.

Maybe you've taught everybody in your county and you're up for a bigger challenge. Here's one for you. Most areas have fairs (state fairs, county fairs)  where crocheted objects (as well as other handmade objects) are judged. Now is the time to do some online research and find out what the requirements are and the deadline so you can start your project. Now don't get scared, nobody's going to yell if it isn't exactly "right". Just look at it as a challenge and do the best you can do. After all, you didn't learn to ride a bike your first time out, did you? Maybe you'll be so inspired you'll make more than one item to be judged.

Here's another suggestion for you to make crochet more widely known. Make something for charity. Perhaps you can play with the color combinations and make some crocheted squares for Warm Up America (http://www.warmupamerica.com/). It doesn't take a large amount of time and you can do this when you have the chance. You can try some of those stitched you were wondering about to see if you would like making a whole project out of them. Or you could try Hugs for Homeless Animals (http://www.h4ha.org/) if you'd like to make something bigger. Local hospitals are usually quite happy to have preemie hats and booties. Some churches have a "mitten tree" during the holiday season, so you could get a head start on that project. You could also make it a little more personal, if you know somebody in need. Any of these organizations (and there's lots more, just do some research online) would be happy to have your crocheted articles. And even if you only make one preemie hat or one snuggle for a cat, that will be one individual greatly affected by what you crocheted. Here's another suggestion - decide to learn about a stitch or technique that you have never done. Perhaps you want to try crocheting with beads -  there's a great website hosted by Lydia F. Borin (http://beadcrochet.com/) that has animated lessons,  resources for buying the necessary equipment and some great patterns. Or maybe you'd rather try CGOA (http://www.crochet.org/courses/index.htm) for various courses. You could always go to the library and check out what books they might have on crocheting. (You can also check other libraries, too, through your local library. Most have a system of loaning out books to other libraries).

You could, if you created a wearable crochet item for yourself, wear it in public. Nothing gets the public's interest up by wearing something great. I usually wear my chenille poncho as often as I can in March - everybody is always "Is that knitted?" and I happily say "No, it's crocheted".  It's a great feeling.

You could also try to convince your significant other, your place of employment or anybody else that will listen to you that it's actually a _paid_ holiday for crocheters;) And of course, they must celebrate by bringing you vast quanities of crochet materials - threads, yarns, rickrack, beads, books. Let me know if that one works because I have not been able to pull that one off yet.

So plan ahead to enjoy National Crochet Month. It's a great way to get the word out about a wonderful art.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tuesday Guest Bloggers

Entry by: Michele
TitledHow to make a Mother Happy

All my children have been surrounded by handmade crochet items while growing up and I never thought anything about them liking the stuff I made or not.

I have 5 children and when my oldest son asked me to make him a tablecloth as a Wedding present I burst into tears. Now his twin brother just got engaged and asked me to make one for him and his future wife.

Here's the one I am still making for Christopher and Yumi, they decided to get a new dinning room outfit so I am just waiting to find out the size and see if I have to make any more motifs then I can put the border on it.

David And Cathy are looking online for a pattern that they both like.

How to make a Mother Happy = ask her to make you something handmade!

Entry by: Elaine
TitledHappy Holiday!

Must be nice to have a day off for those of you lucky enough to work, lol. I am a stay-at-home, so today is like another day. Working on a cap for the poncho and never did this pattern before, so it is giving me fits! Thankfully a member of Crochet Partners is helping me out. She took pictures of how to do a tr3tog for me and made it into a little film clip! Can't wait till it hits my mailbox! Tee-hee.

Today's Blog is about Charity. [Above] is a picture of a Helmet that women all over are making and sending overseas to our troops. If you have a bit of yarn and a bit of time...

I can't take credit for this charity, got the idea from Lisa, who got the idea from someone else. Here is the link to the pattern and the instructions for mailing: 
http://www.geocities.com/helmetliner/ and here is Lisa'ssite: http://crochetandknittingdiva.blogspot.com/



Monday, February 20, 2006

Monday Guest Bloggers

Entry by: Karen
Title: Hairpin crochet I think I'm hooked

I remember hairpin crochet in the 70's yuck not cool.The  yarn I had access to  was often plasticky  and lacked spring. It was stringy it added to cheapness and it pilled. Things I crocheted felt like a brick. Whenever I'd see those old Hairpin lacebooks  I'd think eeeeeeeewwww that junk.

I recently did a search at my library on crochet. I put a hold on a bunch of books. One was an old Hairpin lace book. It showed all the different size forks. I was amazed they had pulled it into a circle made figure 8s attached it to single crochet edgings. Something I had considered repulsive is now beautiful.

Hairpin CrochetNow The obsession starts. I tried to find the book from the library, its out of print. I did find one at Annies attic but I got lost surfing...  obsessing...  trying to find the old book. I ended up buying Hairpin crochet edited by Jules & Kaethe Kliot. I was enjoying looking at al the vintage pictures eager to get started. Pages 23-60 are all in Danish or is it Swedish. Whatever it is I don't understand it. I wish I had had a crystal ball in High school. Not that it was offered but if only I had learned Danish and Japanese. Oh well at least there's pictures.

I had to get started, I had a hairpin lace loom from the 70's. I got a awesome buy on some ribbon yarn all set to make my skirt.It calls for a 6inch wide strip. This thing only goes up to 4 inches! I made 2 trips to my local craft stores, no luck. I figured I'd start with  strips I can make.  There's an online video for hairpin lace thank goodness I watched 4 times.

Its simply once you get the hang of it. The ribbon done in hairpin crochet looks spectacular fit for a queen. I rummaged through my stash. I decided to make a 2 inch lace. I had some chenille wrapped with funfur yarn. I just made a strip as long as a scarf. Wow it twirled it looks like a potatoe chip scarf its awesome! 

Well now I can't stop. I tried some plain worsted yarn how good can that look?I decided to keep the projects simple. I will cover a satin coat hanger. I started to do my hairpin lace as it grew on the loom I had to pull the bottom piece off to take a peek. Its fabulous. I lay it across the hanger just to see if its going to be worth doing. It is!
In the book I have they said it was used for trims made of silk for bonnets
underwear doily's. They have pictures of curtains, pillows and  shawls. The most beautiful are the ones done as insertions.

Something I learned if you go under 2 loops instead of 1 you get a more solid braid in the middle and the side loops don't twist.  http://www.bellaonline.org/articles/art5290.asp  For this project I like the one loop and the loops twisted , like me . I  made a 34 inch strip folded it in half so the side loops butt up against each other. I went through 2 loops on one  side then 2 on the other http://www.wrights.com/class/needlework/haripintechniques/hairpinjoin.htm
. Its pretty cool. It looks like a braid down the middle. I single crocheted around the edge going through one loop at a time. Its about 3 inches wide.

You are probably think why would I want waste my time making a coat hanger cover? Well better to waste a little time and see if you even want to do it or like the results. Another thing is I make samples, I clean up and throw them out. This is a sample that has a use. I might know where it is. Its like that commercial only, what's in your closet? It would make a nice remembrance gift embellished with some silk ribbon roses ribbons. Its not for the person who's room looks like a hurricane hit it. It might be a nice gift for someone. If you have tops that slide off the hangers this will give the necessary drag to keep them on the hanger. There's only one problem now I have to mail order for a wider hairpin lace loom. I am like Verooka Salt "I want it now!". I thought about getting out some wood and drilling some holes.Thats not a hobby I want right now.

With all the new yarns ribbons threads I think you could go wild trying it and thinking up uses for this craft. I know I am completely exhausted.


Entry by: Tina Marie
Title: Crocheted Chaos

When I think of chaos, I picture the current state of my craft room. Boxes of stash overflowing onto my futon, the desk, dressers, and floor. Some might think of their children's bedrooms or that shelf of leftovers in the fridge. No matter what image comes to mind, I'm sure those aren't the images we want to see posted on the world wide web anytime soon.

In the scientific world, the Lorenz equations describe the chaotic nature of systems - like weather or a turbulent river. If Lorenz could see my craft room the equation might read something like this: number of boxes times skeins of yarn divided by actual surfaces in the room time skeins of yarn equals amount of yarn times number of projects, and so on and so forth. (my apologies to any serious mathmeticians present)

Speaking of serious mathmeticians, two in Great Britain have actually come up with a crocheted model of the Lorenz equations. According to the model, chaos looks like this. There seems to be an unusual trend toward crocheting mathematical equations, as was recently evidenced by Crochet magazine's article on Hyperbolic planes.

I'm not sure what's more amazing - the fact that so many college students are being exposed to our craft in such a fascinating way or that out of my "organizationally challenged" (sounds better than chaotic) craft room, I could end up creating something so strikingly . . . well . . . organized. Somehow, that wasn't even close to what I pictured chaos would look like!
Tina Marie - Brewster, WA

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sunday Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger: Elaine
Blogging For Dee's Birthday

Wish there were more we could do for Dee than this, but if it helps.......
So hey, got my poncho done for the 2006 Crochet Olympics! I found a new pattern stitch that as long as you need a multiple of 4+1, it is perfect! Yee-ha. It is called a slanted v stitch and is really simple. Just make a sc, ch 1, dc in the first ch, sk 1 repeat, then on the next and every row after, put that stitch into the ch-1 space across. This makes for a very nice, tighter stitch than the usual open weave you tend to see in ponchos. Especially nice for that cold weather some of us are having. Brrrrrrr.

Of course there is usually a fly in the ointment and ended  up running to town (in the snow!) to my local WalMart (30 miles away) to get just ONE more skein of yarn to finish it. So now have some leftover yarn and can't help myself (idle fingers and all that) so making a "Juliet Cap" to go with it. Not sure how it will turn out, lets just say good thing there is a picture of it, since they didn't give a hook size to use nor a gauge! Argh. Making it in the sage green of the poncho, plus maroon and turquoise since I have some of the Carons Simply Soft leftover in those colors and the sage green is also Carons Simply Soft.

The poncho pattern is a takeoff of the Hudson poncho found at:
http://www.berroco.com/exclusives/hudson/hudson.html Let me tell you though, CHECK YOUR GAUGE on this one. I didn't on my first one and the front of it came out real short, lol. So on the slanted v stitch one I made, since I am a tight crocheter (you know who you are) add ten chains like I did, tee hee. It came out way better.

Happy Hooking to You All Today (have some cake for Dee)

Guest Blogger: Amy
Title:  Connecting the World with a Hook and Some Yarn

History. Connections. Relationships. Friendship. Love. A glimpse into the future. What do all of these things have in common? For me, it's a love of crochet. I learned how to crochet when I was 8, when my third-grade teacher taught all the girls in the class. Because I had watched my mother and grandmother crochet, I immediately felt a connection and pull to earlier generations. This was something we could all SHARE, which we did as they encouraged me to stick with crochet and to tackle more difficult projects.

As a high school student with very little money, crochet was a terrific source of Christmas presents for friends. A couple skeins of crochet thread, a hook, and my mother's Crochet Fantasy magazines, and I could make wonderful, beautiful gifts that my friends loved.

As an adult, I now have a circle of friends who enjoy crochet as much as I do. We gather together to work on prayer shawls for those in spiritual need.  We pray for the recipients as we work, but we also share ourselves with each other: talking about our lives, our families, our ups and downs, our spiritual journeys. While our hands are busy creating, our hearts and minds are busy caring for each other.

Now as a mother of a 12-year-old daughter, I am also able to share this love of crochet with her as well. She has taken to this craft like it is in her blood. Well, it is---she's at least a fourth-generation crochetier, and probably more than that! It is so exciting to watch her develop her skills and passion for this craft. With less than a year's experience, she already has perfect tension and is completely fearless when it comes to designing her own patterns. I've also been thrilled to watch her pass the love of crochet on in her own circle of friends as she has taught them to crochet.

I'm even connected to crochetiers around the world through participation in email lists and message boards and through the creation of my blog. It makes the world a much smaller, more personal place when you're connected with others who share something with you. Sharing a common bond in the area of crochet makes it easier to develop tolerance and understanding in other areas where beliefs collide.

Crochet is more than a hook and some yarn. It'smore than creating functional items such as afghans and potholders. It's more than creating art-to-wear garments. It's all about connections and relationships.  Connections to the past and the future, relationships with friends and family in the present.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blogging For Dee?

The children have school off for a week; my husband has the week off too!  This can only mean one thing: the start of my Birthday Week Extravaganza!  Yeehaw!!

I have decided to take the week off from blogging, from reading emails (oh who am I kidding on that one??), and to do some fun activities with my family.  I'll be crocheting -- like working on some unfinished projects, and staring new ones (yes, Madeline & Lori, I am working on the design for that scarf you love so much!) ... so I'm not abandoning the fiber world entirely.  It's just a time for me to kick up my heels a bit!  :)

This also means it's an opportunity for you, my readers, to fill in my shoes as I take this week to celebrate!  (I really think everyone should celebrate their birthdays for an entire week!  What fun!)  It means another contest and instead of the prize going to a charity, this time the prize comes to you!

Here's the Rules:
1.  You Blog for me, Dee, about a crochet topic that interests you!  Any entries not about crochet will not count, and will not be posted.
2.  Word count up to 500; images not required, but if you have some I'll try to post them with your entry.  Language/content must be clean.
3.  All participants who enter by either leaving their entry here as a comment or emailing it directly to me will be entered for winning a $20 Gift Card to use at
Jo-ann.com(I don't know if they ship internationally, so for those that live outside of the US, you may want to contact their customer service first and inquire.)
4.  All qualifying participants will have their name dropped into a crocheted hat (but of course!) of which one winner will randomly be drawn by me. 
5. Contest runs from 9:00 AM (eastern time) Sunday, February 19, 2006 to 9:00 AM (eastern time) Saturday, February 26, 2006
6. All participants must provide a working email address (else how am I to get the Gift Card to the Winner?)
7.  Winner to be announced on Sunday, February 27, 2006.

So that's it!  See you all in a week!  J

joann.com Gift Cards!

Friday, February 17, 2006

No "Dibs!" for Dee

Someone forgot to call me.  Someone forgot to confirm the rumor and tell me to "come a-runnin" -- someone forgot to tell me that one of my yarn shop haunts is/has closed their doors.

                  Say it isn't so; say it isn't true!

Did I miss out on a yarn sale?!?  A CLEARANCE sale???  Did I miss out on the opportunity to snatch up dreamy fibers while screaming "DIBS!" ???  

                  Oh, I feel faint!

Did I miss a chance to say goodbye to a store where I've purchased yarn that I've still to crochet something spectacular with?  (Oh, the shame!)

Although I haven't visited the shop in the past year, I do want to go on record that Lee's store in Bedford Hills, NY, will be missed.  Lee, thank you for providing me with wondrously delicious fibers and warm smiles.  I wish you all the best!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

... ewephoric bliss ...

I love your site, and thank you for some really good info not found elsewhere. Keep it up! Cheers, Caroline

Thank you, Caroline!  I'm delighted you like the information I share.  If there's anything you'd like to see added, please let me know!  :)

     It comments like Caroline's that really bring a smile to my face; I just love it.  It makes me feel wonderful knowing it's all appreciated!  And so it's on that fantastic feeling that I want to take the advice of one of my bosses to heart: to do something "good"  just for me.  To do something that will make me feel great, something that reinforces the positive.  Kind of like rewarding yourself -- and with something more lasting than Godiva chocolate or an awesome cup of coffee! 

And so I have.  I signed myself up for a day of ewephoric bliss.  Yeah, that's right.  I said ewephoric bliss! 

I visited the
Wool Connection's website and signed up for a day of classes that will take place at their 13th Annual Ewephoric Weekend being held in Avon, CT, come this April.    Both classes I signed up for (I'm waiting for class confirmation) are with Barbara Hillary, a wonderful lady who also happens to be the Founder of the awesome New York City Crochet Guild -- the Crochet Guild of America's largest Chapter! 

This will be my first time attending this event and I'm soooo looking forward to it!   (Barbara, any chance you'll sing a little for us after one of the classes?  Girl, we know you can sing!  Please????)

I hope that you, my readers, all take this advice to heart too -- to do something today that will make you feel great!  Buy a never-tried-before skein of yarn; try a new-to-you crochet stitch; join a new online crochet group; or sign-up for a crochet class, and soon you'll be feeling this ewephoric bliss too!  ... and don't forget, you can double and triple that pleasure by getting a friend or two, or three to join you!    :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Freeform Jacket Update

On Monday Connecticut had a huge snow storm -- touted as one of the Top Five largest storms in the Connecticut State History. To give an idea of how large, it's reported that the Danbury Airport received 30 inches of snow -- in a single day! That's a lot of snow!

Fortunately for me, I was well prepared. I settled in with my variety of fibers and hooks and played with my freeform project some more.

The other day Sheila inquired, " does one crochet these items directly onto a jacket somehow, or are they made separately and then sewn on?" The answer, Sheila, is "yes." Either works.

But crocheting directly onto the jean jacket would require punching holes into the tough fabric -- and I don't want to do that for this project. Instead, I'm sewing the pieces on. If you look at the updated image you can see some of the work I've done.  (Better lighting would help make the piece "pop," but hopefully you get the idea.)  Some of it already has been sewn on, the rest pinned.

I'm letting the work "rest" while I take time to "eye" it to see if this is really how I want the work to look. If not, I can take the pinned pieces off and move them around until I find a combination more pleasing. It's like putting a puzzle together without the box top to peak at how the final results are supposed to look. This is what makes it so much fun! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

History Needs Our Help

My daughter has been working on a school project in tracing her heritage.  We found out that one of her Great Grandmothers arrived at Ellis Island from Italy in 1919 on the SS Caserta (a ship that was used during WWI; the crew was decorated with the Victory Medal) -- it was a 20-day voyage to America and she arrived with just five dollars in her pocket.  She became a citizen of the United States within a year of arriving, and together with her husband, ran a successful grocery store that generously aided those in need during the Great Depression.   As we dive further into the details of her life it's apparent that there is a great need to preserve our history. 

So when I heard that
The Musings Lace School in Ireland is in dire need of our help to be saved, I opted to act by spreading the word and by pledging $100US to the cause!  "The Muings Lace School played an enduring and pivotal role in the economic history of the community throughout the harshest of times and well into the affluent 1990s," said Helen Moreau, who is spearheading the campaign to save the school -- who is looking to preserve it's history.

Today, crochet is still the rage on the fashion runways ... from trims to accessories.  (Designer Anna Sui keeps her "whimsical touches with Edwardian taffeta ruffles, empire line dresses and crochet tunics, but toughened them with shiny black leather.."  and where "lace motifs have been converted into girlie necklace[s with] it's lower edge trimmed with a few matching beads.")  But where would all this fashion be if it where not for the ability to look to the past and appreciate it's beauty,and it's place in history? 

If we look back at the early 1850s, Ireland was starving.  It was the time of the "Great Potato Famine" -- a time when over a million people died of starvation because the potato crops were covered with unexplained black rot.  When the crops failed, livelihood failed.  Food was scarce and very expensive!  "In the past lace making income was often the only source of income in a house. One woman who signed the petition told me that her mother, who had 14 children, used to stay up until 2.00am every night making intricate lace gloves. It was the only way to bring in some money," Helen states.

Fortunately at that same time lace was hot! Hot! Hot!  It was THE accessory to wear!  The more you wore, the more you declared how wealthy you were.  And this display of wealth helped schools open across Ireland ... providing the impovered starving Irish families with desperately needed income for a great number of years.

In 1919 The Muings Lace School was opened, and stayed open until 1999.  "I really feel very strongly about preserving this building. The women of this area should be recognized for the huge contribution they made in the past through their talented work at Muings Lace School.  These women should not be forgotten," Helen said.  And I agree!

The proposal is to have the Musing Lace School be restored and turned into a Heritage Centre/Folk Museum to preserve its history, to host lectures on traditional crafts, to exhibit Irish crochet lace, hand knitting and memorabilia from the school.

They're looking for our help!  Volunteers, donations, memories and such.  To get involved send an email to

Something to think about:  It took me 75 hours to create my Irish Lace Flower Basket pictured on the right.  Now imagine how many hours it took to crochet the jacket pictured above on the left. 

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Eye Candy in honor of Valentine's Weekend

Readers, I ask you, what do you think of as  Crochet?  Is crochet a fabric that looks like it was crocheted with a hook, or is it a fabric that was created with a crochet hook?  Or is it both?

Today's "Eye Candy" should clearly (or perhaps not?) make one ponder this!  First, I'd like for you to visit Joan Dulla's website (
www.JoanDulla.com) and check out her beautiful works!  I took a three-day class with her about two years ago or so and learned that her technique is using a crochet hook to manipulate wire that technically looks (is?) knitted.  Her technique caused so much controversy that her work was pulled from a crochet exhibit that was traveling around the United States.  What do you think?  Is her work crocheted or knitted?  Should her work have been pulled from the crochet exhibit?  Is her work really knit even if it was created with a crochet hook?

Next, I'd like for you to visit www.guild.com and do a search for Randi Chervitz (or do a simple search for "Crochet") [Note: You can also opt to sign up for their newsletter if you're interested in the Arts.]  There you'll see a lot of beautiful works that reportedly were created with a crochet hook.  Upon zooming in as much as they allow, it looks almost like Joan Dulla's technique -- but it's hard to tell.  When you work with wire the stitches do tend to distort making it difficult to make that determination.

On the "about the artist" page it states that once Randi is done with the metal working of the piece (soldering, filing & such), she then "finishes by crocheting stitch patterns that determine whether the piece has a soft or linear character."

Now that I have you pondering ... go check out the work of Michael David Sturlin.  Yeah, wear a bib -- this is  the creme de la creme!  (...and in case you can't get enough of Michael, then go here.)  After all, what is Valentine's Day without looking at some serious bling bling, right? 

What makes all these works uniquely beautiful is that they're all created with a crochet hook.  ;)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Crochet + Contests = Fun

You got to love contests, especially those that involve crochet.  They're a great way to introduce new people to the art, and to inspire those already enjoying it.  With this being today's topic, I thought I'd share a few thoughts.

First, I want to thank everyone for their support for the Best of the Blogs Awards. Although I won the "Popular Vote," I did not place in the "Winner's Circle."  (For those that are emailing me inquiring why, I don't know that answer -- it had something to do with a point system.)  However, I am thrilled to have been listed as a finalist during the voting; the opportunity to share crochet was wonderful, and your support warms my heart! Thank you! I'd also like to take a moment and send Congratulations to the BOB Winners! (Click Here to see the Winners in the Knit/Craft category.)

Second, I want to thank those that entered into my
2nd Anniversary Blog-aversary/Birthday Celebration.  The winner is Gail with this submission (sang in the Oscar Mayer hot dog jingle):

I am a true yarn junky, that's J U N K Y
And I love to pet my yarn skeins, yes, D A I L Y
Oh, I'm so addicted to my craft,
That if you saw me you would laugh,
For all I do for all the day is C R O C H E T.

Congratulations Gail!!

Next, with today being the start of the Olympics, for those of you who do not know yet, there is Crochet Olympics taking place. To learn more, visit the
Crochet Olympics webpage. Hurry though! It starts at 2:00 PM (Eastern Time) today! 

Finally, I'd like to extend a big Blog-aversary greeting over to Amy who is celebrating her first year of cro-blogging! Give her a visit at "
Cats in my Craft Basket", and don't forget to enter into her contest where she's giving away a goodie basket!   Happy Blog-aversary Amy!! J 

And, Happy Blog-averary to Jocelyn who is also celebrating her first year of cro-blogging over there at Crochet CafeCongratulations Jocelyn!! J

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Pop-Quiz: Think FAST!!

OK, so when your dinner catches fire, do you:

a. run around screaming fire! Fire!
b. grab the fire extinguisher and douse the fire?
c. ignore important documents and think only of getting everyone outside safely and how you're going to rescue your entire yarn stash?
d. think "gee, maybe now I can start thinking about having an entire room for storing my vast yarn collection once the new house is built."

                                 heh heh heh

Yes, there was a fire here -- my toaster oven, my NEW toaster oven, roared flames at me through it's glass doors just moments after turning it on.  I opted to throw a 5-pound bag of flour at it.  That worked!  Fire gone!  Then threw the toaster oven outside -- just in case.

But I will confess that my answer to the pop quiz above was "e" ... "all of the above."


See, now if this isn't a great reason for crocheters NOT to cook, then what is?  If I had ordered Chinese, then I'd still be working on my freeform jean jacket instead of cleaning up a massive amount of flour.  ;)

Disclaimer:  Real food, toaster oven, and Dee's arm was actually damaged/hurt during this escapade.  No other human, or yarn fibers were damaged.  There will be no reenactment offered.  Dee was NOT crocheting when the actual fire broke out. Dee couldn't locate the fire extinguisher thus the flour substitution. Dee is hoping her brother, the professional fireman, does not read this journal entry. And finally -- don't use a toaster oven to warm up taco shells.  Humph.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Giving thought to McDreamys

When it comes to your crocheting, I am curious readers, of which rules you follow.

Do you, for single crochet stitches, chain two and skip the first stitch (thus letting the chain become your first stitch), or do you chain one and work in the immediate first stitch?

Myself?  I have always followed the chain one/immediate first stitch rule which is endorsed by the CGOA and the Craft Yarn Council (where I received my Certification from).

Do you, when reading patterns, prefer to have the instructions state to create the turning chains at the end of a row and then have you turn your work, or do you prefer to turn your work and then create your turning chain?

Myself?  I prefer to create my chains before I turn my work, especially when I'm working with taller stitches.  This is because when I turn my work it gives my turning chain a little twist and helps it blend in "as a stitch" rather than being a flat chain laying on the side of my work.

While you're following a pattern, do you ever look at the accompanying photograph to help you figure out the next step? 

Myself?  Oh absolutely.  But there are times that it's impossible to use the image as a reference because of the way a photograph was taken.  (Sometimes the photographer is not someone who understands crochet, and/or what the right/wrong side of crochet work looks like.) 

When you're using a pattern, how important is it to you to know if it's the American or the European crochet rules/abbreviations used?

This is very important to me; I can't begin to express how many times a student has come to me stating that their work looks "off" -- only to discover that they were using the American rules instead of the European or vise versa!

To quote a term used on the television program, Grey's Anatomy, what makes a pattern "McDreamy" for you?  Is it simplicity, speed, or perhaps a challenge where you learn new stitches or techniques?

The McDreamy patterns I like are the ones that challenge me.  But I think this is because I have a lot of practice/knowledge under my belt.  Perhaps if I were still a newbie to the art of crochet I'd be looking for simplicity. 

As I give more thought into what I'll be offering in the book I plan on doing this year, these are just some of the questions I am pondering.  What are your thoughts?

Monday, February 6, 2006

Question From Reader: Freeform

Quietkat asks: "What is freeform crochet?"

Quietkat, thank you for contacting me and inquiring about what freeform crochet is.

I like to think of it as a rebellious type of crochet -- as a technique that dares to challenge the traditional rules of crochet, how it's applied, and how it's used.

It's a technique that lets you mix and match your fibers until you find a combination that's pleasing to your eye, and to your touch.

It's a technique that lets you use simple stitches, complex stitches, or a combination of the two.

It's a technique that lets you challenge yourself.  Do you want to create a variety of small motifs (think Prudence Mapstone) or larger motifs (think Margaret Hubert) -- or perhaps a combination of the two?

Freeform is a technique that welcomes the other fiber arts to be added in too: tatting, knitting, cross stitch, needlepoint, and macrame'.  Perhaps your passion includes jewelry -- well, you can add that into your freeform work too!   The beauty of it is that there are no rules.  Your work will be unique to that of another; in fact, many that enjoy the freeform technique can look at various works and know who's work it is!!  (Isn't that amazing?) 

Pictured on the left here is a project I started working on yesterday (yes, that is one of my new mannequins my sweet hubby surprised me with!) using the fibers pictured above.  I am crocheting a variety of shapes with a variety of yarns, stitches, and colors to my hearts' content with the goal of covering part of the front and some of the back shoulder area.  (Click onto image for larger view)  I am using fibers I found in my yarn stash -- purples, teals, and greens -- and just loved the entire creative process and freedoms this crochet technique has to offer! 

You can visit Prudence's website and order some of her books, visit Margaret's website and order her video, or visit websites like amazon, barnes & noble, or overstock.com to find various books on the market.  Sometimes eBay has some great freeform reference materials that are worth their weight in gold (look for titles with "Silvia Cosh" and "James Walters")!   You may also be interested in joining a freeform online group (look to the right for the various online groups I belong to), and/or take classes.  For more reference material, do a search on the Internet using words like "freeform crochet" and "freeform knit."  ... and don't forget to click onto the "image" search option too -- be prepared to be inspired!  :)

Thanks for writing in Quietkat!

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Super Sunday

I'm slowly emerging from my tortoise shell and embracing all that I love, all that I enjoy -- and what better day to do it on than on Super Bowl Sunday?

So what is bringing me out of my shell?  Was it the four mannequins my husband surprised me with when he came home from work on Friday?  Maybe.

"Happiness isn't in having what you want but rather in wanting what you have." 
            ~Chinese Fortune Cookie

Was it the crochet books that my kids found for me at our local library -- and insisted I take home to check out?  Could be.

Was it the sample yarns I received in the mail from my new "monthly subscription?"  Mmmmmmmm, maybe.

"Fear is the mind killer." 
        ~Paul Maud'dib, Character from Frank Herbert's Dune book series

Was it in discovering that Jennifer Love Hewitt might be a crocheter?  Nah, but it's pretty cool in thinking that she might be! 

Was it in relishing in the comments & emails you all have shared with me?  
Thank you so much!!

                             I think it's a combination of all of the above!

Star sent me an email stating, "we have to feel what we are feeling rather than suppress them" -- and she is so right!  I recall a class I took with Noreen Crone-Finlay at the 2004 CGOA National Crochet Conference where we created dolls.  I was a week into being treated for two ruptured discs in my spine -- talk about emotions -- eish!!  I still have that doll, and each time I hold her I feel the release of the emotions I had at that time.  What a powerful therapy!

So, with hook in hand and with a bowl of assorted fibers at my feet, I will do just that today.  I'm going to take these feelings and work them into fiber bliss.  I'm going to make today into a Super Sunday!  :)

Friday, February 3, 2006

Time Off

Ah, I know, I've been away for a few days.  Thank you for the emails expressing your concerns.  I'm OK, we're OK.  I took some time off to let my emotions settle a bit; some time to let me look at the positive side of a terrifying moment that thankfully didn't end in tragedy.    For those that don't know what happened yet my son was nearly mowed down by a speeding SUV while he was crossing the parking lot at his school.  I was witness to this, as were several other parents.  I screamed as any mother does when she sees her child in immediate danger.  They were the kind of screams that chill the blood; screams I never wish to make or hear again for the rest of my life.  My son heard my frantic screams and stopped instantly in his tracks.  The SUV missed him by an inch. 

The reason for the SUV to race across the parking lot?  They were running late. 
In my book, if you're running late, you're running late.  It doesn't matter if you're 5 seconds late, or 5 minutes late.  You're still late.  So is it worth it to endanger your passengers, and those on foot, to race across a parking lot to save 5 seconds?   

Later that same day the driver of the SUV apologized to me.  I think I was still in what's called "shell shock."  I remember her telling me she was running late and that she didn't think to look on both sides of the aisles of parked cars  -- the only thing she had on her mind was getting her children to school on time.  If ever there was a day to show I'm not one in need of anger management -- then this was it.  I wanted to unleash the fury of emotions I had, but I didn't.  I didn't want to scare her young son she had with her; I just wanted her to promise to never, ever, race across ANY parking lot again.  And she did promise, and we left it at that.  

But I'm still upset.  I can't get the image of the SUV coming right towards my son out of my mind; my heart is still in the back of my throat.  I thought crocheting would help relieve how I'm feeling, but it hasn't.  I thought flipping through some new crochet books that just arrived would interest me.  It hasn't.  Instead we've been spending time watching family videos -- being thankful that what could have been, wasn't.

So again, I appreciate your concern and understanding.  I'll be back to "being me" hopefully in a few days.  I'm focusing on the positive!

If you'd like to leave comments, please do.  But rather than focus on my story here, why not tell me what you're working on?  I think that would help brighten my spirits more.  :)