Sunday, April 30, 2006

My Fiberlicious Adventure

If you've never experienced a sheep and wool show/festival/fair, then make a point to do so!  It doesn't matter the size as much as it does with what you'll experience and walk away with -- hours of blissful fiber fixes!

Yesterday I drove to Tolland county to attend the 97th Annual Connecticut Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival with my daughter and my friend, Grace. We were followed up by another HHCC member, Ruth, and her husband Ron who is a big help to the Club.  The birds were chirping, the sheep were baa-ing.  In the far background, dogs were yipping and if you listened really carefully you could hear various fibers being petted and admired.  Well, no, you couldn't hear people petting fibers but you could hear all the ohhs and ahhhs of admiration!!

We arrived early in the morning and began strolling the various buildings filled with vendors selling everything from crochet hooks to unspun roving.  From toy horses to delicous maple syrup covered walnuts to the most incredible handpainted silk hankies and dreamy soft Peruvian alpaca offered by *ATouchofTwist*!   [[**Silk hankies are the result of taking the silk worms' cocoon and opening it up.  It can be crocheted in this state.  If interested in learning how to crochet with unspun fibers, then you're going to want to take a class with Janet Rehfeldt like I did a few years back.  And hey, ATouchofTwist will be at the Conference, so be sure to get yourself some of this yummy fiber!]]

I got to meet with fellow International Freeform member, Claudia, who was displaying her incredible freeform work and selling items from her "Heal My Hands" business. I bought the lotion & lip balm from her but see now I should have bought more.  (Claudia, hook me up @ the Conference this summer, ok?)  You can see Claudia and her freeform work pictured above.  If you'd like a closer look at her fiber art, click onto the image and it will lead to her blog ...

That's my little sweetie in the pink jacket.There was a lot to see and do too! From watching a sheep being sheered to taking a hay ride pulled by Oxen! (amazing animals!) There were demonstrations for weaving and spinning and dying and even for crochet!!!  This Festival is nowhere near the size as the one in Massachusetts or New York, but it was packed with quite a bit for the eye to feast upon!  We had a most fantastic time and wondered if the day could get any better ...

                                                       And it did! 

Since we don't have an ACMoore near us we opted to stop on our way home and see if there were any goodies wishing to be adopted.  Sure enough they had their Mode*Dea Prima on sale for 50% off and I found enough of a dye lot to consider crocheting myself the "Seraphina Shawl" everyone on the Internet has been raving about.  I figure with a bulky yarn and a large hook I should be able to whip it up in no time and be able to wear it next weekend.  (Who said I need to get any sleep?)  I also picked up some funky purple fibers to use in the still-ongoing Jean Jacket Project, and to eventually create an evening purse that will be donated for auction at my children's school next fall.  Tickled with my find we decided to head home.

But I got boxed into the wrong lane and could not turn onto the highway without risking an accident.  Thinking I'd make a quick turn-around in a nearby shopping plaza we ended up getting trapped.  (The shopping plaza has really weird entering/exiting locations.)  As I drove around looking for a way to exit the shopping plaza a very, very large Joann's appeared.  One look at the mere size of this store was temptation enough to go in.  Inside, to our delight, they had a huge sale going on.  My daughter surprised me by requesting I buy her a set of funky looking knitting needles (to view up close & for product info, please click onto image on left).  I say surprised because I've been asking her since the day she first picked up the crochet hook and made her first yarn over if she thought she'd be interested in learning how to knit too.  She always said no, and professed she loved crocheting too much to try it.  It's good to see she's now interested in trying it.  (Now, I've got to find someone knowledgeable about it to show her -- come on, did you really think I'd try to teach her?  I don't know enough about it to even attempt to do that!  I need someone to sit with me!  LOL)

Upon arriving home my son asked my daughter, "Did you really go on an Oxen ride?"  She grinned from ear to ear, "Yes I did!  And it was fun!  You wanna go with us next year," she asked him eagerly.  "Oh Yeah!" he exclaimed, "I'm going!!"

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Fueling the Craze

     While I know many of you know exactly where I was today, it doesn't mean I'll share the details any quicker!  {{grins}}  I've got pictures to take, and more pictures to be downloaded/uploaded and well, you know the routine, right?  But really now, would I leave you all hanging?!??     Would I knowingly tease you????

                                   You betcha!   LOL

So, not to leave you totally without a little nugget to hold you over until tomorrow, here's a link to a great news article about crochet in the spotlight: The stepchild of the fiber world gets some cred from the cool kids

Friday, April 28, 2006

Making Progress?

I love that crochet is so portable ... you can take it nearly anywhere and create a few stitches while waiting for whatever it is that you're waiting for.   I've been working at a steady pace, designing as I go, to be able to complete my son's arm-band that he wants to wear for his upcoming First Communion.   

The downside to taking your work with you is that you're vulnerable to Murphy's Law.  That's exactly what I think happened today while at my local automotive repair center.  (I should have known Murphy would be getting his car serviced too!) 

I've seemly misplaced the cross I crocheted using the waffle weave technique that is (was?) to be the focal point of the arm band.  Four hours of thread work -- missing!  I've searched my project bag and it's not there.  I know it was; I recall showing it to someone that was interested in the technique.  But who? And where did I show it to them?  

So the lesson for today is
 If you're working on small motifs make sure you don't drop any or consider making a duplicate to show your friends! 

The picture on the right is the arm-band in progress.  I used the Delta Technique offered over at Hass Design except instead of using a six-petal flower I changed it to five.  I'm currently working on the edging using the padded crochet stitch (that's when a row of single crochet stitches is worked directly over a row of previously created single crochet stitches), coupled with 3-picots together. 

The arm-band is nowhere near ready to be blocked, but I think it's coming along pretty much the way I pictured it: packed with many types of crochet techniques while also having that religious flair needed for my son's big day.  When I'm done the piece will have about 40 hours worth of work into it.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Baby you can drive my car"

Several months ago I was over at Blog Explosion (which I'm a member of) pursing for other fiber arts blogs and even put my blog up for "battle." As I was clicking around the BE site, I saw my journal name mentioned in the chatroom. "Oh, look CrochetWithDee is up for battle. Her blog is a pinto." Of course I jumped into the chatroom to inquire what was meant by that and it turned out that no harm was intended -- it just that crochet was not the posters' cup of tea.

The conversation went on to state that perhaps I should crochet something to cover my "pinto." Hmmm. Well, first of all I don't have a pinto. (For those that don't know what a Pinto is, its a car that was made by Ford that exploded upon impact.) But the thought of covering a car with fiber has stuck with me. I do happen to have a car waiting for a new engine (don't ask!); so maybe one day I'll make it a reality.  Even the International Freeform group is discussing the possibilities of the group creating an Fiberlishious Art Car.  In the meantime, others have done just that!  Check them out:

Amazing, huh?  So now for the credits for the images featured in my collage:

  • Top Left: That's Tim Klein pictured with his Imperial (photo by Harrod Blank). He covered his car with velcro and used Red Heart's acrylic yarn to create his amazing design. His car plates now read "YARN" and he'll be (weather permitting) in the Car Art Parade in Houston on May 13. Visit Tim's website at for more information & photos!
  • Top Right: That is the Flying Fingers yarn bus that travels around NYC picking up & dropping off store patrons. The bus was featured on one of the premier Martha Stewart shows. Visit their website at
  • In the Top Center is Agata Oleksiak's Crocheted Camouflage Cadillac. It's featured on the website.  Doesn't it look amazing?!!
  • In the Lower Center is Theresa Honeywell's motorcycle covered in knit. To see it in more detail, visit her photo site here. She apparently creates other "non-traditional" items with her knit & embroidery so do check out all of her fiber works.  A big thanks to Astaryth for finding this great fiber art nugget!
  • On the Bottom Left is a car cozy -- created by a team of knitters from the Houston Center For Contemporary Art with nearly seven miles of Lion Brand Yarn. The photo is by The Crochet Dude who got to see the car in person. Don't feel left out of the craze ... you can read the article by Lion Brand and even knit a car cozy up yourself with this Free Pattern.
  • On the Bottom Right is Amy Spears' (& company) knitted car cozy. Visit her site at and her photo album to view the entire process. 

    If you're inspired to create your own Art Car using fiberarts as your base then consider entering it into this year's CraftAdventure -- their special theme happens to be automobiles.
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2006

    Caught in Public

    Getting caught crocheting in public is, I think, a lot of fun.  I view it as an opportunity to enjoy my surroundings while "sneaking in a few stitches" here & there.  There are very few places and times I won't do it -- mainly out of respect for various locations (church) and occasions (funerals, weddings).

    I think one of my most interesting "emergency" public crocheting sessions was during a visit to the mid-1700s in 2004.  No, I don't have a time machine, but I do have relatives that enjoy that period of time and will thus dress and live as they did back then as a recreational hobby. 

    I had just come from visiting the Patternworks shop in New Hampshire when my family stopped by the 1700s camp for a visit.  The spring air was crisp and my new baby niece needed a bonnet ASAP to help keep her warm.  The material had to be authentic; had to be pure.  They didn't have synthetics as we do now.  So I went through my newly acquired stash and pulled out a beautiful skein of crisp white cotton and about 45 minutes later had a bonnet (fitting for the time period) for the baby.  That left a huge impression on my relatives to the point the story is now a "
    legend" in the family archives.

    I have crocheted in public several times since then, but the one time that sticks sharply in my children's minds is a day from last Summer when we went to watch a live baseball game.  It was the New York Yankees against Tampa Bay; the game that many people started leaving at the bottom of the seventh inning as they thought the Yankees would surely lose.  The Yankees were six runs behind.  But there was a sudden meeting at the mound, which I happened to pause long enough in my crochet work to snap the
    historical picture that turned the game around.  Along with the ending score, and my crocheting, my children still talk fondly about that day!

         "You know, Mom," said my son yesterday, "we're a lot alike.  You may not know a lot about baseball and all it's secrets, but you do know a lot about crochet.  And," he continued, "I may not know all about crochet or it's secrets, but I do know a lot about baseball."

         "Ah, you're right," I replied to him smiling, "isn't it great we can share our passions with each other?"  (Should I tell him there's actual ball fields that encourage patrons to bring their crochet & knit projects to work on??)                    {{grins}}

    Readers, I'm interested in knowing what is the most unusual place you crocheted -- and what were you working on at the time?  Did you receive any comments while doing so?  Do you have a picture where you were caught crocheting in public?  If so, please share!

    Monday, April 24, 2006

    Late Night Snacking?

    How many times have I advised to my crochet students that they should always -- always!! -- write down the size hook, and it's manufacturer, that they are using for a given project? 

    "You never know," I emphasize during our classes, "when your couch will get hungry and will devour your hook -- never to be seen again!"
    Doesn't this couch look guilty?  I'm sure it ate my hook!
    "Write it down; write it down; write it down!!! "

    Oh, why didn't I take my own advice???

    I had just crocheted, oh, I don't know, about 240 chains, joined it with a slip stitch to create a huge loop and began crocheting the delta flowers.  I had six flowers done.  I remember that.  Six.  Done.  I was on the seventh when I got called away from my work. 

    I gingerly laid it down vowing to return in mere moments.  Only that didn't happen.  Moments turned into minutes, and minutes into hours.  It wasn't until the next morning that I was able to return to my project.

    I look at where I laid my work to find it completely disheveled.  The seventh flower I was on was completely ripped out; thread seemingly stretched out for miles.  My crochet hook -- gone! 

    What happened here?!?  I have no pets so that couldn't have been the cause.  My husband loved the delta coaster I finished blocking and posted about on Saturday -- and in fact he called it "beautiful & intricate" -- plus he was no where around where I had left my work, so he couldn't have had anything to do with it.  So I look to the children but they both proclaimed in unison, "It wasn't me!" so how do I dare question their innocent faces?

    Regardless, the hook is missing.  I didn't write down the size I was using.  Bad Dee!!!  We tore the living room apart.  The hook is gone, gone, gone!  Doubtful to ever be seen again.  We've concluded that the couch ate it and now I'll need to rip out all of my work and begin again.

    Be assured when I do, that this time I'll be writing the hook information down!

    Saturday, April 22, 2006

    Delta Dawn, What's That Flower You Have On?

    Last week I wrote about how Jane over at inspired  me to sign up for the Delta Crochet class offered by HassDesign.  I am now at the midway point with my  Delta class lessons.  I found it interesting that as I worked through each level (I just completed level 3; the coaster you see on the right) that the song by Bette Midler, "Delta Dawn what's that flower you got on" kept replaying in my mind.  At times, dare I admit it, I'd even belt the song out loud and in doing so, infected my children with it.  So yes, now the song is stuck in their heads too.

    "Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on?
    Could it be a faded rose from days gone by?
    Did I hear you say he was meeting you here today
    to take you to his mansion in the sky?"

    The funny thing is, when I'd discover I had completely askewed (nice way of saying I completely messed up, huh?) a row and had to frog (*frog=ripping out work) back a row, the tune from Bob Marley's song "No Woman No Cry" would interrupt Bette Midler's song.  It must have been my frustration in having to rip out work that caused the musical glitch.

    No woman, no cry.
    No woman, no cry.
    Little Darlin', don't shed no tears.
    No woman, no cry.

    But hear this (well, maybe you don't want to because I can't carry a tune), when I finished this particular project, Pink's tune, "Get The Party Started" took over.  Yes, it was a great feeling to come this far in my class and I deserved a moment of celebration.  Now I have three more levels to complete to finish the class series.

    I'm comin' up so you better get this party started
    I'm comin' up so you better get this party started
    Get this party started

    So, my thoughts thus far on the class?  I'm enjoying it.  I did have some difficulty in figuring out the flower flow and will be writing to Hass about it (Jane, did you have trouble too?) as it appeared some of the helpful graphics were flipped for "left handed interpretation."  Of course, I could have been completely off base because I was busy singing about the flower Delta Dawn had on.

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Impressive Stitches on the Catwalk!

    My first impression upon seeing Clare Tough's unique fiber fashions on the catwalk was "Meow-za! ... and in looking at it again today, my sentiment has not changed!

    While the International Freeform Group discusses the technique she used (is it freeform or patchwork?) I was delighted to see how beautifully and artistically she married knit and crochet together to come up with some fantastic fashions.  Take a peek for yourself and see how the stitches and the fiber colors blend so purr-fectly together to create fiber art pieces that deserve to be strutted down the catwalk ...

    Before I offer the links to this designer, please note that some of the models are wearing sheer garments and the lack of undergarments may cause for uncomfortable moments if you have young children looking at the fashions with you.  So, if you have children and don't wish for them to see, then please check out Clare's work after you tuck your children into bed tonight.

    London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2006 >> Clare Tough
    and More of Clare's Fashions

    My thanks to Ruth for pointing out the links to Clare's work!  :)

    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Cranking Through Stash

    It's rather a good thing I took my children to work with me on Tuesday as I rewarded their good behavior with various skeins of yarn from the shop (was that really a reward for them, or for me?? Wha ha ha ha ha ha!).  It seems they're on a sock kick, or more like a sock addiction!

    About five years ago or so my daughter received a "Barbie Knit Kit" from Santa.  She showed interest in it for all of an hour and then went on to "bigger & better" toys more suited for her then age.  I packed the knit kit up and placed it into the children's closet vowing to take it back out again when she was at an age where she would appreciate it more.  Did I mention they're addicted to making socks?  Oh, yes, I see, I did.  All-righty then.  Continuing on with the story, I took it out of the closet about a month or two ago and since that time momentum in using it has been building & building until we've reached the sock frenzy we're at now.  
    (In fact, you can see one of the socks she "knitted" while at a recent club meeting -- Margaret, who is such a dear, was helping repair one of the socks while it was still on my daughter's foot! What a riot!)

    It now appears that my son is also addicted to making socks too -- and can do so in mere minutes!  Perhaps this could be a new Olympic sport, no?

    This is because they're teaming up on the little machine.  One threads the yarn through, the other begins slowly cranking, and then cranks faster and faster and faster until the magic words are yelled across the house, "Mom, do you know where the scissors are?!"  Ah yes; it appears another sock has been born.  They're really having a blast with it, and at one point yesterday they had me crocheting a cuff onto one of the socks they intended to give their Nana.  Ah, but Nana has bigger feet than the children, so back to the Barbie Knit Kit they returned.
    Singer Knitting Machine
    I searched the Internet to see if there's any Barbie Knit Kits still available.  I only found a few blog entries of others sharing their stories with this little gem of a toy knitter.  So I popped on over to Joanns and found they have something similar.  They're calling it a
    Singer Knitting Machine -- looks like the same concept, and they happen to have it currently on sale!  I'm thinking of ordering one for my son.  In the event you want one and are spending more than $30, they're offering free priority shipping.  Red Heart Classic YarnUse code MAYFSE630, good until May 10th.

    PS:  If you do opt to get one, make sure you're well stocked with various yarns -- you'll be amazed how quickly you'll go through it.

    PSs: Yes, the newspaper story above is fictitious -- the children liked that I created one about them because of how fast they were flying through not only their stash, but mine too!  I challenge you to come up with your own fiber story & post it on your blogs -- be sure to send me a link to check it out!  You can make your newspaper story

    Wednesday, April 19, 2006

    Getting the Lowdown on Grandma's Groove & other interesting news

    I love finding crochet in the news, be it on television, in a magazine, or in a newspaper.  While I had fun this morning churning up my own "crochet news" (see images provided in this entry; please note that these are fictitious!), finding the latest news on crochet is as easy as going to and signing up for them to email you links to the latest & greatest -- you can opt that they notify you daily or weekly.

    In keeping up with the latest crochet news you can learn things like how 
    Granny [now] has a brand-new groove, an article by the Los Angeles Times that discusses turning grandma's hand created treasures into modern works, such as doilies into ipod carriers.  "Today we can ask far more from our industries," designer Allen says. "It should not be about how can we make something easy, but how can we make it beautiful. There was a very good reason why Modern of the 20th century looked the way it did — machines were only able to do minimal things."  Another designer from the same article states, "I think it's a shame when designers look to the future only and not also to the past," says Wanders. "It's a waste of possibilities."  I think it's finding inspirational nuggets like that make reading the news articles on crochet so interesting; I love it!  Go, read the article; I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

    Other news I'd like to share is that the program on the cable channel known as Oxygen will be reairing the "Stitchcraft" pilot that features Lily Chin.  (Yes, the pilot show focuses on knit fashions, but do check out the crocheted dress Lily wears!) The show will be reaired on:
  • Friday, May 19th @ 7:30P
  • Saturday, May 20th @ 4P
  • Sunday, May 21st @ 2:30P

    Lily states, "They're trying to see what may be a better time slot & this also gives the network more time to prepare for the airdates by building out their website, etc. This can only get us more viewers!"   And more viewers mean there's a greater chance that this show becomes more than a just pilot AND that they'll eventually feature crochet! 
  • Lily will also be on the "I've Got a Secret" program featured on the Game Show Network (also on cable) on May 29th @ 11:30P.  Check your local listings. 

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Spring/Summer 2006 Crochet Classes: Bethel, CT

    Crochet is hot! Hot! HOT!
    Discover why when you take a class with Dee!

    Store:  A Stitch In Time
    Location:  276 Greenwood Avenue, Bethel, CT
    Contact: (203) 748-1002

    Class Reminders: Store Policy
     ·         All classes have a maximum and minimum size, so sign up early to insure your spot.
    ·         Full payment is required upon registration. There are no refunds on classes unless we cancel. If you cancel and we can fill your spot, you will get a store credit.
    ·         We will give you the supply list when you sign up. There is 10% off materials that are bought for one of our classes.
    ·         Most of our classes require home work be done at home. Yes, homework!
            Please leave your friends and family home for class!

    Stitch Social:

    Come for an hour, or come for two (on the same day)!  In this social class participants experience the joy of crocheting and chatting with others while getting help with projects, finishing techniques, and/or learning a "new to me" stitch. Class size is limited so come in out of the heat and reserve your seat today! 
    Thursdays                                 10:00 - 12:00
    Cost:  $15 for 1-hr or $25 for 2-hr sessions on the
    following dates: 4/27; 5/4, 5/11, 5/25; 6/1,6/8; 7/27; 8/3, 8/10, 8/17, 8/24

    Crochet 101:
    Now is the perfect time to get hooked on the art of crochet! This class is designed with the beginner in mind: learn how to properly start your work, the foundation, the single crochet, how to count stitches, how to build on your work to create wonderful fabric, and how to properly end off.
    Thursdays, 5/11; 6/8; 8/3       12:15 - 2:15
    Cost:  $25 plus supplies
    Supplies : Any crochet book that has illustrations of basic stitches, Crochet Hook (G, H, or I), light colored 4-ply yarn.

    Crochet 102:
    Reading labels, figuring out gauge, reading patterns, repeats, markers... Oh!  What is all this?  It's the next step in learning more crochet!  This class is designed to help beginners take their new passion to the next level.  ** Participants will need to come to class with pattern, fiber & hook.  
    Thursday, 7/27; 8/24    12:15 - 2:15
    Cost: $25 plus supplies

    Supplies needed: Pattern to start, Crochet Hook (G, H, or I), and light colored 4-ply yarn.

        Simple, Light Weight Summer Projects:

    Toe Thongs:
    Step in style on the beach this summer while wearing your beautiful toe thongs!  Pattern provided. Basic skill knowledge required.
    Thursday, 4/27; 8/10      12:15 - 2:15
    Cost: $25 plus supplies
    Supplies needed: Crochet Hook (F), Feza "Night" yarn, bone rings of various sizes; beads optional

    Hip Hoppin' Flip Flops:

    Learn how to decorate a pair of flip flops using textured fibers and crochet stitches to hip hoppin' in summer style.  Great stash buster project! Basic skill knowledge required.
    Thursday, 5/4  12:15 - 2:15
    Cost: $25 plus supplies
    Supplies needed: Variety of Crochet Hooks (G-N), novelty yarn; beads optional

    "Bad to the Bone" Bangles:
    On the beach show your style by creating bangles that match your swim attire.  Easy to create once you know the technique!  Pattern provided. Basic skill knowledge required.
    Thursday, 6/1  12:15 - 2:15
    Cost: $25 plus supplies
    Supplies needed: Crochet Hook (F), medium weight yarn (worsted), bone rings of
    various sizes; beads optional

    Back to School Pencil Bag:
    Instead of counting the days until the children head back to school, why not count some stitches and learn how to create a pencil bag (or crochet hook holder)?  Pattern provided.  Basic skill knowledge required.
    Thursday, 8/17      12:15 - 2:15
    Cost: $25 plus supplies

    Monday, April 17, 2006

    Quiet Passings

     Sadly, one blogger, the one that helped inspire me most to crochet chemo hats for those with cancer, passed away yesterday.  Pamela, of "JustOneGirlsHeadNoise," is now at peace.  Pamela had a heart of gold and will be greatly missed by her family, her friends, and her regular readers; she touched so many lives!  The following is an excerpt from an entry she wrote this past November that I think demonstrates her generosity, her compassion, her love of life and desire to touch others:

    "most days the patients sit chatting quietly with each another .. yesterday morning there was a woman and her husband there i had seen on several occasions .. she was always quiet, never making a fuss .. just sitting there in those sexy hospital gowns in a hat on that reminded me of Gilligan's Island

    "i pulled my chaircloser to hers and inquired, polietly, about her condition .. althoughher husband tried to interject on several occasions (to save his wife the effort of breathing i suppose) i really DID want to talk to her, to her hear side of her story .. pretty soon her gracious husband "got it" and was content to sit back and listen .. then i asked if her Gilligans hat held any sentimemtal significance .. she shook her head no

    "i pulled my hand crocheted chemo cap from my head (i was wearing my black and green one) and then i asked her if she'd noticed my chemo cap that was crocheted by a friend of mine .. she ran her hand over the cap, exclaimed how soft it was .. i encouraged her to put it on so we could see what it looked like.. and she looked like a queen .. a chemo cap fit for a queen .. just about that time my technician came to fetch me and i told her to keep the cap, it looks like it was made just for her and she looks beautiful

    "and tomorrow i know when i see my new friend, she'll have a smile on her face and a beautiful new chemo cap on her head .. its amazing, even when you're at your sickest, just doing a little something to make you feel pretty sure does do a long way"

    My deepest sympathies to your family, Pamela.   The chemo caps I crochet this year will be dedicated in your memory ~ God Bless you, Pamela Hilger!  You will always be remembered; always be celebrated for who you were, and how you touched us all!

    Tags: , ,

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    Saving the Earth One Plastic Stitch At a Time?

    My children are enjoying the start of their Spring break, but this doesn't mean that their minds have checked out on a learning/teaching opportunity.

    No, rather my son has been on a "Save the World" campaign ever since he learned in school that every minute 300 yards (the size of 3 football fields, or 2 baseball fields) of forests are destroyed.  He wants the United States to tell other countries to stop chopping down their trees because we (we in the sense of the whole world) need them.  I asked him why America can't look inward first to see that we too are chopping down trees for shopping plazas & such at an alarming rate.  I asked him to just look at our own small town and think, in just the past few years, how our hills once green with trees are now dotted with many, many houses.  He's still thinking on that one.

    But, being aware of his desire to save the world, and wanting to impress this seven year old, I opted to do a little recycling.  I'm already using my icing/frosting containers to create pencil/hook holders, complete with freeform covers.  So I decided to look to my grocery bags that I normally recycle back to the grocery stores I frequent.  As I looked over my plastic bag collection, I recalled the 2004 CGOA Conference
    Member's Fashion Show where Kelsey Schill showed off her "Home Depot" Faux Burberry Bag -- and thought I could do something along those lines.

    I grabbed the shopping bags and started cutting, preparing the plastic into crochetable strips.  Then I set to work crocheting the material.  Thus far I have the bottom and part of the sides completed.  My son stood next to me for a very long time last night, watching.  Watching me yarn over and pulling the plastic material through various loops; the plastic making little crinkling noises.  "You know, Mom," he said with a big grin, "I think it's great you're saving the world one stitch at a time."  :)

    If you're interested in crocheting with your plastic shopping bags, then check out the following links:
  • Plastic Bag Crochet: please note the figure images the article references are MIA but there's enough info there to get you started
  • Marlos Crochet Corner: Instructions for making a Round Plastic Tote Bag; she also includes one way on how to cut & join the plastic bags
  • Ebay: keep an eye on the auctions (using words like crochet plastic) to find various booklets published with patterns featuring plastic grocery bags!
  • Friday, April 14, 2006

    Exquisite Twins?

    Created with Valley Cottons' Violet Nights thread from WEBs; pattern is from Leisure Arts 3588, called Extra Special DoilesLast week someone was looking for a particular colored thread; knowing the color combo was a bit unusual (meaning not something you'd find at your local craft shop like Joann's), I responded thinking perhaps it was my doily I crocheted last summer that inspired the fiber search.

    After exchanging a few emails, it turns out it was someone else's doily that inspired the fiber search -- a doily created with the same Leisure Arts pattern, and in the same color pallet as mine -- and all I can say after seeing it for my own eyes is, "Wow! We're Twins!" :)

    Check it out for yourself:
    Bette's Doilies @ ... and scroll about half way down to check out the close-up of her Exquisite doily. (and while you're there, be sure to check out all of her doilies -- aren't they beautiful?!!)  I think if lighting were taken into Close up of Dee's doily, also pictured with Overlay Crochetconsideration (mine were taken outdoors, and I think hers were taken indoors) that the fiber colors are right on the money: purple, teal & white/gray mix.  Would you agree that our doiles are twins?  I think they are. {{grins}}

    I left a comment for Bette to see if we can confirm if we did indeed use the same fiber (would that be called 'DNA'?  lol).   In my humble opinion, it's not often that you see a textured doily created in a variegated fiber (other than "painted doilies"which opens a whole new chapter on the subject of doilies).  The mere fact that the two of us, Bette and I, used the same pattern and perhaps the same fiber, and the same color variation is pretty cool.  And add into the mix that both pieces were entirely created by hand then perhaps you can see where I'm going with this -- no machine can stamp out exquisite work like this!  {{grins}} 

    I wonder, is it possible, that somewhere out there in the world we could be triplets?  If so, please contact me with a link to the image ... be it your work or someone else's.  It would be fun to see if there are more of Mary Werst's pattern for the Exquisite doily created in the same fiber/color combo!  :)

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    When Should Dreams Become Reality?

    I had a most devious
    dream about taking action on Arbor Day
    ever since  my nephew-to-be sent me a link to
    Erica's Knitting Blog where she apparently
    knit a sweater for a treeA tree?  Yes, a tree!
    My dream involved getting up at midnight and sneaking out to
    the center of my little country town and decorating the young
    trees with little crocheted sweaters -- kind of like a
    Santa Claus thing but instead of delivering toys,
    it'd be a
    series of
    yellow ones as a
    that we
    have many
    in our
    serving over seas...

    I didn't do it -- yet; like I said, it was a dream.  I have until the last Friday of the month to make the decision of if I should turn my dream a reality.  How about you?  What would you think if you saw a tree with a sweater on?  Would it make a difference if it were crocheted or knitted?

    See another tree sweater here.

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Getting a Grip, or Rather, Loosening Up

    So how goes it with my adventure into the knitting world?  I think it would be safe for me to say that I think rock climbing would be easier for me.  There's something about the elbows going up & down (as they do in the Chicken Dance you see people doing at weddings & such) as I stick my tongue out, holding the needles with a death grip, concentrating on lifting loops, yarning over, and then cursing when it doesn't work out the way it should --  that I just haven't found the joy in knitting yet.  The Art Of Knitting DVDWell, not cursing as one would imagine; I have young children so I use words like dang! Dooph! Eish! and the most vocal & hurtful in my knitting attempts:  "Where's my crochet?!"
    I think part of my problem is in figuring out the first step -- casting on.  Wouldn't it be easier, my mind thinks, if I grabbed my Tunisian crochet hook, chained the number of stitches I want, pick up the loops with the Tunisian hook and then slowly work them off with one of the pointed sticks?  That would be surely be cheating, no?  And more importantly, would it be obvious that I cast on that way?  (Note to self: try this! LOL)

    So the other day I had Liz of show me how to cast on.  She showed me an entirely new way and within moments I had a few knitted rows done.  She also advised me that I'm a "Continental" knitter -- because my crochet (addiction) influences on how I hold my yarn.  OK, so now I just need to work on not twisting my loops -- geesh!  I don't recall having problems like this with my crochet stitches, but I'll keep trying; I'll keep practicing!  And who knows, maybe one day it will feel comfortable for me to do that "Chicken Dance" movement while loosening up on my death grip with the pointed sticks, er, hooks, er needles.  Yes, they are called needles.  Needles; needles; needles!  (Note to self: stop calling them pointed sticks.)

    I want to mention that one of the main reasons I'm pushing myself to accept, no -- wrong word there, to embrace knitting is because there are more and more patterns coming out that are blending the two art forms -- crocheting and knitting together -- to create absolutely beautiful projects!  Just check out the latest Spring issue of Interweave Knit's Crochet magazine and you'll see just what I mean ... WOW!

    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Time Keeps on Ticking, Ticking, Ticking

    I finished submitting new (local) class proposals and will post them once I receive the final OK.  So now I am in the process of proposing more designs for publication (which I always seem to find fun to do even with deadlines nearing).  As I sit here enjoying my iced tea on such a beautiful Spring day, it occurs to me that it's April.  April?  April!  We're into the fourth month of the new year!  Just how did that happen?!  I wonder where all that time went?!

    And why is it, as I wonder why time has gone so fast to this point, that I seemingly can't wait for the next two months to breeze by so I can attend the Crochet Guild of America's National Conference?  How is it that waiting for the future seems to be going so slow?  LOL  It's one of those "hurry up & get here already" moments I guess.

    I do know that the Regional Conference will be taking place in just barely a week from now, and although I'm not going to that one, I am excited to hear back about everyone's experiences!  If you're interested in learning about either Conference, visit for more information.  If you've never been, it's worth going -- even if it's just to shop the Vendors Market.  You can sit in the hotel lobby for a spell and meet many other fiberholics!

    Speaking of visiting, I was over at just a bit ago and found her Delta Crochet work incredible!  (Do go and check out her beautiful work!)  Her crochet work has inspired me to sign myself up for a class while I await for July to come -- and to my surprise, I found that Hass Designs is having a class special on how to create their Star Jasmine Doily!  If you're interested in taking the class too, hurry!  The special rate is good until tomorrow, April 12th!  Hmmm, that seems to be another reference to time hurrying, huh?  Sorry.  I couldn't help that one!  :/

    Monday, April 10, 2006

    "inner warmth of goodness"

    I love to take brief moments now & then to stand completely still while raising my face towards the sun to feel it's warmth upon my skin.  There's just something about those few moments that I find refreshing -- like a way to recharge my batteries with positive energy -- I'm ready to continue on with whatever I was doing, but now with an inner warmth.  (If you'd like to hum the John Denver tune, "Sunshine on my Shoulders makes me happy," while reading on, I wouldn't mind.  But be careful, the tune has a way of getting stuck in your head!)

    I received one of those warming moments in the mail Friday.  At the beginning of the year I had signed up for the "Yarn of the Month" Club click onto the image if you'd like to learn the names of the yarn samples sent this month.and although delighted in the samples I have been receiving, I did not find inspiration, that moment in the sun if you will, with the knit patterns they
    included. What about crochet, I'd wonder. Should I cancel my subscription, or write to them and request they include us crocheters who also subscribe? Would writing them and requesting so be too soon, after all, I am a newbie to their Club. I decided to take the wait and see approach for a few more months. I'm glad I did!

    Imagine my delight when I opened the envelope for my April subscription to discover a pattern using the Tunisian Crochet technique! (Plus the
    delicious samples are so "Spring-y"!)  Whoohoo!  

    My excitement doesn't abound so much from the fact that it is a crochet pattern but more from the feeling of having crochet included as a fiber art form! I definitely have plans of writing them now and thanking them for this; this really brighten up my experience with their Yarn of the Month Club!**

    Something else gave me that "inner warmth of goodness" feeling today; it was brought to my attention that my blog is featured on Sandi Marshall's April 3rd Newsletter entitled, What's Going On In The Crochet Blog World over at -- I'm honored; thanks Sandi!  :)

    **If you're interested in joining the Yarn of the Month Club, visit and sign up.  It costs $7.75 a month to join. It's a great way to play with designer fibers without a huge financial commitment -- and sometimes you get a crochet pattern with it too!

    Sunday, April 9, 2006

    In the Celebrity Spot Light

    I always enjoy teaching, and yesterday was an echo of that sentiment. It was a rainy day -- weather which I think of as a perfect time to curl up with a good hook and ball of yarn -- and my students thought the same thing. As we were going over their projects, reading the patterns, figuring out the stitch rhythms, it was then when a pretty young woman approached us and looked right at me. I looked up and smiled at her, eyeing the fact that she had the new Interweave Knits 2006 Crochet edition tucked under her arm. "Oh," she exclaimed, "You're that woman from the Internet, aren't you?"

    At this point all my students looked up.  "Yes, yes," she continued, "you are!"

    Oh my!  I felt like an instant celebrity!  "Are you a crocheter," I inquired.  "Yes, and a knitter too, but crochet is my first love," she replied. 

    Stitch N' Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker"Sadly, as a college student I don't have enough time to do all that I would like," she said.  I smiled.  Don't we all know the truth to that!  She pointed to her magazine and told us how happy she is that crochet fashions are becoming so hot!  "For the longest time," she said, "there was nothing!  Now I want to make everything!"  We laughed.  She asked about the Happy Hooker book, if I've seen it.  I asked her if she's seen the promotional video.  She hadn't.  So I told her to visit my blog/journal this week to get the link.  (Don't forget to listen to Debbie Stoller's interview broadcast on NPR!)

    Soon after I returned to teaching my class.  I never caught the woman's name, but talking with her sure was fun!  I felt famous -- like a celebrity.  I wonder if this is how Madonna feels when she's spotted; maybe I should have asked her that in my interview with her.  LOL

    Now anyone deserving to be in the celebrity spot light right now is my awesome roommate from the 2003 CGOA Conference who also happens to be the President of the New York City Crochet GuildWillena Nanton!  She's featured in the latest issue of Black Purl Magazine ... go and check out the article on her and be inspired by her crochet work!  You so rock, Willena!  Congratulations!

    Friday, April 7, 2006

    Automatic Spooling with a Great Source of Inspiration

    Embellish-Knit! Machine At JoAnn's last big online sale I purchased an Embellish-Knit which is an automatic spool knitter (click onto the image to the right for product details).  It' not like the type pictured below (on the left) where you must use a crochet hook to lift the loops up & over the individual pegs, although the one pictured is fun to use.  No, this new toy, er tool, promises to be automatic. I'm thinking of playing around with my new tool later today since I'm still a bit "under the weather."  You know how it is, an idea pops in your head and you just have to try it out!  ((grins))  If the idea works, then I'll have even bigger grins!  (UPDATE:  If you want to order one from Joann's too, for FREE shipping on any order, use code THANKSEC46; I don't know if it the code has an expiration date.)

    If you haven't already checked it out, Noreen Crone-Findlay has an awesome blog on the Lion Brand website called, Spool Speak: Spool Knitting Confessions and Confections, about ways you can use your spool knitters to enhance various projects.  She's just amazing!

    Creative Crocheted Dolls: 50 Whimsical DesignsNoreen has several books out, one of which is called "Creative Crocheted Dolls."   I took a class with her at the 2004 CGOA Conference & got her to do a little voice entry here -- take a listen for yourself:
    Click here(It was during that time that she was randomly drawing names and giving out the dolls featured in the book.  I was one lucky duck at the time & won the pretty angel featured on page 50!)  Noreen's Angel Doll from page 52She's a great source of inspiration!  Check her out!  (Update:  For those wanting to see Noreen's Angel Doll I scanned it this afternoon and am adding it to my journal entry here on the left.  To see it up close, click onto it.  It's such a beautiful angel! ... and what's cool about the image, the angel appears to be floating!  Doesn't it look that way to you??)

    If you're interested in getting one of these gadgets too then you'll be happy to know that
    JoAnn's is offering 40% off one online item ... use code APRE6402 -- the code is now good until 4/12!

    8:07 PM UPDATE:  I am loving my new Embellish-Knit!  The best thing I can say about it usingjust one word requires me to quote one of Noreen's favorite sayings, "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"   LOL

    Thursday, April 6, 2006

    ... my absence ...

    Many have either written me, or told me in person of how much reading my blog/journal here has become a part of their daily routine.  "Dee, you have no idea," said Lori at our last crochet class, "of how much I look forward to reading your blog!  I grab a cup of coffee, go online and then read about your latest crochet adventures."  I appreciate feedback like that!  Thank you!! 

    Dee's absence is felt in the crochet world?While I am delighted that my blog has become a routine visit for many, there will be times I will be absent.  Such as for the past couple of days where
    I've pretty much slept for the past 36 hours; this cold I've had since last week is seriously cutting into my crochet time.  (And thus  explains my delay in responding to emails and the absence of new blog/journal entries.) 

    While I work on getting better, I'd like for you all to read this article called, "
    Confessions of a Reformed Pattern-Slave" written by Claudia Dunitz for the new online magazine, "for the love of yarn."  Even if you're not ready to toss your patterns aside and just "go with it," I think you'll enjoy the article as it also relates to the growth of yarn stash.  Enjoy!

    ... A big thanks goes to Jean Leinhauser for pointing it out.

    Monday, April 3, 2006

    Dee's (Knitting) Anatomy

    On Sunday night, after much blogging about me mentioning that I should try again to "be one with the knit," to give it another yarn over (so to speak), I picked up a pair of knitting needles and tried again.

    Going on memory, which I think should never happen on a "daylight savings" day, I opted to cast on a simple number of loops.  Do knitters call them loops or stitches?  I'm going to call them loops as that's what they look like to me should I have been doing the crochet Tunisian technique.  In thinking back, I should have grabbed one of my knitting books for reference.

    Instead I opted to go it alone, and select an easy number of loops to start.  Fifteen; I can handle fifteen just to fiddle around in becoming "one" with the knitting needles, right?  As I cast on my loops, the television program Grey's Anatomy comes on.  The episode, called
    The Name of the Game, is about the main character, Meredith, giving up on men and using her knitting as a substitute.  Her plan?  She's going to knit a sweater.  I think she was doomed though as throughout the entire program there were constant remarks made by the other characters saying she can't knit.

    I'm sitting there on my couch, watching the program a bit while trying to get those negative thoughts of "Dee can't knit" out of my mind.  As I stick the point of my needles into various loops, I twist the yarn around this way and that --praying kinda -- that I can pick up another loop without dropping it.  Many times I found myself stopped, intently watching Meredith throwing the yarn over her needles.  I found myself wondering, "Why does she throw her yarn over like that? 
    Is that the way I should have been doing it too?"

    Meanwhile, in another scene on the show, they show Meredith's knit work growing.  And then in another scene there's another character knitting too, Izzie, as part of Meredith's support system.  I'm gathering that the entire show takes place within a single day -- so I was quite surprised when Izzie was able to present a patient with an entirely knitted sweater.  Come on!  I think we all know that knitting is way slower than crocheting!  After all, within the hour of watching the program I only had four rows done of fifteen loops/stitches, and just where did that scallop edging come from?  That wasn't in the plan!  Talking about a crushing feeling!

    Let's face it, this was not a "learn to knit" program, but fortunately not all was lost.  In the last scene they show Meredith madly knitting away ... her sweater looked like it was scarf that would eventually fit King Kong.  Whew!  So maybe it's not just me being slow to pick up on knitting.  I tugged out my work.  I think I'll try again sometime in the future; maybe my luck/skill will improve.  Then again, maybe Meredith should try crocheting.

    BTW: If you can't get enough of the televison show, then you'll be happy to know they have two blogs that focus on characters from the program: 
    Emerald City Bar and The Nurse's Station  Please note both links I'm providing here go directly to their entries about this knitting episode.  And I happen to like one line from Joe, the Bartender:  "I mean, seriously – knitting?  Meredith is my girl and all, but she was totally freaking the other customers out with the whole knitting thing.  Man, I’m telling you, people just aren’t used to seeing something like that..."  I wonder what he'd say should she have been crocheting ...  

    The Ewephoric Experience

    This past Saturday I awoke early.  At five.  An hour I haven't seen since ... well, I seemingly can't remember; maybe back in my "working corporate" days, but nothing of recent comes to mind.  Five.  In the morning!  Ugh!  (My hat is off to those of you who do awake at that hour on a regular basis!)  For this night owl it was difficult.  But I did it!  A major accomplishment!  ((thanks to LOTS of coffee!!))

    I packed my felted crocheted bag (I'll have to see if I have a picture of it somewhere) with my various crochet supplies, skipped wearing a jacket and opted for my poncho and out the door I went.  It was now six in the morning.  Even though the weather forecast said rain, I could see that the sun was going to be out nice and bright.  I was glad I opted to wear the poncho.

    I met up with Jen and Grace.  (For long-time readers, you already know that Grace is no stranger to my blog here -- she's usually with me, sometimes even kidnapping me -- as we travel the countryside enjoying various crochet adventures!)  Today was no different.  The three of us were on our way to Avon, Connecticut, to experience what the store, The Wool Connection, calls "The Ewephoric Weekend."  It would be our first time attending and we were quite excited!

    We arrived in plenty of time; the event was being held at the Avon Old Farms Inn which is both a restaurant and conference center (I had previously wrote about this Inn the last time Grace and I went on an adventure; we went to hook up with freeformers Mel and Susie).
      We checked in and parted ways.  Jen and Grace went to their knitting class and I started to make my way to my class on Crocheted Flowers.  It seemed to take forever to get to my class, but I didn't mind.  This is because I kept getting stopped with admirers for my poncho.  "How ever did you knit this," I'd be asked. 
         "It wasn't; it's crocheted," I'd reply. 
         They would reach out and pet the poncho.  (Note:  If you attend a fiber event and wear a crocheted or knitted item, expect to be petted!  This is a normal phenomenon!)  "Oh, I could never crochet something as beautiful as that, I only know the basic crochet stitches," they'd say. 
          I would smile and answer, "Well, that's all you need for this poncho.  It's crocheted with the basics -- the single crochet, the half-double, and the double.  The trick is to let the fibers do the talking."  
         Instructor Barbara Hillary"Really?!," they'd reply back, seemingly shocked at the simplicity in the design.  Regardless, they loved it and many said they'd like to try crocheting one for themselves.  I love when I can inspire others to pick up the hook!  :)

    There were many crochet designers there from Melissa Leapman (pictured in yesterday's replacement blog entry), Margaret Hubert, and Lily Chin -- and knit designers too (although because I knit very little, I am not as exposed to them so their names are not as recognizable to me).Barbara's Class Samples. Later she gave me the red & purple flower as a gift for my daugher!  Wasn't that nice of her?  Thanks Barbara!  It was fun to watch their fans "celebrity spot" them for the first time! 

    I made it to class and met some very lovely ladies who were fairly new to crochet.  We enjoyed a wonderful discussion on our experiences with the two fiber arts until it was time for class to begin.  The class was taught by Barbara Hillary, founder of the New York City Crochet Guild.  She took out some of the most beautiful flowers and began inspiring us to mix our fibers and our stitches.   I unpacked my bag, The flowers I created during class.and using the fibers I've been crocheting freeform to cover a jean jacket with, I created four flowers using her patterns/techniques and opted to create my own for the fifth.  In looking around the tables at everyone's creations, it sure looked like spring! It was a very fun class.

    Afterwards we headed to lunch.  Lunch was like a huge family reunion as Grace, Jen and myself were able to hook up with members from the NYCCG.  (I say *family* because we attend so many events together, such as the New York City "Knit Out &Crochet Too!" sponsored by the Craft Yarn Council of America, that it's always a pleasure to see them again!). At our table we had more of a confessional type of discussion going on -- talking about why we have unfinished projects and what prevents us from finishing them.  Overall, I think it was the emotional attachments that we feel to the work that won out over the time factor on why this seemingly happens to us all!  (Yes, I did hang my head in shame and confess that I still have not completed my daughter's freeform sweater!)Outside of the Wool Connection's store.

    I was delighted when I got a chance to chat with Melissa Leapman briefly when she spotted us in the buffet line; I also got an opportunity to speak with Lily Chin too (she even sent a "hello" message to my children who are amazed at how quick she can crochet).  It was good to chat with them, even briefly!  :)

    When lunch was over, Margaret Hubert scooped the three of us up and drove us over to The Wool Connection store.  We were not alone! The store was humming with activity as many of the other participants from the Ewephoric Weekend were enjoying an opportunity to purchase an assortment of yummy fibers.  Margaret took the time to personally introduce me to the store owners and event coordinators, Bob and Phyllis, who I found absolutely charming.  I found their store to be well organized, clean, and very well staffed!  (Considering that there were so many people in the store at one time -- it was amazing how well the store looked!) 

    I treated myself to a pink nightshirt (it has a sleeping sheep on it dreaming of it's fleece becoming a cardigan), a ball of Trendsetter Yarns' Joy, and some matching buttons. There's Margaret! (I didn't see the nightshirt listed on their website.  If you're interested in it, please inquire with them as it's a product only offered by them.)

    Soon it was time for our second class, and this time the three of us were together; make that four because Margaret joined our class too!  Again my instructor was Barbara Hillary, and the class was on Swirls, Twirls and Spirals.  Since I already knew how to create spirals, I focused on the Twirls and Swirls, again using the fibers I'm utilizing in the jean jacket project.  One of the things I love most about taking classes like this, besides learning new techniques, is because it's an opportunity to see everyone's work -- with the fibers and color selections being different the end results are amazing -- and inspiring -- to see!  To visit Barbara's website visit

    It was time for us to go; we needed to return Grace to her family as it was her birthday and they had a family celebration planned for her.  (Happy Birthday, Grace!!)  We did not stay for the wine and cheese, but in reading Margaret's journal entry today, it sounds like it was fun.

    Here's another blog entry about the Ewephoric Experience: Fiber Artists Unite!

    I enjoyed my Ewephoric experience and now have thoughts about attending next year.  Bob, Phyllis:  thank you for putting this event together; it was a lot of fun!  :)