Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Question From Reader: How do I Promote My Blog?

Dear Dee, I'm thinking of starting a blog but am worried I won't have many visitors. How do I go about promoting it?

That's a great question Sammi, and how wonderful you're thinking about blogging! 
There are several ways to let folks know about your new blog.  Here's some suggestions to get you started:
     1a.  Put a blurb about it in your email signature line.  Each time you send an email out you are letting people know how to find you.

     1b.  If you participate on message boards, or with online groups, be sure your signature line appears there too!  (do make sure the url to your blog is correct!)  The message board or online group does not necessarily need to be about the same theme as your blog, but it does help bring readers with similar interests to you. 

     2.  Join "Rings."  Rings are a group of people with similar interests.  I have a ring for those who are passionate about crochet while vowing to use 'clean' language in their entries.  (To see the ring and the current 21 participants go here:
ICrochetWithDee)  There are many "rings" out there and you can certainly belong to more than just one -- choose those that mirror what your blog is about -- or create your own just as I did.

     4.  Join online communities where blog promotion is "their thing."  There are several sites, but I think the most well known is  When I first joined there was only one other "fiber" blog -- now I see there are many more; this is good thing as it gives the fiber arts exposure to those who normally wouldn't be!

     5.  What will your blog be about?  Will you specialize in one theme, or many?  This will help you determine a title (a title that specifies in what the topic would be about, such as "Sammi's Stitches" to hint it's fiber/craft related; or perhaps "Sammi's Society" to cover more generic/general topics) that best fits what you have in mind for your blog.  Keep in mind that you can certainly have more than one blog!

     6.  Blog about topics you are interested in -- and include links to other bloggers who support your entry topic.  This goes along with the adage of "Playing in the sandbox is fun, but it's more fun when toys are shared."  You link to others and they're apt to link to you.  Once you have the "link thing" going it's just a matter of time for search engines such as Google will find you & list you on their search pages.  
     7.  When you participate with various online groups & message boards, if you've discussed a topic on your blog that is now being discussed in the group, reply to the group stating such and provide a link to that entry.  Those that are interested will visit the entry, and while they're there they are more apt to look around to see what other types of entries you have available.  If they like what they see, they'll come back for future visits.  Some will even "subscribe" to your blog by using services such as and/or

So, once you've done the promoting, it's now important to maintain your readership.  Keep your posts fairly regular so your readers will keep coming back to see what's new.  You do not need to keep it as updated as much as I do -- but DO update on a regular basis.  Your readers will appreciate it.  :)

With all of this in mind, I'd like to introduce two new blogs to you, my readers:
The first is Priscilla, member of The HHCC, a Chapter of the CGOA:
  • By Hook or By Needles

  • The second is by Suzi ... she's just crazy about yarn! And check out this awesome button she made for me! (on right)    Thanks Suzi!  I love it!!
  • Yarn Krazy Kreationz

  • Monday, May 29, 2006

    32nd Annual MA Sheep and Wool Fair

    So, how do ewe feel about missing a fantastic yarn sale?  Apparently the answer is provided by the sheep at the 32nd Annual Sheep & Wool Fair that I had the privilege of attending yesterday.  (You have to click onto the link above & listen to get the punch line.)

    But first, before going to the Fair, I loaded up on a lot of fantastic fibers from the "Memorial Day Yarn Sale" where beautiful designer fibers were on sale for 50% off ... these are just a few of the adoptees now residing in my home.  From wool to silk blends, I'm excited to have them with me, and I can see that they're already "making nice" with the other fibers residing here.   :)

    So, did ewe like my little sheep joke earlier?  I couldn't resist!  LOL ...

    With Grace, Jennifer and my son yesterday, we took a little ride (about 2 hours one way) to attend the 32nd Annual Sheep & Wool Fair that was held in Cummington, MA, yesterday!
      Compared to other years that I've attended this event, yesterday's weather was just FANTASTIC!! The sun was shining, and everyone was having a great time!  But I think my son had the best time of all! 

    We looked at all the sheep, llamas, and alpacas -- and oh! the incredibly soft angora bunnies too! The baby animals were just adorable!

    We visited with Janet of who showed us how to do  drop spindling a little easier (I'm sure my son will egg me on to have us practice the technique soon!).  We visited with Sheila of who enjoyed having my son figure out the mechanics of their custom wheel her husband, Jonathan, designed.  And we got to say hello to Helen of (you may recall her from the Ewephoric Weekend that was held in Avon, CT); she helped my son get a taste of spinning on a wheel -- he seemed to be a natural at it -- he really enjoyed the experience!  (Does this mean a spinning wheel is in my future?  We'll see!  I joked with him saying I won't need to purchase my yarns anymore -- not when I can have him hand spin them up for me in a jiffy!)

    There were many things to see & do.  It was a real feast for the eyes, and the fingers.  We had a lot of good laughs ... including when we spotted the "rastafarian sheep."  (They were so cute!  I have no idea why their fleece is like that!) 

    So where was my daughter, the other fiberholic of my family? ... she was home being cared for by her daddy; still sick.  So my son did what any good brother would do: he searched for a souvenir for her that he hoped would brighten her day when we returned home.  Together we looked at a lot of interesting items, including some beautiful handmade dolls.  Eventually he found the perfect souvenir for her and surprised her with it when we arrived back at home.   He also pulled from his pocket an array of fibers he had collected: from sheep roving (fresh clipping), to actual spun fibers.  He shared every juicy detail of the Fair with her and that seemed to lift her spirits.  (She's feeling much better today, btw.  Thank you for all the Well Wishes for her!) 

    As for me?  I came home with a new license plate frame that says "I'd Rather be Hooking," some buffalo (yippee!), and some more dreamy soft Peruvian alpaca offered by *ATouchofTwist*!  Yes, it was a great time ... including listening to the live music provided by one of the vendors:

    32nd Annual MA Sheep & Wool 

    Other Interesting Links:
    Ewe & I Farm: Cindy provides details & pics of her experience at the Fair

    I Can Spin (or at least I offer a link to them so YOU can learn how!)

    Sunday, May 28, 2006

    Crochet: Technique or End Results?

    Is crochet a technique, meaning a process where a fiber (string, thread, wire, yarn ...) is manipulated with a hook, or is it the end results (what the stitches resemble when the project is completed)?

    I've been asking this question since attending the 2003 National Crochet Conference that was held in Chicago.  The Conference featured a Juried Exhibit, called "Rhythm of Crochet," that featured many different types of crochet -- including a piece created with wire by Joan Dulla.  (I even traveled to Massachusetts to revisit the Exhibit.  You can read about that 2004 Fiber-adventure here.)

    Clover Wonder Knitter Having taken a class with Joan prior to attending the Conference, I knew that she created her pieces with a crochet hook.  But was her technique what we'd call "crochet?"  If you look at her work closely, one would think it was knitted.  It resembles the look one could possibly achieve using a Wonder Knitter, except you need to omit the Wonder Knitter and create the stitches "in the air" with your fiber & hook. 

    The piece caused such a controversy that it was eventually pulled from the Exhibit.  But my question remained; what is crochet?  Is it the technique that qualifies it as crochet, or is it the end result, what the "fabric" looks like?  I've been searching for the answer since that time.

    iconicon Interesting enough the answer would arrive yesterday via the United States Postal Service ... in a little brown box from Amazon.  Inside was the new book, "Crocheted Wire Jewelry: Innovative Designs & Projects by Leading Artists" by Arline M. Fisch.  I had ordered the book "blind" -- without prior knowledge of what lay between the covers, between the pages.

    As I turned from one page to another I was delighted with the wonderful jewelry pieces -- each one inspiring, each one absolutely amazing!  And to my further delight, they discuss Joan's technique as well as Michael David Sturlin's.  While I personally would not consider David's technique shown in the book as crochet (they reference to it as "Viking Knitting" -- he uses a knitting needle to lift his loops) they do validate Joan's technique as crochet since she uses a crochet hook to lift her loops.  And that means that crochet is defined as a process, not the end result.

    So the next time you look at something and think it's knitted, you might want to reconsider.  For me, I have my answer:  Crochet is a process.

    Interested in checking out a copy for yourself?  Here's what I found thus far:

  • Barnes & Nobel is selling the book (reg $24.95) for $19.96 ($17.96 for members);
  • Amazon has it listed for $15.72
  • Overstock now has it for $14.93

    The book was just released (May 2006), and in my humble opinion should be checked out by every crocheter interested in crocheting with wire.  Ask your local library to get a copy!

    Now, while we're on the subject of crocheting with wire, please give Marleen a visit and check out her beautiful creations ... A Little Crochet ...

  • Friday, May 26, 2006

    Administrative Thoughts

    I've spent most of the day taking care of my daughter who's not feeling well.  Anytime that she doesn't want to read a book about horses, do some crocheting, or practice her new knitting skills then you know she's not feeling well.  But, she did have the energy to boast to her doctor today that she was a fiberholic!  Gotta love moments like that (plus, her doctor said she should be feeling much better by tomorrow.)

    So, while I'm taking care of her, I'm also spending time doing "adminstrative" things like updating my website, -- I added links to the Teachers I have studied under, and will be adding new "Famous Crocheters" to the growing list ... it just takes awhile because I need to enter it as html (computer/internet) coding.

    My excitement for today was in receiving my Class Confirmation for the 2006 CGOA National Conference.  Here's what I'll be taking:
         * Professional Development Day
         * Professional Development Evening
         * Make Your Own Crochet Hook with Nancy Nehring
         * Designer Workshop with Melissa Leapman
         * Motifs & Circles with Pauline Turner
         * Twists & Turns in Tunisian Jewelry with Kathleen Power Johnson
         * Designing Better Crocheted Fashions with Lily Chin
    and * Fine Shaping and Custom Fitting Garments with Lily Chin

    Nearly every group that I belong has members that will be attending the Conference this July and is in the process of settling on how to identify the group members.  I was wondering if:
              1.  Crochet Bloggers would like to create some sort of way to be identified -- wearing a crocheted motif of some sort ... perhaps a little "computer" pin (a pattern would need to be created so all bloggers could create one) ... of course this would & should be discussed, so please do & share with me a link where you ponder the idea on your blog.  Also I wonder if theres is an interest to get all the bloggers together for a special lunch, or a group photo perhaps??

              2.  I also wonder if readers of my blog here would be interested in being identified as well?  I'm thinking of something along the lines where you'd have to locate me at the Conference and let me know you're a reader to receive the special "identifier."  I haven't decided what it would be ... but still, I wanted air the idea out to see if this is something my readers, who will be at the conference, would be interested in.  After all, I WOULD need time to create the identifiers -- right?  {{grins}}

    Let me know.

    And, hey, if you're going to be in a class with me, let me know that too!  :)

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Globe Trotting ...

    Pack your bags and join me for a very interesting (& quick) trip outside of the United States!

    Things you'll need to pack:
         * Sense of Adventure
         * A Crochet Project (or too)
         * Google's Language Translator (unless you're able to speak & read languages other than American/English)

    All set?  Good!  We'll make two stops today; lets go!

    Our first stop is in Brazil.  We're visiting with Marisa Tricot who does some of the most incredible crocheted jewelry I've seen as well as other tasty delights for the eye!  She updates her blog with such wonderful images ... let's go on inside and say hi, shall we? ... (note that the link I'm providing here has already been run through Google's translator) ...
    Crochet and Acessórios

    That was fun, wasn't it!  You're already thinking of possibilities ... I know!  Me too!  She's incredible, really! 

    Are you ready to learn a bit of crochet hook history with a touch of inspiration from the past?  Well then, lets hop on over to France and give
    BrambleIcetree a visit!!  ... and remember, we want to be polite and look through dorlaiel's photographs -- it wouldn't be right if we didn't ... Irish Madnesses with the hook (Just be sure to keep your drool in check.)

    OK, it's time to head back to the States ... but if you're up for more fiber adventures tonight then be sure to check out the blogs I have listed in the column on the right under "Other Journals."  ... and if you have one for me to check out, please feel free to drop me a line.  :)

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Solar Power!

    Solar Power!
      Click to watch!

    Look, I know yesterday's video was not so hot ... it was really hard to see "ta da" action going on, but I assure you, it did change colors!  The problem was that I had to do the videoing using a lower grade megapixel level in order for the AOL site to accept it -- and after 15 attempts yesterday, I pretty much gave up on trying to capture the action.

    But just moments ago, while finally enjoying a blissful day of spring sunshine, I think I captured that magic! Watch the (smaller) spools of thread as they change from a cream/white to a light blue, yellow and pink.  Finally I'm able to offer that magical moment I so wanted to share yesterday.  (Yippee!)

    In the video you'll see some rectangles I've crocheted up already ... I'm on my third.  Not sure what I'll create with it yet, well, darn.  There I go ... lying!  I don't like to do that, but I guess I was trying to create a bit of mystery. Well, I guess I still can because yes, as a matter of fact, I do know what I'm creating -- but you'll have to wait and see what develops.  I'm wicked for teasing you today, but you know how it is after you emerge out of the darkness (caused by days & days of rain) -- you're just giddy with delight for seeing a constant sun shining!  Besides, I know you, my readers, enjoy a good teasing from time to time.  Too bad we can't reach right into our monitors and pet the fabric -- it's rather soft to the touch. 

    By the way, if you're stopping by here because I "surprised" you with a gift of Blog Explosion credits and was looking for a reason on why I would do such a thing, it's because I liked your fiber~theme blog and wanted to say "Hi" in a unique way.  Enjoy!  ~Dee

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Crochet Thread Illusion Attempt

    Ok, so I've been dodging clouds all day and the results are not all that great. (Click onto the image to the right to watch my first video attempt.)  Click to Watch the Crochet Thread Illusion AttemptI wonder if David Blaine had days like this -- a day where you want to show a great "illusion" only to have the weather not cooperate. Hmmm.

    This "trick" really started last week when I spent the day shopping online. I had found a website called All Threads and was intrigued to try their glow-in-the-dark thread. I already have glow-in-the-dark yarn, but thread? No, I didn't have that in my arsenal of yummy yarns. So I opted to order it. But just before I clicked onto the "complete your order button" I found solar thread.

    I recalled reading a fashion article awhile back that stated there was a new wedding gown craze -- using solar thread for the fine embroidered flowers. When the bride went outside, the embroidered flowers would appear all over her gown. A pretty cool concept when you stop to think about it. So I thought, what about adding this to my crochet work?? Intrigued, I selected a color to try and added it to my cart. Then I waited for my order to arrive.

    An amazing two days later, there it was!  My new box of toys, er thread, had arrived. Geesh! I recall thinking, that was fast! When I opened the box it was confirmed -- it was thread -- like sewing thread, that real fine stuff you'd use on a sewing machine, or use to replace a button. Crocheting it by itself would make for some mighty tiny projects unless, I thought, I added it to another fiber!

    So I looked around and found the leftover size 10 thread from the recent Communion Arm Band project I had crocheted for my son.  I worked up aquick swatch and excitedly ran out of the house holding my project high up towards the sky.  Watching.  Waiting.

    Only there was no sunshine.  We were in our seemingly millionth day of rain, and in fact heard rumors that Noah's Ark was coming down the pike due to local flooding.  Disappointed in the weather, I headed back inside and waited for the clouds to part.  I waited two days and then it happened -- the sun appeared!  I made a mad dash for my swatch and again excitedly ran outside to see what would happen to it once the sun shined upon it.

    I was not disappointed.  The solar fiber changed colors!  But, because it was one thin strand against the mighty thick strand of the size 10 thread, it wasn't so noticeable.  So I headed back in and went back to the All Threads website and placed another order. 

    Sure enough, two days later there was my order!  Impressed?  You betcha!  I dove into the box and eagerly grabbed the solar thread.  I *frogged* my original swatch and begain crocheting it up again.  Only this time I held two strands of the solar thread, a strand of the size 10 thread AND a strand of the glow-in-the dark thread together.  Would I be happy with the results?

    I admit holding all the strands together and creating the stitches without snagging a fiber here & there did prove a bit of a challenge ... but what about the end results?  Once my swatch was large enough I ran outside in search of the sun again.  This time I didn't have to wait long ... and was I delighted!  It was noticeable!  Happy, I returned back into the house.  But what I hadn't realized was how dark it was inside the house until I saw my swatch starting to glow!  Whoa!  In the mere moments it took the sun to change the solar fiber, it had also charged up the glow-in-the-dark fiber as well!  How cool is that?!  And, I will say, that it had a most unique texture look to it!

    I decided to tell my kids I had a great illusion for them.  I took them & my swatch outside and told them to watch my new magic trick.  Boy, did I impress them!  Or so they thought.  Thenwhen we came back into the house where they noticed it glowing ... I relished in their reaction that was shock & awe all rolled into one emotion.  Laughing, I told them I am the "David Blaine" of crochet.  We won't go into the eye rolling reaction they had to that.

    So, getting back on topic, I finished my swatch and tried to photograph & video the effects to share.  Only the sun kept hiding behind the clouds today.  I was flustered as you can tell by my eariler entry.   All I got, after about 15 takes (that's what they call'em in the movie business, right?) was the video above.  Oh, and this image which I opted to make a "CLICK HERE" because it takes a long time to load and I didn't want those on dial-up to be stuck waiting for it.

    So yes, I'm impressed with the product, and with the company.  And no, I'm not a paid spokesperson for them (But if they want  to pay me, then who am I to refuse?)  {{grins}}  The good news is, if you're interested in trying it yourself they're having a sale:  10% off orders over $50 until the end of the month.  Shipping is FREE.  Always.  (and in my experience -- quick too!)

    Dodging Clouds...

    I have a fantastic "show & tell" planned but it seems I must first dodge clouds (I need sunlight to do this, not that "filtered cloudy sunlight"); and I need to figure out how to use AOL's new Community Video option.  It may be awhile.  Have you seen the size of these clouds?  Anyone have a clue why my pc keeps hosing when I'm uploading the video?

    Sorry about letting the cat partially out of the bag.  Yeah, I'm trying to get a video uploaded for you all to enjoy.  What can I say? I'm stressed.  I need to crochet for a bit & figure this all out.  :-\

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    Question from Reader: Teaching Crochet ~ Getting Started

    My name is Denise. I ran across your website the other evening. I was IMPRESSED.  I also crochet and was interested in teaching some beginner to intermediate classes.  I was never sure how to approach this, can you give me some tips on how you began? (Oh, I  have been crocheting on and off for years. It is a real passion. )   Thanks for your help in advance.

    Thank you for the compliment on my site, Denise.  I think it's wonderful that you're interested in teaching crochet classes.  To become a teacher, I think the first quality one should have is passion for the subject.  Passion is contagious -- the more you can infect others with your devotion, the more pleasurable the experience will be for you, the teacher, and most importantly, for your students.  It's good to read that you already have this quality.

    While it's not one hundred percent required, I do think it helps if you are have certification in your background.  The Crochet Guild of America offers a Masters Basic Stitch program and Pauline Turner offers an International Diploma in Crochet Both programs looked good to me, but when I had the chance to take the Craft Yarn Council of America's Certified Instructors Program -- in person -- I jumped on it!  It was an intensive 3-day, 17-hour class that was packed with wonderful teaching information!  Of course you can do it by correspondence, but IF YOU GET A CHANCE to take it in person -- DO -- it!!  (With the CYCA's program you will also need to volunteer 15 hours of teaching time for each level.)

    Does it matter to your students if you're accredited in crochet?  I think being accredited says to your students you're serious about teaching crochet.  Now before my email box becomes flooded with notes about not being able to afford the courses, then please note that in most cases it is not necessary to be accredited to teach crochet -- BUT if you're serious about it and your teaching becomes your job, as it is with me, then in most cases the course(s) becomes a tax deduction.  (You'll want to talk to your tax accountant first!)

    Can you teach crochet without being accredited?  Yes!  And to help you the Craft Yarn Council of America set up the "Each One Teach Two" program.  After you're done teaching, let the CYCA know and you just might have your name pulled as part of their monthly "Thank You for Participating" drawing.  ((BTW: Congratulations to JANE!!))

    You'll also want to note that sometime in the (near?) future, Lion Brand will be launching a Crochet Instructor program; they just launched their Knitter's Instructors program, so crochet can't be far behind, right?  :)

    When you are ready to teach, here's a few tips to keep in mind:
         * Smile!  It's infectious and helps set the tone of "fun."
         * Praise!  We all make mistakes, but rather than dwell on them, find something to compliment such as the yarn color selection, the way the hook is being held, the way the stitches look, and for having the right stitch count. 
         * Show!  Walk around to your students and demonstrate what you're teaching.  They'll learn quicker and appreciate the time you spend with them.
         *  Laugh!  If YOU make an error and need to rip out your demo work, laugh about it.  This will show that it's no big deal to take out work and correct it.
         * Look!  Watch your students work and always give equal eye contact.  (I took a class once where the Instructor only looked at those in front of her & to those on her left.  The eye contact is needed to help your students know you're all on the same page!)

    The next step is to figure out where you'll be teaching.  Will it be in your home, at a local coffee shop, or at a local craft/yarn store?  You decide!   You'll also have to figure out a way on how to promote your classes ... flyers, newspaper ads, and having a website/blog are powerful tools to help students find you.  To read about how I got my start, click here.  And, if you can, try to get your hands on the now out of print book, Crochet for fun & profit by Darla Sims (you can try ebay; they have an option you can set up to have them notify you if an item comes up for auction; or your local library may have the book available for loan). 

    And remember, it doesn't matter if you teach crochet for free or for profit.  The key is to remember to pass on your passion; let it infect others in enjoying this fantastic fiber art form we call CROCHET!  :)

    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    Inspiration at the Fingertips

    More rain is in the forecast for today, so what better way is there to spend a rainy day than with a great crochet (or knit) project and the television remote?  (Maybe you'll even want to create a cozy for your remote while watching??)

    If you have access to the Oxygen channel, you'll want to tune in today to watch the Crafty Girls programs -- which is both StitchCraft and Oh! Be Jewelled are touted as being "about the hip, fun, and sexy side of crafts." Airing today, Saturday, May 20th at 6pm and 6:30pm and again tomorrow, on Sunday, May 21st at 1pm and 1:30pm!  (I suggest you check your local listings to ensure these are the right times.)

    Here's what they're saying today's programs are about:

         "Stitch Craft follows the editor of Vogue Knitting and brings you up close with big name designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Anna Sui, Michael Kors,and Cynthia Rowley and how they are all using knitting within high-fashion. The debut episode also includes a segment about getting men to knit and what’s popular in men’s knitwear.

         Oh! Be Jewelled highlights the growing trend of designing and creating your own jewelry. Following Anne Slowey, editor of Elle Accessories, viewers meet Mark Badgely and James Mischka of Badgely Mischka who offer a peek at their latest elaborately beaded gowns inspired by vintage jewelry. Supermodel Helena Christensen also reveals her penchant for turning vintage finds into contemporary jewelry at her eclectic New York City store Butik."

    Even though the focus on the StitchCraft show is on knit right now, crocheters can walk away with some great ideas.  Click onto their logo here on the left to visit their official website.  Be sure to check out the video clip on knitted sleeves ... we can do that in crochet! ... and don't forget, if you want to see crochet featured, then we have to let them know! Write into the show & request it!

    If you're like me and don't have access to cable, then you'll want to visit the ACMoore website and check out all the interesting video clips they have.  And if you're still new to crocheting and need a little stitch help, then you'll want to hop on over to AnniesAttic to watch their helpful stitch video clips.

    Sometimes it's fun to be stuck indoors -- any day where I can be inspired, or learn a new stitch or technique is a great day!  Enjoy yours!  :)

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    Baby You Can Drive My ... Tank?

    A few weeks ago I shared my "baby you can drive my car" collage ... a collection of images showcasing vehicles adorned with yarn, crochet, and knitting.  I now have another vehicle to add, thanks to Ruth ... she sent me a link for a tank!  Yep, one of those "get out of my way or I'll drive right over you" vehicles that every fiberholic should have souped up and ready to go at the slightest hint of a great yarn sale!    ... Check it out; I think it's pretty cool message that they covered a tank as a peace protest(Think Yarn, not War.)

    Now if I had a time machine, I'd zip back a few days -- to May 6th of this year to be exact, put on my "Dibs" attire, hop into the tank and drive it right on over to US 321 in North Carolina and insist upon aiding in the clean up of an overturned tractor trailer -- it was hauling some 50,000 pounds (POUNDS!!) of yarn!  The report said that $60,000 worth of damage was caused to the truck, and that the driver was treated and released.  Unfortunately there is still no word on the condition of the yarn. 

    Had I been able to get there, naturally, I would have seen to it that the yarn be treated immediately -- here, at my home.
      {{big grins}}

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Come On Already! Cut it Out!!

    For the first time since, since? Oh gee, I don't know, I can't remember.  Isn't that bad?  So how about this?  We'll say that for the first time in a long time the sun is finally shining here in Connecticut.  As it's light illuminates all the spring blossoms, it reminds me that summer is not far away.  And this means thoughts will soon turn to lighter-weight crochet projects.

    As I surfed the Internet looking for summer crochet ideas, I came across an article by Ardeana Hamlin for the Bangornews.  In her article titled, "
    Currently in fashion, crochet is always in style," she discusses taking grannies crocheted goodies and creating new summer fashions with them.  I think it's a great idea as even the non-crocheter can get in on the crochet craze doing this.  Why I recall doing just that about two summers ago when I chopped up some doilies ... 

    (No, I wouldn't chop up grannies' doilies, nor mine for that matter!  I bought some at a local craft store that was selling them for a buck each.  They were not well done -- thus the reason for it's price -- so I had no qualms about hacking them up.)

    I took a child's T-shirt and chopped off the sleeves.  I then cut about a third of the T-shirt's length off and then set it aside.  I took the largest of the doilies and cut it in half. Then I pinned one half of the doily to the T-shirt to create an "angel sleeve" (that's what my daughter called them) and then repeated for the other side.  I chopped up more doilies, pinned them in place and then sewed them on to create the bottom of the T-shirt.   

    I was pleased with my creation but wanted to take it a step further.  I rolled and twisted the shirt up and then tye-dyed it with a merriment of colors.  It came out looking like a fantastic fashion for a hip little girl! 

    (Note to self:  next time you try this be sure to use cotton thread for sewing on the crochet.  That polyester thread DID NOT take to the dye!)

    She's grown since then; the top is beginning to look like a belly-top.  I guess that's my cue to pick up some more inexpensive doilies and do right by them: chop them up to create my daughter a new summer top!  And maybe, just maybe, one for me too.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Can We Talk?

    I enjoyed a bit of online shopping yesterday.  I bought some solar thread and also some glow-in-the-dark thread from; I visited and purchased their last seven crochet hook charms and some zippered plastic bags to keep some of my completed projects in. 

    I then ventured over to
    Annie'sAttic and felt like I hit crochet lotto with the many sale items they had featured -- such as getting the $22.95 book, Crochet Your Way, that I keep borrowing from my local library, for $6.49! (see page 13 of their sale; there's only 3 left)  I ordered their "roll hooks" for .99 cents each; the Cro-Tat Master Hook set for $3.99; the book, 101 Easy Tunisian Stitches ... and well, you get my point.  I had fun shopping!  Now I await for all my goodies to arrive!  :)

    However, one thing that upset me quite a bit yesterday was discovering a website offering copyrighted patterns free for the taking.  From cover to cover, page for page.  Patterns from Leisure Arts, Annies Attic, Kustom Krafts and so on.  Many of which I recognize the designer's names.  But no where was a single word about IF permission was granted to post these works, just a pledge that more will be posted in the future.  I figure, based on what I spent at the various online sites I shopped at yesterday, that the violating website had THOUSANDS of dollars worth of patterns posted.  THOUSANDS.  (No, I will not share the URL.  It has been turned over to those  owning the copyrights.  As of this moment, all the illegal posted patterns have been removed from the website.  I would not want to be in that person's shoes as there may be HUGE financial repercussions!)

    And this really has me questioning if I should go ahead with my plans of self-publishing the patterns I've been working on.  I have to question if it's worth all the hard work.  What's to stop other unscrupulous people from taking my patterns and openly publishing them without my permission on the Internet?  I'd have to figure out what resources I would have to have to go after violators; would I be able to without financially hurting my family?   Since I'm not a big publishing company -- I'm a Mom trying to work around my children's school hours to help pay the bills -- I'd have to decide if it's worth it.   What about my time? Do I want to spend my time policing my patterns or do I want to spend it watching my children grow up?  I'm sure you can see why I'm a bit disheartened.  Maybe it's best I keep my focus on having my work published by the big companies with the resources -- but then again, if folks keep stealing from the publishing companies then they're less apt to publish more materials because they won't be able to meet their bills; their payrolls.  It's a vicious cycle where everyone loses.

    There are many legitimately free patterns available on the Internet, on yarn labels, and as tear sheets in the craft stores.  There are libraries with pattern books available for loan.  We need to get the message out; we need to do the right thing.  The honorable thing.  If we want more patterns, then we need to do as I did -- buy them, or borrow them.  Not steal them!

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Generations Connect Through Stitches

    On Saturday I took my daughter to work with me. She enjoys the hour commute as it gives her a chance to watch for horses as we get to chat about various things happening in her life. On this day she was excited because this would be the day she would be officially introduced to the world of knitting.

    No more cheating with a machine; she was going to learn how to knit officially -- with the two pointed sticks she had watched her own mother struggle with.  On her lap was her new crochet kit: a container that looked much like a fishing tackle box but rather than being filled with fish hooks, weights & such, inside she had her yarn, a few crochet hooks, and her new knitting needles.  She couldn't wait to get started.  I could tell this because there was no usual "official horse sighting count" when we pulled into the store's parking lot.  Or was it because she nearly mowed me down while running to the store entrance?  Does it matter?  She was excited, and I was excited for her.  Maybe she'd be the one to take after her Grandmother's passion for knitting.  Maybe she'd be the one to hold her Grandmother's needles to make them work their magic again.

    She helped me set up for my first class and then we sought out the store manager.  I left my daughter in her charge and went to teach the Crochet 101 class.  Afterwards I found my daughter calmly holding the knitting needles, yarning over, maneuvering the needles this way and that as she turned the loops on the needles into knitted fabric.  She looked up and smiled at me.  "Look Mom," she exclaimed, "I knitted another row!"

    I was proud of my daughter; she was doing well with her new fiber adventure.  Liz, the store manager, said she was one of the quickest children she's seen take to the knitting concept, thinking that it has a lot to do with my daughter's exposure to crochet.  I was one proud mother!

    Later, while on the way home, she knitted many more rows and said after we passed horse farm after horse farm, "You know Mom, the ride will be more interesting next time.  Many foals will be born and running in the paddocks with their Moms, and I'll have a lot of knitting done to show Liz!"

    When she gets home from school today I plan on discussing the story book, Sunny's Mittens by Robin Hansen, that we had purchased for her last year when we visited Lake Placid.  And, I'll show her the sweater Grandmother had knitted for me when I was a child -- that one day I know she'll fit into.  I think it's one thing to look at a photograph and hear stories of that person's life, but I think it helps us to connect at a deeper level if we're able to touch that person's hand-work and realize the love they put into their stitches.  I'm sure it will inspire my daughter to keep practicing her knitting, and to help her connect to a Grandmother she never knew.

    Saturday, May 13, 2006

    Spring/Summber 2006 Crochet Classes: Stamford, CT

    Store:  KnitTogether
    Location:  111 High Ridge Rd, Stamford, CT
    Contact: (203) 324-YARN

    " ‘Some 53 million people know how to crochet and knit’, says The Craft Yarn Council of America”. And, reportedly, for every one knitter there are three who enjoy crocheting.

    Crochet is hip; it's the fashion rave; it's now! And interestingly enough, it's one of the last remaining fiber arts that still must be created by hand. With its liberating qualities you can change fiber, hooks, stitches, directions, or dimensions anywhere in your work! (And it's faster than knitting too!)

  • When classes are marked with a **, the instruction costs listed do not include required materials. Please ask for the materials list and pre-class assignment when you sign up.

    For Beginners

    Crochet 101
    One 2-hour session $25

    This class is designed with the beginner in mind: learn how to properly start your work, make the foundation chain, the single crochet, learn to count stitches, build on your work to create wonderful fabric and end off properly.

    Tuesdays 12:45-2:45 pm - May 30, July 25
    Saturdays 10:15 am-12:15 pm - May 13, August 19

    Crochet 102 **
    One 2-hour session $25
    Tuesday 12:45-2:45 pm - June 6
    Saturdays 10:15 am-12:15 pm - June 24, July 8, August 5

    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.

  • Stitch’n Chat
    Stay for 1 hour $15
    Stay for 2 hours $25

    Come for an hour, or come for two! The atmosphere is relaxed and social. Participants experience the joy of crocheting and chatting with others while getting help with projects and/or learning a "new to me" stitch.

    Tuesdays 10:30–11:30 am and/or 11:30 am - 12:30 pm - May 2, May 9, May 30, June 6, June 27, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22.

    Bitch’n Stitch’n**
    One 2-hour session $25

    Crochet includes over 100 different types of stitch work and techniques! These classes are designed to explore a variety of them:

    [Saturdays (S) or Tuesdays (T); all classes meet 12:45-2:45 pm]

    May 9 (T) Beach Bag
    May 13 (S)

    June 27 (T) "Bad to the Bone" Bangles
    July 8 (S) & Chillin' Beaded Chokers**

    Aug 1 (T) Hip Hoppin' Flip Flops

    Aug 8 (T) School Pencil
    Aug 19 (S) Crochet Hook Bag

    June 24 (S) Kids - Beaded Friendship
    Aug 22 (T) Bracelets

    Crochet for knitters **
    One 1-hour session $15

    Knitters, what do you do when your patterns require crochet for finishing? Instead of skipping it, fudging it, or pawning your project off on someone else for those finishing touches, take this class and learn how to crochet on a knitted edge and even how to make buttonholes!
    Tuesday, 12:45-1:45 pm - August 15.

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Dear Husband ...

    If I can add to my words about Mother's Day gifts ... sometimes purchased presents are great too and so I find it important to get the word out to my husband:

    Dear Sweet O'Hubby of Mine,
         If you're looking to
    purchase a special Mother's Day gift for me this year, please take special note that I'm lovin' the crochet jewelry Randi Chervitz has created. Please click onto the picture and pick me out something really yummy, OK?  Fail to and I'll poke you with my crochet hooks while you're sleeping.  For at least a week.  No, make that a month.  But since you're looking for ways to keep me sweet, go ahead, my dear hunny pot, and click onto the image.  That's right ... go ahead, click ... you know I was just kidding about poking you with my crochet hooks, right??
         With Love, The Mother of Your Children

    Hot Off the Hook

    Really!  I delivered it to a very happy Mom this morning -- had I more time I'm sure I could have gotten a better snap shot, but this will have to do.

    It's a recreation of the Communion Cape I created (using the click for larger viewHairpin Lace technique I've been discussing this week) for my daughter last year.  Only this one will be worn by a little girl in my son's class for her upcoming Communion taking place on Mother's Day.  Although it does not have the fancier beads & fiber as my daughter's did, this cape that's hot off my crochet hook, IMHO, came out quite pretty. (The photo here does not reflect it's true elegance but it does show some of the design elements better than my daughter's picture.)

    This cape was crocheted using Bernat's Bernat®  Baby Coordinates Yarn Baby Coordinates and I think it's the little shiny filament that runs with the fiber that gave the camera a hard time being photographed ...  maybe I can talk the Mom into giving me a picture with the little girl wearing it on her special day; it doesn't hurt to ask, right?  :)

    Now I can look forward to answering the call of the fibers I purchased the other day and get started on designing that special dress for my daughter ...

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Attending Crochet Classes = Excitement & A bit of Organization

    I learned earlier today that Lily Chin will be releasing a new book called "Couture Crochet Workshop: Mastering Fit, Fashion, and Finesse" and it seems (a coincidence perhaps?) that I happened to have signed myself up for the two -- all day long -- classes she'll be teaching at the CGOA Conference this summer that reportedly reflect information that will be in this book.  (I signed up for Designing Better Crocheted Fashion Garments and Fine Shaping and Custom Fitting Garments classes.)  Lily's new book is due out this October -- hopefully in time for the Craft Yarn Council's "Knit Out & Crochet Too" event they hold in New York City -- this way I can see about getting it autographed!  {{grins}}

    So while I await for my class confirmation and feel the excitement about attending grow, I am slowing creating what I call my "memento notebook."  I do it for each Conference I attend.  I add the brochure for the event and then add dividers for each class I'm attending.  I include any homework, class fees, and blank sheets of paper for note taking.  Any handouts received in class are slipped into little divider pockets; and I usually keep a page for adding business cards too. 

    Organized?  Yes!  I do this to make it easier for myself when I want to later reference materials; to refresh my memory for a technique or tip I want to try recapturing from a past class.

    You should see the notebook I have from the classes I took with Melody MacDuffy on the Overlay Crochet technique last year (maybe I'll take a picture of it & share??) ... I've been adding patterns I've been finding in various Crochet magazines and now when I want them I know just where to go ... hmmm.  That reminds me.  Melody is returning to my neck of the woods; gotta go; I have another workshop to sign up for! (and another divider to add to my "MacDuffy Notebook")

    What do you do when you attend a Conference, or spend a lot of time with a specific teacher?  Do you organize your materials?  Share with me your method; I'd love to know!  :)

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Stitching For Moms

    Mother's Day is coming; are you prepared?  I know Sherri has been crocheting a doily for her Mother; Puchitomato crocheted some darling amigurumi buddies; Mandy made a flower basket shawl (be sure to check out the handspun scarf she crocheted!); even the Lion Brand website is catching on that crocheting for our Mothers is a great idea -- they're offering a free pattern for a cashmere blend Mother's Day Flower (you'll need to register with them in order to access the pattern).

    Sure, we can run down to our local stores and purchase a gift, but does that item come from heart the same way something you've taken the time to create by hand does?  To me there is no comparison; I would much rather have a gift from my children that they created from their hands that expresses what I mean to them rather than a store bought gift.  Those items have the "Wow" power -- "Wow, he/she MADE this for me!"  Think about it; I'm sure you agree.

    Me? I've decided to send my Delta Crochet Coaster to my mother who lives in Florida.  I have it neatly peeking through a sentimental card -- she's seen my crochet work in person, but never my thread work.  I figure she can look at it each morning as she sips on her morning coffee and know she's in my thoughts.  After all, she is the one who first placed a crochet hook in my hand so sending her something crocheted seemed quite fitting!  :)

    What are your plans?  Are you creating a special crocheted gift for your Mom?


    Tuesday, May 9, 2006

    Question From Reader: Ribbon Yarn

    Dear Dee,
    I recently was given a lot of yarn that is flat. I was told it was ribbon. Can I crochet it, and if so, do you have any projects you can recommend? Thanks, Carla.

    Hi Carla,
     Thank you for contacting me and inquiring about the fiber that was given to you. Not knowing the brand, the width, or the style of fiber you have, I'd like for us to focus on the width of the ribbon to provide you with the best advice I can.

    On the left is the Moda-Dea Ticker Tape yarn that is a hot discussion on various online crochet groups.  It has the look of leather but without as much care -- it's made of 100% nylon.  The manufacturer recommends using a large crochet hook, a size N/15, to get the best crochet results.  (They offer a pretty pattern for a poncho here.)   My rule of thumb is, the wider the ribbon, the more open you'll want your stitches.  The more open the stitch, the more you'll show off the fiber, which is really the name of the game here.  You'll also want to take the time and try to keep the ribbon from twisting as you make each stitch; in my experience, I've found doing this is worth the end results.

    Susan Bates Adjustable Aluminum Hairpin Lace Loom Clover Hairpin Lace Tool If you know how to do the Hairpin Lace technique, or if you're up for learning it, then you can create a beautiful scarf with just two strips of about 220 joined loops!  You'll need a tool called a "fork" ... either one of these will work but the one in the pink package here will get you better results because it measures 4" wide (remember the wider the ribbon, the larger the stitches you want!).  Again, you'll want to ensure to keep the ribbon flat as you work it around the fork -- it's worth the extra time!!

    But what if you have a skinny ribbon with a hint of texture -- like Berrocos' Suede? This fiber works up well with a smaller hook and due to the natural twisting crocheting creates -- it creates a fantastic textured look!  (Berroco offers a free pattern for it here.)  I used the suede for one of the backpacks (I designed) pictured here.  Can you tell the difference between the two?  (The one in the plumb coloring was created with 100% wool; the cranberry colored one is the suede.)

    I think the best advice I can give to you is to experiment.  The white in this Spiral Hat is a thin ribbon yarnTake out a bunch of crochet hooks and start crocheting based on the advice of if it's wide, go with a big hook; if it's skinny, start with a small hook.  Eventually you'll find a look that you like!  :)

    Thanks for writing in!

    Monday, May 8, 2006

    Tom Hanks, a Tub, and a Hug: It's Not What You Thinking

    OK ... first, let me say, I did it!!  I completed both projects in time for my son's First Holy Communion yesterday!  Whoohoo!

    Over at Dear Margo, there was a question about where it was OK to work on projects in public -- her basic answer was that as long as it's a casual setting, then it's OK.  Go ahead and take those projects out and happily stitch along; just be sure to pay attention to those around you.  Alright Margo, I like that advice.  But what about in the tub? Is it OK for us to work on our projects thereLOL

    Fortunately for me, it never came to that, but I did take my two projects with me everywhere and completed them nearly in the "eleventh hour"  late Saturday evening.  (see above photo where I was caught crocheting while waiting for my children at their school earlier in the week.)

    The time includes crocheting 7 balls of delicious fiber, then randomly sewing on some 60 matching Swarovski crystals onto the
    Seraphina Shawl; then picking up the arm band to finish crocheting the replacement cross (because I lost the original one I created), blocking, stiffening, and sewing on velco strips onto the arm band.  Whew!

    When I was done, the two pieces represented some 60 hours of crochet work.  The arm band features Irish Clones Lace (the inner flowers and the mesh); the Waffle Weave technique (the cross), and modified flowers from the Delta Crochet technique; as well as utilizing the padded single crochet stitch accompanied by picots.

    Of course this does mean that I missed out on seeing my favorite actor, Tom Hanks, host Saturday Night Live, and according to the buzz on the Internet groups, I also missed out on Tina Fey's Weekend Report where she did a skit on the recent knit graffiti tagging of NYC by a knitting group known as Knitta Crew.  Reportedly she said, "Sadly, two ladies were gunned down by rival group 'Los Crochet Locos'."  I'm sure I would have thought that funny.  It was based on the actual news article you can read here

    Was it worth all the hours and missing Tom Hanks??  When my son wrapped his arms around me and gave me a huge squeeze with a big thanks and a beaming smile -- I think so!  :)

    Saturday, May 6, 2006

    Oh! That Itch!

    It's the home stretch for me ... both projects, my son's arm band and my shawl, need to be completed today.  I'll be busy for sure!

    But as I'm stitching along I can't help to notice this growing "itch," this nearly overwhelming desire to put everything aside and start playing with the fibers I purchased on Thursday for the dress I'm designing for my daughter to model this summer.  The itch is getting very hard to ignore; I keep eyeing the bag thinking maybe if I just took the fibers out to breathe that it would help alleviate the itch.  No such luck!  I've already drawn a rough sketch and in my mind I've also pre-selected various stitches to incorporate into the design.  What causes this phenomenon? Have you experienced it too?

    I think it's the fiber.  It's calling to me.  Loudly.  It's a new one by "Yarn Art" called "
    Milky Way."  It's much like Berroco's Laser FX -- a fiber with sequins pre-added to the fiber -- only less formal; more fun looking and more economical (Berroco's Laser FX costs about $15-$17 a ball where Milky Way is about $6-$8 a ball).  Milky Way is more in line, I think, with what a child would love to have added to say, a garment she wishes to wear yesterday (never mind the fact that it hasn't even gotten onto the hook yet!).  The ball I selected is filled with different colored round sequins.  They have the fiber also available with star shaped sequins or beads.  Pretty cool if you ask me. 

    Now if there was a way to quiet it down while I get these two projects done in time for tomorrow I'd be happy.  Wish me luck! 

    Thursday, May 4, 2006

    Caught in Public, Cont.

    Last week I wrote about the joys of getting Caught in Public crocheting. Imagine my surprise when flipping through the local paper earlier this evening and seeing this:

    Here's a closer look:

    The picture was actually taken last summer when they were celebrating all the wonderful years Mrs. Emily (she is married) has spent happily volunteering to read stories to the children visiting our local library.

    I was at the library with my children on that day and as she read I decided to quietly crochet some Overlay Crochet pieces that Mrs. Emily admired after storytime was over. (see Overlay image on left; click to enlarge)

    Every week since that day last summer, when Mrs. Emily is volunteering at my children's school, she always inquires about what new crochet pieces I'm working on.  It's always a pleasure to show her and tell her about the technique/pattern I'm working on at the time.  And I always inquire with her what the latest children's books have caught her eye.  She's a real sweetheart! :)


    I can see the ribbon at the end of this crochet marathon that I've been on -- no, really, I'm looking for matching ribbon.  Kind of like a rich champagne kind of coloring ...

    Oh, the things we do for our children!  My son's arm band is about three hours away from being completed and the shawl I plan on wearing is nearly at the end of the third skein of yarn (out of 7 balls).  I stretch.  I drink some water.  I continue on, recalling that I want to add beads to the work too.  I know that Sunday is right around the corner and if I let up on my pace time will pass me.

    So why is it, when we're in the heat of a crochet marathon, that someone has the desire to tell me where they saw Bernat Chenille on sale locally for a dollar a skein?  I'm in training here, folks.  Do I go to their marathons and hold up flyers for cross trainer sales?  I think not!  I know they're serious about reaching that finishing line with a respectable end time, and that's what I want too.

    Why would someone tempt me with a yarn sale?  Don't they know I'm an addict -- always in need of the latest stash enhancement or acquisition?? 

         ... OK, so tell me again, where is this store??

    What?  They might have the ribbon I'm looking for ...

    Tuesday, May 2, 2006

    Spotting Crochet Fashions and Budding Designers

    Part of the fun in attending the CGOA Conferences is in wearing various crochet fashions to classes and events, and even more fun is in checking out all the crochet fashions everyone else is wearing.

    This was particularly true in 2004 when I attended the Conference in New Hampshire.  While I was busy wearing ice packs (see archives from July 2004) it was fun for me to admire everyone else's' fantastic fashions.  One person who caught everyone's eye was the then budding designer Doris Chan.

    I had the privilege of sitting in a class with Doris and found her to be quite charming.  Since that time I have watched her designs crop up in many crochet magazines ... each one just beautiful.  Now I see that Doris has a book coming out (shown on right; click for info) and if I'm not mistaking, it is her first book and is due to be on the book stands come this November. 
    I'd say she's no longer a budding designer -- she's blossomed!  How wonderful!  Congratulations, Doris! 

    So, where are my thoughts for 2006?  What will I create?  What will I design?  The pressure (I place upon myself) is surely on because my daughter has also volunteered to be a model at the Fashion Show.  What will she wear?  What will she create?  What will she design?

    All good questions, and soon my daughter and I will have our crochet hooks flying with yarn overs to provide those exact answers ... to be answered at the Conference being held in King of Prussia this summer.  ;)

    *** Crochet in Fashion News: ***
    Styled for Success: "Chic for spring are safari-inspired shirt dresses, lightweight and breezy belted numbers with a vintage '50s look, simple A-line sleeveless for day and night, mini dresses, baby-doll dresses and knits, especially crochet."

    More of the skinny on skinny jeans: "look for baby-doll styles, empire waists, crochet fabrics and layered T-shirts with jackets."

    Monday, May 1, 2006

    Rich, Deep Chocolate Dreams...

    Why is it that our dreams, at least my dreams, after attending a big fiber event, seem to focus upon a fiber I literally let slip through my finger tips?

    The rich, deep chocolate coloring; the softness that could rival alpaca, and maybe even angora .... mmmmmm buffalo!

    Yes, you read that right, I said buffalo!

    It was an absolute delight to pet the spun buffalo fiber sample the Still River Mill had on display Saturday, and if my pockets were deeper I would have, without a doubt, purchased some to bring home to play with.  I don't recall the yardage, but I do recall the price tag of $60 a hank -- still though, it's a unique fiber and one day I'll make the leap to turn this dream into reality by adopting at least one hank to play with.  Hmmmm, maybe that will happen sooner than I think -- the Wild Fibers magazine is having a contest for most unique use of the fiber.  Winner gets a thousand smackers ...

    We'll let Bob Marley finish this entry with a little singing, after all it's my dream, right?

        "Buffalo Soldier troddin' through the land, wo-ho-ooh!
    Said he wanna ran, then you wanna hand,
    Troddin' through the land, yea-hea, yea-ea.

    Singing, woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
    Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy!
    Woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy,
    Woy yoy yoy yoy, yoy yoy-yoy yoy! [fadeout]"