Friday, June 30, 2006

Sneak-Peeking at the Goods

Sometimes taking a sneak-peek at the "personals," if you will, leads to good things.  While I'm not going to dive into all the possible meanings of what "good things" are (mainly because this is a self-imposed "G" rated blog), I am going to show you my bra today.

Well, not my bra, but rather the bra that members of the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America, will be entering for the BRAVO! auction taking place at the National Conference in just barely two weeks. I just finished assembling all the pieces the members helped crochet, and doing a lot of hand bead work on it.  Right now it's enjoying the bright sun to allow for some glue (yes, fabric glue) to dry.  (That's the white goo you see on one of the flowers.)

Feast your eyes; do you like?  It's done in the colors of The HHCC, and even includes bead work noting that it from us.  The brassieres will be auctioned off to benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer and The National NeedleArts Association's Stitch to WIN campaign to support breast cancer initiatives.

Be sure to check out the brassieres from the
Regional Conference; they look fantastic!  In order to bid on it, you need to be at the Conference.  Visit the Crochet Guild of America's website for details.

PS:  If you like to do the "Where's Waldo" type of stuff, see if you can find the butterfly on the bra!  Have fun!  :)

Upon request, here are two more views:

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Knit Out & Crochet Too meeting details

It was meant to be.  On Tuesday night we received over 4" additional inches of rain.  Creeks, rivers, and lakes crested; flooding was reported everywhere!  But by the time we left to drive into New York City yesterday the clouds parted and the roads cleared.  (More rain is on it's way today)

We arrived at Lion Brand Headquarters in record time and found great parking.  As this is my third year being a part of the planning for the great "Knit Out & Crochet Too" event held annually every year since 1998, it was like a mini-family reunion.  Lion Brand graciously offers the use of their conference room to the Craft Yarn Council of America to plan this event.

Some of the things I can share are:
A.  Attendance may be the highest yet as tentatively there will be NO KOC2 in Washington, DC, this year and it's being held on a different day than Boston's.
B.  The Craft Yarn Council is teaming up with Warm Up America and there will be a request that attendees help them collect preemie hats (more details on this as they develop)
C.  We are looking to move the Demonstration area away from the Fashion Show area.  We know the speakers from the show last year made it difficult to hear the instructors (myself included!)
D.  The NYC Knit Out & Crochet Too event will be held on Sunday, September 17th Mark your calendars & be sure to come join me in all the fun!  (It is soooo worth going!!)

If you're a blogger, why not visit the Craft Yarn Council's website and lift their KOC2 2006 logo and post it on your blog!  Let your readers know you're going!!

If you're not from the NYC region, why not check their website and see if there's an event being held near you, or even offer to help get one in your area!  Volunteering your time is what helps make events like this so awesome!  :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Stitches: Not Quite The Kind I Had In Mind

After teaching today I brought my children to the Stamford Museum to check out their "Built to Scale Exhibition.  We really enjoyed it, including seeing the boat with the crocheted buoys. (how cute!)  Afterwards we headed home and my thoughts turned to the projects I'd like to finish up in time for the upcoming Conference, and what a great blog topic that'd be.

Since there was a break in the rain today (more expected tomorrow) I decided it would be good for us to enjoy some time outdoors while we could.  I grabbed the laptop and was midway though the new blog entry when my son accidentally crashed his bike into some rocks.  Good thing he had his helmet on!!  Apparently though he's the only one that got in some stitches in tonight (don't look at pic #2 if you get grossed out easily).   Doctor says he'll be OK; stitches come out in a week.  He got dinner out and some baseball cards for being so brave during the whole ordeal.  (We all know I would have wanted to stop at a yarn shop if it were my boo-boo.  You can't crochet baseball cards, or can you??)

Tomorrow I'm off to NYC to attend a CYCA "Knit Out & Crochet Too!" meeting; details soon!  :)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Row Row Row Your Boat

After 30 minutes of heavy rain on early Friday evening I decided to place an empty cup outside. I wanted to see just how much rain we were going to get here at the CrochetWithDee yarnstead, er homestead. When I checked it yesterday it had nearly 4" of rain in it. Today the cup has runnith over, thus the reason you see me aboard the Ark today. Hey, you'd be aboard too if you saw that sunshine isn't expected until Friday!  (I don't think I really need to go into the fact we're under "Flash Flooding Warning" do I?  I think the Ark really says it all.)

The Ark was an actual group effort the members of the HHCC crocheted a few years ago.  Some members created the animals & fishes, others created the cloud & sun, while even more members worked on the ark, the water, and the sky.  It was a large undertaking -- and a large outcome measuring some 5 feet square when it was done.  The Ark has an actual pocket to store all the animals in, while the top allows the doves to nest.  It received an Honorable Mention Ribbon.  And, before my email becomes flooded with pattern requests, I'm sorry.  This was an original work; no pattern is available.

I think for a project this of this magnitude, without a pattern, was a fantastic achievement!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sunshine: The HHCC Honored for Good Deeds

click to enlarge
Yesterday I attended our local Salvation Army's Fourth Annual "Thank You" Luncheon. They were honoring local groups of crocheters, knitters, and quilters that have contributed hand created goods that have aided our community.  Ours was just one of the several groups being honored.

Since the founding of my local crochet group, The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Chapter of the CGOA, we have donated many goods to our local community. Every year we have crocheted hats, mittens, scarves, baby buntings, and blankets as well as organizing a local toy drive to aid the many families in need. Yesterday, The Salvation Army, said "Thank You" with a lovely luncheon and Certificate.

Fortune from Chinese Cookie: "It matters not what road we take but rather what we become on the journey."

So why do we spend our time creating items a stitch at a time to donate?  To give away hours of work to a complete stranger?  This is the very question The Salvation Army addressed yesterday during the luncheon.  They said it's like the benefits of sunshine.  Sunshine brings light, warmth and joy.  Light for hope. Warmth for love. Joy to show someone cares.  I think it also gives inner peace.

We'll be crocheting for them again this year, helping to bring some rays of sunshine to some of the 2000 children and their families our local Salvation Army aids.  They can't do it alone.  Consider crocheting, knitting, or quilting an item for your local Salvation Army and bring a little sunshine to someone in need.  :) 

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Crochet Helps Win the Game

We celebrated my husband's birthday yesterday by attending a "Short-season A leagues" minor league Baseball game (Earlier today I reported that it was a AAA game but my 7-year old son was quick to correct me.  To end the confusion I added an additional link to clarify the description of the team we went to see.) This was the first time we've attended a Minors game, and boy! were we glad we did!  What fun!!

Really this story
started last year when we attended a Yankees game, which was thrilling & historical when the Yankees came from behind to win over the Devil Rays after scoring 13 runs in the eighth inning.

So there we were, sitting in the stands at the Dutchess Stadium to watch our first Minors game when we learn that the HV Renegades is owned by the Devil Rays (in fact the owner of the Devils Rays was there).  They were playing against the IronBirds (owned by the Baltimore Orioles). Small world, eh?

I took out my crochet (because how could the team we're rooting for possibly be able win if I don't keep up the tradition of crocheting during the game?!?) and set to crocheting up the item I plan on offering for the Crochet Exchange at the Conference next month. (Does the project look familiar? It's a Treasure Bag that I will be adding a little something-something to.) I was using a *new to me* yarn called "Coral." It's a fiber from Turkey that consists of viscose and polyester ... like a thick thread with a bit of sheen and little tuffs of eyelash here and there. It worked up very pretty, glistening sort of under the big stadium lights. I nearly completed it by the end of the game -- and let me add that it was good thing that I was still working on it towards the end of the game because the crochet charm worked!! 

The Renegades won by one run over the Ironbirds in the eleventh inning!  A most exciting game!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Encouragement Beyond

I always find it interesting when I'm thinking of someone, something, or even a concept I want to try crocheting up when suddenly something related to those thoughts appears.  I'm not sure if one would call this a psychic ability or more of sheer luck, but I do like when it happens.

The latest of these "phenomenons" if you will, is my recent (heavily) thinking of my Grandmother who sadly passed away over 15 years ago.  She's the one who introduced me to the concept of knitting, and based upon my lack-luster take to it, she had strongly encouraged me to return to my beloved crochet.  I've been thinking of how much I miss having her in my life when last night there was a knock on the door.  It was my father.  In his hand were several old knit & crochet magazines along with a pair of circular knitting needles.

He said, "I was cleaning out a closet when I came across these.  I think she (meaning my Grandmother) would have wanted you to have these."  I knew she was a knitter, but never knew she used patterns, or for that matter had knit/crochet magazines.

Oh, go ahead and insert the
Twilight Zone theme music here, right!?  Was it a coincidence?  Or is this my Grandmother reaching out from beyond to encourage me to pick up the needles and keep trying? 

I mean, is it possible that she knows I'm interested in knitting but just need the time & positive reinforcement to finally embrace it?  (If this is the case, does this mean that Spirits from Beyond read blogs?)  Or does she know that my daughter, her great-granddaughter, has been taunting me with her new knitting skills and she wants to taunt me too (she always did like a good joke).  I mean, as the magazines are -- I cannot use them as
I need to figure out how to remove/lessen the aroma coming from the books -- she was a heavy smoker.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

In DeCity ... Crocheting ...

On June 11th, the start of my *vacation* I awoke early in the morning and met up with my girlfriend, Grace.  For visitors who are new to the CrochetingWithDee journal/blog, let me tell you a little bit about Grace.  I met her, what?, about five years ago -- is that right Grace?, when she attended one of our local crochet club meetings.  She is a woman who loves to travel, to explore, and to experiment with crochet.  In fact, our views and life experiences run so parallel to each other we could be sisters.  She's the one I will mention from time to time as I gush about my latest crochet adventures because chances are, she's the one who kidnaps me and takes me there!  (Ah, Grace!  I love when you do that!)  We'll be going on another fiber adventure soon, so be sure to stay tuned!

So it is with Grace that I met up with on the early Saturday morning of June 11th.  We drove into New York City to attend two of Melody MacDuffee workshops sponsored by the New York City Crochet Guild.  click to enlargeWe were excited as we had just finished days & days worth of rain and cold damp days and on that Saturday the sun was shining!  We found parking right across the street from the Workshop location AND there was a Street Fair right around the corner!  Could the day be any better?

 Prior to the start of the workshops Grace and I wondered around the Street Fair as the vendors set up their tents.  We bought some sort of Greek pastry for breakfast -- yum!! -- and then headed back to class.  Our first workshop was on beaded trims.  Melody has a new book coming out soon called "Beaded Edgings" (it's an ASN book that is available through AnniesAttic). The class was a lot of fun and I liked that the edgings are created a motif at a time so you can stop at whatever length you need.  One of my favorite beaded edgings we got to create is the one you see to the upper right ... I like the "D" formation it creates.  {{blush}}

For lunch we headed back to the Street Fair.  We took mental notes of which vendors were selling beautiful beads, bought some more Greek food and then headed back to class. click to enlarge In the second workshop Melody taught us how to crochet bezels for cameos and cabochons (cabochons are usually a gem or bead cut in convex form and are highly polished but not faceted -- you can find some pretty ones on eBay! Great, another addiction to add to my list! LOL Melody had quite a few cabrochons for us to select from.  I opted for the geometric design, and Grace opted for the rose.  I know the image makes it difficult to see the details, so why not click onto the image and take a closer look?  I've decided that as soon as I have some spare time, that I'm going to remove the loops I started crocheting on and replace them with loops of beads.  I think it would be much prettier, wouldn't you agree?

After our last workshop we headed back to the Street Fair and purchased some goodies to take home.  As you look at the collage of images below, check out the cat on a leash; I've never seen such a site!  Of course, one of the biggest treats of attending these workshops was in getting to visit with members of the New York City Crochet Guild -- and in getting to see Melody again!  What a terrific group of crocheters!!  What a fantastic day that was!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

I'm back! Yippee! :)

I'll admit I did check in on my emails from time to time but really I spent my *vacation* time wisely.  I'd like to thank my Guest Bloggers for filling in for me while I took some time to:
     A.  Recover from twisting my ankle -- twice!  (It's still very swollen/sore but at least I'm able to hobble along).
     B. Prepare for the upcoming Conference (details will be in future blog entries)
     C. Spend time at my children's school/activities
     D. Spend time getting a handle on my yarn/hook/pattern/notion/bead stashes.
     E.  Spend time catching up on some crochet projects (
I didn't finish felting my bag yet ... it's an ankle vs. stairs thing, but I'll get there in due time and look forward to sharing the end results once it is finished.)

One thing that was accomplished today (besides a fun water balloon fight with the kids) was a scarf!  Yeah, I know, who crochets a scarf in 90 degree weather?  (Hmmm, wasn't it just a week ago or so where I was stating that it seems like Summer would never arrive?  Be careful what you wish for, right?!)  I attended another school function today and while I awaited I started a scarf using Berroco's Chunky Chinchilla yarn.  I don't know the exact size of the hook I used (no markings on it to say for sure), but I'll guess it was a "K" or "L" ...  with 15 stitches, Tunisian style.  I just finished it.  I'll put it towards the Scarf Drive I traditionally do in the fall/winter months.  

Getting back to my Guest Bloggers I want to again thank them for sharing their favorite crochet learning experiences with me, and with you, my readers.  I hope you enjoyed their entries as much as I did.  And yes, I know what you're all waiting for!  You're wondering who the random winner is!  Me too!!

 While I wish I could afford to give all my Guest Bloggers the prize, I cannot, but I do hope that they all consider blogging for me again the next time I'm in need of Guest Bloggers!  :)  So without further delay,
drum roll please!  Children, please pull out a name and hand it to me...

I hereby decree that Priscilla's name was pulled as the random winner for the Gift Card from Joanns.  Congratulations Priscilla! Gift Cards!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Guest Blogger: Karen of Massachusetts

Learning the Art of Patterning
Its summer its getting hot Time to think breezy. I started a jacket for myself in the granny stitch. Lion BrandĀ®  HomespunĀ® Yarn My objective is to make it all in one piece. I chose Homespun baby yarn. I am using a size K hook. Its a real pleasure because I am making progress so quickly.

I got all of Margaret Huberts books that I could find. I think I am her new groupy. I have her older books Weekend Projects, More Weekend Projects. Even though I used to think working with bulky yarn would not make an appealing item its just not so. I am zipping along I am already on to the sleeves.

Recently I became facinated with the granny stitch not the granny sqaure. I searched for a pattern for a jacket and could not find one. I decided to look at Margaret's book. I worked out my own.

Now People tell me to submit it somewhere. Here's the trouble. I only made it in my size. There's standardize sizing that magazine require. Is one required to make small medium and large? Wow that would be a lot of work.

People are always telling me you missed your calling I don't hear any one calling. My whole objective is to make one piece to avoid getting bored and not finish. So far so good. My usual M.O. is, I get fired up make the back and one side of the front of a sweater and run out of steam. I have done this numerous times. I have however finished a knitted sweater done on circular needles from Elizabeth Zimmermann's book Knitting Around with her pattern you make the body up to the under arm then make the sleeves. You then unite them and knit the whole thing in one piece. I thought,why not try this approach with crochet eliminate the shoulder seams.

I am hooked on schematics too. Berrocco is in my home state MA. They include schematics with their free patterns. I have trouble with written patterns and this is a huge help for me. (I love their site and covet all their yarn. I have recently aquired quest,crystal FX,jewel FX, metallic Fx all just pure luxury)

My goal is to make a pattern with schematics. When I want to make my jacket again, any hook any yarn will work as long as I can get the measurement of the schematic. No worries about not having the right yarn.I will still consider, weight, draping and things you need to think about. If they discontinue the yarn I am using I can substitute another. All this thinking its just mind boggling.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Guest Blogger: Priscilla of Connecticut

My Favorite Crochet Class
A few years ago, I had the good fortune to take a class with Melissa Leapman through my local crochet guild. What a fantastic learning experience! We actually took two classes in one day with her. The morning session was called "Color Play With Crochet" and the afternoon session focused on crocheted shawls. I still have the handouts from those classes, and I refer to them frequently. The pictures I have included in this post feature a placemat I designed based on Melissa's ideas. I used Lily Sugar 'N Cream cotton and the seed stitch, and then I changed colors every two rows. Because the seed stitch features single crochet stitches wrapped around a single chain, the colors seem to lock together rather than laying one on top of the other.

But perhaps the best part of the day was hearing all of the tips and techniques that Melissa included in her presentation. In one day, I became a much better crocheter because of all the advice she offered us. We learned how to change colors properly, for example, and how to weave in our ends the right way. She talked briefly to us about international crochet symbols and gave us ideas about designing our own afghans. And finally, she brough a lot of examples of her own work to show us. Talk about inspiring! If you ever have the opportunity, I would highly recommend taking a class with Melissa.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Guest Blogger: Essie from Australia

When I First Learned to Crochet:
My mom taught me to knit when I was about 4 years and I made lots of things for my dolls (they did not care about the dropped stitches, etc. LOL). Mom also tried to teach me to crochet. I did great with the starting chain, made lots of them in lovely colours and long and longer. LOL. But could not seem to be able to crochet any stitches. It was as if I got in my own way somehow.

About six months before we moved to Australia from Canada,a crochet class was advertised in the local Junior High School. So I phoned the lady and explained my problem and said that I would really love to learn to crochet.  She told me to come along the the first class and if she could not teach me to crochet, I would not have to pay the fee.

So I went along and showed her what I did (or more accurately tried to do).  She watched me then suggested that I hold the hook a different way.  My mom had always held the hook like a pencil, this lady suggested holding it like a knife. 

That was in 1973 and I have been crocheting ever since.  In fact, I crocheted a top and a small blanket on the ship on the way to Australia.

love all the yarns and the stitches and the patterns and the beautiful things that can be made with crochet. It is a whole new wonderful world for me.

Crochet Hugs Essie from Australia

Friday, June 9, 2006

CrochetingWithDee On Vacation: Guest Bloggers Wanted

I'm going to take the next week off from blogging as I have many, many things going on and not enough hours in the day.  One of the things I'll be doing is heading to NYC to take more of Melody MacDuffy's classes ...

So, if you would like to be a Guest Blogger this week here on "CrochetingWithDee", here are the official rules:
1.  Topic should be about a Favorite Crochet Class You've Taken ... OR ... a Favorite Moment You Learned Something New About Crochet

2.  Entry should be about 500 words long.

3.  Entry needs to be emailed to me by NOON (ET) June 18, 2006.

4.  Entry must contain clean language and be positive in theme.  Same deal with images.

5.  You do not need to be a blogger to participate.  But if you are, please be sure to provide a link to your blog.

6.  Each participant will have their name placed in a crocheted hat (but of course!) where one of my children will draw a name.  Winner will receive a $20 Gift Card to  How cool is that?  NOTE: Participants must leave me with a working email address in order to be notified.  If Winner is unable to be contacted, the Runner Up will become the Winner.  No purchase required.  Spell checking optional.  :)

So, there you have it!  Have fun blogging for me this week!  :) Gift Cards!

Thursday, June 8, 2006

... knitting magic ...

It seems difficult to believe that summer will officially be here in 13 days.  With all the rain we've been having it's hard to chase the chill away without long sleeves, a light winter coat, and a wool theme project.

When my children began the new school year back in August I sent them off to school with new wheelie bags (no, not crocheted).  So I was thinking that since I'll be attending a good amount of crochet classes this summer it's only right that I, too, have a new bag to tote my "school" items in.  This means the most current project I'm crocheting up is a new bag for myself that once done, I'll then felt.  I hope to post pictures of it in a few days. 

In the meantime, my daughter, who I mentioned just 24-short days ago, is taunting me with her new knitting skills.  At nine years old she is able to now enjoy both crochet and knit -- often times keeping both projects by her side.  She'll do a row of knit; put it down.  Pick up the crochet and do a row.  Put it down and pick up the knit again and repeat the process.  I am amazed at how easily her mind -- and her hands -- can change gears like that.  "Don't worry, Mommy," she says to me, "it's not as hard as you make it out to be.  When you're ready, I can show you." Lion Brand Scarf Kit Carnival -Easy Knit

And she's getting really good at it too, you know.  Last week I bought her a "Simply Scarves All in One Knit Kit" ... she had a foot in length done by time we got home.  She finished it just in time to eat dinner -- and that includes securing her tails in.  On Tuesday I bought her two skeins of Omaghi Falati Country "Le Fantasie" yarn (a wool/alpaca/acrylic mix).  She's nearly done with another scarf.  Granted it's bulky fiber & huge hooks, er needles, but the fact that she's whizzing through the knitting process is incredible to me.  Maybe, while the weather is still too cool to think true summer thoughts, it would be a good time for the two of us to snuggle close together where she can show me some of her knitting magic.  Maybe some of it will rub off on me.

      One can hope.

              ...  in the meantime, I'm off to go work on my wool bag some more.  :) 

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

The World is Flat!

This morning, over a cup of hot chocolate and a slice of carrot cake, I spent a couple of hours with two other fiber-addicts: Priscilla and Carolyn (members of the online ConnecticutCrochet group).  We had a wonderful conversation on topics ranging from crochet/knitting groups, to fibers to drool over.  During our time together one of the questions that came my way was, "What's it like to crochet with ribbon fibers?"

My immediate answer was: "It's dee-lightful!"

But not all see it as I do.  Some don't like the way the fiber twists around and thus do not enjoy the experience.  Whereas I think the possibilities with the ribbon fibers have not been fully explored yet.  And so, with a fresh cup of coffee in hand, I'd like to do so now.

To the top left is a closer look at the leather insert I added to my tank top. Leather has two sides to it ... it has the slick/sheen side, and it has the softer/fuzzier side.  I wanted the slick/sheen side to be dominate so as I crocheted each stitch I ensured that all of my yarn overs had this "ribbon" fiber all facing in the same direction AND laying flat -- slick side facing upwards towards me.  This ensured that most of my stitching would reveal what I think is the beautiful of this fiber.  If I hadn't taken the extra time to untwist the fiber as I had went along, AND ensured that it laid flat against my hook, then I would have wound up with a tight looking stitch that lacked, imho, the beauty it now shows.

Is it necessary to untwist the ribbon each time you want to work with it?  I think that depends upon the width of the ribbon and the crochet technique you're using.  Let's look at the scarf on the right that I created over a year ago. I first worked upthe scarf using an "F" hook and Berroco's pink suede.  The suede is a thinner type of ribbon yarn with a hint of nappy texture.  Since it was a thin ribbon I did not spend time untwising it.  After the initial crocheting was done, I cut wider, silkier ribbon into long strips and wove it through the stitches with a tapestry needle.  Although the wider ribbon was not crocheted in, I did take the time to ensure it did not twist as I wove it between the stitches.  What resulted in the mixture of these two ribbon fibers was a delightful scarf filled with texture and color.

When I created my daughter's Communion Cape last year, I took the time -- a lot of time actually-- to carefully ensure each time I wrapped the ribbon around the hairpin fork that I kept it flat.  I think it really helped Clover Hairpin Lace Toolthe ribbon show off it's true beauty!

As with all fibers, I think it's best to experiment, and with ribbon yarns I think this is especially true -- and I think one of the best crochet techniques for it is the Hairpin Lace technique.  There are several "forks" on the market, and each will do the job beautifully.  Do note that the Clover Hairpin Lace tool you see here (yellow; on the right) expands from a half an inch to three inches.  Whereas the Boye expands from half an inch to four inches, and the Susan Bates pictured here expands from an inch to four inches.
   Does it matter which one you add to your crochet tools?  I don't think so, but if you want the "best bang for your buck" then I'd recommend getting the Boye.  If you're looking to go wider than 4" then give a visit; they have two that measures up to 6"Boye Adjustable Hairpin Lace Fork ... and another that's suitable for learning how to create flowers ... but that's another blog entry for another day.  :)

So, experiment, experiment, experiment!  Take a wide ribbon and work up some hairpin lace.  Note how it looks when you create the stitches with a small hook (a butterfly/bow effect) and how it looks with a large hook.  Susan Bates Adjustable Aluminum Hairpin Lace LoomWhich do you like better?  As you connect your Hairpin Lace strips, do you like slightly twisting your loops, or keeping them straight? 

And as you create your stitches, be it with the hairpin technique, or the regular stitches such as the leather insert I did for my tank top, try keeping the ribbon flat on your hook, and then try it naturally twisting.  (If you're searching for ribbon yarn online, try also looking for "tape" ... it's the same thing.)  

Only in experimenting will you discover what dee-lights you with this fascinating type of fiber!

*IMHO: In My Humble Opinion

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Uh-Huh, The Tank Top is Done! :)

Once upon a time I was a petite little thing.  I developed an allergy to chocolate too  which I think helped keep me petite for the longest time.

Then along with having children, my body changed.  I'm a bit bigger than I used to be AND I can now eat chocolate to my heart's content.

So imagine my delight when I read that "
Chocolate can improve cognitive performance."  Is this why my creative side never seems to rest?

Case in pointThe Tank Top.
Working it up I opted to change/customize the pattern for a more personalized fit.  Before I could do that I had to determine my gauge.  I had the right number of stitches per inch, but not rows.  Instead of fighting with the stretchy fiber to try to make row gauge, I opted to go with it so I had to make an adjustment to the pattern to accommodate for the extra rows I'd be adding in.  I also decided, if you recall, to omit some of the fitting.  After all, I had chocolate to accommodate.

Next came the insert.  One of my students gave me some leather to play with so I thought that it would make for an interesting addition to the pattern to show my "wild side." 
(My son liked the addition too because it covers  "the line.")  I had to compensate some of the pattern to allow for it, and that included reducing each strap by one stitch.  Hmmm, in looking at the image of it here, the leather insert reminds me of little chocolate donuts ... mmmm ... donuts.  (Kidding aside, I do want to note that the tank looks much better in person: the leather looks very rich, and the fiber is just scrumptious to touch.  I also want to note that my model here is less, mmm, curvy than me, so you're not getting the full effect.)

Working with the stretchy yarn (Paton's "Katrina") was not difficult at all -- I loved how the fiber felt slipping through my fingers,as well as the slight sheen it had running through it. 
Once I completed the tank I tried it on for one final fitting.  Now, as a Mom, wearing sweats, loose T's and such seems to become the "daily uniform."  It's been awhile since I've worn anything fitted.  I looked into the mirror and yelled, "Holy Jinkers!  I have a waist!!"  It also really emphasized "the girls."  I was in shock -- it's been awhile since my curves looked, well, so cur-vy!  (Even my husband made note of the emphasis.  Which in itself is not a bad thing, right?)

Do I like the final outcome?  Uh-huh!!!  ((THANK YOU AMY FOR INSPIRING ME TO DO THIS PROJECT!!)) It fit like a glove and I'd love to create another for myself sometime.  But for now, because I want to dee-emphasize the most obvious curves, I'm now looking for a bolero pattern ... got a favorite bolero pattern I should check out?  Let me know in the comments or send me an email ... I'd love to know!  :)

Monday, June 5, 2006

Something More Pleasing to the Eye...

I'm able to comfortably keep my eye open today so I'm working on catching up on my emails and do some finishing touches on my tank top.  Maybe, just maybe I'll post a picture of it tomorrow along with some thoughts I had about the project ...

In the meantime, after giving such a "stark" image/posting of my injured eye yesterday, I realize that I need to post something a bit more pleasing today.  So behold!  It's the New York City Crochet Guild's 2006 Commemorative Crochet Hook hand turned by Tom & Linda Diak of Grafton Fibers (  The hook is to celebrate the NYCCG's Fifth Year Anniversary; it's a size 5mm and is hand turned from rich red and ebony woods!  YUM!!  

The rainbow of colored fibers behind the hook was the "packing" they used to safely ship the hook to me from Vermont.   They look like little puffs of colored clouds and are so heavenly soft!! 

Other Exciting (to me) News Today:
My blog/journal has been selected as "The Crochet Site of The Day" for today!  Click onto the image to check it out along with a lot of other great crochet sites!   :)

Sunday, June 4, 2006

In the Eye of the Beholder

Never has a title for a blog entry rang truer ... with a lesson to be learned too!  Folks, if you have children, please, please keep them away from those self-winding tape measurers!  They can take out an eye!

Here's what happened yesterday:  I'm happily crocheting along making serious progress on my tank top when one of my children picked up my self-winding tape measure and whonk ... pulls the tape out and then zipppppppps ... presses the button where it gets sucked into the housing.  This is repeated.  I'm not paying attention as I'm in the zone.  You know, that "crochet zone" where the process elevates your creative juices ... stitch stitch stitch.  That was me until zippppppppppppppppp smack!

Yep!  Right into my eyeball.  You know those silent screams babies do when they suddenly get hurt and then you hear a deafening scream?  Yes.  That was me.  It still hurts.  But I think I'll be alright.  For now, it feels best to keep the eye closed.  There appears to be a blood blister near the pupil, but I think I should be ok.  Fortunately I know how to type with my eyes closed, and more importantly, I know how to crochet with them closed too.  I'm about 3/4 done with the tank and will continue.  I'm really liking the way my project is turning out!! 

Unfortunately this means I'll be a bit slow in responding to my emails.  But this does raise an interesting question: Do blind people crochet?  Absolutely!!  Patterns are available in braille!  Lion Brand is one such company offering them.  :)

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Uh Huh, Part II

I'm delighted my "enabler" visited my blog yesterday to see that I'm delightfully pointing my crochet hook at her and saying my latest endeavor is all her fault for inspiring me ... I'm tickled she knows that the comment I left on her blog when she first created her beautiful tank was more than just words meant to flatter ... (I had said "It looks fantastic! Thanks for adding to my WIM list, Amy! LOL") I am now acting on those words!  Taking her project from my WIM list to my WIP list!
Crowd of Crocheters ready to Crochet Josi's Tank with Dee
So last night I worked up the first 22 rows and tried it on.  I'm liking the fit thus far, but as a woman with more curves than one normally dares/cares to admit, I decided to read a bit further of the instructions and made an executive/designer decision.  I will omit some of the shaping to give my curves a bit more freedom.  I'm also thinking ahead -- way ahead -- about changing the neckline a bit.  Nothing major ... just something a little different.  We'll see when I get to that point. 

Rain is in the forecast for this weekend, so it's my goal to finish the tank by tomorrow.  Would you like to join me?  While it is true that I have a jump start on the project, it's not too late to make it a "crochet along weekend."  The pattern is fairly easy consisting of single crochet stitches and since the pattern is based upon the measurements you plug in, a lot of the guess work has been removed.  AND I think it would be fun to see how many more crocheters we can say Amy has turned onto Josi Hannon's tank pattern.  So crochet with me!  :)

Answers to some common Questions:
1Is it OK to alter a pattern?
     A.   Yes!  Often times crocheters will use a pattern as a launching pad making changes that suit their personalities/desires/creative whims to their liking.  Not everyone does this, and that's OK too.  The key is to do what suits you best. 
2What is a WIM?
    A.  A WIM is *A Work in Mind" ... something that you want to create just as soon as all the stars in the heavens align just right, or until there's a great yarn sale.  Whichever comes first.
3What is a WIP?
   A.  A WIP is *A Work in Progress" ... few have just one on the hook at a time.  Most feed the hooking desire by having as many as five works going at the same time, stored in various totes and bags around the house to make it portable so we can crochet in public.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Uh huh.

On my way home this evening from another adventurous fiber filled day, I wondered about what it is that causes some of us to go out and buy more & more yarn when we have so many projects on the hook already.  Didn't I just load up at an awesome sale at Knit Together last Saturday?  Didn't I just load up at the Massachusetts Sheep & Wool Fair on Sunday?  Well, then, what would bring me to go out shopping for more?

Would you believe it's all 
Amy's fault?   Yeah.  Really.  It is!  She had to go and post about this fantastic fitted tank top she created using a pattern where you plug in your own measurements and then it custom creates the pattern for you.  Uh huh.  I can see you're now getting the picture, but maybe I should provide a few more details in my defense.

I go, because of Amy, and check out the link she provided to the pattern.  Uh huh.  I then go and print out such said pattern.  Uh huh.  And then I start reading the pattern.  Uh huh.  I see it right there -- I need a fiber with a little bit of stretch to it.  So I make a mental note because I normally do not have "stretchy yarn" in my stash.  So then
Margaret goes and gets in on the act and gives me a bit further ammo for enhancing my yarn stash ... she goes and announces a yarn sale.  No not a little yarn sale where saying "No, maybe next time," will suffice.  Oh no, no, no!  She has to tell us of a terrific yarn sale that cannot be missed!  Uh huh.  And I happen to know this store with the "can't be missed sale" carries the stretchy yarn for the tank top I have in mind.  Uh huh. 

So then Grace, my partner in fiber hording, er collecting,  instant messages me last night and asks what I'm doing today.  Uh huh.  We got together today and drove on over to the Yarn and Craft Box -- and uh huh --  I bought the yarn.  God, I'm weak.  I can't seem to say no to yarn!

I feel like a cat who got into a box of catnip -- my mind is on nothing but the yarn & the pattern Amy got me hooked on.  Has anyone seen where I placed my crochet hook?  Sherri, don't make me come over there and order a new one!  ((grins))  Uh huh.