Saturday, July 29, 2006

Whew! It's Hot!

I'm taking a little break, sitting here enjoying some ice cold lemonade. I am completely surrounded by books and computer parts: from my newest acquisition, The New Crochet book, to computer monitors and cables.  It seems, on the hottest day of the summer season, that I've opted to pick up a hammer to assemble shelving for my ever-growing crochet library!  

It's a good thing too, as I hear
AnniesAttic is having a FREE SHIPPING offer -- I've got my eye on a few of their booklets in their "Sale" bin: Celtic, Pineapples, and so on.  Geesh, the last time they had a sale I nearly kissed my postal carrier when they delivered my goodies!  This could spell trouble now that I have new shelving!  LOL  (To get in on the Free Shipping spend $30 and use code ERGSHIP.  Word has it the offer expires on 8/26/06.)

On the bright side, I did manage to finish another Chemo Cap AND found a missing hank of Berroco's Chai
... a two-tone red-burgundy ribbon made of merino wool and acetate.  It's been discontinued, but I still like it.  Perhaps I can one day finish that WIM with it that I had so long ago ...

It also seems I've been "RAK'ed!"  Now I mentioned RAK'ing in the new blog KTOGBlog the other day in honor of National Girlfriend Day that will take place on August 1st -- so this is a great surprise!  I'm so excited!  I'll share the contents tomorrow. For now, I need to get all these books on the new shelves and all these obsolete computer cables put away. After all, we want a safe environment for me to be able to do cartwheels of joy -- right?  :)

Friday, July 28, 2006

An Interview with Pauline Turner: The Famous Peacock Cape

Ever since I posted the last images I had of the Fashion Show this past Saturday, there has been a tremendous amount of delightful buzz about Pauline Turner's "Peacock Cape" -- the item that caused the "Gasp of Admiration heard around the banquet room!"

So I decided to contact Pauline for a mini-interview and get the scoop:

Hi Pauline,
I wanted to thank you for sending me your "From Doylies to Dramatic
Designs" booklet so quickly!  I'm enjoying reading it!

I also want to let you know that I also appreciate you showing your Peacock Cape off in class.  It's a beautiful work! ... and it's touched off an amazing amount of compliments on the Crochet Partners online list based on images in my blog, Patrice's and Jane's

I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about the piece & then (with your blessing) post them on my blog?  If so, here we go:

1. What inspired you to create this cape? 

2. On the International Freeform group there was a statement that you had created this piece awhile back but recently recreated it transferring the "eyes" to the new cape.  If this is so, why would you recreate it?  (I see it's pictured on page 13 of your book)



Yes I did ... you let me touch it too!  I felt honored!  :)

3.  Do you have any plans of publishing the pattern?  (Based on the postings, this would make many people very happy!) 

4.  How heavy is the cape? 

5.  If others wanted to order your "From Doylies to Dramatic Designs" booklet, do they contact you; go to a website?? 
YES THEY CAN.   I WOULD HAVE TO CHARGE POSTAGE BUT I CAN TAKE DOLLAR CHECKS OR MASTER/VISA CREDIT CARDS.   THE PRICE IS normally £12.50 plus p&p £3 = £15.50   - which converts to $29 US.

6.  Any hints on what you'll be dazzling us with at the next Conference?  :)
 Thank you Pauline!!  :)
icon icon
You can visit Pauline's webpage at  Pauline is the author of several books including "How to Crochet," and her newest release, " Beginner's Guide to Crochet."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Who Let Dee Out?

It's very hot & humid out and I've been spending the afternoon laying upside down on the couch enjoying the cool breeze from the fan (my children do it, so why can't I?) while getting in some reading recommended by Priscilla: iconicon

I'm reading, "
Who Let the Blogs Out?" by Biz Stone.  I'm on Chapter Two and he states, "Stay on passion...and infect every post with attitude."  He also states that the average blog entry is one paragraph long. 

Seemingly, based upon what Biz said, I do try to positively inject my passion for crochet into each and every one of my entries -- or at least I hope I do.  I'm not so sure about "infecting" though.  I don't think I can "infect" anyone with crochet -- that comes from the mere act of crocheting!  (Or does it?  Wasn't I "infected" with a WIM posted by Amy recently??) 

And what about his "one paragraph" blogging etiquette rule?  Obviously I break that rule with nearly every entry I write!  How can one limit their thoughts to just one paragraph when there is so much "injecting & infecting" to be done?  It's like walking into a yarn shop and being told you can only purchase one skein of yarn ... I can see that happening once in awhile (like in a Wallace & Grimace movie, perhaps!), but not everytime!

When I first started this blog, I did so based on the many requests of my students.  At each "Stitch & Chat" class I would relay (inject perhaps?) the latest crochet news, gossip, events, bits of history and projects going on in my fiber world.  And while I still do this (and let me say I still find it com-plete-ly amazing when they reply, "Oh, I know that already Dee -- I read it in your blog!") I love that I have been able to "inject & infect" more people than I ever thought possible, with the love of crochet just by sharing what I enjoy here!  I draw this conclusion as with each passing day my hit counter grows closer and closer to hitting 100,000 visitors. 

And I know not all of my readers are my students!  (After all, I can't imagine them sitting there clicking onto the "refresh" button to make my blog counter jump when they should be practicing their stitches & techniques; or even blogging about their own projects! Right!??  LOL)  No, it seems through the power of blogging that I've been able to cross state lines, borders and oceans to do "infecting & injecting" on the joys of crochet with the taping of a few (well, OK, with a LOT of) keystrokes. 

I've even had the pleasure of meeting many of you at the recent Conference, and more of you are emailing me to state that you're looking forward to seeing me at the New York City "Knit Out & Crochet Too" event that's coming up! 

Biz is right, blogging "does help you find your voice."  But I think I've found something more than just my voice.  I've found a kinship -- a world of people who are just as passionate about crochet as I am and they enjoy coming here and being a part of my fiber world.  I just love it & want to thank you, my readers, for making blogging so much fun for me.  Thank you!

Now if two chapters from this book has me gushing on like this, I wonder what the rest of the book has in store for me.  Perhaps I should read the rest sitting up straight?  :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Question From Reader: Giving Crocheted Gifts

Dear Dee,
I read an article today about Gaudy Gift Giving and was wondering what criteria you use when you give crocheted gifts. I'm a new crocheter and an avid reader of your blog so any advice you can give me would be much appreciated.
Thanks, Linda

Dear Linda,
Thank you for writing me and inquiring. I too recently read an article on Gaudy Gift Giving (perhaps the same one?) and got a few chuckles from it.  But before I answer what my criteria is, I do want to go on record stating that Gaudy Gifts are not just crocheted! Visit your local department store and you'll find many manufactured ones!  Does anyone remember the mounted singing fish?  Yeah, that one is on the top of the list in my Gaudy Gifts book! 

Getting back to your question, I take several factors into consideration before I even start a project deemed for gift giving.  I start by answering the Who, What, Where, When, Why and Hows ... and then the Woulds:

* Who is the receiver? Are they the serious type or have a free spirit?
         Are they babies or senior citizens? (Babies tend to put everything in their mouths; will they eat that furry trim you have planned?  Some seniors need to have their linens washed frequently due to medical conditions; will the medical staff be able to launder the item easily?)
* What is their favorite color? 
   What is their style like?  Are they modern? Conservative?
   What is their lifestyle like? Is it busy? Do they have the time for "hand wash only?"
   What are the chances they'll use the item near open flames?  (some fibers catch on fire or melt quickly!) 
   What occasion will the gift be presented? Birth/Birthday? Wedding/Anniversary? New Home/Moving away? Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza?
   What are the chances I'll be reading about this gift in a "Gaudy Gift" news article?
* When will it be used?  Year round or seasonal?
* Where will it be used?  At home? In the car? At work? At play?
   Where will it be stored?  Prominently on display, in the back of closet?
* When would it be used?  Summer?  Winter?  Everyday?  Special Occasions? Only during my visits?
How will the item be used? Will it be decorative? If so, will it fit in with their decor? If it's to be used, will it match their climate? Those in warmer climates do not need heavy afghans or sweaters! 
    How close will they have the item to their skin?  Do they have allergies that need to be taken into consideration?
    How often will the item be used?  Once for a special occasion?  Every month? Week? Day?
    How much money do I have budgeted for the fiber and the pattern?
    How much time can I afford to put into the project?  (If the item is for a child, how quickly are they growing?  Will the item fit them now or when they're much older?)
    How long will the item remain *in fashion?*

And then the woulds:
would they lend it back to me to enter into competition?  (Would I be proud enough of the item to even consider entering it??  If not, chalk it up to "Gaudy")
* and most importantly WOULD THEY APPRECIATE IT?

If you can answer at least 90% of these questions in a positive fashion, then go for it.  And when you do present it, let them know that if they don't like it that you ask it be donated to their favorite charity.  That toilet tissue cover, if done right, may be able to double as a decorative top hat. ;)

Thanks for writing in Linda!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Crochet is everywhere, la la la la la la laaaaa

I kidnapped my friend's children yesterday and had fun with them at a local childrens museum.  As they ran around with mine, perhaps unknowingly learning about the process of aging, sound, lights, and the galaxy, I worked on some more chemo hats.  As I did a woman approached me and inquired what I was doing.

Without missing a beat, or should I say a stitch?, I looked up at her and explained the hat that was upon my hook.  She said she's a knitter looking to convert (isn't that music to my ears!) as she heard crochet was quicker.  I replied, "... and more!  You can change hooks, stitches, fibers, directions, and dimensions anywhere in your work.  You're not constricted by rules."  She seemingly liked the sound of this.  "And look," she added, you're not even looking at your work!  That's amazing!"

I found out she's visiting from Phoenix, AZ, and is looking for someone to teach her how to crochet.  I gave her some websites of crochet groups to check out along with my business card.  I do hope she's able to connect with someone local who will pass on the passion of crochet to her.

As the children and I went on to another display, a group of children stopped in front of me.  "You're crocheting, aren't you," said one.  "Yes, I am," I delightedly replied.  "She's making a hat," said one child to another.  "Is that hard to do," asked another.  "No," I replied, "it just takes practice."  They watched me crochet for a few more minutes and then moved on.  I overheard one child stating to another that she's going to ask her Grandma to teach her how to crochet.  Hmmm, interesting what one can be inspired to learn more about when at museums, huh?  LOL

At the end of the day I had finished my second hat.  My friend's daughter inquired if this one would be for donation too.  I asked her to come over & let me borrow her head.  I said I needed to see if the hat was just the right size.  It was; I told her the hat was hers to keep.  She was delighted and let out one of the biggest grins of the day.

When I returned the children to their home, I got to talking to my friend a bit about my daughter's crochet project she's been working on since the weekend.  (She's working on the slipper kit you see pictured on the left.) I showed my friend the work she's already completed and it seemed to spark an interest in my friend's daughter who was standing nearby.  "Mommy, I want to learn how! Can you show me?"  Who knows, maybe we'll have another newbie crocheter in our mists ...

Oh go ahead, you know you want to sing it:

Crochet is in the air
Everywhere I look around
Crochet is in the air
Every sight and every sound 
Crochet is everywhere
Crochet is in the air
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Most Complimented Attendee ...

Being a kid has it's rewards.  Just ask my children who were blessed with wonderful gifts from Margaret Hubert during our eventful drive to the Conference!  Margaret presented my children each with a goodie bag -- and little did we know that one of the goodies would become one of THE most complimented attendees at the entire conference!

Meet Nanette!  Nanette is a doll that's part of the
Groovy Dolls collection. Only this one is special. Really special because not only did it come complete with a most wonderful wardrobe crocheted and knitted by Margaret's talented hands, but Nanette also got to put on a private Fashion Show for all of Margaret's and Prudence's guests in their hotel room!

Nanette also received many compliments (as she was accompanied by my daughter) during her visits to the classrooms I was in, in the hotel lobby & conference events, and at various local establishments she visited -- like Valley Forge.  I'd say she was one very lucky doll, wouldn't you?  LOL  My daughter just loves Nanette!  (Thank you Margaret!)

Now as much as we all love Nanette, and now know of her extreme popularity at the Conference, I think it's time we set her aside and discuss -- no, no, that isn't right.  Let's try that again.  I think it's time we set her aside and GIGGLE to the one that will replace Nanette as THE Most Complimented Attendee ...

Remember yesterday when I revealed who the winning bidder for my Bravo! Bra was?  Well, it seems it's being put to good use offering inspiration to Brian while also offering a new place for Anne to store her growing yarn stash (yes, she says, she stuffed the bra "to give it some form"...)  The following images are used with their blessing.  Enjoy!

Give Brian and Anne a visit at
Tell them Dee sent you! (and don't forget to let them know how much you appreciated these images! LOL)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

CGOA Conference: Fashion Show Part II

On Wednesday I mentioned the CGOA Fashion Show and promised more pictures.  I'm delighted to say that I got the pictures my husband took developed and can now share them!  For the most part, these pictures are of garments (with the exception of Pauline's "Peacock Cape") are the first time I'm seeing them too!  If you know who the models/garments were, I'd be happy to add the credits. 

In the last picture of this series you can see my daughter modeling -- it's the only image we have of her showing off the outfit I worked on so feverishly during/in between/after each class.  The beautiful glass buttons that I purchased at the Vendors Market on Opening Night were sewn on just moments prior to arriving the banquet/fashion show! 
Also in that picture are the winning bidders of the Bravo! bra I embellished.  Do you know who the winning bidders are?  Would you like a hint?  Yes?  Then click onto the brassier to find out.  I also want to note that I had the pleasure of meeting them right after the banquet; what wonderful people they are!  (Also, if anyone knows who won the purple one that my crochet group ( submitted, I'd love to know so I can thank them on behalf of the group.)  I'm guessing over $1000 was raised that night!

If you're interested in seeing more images from the Fashion Show, then you'll also want to visit these other fantastic blogs:
Jane's Hooked on Crochet
    * Yarn Over Pull Through (she has multiple entries w/images including a photo album)

So there are two things left to discuss about the Conference:
       A.  The most complimented attendee -- perhaps tomorrow's blog topic, eh?
and  B.   When the CGOA will post it's pictures from the Fashion Show.  (I understand they're working on it!)

But what about other specifics?  Like how many attended, where will it be next year -- and when!  I believe the actual number will be revealed in an upcoming "Chain Link" newsletter -- as for the next location & time, I don't know.  Usually this information is revealed right after the Fashion Show but it wasn't this year.  We'll have to hang tight for awhile until they're ready to announce it. 

And what do I have in mind for that outfit my daughter modeled?  A magazine editor expressed interest in it; I'm also hoping to submit it into an upcoming competition.  That is, if I can get it away from my daughter long enough!  LOL

Friday, July 21, 2006

Greetings from the CGOA Conference Vendor Floor

I had taken a few video clips from the Conference, but only one video survived (I'm hoping this doesn't mean I need to purchase another new camera).  Anyway, this is a greeting from Lisa Gentry ... the Guinness World Record Holder as "Fastest Crocheter"

Greetings from the CGOA Conference Vendor Floor

Thursday, July 20, 2006

CGOA Conference: Hooks & Happiness

I have been advised many times that often a first impression stays with you.  That you should always put your best foot forward, and so on.  Fortunately for me, I believe in second chances.

When I first met Christy at the Conference, I was not the happiest of crocheters.  My mind was in near panic mode of trying to figure out overnight accommodations for a family of four (see journal entry from
Tuesday for details.)  I so wanted to take time and chat with her & Carol a bit, but I had to resolve the lodging issue first.  Apparently, I made impressions on others who were also in the lobby because I had received comments about the coloring in my face/the clarity of my complexion later on.  I'm guessing that my face on Tuesday was bright red due to how upset I was with the hotel.

Well, imagine my delight on getting to hang out with Christy a bit on Thursday morning when we were in Nancy Nehring's "Create Your Own Crochet Hook" class!  Christy has a great sense of humor -- she even struck a fun pose for me when I went to check out her really, really, REALLY bright crochet work!  She was one of the first to not only finish her crochet hook but to also decorate it!  Isn't that fantastic?!!  Christy, it was an absolute pleasure to be in that class with you!!  :)

And speaking of crochet hooks, I took mine on a Maiden Voyage yesterday.  I crocheted three hats, pictured below.  Two as Chemo Caps, and one to donate this fall to our local Salvation Army.  The lime-green hat was crocheted with a beautiful silk & merino blend by Plymouth (from my yarn stash).

The purple hat was created with Lion Brand's "Microspun" which is notorious for splitting.  (I had it left over from a swatch I created for one of Lily Chin's classes I took.)  I want to go on record here stating that it behaved quite nicely on my new hook!  As a finished project, it has such an incredible softness to it; I'm sure someone needing it due to the effects of cancer will enjoy that feature!

The last hat I created I used almost a full skein of Moda-dea's "Metro" that was featured in one of my goodie bags from the Conference (I got two bags: one for attending Professional Day, and one for attending the Conference.)  I'm not seeing a reference to it on their website, so it may be brand new to their yarn line.  It worked up very quick with my new hook, which I'm guessing is around a size "L" -- I haven't officially measured it yet.  Margaret Hubert gave me hers, so it looks like I best get busy working up another hat.  Believe it or not, Christmas & the winter season are only 159 days away!

But before I dash away to go play with my new hook some more, I want to state that I believe the conflict with the hotel's billing has been resolved.  It wasn't a pretty fight, but it was one in which the hotel management finally agreed with me that they shouldn't have charged me for the Internet service. They have removed the $600 charge from my bill.

It's all about happy endings, isn't it?  :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

CGOA 2006 Fashion Show

For whatever reason, my family and I all thought that the Fashion Show/Dinner started at 7:00 PM. We were wrong.

I had just finished tucking all the ends in to one of the garments my daughter was to model and ran back to "
the beach" to quickly sew on the buttons for my Lacy Leaf Cocoon I planned on wearing.  Thinking back I think Tracy and Ellen (my guest blogger during my Birthday Week Extravaganza) were witness to my near panic of getting my daughter's garment done in time!  Our plan was to arrive at the Fashion Show/Dinner early to ensure good seats. After all, it's not every day your nine-year-old daughter who is as shy as a button debuts as a model at such a large event. Fortunately I looked at our ticket stubs -- it said the event started at 6:00 PM. We made a mad dash to the banquet room and were able to find four seats together in the very crowded room.

Behind our table was a doorway and I was advised that the chairs aligned in rows behind it was for the overdraft of people they anticipated for the Show. inside the banquet roomHad people actually sat there they would have seen nothing. There was no catwalk raising the models or path for them to sashay along so the people in the way-back of the room could see. Some of the models did figure out a way to leave the front of the banquet room and enter through another door to try to come to the back, but it was difficult. I never got to see my daughter model (even when standing beside my table), but fortunately my husband was able to vacate his seat and take Lily Chin's in order to take some photos. The ones includedin today's entry are from the digital camera.  More photos should be available once I get some film developed later this week.

In looking at the photos my husband took, and at other bloggers who are posting their pictures, it looks like the crochet fashions were knock outs!!  I do hope that in Conferences-to-come that the catwalk is brought back in (as it was in 2004) or that space is left between the tables to allow the models to easily work their way around the room for all to see.  No designer should miss seeing their work strutted about at a Fashion Show; and more importantly, IMHO, no parent should miss when their child shines.  

I was approached afterwards by some attendees who did get to see my daughter model who told me she did wonderfully. While I try to mask my feelings of not being able to see her actual debut (I don't want to mar her experience with my disappointment), I am delighted, and very proud of her -- that she stepped forward and spread her butterfly wings a bit.  I know it's not easy to stand in front of a bunch of people and have them all stare at you, and more so when you're a child standing in front of a bunch of adults.  The fact that she did it, and reportedly did it very well, is just fantastic!

On a side note, the video below is NOT from the Conference -- it's of "Double Stitch" who are twin sisters bringing crochet to the catwalk ... note the keyword here "catwalk!" Their designs are beautiful and are really worth checking out too!  If it doesn't show here, then click here to watch it.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

CGOA Conference ... Day (what day were we on last?)

We've arrived at our next hotel (the CGOA Conference is officially over) and now have a normal Internet connection/speed.  So, while I have a load of laundry in the wash I thought I'd share some more of my experiences.

First, let's get the awful stuff out of the way, OK.  Rarely do I vent, but when I do it's for a good reason: Injustice.  The hotel at the Conference really lacked -- in everything.  I've already expressed what happened upon our arrival and how we ended up in a "Fantasy Room" ... but now that fantasy may become a horrible nightmare as the hotel tacked on an extra $600 to my bill.  Not for the room, but for the Internet connection!!  You bet I'm fighting it!  There were many other "disgruntlements" but this was by far the largest. 

Getting back to the reason why I was at the Conference ... for the classes & for the people!  I spent yesterday and today hanging out with Lily Chin.  She is amazing; the amount of information she has in her head and her ability to reach all of her students is absolutely amazing.  I'm really inspired to pick up my coloring pencils and doodle some fun designs.  The kids enjoyed hanging out with her for a bit too.

I'm going to hold off on telling about the Fashion Show, but will tell you that the last picture in today's post is of me wearing the tank top I mentioned along my version of  the "Lacy Leaf Cocoon" that is featured in the Spring issue of Interweave Press Crochet magazine.  (I altered the pattern to fit me & my personality).  While I'm mentioning this item, I also want to add that it was THE most recognizable pattern at the Conference -- many, many people were wearing them in a variety of colors and fibers.  How cool!  (If you're looking to create one, do note that there's now corrections for the pattern.)

OK, that's it for now.  Gotta take care of that sleep depravation issue ...

PLEASE STAND BY: We are experiencing ...

*  Sleep deprivation (but of course!)
*  Technical Difficulties
     *  Dead Camera Batteries
     *  Slow Computer Connection
*   Sheer panic -- check out is earlier than we anticipated!

What I will share about yesterday's festivities is that The HHCC's
( bra was auctioned off yesterday for $80.  My bra for the Bravo! auction went for $110! (can you guess who won my bra?)  That's nearly two hundred dollars for a fantastic cause!  Whoo hoo!

Once we're at our next destination (with hopes of a better computer connection & recharged camera batteries) the updates about the Conference, and who won my Bravo! bra will be revealed!  :)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

CGOA 2006 National Conference: Day Two

Today was just an incredible day ... am I allowed to go retro and do "Valley Girl" impressions with a bunch of "Oh, my gawd(s)" thrown about?  I so want to so go Valley -- it was that kind of a great day.

It started off with a fantastic class with Pauline Turner.  I so love her books and was really looking forward to this class as I knew I could learn things from her to make my teaching even better.  I was so right!  It was like the bulb went off above my head for many ways I can improve the learning process for my students.  Let's just say that I left the class illuminated! LOL

There was a long break between my morning class & evening class so I went to see some publishers.  Boy did I have butterflies fluttering around in my stomach!  But with the encouragement from Melissa Leapman's class from last night, the huge discussion of copyright from Tammy on Wednesday, and with my family's support I went for it.  And they loved every pitch I offered!  (See, I told you it's an "Oh my gawd" kind of day!)  I'm going to have A LOT of work to do, but I'm really looking forward to it!

Afterwards I was kidnapped -- my family took me to putt putt golf, to "Penguins on the Beach" (there's no escaping the beach scene for me this week **giggles**  it's a shop that sells the most delicious Italian Ices!), and then a quick visit to Valley Forge to see where our first President made history. 

In the evening I had a class on Tunisian Jewelry ... I have an image of my class work featured this evening (please cross your fingers that the pictures don't go "MIA" again!).  That class was a lot of fun!  Thank you Kathleen!!  :)

And then it was time for the International Freeformers to gather!  Oh, we're such schemers!  One of the members recently got married so we decided to surprise her with Bridal Freeform Scrumbles ... boy! did we ever surprise her!!  Then off we went to Prudence & Margaret's room to get a sneak peak at some items that will be featured at tomorrow night's Fashion Show. 

What a most fantastic day!


Friday, July 14, 2006

CGOA 2006 National Conference: Day One

Today was just a whirlwind of fun starting with a fantastic class taught by Nancy Nehring on how to create your own crochet hooks.  One would think what could be so hard about that?  Well, it's not that it's hard or simple to create a hook, but more in looking at what makes you like the type of hook you use most.  What an eye opener!  I'm really impressed with the hook that I created (I have a blister on my finger as my proof!  LOL), so do check it out!  Thanks Nancy, for such a great class!!  (It's image #2)

Christy, my dear, you're a hoot!  I loved having you in class today.  I will be blogging about our class some more, but because it's taking a zillion years to upload images, I'm going to save it for the recap entry that I'll do when I return home.

Other exciting moments of the day was my class with Melissa Leapman.  The class was very informative and I think it will also gave me a little bravado to pitch a book idea to a publisher tomorrow ... we'll see what happens.  I also got to talk to Drew (The Crochet Dude) some more; he's so charming!

At the Keynote Address Rita Weiss filled in for President Nancy Brown who was delayed in getting to the Conference -- she made a great MC  (Master of Ceremonies).  She presented Gwen Blakley-Kinsler, the Founder of the Crochet Guild of America, and Pam Oddi, Webmistriss, with LifeTime Memberships for their many, many years of volunteering their time to the Guild.  How wonderful!

Afterwards was the Gift Exchange.  How that works is, you crochet an item (there was a $10 spending limit), and leave it on the table.  Then you go back later and pick an item NOT belonging to you.  Then you meet the person who crocheted your item.  That was a lot of fun.

Then the Vendors Market opened!  This means they started placing the Bravo! bras on display, and  Debby Macomber was there too.   I also got to meet Lisa Gentry -- and in fact have a video clip of her saying hello to all of you, but again, I'm having difficulties in uploading, so that will have to wait awhile longer. 

Did I mention the appetizers?  The wine?   LOL; that was good too!  And this also means the "Sixty Odd, a fiber odyssey" booth was open.  (Everyone was gathering in front of the Freeform booth; check out image #13 with Myra "womaning" the booth, and then the gang -- image #14 -- of the gang!)  A Be sure to check out what pictures did manage to upload tonight ... more adventures coming tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Oh, and Shelley, I'm sorry you will not be able to make it to the Conference this year -- I will get Prudence's book for you.  In fact, I called her in her hotel room and requested she especially set aside one for you :)

Have a great night everyone ...
~one really sleepy Dee

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Professional Development Day

Have you ever been so excited that while you were asleep your internal clock knew the time you had to be up by?  It's a good thing my clock knew because the hotel's alarm clock never went off!  Keep in mind that this gal is a night owl, so finding myself waking up at 6:30 to get ready for today was a major milestone!

Upon arrival in the banquet room, the tables were piled high with many, many skeins of yarn -- of all colors, brands, and many textures including crochet hooks, knitting needles, tapestry needles and rulers.  As the speakers discussed the various topics we each crocheted or knitted up 12" squares that will be assembled into afghans and donated (forgive me, it's late, I could be wrong but I do believe they'll be donated to Warm Up America.  I'll double check & make a correction if need be.)  By the end of the day, I crocheted three squares.  :)

At the Professional Day Luncheon we learned of a new crochet magazine that will hit the stands next month.  It's called "Crochet Today" and will be geared towards the new crocheter.  Their plan is to offer simplier patterns -- oh, no, not simple as in easy, but simple as they'll be removing some of the abbreviations that throw so many when learning how to read patterns.  The magazine will have some 90+ pages, and feature 25 patterns in each bi-montly issue.  If you're interested in learning more about it, you'll want to visit
here ... it's a Coats & Clark publication.

Of course part of attending Professional Day, besides learning interesting topics related to crochet, is getting to see those from previous Conferences, and getting to meet those that are "new to me" ... from bloggers like The Crochet Dude and Jane, to International Freeformers like Victoria and's like a big family reunion!!

The second half of Professional Day was like those "quick date" services you see them talking about on television.  You spend so much time at Table A about one topic then move on to Table B and learn about the next topic, and so on.  We got to pick three tables to do this with and I chose Contract Crochet & Pattern Testing with Marjorie Scensny, How to Drive an Editor Crazy by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss (joined by Kathleen Sams of Coats & Clark), and then Creating Mulit-Sized Patterns (aka Slopers!) with Nancy Nehring.  That was a lot of fun.

Of course the biggest drawl of the day was the discussion of Copyright with Tammy L. Browning-Smith, JD., LL.M -- and for those of us who couldn't get enough on this topic there was the evening session which dove into the topic even further.  I was one of the evening attendees too.

After my last session I headed to the hotel lobby and chatted with Prudence Mapstone while my daughter and Margaret collaborated on a garment piece for my daughter's new doll.

What's up for tomorrow, or should I say later on today (it really seems to take for-e-v-e-r for uploading pics!)?  Ah, you'll just have to wait for those details!  LOL

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

We're Here!! :)

It took awhile (I'm on dial-up here at the hotel) but I finally got the pictures to upload.  The first picture is the split in the tire we noticed on Sunday.  Turns out it was defective and we got a new one.  We think the split recently happened as we've had the vehicle in for regular check-ups and no one had noticed it.  Fortunately we did.

On our adventure here we stopped and picked up
Margaret Hubert.  She's such an awesome lady.  She hosted the HHCC's Monthly Meeting this past Sunday and it was a really fun time! 

We made really good time until we hit both New Jersey and then Pennsylvania.  I don't want to knock those that live in these states, but I do want to ask if you could talk to your Department of Transportation and request they label their highways better.  Who knew that Highway 476 is also known as the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  And who knew that when you wanted to take Highway 78 West off Highway 287 that you should have taken the EAST off ramp.  We figured that the next exit would be for heading west, but there were no signs ... for miles.  Lucky for us we found two individuals who got us back on track.

After several loop-dee-loops we finally figured it out and arrived safely.  We went to check into our hotel to find out the room they wanted to give us was a tiny one-bed room.  Not good when you're a family of four.  So I asked for another room and was advised we'd have to take a room on a smoking floor.  No, that wouldn't work either.  The next option was for a room with a king size bed, and they'd bring in a cot.  I'd need two -- but they said they couldn't due to fire codes.  I was getting quite upset as I had reserved the room MONTHs ago.  The manager said that a reservation is only a "statement saying they'd have a room available upon arrival, not that you'd get what you requested" ... as upset as I was I stood my ground.  Eventually we were given the option to stay at the beach.  It's a "theme room" and actually, it's pretty cool.  All that's missing is sand between the toes and the sound of seagulls screaming "Mine, mine, mine!" (quote is from the Nemo movie)

Once we were settled in we went out to dinner.  We found this great restaurant called "Rubys" and it was like a trip to the 1950s.  Chrome.  Red.  Coke.  Even the music.  The food was good too!  :)

I'm now preparing for a full day ... I'm taking "Professionals Day," doing the PD Lunch, and then the evening Professionals Day session.  I'm really looking forward to it.

I'll be back with more updates from the Conference.  If there's information/images you want to see, please let me know (comment here or send me an email) and I'll see if I can fulfill your wishes. 

That's it for now.  Signing off from Chain Link ...
Good Night & Fiber Fantasies,

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Coaxing & Pleading Leads to a New Shop

Just about every thought I have right now is for the Conference ... the drive out, checking in, the classes, the crochet sightings, and most especially -- the people!  Since we just discovered a potential problem w/my vehicle, this will be my last journal post until I'm at the Conference.  I'll be needing to spend some time at the Auto Service Center tomorrow having my vehicle reexamined; I surely do not want to give Murphy (as in Murphy's Law) any room to think he's invited on this trip!

But, all is not lost!  I've been chatting (coaxing? pleading?) with Heidi of about how much I love her crochet theme cartoons she has on her website -- and of my deep desire to enjoy a great cup of coffee with one of her cro-toons on it, or perhaps wear a T-shirt.  I inquired with her if she offered such items along with her beautiful stitch markers and earrings ... but she didn't. 

So we got to chatting some more and now the latest news is, yes!  W
e crochet lovers can now purchase items featuring her crochet humor!!  You've sooooo got to go check out her new shop on CafePress!  On the right is a sample from her
YarnToon shop! Whoo hoo!!

Heidi will be at the conference, and in fact, Dream Weaver Yarns will be selling her entire line of knitting and crochet stitch marker/jewelry at the CGOA conference Market (Booth 413-415), including the pink ribbon ones. 

I also want to mention that if you have children to crochet for, be sure to check out her latest booklet called "Bath Buddies," by Jeanette Crews Designs.  How cute!  She has some images of the Bath Buddies pictured on her website here if you'd like more details.

Awesome; thanks Heidi for making this crocheter's dream come true!  See you at the Conference!  :)

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Getting Prepared ... 89 hours & counting down ...

In preparing for the Conference, I've cleaned out my crochet kit and restocked it with most of the items I'll be needing -- and with a few things not required, but in my opinion always good to have on hand. What do you think those items could be?

Let's first note that the bag my crochet hooks are in happens to be an extended version of the free Treasure Bags pattern featured on my website,  The larger blue bag was crocheted holding two strands of size 10 thread together following Pauline Turners pattern featured in her book, How to Crocheticon (If you opt to make the bag too, please note that I changed the edging, and the handles.)  I've been using the bag for two years and it's really holding up well!  The little blue bag that is visible in the crochet case is a combo of crochet & knit.  On the inside flap I keep a few safety pins for cases of emergency, and inside the bag are some buttons.

icon The plastic case you see there is actually a cosmetic case I picked up at a local store.  I like it because I can see the contents from the outside and inside of the bag.  This makes finding crochet tools a snap!

Some of the items I usually tote around in it:
         * paper clips (those are the large "button" looking things you see there.  They're great for holding book pages in place.
        Copy Holder * chap stick & gum.  There are times I want these things but don't want to get up to go fishing for them, so having them in the bag saves me time.
          * beads & beading needles.  These are for those times when you want to add a touch of creativity to a particular work.  Having them in the kit means I'm ready for when creativity strikes!
         * pen & paper.  Great for quick note taking, or for passing along information to other crocheters (& knitters too!)
         * tape measurers and gauge markers -- those are always a necessity.
         * I think one of my most favorite tools I keep in the bag is a copy holder -- similar to the one pictured on the right.  I like using it when I take classes as it holds the class materials up so when I look up from my work, it's right in front of me.  The one pictured here is sold at Staples (you can click onto the image for more info; any local office supply store should have similar products that will do the trick.)  I think this should be a standard item in every crochet student's crochet bag!  :)
         * I've recently added the roll of masking tape ... I have a class requiring that.
         * calculators are also a great tool to have in your bag for figuring out yardage, costs, gauges and so on.

On the left is the notebook I've been working on.  It has in it the following:  A printout of every class description, most of my homework assignments, and most of the class materials (patterns, tracing paper, graph paper & so on) I'll need -- even blank pages of paper for note taking for each class I'll be taking.  The classes are divided up with index dividers, and include a page that I can slip in class handouts. 

A bit extreme?  Perhaps.  But consider this, once at the Conference I won't need to give second thought to where my class materials are.  This means less stress and more fun!  And after the Conference, I've got myself one great souvenir -- and resource guide -- all in one place.  I just love it!  If you're going to the Conference and would like to see how it's set up, I'd be happy to show you.  Just ask!  :)

And yes, my homework assignment you see there (in purple & green) does spell out "Dee."  I couldn't resist.  What can I say? <BG> I was inspired to do it after seeing the instructor wearing a tank top featuring her name ... LOL 

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Ta tas, er Ta Da!

Hot off my crochet hook and the beading needle is my Tickled Pink contribution to the upcoming
Bravo silent auction that will (hopefully help) raise money for breast cancer support.  The auction will be held on July 15th at the CGOA's National Conference.  I can't wait to see all the bras together ... that should make a very powerful statement, don't you think?  :)

Unfortunately, my model here is a wee bit um, challenged in fitting the bra properly.  But with a few straight pins I was able to get the bra to stay on for the photo shoot.  This bra is two sizes larger than that of the

Both pictures shown today are hosted at my picturetrail album for 2006.  Visit if you'd like to take a closer look.  I greatly enjoyed working on this project, especially creating the flowers that adorn it. 

I'd like to thank Tracy for the sloper link, and also thank Jane for popping in & letting me know that my sloper is on track -- what a relief! (If you haven't already, be sure to check out that journal entry and place your vote!)  

As for being prepared for the Conference, I have my route all mapped out, my crochet kit nearly packed ... what's that?  You want to see what's in it?  And my notebook too?  You remembered me saying that, huh?  Wow, I'm impressed.  OK, OK, I'll share.  But not right now; perhaps tomorrow.  I have another project urgently needing completion.

Other Bravo! Brassieres to check out:
Robyn's Bravo Bra
Lisa's Bravo Bra
Myra's Bravo Bra (need to be a member of the Int'l FF Group to see)


Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Happy Birthday America!

                   Here's hoping your
                        4th of July
                        is both fun

  For those looking for a more "meatier" journal entry, you may be interested in visiting these "oldies but goodies" from my archives:

Crochet Some History (2005)
Happy 4th of July! (2004)

    Note:Today's featured image was one of the fireworks my family and I watched last night. 

Sunday, July 2, 2006

The Reserves Aid in Homework Assignment

Alright, I have spent WAY too much time working on my sloper.  Way too much time!  I've always admitted up front, forthright, truthfully, and so on, that sewing is not my bag.  It's Sheila's bag.  Not mine; I'm a professed lover of crochet.  (I love it, love it, love it!)  I mean, if I had to sew, I could do it, but it doesn't sing to me like crochet does!  I use my sewing machine to wind bobbins of thread for me -- to make crocheting easier!  Not to sew with.  So you can see where this story is going ...

I had a such a rough time with this homework assignment that it nearly drove me nuts, er, to a more pleasurable experience -- to knit! --  but alas, I decided to call in the troops for help: my two sewing books.  Ever so carefully I removed the several inches of dust off of them and eagerly flipped through the pages only to be sadly disappointed that the books didn't even mention the word "sloper" or any word closely resembling what it might mean. 

So next I called upon the almighty Internet.  The Internet is known to contain a wealth of information and  I figured that there has to be some website, somewhere, that shows details of what a sloper should look like when you're done connecting all the required dots.  But the only thing I learned worth while in all of my hours of surfing for slopers was that there was once a beautiful car in the 1940s (limited production as I understand it) called a
Chevrolet SloperI know the sloper I was to create is for an upcoming crochet class -- could it be that I was meant to design a car to crochet?  I mean, if they could knit a Ferrari, why not crochet a Chevy Sloper, right?  Ah, but I took a guess and figured that's not quite what the homework assignment called for.  So I called in the Reserves.

And in they marched, happy to assist me: my son acted as the scribe, my daughter as the model, and my husband as the direction reader & appointed measurer.  My job was to draw on the graph paper with my red and black colored pencils. 

A few trial & errors later, we've come up with the finished product you see to the right.  As you can tell, it looks nothing like a fine yarn-mobile.  We think it's a sewers sloper. 

"Imagine," said my husband, "that you'll be able to walk into that class with your sloper, and if everyone else had a hard time with it too, they might be impressed that you were able to complete yours."

"Hmmm," I replied, "you may be right.  Keep your cell phone on as if that's the case  I'm calling you all into class to explain how we did it!"  {{Grins}}
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Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Heat is On!

My crochet hook has been non-stop for what seems like forever in preparation for the upcoming Conference.  This includes working on the item my daughter will be modeling at the Fashion Show, to other various projects -- including homework!  And boy! Do I have homework! 

On the right is one of the homework pieces I did for one of the Lily Chin classes I'll be taking.  The assignment said to crochet up an 8" square using a lace pattern.  This one is from Donna Kooler's "encyclopedia of crochet," and I just love the way it came out!   iconicon(If you're looking for a great reference book to add to your personal library, then this one is a must!  You can find it at most local craft/book shops, and at online etailers like amazon , overstock, and eBay! I've had mine since it was first published and still enjoy using it, so you know it's a great book!)

In taking a few relaxing moments with a cup of coffee this morning, I got to catch up on reading a lot of my favorite crochet blogs.  It seems that I'm not the only one focused on getting the homework done in time.  Jane is working on her homework assignments too -- and since she's working on her sloper, it sounds like we'll be in the same class together.  Cool; this should be a fun class! 

I'm headed back to my homework; don't want that crochet hook to cool off too much!  I've only got 9 days to get all completed in time!