Saturday, September 30, 2006

Romanian Inspiration

It took two entire days (mostly because of the required hand sewing -- which is not one of my strong points), but it's done.  And besides it being one of my favorite pieces I've designed  thus far, it's also a crochet work my sweet hubby declared as one of my "Signature Pieces." Isn't he the best-est?  Because it's primarily black in color, photographing it will be a bit tricky.  I'll post a picture once I can get a really good image of it. 

In the meantime, perhaps as a reward for finishing the project??, my postal carrier dropped off my latest amazon order.  I admit it. There was no holding me back -- I ripped into that box faster than he could speed away from my mailbox! (Perhaps he's seen one too many fiber obsessed folks rip into packages before and wanted to get some safety distance?? ha ha ha)  In my hands was the book I've been awaiting for -- The book on Romanian Point Lace!

I skipped my way back into the house and eagerly began flipping through the pages.  Would the book hold all the information I've been awaiting for since 2002 when a woman emailed me about the technique?  All I could do at that time was order a back issue of PieceWork magazine that had a brief article & how to ... just enough information, really, to get me interested in finding out more about this parti
cularly beautiful crochet technique.

So through the years I'd periodically comb the Internet on the hunt for more information. Here's a few of the better links I've found:

  1. description & slide show
  2. you can order kits here (note: I have NOT done business w/them yet so I cannot attest to their business practices)

  3. you can order kits (note: I have NOT done business w/them and cannot attest to their business practices)

I have practiced the cording technique that is a major component of the Romanian Point lace a bit, such as with this simple bookmark, but I haven't gotten around to making actual motifs. 

Flipping through my new book, page after page, I can envision many future projects.  I do believe this book will be a most welcomed family member in my private crochet book library!

Maybe the "Signature Piece" I thought I had finished earlier today isn't done after all.  Maybe it needs a tiny Romanian Point Lace focal point.  I'm going to have to give that some further thought.  But first, I'm going to put a pot of coffee on, sit back, and enjoy reading this wonderful new book.  :)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Clue-less in Connecticut

Hello, Dee?  I need a clue about your current contest ...I've been busy chatting on the telephone -- it seems folks are calling -- wanting clues -- as to where my voice is on Guido's podcast. Oh, you people are bad! LOL

Look, I'm not going to give any hints -- at least not without a good bribe incentive like several skeins of sinfully soft yarn!

Oh, but wait!  I don't think that kind of bribe will work at the moment -- I just placed a huge order with Herrshners (complete with free shipping)I guess it will have to be pattern books.  Hmmmm, no, that won't work either.  I've got orders coming in from AnniesAttic and Amazon.  We'll have to make the incentive crochet hooks.  Yeah, nice hand-turned crochet hooks.  Mmmmm....that might do the trick!  Of course a crocheter can never have enough beads and buttons ... LOL

All kidding aside, I'm keeping the contest fair.   No clues will be given; not even if someone already has guessed correctly or not.  And please note that I'm also keeping the prize under wraps -- you'll just have to wait until the contest is over to learn all the juicy details!  :)

So, while everyone is waiting, t
here is another contest you may be interested in participating in.  It's featured on Caron's "My Stitching Story" blog.  They want to hear about your favorite crochet or knit story.  When you send it in your story will be entered into a drawing for  your choice of 6 skeins of any current Caron yarn.  They select a winner about twice a month ... so go ahead andsend in your favorite crochet stories!  I'm looking forward to reading them!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Spinning Off Valuable Lessons

 I think, especially during the first few weeks of school, that parents should get part of the student's grade. After all it's the parent that runs around town getting all the school supplies, school clothes, and then once school starts -- filling out all the paperwork, covering the school books, working on the fund raisers and so on. Are you with me on this thus far?
pattern can be found in the Spring 2006 issue
There I was last week, all proud of myself, thinking I'm going to earn an "A" for all the things I've done to help my children ease back into a new school year. Ah, I was all smiles, ready to sit back and watch my children tackle new subjects. That is until my daughter came home and asked, "Mom, I have a homework assignment. I need to bring in magazine pictures of landscapes. Can I look through your magazine collection?" I, wanting to be a helpful parent, said, "Sure Honey, help yourself."

I think I just heard some horrified gasps from some of my readers! Yes, exactly! What
was I thinking? Egads! I gave her cart blanc to all of my magazines without giving thought as to what magazines she'd look at first! 

Fortunately she did not instantly go running for the scissors to start cutting as all the magazines she selected were my "Spin Off" magazines.  She was way more thoughtful -- she made a pile and asked me to leaf through them before she started chopping them up.  Thankfully someone was thinking here!  As I leafed through the old issues I found many articles I had earmarked as "interested in reading" and "crochet patterns to try," such as the yarn holder I crocheted up shortly after revisiting the pattern.

I broke the news to her that the "Spin Off" magazines were off limits, but she could have all my House & Gardens.  Boy, did I learn a valuable lesson!  :)

For those interested in Spin Off magazine, it's a magazine published by the same folks who create the "Interweave Crochet" magazine we love so much.  I enjoy the Spin Off magazine because it offers insight to why things are -- although I have not begun to spin my own fibers yet, the magazine has taught me some valuable lessons.  (More if I get to finish reading all those articles I earmarked!)  I've learned about "S" and "Z" twists, fiber content, dyeing with food coloring, and more!  If you get a chance, check the magazine out.  And if there are holes in it, good chance some child with scissors got to it -- busy cutting out the beautiful landscape pictures for school projects.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Did Dee Say she was having Another Contest??

Yesterday I mentioned the podcast by the "Purlman" himself, Guido, who went around interviewing people at the recent Knit Out & Crochet Too event that was held in New York City.

Although my interview didn't make it in the podcast, my voice can be heard in one segment! 
So here's the contest:
1.  Visit Guido and listen to his podcast from the NYC KOC2 event.
2.  Then drop me an email or a comment here on my blog quoting what I can be heard saying.
3.  The first person to do so will win a mystery prize!  [the winning entry will be judged upon accuracy and the timestamp their comment/email is received.  In the event there is a tie, we'll do the ol' quarter toss to determine the winner.]
4.  Contest Ends on 9/30/06 midnight, eastern time.
5.  Prize may not be substituted for cash. 
6.  Contest is not open to those featured on the Podcast.

For a hint of what my voice sounds like, check out this blog entry from two years ago ... when Hurrican Ivan stopped in for a visit:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Speaking of Crochet ...

Blog entries and coffee, to me, go together beautifully. It's sort of a quiet time for me to reflect about the topic I want to share while sipping on the finer details. Today, though, is a little different.

Oh, the surroundings and the routine are the same. My coffee is still hot with a wonderful aroma.  The birds are still calling to one another as they make their plans to fly south for the winter, and the trees still dance from side to side when the wind blows. (Yes, it does get that quiet here!) But yet, there's something just a wee bit different.

                 ...Today I'm hearing voices!  Lots of them!

No, I'm not off my rocker! I'm listening to a
podcast by the "Purlman" himself, Guido, who attended the New York City "Knit Out & Crochet Too" event I mentioned last week! I feel like I've been swept up in a time machine -- I love it!  If you've never been to a KOC2 event then listening to his podcast will be a real treasure.  If you have been to one, then sip on that hot cup of coffee, listen in, and enjoy the memories.

I'm off to see what details I can dig up on those that attended the Boston Knit Out yesterday ... Enjoy!

Hey, Guido, don't forget!  My offer to teach you how to crochet -- to release your "inner crocheter" -- still stands!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wiggles & Giggles Down Memory Lane

Fall Sale!My husband and I have been working on some tax stuff.  When teaching and designing crochet is more than your hobby -- where you actually earn a little income from it, it's a necessity to keep track of your purchases.  So there he was.  Hubby deep in thought, looking at all my receipts and questioning "Do you recall what this was for?"  For me, it was like taking a pleasure trip down memory lane. "Yes, dear, I do. It was a bead expo and I picked up some beautiful beads to use on a demo piece for a crochet class I taught."

"What about this one?" I'd look at the receipt and smile. "Ah, this was an excursion to find just the right fiber for a pattern that will be published at the end of this year."  

If he had further questions about my purchase, where I purchased various items -- say like at a fiber event like a Sheep & Wool festival, all I had to do was pull it up here in my blog.  "See," I'd say, "it's right here.  I went to Stitches East and purchased those mammoth sized crochet hooks while I was there."  After awhile of doing this he replied, "Where would you be without your blog?"  Lost  was my first thought!  It really does chronicle all my crochet experiences: from attending events, special items I've purchased, patterns I've tried, and you --my readers!  Your questions, your comments, your daily visits.  Yes, I do believe I'd feel very lost without it.

During a break from my reminiscing I went over to the AnniesAttic website.  Did I tell you they're having a sale ... another big one?  They are!  I loaded up my cart with many goodies (some of which I pictured in today's entry), printed out the receipt, giggled, and handed it to him.  "These are all reference books on various crochet techniques," I said.  He smiled.  "Besides getting them all on sale," I continued,
"I learned there's a new crochet technique I need to add to my collection on my website: Wiggly Crochet.  That will make it number 106."

Who ever said paperwork was dull never shopped for crochet!  LOL

Friday, September 22, 2006

In The News -- with children?

Yesterday I mentioned that a HHCC member, Ruth, gave me a little news article she cut out of our local newspaper, the News Times.  I'm glad she did because it cleared up the mystery of why people who know who I am were coming up to me and saying they saw me featured in it.

Featured?  Boy, was I confused!  I'd inquire as to when they saw me and the comments would be "oh, it was in last week's paper.  No, wait. Maybe it was this week's.  I don't remember, but I do remember seeing your picture."  Hmmm.  I know my daughter and I were featured in another paper -- and in fact I shared the little blurb here in my blog.  But what is this about me being in this other newspaper? 

When I inquired as to the theme of the article I was advised it had something to do with crocheting with children.  Crocheting with children? The last time I was shown in the local paper crocheting with children was five years ago.  Would the paper rerun an old story? I was very confused as the details were sketchy.  So when I asked Ruth if she had seen the article in question she said, "Yes, Dee, I did and I saved it too!"  I inquired if she'd let me see it sometime and she replied with a smile, "... even better Dee, you can have it!"  Oh Ruth you're a sweetheart!!

Here it is (click onto it to enlarge):
Teaching crochet at the Save the Children headquarters in Westport, CT

Now I understood! The picture was taken at the Caps to the Capital event  that was held at the Save the Children foundation on September 6th! They sent the news release to our local paper and they ran the story! Ah, mystery solved! {{grins}}  If you're interested, there's a follow-up story featured in the Westport News paper ... click here to read it.

So, while I'm on the subject of Caps to the Capital, I want to note a few things:
1.   If you visit their website you can see they're working on making the interactive map. The map will show how many people sent in caps by each state. Here's a shortcut link to the map ...
check it out (thus far no figures are available for viewing).

2. If you're interested in seeing if there is a Caps to the Capital EVENT near you,
then visit here.  You can also get information on past Events too -- and in fact they have a great shot of Elayne teaching children to crochet caps for the babies that was taken on September 6th.  Do check it out!  :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Big E

I attended The Big E yesterday, also known as the Eastern States Exposition, that's held every year in West Springfield, MA for three weeks.  Yesterday was "Connecticut" day and that's the day my CGOA Chapter enjoys demonstrating crochet in the Eastern States building.

We couldn't have asked for better weather ... sun shining with the temperature around 75 degrees (F).  We were just a dozen of the 72,103 people who attended this fair yesterday! 

Some of the highlights:
    * Some people took our club members up on free beginner crochet lessons.
    * Walter (If I recall his name correctly; see image #1), a volunteer in the Eastern States building, learned how to crochet Hairpin Lace.
    * Hand-dyed yarn was offered for sale in the Connecticut State building; a spinning (yarn) demonstration was going on in the Maine building (not 100% sure if this is correct, but am hoping my memory got it right).
    * Ruth, one of our Chapter members, presented me with newspaper clipping; I'll show it tomorrow as it's a different topic.
Jo-Ann Sensations Rainbow Boucle Yarn     * One of our newest members, Karen, had her Seraphina Shawl on display. (This is same pattern I enjoyed crocheting up this past Spring)  Only Karen's was crocheted with JoAnn's Sensations Rainbow Boucle in the dark blues -- it was something to be seen & touched as it was a real "show stopper!"  Free shipping at!  Code:  SEPFSA625At the end of the demonstration a woman stopped by to talk to Karen & I.  As we chatted I spotted something peeking out of the lady's bag -- we asked her to show off to us what she had crocheted.  She pulled out "Martha's Poncho" created in the exact same yarn and colorway! ... it was a real treat to see the two pieces side by side! (see image #2)  It was a great way to end such a fun day! :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Details from the NYC "Knit Out & Crochet Too!" Event

I don't do mornings well, but yesterday, with the help of my most wonderful husband, I was awake before the first rays of sunshine hit our side of the world.  It wasn't long until the excitement (or was that the mega dose of caffeine from my coffee?) was running through my blood veins; I was awake!  I was ready for the trek to New York City for the largest FREE fiber event of this nature -- the Knit Out and Crochet Too! event!!

We piled into two mini-vans and within 90 minutes -- and hours before the start of the event, we had arrived!  We were instantly a "sight to see" as it's not common to see a dozen women walking together with very purple T-shirts and yarn in hand!  Upon walking into Union Square park we began the setting up:  unfolding chairs, table cloths on the tables, laying out the crochet pieces for display, and so on.  It was a lot of work.  But by 10:30 we were ready! 


A few of us dashed into the local Barnes & Nobel and picked up a few goodies.  I got two:  "new ideas for today's crochet" by Jean Leinhauser & Rita Weiss, and "Hooked: a Crocheter's Stash of Wit and Wisdom" -- a book filled with insight on the pleasures of crochet by many well known people in the fiber industry.  Within moments of returning from the book store Grace spotted a woman wearing beautiful Irish crochet -- it turned out to be Rita Weiss! 

Around 11:00 the crowds started to gather ... visiting each booth for handouts of patterns, crochet hooks, and previews of the latest books, magazines & fibers that will be coming out on the market.  Over at the Interweave booth (was it?  I really had a hard time determining) there was a huge line ... about an hour wait is my estimate for folks to get a pair of free knitting needles.  Not me!  I spent the first part of the day helping out in the Kids Craft area, gently baking in the sunshine.  We didn't seem to mind; the kids were busy having fun creating some cool tassel & pom pom pencil toppers.

I also got to meet many people who knew me from my blog or from online groups -- like Malca and Vivian from Crochet Partners.  Several stopped me to let me know that my blog here has inspired them to continue on learning new things about crochet -- I loved hearing that!  I also got to see Rose and Liz from the Stamford store where I teach -- and two of my students were there too!  Lori (who was a volunteer this year) and Shelley!  It was great seeing everyone!!  :)

Charity work was a big focal point this year!  The Save the Children foundation was collecting preemie caps of which the New York City Crochet Guild had pledged to deliver 1000.  That didn't happen; they did it twice instead!  It seems word got out and well, they rocked by presenting over 2200!!

Warm Up America! was there as well.  Long tables were set up and it was packed all day long with crocheters and knitters coming together to assemble squares into warm blankets that will go to a charity in need.  I totally missed the scarf contest, but did turn my scarf in at the end of the day.  It was chinchilla worked up in Tunisian!  ... mmmm, talk about soft!  I'm sure who ever receives it through the Orphan foundation will appreciate it.

Guido from a few weeks back; the one that has "yarn issues"?  (I'll findthe entry & plug it in here later)  He came all the way from Boston to attend!!  He was creating a future podcast of the event!  Once he has it ready, I'll post a link to him so everyone can have a listen to what this event is all about!  I extended an invitation to teach him how to crochet the next time he's in our area ... to help him "release his inner crocheter" ... listen, if I can pick up the knitting needles from time to time, it's only right!  I'll touch on this subject more in another entry later on.

Getting back to the KOC2 ... the time went fast!  Before I knew it it was time for me to do my crochet demonstration on Crocheted Flowers.  I do want to thank Lion Brand for providing all the patterns!  I think those that attended my demonstration walked away with many new ways to look at crocheted flowers -- hopefully some will contact me in the future and tell me how they used their beautiful creations! 

I'm sure I'm leaving out some details.  Well, actually I know I am ... this is why I want you to go visit the following blogs: 

2006 Knit Out by Priscilla
Scenes from the Fashion Show by "DeputyKnitter," her write-up is here.
* New York City Knit Out Crochet Too by Margaret Hubert

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Preparing for the NYC KOC2

So this is it; we're just a day away from one of the largest FREE fiber art functions there is around the country:  The Knit Out & Crochet too! event being held in NYC!  If you can, go!!!!!!! 

I'm soooo looking forward to going, and have much more work to do in preparation, from finishing my scarf for the Scarf Contest/Drive that will benefit the Orphan Foundation, to finishing my display for the Demonstration I'll be giving on Crocheted Flowers at 4:00pm.  If you'd like to be prepared by knowing the event schedule ahead of time, then you'll want to
print out the event schedule and be sure to come see me!  (I'll be wearing purple like the rest of my CGOA Chapter members, so we're easy to spot!)

I'd also like to point out that Lori will be joining the KOC2 list of volunteers this year.  Lori is a crochet student of mine who worked very hard at earning her CYCA Certification in record time!  Please be sure when you spot her at the event to give her a big "Yarn Whoot" of congratulations -- she's now a Certified Crochet Instructor and will be busy putting her newly acquired certification to use. Way to go Lori! :)

If you've never been to a KOC2 and are wondering what the big fuss is all about, click onto the collages below for details on the 2005 and 2004 events.  If you're not from the area, visit the Craft Yarn Council's website and see if there will be a KOC2 near you -- Boston's is next weekend!


Friday, September 15, 2006

That last stitch ...

We all know what that *just one more stitch* syndrome feels like!  Often it keeps us up until the wee hours of the morning, or we're caught sitting at a traffic light (waiting for it to change green), or refusing to cook dinner ... you know you've experienced it.  I think we all have.  But you know, when you have that itch to get to that last stitch there's really no way to deny it.  Go ahead, crochet it, knit it.  And when you do, you can now think of this video:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

From Across the Pond

Check out what's going on in France & England! The first video below has been circulating the International Freeform group ... it's sung in French and is about taking on someone else's pain. I don't speak/read French, but in watching the video I think it's easy to imagine it being about where fiber addiction starts ... with the yarn!  Please note there are some "skin" images but nothing too revealing. The music is quite catchy!

And from England is the "Crochet Club of London" ... watch it to find out what makes Teresa Eaton so remarkable, as well as the rest of the crochet club!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Eighth Wonder of the World

It's a very busy time for me in both crocheting up projects and in preparing for crochet events, so one can imagine that my crochet hook hardly has a moment of rest.

Today was no different.  With an upcoming fund raising auction to benefit my children's school, I decided to bring my project with me when I did lunch duty for the third grade.  You know, to create a "pre-buzz" to help bring in higher bids.  This project is a child's hat & scarf set for a girl ranging in 8 to 11 years old.  And purple, the preferred color for most girls of this age bracket. 

My son was delighted to see me.  "Did you bring your crochet with you today, Mamma?" he asked. 

I smiled.  "Why yes I did!" I answered.

He turned to some of his classmates and started telling them about all the little preemie hats I've been working on for the "Caps to the Capital" campaign.  He asked me to show some to his classmates.

"Oh, I didn't bring that project with me today," I replied.  "I decided to start the hat and scarf set that will be auctioned off for the school in a few weeks."  I picked up the purple colored skein of yarn, made a slip knot and set to work starting the hat.  Many of the children approached me and started asking many, many questions.  I took care to ensure I answered each child's question with a lot of enthusiasm and even asked if they'd like to learn how to crochet come winter when the weather is too cold for them to spend recess outside.

"Oh yes, Mrs. Stanziano!" was the reply in unison as they watched my hook magically create stitch after stitch.  "Oh, you're good, Mrs. Stanziano," said one child as her eyes carefully watched the movements of the hook, the wrappings of the yarn, the formation of the stitches.

"Oh, this is nothing," replied my son.  "You should see her do it with her eyes closed!  Close your eyes Mamma and show them!"  How could I refuse?  I closed my eyes and let the stitches form one by one.

A soft "Wow" was spoken by many of the children watching me crochet in darkness, creating stitches entirely by feel.  I recall Lily Chin saying once that she's a "trained seal" performing her many crochet "tricks" to help promote crochet.  Well, I don't know about being a "trained seal" but I did, at that moment, feel like the Eighth Wonder of the World.  My son flashed one of his beaming smiles my way; he was proud of me for amazing his classmates with nothing more than a piece of string and a hook.

I know Fall is barely a week and a half away, but I'm really looking forward to Winter now!  :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Question from Reader: How Do You Know What Size?

Dear Dee,
I am a new crocheter and want to crochet some hats for the Caps to the Capital you have written in your blog about.  I wonder if you can tell me a good way to figure out if my hats will fit the babies they are intended for?
Thanks, Jackie

Hi Jackie,
Thank you for contacting me and inquiring.  There are a number of ways to determine if your hats are of the proper size for the "Caps to the Capital" campaign.  One way is to download the pattern from the Save the Children website and look at their gauge requirements.  You'll see that for the crochet portion of the brochure they have two patterns listed -- actually it's one pattern using two different sized fibers, and in relation, two different sized crochet hooks.  Take note that both patterns have something called "gauge" listed.

If you make a small swatch measuring about 4" square, you can measure your stitches to see if it matches that of the pattern.  If it doesn't then you can bump your hook up or down a number of sizes until you do reach the intended gauge.  Plus, as an added benefit of working up a gauge swatch, you get to feel the fabric and determine if it's really going to make you (or the recipient) happy in the end.  If it's too stiff & scratchy then you can easily choose another fiber more pleasing without a lot of time invested in the project.

If you're a doll collector, there are a number of dolls on the market listing themselves as "preemie" size.  You can always purchase one and keep trying your hat on it to get a good visual on how the fit is coming along.

Or, you can make yourself a template; they are fairly easy to make.  You'll need a piece of cardboard, a ruler, a pencil, scissors, and something round, like a coffee mug.

First,draw out a rectangle that meets the measurements.  For the "Caps to the Capital" campaign, they want a cap that has a 10" circumference, and measures 4" to 4.5" inches high.  Their pattern also calls for a cuff, so figure another 2.5" to 3" to the height.  This means you'll need to draw a rectangle that measures 5" (half of the desired circumference) by 7".  Next, place your coffee mug on the top line of the rectangle and trace the top so that it curves (if your coffee mug is not large enough, try a bowl). 

Now measure up from the bottom where your cuff line should start.  In my example I have a dotted line and a solid (please note it is an example; it is not to scale!).  You can do the same.  You'll then cut out the template and slip your hat over it as you crochet along. 

On my template I wrote down that it's a template for a preemie weighing between 1-3 pounds.  Some have commented that their preemie hats circumference is measuring 11" or 12" -- go ahead and submit these hats as a preemie weighing between 3-5 pounds has an average head measurement of 12"-12.5" -- but do try to keep most of your hats to the 10" circumference because again, although they are full-term babies we're trying to save, they are born the size we associate as preemies.  For more information about baby head sizes, visit

9/11: God Bless America!

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Tulip Preemie Pattern

Ever since posting the picture of my "Tulip" looking preemie caps I crocheted for the "
Caps to the Capital" campaign my email has been flooded with requests for the pattern.  The pattern is basically the Lacy Chemo Cap pattern I created a little over a year ago and featured here in my journal.
  I've decided to post the pattern today including some slight pattern changes because they are, if I do say so myself, pretty cute preemie hats! 

I've also been asked how long, on average, it takes me to "whip these" up.  Please note that all crocheters create their stitches at different rates.  As you become familiar with the pattern, the easier it becomes to create the little "tulips."  It takes me, on average, about half an hour to create one little cap.  It might take you longer, or if you're like
Lisa Gentry or Lily Chin, the Queens of Crochet Speed, it might take you a minute or two. {{bg}} The key is not speed, but rather taking time to create a little "tulip" that will help save a baby's life.  Go ahead, give it a try!  And if you decide to crochet up a little "tulip" and are a blogger or have an online photo album, post a picture & send me the link -- I'd love to see it!

Tulip Preemie Pattern (aka the Lacy Chemo Cap):
Yarn Weight:2 strands of #1 or #2 (sport, baby, dk, light worsted)TLC Baby Yarn held together
1 Size "G" crochet hook  (those that tend to crochet loosely, use an "F" or "D" hook)
1 Tapestry needle

Chain 4, join with a sl st.  Note that there is no turning involved with this pattern!
Rnd 1
: Ch 1, *sc, ch 2, 2 dc, repeat from * 3 more times, join with a sl st.
Rnd 2
: Ch 1,  (sc, ch 2, 2 dc) twice in each of the ch-2 spaces around, join with a sl st.
Rnd 3
: Ch 1, *(sc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-2 sp, (sc, ch 2, 2 dc) twice in next ch-2 sp, repeat from * around, join with a sl st.
Rnd 4
:  Ch 1, *(sc, ch 2, 2 dc) in ch-2 sp and in next, (sc, ch 2, 2 dc) twice in next ch-2 sp, repeat from * around, join with a sl st.
Rnd 5-10
:  Ch 1, (sc, ch 2, 2 dc) around in each ch-2 sp, join with a slip st.
Edging: Ch3, 3 dc in ch-2 sp, *sc in next ch-2 sp, 5 dc in next ch-2 sp, repeat from * around, dc in same ch-2sp as beg ch3, join with sl st.  Finish off.

Copyright © 2005, 2006, Dee Stanziano  ~  Pattern is for personal/charity  use only.
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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Oh What a Night!!

I did it!  I was able to finish 50 preemie hats in time to hand-deliver them to the Save the Children headquarters last night!  -- and I ensured no two hats were exactly alike by using different colors, different patterns and different crochet techniques!  What an absolute delight it was to create them!  Does this mean I'm done?   Goodness no!!  I'll be crocheting up some more during my spare time to turn in at the upcoming KOC2 event that takes place on September 17th.

So, before I get into the details about last night, let me answer some questions that are cropping up on a lot of Internet groups:

Q.  My hat has an 11" circumference; do they still want it?  
A.  Keep in mind that the babies these hats will help keep alive are preemie size -- even though they are full-term babies!  Since every head is shaped differently, go ahead & turn it in, but try making another to the 10" circumference.  Change your hook, change your fiber, or do both.  Remember, these babies are tiny!

Q. Do I have to tag every hat I make?
A.  I did, but I learned last night that it's not required.  Instead, if you're sending in a large bundle of hats, ensure at least some of the hats are tagged.  This helps them identify who made them & where you're from.  Of course, tagging each hat with a little note to the mother-to-be is a wonderful touch. 

Q.  How many hats are they looking to collect?
A.  I had heard it was 500,000 but thought I'd inquire.  The more hats they can collect, the better.  But they are emphasizing that they're also looking to collect 75,000 letters to the President.  They picked this number to correspond with their 75th Anniversary that starts in January.  So, don't forget to send in your letter along with your hats!

Q.  How many hats have they collected thus far?
A.  Prior to the event last night it was 1000 hats from 350 people.  They collected about another hundred last night.  Also, keep visiting the Save the Children website; they plan on adding a map with a "people count" to show where all the hats & letters are coming from!

So, last night Ruth & Celeste, two members from the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, joined my kids and I in driving to the Save the Children headquarters located in Westport, CT.  Celeste knew how to get there so there were no "misadventures"  (yeah, that's a story for another day).  When we arrived Elaine, another one of our members, joined us.  We were greeted by Eileen, who does the PR for the Save the Children organization.  In the hallway was a beautiful display of some of the hats and letters to the President they received thus far; that was really touching to see! 

We were then lead to a large conference room that was beautifully set up with rows of chairs.  On two opposite sides of the room were two long tables where they had arranged the yarn, crochet hooks, knitting needles and handouts provided by the Craft Yarn Council of America.  (Ask my kids and they'll tell you the cookies & punch were quite good too!)

People started arriving and soon history was made: it was the first time all three Connecticut CGOA Chapters were represented at a single function! Representatives from all three CGOA Connecticut Chapters  There were eight of us all together representing "Hooked on the Sound" from Stratford; "The Chain Gang" from Stamford, and our group from Danbury (we're wearing the purple T-shirts).  I do hope that this is something we can do again in the near future!  (I want to thank my son for being my photographer last night!) 

After watching a short video and listening/giving speeches it was time to get the party started.  We all grabbed some yarn, some hooks or knitting needles and set to learning how to create the stitches needed to create the tiny hats.  There were many smiling faces in the room; I think everyone enjoyed coming together for this great cause!

If you'd like to see larger versions of today's images, then please visit

Did I mention that there were reporters there too last night?  Thus far this event is mentioned in WestportNow; click here to see an enlarged image from their article. 
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Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Counting Down: 500,000, 499,999, 499,998, 499,997...

A very busy day is planned for today ...from gathering at our local Borders for a Coffee, Crochet & Chat session so we can work on "Starts" for the upcoming KOC2, to whipping up 4 more preemie hats to hit my "50" goal; to practicing my speech for tonight ... Whew! So while I'm preparing for it I thought I'd offer up this video I found online ... aren't cats funny??

For those wondering how many caps have been officially collected for the Caps to the Capital campaign it's 1000. More details tomorrow complete with pictures from tonight's event! :)

Monday, September 4, 2006

September 6th: An Invitation

I have been busy collecting my thoughts for an upcoming speech I've been asked to give. I've written corporate training manuals, some short stories, many blog entries, crochet patterns and such, but it's be awhile since I've written an actual speech.

Finding the right tone, thoughts, ideas and inspiration and then forming it into 3-5 minute timeframe has been an interesting project for me. Fortunately, I've been able to take little breaks to ponder what I want to convey in that speech -- and to keep my mind from drifting to other tasks, I've been taking those breaks by crocheting up more preemie hats for the "Caps to the Capital" campaign.  What better way to keep my focus, right?

I don't recall who said it, or where (perhaps at the recent KOC2 meeting?), but I've been told my little preemie hats reminded them of tulips.  Little blossoming tulips.  As I create each stitch, I can see the tulip taking its shape.  I think of the tiny newborn babies as tulip buds, awaiting for the opportunity to blossom.  And as I finish off a preemie hat, I think of flower beds filled with beautiful tulips. With thoughts like this how can I resist making another needed hat?  So I grab my yarn  and crochet hook and start another. Since Thursday of last week I have completed 40; I hope to have 50 by this Wednesday.

It is this Wednesday, September 6th, that I'll travel down to Westport, CT, with other members of The Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America, to help host an evening program on Caps to the Capital, the new grassroots effort of Save the Children and the Warm Up America! Foundation. The event will focus attention on the 2 million newborns who die each year in the first 24 hours of life in the developing world, and will engage knitters and crocheters of Connecticut to take three steps to help more babies survive their first month of life: make a cap, write the President and unite for newborns. Members of my Crocheting Club will offer a free lesson on how to crochet a simple baby cap. Yarn and crochet hooks will be provided by the Craft Yarn Council of America.

Then, in January, Save the Children will take caps, along with notes, to Washington, D.C. to demonstrate that Americans want to do more to save the lives of newborns around the world. All the caps will then be delivered to newborns in countries where Save the Children works. Caps and notes from more than 20 states have already arrived at Save the Children’s headquarters in Westport, Conn. since the initiative was launched this past July. Some of the caps and notes will be on display at the event.

I need to get back to my speech writing; I hope some of you are able to attend this event!  And if not, then I hope you can to set aside at least one hour, the average time it takes to crochet a little preemie hat, and create your own little "tulip" to help save a life.  :)

10:59 Update:  It's already hitting the local news:
        * Save the Children Hosts Crochet Event

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Fall/Winter 2006 Crochet Classes: Stamford, CT

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

Stitch & 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 10:30–11:30am and/or 11:30am - 12:30pm - September 12, 19, 26; October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; November 7, 14, 21, 28; December 5, 12.

Crochet Lessons
One 2-hour session $25

This class is designed with the absolute beginner in mind: learn to start your work properly, make a foundation chain, single crochet, how to count stitches and build on your work to create wonderful fabric and end off properly. Then, come back for the Essential Skills class when you are ready.
Tuesdays 12:45-2:45pm - September 12, 19; October 31.
Saturday 1:00-3:00pm - October 14

iconEssential Skills
One 2-hour session $25

Reading labels, figuring out gauge, reading patterns, repeats, markers ... Oh! What is all this? Need pattern support or help with a project? This class is the follow-up to Crochet Lessons and is designed to help beginners take their new passion to the next level.
Tuesdays 12:45-2:45pm - October 3, November 14

iconBeyond Basics (Crochet Bible Book required)
One 2-hour session $25
Learn up to two new stitches each time you take this class. You decide what to do with what you learn: create a sampler afghan, poncho or scarf with the squares.  Participants must know the Basics of Crochet. 
Tuesdays 12:45-2:45pm - October 17, November 21.
Saturday 1:00-3:00 pm - November 11.

Quick Crocheted Gifts Workshop **
One 2-hour session $25
If you want to crochet gifts for the holidays and your list is longer than there are hours in the day, sign up for this workshop. Crocheting works up quickly; use larger hooks and larger (and fancier) fibers to achieve results even more quickly. We' <BR inside! Card Gift Together Knit tuck a you when especially bag gift great a make Bags Treasure The Bags. Crochet of Basics the know must Participants and scarves, hats, include projects Suggested quickly. completed be can that gifts for options book pattern discuss ll>
Tuesdays 12:45-2:45pm - November 7, December 5.
Saturday 100-3:00pm - December 9.

Design your own New Year's Evening Bag
Three 2-hour sessions $75
Use glitzy novelty yarns and the stitches you've learned this fall. Then incorporate them into your own evening bag design for New Year's Eve.  Participants must know the Basics of Crochet.
Saturdays 10:30am-12:30pm - October 14, November 11, December 9.

Baby Sweater
Three 2-hour sessions $75
Make a baby sweater in 3 sessions. Homework must be completed in advance of each session to achieve the best results.  Participants must know the Basics of Crochet.
Tuesdays 12:45-2:45pm - September 26, October 10, October 24.

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 great looking buttonholes!
Tuesday 12:45-2:45pm - November 28.

Last Minute Finishing
Stay for 1 hour $15; Stay for 2 hours $25
Bring your unfinished gift and you will get guidance on finishing it.
Tuesday 12:45-2:45pm - December 12.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Local Fiber News

Other News: Linda Diak (& hubby) are featured in the online magazine "Spindicity."

Friday, September 1, 2006

Fall/Winter 2006 Crochet Classes: Bethel, CT

Fall is a great time to crochet!
Discover why when you Crochet with Dee!

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

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

Crochet Social
Come for one hour or two; you decide! Learn a new stitch, learn a new technique. Or get help with an existing project in time for the holidays!
Time: 10:00 AM - Noon
Thursdays: Sept 7, 14, 21; Oct 5, 12, 19; Nov 2, 16; Dec 7
Cost: $15 1-hour or $25 2-hours. (Not dividable)
Materials/Requirements: Student responsible for own material unless arranged with teacher prior to class. Upon signing up, student needs to state what area they'd like assistance with. Student must know crochet basics.

Absolute Beginner:
This class is designed with the beginner in mind! Learn the basics: how to properly start your work, create the foundation, the single crochet, how to count stitches, how to build on your work to create wonderful fabric, and how to properly end off.
Time: 10:00 AM - Noon
Thursdays: Sept 28; Oct 26; Nov 30; Dec 14
Cost: $25 plus supplies
Materials/Requirements: Any crochet book that has illustrations of basic stitches, Crochet Hook (G, H, or I), light colored 4-ply yarn.