Monday, October 30, 2006

Great Advice: Crochet Loosely

I know that many newbie crocheters tend to crochet a bit tightly, and sometimes we need a little reminder to loosen up a bit ... perhaps this diddy sung by Kori Keck will serve as a great reminder: 

(listen, you really don't want me to sing -- with or without the cold congestion I've been fighting)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Under the Weather

I'm a bit under the weather ... have been since late Thursday.  And, while on the topic of the weather, I'm also playing phone tag with my father's home insurance provider: the big rain/wind storm we're experiencing today brought down a massive tree onto his home.  Fortunately he wasn't home when it happened, but it did leave behind a huge mess!  The tree width is about the size of a pickup truck.  When it rains, it pours, right?

While I'm headed back over to "camp couch" to take it easy (& possibly get some crochet stitches in), I thought I'd leave you all with this interesting article ... you know, just in case you were wondering if crochet is still in fashion or not (it is!):

Craft couture: A whole new take on handiwork

UPDATE: Here's a little video clip to give an idea how massive the tree was:

Storm brings down massive tree

Thursday, October 26, 2006

60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge Update

Where are we on the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge? 

Thus far we have Sheila over at 
Needles and Hooks with five completed scarves; she's been busy rooting for the Tigers to win the World Series.  Go Tigers!  Go Sheila! :)

Melanie at
My Crochet and Ramblings journal, pledges to create at least one scarf for the challenge; I've seen pictures of people crocheting while riding on the back of motorcycles.  I wonder if she's tried crocheting while riding in her Rhino with her hubby?  Melanie will have to let us know sometime.

Priscilla over at
By Hook or Needles, sent in a pink scarf to the Think Pink Challenge helping bring that scarf drive count up to 550 scarves!  Awesome!  Plus Priscilla states she'll be making more for our local CGOA Chapter's drive; I think that's great!

I have a couple on & off the hook too, so we're starting to make progress in reaching the
60 Scarves in 60 Days goal.  This means with 35 more days left to this challenge, we have a dozen scarves towards reaching the challenge; we need more -- we need you!  

If you would like to participate, please send me an email, or leave a comment here so we can add your total in!
  Remember: what makes this challenge so great is that all skill levels can participate and it benefits YOUR local community!  You decide which charity will benefit from your handwork!  Join us! :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

When Simple Crochet Goes Missing

What happens when your yarn stash starts to overtake your pattern book stash?  I wonder this as I spend time searching high & low for one particular pattern book this afternoon.  Naturally, I would testify in an open court that I had Erika Knight's Simple Crochet in my pattern book collection, but for the life of me I can only locate another book similar in title: Melody Griffiths' book, So Simple Crochet

Hmmm ...  Where could it be?  Did I lend it out?  Did I take it on a fiber adventure and forget to bring it back home?  Is it tucked away with one of my WIPs?  Is it possible that I had meant to purchase it but never did -- tucking the thought that I had in the back of my mind so I can spin my wheels searching for something I didn't purchase?  I shudder at that scary thought! I'm sure I had added it to my pattern collection a long while ago, when it was first hot off the printing press -- I vividly recall leisurely leafing through the pages and really loving the crocheted leather pillow (along with other projects she has featured) in the book, and in fact this is what is driving me to locate it.  I wonder where I put it?

Of course while I'm searching for the book I can think of another tedious task I could be spending the time on ... of which, admittedly, I have!  ... you too? 

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sounds Like Dee Learned a Valuable Lesson

The meeting with the publisher went well yesterday, and this means that I'll be having fun creating more new designs.  As I toyed with a design concept the other night, I learned something about myself:  I can crochet nearly anywhere, nearly anytime.  But this is not true when I'm attempting to design something!

There I was, sitting next to Mr. Dee, with hook and fiber in hand.  Beside me were my hand-drawn concepts ready to become a possible fiber reality; next to Mr. Dee was the television remote.  As I was attempting to design a special project, he was getting into watching the World Series.

Normally listening to the television in the late evening hours is not a problem when I'm crocheting.  The sound emitting from the television is as much as a distraction as one would could say the color of the paint on the walls is.  It's a non-issue; it doesn't invade upon my creative process.

But on that night it did.  The constant cheering/roaring from the crowd, the crack of the bat, and the yelling by the announcers was a distraction.  It was such a distraction that I eventually had to put my work down until control over the television remote was relinquished.  Once the programming channel was changed the creative thoughts returned; I was once again happily crocheting my concept.

"...passion encourages knowledge, but skill develops only with patience."
          ~Annie Modesitt, Hooked A Crocheters Stash of Wit and Wisdom

On that night I learned that I apparently like the roller coaster (up & down) sounds stemming from "story" programming over that of the continuous spaceship launch roaring coming from sport channels when I'm designing.  When I'm crocheting "mindlessly" it's not an issue.  When I'm designing it is.  Has this ever happened to you?

Hmmm.  I guess Mom was right all those years ago when I was a child; she'd warn me that it's difficult to concentrate on homework when you are sitting directly in front of the TV.   ;-)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Butterfly Flutters

I'm off to meet with a publisher today. I have that butterfly flutter (in the stomach) feeling and I love it.  I've always loved that feeling. I'd get that feeling when I'd start a new school, move to a new location, start a new job. That feeling signals to me that a new adventure, a new experience awaits exploring.

Many times I get that feeling when I pick up a skein of yarn. Those butterflies start fluttering their wings and then the creative juices start flowing. Sometimes those butterflies have to be placed on hold because other priorities come first.  But when I do let them loose it becomes an amazing fiber adventure for me. I really enjoy those moments of creating that first slip knot and working the first chains of the project.  Then as each stitch slips off my hook with that last yarn over, the magic of creating fabric with my own two hands is incredible.  It's the "Wow! I made that!" moment; if you're new to crocheting, watch out!  These feelings are, IMHO, addicting!  :)

Sometimes though, I feel that my butterflies can be manipulated. For instance, my sweet hubby asked me yesterday to create something specific for him -- a CD carrier. He said, "I know your talents; I know it would be nothing for you to whip something up. Can you do this for me?"  Ah, he's tempting my butterflies with a challenge!  I felt it ... a little flutter!  In my mind I already see the yarn, the hook, the stitches.  I see the work in progress, the finishing touches.  In the end I also see a happy husband.

Unfortunately I
 do not have the time right now to instantly give in to my butterflies.  Between the various charity drives (one being my own "60 Scarves in 60 Days") and working on pieces for future publication, time is an issue.  Fortunately he didn't say when he'd like his CD carrier to be created.  As I see it, I have the option of reining in those butterflies to release at another time, or to pass my butterflies on to Mini-Dee and ask her if she'd like to feel the butterlies flutter by taking on this challenge on for her Dad.  I'm betting she will.  :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

NY Sheep & Wool Festival

What started out as a gray and cold autumn day turned out to be a day rich in color, textures and warmth.  We're talking about the annual Sheep & Wool Festival held in Rhinebeck, NY.

Rhinebeck is about 60 miles or so away and it took us about 90 minutes to get there.  We arrived early in the morning when there was still a chill in the air and plenty of "front row" parking.  (Later we would appreciate the "front row" parking as many people forced to park in the back fields sank into the deep mud caused by all the rain we've been having.  Those poor folks needed to be pulled out of the mud by tractor!)

My goal in attending this year was to stock up on a lot of angora and mohair in a deep, rich chocolately brown colors.  Last year these two fibers were aplenty as lace (knitted) was a huge selling point.  Sadly, I should have loaded up last year as there was barely any to be found this year-- and if either were -- the color was way off.  I only saw variegated, blues or purples, no rich browns. 

What was a big selling point were the felting supplies and kits.  I nearly purchased a pumpkin felting kit but then thought, "When would I have the time to do it?"  Now watch, next year, I'll want to make it & it won't be available.  LOL 

With the sun out and warming the autumn air, my children had a great time in petting all the animals, catching the live entertainment, rock collecting, pumpkin painting, and venturing into the haunted tunnel.  They dragged their poor Dad everywhere (he was such a good sport!) while I hunted for potential supply "adoptees."

I bumped into members from my CGOA Chapter, members from the New York City Crochet Guild, and from the International Freeform Group.  It was like a family reunion; I loved it!

I came home with some designer yarns and new pins -- Oh! I was sooooo delighted that one vendor, The Rams Horn, remembered from last year when I told him I needed some more crochet pins formy hat!  He created a few and I got there early enough to get one!  (see last picture)  I also got a pin that says "Lost in Fiber Space."  That's sooo true!

By far, this year's event was attended by many, many more than in the past!  If I had to put a figure on it (basing it on the crowd at the recent NYC Knit Out & Crochet Too event) I'd say at least 50,000 people were there yesterday.  I'm sure with the rain holding off thus far for today, that they were just as busy today as they were yesterday. But crowds aside, I'm looking forward to attending again next year.  :)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Love is the International Language for Crochet

 This week has been a *Fiber High* for me.  From being nominated for the Vivi Awards, to receiving a call from a publisher requesting I create a specialized pattern for one of their upcoming books, to now this ... a Proclamation from the Governor of Connecticut declaring November 11th as ... well, you'll just have to come back on November 11th to find out unless you're a member of the Crochet Guild of America's online group where I already blurted out the good news.  (I couldn't contain my excitement! lol)

As great as all that news is to me, I am also delighted to learn that many of you enjoyed the picture of the crocheted chemo caps I worked up a few days ago.  I was really tickled with how nice they came out too.  And yes, I know -- you want the pattern!

Would you be surprised to learn that it's the same pattern I posted for the Caps to the Capital drive?  Yep, it is!  Currently you can find a link to the pattern in the left column of my blog -- just scroll down to the area for "Caps to the Capital."  The difference between the caps I created for the "Caps to the Capital" and the Chemo Caps is a thicker fiber, a larger hook, and an additional "increase row" have been added to bring it up to adult size.   And this brings up a good lesson: don't be afraid to experiment with your crochet patterns! 

Say you're looking at a pattern that is designed for a baby and thinking, "Gee, this would look great worked up with X fiber (think adult textures/color here) but I'm not sure how to make it bigger," then consider reading the pattern like a romance novel!

Yeah, that's right, I'm recommending you read your patterns like a romance novel!  Think of your crochet hook as Fabio, and your yarn as the damsel in distress.  (Of course if romance novels don't work for you, then try thinking of it as an action thriller, or a sci fi adventure.) Then pour yourself a nice glass of wine, or perhaps a hot cup of coffee or tea.  Get comfortable and study each instruction for round or row -- even draw it out using International Crochet Symbols if you'd like! 

I think that when we read our patterns like this, when we really dive into them before actually working them up, that we ultimately learn that the hook and yarn do make magic together -- and when they do, we get the final say in their destiny.  Will they go on together to create that project as scripted, or will they venture off, using this new "experience" to blaze new paths in their romance/adventure together? 
You get to make that ultimate decision and that's what is so great about crocheting.  So go ahead, settle in for the night with a great read:  your latest crochet pattern book!  In the long run, you'll be glad you did!  :)

Side note: Today's hat, based on the same aforementioned pattern altering,  was intended to be a chemo hat, but I think the fiber is not acceptable.  The hat looks really fantastic in person: a lot of sheen & color (the color theme reminds me of visits to local orchards for pumpkin picking).  Unfortunately the fiber is not ultra soft as a cancer patient needs.  I might use it as a gift, or offer it up for sale; I haven't decided yet.  (a larger version of the hat can be seen here:

Thursday, October 19, 2006

2006 Vivi Nominee

I received an email today congratulating me on becoming a 2006 Vivi Award Nominee in the "Crafts" category.  Wow! This is my first time being nominated for this award, and I am just thrilled, and honored because also in this category are two other fantastic crochet blogs/blogers I know quite well:
Margaret and Sheila!!  Congratulations ladies! 

To find out who else is nominated for this category, and others, visit Vivi Awards Journal-- it's a great way to discover other journals that you may find interesting! 

In looking into the Vivi Awards I learned that it's exclusive to AOL/AIM Journals (aka Blogs) and only those with AOL or AIM screen names were allowed to vote.  So let me say this:  whoever in the AOL community nominated me -- thank you!!!  I am honored!!  Thank you, thank you!!  :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

October: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Last year I lost a sister-in-law and an aunt to cancer. It pains me that so many are still diagnosed with one type or another every year.  Cancer doesn't care about your age, your gender, your social status.  All it does is rip people off from enjoying a lifetime with their loved ones.

I received a call from another aunt the other night.  "Dee," she said, "I got a call from our local hospital.  There seems to be a significant number of new cases of cancer and they're asking our Senior Center if we can help them by making Chemo Caps.  These new patients will need them once their treatments start. I was wondering if you knew."

I did.  In fact my local CGOA Chapter has been working on another Chemo Hat drive that we'll be donating very soon.  We call it our "Hats from the Heart" campaign.  The hats featured in today's photo are fresh off my hook from today.  (A big thanks to Maddie for the yarn donation!)

You can help your local hospial/cancer centers too.  Why not give them a call and then hook up with some other crocheters & knitters and make it an event to help someone fight cancer by creating a simple chemo hat or two.  You'll be glad you did.  :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

...mystery between the sheets ...

Laura, of Crochet Me A River, and I have been corresponding via emails discussing stitch possiblities for a project she has in mind.  I, being a huge fan of the Bushy stitch, recommended that she try working up a swatch in it.  "It's in the Crochet Stitch Bible," I say, "on page 81."
Laura turns to page 81 and discovers there's no Bushy stitch -- she has the Large Shell stitch where the Bushy (in my book) lays. 

We're talking about the very same little purple book filled with over 200 traditional and contemporary stitches.  She replied that her's was published in 2004 ... first issue.  Mine too. 

So I decided to ask one of the online groups I enjoy,
Crochet Partners, for a little help in solving this mystery.  Members of the group have been checking their books and discovering the same thing between the sheets -- they either have the Bushy stitch or the Tall Shells stitch.  I'm also discovering in their replies that, and I saw this for myself after teaching my crochet classes today, the issues with copyrights showing 2004, 2005 and 2004, 2005, 2006 all have the Large Shell pattern.  No Bushy.

So what happened to the Bushy stitch?  Why was it removed?  It's such a great stitch!! And, I now wonder, did the publisher make other changes? 
I plan on calling the publisher tomorrow to see if they can shed some light on this. 

If you have the book, what stitch do you show for page 81?

UPDATE: Wednesday, October 18:  I called Krause Publications today and was able to chat with one of the editors.  They are aware of the stitch change (Large Shells replaced the Bushy) but do not know why the Bushy stitch was removed after the first printing.  And, they stated that as far as they know, this is the only change they've made to the book since it was first published.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Addiction: It's a vicious cycle meant to be enjoyed

When one first learns how to crochet a fair warning should be given. Something along the line that states that the collecting of yarn, patterns, and crochet hooks becomes, for many, a huge addiction. An addiction so great that the mere mention of a sale we addicts will make plans to go and check it out.  I'll be the first to admit that I am such an addict.

While I do tend to acquire a lot of supplies, I do also tend to "burn" through them quite quickly. I think this is because as I hone my crocheting technique -- something that I'm still doing even though I've been crocheting since childhood -- my stitches are becoming much quicker and this means I'm finishing projects quicker.  I'm also more involved in crocheting for various charities than ever before.  (Just go with the flow here, I'm justifying my yarn purchases.  LOL)

So, when
Herrshners announced their sale a few weeks back I did what every other fiber addict did -- I shopped!  I picked out some beautiful Mode*Dea "Prima" in red (enough to create a sweater for myself), and various other shades for freeform and trim uses.  I also got a great supply of Sirdar's "Snuggly" - a dk weighted yarn that is already on my hook working up to be a surprise gift for one of my regular readers.

Of course my local yarn shops have been having great sales too.  I managed to pick up some 20 skeins of Mondail's "Marlene;" a sadly discontinued fiber that is just fantastic to use for Chemo hats.  I also purchased some of Plymouth Yarns' "Jelli Bean" yarn and edged a fleece baby blanket with it (see picture on right); I really loved how beautifully the yarn worked up!

Now, in looking at the recent pattern books I purchased from the
AnniesAttic site (they still have a great sale going on, btw) I see I still need more.  I've got my eye on Melody MacDuffee's "Beaded Edgings," and over at amazon I'm checking out the "50 Crocheted Afghan Borders" by Jean Leinhauser.  I realized they needed to be added to my pattern acquisition list when I was working on my secret project and wanted a border that mirrored the theme of the project.  While I finally did manage to find a border that matched nicely, I feel it was such a major hunt that took a lot of time away from my crocheting.  I figure having books that specialize in project themes, such as borders, would help save me that time in the future. 

And isn't that just like an addict -- justifying the fulfillment of the addiction??  I reason that if I have the books, then it will save me more time for my crocheting.  And if I save more time to crochet, then I'll finish more projects.  And if I finish more projects then I'll need more yarn.  It's a vicious cycle -- one that I enjoy

What's that?  Joann's is having a sale to celebrate their one-millionth online customer with a chance to win a $1000 shopping spree?  Say no more!  I'm on my way to check it out!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Portuguese Knitting: Is it another hybrid?

Currently I am the "keeper" of the Crochet Guild of America's Hook Collectors Club's crochet hooks.  In this collection is an unusual item -- a knitting needle connected to a cable that is connected to a crochet hook.  I had never seen this combo prior to becoming the CareTaker, and it has, ever since, been in the back of my mind of wanting to learn more about.

A knitting needle and a crochet hook connected!  This is not the first time that the lines between crocheting and knitting have been blurred.  In the
many different types and techniques of crochet, two instantly come to my mind that come close to the knitting experience: one is using the Tunisian technique where crocheters can knit and purl with results that look amazingly like that created with the traditional knitting needles -- only we use a very long crochet hook to achieve those results.

The second is a technique known as Crochenit.  It's worked similarly as Tunisian, only two colors are worked -- one in one direction, and another in the opposite direction.  And like Tunisian, the work is never turned.

There also been some controversy over what is technically crochet and what is technically knit.  Is it the method that determines what it is, or is it the end results?  What do you think?  Be sure to cast your vote in my poll!  I am so intrigued with this topic that I last discussed it
here just a few months ago when the new book, "Crocheted Wire Jewelry" was hot off the press.  The book gave validation to a an artist's work that looks knitted but is created with a crochet hook!

Now Tracy of
Stringativity brings a YouTube video to my attention in her blog.  It's about "Portuguese Knitting" -- and wouldn't you know it, it's all about using that strange knitting needle/crochet hook combo I've been curious about for quite some time!  See for yourself:

Regardless if it's officially a knit technique, a crochet technique, or a hybrid technique, it sure looks interesting.  Interesting enough for me to place it on my list of techniques to try!  :)

If you're interested in this technique too, you can get a DVD on it here.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

HHCC: Celebrating Five Years

Technically, it's not officially five fantastic years of fiber fun for the first Connecticut Chapter of Crochet Guild of America until next week -- October 17th -- but who cares when there's a celebration going on, right?!  I think that since there are crochet techniques that allow for caution to be thrown to the wind (and with breath-taking results I might add!), why worry about being off by a few days, right? 

With crochet hooks and fiber in hand, our workshop took place this past Sunday in place of our normal monthly meeting.  We had a fantastic turnout, and our workshop was taught by the lovely
Barbara, who you may recall taught classes at the Ewephoric Weekend this past Spring. She's also the founder and past president of the New York City Crochet Guild that also just recently celebrated their Five Year Anniversary! The workshop was Modular Crochet and is based upon the highly sought book "Modular Crochet" by Judith Copeland. 

I think everyone in attendance had a great time, but I think it was my daughter who had the best time of all -- it was her very first workshop she ever attended and she was able to create this little outfit for her doll, Taylor.  She was all grins from ear to ear!  And she even thought to add beads along the neckline and to fringe the entire outfit -- a total creation by a 9 year old.  Gotta love that!   Now she has plans on outfitting her entire doll collection.  ((Sweetie, as long as you look to your own yarn stash first ... I'm just saying ...))

Along with learning the Modular technique, attendees also participated in a secret crochet exchange (this is where my daughter got the "headless hook" that Coats & Clark said they'd replace), and a drawing for a crochet hook created & donated by Grafton Fibers.  Lunch was provided as well as many different types of pastries and the Anniversary Cake.

             Happy Five Year Anniversary to the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club!  :)

10/14/06:  Member Margaret Hubert shares her thoughts on the workshop, and more pictures, here

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bidding is Now Open ...

A look at the mirror worked into the Freeform Denim Jacket that is up for auctionOn Friday I answered the question if those unable to attend my children's annual school auction could also bid on the Blue Ribbon winning Freeform Denim Jacket I created.  I was so delighted in learning that many of you are interested in an opportunity to own it!  So I investigated and found that the answer was yes -- we just had to wait for the school to create the form so they could accept outside bids. 

Wendy also inquired what size the jacket is -- it's a size Large.  The denim jacket was purchased in the women's department at our local Kohl's Department store, and most of the fibers I used are from the Knit Together store located in Stamford, CT ... and kindly, to give us a view of what it looks like on, Lori took a few moments to model it.  ((Thank you for modeling Lori!!  You're the best!))

Here's the rules on how to place your bid:
1.  Click onto the form below to enlarge, and then print it ... it's in an image format and I've already plugged in the item number and garment name.
2.  Complete the form and then fax it in to (203) 778-0414.  This goes directly to the school's office.
3.  Be sure to fax your bid in by tomorrow!  Thursday, October 12, 2006 by 3:00 PM Eastern Time!! 

Please note I have nothing to do with the auction other than donating the Freeform Jacket.  Also please note that the Blue Ribbon is not included in the auction.

Prior to bidding, if you have any questions about the piece, I'd be happy to answer them.  Leave a comment here or email me.

Until then, happybidding.  :)


Monday, October 9, 2006

"Um, Mom? Where's Susan's head?"

       ... Good question!  LOL

I've heard of the Headless Horseman, especially with it being Halloween season and all -- but a headless crochet hook?!

The collection of crochet hooks pictured on the right was in a goody bag from yesterday's Workshop.  Nope, the hook is not turned around showing us her "back side" and the packaging has not been tampered with.  There's simply no head on the pink crochet hook! 

I'll be contacting Coats & Clark and asking for a replacement; afterall I don't need my daughter having horrible nightmares about not being able to crochet because her crochet hook is headless!  ((Really though, isn't that what all crocheters fear most??))

I'm still working on the pictures from yesterday's  Workshop that I attended.  While we're waiting for me to finish resizing them, correcting the color (the room is horrible for photos!) and such, I thought I'd provide a sneak-peak at the prize from my last contest: A Bernat afghan crochet kit!

Congratulations to Sherri, and a big thank you to all that participated!  :)

Don't worry if you didn't have a chance to participate, or if you didn't win as there will be another contest coming up.  Keep checking back for an announcement!

Until then, if you see Susan Bate's head, watch out!  The ghost of the Hessian trooper from the American Revolutionary War might not be far behind.   Whoooooooo!   

((If I had my way, I'd have a Hero Crochet hook riding in to save the day -- but that might be a bit much, especially if it also needed to be a Boye!))  ... Sorry; I couldn't resist!  LOL

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Loose Ends Tied Up

So -- it's been a very fiber-filled weekend for me -- from working on adding more bead work to the freeform jacket to attending a workshop today which marked my groups' 5th Year Anniversary!  (more on that topic tomorrow when I can add the photos)  I do hope your weekend was just as fun!

Here's what I have planned for tonight:  I want tie up the loose ends and announce who the winner was from the latest contest we had here at CrochetWithDee (did you think I forgot?)

Excellent plan, yes?  But first, before I do announce the winner let me give a little bit of background 411, and then some updated news, and then, of course, announce the winner.

Rewinding:  The 411
At the recent Knit Out & Crochet Too! event I assisted Guido by introducing him to the who's who in the crochet world and the KOC2 event.  Even though my interview portion didn't make it into the podcast, a snippet of my voice did.  The contest was who would be the first to identify what I said.

Reality set in.  It was hard to tell if the sentence was in singular form or plural, so I had to wait for hubby, "Mr. Dee," to have time to listen for himself and make the call.  He wasn't able to make a clear determination so he made the decision based upon my rules -- and we'll be going with his judging to keep the contest fair.  ...again, we'll all have to wait until the end of this blog entry to learn of the outcome.

Impatience won't reveal the answer any faster!  Hopefully you weren't thinking of scrolling down to the bottom to find out, were you?  Nah, that won't work either!  {{insert evil laugh here}}

What I was lucky to have done this weekend was to read a few emails rather quickly.  In doing so, I learned that Guido has been in touch with his "inner crocheter" -- that's so awesome!  He said it was Kim Werker of CrochetMe, who is currently on a book tour, that helped him.  I'm delighted to hear the Purlman is stitchin' with a crochet hook!  Guido, I want to see some crochet creations & hear about them in your next podcast!!

OK, so that's about it then.  Guido is crocheting, Mr. Dee decided who the contest winner is, and I'll be back tomorrow with details about today's Workshop I attended.

Now I'm off to go work on some Chemo hats --- what?  Oh, the winner?  Yes, yes, I did promise to reveal the winner, didn't I???  Would it be mean of me to state that I already have?  Yes, that's right, I snuck the answer in!  If you missed it, then go back to each paragraph.  The hint is in the first letter of the paragraphs.  Winner: please email me when you've figured it out.  {{grins}}  Congratulations!!

Friday, October 6, 2006

Question From Reader: Can I Bid too?


Wendy asked: "Where's the school? When is the auction? I would seriously love to own that denim jacket. And I seriously can't believe you're giving it up, even for such a good cause."

Wendy, you're not alone in wanting a chance to own my Blue Ribbon winning freeform denim jacket! There has been a lot of interest in people outside of the school community who have seen the jacket ... and want to bid on it! ... so much so that I decided to talk to the school officials & event organizers and see what can be done to allow outside bids. 

I am delighted to report that the school has decided it will open the bidding to those unable to make the event! Since the auction is next weekend, they will email me with the specifics on how you can place your bid.  This is the plan thus far:Dee's Blue Ribbon winning Freeform Jacket is going up for auction!
   * Your bid would be a "sealed bid." 
   * Your bid would contain the item number, in this case it's item #409 titled "Crocheted (Free-Form) Appliqu├ęd Denim Jacket"
   * Your name & contact info would be on your bid.

Now, to keep it a legal & binding bid, they're working on a process on how to do that (your signature would be required to make it legal).  They said they'd email me the information on how to legally submit your bid, so please stay tuned.  I'll announce it here on my blog just as soon as I know. 

The value placed on this piece is $300 so they'll be opening the bid at $180.

Why would I donate my denim jacket?  It was slated for donation the moment I saw the jacket sitting on the rack at the store -- as it jumped into my hands whispering "buy me and adorn me with freeform for a worthwhile cause" -- I knew.  I knew as I purchased the delicious designer fibers I worked with, and with each stitch I created.  Which cause it would be for?  That I didn't know.  I decided to wait until the cause presented itself and the school was the first to ask.

Some interesting facts about the jacket:  There are little additions I added to the jacket to give it special meaning. 
    * A dragonfly:  dragonflies represent light and fun.  It's with maturity that their true, almost jewel like, colors develop.  It is said that the dragonfly inspires our creativity, especially when light reflects off of their iridescent green and blue wings.  I like to think of it as adding a bit of *fairy dust* for good luck to the wearer.  
    * Flowers:  flowers are always a great addition to freeform work.  The jacket has a few (one crocheted, and some flower beads) because dragonflies love to flutter to them.  As the new owner wears the jacket, there is no doubt in my mind that people will flutter over and inquire about the piece.  Perhaps this will bring about new friendships to the wearer?this freeform piece was created for Mel in 2005
     * A mirror:  mirrors to me mean an opportunity to reflect.  Although the mirror is tiny, it is placed on the back of the jacket.  This is so the wearer can always reflect upon the past (perhaps using some of that fun energy from the dragonfly).  I've added tiny mirrors to my freeform work in the past and liked the effect.  I'm thinking this may become my "signature" in my freeform work.

Once I know more about the bidding process, I'll post it along with some close-up images of the jacket.

Great questions Wendy!  Thank you!  :)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Seriously, what's your crochet passion?

There are three items I'll be donating to the school fund raising auction for next weekend:  a baby sweater in a black & white color theme, my freeform denim jacket I won a Blue Ribbon for this past summer, and a hat & scarf set created for a girl ranging from age 8 to 11.

The sweater is one I created a long while ago.  In 2004 I think.  It was a prototype for a sweater workshop we created for our Connecticut CGOA Chapter.  In looking at my online photos it appears I never took a picture of it.  I'll have to remedy that as it's really cute if I do say so myself!

The denim jacket I've shown here before.  But before I can turn it over for auction I need to do some mini-repairs.  It was really "handled" at the recent NYC Knit Out & Crochet Too event it was displayed at.  I don't know why people have to pull on someone's work "to see how it's attached."  Seriously, I would never think to do such an act! 

I'm thinking that sewing in more beads will help reinforce the "handled" areas while the extra beads will add more appeal to the jacket.

Finally, I just finished the scarf & pony cap set for the auction -- it's seriously "hot off the hook!"  It's listed on the auction as "Diva in Training." At first I wasn't too crazy with the way the project was taking shape; I had a difficult time getting inspired in designing it.  It had to be warm and easy to care for -- after all it is for a child!  I just couldn't "get into it" working it up and finally, after taking a look at what pleases me so much with crochet, decided the problem was with the hat.  It was created with all double crochet stitches; way too simple, imho, to match the texture of the scarf.  So I frogged the entire project and started again.  This time both pieces were worked up entirely with the Alternate Stitch and I was pleased with the outcome.

Now, as I begin tagging all my items with my new logo and with the washing instructions, I wonder how many others, who are just as passionate about crochet as I am, ever question what it is that makes a project appealing for them.  Some love working with thread, wire or yarn, while others enjoy working solely with a particular crochet technique.  I enjoy all aspects of crochet but think my inner passion for it lays with texture and fine finishing details the hook can produce.  What's your crochet passion?

[Alternate Stitch: also known as the Up Down Stitch.  Alternate between sc and dc stitches.  In rows to follow, dc sts go into sc sts, and sc sts go into the dc sts.]

Oh, my apologies for the "seriously's" ... I'm looking forward to watching Grey's Anatomy tonight.  :)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Question From Reader: How Long is Long Enough?

Sheila asks: [what are the] approximate lengths and widths for the scarves? A child's will be shorter and narrower than an adult's. Since I don't have children, it's hard for me to measure. Not to mention, kids grow so a scarf for a 5 year old will be smaller than one for a 10 year old.

When Sheila asked this question the other day in light of the 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge, I knew many others would be wondering the same thing -- so great question Sheila!!  I think there are two lengths of scarves -- one being the "in" length being promoted by the Fashion Institutions/Designers and the other being the "need of necessity."

In the Fashion world, just look at any magazine and you'll see scarves that are curly, scarves that are lacy, and scarves that drop down to the feet and possibly include pockets at the end.  All of these scarves are great, but in the world of necessity, practicality -- and safety! -- rules.

First, I know that not all people are the same height.  A 60" scarf does not look the same on a person standing 5 feet tall vs. one standing 6 feet tall.  So, IF I AM MAKING THE SCARF TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL GIFT then when I'm finished crocheting the scarf it will be tailored to the height for that individual.  The width will depend upon the climate they live in, and if it will be worn as an accessory, or as a garment either in or outside of their winter coat.

BUT when I'm crocheting for charity, I change the individual rule to one more fitting for "the masses."  For adults I stick to the 60" length and go with a 6" or 7" width.  This allows for a bit more length to allow it to be not just wrapped around the neck, but perhaps over the head once and then around the neck -- in the event the person who has it doesn't have a much-needed hat during the frigid winters we have here in Connecticut.

For children, when I'm in doubt, I'll use the growth charts that doctors use ... taking the average "height" for a given age and going with that for length.  I also try to avoid fringe on the scarves if possible -- as the fringe can also easily get caught in doors of school/city buses causing loss in life.  So for safety reasons, I follow the rule that scarves and drawstrings should not hang lower than 3" from their waist.  This is why going with the average height of a child in a given age bracket works really well!  For the width, I'll go with 4" to 5."

"School bus handrails have had the same basic design for more than 30 years. However, with the current change in fashion toward oversized and baggy clothing, handrail designs have contributed to tragic and avoidable injuries and deaths. Other articles of such as scarves, long straps on backpacks, or dangling key chains can also be snagged on the handrail." School Bus Handrail Handbook

One more thing about the charity scarves I donate ... I use acrylic yarn blends.  I do so because there are people allergic to natural fibers (cotton, wool, and so on), and these same people receiving the scarves most likely do not have the funds to splurge on dry cleaning. 

I hope this helps Sheila! :)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Kudos! ... Crochet In the News ...

I'd like to send out a huge Kudo to Rose, Lori and Shelley -- three lovely ladies I know from the Knit Together store I enjoy teaching at.  They made their local paper, The Stamford Advocate, in promoting the Caps to the Capital campaign that is sponsored by the Save the Children organization.

One stitch at a time Knitters and crocheters help the babies of the world

And, while we're on the topic of crochet in the news, here's more!  There's a new online crochet magazine that everyone should check out ... I've already read the fantastic interview with crochet legend & inspiration, Jean Leinhauser, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the articles.  Check it out! ...

Crochet Insider
THE source for news, views, tips and talk

Sunday, October 1, 2006

3rd Annual "60 Scarves in 60 Days" Challenge

I am pleased to announce it's time for the

Third Annual 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge!

Participating? Save this image to your PC and display it on your website or blog!I know we are all knee deep in crocheting gifts for our friends and family for the holidays, as well as creating Caps for the Capital Campaign, chemo hats and more -- me too!  So it makes it that much more important this year to ask for your help in reaching the goal of 60 scarves in 60 days to donate to charity this year.

Anyone can participate -- any skill level -- any fiber art (crochet, knit, weaving) -- and it's all to help people in need in your own community! 

Here's how to participate:  Create a scarf for charity and then let me know about it by sending me an email or leaving a comment here so we can include it in the official count.   You do not need to send me anything -- you can donate it to your own local charity, or send it to an organization like the Orphan foundation.  We'll see if we can get 60 created for charity by the end of November.  Last year we were able to donate 66 scarves!! 

To help in promoting this challenge consider saving the Challenge button above onto your PC and then displaying it on your website or blog!  Be sure to link to this blog entry so others can learn about what is involved to participate.  The more people we can get involved in the challenge, the better chance we have of meeting this goal -- and even beating last year's numbers!  
Spend $25+ and get FREE SHIPPING! Use promotion code OCTFSH625
Please keep in mind that if you wish to participate that a scarf for this drive does not need to be fancy in stitching or fiber content.  It's is a perfect project to practice your stitches on regardless of your skill level! 

Besides doing something good for your community, and your country, (and perhaps using up some of that accumulating stash?) it will make you feel good inside.  Scarves are like hugs; you don't realize the true warmth they wield until you give one away! And if you don't know how to crochet or knit, then what better reason is there to learn?!?  We have until November 30th, so that's plenty of time if we combine our efforts. :)

                                      Care to join me? :)