Monday, December 31, 2007

Remembering the Past; Looking to the Future

I find it interesting that this day, the last day of the year, causes me, either as a willing party or not, to reflect upon what has been, and to wonder about what will be.  In other words, time has a way of marching on no matter how hard I wish it would slow down in order to savor particular moments in my life. 

Thank goodness for home videos!  Last night I let the children select one at random.  They selected "2002" and settled down for a good laugh at their silly "sock skating escapades" in the kitchen, their "box car racing" in empty holiday gift boxes, and their first moments of ever holding a crochet hook and actually making simple chain stitches.  Their voices were small and sweet; their hands tiny.  They were just too cute!  Mini~Dee was five, and Dee Jr. just three years old!

In that same home video was also evidence that our house was much larger than it is today -- my yarn stash was no where near the size it is today!  And yes, the children made special note of pointing that out to me.

So now here we are at the end of 2007.  There were many memories made this year as well, such as placing a dent in that over-grown yarn stash -- and the children taking note and congratulating me on such an accomplishment  (maybe one day I will be able to go through it all and translate all of my yarn stash into miles as Priscilla recently did!  Do I dare??).  2007 also brought me new friends, and had me say goodbye to others.  It brought me opportunites for having more of my patterns published, my first cable TV show appearance, my first column for sharing my Crochet Connections in, and seeing both of my children on the runway modeling my crochet work.  2007 will
also bring to a close the volunteer position I've held since late 2001; being the CGOA's Volunteer Email Correspondent, a job I have loved doing.

What is in store for me in 2008?  A new volunteer position within the CGOA organization, new friends, new publishing opportunities, and more.  As the saying goes, only time will tell.  :)

I wish you all sweet memories of 2007 and many wonderful fiberistic experiences for 2008.  May your celebration tonight be safe and happy, and with those you hold dear to your heart.

                                                           Happy New Year!!!!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Go Patriots!

When you live with a bunch of Patriot fans you either join them or go off and crochet.  I have decided to join them in rooting the Patriots on for a perfect season AND do a bit of crocheting. 

Before doing that, I thought I'd share with you the little crocheted Patriot theme hat I designed/crocheted for Dee Jr. last winter -- and he still loves wearing it everywhere!  :)


I know it's not the best view of the hat, but it will have to do until I can take a better picture.  For now, I'm off to finish watching the game.  What makes this game even more exciting to watch is that we have friends sitting mid-field -- and we're hoping to spot them.

Go Patriots!  :D

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Passing of an HHCC Founder

Christmas time is always a painful reminder to me of what I lost -- my grandmother.  A strong woman who took me under her wing and helped shape me into the person I am today.  We lost her on Christmas Day, 1990.  And there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her.

Now, we've lost another great lady.  Ruth Arbitelle.  She was one of our Founding Members of the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America.  She was a great advocate for inspiring new members to try new stitches and crochet techniques.  Ruth modeling her Modular Crochet sweaterShe also joined me in many adventures and field trips -- including attending a freeform class that Margaret Hubert was teaching at the Craft & Yarn Box in Pawling, NY.  I smile in knowing that her humor was captured on film that day as Margaret had our class taped to include in her popular Freeform Video.

One of my most cherished memories I shared with Ruth is of a field trip we took to the Patternworks yarn shop when it was still located in Poughkeepsie, NY.  It was one of the very first field trips we went on as part of the HHCC.  On the ride there Ruth said to me, "I'm an acrylic girl, Dee, so don't even think about trying to change my mind."  After that day, Ruth's mind was changed.  Oh, she still heavily used acrylic yarns, but now she had no problem of also using some of the "fancier yarns" too.  One of Ruth's crochet projects; a hat with beaded trimShe allowed herself to grow, to experience more of what not only crochet had to offer but friendship too.  Of course I had fun kidding her about it from time to time when she showed off her latest completed projects; then we'd laugh and she'd get that twinkle in her eye.   I am going to greatly miss her. 

Rest in peace, my friend.  God Bless.

For those who are long-time readers of my blog, you may recall Ruth leaving comments here from time to time.  She used the name "arbyrut" online and was a member of the International Freeform Group, and Crochet Partners.  Here is what she wrote to Lion Brand about using their yarn, crocheting for charity, and being a member of the HHCC:
Lion Brand Customer Projects

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Doggie Christmas

I have to laugh as it seems this Christmas was very "doggie" themed, starting with the three little sweaters, rather turtlenecks, I crocheted upon request "at the last minute."

I used Vanna White's new yarn line. I loved working with the solid colors, but when it came time to use the varigated, I wasn't so happy; it felt "crunchy & itchy" to me. Since each little sweater only required one skein of yarn, I'm hoping that it was just the one skein that left me with that impression. Otherwise, I do like the way it looks.  (The green sweater is the one I worked on while at the Mall/Macy's this past weekend.)

... and it appears, that the doggies, pups really as this was their first Christmas, seemed to enjoy wearing them too.  (The pups were not interested in sitting still for a "pretty shot" as there were many new items for them to "check out" -- they were just as excited about Christmas as the children were!)

The owners of the pups were happy with the sweaters too -- especially when I told them they are machine washable & dryable; that's the beauty with using an acrylic based yarn.   

My children received little TY Beanie Babie pups from Santa  -- perhaps they will need little crocheted doggie turtlenecks too? 

*A note about the pattern: I designed/crocheted the sweaters myself; the pattern is not available at this time.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

May your Holiday be as enriching, colorful, and memorable as your crochet projects!  ~Dee

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Spreading the Crochet Holiday Cheer

Little did I expect to find myself visiting our local mall again -- so soon.  So that is where I was last night.  This is because with Mr. Dee having worked 80 hours last week, and declaring he had of yet to start his holiday shopping and wanting me to join him so we could spend time together as a family, I returned to the mall.   His only instructions to me were "Just don't look."  (Rrrright!  We all know I looked!  LOL)

So, there we were, at our local mall, when I should spot my dream Christmas Tree in the store front window of The Gap ... 

I, in my joyousness of discovering the tree, shouted out with glee, "Children, look!  It's our ideal Christmas Tree!!"  

The look on their faces was priceless.  It read, "Oh no!  Please, please say it isn't so!!"   I couldn't help but laugh.  Then just a few feet away was another tree, and then another, and peeking inside the store resulted in eye-delight of even more trees adorned with balls of yarn!  Could it be that The Gap has gone into the yarn business??  No, but it was fun seeing them promote it!

As we walked around the mall, many times I was left to stand outside of the store so Mr. Dee and the children could go inside and make their selections.  Thankfully I had my own ball of yarn and a crochet hook with me.  I took it out each time and worked on one of those last minute holiday gift projects ...

I found it fantastically amazing to meet so many people wanting to know more about my project!  Complete strangers came up to me and inquired about my hook (it was a Graydog), the yarn (Vanna White's new yarn line), the project (a doggie sweater), and also the stitch (the basic single crochet stitch).    At one point I got caught crocheting by one of Mini~Dee's classmate's parents -- and now she  is considering joining our local CGOA Chapter for a meeting sometime.  (Gotta love when that happens! {VBG})

Later in the evening, as I was feeling even bolder, I even crocheted while making a purchase at Macy's -- the cashier was more interested in what I was making, and then another staff member came over -- and well, lets just say that must have been a first for Macy's -- one of their customers crocheting at their counter!  Ho ho ho!   

Overall, I found it fun to spread the Crochet Holiday Cheer, all while awaiting for Mr. Dee to finish up his holiday shopping!  :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Creative Touch ...

I had a fantastic Thursday this week, spending the day with my BFF Patti.  Those of you who know my crochet history, or have been long-time blog readers here, already know who she is.  For those of you who don't, Patti is the one I thank for encouraging me to enter into the professional side of crocheting; she's the one who said I'd be a "natural" at teaching crochet, and how right she was!  I love it!

So as I visited with her at her home this past Thursday, helping her wrap gifts for her family, she showed me two crochet projects she will be giving to her son, Patti Jr, and to her daughter, Mini~Patti. 

First, for her son, a huge fan of the car racing world, she used a spread sheet application to design a graph showing off his favorite Nascar car ... then she began crocheting it changing colors based upon graph she created.  It's almost done, and I think it looks absolutely fantastic!  When she's done it will be a pillow.  (She said it was fairly easy to use the spread sheet program; all you need is patience!)  She hopes to finish it on Christmas Day.  I'm thinking, based upon how fast I've seen her stitch, she'll be done way sooner than that.  :)

For Mini~Patti, a fan of puppets and Kola bears, she took several different bear patterns and mixed & matched them until she came up with just the right look -- isn't it just adorable? 

Giving gifts that were not mass-produced, but rather crafted from the heart, holds much more meaning.  And I think her kids will greatly appreciate them!  Great job, Patti!!

Update 12/23/07 12:06 PM:
  I was right; she finished her project in record time!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Run on Doris Chan?

Image from AOL Pictures

We are currently at the Danbury Fair Mall preparing to visit with Santa. It is our tradition to come to the Mall, have the children write their letters to Santa listing three items they wish for him to bring when he visits on Christmas Eve. This also gives me some time to work on a crochet project, and in this case I'm working on a doggie sweater that will be a gift.

As we are sitting here we've been approached by several people inquiring about a garment Mini~Dee is wearing. "Whoa! Where did you buy that?"

"What your little girl has on is beautiful! Please tell me where I can buy it!"

"Pardon me, can you tell me more about what your daughter is wearing"

Of course I am just beaming; I'm loving that I get to answer, "Why, certainly you can buy one too, but some assembly is required." I ask if they know how to crochet; so far all that have inquired stated that they do. Then I tell them that all they need then is Doris Chan's "Amazing Crochet" book, some ribbon yarn and a crochet hook. I got a lot of THANKS YOUs as they wondered off to continue their holiday shopping. I'm wondering if this means there will be another run on Doris' book??

Oh what fun it is to promote crochet, even if it is just a moment we're sharing together, getting ready to visit with Santa. What do you think I should ask him for??? Sent via Mobil Phone by Dee

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Getting Roped into Last Minute Projects

It's that holiday crunch time -- a time when all those "last minute" projects get suggested and the word "no" is not in the vocabulary.  Take my children as an example.  There we were, walking around our local Joann's store when they discovered bags & bags of bells.  "Mom," starts one child's inquiry, "can we make necklaces for our classmates?"

I don't know about you, but I clearly heard the word "we" and thought it would a great project for the children to do.  My part would be in helping them procure the needed materials and my involvement would be done.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

"Oh, yes, we can work as a team!" they declare.  The plan was that Dee Jr. would prestring the bells and Mini~Dee would crochet up the necklaces.  Then Dee Jr. would insert them into little ziploc baggies, stick a holiday sticker on the bag and repeat until they had 60 created.

That was the plan.

Did you know you can take the W from the word "we" and turn it upside down and it all comes right back to Me?!!

Yes.  Me.  So, although I have five last minute projects already on my hook, I had to add 45 little crochet necklaces to my list, because, as the children say, they ran out of time to complete the project. 

So We became Me.  The good news is they were just basic chains and worked up VERY fast. 

So I learned another parenting rule: the next time I hear the word "we" I'm going to know what they're really talking about is Me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I am SO deserving a treat today!

I am so deserving of a treat today! I just finished submitting my class proposals for the Summer 2008 CGOA National Conference -- 17-20 hours worth of classes! Whew!!

Of course, now comes the hard part. Waiting to see if any are selected.   (Cross your hooks for me, will you?)

So, if you were to treat yourself for completing a task, what would you reward yourself with? 

Me? I don't know yet.  I'm off to my local yarn shop to see ... {insert giddy clapping here}

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Crochet at Night

It's been a very busy weekend; I do hope everyone has had some fun getting in a little bit of crocheting. I know I have!

Enjoy this little video Mr. Dee shot of me this evening as I finally gave the "Needle Lite" crochet hook I purchased this past summer  it's first test drive.  I got the hook at the Vendor's Market during the National CGOA Conference that was held in New Hampshire:

Crochet at Night

Unlike the Clover Light Crochet Hook, there is no boxy handle and nearly the entire hook lights up -- enough light to work on a Chemo Cap for my CGOA Chapter's charity drive. I like the body shape (it's long with no thumb rest!). It does tend to "stick" a little; it is an acrylic hook and I'm using cotton. It may slide better with a different yarn, so I'll go back to playing with -- crocheting at night! :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bits of Bits ... going, going, gone?

I have been on a *fiber* diet for most of the 2007 year, and as I've stated in the past few weeks, my children have noticed the sizeable dent I've made in my attempt to tame it.  While the stash is still quite vast, there appears to be many "bits," and deciding what to do with them can become a challenge.  Fortunately, I think I've come up with a fantastic solution:

First, I decided to sort them.  Large bits here, smaller bits of just a few yards or so go there.  The smaller bits were then sorted by color and are now in the process of being worked up into striped hats that will either go towards next year's Salvation Army drive, or will become striped chemo hats -- all depending upon the fiber content and stitch(es) that I've opted to use.

But the larger bits -- ah!  Those I stuffed into a clear bag, added many popcycle sticks and brought them with me to the children's school today.  Knowing, after yesterday's huge snow storm, that the children would have to have indoor recess, I opted to offer them some time to get crafty! 

Many of the children decided to use Christmas colors of red & green to create the most festive looking  "
God Eyes" I've yet to see!  As I had hoped, they used up quite a bit of my "bits," and this means I can restock the bag for next time, making a further dent in my stash.  And, the funniest part of the day was listening to the children wish it will snow next Thursday to ensure they have another indoor recess on Friday -- so they can work on their "God Eyes" some more.  "Bring in more yarn, Mrs. Stanziano!  This is fun!"  :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Book Review: Crochet Embellishments

Connecticut schools are closed today.  The snow is falling.  I am prepared.  I am well stocked with hot chocolate, Lily Chin's yarn, and Jean Leinhauser's new book, "Crochet Embellishments
I say, let the snow keep a'fallin' -- it's weather like today that makes crocheting so much fun!  (We're expecting 10" of snow today and another big storm scheduled for Saturday)

Since the snow started falling about 30 minutes ago, I sent the kids out to start shoveling.  Is there enough to shovel so early during this snow storm?  Yes!  But that's not why I sent them out. 

I wanted, and this is a bit selfish on my part, to look through Jean's new book with just the soft sounds of snow flakes falling.  The quietness will allow my creative juices to flow just a bit more creativelyDee's attempt to sew, an apron for her grand-niece. -- I am in search of design inspiration and Jean's new book arrived just in the nick of time!

Thus far I have enjoyed crocheting up some swatches from the "Braids & Cords" chapter (and doing so with Lily's Gramercy is a dream; I just wish I had purchased more colors of it!).   I have plans of turning one braid into a fancy scarf for one of the children's school teachers.

I love the true-to-size photographs in Jean's new book as they shout "try me, try me!" -- and because of that I found another crocheted braid I'd like to add to the apron you see on the left.  I created it from scratch, with no pattern, and no formal sewing experience.  It will be a gift for my grand-niece, age 4.  I know the apron is not perfect, but this quote from one of the kids books, "Hatching Magic" by Ann Downer sure makes me feel better about it:

"It's really more training and patience and having the best tools.  And you have to allow yourself to be very, very bad at it, at the beginning.  All the discipline in the universe will be of no use to you if you cannot allow yourself to make mistakes."  (p.46)

And so, with my sewing mistakes included, I will give this little apron to my grand-niece for Christmas because it was made with love.  As for which braid from Jean's book, "Crochet Embellishments" I will add as the final touch, I'm thinking about Braid #9, using embroidery floss, and hand stitching it onto the bottom of the apron.

Of course, I have the entire day to play, so off I go, with Jean's new book in hand, in search of matching embroidery floss, my crochet hook, and a comfortable spot on the couch where I can look out the window and watch the snow fall.  Now that's what I call bliss.  Oh, yes, and I'll call the children back in for a hot cup of chocolate too.
                                                                            * * *
For those of you looking for a new book to add to your private crochet library, I do highly recommend this book.  It is packed with embellishments from flowers, to braids (as I mentioned above) to tassels and more, perfect for personalizing any of your crochet (or sewing/knit) projects! 

Jean, thank you for RAK'ing me with your new book -- I love it! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

RAK'd by Nancy

So, what was this all about?

You can find out by visiting Nancy's blog HERE.

A huge, huge THANK YOU!! Nancy!!  The scarf and I are like one; I wear it ALL the time!  -- and the GRAYDOG hook (are you sure you want to part with it??) has already worked it's magic creating four chemo caps!  Thank you for RAK'ing me!  It was a wonderful surprise!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

HHCC Ends Year with Lily Chin!!

Lily Chin showing how she balances designing AND her beautiful yarn lineYesterday was the last meeting of the year for the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America.  And what a celebration it was! 

For those of us who had dared to venture out on a day "doomed for heavy icing" as predicted by our weather stations, we had a most fantastic time!  I, along with 22 other members and guests, enjoyed sharing the afternoon with knit & crochet designer, crochet speed queen, media master, teacher extraordinair Lily Chin!  Yes, THE Lily Chin!

Lily ventured north, leaving the comfort of her home in New York City, to come to Danbury, along with Andrea of Seaport Yarns.  Lily did a fantastic presentation, showing off her garments & accessories fom her new book, "Couture Crochet Workshop: Mastering Fit, Fashion, and Finesse; and Andrea brought along Lily Chin's Signature [yarn] Collection (and a few other quite yummy items) for us to pet & purchase.

Lily explained why she named her book "couture:"  She wants crocheters to know that yes, we can create garments that fit us -- and drape upon us -- beautifully, as one would expect hand-made (tailored really) garments to be.  It is our attention to detail to our proper body measurements, yarn selection, hook selection, gauge & stitch selection that will make or break our project, and that is where her new book takes us.   She created the book to educate us to making the right choices from the planning stage to techniques to refine the fit.   Really, this book is a "must have" for those interested in learning how to get rid of that "boxy/heavy" look crochet has a reputation for!Mini~Dee gets in on modeling Lily's fashions!   If you're creating a Wish List for the holidays, I suggest adding this book to your list!!

After Lily's presentation we were turned loose to purchase goodies.  I selected four of Lily's yarn line to try:  Gramercy, Park Avenue, Times Square, and Greenwich Village.  I also bought a "square" crochet hook to add to my growing hook collection, and the book, "Crochet Inspirations" by Sasha Kagan -- already autographed.

Then, as we munched on homemade goodies and had Lily  autograph our books and patterns, our Chapter President, Grace, handed out raffle prizes to everyone.  She's really amazing; everyone was delighted with their goodies; I received yarn that I instantly decided to put in my "chemo" category (and in fact worked up two chemo caps earlier today during our power outage).

As we were winding our meeting down, I was handed a mysterious package to open ... why the face?  What was in the box???  You'll have to tune in tomorrow for those details!


Thank you Lily, Andrea & Grace for a fantastic year-ending meeting!! 

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Guest Blogger: Mini~Dee

Mom and I spent time looking for crochet wreath patterns but I didn't see any I liked.  So I decided to design my own.  My Mom said I can share the pattern on her blog, so here it is.

"Holiday Wreath" Crochet Wreath pattern by Casey Stanziano
             by Casey Stanziano (

copyright 2007; for personal use only; all rights reserved

1 bottle of Vitamin Water  (drink the water and save the ring that holds the cap on)
           NOTE: any  plastic ring measuring 1 3/4" would also work.
5.0 mm crochet hook
about an ounce of Simply Soft "Shadows" in the Dark Moss color
a handful of beads
Elmer's glue

First, watch this video on how I do this stitch I came up with earlier this year:

Making the wreath: Single crochet onto the water bottle ring, chain 9 and start to make my special stitch, instead of doing a chain to anchor the stitch as in my video, make a single crochet around the ring. Repeat until you have 11 groups made. Join with a slip stitch and end off.

Tie your tails together to create a loop for hanging.

Glue beads in place. 

When you're done it will be the perfect size to hang on a Barbie townhouse, hang on your real tree, or make into a pin to wear and share.  They're fun and quick to make!  :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mission Accomplished!

Yesterday I awoke with the most awesome holiday feeling -- the feeling of knowing all those hours of crocheting hats, mittens and scarves, combined with the efforts of my CGOA Chapter members, would be doing good for our local community.  And, this being our FIFTH year participating in this drive, just made the day feel more special.

The day started off fine, but by mid-afternoon, turned into a near nightmare because the predicted snow and ice seemingly arrived a bit early.   Traffic -- just driving in it -- was horrible!  (Where is Rudolph the Reindeer when you need him???)  A drive that should have been mere minutes turned into hours!

>people failing to obey the traffic laws caused traffic to worsen in the city; a five minute drive turned into an hour of inching.

I was worried.  Not because of all the traffic, the fire engines, the police cars, or the ambulances darting and dashing through all the cars, but because I was to have met up with some of our HHCC members and then dart over to the Salvation Army Headquarters to make our donation.  Would we make it in time?  Did they close early due to the weather?  The thought of inching our way there to find them closed weighted heavily in my mind.  Indeed, would we make it there in time?

Thank goodness for cell phones!  Eventually we were able to hook up with Nancy, and along with my children, were able to donate 92 sets of hats, mittens/gloves, and scarves -- a new record for our group! -- along with many, many new toys.  Our local Salvation Army was extremely thankful for our generosity, and for our bravery for coming out when the weather was so bad.

At the Salvation Army Headquarters in Danbury

Getting home was no picnic either.  Eventually I pulled into a diner and treated the kids to dinner out.  As we ate and discussed the traffic, I was delighted my children were more focused on the good we had just accomplished; 92 children will be warmer this winter due to the efforts of the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Connecticut Chapter of the CGOA.  And that, no matter what the weather is outside, is a heart-warming thought.  :)  Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, December 7, 2007

Guest Blogger: Mini~Dee

Mom has been busy, squeeking out, as she says, another hat, scarf, and mitten set that our CGOA Chapter will be donating later today.  She said the mittens are easy to make and that after the holidays she'll show me.  She got the pattern here.

Today we're expecting freezing rain and maybe some snow, so I think we'll have recess inside.  That's OK with me because I have been bringing my crochet with me to school.  I am currently working on a felted bag kit.  I got it in the Chapter's Grab Bag during the anniversary that was held at Margaret's house.  I love the colors. Yellow, blue and purple.  The kids in my class like my project so far.  They're pretty excited to watch it grow. 

I was working on my bag yesterday when all of a sudden one of our teachers got sick and had to go to the hospital.  I hope she's OK.  She's the teacher in charge of decorating the school tree.  Since we don't know when she'll be coming back, my class was asked to help with creating the decorations for the tree.  I was asked to crochet a wreath.  So tonight after school (after we drop off all the stuff for the Salvation Army) Mom and I will search the Internet to see if there are any patterns and then I'll go shopping in Mom's yarn stash.  She has a lot of pretty yarns.  If you have a favorite wreath pattern, will you tell me?  I want it to come out pretty.  If it does then I'll make two, one for the sick teacher too.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Greetings from Boarders

I am enjoying a great morning with Priscilla (of, Kathy, and Ruth. We've been busy bundling up hats, mittens and scarves for the donation run we'll do on Friday. As of this moment we have 80 sets ready to go; a new record!

Besides working on our charity drive, we've also been chatting about the latest issue of Interweave Crochet magazine (I'm buying my copy before I leave today), and about the "Log Cabin" pattern Priscilla is working on from the very first issue of Crochet Today! Magazine (Aug 06). I'm sure if we twist her arm a bit she'll provide details about it in one of her blog entries.

We're also excitedly talking about Lily Chin's upcoming visit -- yes, Lily is coming to Danbury! I'll post details about her upcoming visit perhaps later today. For now, I need another hot chocolate to go with all this great fiber conversation going on! :) Sent via Mobil Phone by Dee

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Checking In ...

crocheted hats, mittens & scarves for charity I am spending the day with Dee Jr. who is home from school with an upset stomach. This means I've missed the monthly "Chain Gang of Stamford" meeting, but that's OK. There's always next month, right?

Rather than park Dee Jr. in front of the television while resting, I suggested to him we make today a "craft" day; he is game! So, while I'm working on finishing up some last minute charity projects (such as the two hat, scarf & mitten sets pictured to the left), he is working on his latch hook kit he started back in July.  We've even selected some material to make my young niece a little apron (yeah, I know what you're thinking -- "Dee sews??"  What can I say?  I dabble?)  Even though his is stomach is doing acrobatic stunts, he seems content with the quiet, discussing the many projects I have "whipped" out since the healing of my (then sprained) wrist -- and in the large dent I have made in my yarn stash.

Looking up from his latch hook he said, "Mom, I'm really proud how you kept to your New Years Resolution this year! Do you think you can repeat it for next year?"  LOL

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Winter Crochetland

Tree shopping yesterday proved to be most chippy!  The cold-front from Canada was well on it's way to Connecticut, but that didn't dampen our spirits; we picked out an adorable tree!  (to the left you can see Mini~Dee and Dee Jr. hauling it down the hillside.)

I did wear one of my older crocheted hats I designed a few years ago, but I would have liked it more if it had matched better.   In the end, it didn't matter.  I eventually pulled my jacket & coat hoods up and was still feeling the freezing cold winds!  So now I'm thinking when it comes time for me to crochet a new hat for ME, that perhaps I should think about creating one as a "double" hat as I did for my son some time ago ...

Since there is no deadline for it, I do have time to think about it.   :)

                                                 *  *  *

So this morning we awoke to find about an inch of SNOW on the ground; we were so excited!  I call that Perfect Crochet Weather!   It was very pretty to look at and we're expecting more tonight.  

And, speaking of snow, check out the little crocheted ornament I purchased while at the tree farm yesterday ... I bought it to use as a pattern template.  Have you ever done that?  ... purchased an item so you can recreate it?  (They only had the one else I would have bought more.)  I'm thinking it would look pretty attached to gift tags. 

Long ago, before there were written patterns, crocheters would create motifs and then attach them to pages in fabric books for later reference.  Sometimes you can find these books of yesteryear on ebay or read about them in magazines like PieceWork.  If memory serves me correctly, they have one pictured in Donna Kooler's "encyclopedia of crochet."   I think of the books as a pretty cool part of crochet history (and yes, I do want to own one someday!).

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Norman Rockwell Kind of Day ...

Today we will venture out and participate in our Second Annual "Norman Rockwell" Day.  We'll be gathering with many, many family members at the top of one of the beautiful gentle rolling hills located in Shelton, Connecticut; where it seems the winds are just a bit nipper, and the voices a bit cheerier.  The scent of pine, hot apple cider, along with the heat of bonfires, is just part of the fantastic experience I look forward to on this day.   Yes, we'll be at the Jones Family Tree Farm selecting our Christmas tree and watching Dee Jr. chop it down.   (It was amazing to watch him cut down his first tree last year and drag it down the hilltop; our "Norman Rockwell" moment.)

This, naturally, means we'll need to bundle up quite well.  And, I've discovered, I am not prepared!  I have a new winter coat this year, burgandy with a few cream colored stripes (my *real* favorite colors), and I don't have a hat or scarf -- that matches -- that I can wear!  I have been so involved with my charity projects that, pardon the expression here, I have left myself completely out in the cold! 

Of course I'll need to address this situation as soon as possible!  I know I won't be able to create the hat & scarf before today's family gathering, but I can start the planning stage.  And this is where you come into the picture: tell me, if you had your choice of all the yarns avaliable in the world, what would YOU choose to create your own personal hat & scarf set?

Then, after revealing what yarn you'd use, go and submit your name to the Interweave Press' drawing being promoted by their "Knitting Daily" e-newsletter.  You could win a
$300 shopping spree at your favorite local yarn shop and create your own "Norman Rockwell" type of day!  :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oh What A Night ...

Linda and Priscilla starting the sortDashing out into the cool autumn air, Grace, Linda, Priscilla and I, members of The HHCC (Connecticut Chapter of the CGOA), met at our local Borders bookstore last night.  Our goal was to match up hats, mittens/gloves, and scarves -- sorting by color, by size -- and labeling each bag to make it easier for our local Salvation Army to distribute to those in need.

When we were done there were three sweater sets for infants and 64 completed sets of hats, mittens, and scarves.  We also found that we were in need of a hats, mittens/gloves, and scarves for the Danbury Salvation Army drivedozen scarves to complete 12 more sets, so the Challenge was sent out to our members to see if we can complete them before December 7th, our official date to donate all the sets along with new toys we donate each year.

I think we can do it ... and I think this Challenge will be interesting to see how it effects Priscilla's contest.  I told her last night, before knowing we needed a dozen more scarves, that her official personal "Creating for Charity" goal would be beat by six items (making it 106) ... now I'm rethinking that. LOL   If you haven't entered her contest yet, there's still time.  But not much!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

From the Mouth of Babes...

Since tonight is the night my CGOA Chapter will be gathering at our local Borders bookstore to group together the scares, mittens/gloves, and hats we've been collecting to donate to our local Salvation Army next week, yesterday I decided to see if I could whip up one more hat for the cause.

As I packed up the trumpets for my children's music lesson, I selected a pretty lavender colored yarn for the hat, and then headed to my children's school.  Since I am one of the "band Mom's" I figured I had plenty of time to work on it, and I was right.  (I have just a few more rows for the rim of the hat and it will be complete.)

Getting back to my story, as I awaited for the band members to come to the school gym to prepare for their lessons I started working on the hat.  Across the gym was the Kindergarten class awaiting to take their buses home.  I sat, tuned in to crocheting my hat when suddenly my ears perked up.  What was this I was hearing??

It was the little youngsters debating about what it was that I was doing:

"She's knitting."

"She's sewing."

"It's not knitting, it's a new type of sewing."

"It's not sewing, it's knitting with one stick."

"No, no, she's knitting. I saw my Grandma doing it once."

"No, she's knitting."

"No, knitting is with two sticks, like this..." 

"No, that's not what she's doing.  She's sewing, you just can't see her needle."

Then one child raised her voice above all the others,
   "I know what she's doing!  She is crocheting!  I've seen it done before, and it's fast!"

I looked at the little girl and beamed her a huge smile.  She smiled back.

All her little friends looked at her.  "Whoa," said one little boy, "how did you know that? I thought she was sewing."

She went into her school backpack and pulled out a little pink hat, then put it on her head, saying nothing.  Even from where I was sitting I could see that the hat was crocheted! 

Before I had the chance to cross the gym to inspect it closer, and to inquire who she had seen crocheting, it was time for her to board her bus and head home.  At that same time all the band members started filing into the gym.  Still, it was cool to hear that at least one youngster in the bunch knew her fiber arts!  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Get Your Bid On

You can bid from now until 8:00 PM (PST), Sunday, December 2nd, for ornaments from the
Tree Of Life Tree of Peace 2007 International Freeform Show.  The silent auction will benefit Women to Women International.

The ornaments are great for every faith and any occasion.  Each ornament is unique, and you can see them by visiting here:  To get a better view, including figuring out who the creator of each ornament is, by clicking onto each one.

I placed my bids earlier this morning -- it's for a great cause -- AND it places me (should I win) one step closer to fulfilling my dream of having our Christmas tree decorated entirely with crochet & fiber ... wha ha ha ha ha!

Go ahead and place your bid(s) too! 

Also, can you figure out (before it's posted) which ornament(s) I may have bid on?  Have fun looking!  :)

Monday, November 26, 2007


Prior to being ill during the week of Thanksgiving, I was tagged by both Vashti and Tracie for the first-ever CGOA Meme.  Here are the rules for participating:

1. Begin by including a link to the person who tagged you.
2. Answer the question:  Are you crocheting something that you would not be crocheting if you were not a CGOA Member?
Or more broadly this question: "How has your experience of crochet been changed by your CGOA membership?" Give a single one-line answer.
3. For extra credit, end by linking to 3 (or 5, for extra credit) other bloggers among whom you'd like to see squirm publicly with this challenging, yet strangely satisfying essay question.

OK, I've linked to Vashti & Tracie.  Now on to answering the question: am I crocheting something that I would not be crocheting if I were not a CGOA Member -- OR -- how has my experience of crochet been changed by my CGOA membership?

Oh, single line answers.  Eish.  No can do; I need to be able to make more sentences!!  That's like asking a crocheter to only make one stitch!  Oh, the torture!  :)

The first question is easy to answer with one sentence: Presently I am not crocheting anything -- I've been without a hook in my hand for a week due to illness.  (Well, OK, two sentences!)  With thanks to Lyn, the CGOA Membership Board Moderator, I'll be presenting The Special Stitch of the Week NEXT week; this will be my second time participating in this volunteer program. 

                                                                                   *   *  *

As for the second question, I'll try to keep it brief:  I have been a CGOA member since 2001.  I found them through surfing the Internet for something crochet related and found their logo on someone's website and decided to click onto it.  To this day I do not recall the website that hosted the logo, but I am forever grateful.  Being a member of the CGOA has opened doors of friendships, experiences, and techniques for me.  I feel like I am a member of a wonderful fiber community, that like a great wine, only gets better with each passing year! 

I could go on & on about my membership, but rather than do that, I think my blog entries here -- from reporting about the various Conferences, my Chapter, to getting into the Mentorship program & so on -- are all testiments as to how much I've personally grown
since being a member.  One need only go back into the archives here to read about all the juicy details.  :)

                                                                                   *   *  *

If you are not a CGOA member yet, what is stopping you?  If you are a CGOA member, have you considered giving a CGOA Membership to a crochet buddy?  They make great year-long gifts!!

You can visit the CGOA by clicking here:

                                                                                   *   *  *

Jane, Margaret, Nancy, Priscilla, and Sherri please consider yourselves tagged

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Under the Weather

We had a great weekend, but come Sunday night I wasn't feeling right. Here it is Tuesday morning and I'm still not feeling well.

While I cuddle up with my box of tissues and glasses of orange juice, go ahead and cheer me up by sharing with me what you're all working on.  Are you crocheting holiday gifts? Something to donate to your favorite charity? Or perhaps something for yourself to wear to a special holiday party?

Do share.  And I'll be back when I'm feeling better.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Greetings from A Stitch In Time

Image from AOL Pictures

I love being a Crochet Teacher; passing on the joy of crochet gives me great pleasure. Today I'll be teaching the basics of the granny square, a technique that is part of our American history when the West was settled. In awaiting for the class to begin I decided to look around to see I can find more "dinosaur" colored yarns. I did. I found some delicious wool sock yarn by Koigu called "KPM.". I purchased two colorways and hope to use them to create my own dinosaur bookmark pattern later this afternoon.

I think the interesting part of all this "dinosaur" pattern hunting comes the joy of discussing with Dee Jr. What we do know about the history of dinosaurs. We may know what their body shapes looked like, but do we really know what color they were? Mini~Dee thinks they could have possibly been pink and/or purple -- hey, you never know, right? There are no eye witnesses! I didn't select pink or purple colored yarn, but I did think about it! What color would you choose to crochet your dinosaurs with?


Sent via Mobil Phone by Dee

Friday, November 16, 2007

Knock, Knock

Who's there?


Alpaca who?

          Alpaca sweater because it's going to be cold!

                                                           *   *   *

What's a sheep's favorite music?

                                                            *   *   *
Why is it easy to fool sheep?

          Because you can always pull the wool over their eyes.

                                                           *   *   *

Many thanks to Dee Jr. for providing the above jokes. 

According to AOL, they are aware I have two missing mobile blog entries, and they'll post them "shortly."  I'm not sure what they mean by "shortly" but lets hope it's not going to take *forever.*

I will not be adding any new blog entries over the weekend as we'll be busy crossing into the Jurassic period.  Have a fabulous weekend & see you on Monday!  :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Are You A Member of the Crochet Guild Of America?

I have been a proud member since 2001!   Through the Guild I have attended three Conferences, help found a fantastic Chapter in Connecticut, joined two other Chapters, took advantage of the Mentorship program -- then became a Mentor myself, I contribute from time to time articles for the Chain Link newsletter, write the "Crochet Connections" articles for the eNews letter, enjoy the Crochet! magazine, enjoy the volunteer position as the CGOA's email correspondent, and have enjoyed using the members' library, PLUS I get to socialize with a good portion of the membership online!  How much better can it get?

Well, besides the wonderful reasons I just stated, and what they have listed in the
Official CGOA Brochure, the Crochet Guild of America just announced the following to it's members:


MEMBER BENEFIT (visit Members area
of for how to redeem)
Annie's Attic
Interweave Crochet
Leisure Arts Boutique
Mary Maxim, Inc.
15% discount on purchases
Special offer $19/year subscription
$3 off shipping at
10% discount by internet, mail or phone
15% discount on orders

These savings will be like getting your membership free!

And lets not forget they recently announced an opportunity for one of it's members to win a THOUSAND dollars

Now I ask, are you a member of the CGOA?  Consider joining today!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Onward With the Great Dinosaur Hunt

And so the great dinosaur pattern search continues ...

Scarlet and Beata both sent me this link to check out: -- the pattern offers no pictures, or hints as to what the final outcome will be, but seeing that the pattern only calls for 15 yards of Knit-Crosheen thread, I decided to use a designer fiber that I allowed Dee Jr. to pick out.  He was delighted to select three various "dinosaur colored" yarns when we were at the Janet Kemp yarn shop on Saturday for Doris Chan's book signing event.

One of the three balls of yarn he chose was one by Filatura Dicrosa called "Millefili Fine."  It's 100% cotton and feels almost like a dk weight; retail is about $8 a ball.  The color combo of this ball is one of browns and olive-greens; think cameouflage.  Since the current trend is self-striping yarns, I had thought that this would be one of those types.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out it wasn't!  :)

In the picture today you can see the dinosaur the pattern creates.  I was calling it a "Camel-asaurous" due to the hump on it's back.  Dee Jr. assures me there is no such dinosaur, to date, and thus spent this morning researching his books to prove his point.  He thinks it looks similar to the one in the book, a "Saltasaurous."  I think he's going to do well at the Paleo-bowl!  {VBG}

Now I'm off to try the other pattern Beata suggested,; I'll try it with the same fiber (it's a dream to work with!) andsee if I like the end results.   If so, I have until Friday night to populate enough for all the kids from his school that will be attending the event this weekend; if not, then I'll try to just make enough for his team.  If I don't like this pattern then I'm thinking I might go back and tweek the "Camel-asaurous" pattern to something more recognizable and make bookmarks for the kids.  

As for which pattern I've selected from Doris Chan's new book, well, I'm prowling around my stash to see if I have enough of the fiber I have in mind ... more on that at a later time.  For now, I have to get a dinosaur on my hook!  :)

Thank you Scarlet & Beata for coming to my aide! 

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Doris Chan!

I had the most enjoyable weekend spending time with Doris.  First yesterday when she was doing her book signing at the Janet Kemp yarn shop in Stratford, and then today when she visited with my CGOA Chapter.  The pictures shown in this entry were taken today.

Doris was unable to bring the actual garments that were photographed for her new book because the publisher has of yet to release them back to her yet, but you wouldn't have known!  She brought with her her own personal garments, which were just as yummy and based upon the very patterns she wrote for her second book! 

Doris discussed the foundation ch/sc technique; one that is rapidly gaining popularity in the crochet world due to it's elasticity when starting projects.  In fact, both of her books use the foundation ch/sc technique, and in doing so, does away with the rigid, inflexible chain that all crocheters are well aquainted with. 

Doris, through instructing many of our members to try on her personal collection, showed how crochet, as a rule, has a lot of wonderful give, and when working garments from the tops down, allows for more fine-tuning.  Just looking around the room as she spoke, it was fantastic to see everyone's faces light up with what she was saying to them -- no more bulky, ill-fitting crochet garments!  Members were so thrilled that there was discussion of starting a "Doris-along" project come January.  Of course, I'm on board for that!  :)

One of the coolest concepts is Doris' lack of buttons.  She advised our group that she likes to create her own closures using buttons, beads, and stretchy cord reserved mostly for jewelry making.  By utilizing the natural holes that occur in crochet, these closures can be changed based upon the look you want your crocheted garment to have -- and you can change that look just by changing where you place the closure, and by how many closures you use.  Details on how to make them are featured in her second book, everyday crochet."  She calls them "in-line links" -- they really add a lot of versatility and beauty!

One of my favorite moments of today was when we bestowed upon Doris a Certificate making her an Honorary Member of The HHCC; now she can wear the Club colors: the color Purple for her passion for crochet, silver and gold for making new friends and keeping the old!  We're really delighted that she came back to Connecticut to visit with us!!  Thanks Doris!! 

                                                                   *  *  *

Note:  Both Nancy and Priscilla blogged about their 'Doris' experience too  -- click onto their names to check them out!.   To the left is Nancy trying on Doris' cardigan, and to the right is Priscilla wearing her beautiful shawl designed by Doris.  What a great way to spend an afternoon!  :)