Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Call me Crazy

I'd like to thank all those who've commented & emailed me about yesterday's posting. I view my local yarn shops as more than a place of business; to me each one is it's own little community.  I felt similar to the way I do about the news of Knit Together's closing as I did when another local craft store, The Craft Basket, closed a few years ago, and then when Lee's Yarns closed over a year (or so) ago. I just need time to mourn the loss of another great fiber community.  I know I'll bounce back to my perky self in no time.  :)

In looking at the other side of my emotional range we find my "crazy" side all in a fluster.  It's all because my Aunt will be turning 80 years young, and I have been driving myself nuts in figuring out what to give her as a special gift.  Once I settled on a throw for her couch, I knew what stitch I wanted to use, and had the end product instantly pictured in my head.  The problem was in figuring out what fiber to use.

As I was in this quandary, Herrshners decided to email me about a special sale they had; I eyed their Caron Simply Soft Shadows (it's a dream to work up!) but wanted to see the color selections in person.  I knew Joanns has it online, so I thought I'd drive across town and go see -- only they didn't have one single skein in stock!  By the time I returned home, and back to the Herrshners website, they were completely sold out of every skein in every colorway!  Now what do I do?

I was itching to start the project so I decided to start by looking up the stitch online.  Many know it as the "diagonal" stitch, some call it the "crazy" stitch.  Seems fitting, doesn't it?  I found two links.  The first one I looked at was Sandi's over at  I then looked at Lauri B's instructions.  After a lot of thought, I decided to go with Lauri's as there will be no tell-tell starting chain when the project is complete because the work is created diagonally.  Now, with the project in mind, and the stitch ready to go, I still hadn't selected my fiber.  Do I have something in my stash that would do?  (Who looks to their stash first?  LOL)

I did.  I found a pretty chenille in a steel-blue color, grabbed my "F" Graydog hook (only available on ebay) and began the project.  Normally I'm not a fan of chenille because it tends to "worm" (meaning the stitches will undo themselves and twist into unsightly projectiles), but I haven't witnessed this chenille misbehaving like that -- yet.  I have about six hours into the project and am (insanely?) guessing I have another 74 to go.  Hey, I'm figuring I will need a Grand-looking border to make it specular, and that will take time to do!  {{grins}}

An 80-hour project for an 80 year young Aunt that is the best!  I think that's quite fitting!  I have until May -- that's plenty of time.    :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I really hate Goodbyes

I hate using the word *hate* -- I think it's too strong, too harsh of a word to use in everyday language in describing things we find displeasing.  There are so many other words in the English dictionary we can use in it's place to more accurately detail those thoughts, but today, this is the word I am choosing to reflect how I am feeling.  I hate goodbyes.

Lets rewind the story and start from the beginning so that perhaps I can express the loss I am feeling today.

In 2003 I met a wonderful lady named Joy; she joined our CGOA Chapter and I thought the world of her.  (I still do!)  A few months later she revealed she was opening her own yarn shop with her husband, John, and inquired if I'd be interested in being their Crochet Teacher.  I was honored! 

She'd email me pictures of the store as they began the construction, and as they neared opening their doors.  In 2003, they did it.  They opened Knit Together, in Stamford, Connecticut.  A few months later I joined them as their Crochet Teacher teaching a variety of classes -- an enjoyment that continued on through the past four years until last week.  That was when they told me of their decision to close the shop; to go out of business.  I was in shock. Go out of business?

This afternoon I decided to stop in the store one last time; I knew they were all busy preparing for the big "inventory must go" sale, but I didn't mentally prepare myself.  What was I thinking? That business would be *normal?*  As I pulled into the parking lot I saw the windows covered with neon-green paper with 2 foot lettering "Going out of Business" -- wow; this is it.  They're really doing it, I thought. 

I walked around to the back entrance and went inside. Right then I knew, instantly, that I wouldn't be able to contain my sadness in the loss of this yarn shop; hooboy.  As I sadly said goodbye to the people I've gotten to know over the past four years, I looked around the store.  I recalled all the good times I've had there with the staff, and with my students -- and I am happy that I have these wonderful memories.  The shouts of joy when a student got a new technique or stitch; the cheers when projects were finished.  Going there every week was like going to visit family; maybe this is why I'm feeling the way I am.  I'm really going to miss the shop, and more so -- the people that gathered there.

So it's official; the store is closing. The big sale starts tomorrow and will continue until the walls are bare.  I doubt I'll go.  I really hate goodbyes, and I don't think I can go through it again.

To Joy, John and the staff: Thank you for four fantastic years.  I do hope our paths cross again.   I wish you all the best!
To my Students:  Thank you for inspiring me with all of your crochet triumphs!  I hope you continue in your passion for crochet, and perhaps to have you in my classes again in the future. 
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Monday, January 29, 2007

Winter/Spring 2007 Crochet Classes: Bethel, CT

After an "extended holiday," I am back at the Bethel yarn shop with new classes, a new day: Tuesdays!, and new class prices!  Class size is limited, so sign-up early to ensure your seat is reserved! 

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

* Dee is a member of the Crochet Guild of America.  Show us your CGOA membership card at time of class sign-up and get $2.00 off of Dee's Classes! 
(Discount does not apply to supplies)

Stitch Social:
Work on your own project while getting help on fixing errors or techniques.
February 6, 13, 27; March 6, 13, 20, 27; April 3, 10, 24
Tuesday mornings: 10 - Noon.  Cost: $15 per session

Absolute Beginner
Learn the basics of crochet!  This class concentrates on the slip knot, the chain, the single crochet, counting stitches, and ending off. 
2nd Tuesdays of the Month:  February 13; March 13;  April 10
Time:  12:30 - 2:30pm   Cost: $20 per session, plus supplies

Absolute Beginner, Part II
This class is geared towards those that have taken Absolute Beginner, or need a refresher in crochet basics.  Class will concentrate on reading patterns, gauge, and getting you started on that first official project.  Note: participants should already have selected pattern/supplies for their first project prior to start of class.
4th Tuesdays of the Month: February 27; March 27; April 24th
Time:  12:30 - 2:30pm   Cost: $20 per session, plus supplies

Graph Crochet Workshop
Ever wonder how images are created within the crocheted fabric?  Then this class is for you!  Learn how to read graphs and properly create color changes for your next masterpiece!  Simple heart graph pattern is supplied for this Workshop.  Note: participants will need 2 contrasting colors of worsted weight yarn for this Workshop.
Tuesday, February 6
Time: 12:30 - 2:30pm    Cost:  $20 per session, plus supplies

Bead Crochet Workshop:
  Adding beads to your crochet work adds an element of elegance.  In this workshop participants will learn how to add beads using two different techniques.  Note: participants will need to bring pony beads, and worsted weight yarn for this Workshop.  A beading needle and instructions will be provided to participants.
Tuesday, March 6
Time: 12:30 - 2:30pm    Cost:  $20 per session, plus supplies

Hairpin Lace Workshop:
With Spring around the corner, what could be better than learning how to crochet a beautiful & fun scarf or wrap to celebrate?!  Hairpin Lace is also known as "Angel Lace" and is perfect for wearing at religious celebrations.  Note: participants will need to have a hairpin "fork," and worsted weight yarn to practice with.  Experienced crocheters may use ribbon fibers.
Tuesday, March 20
Time: 12:30 - 2:30pm    Cost:  $20 per session, plus supplies

Aran Crochet Workshop:
Adding cables to your crochet work is a great way to add texture to your fabric.  Participants will learn how to crochet around posts, with a discussion of substituting the Polish Star technique.  A pattern for a washcloth will be provided to participants.
Tuesday, April 10
Time: 12:30 - 2:30pm    Cost:  $20 per session, plus supplies

Private Instruction:
Need our Certified Crochet Teacher to yourself?  Book exclusive time with Dee!
Tuesdays, February 6, 13, 27; March 6, 13, 20, 27; April 3, 10, 24
Time: 3:00 - 4:00 pm  Cost: $15 per 1/2 hour; $25 for full hour.  Advanced sign-up required.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

When Did YOU Come Out of the Closet?

For years I crocheted, alone.  I didn't even know, not even the slightest hint!, that my best friend from childhood was a closet crocheter too -- not until the day I presented her with a soft mint-green crocheted afghan for her beautiful baby girl born in 1998. That was the day the door to my crocheting in the closet was cracked open.  It would take another three years for me to step through and publicly announce I was a full-fledged crocheter!

Now, here it is 2007, nearly ten years later, from when I first peeked through that closet door crack -- and I'm happy with all that I've accomplished, openly, since that time! Yes, I'm proud that I crochet, and I'm more than willing to march down a public road proclaiming it before the world!

I think there is something about the lure of only needing one tool to create those stitches. Plus there is that rebellious side to crochet that I love: the ability to change directions, dimensions, stitches, fiber, and hooks anywhere during the process that is so, well, liberating!  There's even the ability to break the tradional crochet rules without fear of majorly goofing up my project.  What's not to love about that feature?!?

So, with this in mind, sipping on my coffee this morning, I came across this cute little video clip that I thought was quite funny, titled "Wooly Bullies", and thought you might enjoy it too.  As you watch it, think of when YOU came out of the crocheters' closet ... and maybe share your story with me, and my readers.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

"No Charges Were Filed" (Conclusion to Contest)

I'd like to thank everyone for their patience in waiting for the official announcement of who the winners are for the "Milesstones Worth a Hundred Grand " contest that celebrated 100,000 visitors milestone (this number does not include blog feeds or AOL's Alerts), and in celebrating blogging here for a terrific three years.

The delay was caused by a slight change in how the winners were selected...

Mini-Dee wanted to select a winner by number, so did Dee Jr. So they each selected a number and then opted for "up" or "down."

Mini-Dee selected "up" (meaning counting the entries from the bottom up) and the number five. LisazArt is our first winner with this entry:

" ... but the LPD did request Mrs. Stanziano crochet up the entire squad coffee cozies with matching hats. "There's only one thing worse than a cold cup of coffee," the Chief stated, "and that is when you find your partner drinking your coffee because the cups look alike!" Mrs. Stanziano said she'd crochet up the hats to show her appreciation, but it will be the children who would create the cozies -- with the green yarn and the Barbie knitter. The children happily agreed and darted back into the stash for more yarn. A second search for them is currently underway."
Dee Jr. decided on "down" and chose the number six. This means Haleyzim2 won with this entry:

"No charges were filed however, Mrs. Stanziano was required to provide a formal statement as to how she came to be in possession of Susan Bates' headless body. The authorities were then able to obtain a full confession from the Bates company and MiniDee finally received her replacement hook. Mrs. Stanziano was also required to show proper registration for all the Gray dogs found kenneled throughout the stash. The officers were pleased with the working conditions of the dogs and reported that each was in excellent health. In addition, several pair of knitting needles were confiscated and Mrs. Stanziano was advised to steer clear of such tools which "can be dangerous in untrained hands." Mrs. Stanziano's knitting projects were released into the custody of Mini Dee who also promised to make sure Mom keeps knitting to a bare minimum."
The holdup in this announcement was caused by the delay in picking the third winner. Mr. Dee decided he didn't want to pick a number, up or down, but rather judge by the "laugh-o-meter." Since he worked two difficult weeks at work he was too exhausted to immediately set to judging. So a wait was deemed necessary.

This morning (with a little pressure of being poked with crochet hooks) he sat down and read each entry. As he did so I was in the other room listening -- you all had him in stitches! He selected the final winner based upon how much he laughed, and wants you all to know how much he appreciated your comic entries. So, without further ado, our final winner, judged as the funniest entry, is ellgormley:

"No charges were filed, however, the Mother was asked to have an evaluation for "Yarn Acquisition Syndrome" and complete a 12-step program. In addition, the Mother will have to complete 300 hours of community service untangling yarn balls at the local preschools, thus serving children and the crafting community simultaneously. In addition, the Mother will have to volunteer with the Fire Department's "Heavy Rescue" team, teaching them to crochet lassos to be used in future rescues. The children, though unharmed, will be monitored closely for Post-traumatic stress by an Art-Therapist who will utilize yarn projects in their care. Anyone who wishes to aid the children, should send skeins of green yarn to the above address."
I will need the three aforementioned winners to contact me with their mailing addresses so prizes can be awarded.

Thank you everyone for a great contest!

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Secret is Out: Published Again :)

 This must be a "lucky day" for me ... first a 1.5 hour school delay (due to below zero weather), which means a morning of relaxation with my children.  Then I found many emails of congratulations for my crochet patterns featured in the new book, "Big-Hook Crochet," which was officially released this week.

Thank you, thank you!

I'd like to congratulate all the other designers featured in the book too!!  :)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mini's Butterfly Flutters (Part II)

Last month I discussed the fluttering feeling of butterfly wings when inspiration hits. For me, it's an addictive feeling which is why, no matter how many pattern books I seem to add to my personal library, I mostly venture out with my own patterns/creations. And apparently, this trait  was also passed onto Mini-Dee. She, too, has no problem picking up a hook and letting the fiber, the hook, and her imagination run wild.  

Remember Mr. Dee's request for a CD carrier? I had stated that I had too much on the hook at the time and would need to either put his project on the back burner or to pass it on to Mini-Dee. When I presented the challenge to my daughter, she set right to work and had the entire project completed in time to give it to him as a Christmas gift -- he was thrilled!

She took my Treasure Bag pattern and altered it to come up with this beautiful CD Carrier you see pictured here. She added a long strap so he can wear it over his shoulder (similar to a purse), and added another little strap to securely hold the CD player within the bag while still allowing access to the buttons. Mr. Dee is quite proud (as am I) of her accomplishment, and he wears it around the house quite often. "Works like a charm," he said to her. Of course she's all grins knowing how happy she's made her daddy.

I love to watch her during those moments.  I observe how differently she holds the hook; how she controls her tension; her stitch rhythm; her facial expressions as the stitches are worked off the hook.  And when she catches me watching her she gets a twinkle in her eye and gives me a big smile.  I love those butterfly moments.  :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Burn baby burn! - Disco inferno"

This past Friday was a "school day" for me.  It started with volunteering to be the school's Librarian for the day.  As I awaited each class to visit, and after all my Librarian duties were done, I worked on crocheting another Chemo hat.  The children, who by now ALL know I always have my crochet with me, inquired what I was working on.  I enjoyed telling them of my latest project, and in fact, pointed out to the children most interested, in the craft books I had found in the library.  Both the third and fourth grades stated they can't wait for snow to come -- for when recess holds them inside.  They reason that this way "Mrs. Stanziano will be able to show us more stuff to do with yarn."

At school dismissal I was able to deliver the last of the three scarves I crocheted for various teachers as Christmas gifts.  I know what you're thinking;  Dee, Christmas was weeks ago!   (We need to keep in mind that my hook was flying back then with greatly needed charity projects, and then I had the tumor on my eye that thankfully turned out to be benign ...)  I had explained the situation to this Teacher and she was very understanding.  In fact, she was thrilled that my children had selected her to be one of the recipients, so she said the wait would be well worth it.  (Whew!)

The week prior I had started her scarf and, I had showed it to her while it was still on the hook.  Only, that wasn't the scarf I gave her.  I wasn't happy with it.  I ripped out all my stitches.  The scarf I had been designing for her was too cumbersome; too heavy.  It didn't reflect her personality -- it needed to be fun with a little sparkle to add pizzaz!  I stood in front of my stash and wondered, would the right fibers for this project speak to me?

The answer was Yes!  Two skeins, one of which was buried, chimed in together, "Pick me, pick me!"  I selected Lion Brand's "Microspun" in cream and a beautiful copper colored eyelash (label missing).  Holding the two together,I knew I had something special.  What resulted was an incredibly soft scarf with just the right amount of sparkle that matched the teacher's personality.  I gave the finished scarf to the teacher that afternoon and explained this story to her; she said she was touched that I went through such trouble for her.  She loved the scarf and has worn it every day since receiving it!

That same Friday evening I returned to the school to do volunteer Bingo duty.  Since my job was to "run the floor" and verify Bingo winners, I knew there would be a lot of down time.  So I stood in the front of the room, near the Bingo Caller, and began working on a hat that will be donated come next winter.  What I didn't know, because I was so wrapped up in counting my stitches, is that I had caught the eye of many Bingo players.

Many, during the breaks, approached me and inquired about the work on my hook.  It was amazing to me that it held their interest -- not even the huge jackpot, or the fire! (resulting from someone using a Styrofoam cup as an ashtray) dissuaded their interest in watching my hat forming on my crochet hook as I created each stitch.  At the end of the night many approached me again and thanked me for letting them watch my hook in motion.  "It was amazing how quickly you crocheted that hat," one lady said.  "It was like watching magic," another chimed in, "you came in with a piece of string and now you have a hat!" 

All I could do was smile and thank them for their compliments.  Looking back at that day, my hook was smokin' hot from all that crocheting!  :)

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Monday, January 22, 2007

"And another one gone, and another one gone"

Those lyrics by Queen are stuck in my head; repeating a million times over until they spill out verbally, uncontrollably (and thus registering complaints from Dee Jr. and Mini-Dee that I'm driving them crazy) -- especially when bad news is circulated.  In this case, three crochet magazines are biting the dust:
  Simply Creative Crochet
            2.  Family Circle's "Easy Crochet"
            3.  and now I hear "Crochet Fantasy"
is joining this list.

In the knitting realm,
Knit It is also biting the dust.

How sad!  I purchased the Spring issue of "Easy Crochet" just a few days ago at my local supermarket.  As I flipped through the pages I loved the set-up, the photography, the projects -- everything about it is just fantastic!  What a shame; I wonder if a write-in campaign to Meredith Publishing, who announced the ceasing of Simply Creative Crochet and Family Circle's "Easy Crochetwould help change their minds about cancelling the publication?

I'm not familiar with
Simply Creative Crochet, but I am with
Crochet Fantasy.  Months & months ago I emailed them requesting renewal of my subscription.  I never heard back, but knew there were financial issues brought on by damages caused by Hurricane Katrina. I was rooting that the magazine would survive; I'm hoping it's fold is just a rumor.

To every rainy day, there is a silver lining. Isn't that what we're taught to look for?  Look for the positive.  So, in doing so, in looking for the positive, we should look to Inverweave Press where a write-in campaign did wonders! 
Interweave Press has decided to expand Interweave Crochet from being just a "special interest" magazine to offering 4 issues a year that we can subscribe to!  And, a congratulations goes out to Kim Werker of CrochetMe as she is now the new editor of Interweave Crochet -- look for the new Spring issue coming out in April!

Well now, that seemed to help.  The Queen tune is no longer playing in my head. It's been replaced with the Beatles' "Hello, Goodbye" ...

You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello
Hello hello
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello ...
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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

While We're Waiting ...

While we are all waiting for me to announce the three winners of my contest, I thought I'd show what we recently gave to Mini-Dee for her double-digit birthday ... it was one of the best presents she ever "glowed" about!

As a long-time admirer of my crochet hook collection, I decided it's time for her to have her own beaded beauty:

Pictured above is her new "Sonshapes" crochet hook (via a ebay auction win) consisting of Indigo Royalwood Dymondwood and Swarovski Crystal Elite Cascade, Size H/5mm.  The hook measures 6-1/8 inches in length.   Along with the hook, they included a beautiful rosewood giftbox and engraved both the box and the crochet hook at no additional charge.  The cost (my winning bid plus shipping) was around $26 -- the look on her face when she opened it: PRICELESS!

Naturally, she's already had it out on long a "test drive" ... she's crocheting "tights" for one of her dolls ...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Celebrating Three Years!

Holy Flying Fibers! Today is my blog's three year anniversary!! That's really huge!

So, along with the contest -- which you still have time to enter! -- I decided to have my karma checked (I'm "loving"), and to get a magic make-over -- what fun that was.  Afterwards, feeling totally refreshed, I decided to read the contest entries already posted.  You know, I should place a warning that one should not attempt to drink coffee while reading them!  What a riot; I enjoyed reading them!!  If you haven't submitted your entry, don't delay!  It's free to participate and the three prizes to be awarded, although I've yet to reveal what they are, I think, are awesome!  

Three years old!  Three years of projects and events, and links to others I thought were interesting.  Three years of ups, downs, losses, and triumphs.  It's been an amazing journey thus far, and I'm looking forward to participating in, and sharing, more events.  I've already reserved my room for the National Crochet Conference, and started on various charity drives.  There will be Sheep & Wool festivals to enjoy, classes to attend; classes to teach.  Projects to start, and goodness! projects to finish!  Then there's the fiber diets and the hording from various sales ...

So, thank you for another fantastic year -- and as always, if there's a subject you'd like covered, or have a question needing an answer, please feel free to write in.  I always enjoy visitors!  :)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Evening Enjoyment

Pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage, sit back and give this Art Gallery a visit.  It's a great way to end a weekend while recharging the creative juices ...  be sure to click onto the individual pictures to learn about each piece featured.  :)

For more unique works, give Dina Ladina's blog (It's in Portuguese, but you can use to translate it for you) a visit ... her "doll hats" remind me of Noreen Crone-Findlay...

Friday, January 12, 2007

infectious inspiration

I'm slowly shedding my new ostrich persona by pulling my head out of the sand after Wednesdays' fright.  I've been using the inspiration from all the support, you, my readers, have sent my way, along with my family's, to really appreciate how lucky I am. Thank you!!

I've been crocheting quite madly passionately since Wednesday, using Ian Johnson's crocheting in theme/team colors as inspiration for a new winter hat for my son.  I'm using the colors blue, red and white since Dee Jr. a big fan of the Patriots.  He can't wait for Sunday's game; I'm sure he'll enjoy the game even more once his hat is hot off my crochet hook.  (I even have a bid on an auction over there at ebay -- more on that in a future post.) 

I also found this fantastic news article about a 90-year-old woman who "treats her age like a speed limit" -- her story of crocheting for others even through her own medical battles is quite inspiring.  Go here to read it.  Even her smile is infectious!  And when I grow up, I want to be just like her!  :)

Speaking of crochet and news in the same sentence, if you haven't already, there's still time to enter into the contest.  It's quite easy to do so -- you come up with an ending to the article pictured here (pretty much answering the question, "
What did the LPD request?"), then post your entry here (or email it to me).  Hurry though -- contest ends on January 15th.  Rules are posted here.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I am one lucky lady today!

I'm a mixed bag of emotions today. I'm delighted my (eye) stitches were removed this morning, but getting the biopsy results was a bit scary.  It wasn't an eye infection as initially thought; it was Keratoacanthoma, a sub-category of one of the skin cancers that fortunately, per my doctor, "isn't one of the 'bad boys.' It just behaves like a skin cancer." My doctor said it's "...rare to happen to a young woman of my age [and] that it's good I went in to have it treated immediately."  This is, indeed, good news. But it also means I'll need to take more precaution (with the sun) as I have, the doctor continued, "... an increased risk of developing a skin cancer later on." 

Whew.  That's a lot for me to absorb. 

After coming home from the doctor's I decided to turn on the television as background noise to think about this more.  As I did, the show, The View, came on.  I glanced at it quickly and noticed Barbara Walter's pin.  It's crocheted.  I think it's a beautiful piece of fiber art.  I also think it was fate for me to see it -- at that very moment.  It's like a message from the heavens: I am one lucky lady today!

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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Best Kept Local Secret?

As a child I was a huge, HUGE, fan of the Little House on the Prairie series.  I read each book published by Laura Ingalls Wilder at least three to five times each!  The pioneer life, through my child eyes and through Laura's stories, seemed exciting to me!

Then, when her stories came out as a television series -- well, let's just say I was totally hooked!  There was NO way I'd ever consider missing an episode!  Now, here in the present time, my own children like watching the shows on DVD, and reading the stories.  They know, as I do, that both Laura and Rose were crocheters too.

So, how is it then, that just this past weekend, I would discover that Laura's only child, Rose Wilder Lane, once lived, virtually, right down the road from me??  I have, countless times, unknowingly, driven by her little 3-acre farm she owned from 1938 until her death in 1968.  How is it I did not know she was a "notable" of the town of Danbury??

Since this discovery I have spent quite a lot of time researching on the Internet -- trying to locate the exact address -- wondering if her farmhouse in Danbury, Connecticut, noted to have been on King Street, still exists today -- wondering why I still don't have a copy of her needlebook,
The Women's Day Book of American Needlework, that was published in 1963?

I solved the mystery to the last question by winning an auction for a copy on ebay.  Then, earlier tonight, I purchased two more copies from amazon; these copies will be donated to my local CGOA Chapter, and to a local library.  I've also written to the Danbury Historical Society -- in hopes they have some of her needlework (crochet perhaps?) available for viewing; I'm going to keep my fingers & hooks crossed that they do.  Eventually all this information will culminate into a display our local Chapter is planning in honor of National Crochet Month.  I think this will make for a great display come this March!  

Secrets: fortunately they don't stay that way for long.   :)
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Monday, January 8, 2007

Question From Reader: Who Are the Artists?

Dear Dee,

The other day you mentioned the 2007 Freeform calendar -- do you know who the artists are?  It's hard to tell on the CafePress webpage, but I love it! 


Great question, and it's one I inquired about the other day, so I'm sure other folks would love to know who they all are too.  So here is the official list of contributing artists -- AND I'm including their websites in case you're interested in seeing other works by them!  Remember, funds raised from the purchase of the Calendar (or anything else from the International Freeform Arts CafePress shop) help support the Global Fund for Women.

Diane Olsen
Bonnie Pierce   

Joy Prescott     
Veronica Peck (Pinka)
Emmanuelle Behrmann
Samantha Stopple
Prudence Mapstone
Mette Buchreitz
Kathie Curington
**Claudia Dunitz
Leslie Nelle-Urinyi
Diane Raemisch
Pirkko Vega
Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten
Bonnie Prokopowicz
Nancilyn Kroushl
Margaret Hubert
Marjie Benson

A huge crochet salute goes to Claudia for putting the calendar together!! Awesome job, Claudia!!  :)
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Saturday, January 6, 2007

Eye Needle to No Crochet?

I have been slowly recovering from unplanned (unscheduled?) eye surgery for the past two days, and this has meant no crocheting for me; I'm behind on my emails too.  Not because of sight issues, but more so from the swelling caused by the surgery making my eye too heavy to keep open for long periods of time.  Today the swelling has greatly gone down and I am looking forward to getting some crochet stitches done, and catching up on my emails. 

Prior to my eye trouble, I had received an email inquiring about a specialized crochet hook that had a "needle" at the end.  I inquired further if the "needle" was like an eye (no, this is not an eye pun!) of a sewing needle, or like the point of a knitting needle, as both varieties exist:

  • Specimen A: Crochet Hook with a Sewing Needle "Eye" (as shown on
  • Specimen B: Crochet Hook with a Knitting Needle Point (as shown on

    Thanks to Nancy Nehring who is a member of the CGOA's Hook Collectors online group, I was able to provide an answer.  It was Specimen B.
      "The cro-needle is used to circular knit/crochet/Tunisian crochet to do combinations such as working crocheted berry stitches (treble crochet clusters) in a knit ground, make cables without a cable needle, add openings in knit for pockets and button holes using Tunisian" bindoff.
  • Interesting enough, Vasthi found an article in an Interweave Knits magazine on this very topic!  She discusses it on her blog here.  Of course, this means I need to get my hands on that issue!  :)
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    Wednesday, January 3, 2007

    Twisted Observations

    "I get my double vision, oh, seeing double double
    Oh, I have double vision, yeah, Im getting double vision...
                                                       Lyrics by Forigner

    Well, I'm not getting double vision but I am fighting an eye infection.  Still though, I can see quite well and started to ask questions about what I was seeing today:

    At our "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" session this morning I was able to hook up with Priscilla and Grace.  Grace showed us a baby blanket she's crocheting for her new granddaughter and Priscilla was working on a knit project (I won't say what it is because she might want to tell you herself in
    her blog).  I, in trying to keep my mind off of my troubled eye, days earlier, decided to give knitting another try.  I knew I wasn't doing it right because Mini-Dee exclaimed, "Mom! You're not doing that right!"  There was no beating around the bush there!  LOL  Even though Mini-Dee tried in vain to lead me to the path of proper knitting, I kept twisting those darn stitches.

    So today I pulled out my knitting project and showed it to Priscilla and Grace.  They gave me one of those polite smiles when they saw it -- drat! They knew instantly I was incorrectly creating my stitches just by looking at my work!  The good news is that Priscilla showed me what I was doing wrong.  I'm working on the "Garter stitch" and was doing it by shoving my Grandmother's knitting needle through the back of the loop and yarning under.  What I should have been doing is inserting the needle through the top of the loop (from left to right) and then yarning over. 

    I wondered what the big deal was in following the "proper knitting technique" vs. my twisted version.  In examining Priscilla's fabric against mine, her stitches were open, more spread apart.  My stitches were twisted, having a more closed look.  They both suggested I try knitting in the proper technique but I stated that perhaps I should finish my project, a scarf for charity, in the same twisted fashion, for the sake of continuity.  Grace laughed and said, "Yeah, and you'll just keep reinforcing the incorrect way to do it."  (We all know how right she was in saying that!! LOL)

    I set my knit project aside and finished crocheting the hat in the picture above.  We got to talking about new books fresh off the press.  Two caught my eye -- but not because of projects, but rather because I recognized images featured in both books! 

    I set the book, "Hookorama: 25 Fabulous Things to crochet," by Rachale Mathews, side-by-side with the book, "Instant Expert Crochet," edited by Katy Bevan.  Was I seeing things?  No!  The "how to" images, including images of crochet hooks were identical!!  One book was published in London, the other here in the United States -- and each book gives credit to different photographers.  "Oh, no!" I started thinking, "how could this be?"  I asked Priscilla and Grace to have a look and they were in agreement with me - both books contained identical photographs for the "how to" sections of each book.

    In reading further about the publisher, copyright and such, I noticed that they're from the same parent publisher: MQ Publications.  I'm sure they shared the "how to" photographs to save on costs.  I know patterns make "the rounds" from tear sheets, to leaflets, to magazines and to books, but I never gave thought to photographs doing the same.  To add more mystery to this discovery, my memory is telling me I may have recently seen another book using the exact same photos -- I'll have to keep my eye on this, no pun intended. 

    Dee, is there a point to all this?  Well actually, yes there is.  Earlier this afternoon, while I had some time to kill, I decided to try the proper knitting technique Priscilla set me straight on.  At first I couldn't quite get it; I couldn't remember where I was to hold my yarn.  Was it in front of the needle? No.  Try again.  After a few rows of twisted-ness I figured it out.  I stitched a few rows properly and had a eureka moment!  My twisted stitches seemed to lock my tension; my proper stitches were free wheelin' -- much quicker & easier to create.  Maybe now my knitting won't be so slow after all!  {{wink wink}}
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    Tuesday, January 2, 2007

    "Crochet Boy" is a Heisman Candidate

    Ian Johnson, running back for Boise State, has been on my radar for awhile now -- ever since reading articles highlighting not only his football triumphs on the turf, but also for his crocheting ... including the blurb about the NCAA telling him to stop. 

    So, let me state right here, up front, that I normally do not follow sports.  Heck, just keeping track of my yarn stash and WIPs is seemingly sport enough for me.  But when you have Mr. Dee and Dee Jr. as football/baseball lovers, it's either join them or go yarn shopping.  And I think I have enough yarn at this time, so football watching it is (while crocheting, but of course).

    There I was yesterday, typing away to create yesterday's blog entry, when Mr. Dee started yelling for me to come watch something on television.  There was much excitement in his voice, and when Dee Jr. chimed in I knew it was important -- and sports related.  I temporarily abandoned the entry and quickly went to investigate.  It was Ian Johnson being interviewed during the "pre-show" for the potato chip Fiesta Bowl Game on the FOX network.  I arrived in the living room just in time to hear Ian proudly proclaim that the guys on the team call him "Crochet Boy" and his Mamma taught him how (to crochet)!  What a proud moment that was! 

    Hear that?  Yeah, it's a big tough football player letting the world know that crocheting won't make you a sissy!  In fact, it just might make you a
    Heisman Candidate

    Intrigued, I decided to watch the game.  I admit I didn't get much crocheting done as it was one of the most exciting football games I've ever watched -- and with Ian proposing to his girl after running in the winning 2-point conversion call in overtime, well, that was just awesome!!  You rock "Crochet Boy!"

    Watch the highlights of the game here.
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    Monday, January 1, 2007

    Welcoming 2007

    It's a Brand New Year! While 2007 is fresh as a skien of yarn awaiting to be shapped into some wonderful project, I thought I'd mention that the International Freeform Arts Guild has a Freeform Crochet Calendar available for purchase on CafePress for $19.99. Funds raised from the sale of the Calendar, and other items from their shop, help support the Global Fund for Women.

    Even if you already have a new 2007 Calendar, go to their shop and visit each month -- check out the beautiful photography! I'm ordering one for myself to use just for tracking my 2007 crochet projects & deadlines, AND to drool over every inspirational piece!  It's really amazing! :)

             Happy New Year everyone ... and don't forget to enter into the contest!