Monday, July 30, 2007

Flattering Fits of Frustration

I spent the weekend trying to get my new Blackberry Pearl working.  I've had it for a week and a half and it's been a miserable union.  Something was wrong with it so they exchanged it for me yesterday (the SIM card kept getting "rejected" and then they determined the "mother board" was bad -- cell phones have mother boards? who knew?).  I'm still having a rough go with the replacement; in trying to figure out how it works.  Right now it's rejecting bluetooth links and refuses to play nicely with my PC.  I might return it and get an entirely different phone. 

Hooboy.  One would think I'd be most miserable about not getting the technology to function properly, but that's not the entire case here.  I think, deep down, I'm more miserable because as I was purchasing the phone last week, a new design concept popped into my head!! -- I wanted to start working on it IMMEDIATELY using some of the fibers obtained from the recent CGOA Conference, but I can't!  Augh!  I don't like being in limbo like this!

It's like ordering a "Mail Order Groom" and having him arrive.  Sure his personality is everything you wanted, along with some unfortunate annoying hiccups, but it's his dimension that's totally throwing you.  Say your Groom arrived some 200 pounds (plus or minus, take your pick) of what you expected him to be and that you were already working up a crocheted cable sweater for him to wear to the wedding.  It's not going to work!  Without the proper measurements, no mater how much stretching, or tucking, the sweater is not going to have a flattering fit! 

And this is the case with my Blackberry: why start the project if I don't know that this will be the cell phone I'll end up with?  I think that if I'm going to be in a two-year committed relationship, I should be able to at least have some say in what he, er, it, wears.  ;)


(Note: I have no idea if Mail Order Grooms exist, I'm just using this as a metaphor to prove my point.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Tribble With Yarn is ...

It's been said that many stores are feeling as though fiber artists are not spending money on supplies as they once did.  So they're slashing prices and some, sadly, are closing their doors forever.  But, even with the cost of fuel, electricity, housing, and food climb, I don't think we're spending less on yarn and hooks.  No way!

Instead I think it is entirely possible that, like the Enterprise, we simply cannot house any more of it!  All this week, in my own home, I've been dealing with the apparent "over running" of various yarns!  Remember that Star Trek episode where there was trouble with the Tribbles?  What if we yarn consumers ARE in fact still purchasing yarn at the same rate but find that once home those purring balls of fancy fibers, in the privacy of our closets, under our beds, and in the trunks of our cars, are breeding?!?  Yes, I said  b-r-e-e-d-i-n-g !!

That is what I told Mr. Dee tonight.  That this could, indeed, explain my recent feelings of being overrun by my own stash collection.  After all, it IS everywhere -- seemingly multiplying as each day passes; some I haven't a clue as to when or where I may have purchased it!  I find myself questioning if I did purchase it, or if they are, in fact, the clever offspring of some alpaca skeins and silk hanks I had set aside for future projects?  Could it be that I'm not alone in this; is it possible that this is exactly what happened to this woman?  Had I not been alerted to this from the Crochet Partners group, I may never have believed it myself!  Obviously she, and possibly myself included, could use the skills of Scotty to beam the excess onto a passing Klingon ship.

Since beaming my stash into another galaxy is out for the moment, and that I'm still playing "catch-up" from attending the recent CGOA Conference, my plan of action is to go after those fur babies with hook in hand -- they'd look great crocheted as chemo caps!  Crocheting them up is a small enough project to work on in this Connecticut heat while ensuring there will be no more tribble -- at least for the moment!  ;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

CGOA 2007 Conference: Oh, Those Freeformers!

As I start to wind down my series about the National CGOA Conference (seriously, how much longer do you think I can stretch this out?? lol) I want to make special note that it was an honor to hunt down the perfect " Tree of Life Tree of Peace" tree used in the International Free Form Crochet Guild's display. 

I was worried, for a bit, about the tree "toasting" and "twisting in the highway wind" while enroute from Connecticut to New Hampshire, and more so while it seemed to wither a bit more as it awaited in our hotel room for it's time to "shine" -- I wondered, how would the tree look?  When I had heard that Mr. Dee and the kids snuck it down the fire escape (stairs) rather than through the hotel lobby again, I couldn't help but chuckle a bit.  I will admit that the tree had that "Charlie Brown" christmas tree appeal -- it wasn't looking good at all!

But, then, after class, when I visited the booth, I looked up to see that it was placed beneath a sky light and decorated with love.  The tree, a red maple once upon a time, looked like it had perked up a bit -- I think, and this is my own humble opinion -- it knew it was representing "The Tree of Life;" and in today's world of "evil doers" all one needs is a few ounces of hope, right?  I think so.    And so in this case, the "Charlie Brown Red Maple" did quite well if I do say so myself.  :)

I did not participate in actually creating one of the fantastic ornaments, but I was in awe!!  Freeform in actual 3-D -- no special viewing glasses required!  My hat is off to all those who participatedin this challenge!  :)

I did, however,  if you recall, participate in the Earth, Air, Fire, Water challenge.  Myra did an absolute AMAZING job of assembling the pieces together!  She has also done a most fantastic job of moderating and inspiring the group (I mean, look she got me to haul a TREE to a Conference!) then it should be no surprise that she was invited to join the President's Panel for the CGOA as the Freeform LiasonCongratulations Myra!-- I know you will rock in this new position!!  

Now, here's an interesting tidbit about the photo you see to the left -- I had asked Myra to pose "like Vanna White" for me.  See how eagerly she wants to please us Freeformers?  Yes, this is just more proof she will do superbly as our Liason!   Seriously folks, she had no idea (nor did I!) until I zoomed in on the photograph, that what Myra really wanted to do was to point out where my contribution is in this gorgous piece of art!  LOL 

Myra, could you now show all my lovely readers where you added my "fire?" (see photo below for the answer)

To see Dee's contribution prior to assembly, click onto Myra

Forgive me, Myra, this was just too much of a coincidence to pass up!  LOL 
Readers, click onto the photo to get a close-up of my work prior to Myra adding it to the collection.

Myra, Thank you for playing "Vanna White" for me, and for everything you do for the group!  You're an amazing & wonderful person that I'm delighted to know!  :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

CGOA 2007 Conference: More! More! More!

Finding links of others sharing their thoughts and pictures has been a challenging task -- but I think I've snagged just about all of them to make it easier for you, my readers, to experience more about the Conference.  If I find more, I'll update this entry.  Hey, and this also means that if you know of one I missed, please drop me a line and let me know! Thanks.

What Others Had to Say About the Conference:
More Pictures Can Be Found At:

AND from the CGOA, be sure to check out The Knit & Crochet Show Gallery
There are more pictures and great postings on the CGOA_Membership board.  Are you missing out?  You don't have to!  You can join in the fun by becoming a CGOA member too!  For more information visit!
Also Haley wanted to share this song that got stuck in her head after the "After Party;" I thought it was a pretty tune so I thought I'd share it with everyone.  Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

CGOA 2007 Conference: Day Four

Day Four of the National CGOA Conference is always a sad one for me -- it's the day of sobering up -- not because of all the partying, well, maybe for some it is -- but more so because as you make your way through the hotel lobby on your way to class you see many of your fiber friends preparing to leave.  For them the Conference is over.  They'll be heading back to home -- homes as far away as Alaska to Texas, from Finland to Australia.  It is the last time you'll see each other until perhaps the next Conference, and that, my readers is always hard to accept. Darla's sample; can you see the heart? Me? I'd personally like to see the Conference extended by a day just so we can space the events out a bit more and have more time to visit with each other before returning to our regular lives.  So, yes, saying goodbye is always tough. {{snif whimper whaa}}  I'm thinking that perhaps the "after party" should be expanded, yes?

But, once you get yourself together and finally make it to your first class of the day, it is then that you realize that the class you're taking should have been the first class they offered during the Conference!  Classes, IMHO, on the last day of the Conference should be "fluff" classes, or at least some sort of lecture, perhaps on the History of Crochet, so attendees can sit and pass notes to each other about keeping in touch after the Conference.  (Shouldn't we have some sort of yearbook to sign?? Or at least have Barbara Streisand singing "Memories" in the hotel lobby?  They DO have a piano there ... ) Darla's sample from another angle; can you see the heart now?

Instead, there I was sitting in Darla Fanton's "Crochet Illusions" class -- and it was tough -- not because of the material (oh, who am I kidding, yes the material was tough!) but also because we (and when I say we I really mean me) were drained.  The late nights and the emotional lobby goodbyes rob you of so much energy!  Eventually though, I was able to grasp the concept -- thankfully because I had memories of Haley, a crochet student of mine, whispering over & over in my head.  I was recalling when I taught her techniques that were a little challenging that she would exclaim, "Yea, it's a 'Reward Row!'" each time we came to an easy section of the task.  Now, I used her "Reward Row" concept, and I did just fine!Darla Fanton [[Thanks for the motivation Haley!! lol]]  Of course Darla was a wonderful teacher, often times checking in on me, "How are we doing, Dee?"  And we would chuckle together when I'd reply, "I think it's an Illusion that I'm awake, Darla, but I'm getting it!"  :)

I nearly finished my class sample, but rather than use mine, I decided to photograph Darla's samples.  How could I refuse when they modeled so nicely? {{VBG}}  One thing I do want to point out, directly from Darla, is that her Crochet Illusions technique is NOT the same one that appears in the (now defunct) Crochet Fantasy magazine (you might be able to find an issue on ebay; Winter 2005)  Doris, Dee, and that 'Strawberry' WineFor more information about Darla, can visit her website at

After class I headed to the Vendors Market.  I used this time as an opportunity to have some books autographed, chat with some more attendees before they left, and to take one last look for any "must haves" before it closed.  I was delighted that I was able to locate Doris and give her a bottle of the wine -- after all, it was all her idea to bring it! -- and you know what a fan of hers I am!  heh heh heh

After lunch with the family, it was back to stalking, er, attending another of Darla's classes.  This time it was "Tunisian Crochet Goes Tubular."  Thankfully I'd been practicing "casting on" Dee, checking in on Rose. Photo by Pat, a most lovely crocheter I had the pleasure sitting next to on Thursday; snagged the photo from the CGOA Membership group.using Margaret's method so I was immediately able to grasp Darla's version.  (Her cast on technique is to help reduce the famed "Tunisian Curl" we all experience!)  About midway through the class I was fading fast; I knew I wouldn't last until 5:00 PM and then endure the long ride home!  Once I grasped the tubular concept I checked in on Rose, (you know, the one I said fell because she tripped over her yarn & crochet hook) and decided to say my final goodbyes.  By 4:30 PM, I was fast asleep with sweet Conference Dreams while Mr. Dee began safely driving us back home to Connecticut.

So, is this the end of the Conference series?  No!  Tune in tomorrow for more details!  :D 


Saturday, July 21, 2007

CGOA 2007 Conference: 'we're all in it together'

At the conclusion of the Chic Street Fashion Show marked the conclusion of the Helping Handbags Silent Auction to benefit the Needle Arts Mentoring Program of the Helping Hands Foundation, Inc. (HHF).

The bags were beautiful -- and mostly created and donated by designers, such as Margaret Hubert, Prudence Mapstone, Carol Ventura, Vashti Braha, Bendy Carter, myself, and many more!

Here's some facts I found quite interesting (that's IF I did my math right!):
1. There were a total of 33 bags donated at the National Conference for this auction.  (But the numbers are not complete as there will be another Silent Auction come this fall during the Regional Conference!)
2. Karen Drouin, a new CGOA Associate Professional Member/Budding Designer, donated FIVE of them; helping raise some $280 to the cause!
3. The highest bid was for a felted purse designed by Margaret Hubert; the winning bid $500!!.
4. The second highest bid was for
a freeform bag designed by Prudence Mapstone; the winning bid was $350!!
5.  If I added correctly, approximately $2400 was raised that evening!  Of course the designers didn't do it alone -- there were many generous bidders too!   Is that great or what!?!  
Brian of showing off his Glam-Granny Square Clutch designed by Dee6. If we add the total of the winning bids from Karen's, Margaret's, and my bag, that equals $840. All three of us are members of the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America. (I just thought that was another interesting fact)
7. And guess who won my bag!  Remember
the Bra from last year?  Yes -- Brian of was the highest bidder!  He jumped right on stage and proudly showed it off to everyone!  Thanks Brian!  (Anne, are you going to borrow it from time to time? lol)
8. All during the bidding process they encouraged people to vote for their favorite bag.  They allowed the voting right up until they closed the bidding process.  Mr. Dee was a huge advocate of getting people to vote.  Now I don't know if it was because he was campaigning for me (like former Pres. Bill Clinton was doing for Hillary in the park across the street from our hotel), or if it was Lady Luck -- but I was certainly delighted to hear that entry #17 came in Second Place; I was awarded the "AWESOME" ribbon.  Rounding out the top awards was Prudence's bag, and in First was Margaret's. (Congratulations ladies!)  Of course a celebration was called for, thus the notorious "After Party."  LOL

All the auction proceeds will go to the non-profit organization HHF to help spread the needle arts all over America.  Does it get any better than that?  :)

The "After Party" was held in our hotel room complete with flowing Strawberry wine, chocolate fudge from the NH coast, crackers & cheese, and great company!  I'm not going to name names, but I will quote a few people:

"Oh, you're real! Can I touch you??!"
     "Check out my new puppies!"
           "Now that's a bit cheeky ..."
"It's a skunk, not a chipmunk!"
      "With them it's all or nothing!"
           "I'm going to surprise him with my new Clover Lites!"

Margaret has some pictures from the Fashion Show & "After Party" here.

                                  A good time was certainly had by all!  :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

CGOA 2007 Conference: Chic Street Fashion Show

When we left off yesterday questions were left unanswered.  This is the continuation of Day Three at the CGOA National Conference that was held in Manchester, New Hampshire.

After finishing my class by Joan Davis I returned to my hotel room to get ready for the Chic Street Fashion Show.  I was excited as this would be the first time both of our children would be on the runway; my son was going to wear the sweater I designed for him based upon one of his favorite shirts, and my daughter was going to wear the Doris Chan piece I altered the pattern on somewhat.  As we changed and hurried down to the banquet hall I was concerned; Lori had not returned my calls regarding the GOLDEN ticket we obtained from her earlier in the day! 

While standing in line I saw her.  She was with Haley.  I excitedly shouted out to her as she got closer, "Lori, you're going to the Ball!  We got you a ticket!!"  This brought a smile to her face as I handed her the ticket.  Yeah!  (It turns out that Lori never got my messages because my cellphone bit the dust, but that's another story for another day.)

I was allowed to go into the banquet hall early with the children as I had to turn in paperwork and show the show organizers what my "models" would be wearing.  While there I inquired if the children could practice walking on the catwalk so they wouldn't be so nervous.  They said yes.  Knowing there was another child that would be modeling I asked for her to be sent in so all the children could practice together.  They must have walked up and down that catwalk at least 20 times, each time perfecting how they'd show off the garments and do that little pause at the end for photographs. 

Soon everyone started filing in.  Nearly every participant was wearing some sort of crochet or knit!  It was a fantastic sight to be seen!  After the food was served and dishes cleared names of raffle prize winners were being called out by Rita Weiss, crochet legend and the CGOA's President.  I was one of those who's name was called.  The tables around me cheered, but even though my table was close, it took me a few moments to get up to claim my prize.  Rita, using the microphone, jokingly inquired what took me so long and I blushed.  I replied with a smile, "I had to put my shoe back on!"  (Remember that swollen ankle from Day Two?)  When I returned to my table with my prize there was a good chuckle from everyone: this crocheter won a knit pattern package! (I haven't finished unpacking -- yet -- so I'll add in the title later.)

Soon the lights were dimmed and Lily Chin was introduced as our announcer; she did such a fantastic job!  It was the start of the Fashion Show!  (7/23 UPDATE: I have changed the photo option to "classic" -- this should make the viewing easier.  Thank you for the feedback!)

How did the children do?  They were FANTASTIC and if I can figure out how to rotate the video footage of them I might upload it for all to see! 

And what about Vashti?  Did she ever finish her piece in time?  Yes!  Not only did she finish the concept, but she rocked the house!  (see photo on right)  I think everyone will remember this show, and Vashti, for years to come!  :)

So what else happened on this third day of the Conference?  More details tomorrow!  (I love suspense, don't you? lol)

For more photos of the Chic Street Fashion Show, visit Frances' album hosted by Kodac:


Thursday, July 19, 2007

CGOA 2007 Conference: Day Three

Day Three of the CGOA National Conference was by far the busiest for me.  Although I did not have a morning class scheduled I did have an early breakfast gathering to attend with members of the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Lori shows off the hook she made in Nancy's Classand members of the Chain Gang of Stamford; both are CGOA Chapters of Connecticut.  One person, Rose, was missing.  I hadn't seen her from the night before and I was a little concerned; where was Rose?  I was also feeling Lori's pain -- she needed a ticket in order to attend the Dinner/Fashion show that would take place in the evening.  Problem was, they were sold out!

I eventually found Rose in the lobby -- on crutches!  Poor dear!  I asked her what happened. She said she tripped while making room on the sidewalk during an evening walk the night prior, resulting in a sprain.  I told her that explanation simply wouldn't do.  I told her we'd tell everyone she tripped over her yarn stash & crochet hook in her hotel room!  Rose thought that was funny, so that's the explanation I went with.  Of course she set everyone straight! :)

Having about an hour of spare time I decided to awake Mini~Dee and see if she'd like to join me visiting the Vendors Market.  I had thought this would be a difficult task as she along with Dee Jr. Nancy, Pam and Noreenthey had gotten accustomed to staying up until midnight and sleeping in.  She was game, and ready to go in a minute flat!  While we were walking around visiting the vendors she found me a new rhinestone "IYCrochet" pin -- how could I resist?  Then she found her friend, another little girl of an attendee, and they headed off to the " Teach Me 2 Crochet® & Teach Me 2 Knit® sessions, generously sponsored by the Coats & Clark people.  While they were learning a new way to cast on (knitting), I went on the huntfor some red yarn Dee Jr. needed for his latch hook kit.

After locating the yarn for Dee Jr. it was time for us to head to Nancy Nehring's classroom -- it was time for the annual Hook Collectors meeting.   Lori, Grace and Jennifer all proudly showed us the hooks they created in Nancy's class.  I knew they'd enjoy this class because I did at the 2006 Conference. 

More people started filing into the room and before we knew it we were all learning Crochet hooks from WWII and 1917history about various crochet hooks attendees had brought with them.  Grace, who is incredible in collecting both old hooks & books, took out some of her old steel crochet hooks.  We learned that she nearly has a complete set of hooks made during World War II -- the giveaway is the coloring! (see photo on the right) We also learned that she has crochet hooks that shouldn't be kept in closed containers because they could ignite! (see hooks on bottom left)  Yikes!  Another attendee had a crochet hook dating back to approximately 1849!  It was a great meeting!  {{IF you are a CGOA member in good standing, you too can be a member of the Hook Collectors group!  Email me for information on how to join!}}

It was now time for my afternoon class -- another class with the wonderful Joan Davis; I told her I was her "groupie" -- she liked that! LOL   This class centered around the concept of using PI (a mathematical theory) in relation to crocheting circles.  I sat in the back of the class between Vashti and Rose.  We were quietly chatting along while working on our class assignments when two eureka moments happened nearly simultaneously!  The first was when Karen (I hope I'm remembering her name correctly) overheard Rose and I talking about Lori needing a ticket for the Dinner/Fashion Show.  It just so happened that Karen couldn't make it and thus didn't need her ticket; she offered her ticket to us!  After ensuring she was positive that she would not be attending, I wasted no time purchasing her ticket from her.  These tickets were like GOLD!  (think of the mayhem from the recent movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" where there were only five golden tickets to be found in chocolate bars being sold around the world and you get the idea!)  I instantly ran out of the room to leave Lori the message that we scored her a ticket to the evening festivities.  Cinder-Lori would be going to the Ball!!

The other eureka moment came when Vashti was discussing a project she was working on.  With a bit of ideas gathered from us she too dashed out of the room.  Only she didn't return to finish the class.  She had an idea for something to wear at the Fashion Show which was just mere hours away!

So, did Lori get my message about the ticket?  Did Vashti finish her design in time for the Fashion Show?  You'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

CGOA 2007 Conference: Day Two

Day Two of the National CGOA Conference started with another class with Joan Davis.  On this day I took the Omega Crochet Lace class. Fabulous Crocheted Ponchos I know many are interested in wanting to know what Omega Crochet Lace is, so let me explain it the way Joan did.  She was teaching this new technique in one of her Florida classes when one of her students stated that the stitches reminded her of the Greek letter representing Omega: Ω

The technique is sort of like a hybrid of several crochet techniques: the loop stitch, the broomstick technique, a touch of Tunisian and perhaps just a smidge of knitting too.  It's a technique she developed to help showcase those textured designer fibers many love but have a tough time crocheting.  Want to give it a try?  Then, if you can't attend one of her classes, you'll want to purchase the book,  "fabulous Crocheted Ponchos."  It's the only place, at the moment, you'll see the technique published.  You can find Joan's poncho, "Chantel," featured in the Challenging & Sophisticated section of the book; I was delighted to have her autograph my copy!   {{Does the book look familiar?  It should if you're a regular CrochetingWithDee reader; I have a pattern featured in the book too!}}  I'll be adding this technique to the Crochet Types & Techniques list soon!

Lunch was a lot of fun too; I got to pass the ketchup, or rather rub elbows, with some of the "Who's Who" in the crochet world.  Talk about the WOW factor! What an incredible & inspiring treat that was!!  :)

Then it was Marty Time! ... time for Crocheting by the Numbers with the ever wonderful Marty Miller.  Marty explained to us many ways of how to improve our crochet projects by applying various math techniques.  Very interesting indeed!  I was "good to go" until we got to the paper folding; I didn't do so good at that.  I'll keep practicing though and eventually I'll get the hang of it.  LOL  Want to learn how to Crochet by the Numbers?  Then you'll need to take the class with Marty.  (Send me an email if you'd like to contact her and inquire; I'll forward your email onto her.) 

There were three events in the evening: the Annual Meeting, the Freeform Dinner, and the Chapter Meeting.  Tired (have I mentioned my giving up on coffee?), with a very swollen ankle (I have no clue how that happened), and in missing spending time with my family, I decided after Marty's class that I would attend one out of the three.  I would go to the Freeform Dinner and call it a night.  I heard both of the meetings were great and am sorry I missed them.  For pictures of the Freeform Dinner please visit Margaret's blog here.  The picture to the right is the lobby that was set aside for attendees to meet and share in their love of the fiber arts.  I didn't spend nearly as much time there as I would have liked to either -- maybe one day they'll extend the conference (not including Professional Day) to five days so the events can be more spread out?  :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Details Will Continue

We arrived safely home from the Conference late last night.  The first thing the children did this morning was check their garden; they were delighted to find it filled with huge zucchinis and squash large enough to feed the Jolly Green Giant's family, all of which had grown during the week we were away at the Conference!  They then proceeded to share them with the neighbors along with news of how much they enjoyed going to the Conference!  (Perhaps I should consider hiring them as my crochet PR firm?)

Mr. Dee spent time unloading the vehicle, and is, as of this moment, still unloading.  He is such the trooper!  I hadn't realized we, rather I, did THAT much shopping!  Did I?  Oh no, I don't recall!  I'm going to have to use the excuse of sleep deprivation, and/or sleep walking, to explain all those bags!  Yeesh!

I spent several hours this morning "enhancing" photos that were too dark due to poor lighting conditions -- I have many, many photos AND DETAILS to share!  I know I'm behind in explaining the details of Day Two, Three, and Four and promise that I will.  But by time I was given access to my Journal here (due to some AOL glitch) I was feeling very sleepy.  So with the wave of my crochet hook, and along with my eight-year-old, we took a four hour nap.  Hmm, seems he was sleep deprived too.  I wonder if any of those bags could be from HIS sleep-walking shopping excursions?  Yes, lets go with that as the explanation, shall we?  LOL

Come back tomorrow for details of Day Two.  :)

Friday, July 13, 2007

CGOA 2007 Conference: Day One

We just finished enjoying delicious glasses of Strawberry wine that Mr. Dee and I brought with us from the Jones Family farm in Connecticut.  Joining us for this nightcap were three Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club members (Connecticut Chapter of the CGOA): Grace, Jennifer and Karen; and then Myra Wood from the International Freeform Group, Jennifer Hansen from, and Edie Eckman, author of many books, most recently of The Crochet Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem You'll Ever Face."

Before I turn in for some greatly needed sleep, I thought I'd rewind the day a bit and share all the fun:

  • The morning started with going to the CEO suite on the twelfth floor to attend Joan Davis' "Basic Celtic Lace Crochet" class. I met some great people and found the class  quite a lot of fun.  On the left is an image of some of my work.  Does it look familiar?  As it turns out, I started experimenting with this technique when I started working on Hass' design a few weeks back!

  • After class it was time to meet up with the HHCC'ers just arriving.  Our plan was to go to lunch together but that did not pan out.  Instead I went on to my next class, "Crochet Tips, Tricks and Hints" with Lily Chin.  I learned some amazing things from her!  I sat next to Rose, the founder of the Chain Gang of Stamford, another CGOA Chapter.  We were laughing so hard; Lily kept us in stitches.  Figuratively and Literately!
  • Then it was a dash back to the hotel room to prepare for the Keynote Address.  I dropped off all my class materials and grabbed my Crochet Exchange bag and headed down.  I got there early, as many others did and got a great seat! 

  • Cari Clement did a great job of discussing the past and the future of crochet!  Certainly a lot to think about! The Crochet Exchange went very well.  I received a scarf and purse set from Michelle (Thank you Michelle!), and Karen, one of my Chapter members got my Treasure Bag and Clover Hooks.  There were many, many stunning items exchanged tonight -- too many to mention at the moment. We were then off to the Vendor Market Preview.  Insert drool here.                       Wow.
                           Double Wow!                                   

Need I say more?!! Ok, Ok!  I will! ... first, let me thank Mr. Dee and the kids for delivering the "famous tree" to the Freeform booth.  To avoid getting "funny looks" they brought the tree down the stairwell instead of via the elevator.  They did a great job hanging the Ornaments from the Challenge on it and hopefully I'll be able to take a better picture later on to share.   For now, you can see Drew, The Crochet Dude, next to it.  Yes, we REALLY had that tree, that huge tree in our room!  LOL

I bought some yarn, and some notions, but was mostly socializing.  And browsing.  There are items there that tempted me -- perhaps tomorrow, if there's a window of opportunity for me to return to the market, I'll give into that temptation!  As I walked around I couldn't help but smile -- there were many there giving into that temptation and their smiles said it all.  :)

Afterwards we went out to dinner and took a walk in the beautiful evening air.  Then the sharing of wine as I stated earlier.  Now it's late, very late and I have a very long day tomorrow.  It should be as every bit of fun as today was! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Professional Development Day

The day was a whirlwind starting at 8:00 this morning.  At the Registration Booth it was like an instant family reunion -- it was so great getting to see people, fiberholics just like me, that I haven't seen since the last Conference.  I picked up my "Goodie Bag" and Commemorative crochet hook and headed off to attend what is known as Professional Day.

For those unfamiliar with Professional Day, it's a day set aside for people interested in earning a living (or at least breaking even to support their yarn addictions) with the fiber art they love.  The room was filled with crocheters and knitters, all there to soak up as much information as possible.

The morning session started with a panel of experts:  Rita Weiss (pictured on the right), Carol Alexander of Crochet! magazine, Susan Sullivan of Leisure Arts, Kim Werker of Interweave Crochet, and Jean Leinhauser.  Missing was Kathleen Sams from Coats & Clark (she was having airline problems; many other attendees reported the same troubles. Reportedly Delta airline employees are going on strike) (see image below on left)

The morning presentation was a look at how various publications view design proposals.  Would they buy the pattern, and if so -- why, and if not -- then why not.  It was very informative!   I also got to meet my "Mentee" Lory!  {{Hi Lory!}}  As we listened to the presentation many decided to work on squares for Warm Up America.  I completed two (see image at very top right; I didn't follow a pattern; just "doodled" with some of my favorite stitches).

I was also signed up for the Professional Development lunch.  It's a fabulous experience as you get to "rub elbows" with the who's who of the crochet world.  While eating lunch, the ever great Lily Chin did a fabulous presentation on "Who's You're Daddy" -- knowing your market.  I took a lot of notes!

After lunch we returned for the second half of Professional Development Day.  This time they had "break away" sessions where you could sit with the professional of choice and learn from their experiences.  I chose to sit with Lily Chin about getting cozy with the press; with Darla Fanton about why attending Trade Shows is important; and with Jennifer Hansen about self publishing.  Again, lots of notes -- lots of great information. 

In the evening a group of us went to The Shaskeen, an Irish Pub and Restaurant and had some delicious food & a fun time! (I had no clue Margaret Hubert knew a magic trick!  Be sure to ask her to show you!)  I can't think of a better way to end such a great day!

It's all about EWE, ME, and NH too

Today was our family day.  Initially we had planned on spending it at a local amusement park but due to weather forecasts of thunder storms we scratched that plan.  To get ideas, I took the kids to the hotel lobby to gather what brochures they had available.  While there I spotted another CGOA  Conference attendee ... Prudence Mapstone!  She had just arrived after traveling 36 hours from "tomorrow" to get here today.  (Gotta love those time zones!)

We decided we'd head east to visit the town of Exetor to see the
American Independence Museum.  Unfortunately we failed to read the fine print on the brochure.  An hours' drive later we discovered that due to limited funding, they're only open from Wednesdays to Saturdays.  Dooph!  Scratch that idea.

So, being so close to the New Hampshire coast we decided to drive up the coast and see the sights.  That was an interesting trip!  Our first stop was in Hampton Beach.  Hungry and with a great need for a potty break we decided to visit the only McDonald's on the strip.  That was a mistake as it was so dirty.  So we got back on the road and continued to head north.  With bladders at full capacity, I advised Mr. Dee we needed to stop somewhere, anywhere, with a restroom that was savory.  No sooner did I state this to him, and we started to round a little corner, that he'd reply, "Oh, look a little yarn shop."

Just like that.  I screamed, "What?"  Totally not expecting for a yarn shop to appear in the middle of housing dating back to the 1600 and 1700 hundreds.  Fort Constitution State ParkI figured the bladders could wait; there was a yarn shop to be explored!  So, Mr. Dee pulled over and that's just what we did! 

He had found the yarn shop, Yarn For Ewe in the town of Rye -- and what a delightful shop at that!  I took my time wondering around the store petting various "new to me" fibers while deciding upon some to consider as "souvenirs."  I bought two bags worth of goodies, and yes, we were relieved to use the "facilities" too!  I had the most delightful conversation with the owner and her son; if ever I'm in the area again I'll be sure to visit again!

Once we were back on the road we decided to head even more north, made a few more stops on the way, and ended up in Maine.  We did a little souvenir shopping there -- just enough for the kids to say they were there -- and then headed back home to the hotel. We had a very fun & adventure packed day!

Since our return to the hotel, I have bumped into many crocheters -- all of which are looking forward to tomorrow's "Professional Day."  With that I'll end off.  It's going to be a busy day indeed and it will start very early in the morning!  :)
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Monday, July 9, 2007

We're Here!

We arrived in New Hampshire earlier this afternoon.  It was quite a lot of fun to watch people passing us on the highway while smerking our way.  I'm sure many of them were questioning why a vehicle from Connecticut was hauling a large branch from a maple tree to some unknown destination!  LOL

The branch will be used for part of the International Freeform Group's display that will be in the Vendors Market.  They'll be hanging a variety of freeform ornaments from it, so for now, the branch will reside in our hotel room.

Prudence Mapstone, renown for her freeform works and books, jokingly mentioned that perhaps my family enjoys having trees in our hotel rooms -- a reference to last years "Beach Theme" room we stayed in while we were in Pennsylvania.  Many giggles over that!!  (Of course we're wondering what our housekeeper will think when they see this huge leafy "guest" in our room!  LOL)

So, tomorrow more people will be arriving, mostly those that will be attending the CGOA's Professional Day on Wednesday (myself included!).  Thursday will be the official kick-off of the Conference.  It will be fun hooking up with old fiber friends and meeting new ones. Tags: ,

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Shopping Experience

Mr. Dee gave it all he had, but it looks like a second revival of the laptop will not be happening.  So, we said goodbye to our "trusty friend" and went out this afternoon to adopt a new one.

I think shopping for laptops is much like shopping for yarn.  The first thing most crocheters do is check the price point.  "Sure this yarn costs $2.29, but what am I getting for my money? How does it compare to this model, er, skein, over here?"  And so we wonder off to examine the next dye lot, the next fiber content, the yardage, the next "must have it now" yarn craze fav that is heating up the conversations in various online groups.

Ah, but is price point the best way to judge?  What about softness, or about how hardfast it is?  And what about judging hand-dyed against machine?  My logic is, if you're going to be investing time into the project, then you should invest money into the raw materials.   No, you shouldn't need to take small a mortgage out for every project that will end up on the hook, but certainly we should consider it for those that will be for our loved ones -- and for ourselves.  At least, this is my belief. 

So this is what I told Mr. Dee this afternoon as we looked each one over.  He looked at the price points, he ran his fingers across ... the keyboards, and checked the yardage screen sizes.  He asked the questions, and in the end came home with a new laptop that promises to not only make his online experience better, but mine too.  Can we say WEBCAM??? LOL Oh, boy, once I figure out how to use it, there's no telling what crochet topic will be not only discussed -- but shown! -- here on CrochetingWithDee!  Now isn't that exciting?  :)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Guest Blogger: Casey

Hi, it's me, Casey, better known as Mini~Dee.

I thought I'd give my Mom the day off from blogging so she could concentrate on what to pack for the Conference.  I'm really excited to be going again.  This will be my third Conference -- and my second Conference where I'll be modeling during the Fashion Show.  The good news is that my Mom tells me more kids will be there; I can't wait to meet them!

Right now I decided to create a dress for my doll.  I named her "Angel."  She joined my doll family not too long ago when we were out shopping.  We were in a sports store when I saw her sitting on a shelf NAKED!  I felt really bad for her that she had no clothes so I asked if we could buy her.  Mom said yes, so I had been waiting for the right yarn to make her a beautiful dress.

At the last Chapter meeting my friend Margaret gave me some pretty ribbon yarn.  I drew out the dress, and took measurements of my doll.  Now that the dress is nearly complete I've been busy sorting through my Great-Grandma's button collection.  I never met her, but I bet she was as amazing as her button collection!  My Mom told me stories of when she was a kid and enjoyed going through them, so I like thinking about that when I'm looking at all the different colors and shapes.  My brother likes looking at them all too.

All I need to do is decide which buttons to use, add on the trim and tuck in my ends.  Then it will be done.  I'm thinking of holding her to show off while I'm modeling at the Fashion Show.  I think Angel will have fun there too!

You can visit my website at

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Bagging Today

Things are not going well today:
1. During one of the thunder storms we experienced here in Connecticut today, AOL decided to delete some 600 of my emails!  If you've emailed me for help in the past week, please resend it! 

2.  I have not been able to locate that missing skein of yarn I mentioned on Tuesday; I figure it's either in the school library (fat chance of getting it before September); or I dropped it during one of our Coffee, Crochet & Chat sessions @ Borders; or it's at one of the parks, or any other of the gazillion places I toted the project to in the last month -- aka I'll never see it again.  This means the project won't be ready in time for the conference.  {{UGH!}}

3. The laptop died again.  This close to the Conference I really don't know if Mr. Dee can pull another miracle out of his hat.  If he can't then day-by-day updates will be sparse and without pictures.  Can you, my readers, do without pictures from the Conference?  If Mr. Dee can get it running again, then it just reconfirms what I've been saying for years -- he's awesome!  Then again, if he can't get it running again, I think he's still an awesome guy just for trying!  Please cross your hooks & stitches he can!

4. There are other stress factors, but rather than bore you with the gory non-crochet related details, I thought I'd mention that due to problem #2 I decided to work up a Doris Chan pattern -- the stitches I did yesterday are beautiful, well worth admiring!  But the work I did today {{shaking head}} sadly shows my stress -- talk about tight!  Yikes!! I should have gone NO WHERE NEAR a crochet hook today!!

So I did what anyone feeling the stress should do: I took out my scissors, a pattern book from the 1900s, some "antique" paper and worked it out! ((serenity now; serenity now))

The results?  A "one-of-a-kind" gift bag to hold the goodies I'll be giving at the Crochet Exchange!!  I wonder what the receiver will think of it?   :)

Monday, July 2, 2007

"On a Wing & a Prayer"

Regardless of what my son, Dee Jr., will tell you, I am not, I repeat, I am NOT a Drama Queen!  I do not exaggerate the facts, I rather tend to embellish them.  It's what crocheters do best.  Embellish that is. 

I'm in a near panic funk today as I've misplaced a much needed skein of yarn!

"What do you mean you misplaced a much needed skein of yarn," my son skeptically repeated back to me.

I show him my work and the yarn labels.  "I should have enough, but seem to have either misplaced or lost a skein when I was toting the project around," I replied sadly, looking around the room hoping to find it.

"I don't know why you are so upset, Mom. You have TONS of yarn!" he exclaimed while waving his arms around to emphasize my out-of-control yarn stash.

"Yes, my son," I replied, "I do have a lot of yarn.  But I need this brand, in the same dye lot.  Believe me, it does make a difference!"

"Right Mom. You want me to believe you, don't you?  I think you're just creating all this drama so you can create an excuse to go out and buy more yarn!" he said while shaking his head in disbelief.

I don't have time to go into explaining the importance of brands & dye lots with him at the moment; the Conference is next week and I want to complete this project to wear while I'm there.  Maybe it rolled out of the bag while I was driving & it's in my vehicle ... I look at my son and exclaim in my best Adam West impersonation, "There's no time for that now, Robin!  To the Batcave!" as I dash out the front door ...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Question From Reader: Polish Star Stitch/Technique

I found your site at random the other day. I'd posted a pic on another group of a Polish star afghan I finished (which I have offered to Peter Franzi as an auction item to raise funds for the food pantry he volunteers for that hosts his Men Who Crochets CGOA chapter meetings), and someone asked me how to do the technique, which sent me in search online for tutorials on it. I couldn't find any.

I noticed your site has a lot of good info, I was hoping you could put together a pic tutorial of Polish Star stitch to put up on your site, so SOMETHING online would be out there.

Anita, this is a great question! Everyone, take a look at Anita's Polish Star Afghan ... isn't it beautiful -- and very patriotic too!!  To view more of Anita's fantastic crochet work on Flickr click here.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Polish Star stitch/technique, let me state that it was Pauline Turner, of the UK, who introduced it to the United States -- if memory serves me correctly, she did so at one of the very first CGOA Conferences that was held in the mid-1990s.  If Pauline's name sounds familiar, it should!  Pauline has been on the forefront of crochet, with a number of books published, for quite some time!  In fact, I featured an interview here with her last year when she Wow'ed everyone with her Peacock Cape! 

Right now, Anita, I am pressed for time -- in preparing for the upcoming Conference and working on design proposals, so doing a how-to-tutorial is not in the future at this time.  I will say this, though, for those that are curious about it:

The Polish Star technique is a textured stitch that uses the most basic of crochet stitches!  The key is in the way chain loops are later interlocked together.  Want some practice in making chain loops in your work? Give this pretty Tulip Stitch a try.  Or, if you're interested in learning the Real McCoy, The Polish Star stitch/technique, then you'll want to give AnniesAttic a visit and order their "Spectacular Polish Star Fashions" book.  They're currently having a 4th of July sale featuring it for $2.99 (reg 7.95).

Anita, I think the question here should be: how does one go about placing a bid for your beautiful afghan???    :) 
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