Thursday, May 29, 2008

FDR's Blankie ...

Sandie from Crochet Cabana inspired me to search more for the crocheted bedspread I fell in love with when I saw it in FDR's bed this past Tuesday.  I love the power of Google!  ... with just a few key words Google found exactly what I was looking for!

Now, I'm not sure if this person who took the picture had permission or not, but you can see it here ...

On the right is a close-up (as clear as I could find) of the motif.  The little "bumps" are popcorn stitches made up of the tiniest of crochet stitches!  Can you see why I was thinking "snowflakes?" ... I could have said flowers too.  It's stunning to see in person!  (Hopefully no guys in black suits and dark sunglasses will be knocking on my front door for posting this!) 

Now ... finding the pattern (or one very similar) will be a whole 'nuther chapter to this story!

My goal is to one day recreate the motif, perhaps for a scarf, a handbag, or even for a garment.  Still, though, it would be lovely to know who hand-created those beautiful stitches!  Wouldn't you love to know too?   

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Homeland Security Protecting Crochet

While we were visiting the home of FDR I got to see the, and I mean "THE," most amazing thread crocheted bed cover my eyes have feasted on -- tiny, tiny stitches that made a snowflake motif with little bits of "popcorn."  I so wanted to take a picture but was advised by the National Parks employee that I couldn't -- due to Homeland Security issues.  (I kid you not!  I didn't know that we were protecting crochet!)  So I asked if he could provide information about it -- like who crocheted it, when was it crocheted...  "I'm sorry, Miss," he replied, "we don't have that information available."   I thought that was a bit unfair.  They knew where various pieces of furniture were from, who painted what painting, and many other details, but they didn't know the particulars stemming from the creation of this gorgeous hand-made bedspread laying across FDR's bed.  Or did they?  Perhaps they couldn't tell me because of the same reason I couldn't take a picture of one little motif????  ("Miss, it's a Homeland Security issue.")  Okay ... moving on, there was another beautiful crocheted spread on the bed he was born in ... I looked at the employee, he knew what I was going to ask.  He just shook his head No.  Drat.
Eleanor Roosevelt's crochet hooks.
In all due fairness, they did let me take a picture of some of Eleanor's crochet hooks which were on display with her knitting needles in the FDR Library (a separate building).  I thought that was pretty cool.

And speaking of protecting crochet, many of you are asking when I'll publish some of my materials.  I think, should the Orphan Works Bill be passed, that answer will be never.  If people are already willing to take my blog posts here, and material from my website, and claim it as their own, then what will be left to stop them from claiming designs and concepts I create for publication to help support my family?

I think that if Homeland Security can protect the crochet in FDR's home, then I should have the right to protect my work with Copyrights!  With your help, let's hope the Orphan Works Bill fails.  I want to keep doing what I love, and I'm sure you feel the same way too.  It's either that, or hiring the Federal Parks Department to protect crochet not just in FDR's home, but also around the country!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Crochet on the Edge

On this Memorial Day, we spent the day quietly at home, remembering those who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy today.  We know, all too well, that freedom is not free.

I spent part of my day flipping through Bendy Carter's book, "
Crochet on the Edge."  I had thought I purchased it when it was published last year, but for the life of me, I cannot locate my copy.  So I went to Plan B and asked my local library to obtain it for me to borrow.

And they got it for me!  This book came all the way from the Mid-Continent Public Library, located in Kansas City, Missouri!! ... I call that Bendy country!  {VBG} 

I tried a few of the edgings earlier this afternoon, and also  selected a few to make copies of and take with me -- I'm going to attempt to crochet on a Coach Bus tomorrow, filled  with excited 5th graders!  (Since this book is on loan, I don't want to bring it with me in case something should happen to it, so the copies I made  should do the trick. Plus it reduces some of the weight in the backpack.  After all, there's only so much stuff I'm willing to "mule" around while trying to keep track of the kids I'll be assigned to.) 

And where will we be going?  To a knitter's house -- President Franklin D. Roosevelt's!  If there should be any of his knitted projects on display, I'll finally have the answer to a question I long asked myself: didhe crochet on the edge?  :)

In the meantime, I'll keep looking for my book.  I wonder if Mini~Dee borrowed it ...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A-maizing Children

I have taken a brief hiatus from crochet to help my children with a summer project they have been working on ... you can read about their progress here: "Cornnecticut Cornversation".   (please note that their comments option has been turned off for their protection.)

So, here's a question for you ... can you crochet with corn?

The South West Trading Company says, "Yes!" Take a look for yourself here, and more information about it here.

You know I'm going to have to get me some to try, right?   ... or at least try to crochet something up a bit corn-y ...

OK, back to work for me -- we're planting today!  :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How do I love thee? Let me count ...

I have been under the influence of pollen; our area is thick with it and there is no escape.  Every finger is involved somehow in the stitch making process!This means I look like Rudolph the Reindeer, and probably sound like him too.  Regardless, it's been fun having Mr. Dee home this week.

Mr. Dee decided to join me in picking up the kids from school today.  I, naturally, loved it because it gave me an opportunity to work up a few more rows of a "secret" project I'm currently working on (I might reveal it here, but definitely will reveal it at the Conference) anywho, there I was, happily crocheting along when Mr. Dee noticed every one of my fingers had to get "in on the action" ... touching ... petting ... the delicious bamboo yarn ... see how my pinkie and ring finger are gently holding the work in my right hand while the middle finger awaits for the next yarn over/loop hold, and the index finger & thumb hold the hook?  And the left hand, equally involved, with the index finger up, having the middle finger helping to control my tension, all while the middle finger and thumb gently pinch the work ... and what's that peeking through?  The other pinkie!  And yes, the ring finger is getting in some guilty pleasure too -- although hiding from having it's picture taken. lol

You know, when every finger is involved in making stitches, that's one serious yarn addiction going on there, enjoying every yard of yarn created into a series of stitches!  And it's because of the yarn, really.  The more I love it, the more it seems I have all fingers working together!   The yarn I'm working with is super delicious -- more so than ever I imagined it would be back when I was petting it at the LYS!   It's Madil Eden, made in Italy.  And oh so yummy!   But I already said that, huh?  What can I say?  I'm in love with this fiber!  :)

So I'm curious, fellow yarn addicts.  How many fingers of yours do you have "getting in on the action?"  Not sure?  Have someone watch you crochet for a few minutes and count how many of your fingers touch your work as you go along ... you may be pleasantly surprised! 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Feedback/Questions from Readers

I have crocheted for many years and I have never tried doing a filet piece before, but after reading your blog about the Laura Ingalls Wilder filet re-created piece in Piecework magazine, I bought the magazine and I am now on row 2 of the doily. It’s not hard, just a little hard on my ancient eyes. :) I just wanted to thank you for writing about it in your blog. I try to read your blog daily. I love how you represent Crochet in a positive way. Thanks for sharing so many great ideas with all of us. You inspire us daily with your blog.
Happy Crocheting. :) Vicki

Thank you for the lovely compliment, Vicki.  It is always a pleasure to hear from my readers, especially when they express something I wrote had inspired them to try something new! I do hope you contact me again and let me know how your project turned out!

Dee, I've been reading your blog for nearly a year, and on days you don't post I visit your archives. I've noticed that nearly all of your entries are positive. While I do appreciate that you inspire us I wonder why you don't write about things that upset you? Are you this positive in person?  I'd love to meet you in person some day!

Hi Nancy, I love that you visit my archives and hope there are entries there that you like. It's interesting that Mary Beth Temple had asked me that very same question when she interviewed me on her BlogTalk radio show called Getting Loopy!  To answer your question, yes, I do try to be positive -- as much as possible -- especially here at CrochetingWithDee. The reason? Because there is so much negativity in the outside world, along with people willing to cover those topics, that I wanted to create a type of safe haven, a place where everyone could come to perhaps learn something about crochet, or share in an experience I enjoyed, as well as yarns, books & hooks I love, and so on.  Am I this positive in person?  I do try to be! 

I love  meeting my blog readers too!  In fact, I met Karen (Hi Karen!) at WEBs this past weekend!  If you're going to be in the Connecticut tri-state area, or at the Knit and Crochet Show this summer, let me know; I'd love to meet you!  ... and I'd like to thank you, and Vicki, for being regular readers.  It's always great to hear from my readers!  :)


Monday, May 19, 2008

Sew, What's Up Doc?

I'm not much of a sewer. I normally reserve dusting off my taking out my sewing machine to either:
A. wind bobbins with sewing thread for crochet projects
B. sew together the little paper booklets my children like to make (way easier than staples!)
C. create various costumes, such as the one you see here on the right, when seriously pressured to do so.  (I made that one in 2004, delighted I was able to trim it with crochet!)  I made the rope too -- and in fact, I just donated the rope from this costume to my children's school for THEM to utilize in creating something else they need.  They asked if I could sew the rope on to this other project, but I declined, giving them the name of another mother who is not as terrified of more gifted in using the sewing machine than I am.  LOL  "If it's crochet related," I added, "then call me."  Hey, at least I'm recycling, right?

And speaking of sewing, and inspiration, and patterns, and crochet  -- guess who is blogging now???

Beloved designer, Doris Chan! ... go on over and give her a read & your encouragement:


Saturday, May 17, 2008


Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa): A franc for your thoughts.
Humphrey Bogart (Rick): In America they'd bring only a penny, and, huh, I guess that's about all they're worth.
                                  ~Quotes from the 1942 movie, Casablanca

Have you ever walked into a local yarn shop, and as a crocheter, felt unwanted?  Readers, my question to you is do you stay and purchase the materials you wanted anyway, or do you walk out and shop else where?

I have felt this sting of "dis-cro-mination" many times (remember this fiasco?); the latest jab happened is this week.  And it hurts.  It hurts not just me, but also the local yarn shop at fault as well because it could have been a beautiful relationship.  I was willing.  Unfortunately, LYS, you couldn't see past the pointed stick crowd to see me standing there, money in hand, wanting to shop just like everyone else there.

Yeah, I'm talking about you, LYS, you know who you are -- the one who said crocheters are cheap; they never spend a dime.  That we don't appreciate using nice yarn, that our projects lack drape, lack proper fit, and just lack.  Period.

You couldn't be more wrong, LYS.  In fact, here is what I'd like for you to take a gander at today, LYS.  It's what you are lacking today.  It's a $468 purchase I made earlier today at another shop that welcomed my single stick with a notch at the end.  This could have been -- should have been -- your sale!

LYS, may I suggest you read the article, "Discouraging Dis-cro-mination" written by Gwen Blakley-Kinsler in the January 2008 issue of YMN magazine.  Page 40.   Every word rings true.

If you want me, and other's like me, who crochet AND spend money, creating stunning projects with our notched stick, then you need to make changes.  But I wouldn't wait too long, as once I have a beautiful relationship going with another shop, I may not want to return to you.  Ever.

PS: Karen & Karen:  It was great bumping into you two today!  I hope you had just as much fun shopping as I did!  :)   

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Three Blind Mice

So here I am this morning, surfing around on Ravelry, when I decided to check if there are other Ravelry members using some of my patterns.  I quickly discovered the answer is yes!

Then I come across Cathy's (of and burst out laughing.  She, thus far, has used my Textured Child's Spiral Hat pattern in a most original way!  Check Cathy's hat out below:


Want to try the pattern yourself (minus the mice)? I have the pattern, for free, here. Please note it's for personal use only.

PS: How many mice do you think she has on the hat? I count two.  Make that three ...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

expiration dates?

I'm still plugging away -- rather, I'm still stitching away -- working on the class sample I mentioned getting started on yesterday. Dee crocheting outdoors by the firepit. I love how, at times, I can pick up a ball of yarn and it tells me what it wants to be when it grows up.  It may not happen the moment it jumps into my cart screaming "Adopt ME!!" (and who am I to say no??) -- but, eventually it does, and when that moment comes, life is good.

The only problem is that, the adopted yarn, at times, waits such a long time.  Now I don't mind a long incubation period, but there comes a point when there should be a red flag that goes up -- like having an expiration date stamped on the label.   Something to give warning!  For if the yarn waits too long in getting it's request in to me it's too late!  By the time I fall in love with it and want more, it will have been, sadly, discontinued.  And this, I learned this evening, is true for the Universal Yarn Twister Space I had purchased from Herrshners just a few months back.  Had I known what a joy it would be to work with this yarn, I would have ordered more!  What's a gal to do?

I'll finish this class sample and turn to another yarn to console my broken heart.  What's that line from the Rolling Stones?  If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with?

Seriously though, why don't yarn labels come with expiration dates?  Nearly everything today does, including my water.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm such a Rock Star

I am so proud of myself -- diligently working on meeting the deadlines I set for myself in preparation of the upcoming conference.  Dee's class sample for 'Crochet Your Knit' classWhy just yesterday I finished tucking in the ends of the class sample you see pictured on the right. {{Yes!!}} 

Tonight I will start the next class sample.  I so love being on target!

Then, to add more of that Beach Boys "Good Vibrations" type of feeling, I taught a private lesson today to a really fun lady.  While I was there another lady approached me and said, "Why, aren't you Dee?"

I looked up and answered, "Yes."

She shook my hand and said, "My name is Lisa.  I recognized you from your picture on the site!"

I soooo felt like a Rock Star at that very moment!  LOL

She's a knitter, I'm a crocheter.  We left it as a possibility to meet for coffee some day.  Isn't it interesting how it takes the World Wide Web to meet someone from your own neck of the woods?  :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Getting Hooked on Granny

CeeCee's Granny Square Washcloth; pattern can be found in the novel, 'Hooked on Murder.'

Adele grabbed a hook and a ball of green yarn.  She quickly made a small foundation chain, then joined it into a loop.  Her hook was really flying, and it was hard to make out what she was doing, but the end result was evident.  She had made the center and two rounds of a granny square before I could blink.  The stitches were even, and the combination of spaces and double-crochet groups perfect.  She held it up proudly.  "Do that with your needles."  ~ excerpt from the new novel, "Hooked on Murder: A Crochet Mystery," by Betty Hechtman.

“Nobody knows whose grandmother first thriftily crocheted her leftover bits of yarn into squares from which to fashion a colorful, warm afghan. But the design of the now classic “granny square” afghan follows the tradition set by the American pioneer women, who made use of every available scrap of fabric to create useful and beautiful patchwork quilts. In fact, in Europe the technique of making granny squares is called “American crochet.” ~ Written by Jean Leinhauser, 1979, in the book, “The Great Granny Crochet Book

Want to learn how to do the basic granny square?  Check out Sandra's tutorial here.  Please note that the granny square pictured in this blog entry is from the pattern featured in the "Hooked on Murder" novel.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hooked ... on Murder Mysteries

I put my crochet hooks and projects down last night and found myself engrossed in reading the hot-off-the-press new book, Hooked on Murder: A Crochet Mystery, by Betty Hechtman.   I finished the book about two hours ago.  Now I'm thinking we need some sort of Crochet Book Club where we can all gather to discuss the book -- the plot, the characters, the setting, the tone, etc.  I think Jane is on board with this.  So, at the moment, I've opened a thread on the Ravelry group called "The Crochet Liberation Front Headquarters."  (you will need to be a member of in order to access the thread) 

As I think more about this, I'm thinking perhaps this should be it's own group on Ravelry?  Why?  Because on the cover of this book, it states it's first in a series.  This means there are more books of crochet drama headed our way.  And not only by this author, but also by crochet designer, Belinda Carter!  She has book coming out in a few months set with a murder taking place at a crochet conference!  Lucky us!

So, what do you think?    Are you interested in getting hooked too?

Oh, and if you want to know who-dun-it, I can safely say it wasn't the butler.  :}

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Kid Tested, Mother Approved

Last night I was working on some class materials for one of the classes I'll be teaching in Manchester, NH, come this July, when Mini~Dee decided to come and hang out with me a little bit.

"Is that for the Conference?" she inquired, pointing to the computer screen.

Mini~Dee tests Mom's instructions"Yes, and writing out the instructions for this part was sort of tricky.  I'm hoping I am able to explain it so my students who may have never tried this will be able to figure it out long after the class," I replied.

"You mean you're not going to show them how to do that?" she asked.

"Yes, sweetie, I will be showing them.  But sometimes, after you've taken many classes back to back, the information in your head gets a little cramped until you've had more time to tinker with what you've learned.  I want to ensure they'll be able to do this on their own, once they return home."

"Oh.  So, can I try it?"

I smiled.  This is the first time she's offered to test any of my crochet directions.  "Sure!"

She ran off, grabbed some hot pink yarn and her crochet hook and set to work.  She struggled just for a moment, but was soon sailing along.  "This is way cool, Mom!"

So there you go.  My instructions will be kid tested, mother approved.  {VBG}

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cinco dee Crocheto!

I feel as though I was on a crochet whirl-wind of fun yesterday!  It started in the morning by attending the Crochet Friends of Stamford, CGOA Connecticut Chapter, monthly meeting.  To get there I had to commute for an hour.  As I did so, I sadly realized how greatly I miss the drive since the closing of the Knit Together store early last year.  The scenery is so stunning no matter what the season! 

What was wonderful was catching up with Lori, Haley, Olga and Rose; they are just delightful people!  It's been months since I've last seen them. They've been busy crocheting for the "Kids in Crisis" center and soon caught me up on all their projects.  I, in turn, showed them my new "interchangeable" crochet hook (you can change the size of the hook's head), and a new book by Bendy Carter called,Haley's blanket she's crocheting for future donation. "Single Crochet from A to Z, " and gave out some "goodies."   As they enjoyed leafing through Bendy's new book, we also talked about the upcoming conference.  Lori, Haley and Rose will be going, and they are just as excited as I am!!  BTW: Check out the blanket pictured on the left that Haley is working on, a future donation, using some donated yarn! 

After the commute back home, it was time to join the Hook'n Needles after-school club.  I had Mini~Lois explain her connection to Laura Ingalls & crochet, which she was happy to do.  The club members were amazed!  We also had a little show & tell where one of the girls showed everyone a necklace she designed using single crochets and chain stitches!  (see picture on the right).  Everyone is progressing nicely!

After the meeting I had a lot of errands, but I did manage to find an hour of quiet time to work up one of the squares in Bendy's book, "Single Crochet from A to Z"  -- if you're looking for some new stitch patterns, then for sure you'll want to check out this book! :)

At the end of the day I was exhausted -- but I was happy.  It was, for sure, a Cinco dee Crocheto type of day for me!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Synchronicity Just Called ...

My phone rang just 30 minutes ago.  It was Belinda Carter calling to let me know that the pattern Laura Ingalls Wilder used to create her doily was designed by Mary Card.  Mary Card wrote in her 1936 book, New Book of Filet Crochet.

Having Belinda call me was a complete surprise, a wonderful surprise!  

In addition to discussing the need for correcting information in my blog here, I learned:
A.  Belinda lives not too far from where Laura once resided.
B.  Belinda currently lives in Missouri.  Synchronicity?  ... my father has a farmhouse just a few towns away.  And one day, when I get the opportunity to go out there, Belinda and I have plans to hang out with each other.  I can't wait!

Thank you, Belinda, for the lovely chat this afternoon, and bringing this "synchronicity"  to a total, full circle!  :)

The Synchronicity Thread ...

Have you ever wondered how the Universe works?  You'll be talking about a certain subject and within days the stars and planets in the sky will align just right so that a chain reaction happens ... some call this fate, or luck, or in this case synchronicity...

Definition of synchronicity by Merriam-Webster:
"The coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality."

On Tuesday I enjoyed being Mary Beth's guest on her Internet radio show called "Getting Loopy."  One of the topics we discussed was Rose Wilder Lane.  Rose wrote the book,  The Women's Day Book of American Needlework, in which she wrote, "Long before recorded history, Pima Indian women in America did the first crocheting we know."

In leaving the topic of crochet history behind for now, following the thread of synchronicity, let's look at who Rose was ... she was a former resident of Danbury, Connecticut, and the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the famed children's book author of the Little House on the Prairie series. Aside from both mother & daughter being well established authors, they were both crocheters.

Laura Ingalls Wilder's doily recreated by Grace in 2007On Wednesday evening I enjoyed chatting Grace.  Grace is my good friend and thread-crochet champion.  She creates beautiful pieces, including the recreation of one of Laura's doilies, pictured here on the left.  In fact, we used Grace's doily recreation for one of our library displays last year that received much attention locally as well as online.  One of the online conversations that took place is that the free chart that was once available here is now gone. 

On Thursday afternoon I found in my mailbox the latest issue of PieceWork magazine (May/June 2008).  PieceWork is one of my most favorite magazines that I enjoy reading cover to cover.  In flipping through it, on page 17, I found an article by Belinda Carter entitled "Laura Ingalls Wilder's Doily to Filet Crochet."  Consequentially cool?

Now stay with me on this ... you'll see the wonderment of synchronicity in just a moment ...

Yesterday I decided to give the magazine to Mini~Lois.  Mini~Lois is one of the girls in my daughter's after-school "Hooks'n Needles Club" who is skyrocketing in her crochet abilities.  Knowing she is a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and wanting to fuel her thirst to learn more about crochet, I thought Mini~Lois would think it cool to learn that Laura was also a crocheter.

Only the lesson was on me.  It turns out that yes, Mini~Lois was very tickled to learn that Laura was a crocheter.  And it was at this moment that Mini~Lois informed me that she is in the Ingalls family tree.  In their family tree Mini~Lois and Laura are cousins!  Synchronicity.  

Friday, May 2, 2008

Stretching Crochet Skill

I love teaching crochet. I love when my students push past their comfort zones and venture into something new that excites them. To the left is Lauren's granny square motif. She is in the process of making a garment for the first time. She chose a Lion Brand pattern which requires she create a square that measures 11 1/2" square. Unfortunately, her gauge is off by an inch and a half. Not wanting to rip her work out she's decided that she'll make another small motif, join the two, and create a beautiful handbag. At the end of her class she was off to visit a fabric store to find the perfect lining ...

Bonnie has been busy crocheting a baby blanket for an upcoming baby shower. The pattern she had initially picked out was confusing -- not just in the writing, but also for the yarn that she was using. I took the split-shell pattern that she liked and created a pattern she found easy to follow. All that is left is to add on a simple 3-shell border and she's done.

Bonnie said she learned a very important lesson from me ... that in the future before "marrying" a pattern, she should "date" it first.  What this means is that I taught her that crocheters should read a pattern, line by line, prior to starting a project. When we read the pattern first, we may find areas that could give us trouble -- perhaps because it's a new stitch combination, or it's a complex repeat.  In pre-reading a pattern, we'll be able to decide if we can take the pattern on ourselves, or if we'll need to consult a more experience crocheter, or in some cases, if we should move on to another pattern.  Pre-reading patterns, regardless of how complex or easy, will help the crocheter increase their pattern reading abilities, and that alone is worth investing time in. 

In both cases, Lauren and Bonnie are stretching their crochet skills.  How about you?  Do you ever feel stuck, or wish you could learn something new?  If you answered yes, then consider contacting your local yarn shop and sign up for a crochet class.  Or join a local crochet group in your area!  :)