Monday, June 30, 2008

Raspberry Charlotte Ponch-ette

Aside from needing to tuck in my ends and block my work, my Raspberry Charlotte Poncho Ponchette is done.

For it's length, and airy-ness, I found it to be incredibly warm.  It will be perfect to wear inside the Radisson at the upcoming Conference!  And in my kids school should I opt to return and be the volunteer librarian again.

Since I was discussing how I altered Doris' pattern yesterday, I'll add that I changed the finishing too.  The bottom shells consist of a ch-3 picot, alternated with Irish Clones Knots instead of crocheted baubles.  I also changed the neckline, opting to keep it simple and not to bring it in. 

If I can get Mini~Dee to stop chasing butterflies long enough, I'll try to get a picture of how it looks on her as a flirty little skirt worn over leggings ...

Edited @ 4PM to add picture (on right) of Mini~Dee, who reminds me of a beautiful fairy while wearing this ponchette/skirt.  :) 

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happily Hooking Along ...

I took a break from my project yesterday, allowing it time to sit on my mannequin, allowing for gravity to "do it's thing" so I can see if further adjustments will be needed.  I'm glad I did.  I will be "ripping a page" from the knitters in using a series of crochet slip stitches under the work to stabilize the shoulder/sleeve area.  After all, there's nothing more pesky than having your sleeves slip off your shoulders all day, right?

So while I was allowing for that discovery to take place I decided to move onto the next project.  I had two hanks of handspun alpaca yarn by Donna Young, a spinner from Massachusetts (sorry, she does not have a website).  I purchased the hanks from her last month when WEBs had their big sale.  Her tags read that each hank consisted of 166 yards; both pink with just a hint of glitter running through.  Very pretty, and very soft.  I paid $12 a hank -- which is NOTHING for something HAND SPUN!

Because the yarn is handspun/dyed, and since my supply is VERY limited, I wanted to pick a project that would be airy yet be able to show off the beauty of this fiber.  I leafed through many stitch books, pattern books and magazines before Doris Chan's "Raspberry Charlotte Poncho" featured in her Amazing Crochet Lace book jumped out at me. 

I studied her stitch diagram and decided to alter it by adding in "off-set rows" of additional shells.  Why would I do that?  (Other than because we crocheters can do that)  Because the fiber I'm using is a much smaller ply than the Berroco "Softwist" her pattern calls for.  Because in doing so, rather than having a close/hug fit, my altering is causing the work to ripple -- taking much focus off of my "shelf" area.  Because that ripple effect might possibly lend itself to also be a legging cover/skirt for Mini~Dee to twist & shout about in (as most young girls like to do).  A project for two people?  How cool would that be??? 

So far, although my picture today is not the best of quality, I am liking the results.  At the moment it is now resting on my mannequin, allowing for the gravity phenomenon to do what it does best.  And now I'm off to go back to working, possibly finishing, the other project.  :)

BTW:  If you haven't voted for a name for my mannequin yet, please get your vote in by tonight.  She really needs a name.  LOL

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Evils of Sleep Deprivation

For as many years as I have been crocheting, it always seems to amaze horrify me that I've yet to learn my lesson.  How many times have I noted to myself, in private or here publically in my blog, that I will not make decisions when I am sleep deprived?  The mind just cannot be trusted to be rational when needing to make crucial decisions!

My first observation was when I was joining the back two pieces together.  I thought it looked good and asked Mr. Dee for his opinion.  The way he wrinkled up his nose said it all -- "EWWW!"  The problem was that the work flowed from the side to the middle of the back.  I wanted the join to look seamless.  My first attempt was a failure. 
I waited until I had some rest and took a fresh look at it.  He was right.  (I did not photograph it.  Had I, I am sure you all would have agreed with him.)

I ripped it out and tried joining the work using a single crochet, chain one, slip stitch rhythm -- then stood back and showed Mr. Dee.  He agreed, this was a better solution.  (see picture on right)

The other poor decision I made was in the front tie.  By now it was near midnight and I was thinking, "OK, I know I bumped up the fiber and hook size, so the tie needs to be shortened."  I crocheted until around 2:00 in the morning, thinking all was good. 

After a few hours of shut-eye, I tried the garment on and gasped!  The ties, even when tied, hung down to my knees!  No, no, no!  This can't be!  I know I shortened the ties -- but not enough!  For a person who is vertically challenged, this error amplified I come from the land of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina.  (Well, not really, but I do feel that way when I'm grocery shopping and can't reach the top shelves!) 

I frogged the tie and reworked it a more happier, snappier shorter length which made the garment look a hundred times better!

Now I need to seam up the sides.  I've tried the single crochet, chain one, single crochet rhythm here but it did not look right.  I am thinking sewing it, mattress stitch style, might do the trick.  There's a how-to tutorial here

The one thing I am most thankful that I did -- for the entire project -- was use stitch markers!  In the picture on the left you can see I still have some in place.  I may not have learned my lesson about crocheting when sleep deprived, but I do follow safe-crocheting by using stitch markers as my safety net!  :)

Readers, confess!  You've made poor crochet decisions under the influence of sleep deprivation, right?  Do tell!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nature Calls

I am still under the influence of "one more stitch" syndrome.  Up early, to sleep late, surviving on coffee.  But yesterday was interjected with some excitement!

First, it was the birth of my "grand children."  We estimate some 100 to 150 babies.  On the left is a photo of one of them:

They're praying mantises!  We sent out a birth announcement to the family yesterday.  (Remember, I'm sleep deprived and so my humor is a bit warped at the moment.)  You can see more baby pictures at my kids blog, just click onto the picture.  In fact, as I type this blog entry, more are being born.  I think another announcement will be going out to the family later today!  LOL  It's amazing to watch Mother Nature in action! (BTW: for all you bug-enthusiasts, praying mantises are Connecticut's official state bug!)

Then, later in the afternoon,  Mr. UPS stopped by with a big 'ol box!!!  Look at what was inside:

Yes, that is a box FILLED with delightful goodies from Caron ... from their Naturally Caron line. These are for the Pushmi-Pullyu class I'll be teaching at the Conference, which is just a month away!!!! Mmmmmmm, yarn!!

I'll be under the spell of "one more stitch" syndrome shortly, but for now, I have new babies to help release into the wild, and dark circles under my eyes to wear around town like a badge of honor:  

"What's the matter, honey?  Not sleeping well?" 

"I have 'one more stitch' syndrome."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"One More Stitch" Syndrome

I think it was quite obvious I was sleep deprived yesterday.  I've been overcome with "one more stitch" syndrome before, but nothing quite like this!  Yes, I was up late again last night.

And where has this lead me?  

I've had to virtually rewrite the pattern (in my head) as there seems to be some issues needing attention:
1.  The starting stitch count in the pattern is wrong.  That drove me nuts. 
2.  The sizing is for S and M.  This means for women with serious curves some serious shaping needs to take place.  Extended stitches and short rowing seems to be working quite well.
3.  My Webs order arrived -- mmmm, bamboo yarn.  Decided the bamboo would work better for the pattern and scratched the other fiber I started this project with.
  Mental note to self: Order more!

This also meant this was a great time to crack open the adjustable manniquin I received for Christmas.  I'm liking it.  I have my work hanging off her, checking for the gravity effect.  So far so good -- except -- the manniquin needs a name.  And I was thinking that you, my readers, might want to help me select one by  voting for your favorite.  Why all the "D" names?  It flows with the Dee Jr, Mini~Dee and Mr. Dee theme. 

The project stills needs more crochet stitches to be whipped up ... I need to finish the back (as seen in the picture above), work on the sleeves, do some assembly, bury ends, and then the finishing touches. At the rate my "one more stitch" syndrome is driving me, I expect the project to be done by tonight? Thursday at the latest. That is unless the kids challenge me to a water ballon fight, and that would make all bets off.  We could then be talking as late as Friday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Will Survive

I was up all night -- with "one more stitch syndrome."

At first I was afraid

I was petrified

What would my kids think when they awoke to find me with deep, dark circles under my eyes, hook still in hand?

Put the hook down?  I kept thinking I could never live without my hook by my side.

But then I spent so many nights just thinking

and ripping

and redoing

I grew strong. 

I embraced our power outage; the kids wouldn't be able to see my dark circles under my eyes in a dark house.  And I was able to put my hook down long enough to report the outage.

This project kept calling me.  One more stitch.  One more stitch.

No power? did you think I'd crumble?  did you think I'd lay down and die? 

Oh not I!   I went and crocheted outside!

I grew strong.  I will survive.  More~so because the power just came back on.  I will continue to hook, well into another night to get this project done.  I hold my head up high, dark circles and all. 

I've still got all my love to give this project.  One more stitch.  One more.  I will survive!
(Lyrics borrowed from Aretha Franklin's Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive.")

And when I do finish my project I imagine I should be "... dancing, yeah.  Dancing yeah."  (Thanks Bee Gees!)

6/25 UPDATE:  Stacey private messaged me over at Ravelry stating, " I like what you did with the lyrics, that was really cute. But it made me wonder, because I always heard that song version by Gloria Gaynor and not Aretha. So I had to look it up. Wikipedia says “Aretha Franklin never recorded “I Will Survive,” which is a common misconception perpetuated by peer to peer file sharing programs.” Interesting, thought you might like to know. I also stayed up all hours crocheting for the umpteenth time, and have huge dark circles to show for it!"

Stacey, thank you for correcting me.  You are so right!  See what sleep depravation does to you?   I must have had Aretha on my mind as she's a crocheter too.   :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008


My brain froze yesterday.  I could not, for the life of me, wrap my mind around following a specific crochet pattern I have been wanting to try for months!  The pattern was in symbol crochet from the German magazine called ONLine.  I fell in love with the pattern a few months back and decided yesterday to take a break from working on class samples and work on something for me -- but no matter what I did, nope.  No good.  (I think it was because of all of the excitement generated from the arrival of supplies for my students for the Conference.)

So I went to the Ravelry website and posted about my love for this German magazine and vented, just a little bit, that I couldn't concentrate yesterday -- today that discussion is still ongoing, but now we're chatting about crochet magazines & books printed in Japan, France, and so on!  I'm finding the discussion very interesting!  (If you're not on Ravelry yet, do consider joining.  )

I did manage, finally, in the quiet of the late evening hours, to make some headway.  Since the pattern only covers sizes S and M, I know I need to  make adjustments as I go.   My first adjustment was to use a larger fiber and hook than what the pattern called for.  To ensure I was on the right path, I worked up 15 rows and then "wore" the work around the house this morning.  I did this to ensure that I like the final length (when one crochets a garment, it is important to factor in  gravitational pull!).  I discovered I don't like the length.  I plan on frogging the work and starting over.  (Frogging means to rip, rip, rip out the work.)

Was this a waste of my time?  I don't think so.  I'd rather know now, before the entire project was completed, that there is a problem.   And the good news here is it appears my brain~freeze is over ... until the next box of goodies arrive!   :}

What yarn am I using for this project?  Berroco's Bonsai, in the Satsuki Green colorway.

(Afterthought:  In studying the picture I'm including in today's post, I noticed a boo-boo; possible proof of my brain~freeze.  Good thing I plan on frogging it.  Do you see the error too?)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Salvation Army Appreciation Luncheon

Crochet news doesn't get more current than this ... a blog entry on the day of the actual event!  (gotta love that!)On behalf of the HHCC, Grace and I accept the plaque from the Salvation Army.

Today, members of the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America, was invited to attend the Salvation Army's Women's Auxulary group for an Appreciation Luncheon.  They wanted to honor our group, and other local groups, for all their beautiful -- and desperately needed -- donations.

Every year our local CGOA Chapter crochets hats, mittens, and scarves and donates them to our local Salvation Army.  We started doing this back in 2002 when we received a two of our Founders, Hilda and Ruthphone call from them asking for our help, which we are happy to do.

So this afternoon, they not only honored us with a most delicious luncheon, but they also bestowed upon us this beautiful plaque.  It says, "The Salvation Army Thanks You Happily Hooked on Crochet Club ~ Keeping Kids Warm gloves and hats." 

Six years of aiding our local community.  I think that's terrific, and we'll be starting another drive, our seventh!, come this fall!  :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pleasant Surprise from Dee Jr.

A few weeks back, my son, Dee Jr., was asking me a lot of questions and studying my supplies.  I thought it was all related to the after-school crochet and knit club we had started awhile back and never gave it second thought.  Now that it's the end of the school year, yesterday he brought home a pile of papers, including a report he did -- boy, was I pleasantly surprised!   I thought he did a great job on it and want to share it with you all:

How to Make a Crochet Chain

     Crocheting a chain is fun.  First, you need to gather your material.  You need yarn and a hook.  Some brands of yarn are Caron "Shadows," Lion Brand "Microspun," Berroco "Ribbon/tape"," and Lion Brand "Soy Silk."  Some brands of hooks are Susan Bates, metal or plastic, and Boye.  On some yarn it is easier than others.  Put your hand into the middle of the yarn and pull out a bunch.  In the yarn you pulled out find the end.  If you have yarn in a ball that you wound, you can use the end there.  Then you need to create a slip knot.  First wrap the yarn around your index and middle fingers.  Then take the end that is not connected to the ball of yarn and stick it in the loop around your fingers.  Pull the ends around your hook.  Make sure the knot is adjustable.  Pull the loop snug around your hook, but not too tight.  *Next using the end connected to the ball of yarn and wrap it over the hook from left to right.  Then take the lower loop and pull it over the top loop and the hook while the yarn you just wrapped around the hook stays on the hook.  Finially, repeat all the steps from here to the * until you decide to stop.

Dee Jr. is still learning how to crochet.  This year was the first time he progressed from the chain to the single crochet.  J

A note from Dee, Jr:  Don't try my instructions at home kids!  I tried them and they're flawed.  It's hard to write how-to instructions without having your yarn and hook in hand.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Article: "Hooked on Hooks"

                              "Hooked on Hooks"
                 by Vashti Braha, CGOA Secretary

Each year CGOA’s Hook Collectors Special Interest Group selects a specially designed, limited-edition crochet hook, imprinted with “CGOA” and the year, to celebrate our national Chain Link Conference.

Brian Bergmann of Brainsbarn ( was chosen from a list of four finalists to create this year’s commemorative hook, which will be carved from the exotic fine-grained, lightweight hardwood, chakte kok (Sickingia salvadorensis). Each reddish-brown hook will cost $30 and feature a pretty 12mm cloisonne bead and two silver accents.

The current selection continues the tradition of singling out a hook that will appeal to collectors: Hooks selected in recent years have included Dodo’s Design decoratively carved teak (2007); Lacis’s dramatic curved abalone (2006) and Grafton Fibers’ double-ended tool carved from European olive wood (2005). Indeed, selecting, collecting and displaying these hooks is a popular practice among our members.

As our membership grows each year, so, naturally, does attendance at our conferences. This puts more crocheters at risk of contracting what is whimsically called “Hook Acquisition Syndrome” (HAS). As I write this, our members-only forum is busy coming to terms with the fact not everyone will be able to get his or her hands on the BrainsBarn hook the painstaking handcraftin process means that supplies are limited. (Place an order for the 2008 commemorative crochet hook on the conference website.)

Most American crocheters grew up on the only two crochet-hook brands consistently well-stocked in craft stores: Susan Bates (Coats), with its “inline” head, and Boye (Wright), with its tapered throat. As crocheters can attest, loyalty to one camp tends to be lifelong. Occasionally, a crocheter will leave her camp out of necessity: s/he will discover, perhaps at a conference or local yarn shop, that a hook made of wood or bamboo eases arthritis. Some shop around to relieve hook- handle discomfort; others find that a brand not their own works better with particular novelty yarns In my own case, at a class in single crochet variations, I found that certain stitches are easier to make when I use a hook with a distinctly pointy head for working into the back “hump” of a stitch.

If you suffer from HAS, you’ll be happy to know that the Hook Collectors Group, which is open to all CGOA members, will meet during the conference. It is here that crocheters see and hold the one-of-a-kind embellished hooks for the first time. Others catch the HAS bug in one of the most enduringly popular classes offered at Chain Link conferences: “Make Your Own Crochet Hook” taught by Nancy Nehring.

The CGOA 2008 Chain Link Conference will take place in Manchester, New Hampshire, July 23-27 at the Radisson Hotel Manchester. For more information, visit

Published in Yarn Market News May 2008 issue, page 36.
Reprinted with permission from Karin Strom, YMN editor.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Questioning a Satisfying Stash Size

Why is it, when one suffers from Stash Acquisition Syndrome, that when it comes time for needing one special "ingredient" for a project, that item is not in said stash?  I mean, if I'm there happily crocheting along when a moment of inspiration hits, shouldn't I be able to rely on my stash to make that idea a reality?

Today I am specifically addressing my Bead Acquisition Syndrome.  Apparently I have not added all that I could (or should) as I now find myself, once again, surfing the Internet to find out:

A. If the item I'm looking for exists
B. If so, can I obtain it locally
C. And just when the next Bead Exposition will be held in my neck of the woods.

Seriously, how large must one's stash be to find it adequately satisfying??


Update  6:58PM:  Ask the Universe and the Universe will answer! 

There I was, earlier this evening, knee-deep in dirt, assisting my kids with their corn experiment when my neighbor called out to me:  "Dee!  Dee!  Can you come over here for a moment?  I have mail that belongs to you!"

So I went over to see my neighbor who was holding a bright pink postcard in her hand.  "Our mail carrier gave me your mail in error.  I thought you might want it now rather than waiting until tomorrow."

I looked at it.  It's an announcement from the Nice People folks announcing that there will be a bead expo in my area on June 29th.   Perfect timing!  :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Blast from the Past

It's amazing to me how the Internet can bring us around the world, to our own town, to our own neighborhood, and in this case, right back home again!

I was searching the internet for inspiration when this picture came up -- it's the Bridal Amulet Bag I designed/crocheted for my niece-to-be back in 2004.  (Don't mind the "manly hands" holding it, those belong to my Mr. Dee.)  It took a lot of hours to crochet all those tiny stitches using thread, but it was a joy of labor to do. 

It had tiny white pearl beads, and a little blue Cameo for the "something blue" tradition.  It was made for the bride to wear on her wrist as she walked down the aisle.  This allowed her to carry whatever she needed -- perhaps a tissue, a six pence, or a family heirloom -- safely and securely.

Before anyone inquires, no, I didn't write the pattern down, nor do I intend to.  I felt that this piece should remain an original work so that, should the bride choose to, it could become a family tradition she starts.  She could have her future daughter, or daugher-in-law, or a niece, or a grandchild use it.   However, if you are interested in creating an Amulet Bag, there are free patterns available on the Internet; just google them.  :)

Yes, having the Internet take me back home, to a past project, certainly is a blast from the past!  

Happy Anniversary Jeff & Courtney!!  :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tagged with a meme!

I loved watching Dana Carvey play the Church Lady back when he was on the television program Saturday Night Live.  He'd say, "Well now, isn't that special?!" and cracked me up with it each and every time!  That's the first thing that popped into my head when Doris tagged me for this meme: Well now, isn't that special?!  After I stopped laughing, I figured Doris meant business, so I set to answering the meme.

As you discover that there are two entries for today I figured that is what will be popping into all of your minds as well: Well now, isn't that special?!  I hope so, because there won't be an entry for tomorrow.  ;) 
Nearly a decade agoWhat was I doing ten years ago?

Licking my wounds after being fired for being pregnant -- again.  (It's a long story, and not one I wish to share.  However, there are blessings from that time, the greatest being my son, Dee Jr. (My sweet Mini~Dee was already here). The second blessing was my entering further into the world of crochet soon thereafter.)

Five things on my non-work to do list today:
Stop at library to pick up inter-library book request.
Paint my nails sky blue because I want to.
Study my hair while seriously considering fulfilling kids request of me getting blue highlights.
Select five things to toss or donate as part of my "one less thing in my house campaign"
Sit outside on my swing, coffee in hand, while listening to nature sing to me.

Snacks I enjoy (in no particular order):
Candy Corn on Halloween
Trader Joe's popcorn
Ben & Jerry's ice cream -- while at their factory in VT
Slim Jim Beef Jerky -- while onlong road trips (why is that???)
Mountain Dew, red or regular, when dining out

Things I would do if I was a billionaire:
Play Monopoly with real money.  (I call dibs on being the shoe!)
Buy a working farm and hire a lawyer team to write up an iron-clad Will to ensure it always remain so for eternity.  (Doris could keep her pony there while she's doing book signing tours.)
Teach Oprah how to crochet (I suspect we'd be neighbors) 
Start the Crochet-network for television & Internet viewers.
Buy a  grape Nehi soda (pop) and enjoy it with a Zero candy bar to revisit my childhood memories.  Oh, and a Mr. Pibb too.
... I have a long list, how much more money do I have left to spend?

Places I have lived (some of them):
Take a marker and place it on Connecticut, drag it down to Florida, then out towards Colorado, to Virginia, to Florida, and back to Connecticut.  Then drag it down to Texas, Oklahoma, California and then back to Connecticut.  I forgot to stick in Nevada, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine in ... let's start over.  Take a marker and place it on Connecticut ... geesh, it might be easier, quicker, and much neater to crochet a scarf than have me go over this until I get it right ...

Jobs I have had (some of them):
Newspaper delivery girl, camp counselor, check-out girl, jeweler, shipping manager for a software company, automotive parts manager, sales associate (highest sales in district), blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda*, Mom, and crochet teacher, designer, and cheerleader  (*Yeah, I borrowed that from the Jerry Seinfeld television show.)

People I want to know more about:
Kim Guzman.  She amazes me.  :)

Question from Reader: Illusion Crochet?

Hi Dee, I was reading your entry from yesterday and saw the picture you posted.  Is that Illusion Crochet?  I looked on the Knit and Crochet Show site but could not find where you are teaching it.  Am I missing something?  Carol

Hi Carol,

Thank you for visiting with me.  The image I included in my post yesterday is not Illusion Crochet.  But, in looking at it in a technique persepective, I guess you can possibly call it a cousin to the Illusion Crochet technique.  Illusion Crochet is the technique of using two contrasting colors of yarn (or thread if you want a smaller project) so that when  you look head-on, the work looks one way, yet when you view it at an angle an image magically appears.  Darla Fanton will be teaching the Illusion Crochet class at the Conference.

The work I showed yesterday is a sample I am currently designing for the Pushmi-Pullyu class I'll be teaching at the Conference.    The picture I am showing today is a longer view -- which, btw, I am showning at an angle for a reason.  This might be why you were thinking it was Illusion Crochet!  :)

The Pushmi-Pullyu class I am teaching will focus on the crochet technique of turning stitches around -- creating them backwards!  This is just one sample to show that there are fantastic advantages to knowing this technique -- and if you're interested in learning it, then I highly recommend registering for it ASAP as it's close to being sold out.

Thank you for visiting me, and for the great question!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I survived our four day heat wave.  Barely though. 

I spent Sunday afternoon with fellow hookers -- members of the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club, Connecticut Chapter of the Crochet Guild of America, for our monthly meeting.  It was another great meeting, and I got to show the progress of my Secret Project -- it received many compliments.  The AC felt delicious.

Swatch for Dee's 'Pushmi-Pullyu' classMini~Dee did not take the heat well, and was sick all that night.  She and I spent Monday at our local Borders bookstore, enjoying their AC.  She worked on drawing characters for their  
cornnecticut blog (they're hoping to come up with a design to create T-shirts with), while I worked on crocheting many swatches that I later photographed and inserted into the class handouts such as the one you see here to the right.  (I love photos, diagrams, and such in handouts I receive for memory jogging.  Conferences are great, but when you take many hours of various crochet classes back to back to back, I've found it's nice to have a little something to set those light bulbs off again once you return home.)  Mr. Dee came home later in the evening witnessing his wife melting into a lowercase "d" and decided the heat was too much.  We spent the evening setting up the AC.  It felt good, but I was too spent to crochet any more.

Yesterday I roasted.  Seriously.  It was the children's school picnic at our local YMCA.  Even though they cut the picnic time down, I still roasted while wearing many applications of SPF 50 sun-block.  It was so hot that later I took my children and a couple of their friends to a local hotel with an indoor pool.  I jumped in, clothes and all!  (I do have sunburn, but not as bad as I feared!)

Later, we had a big booming thunderstorm blow through in the evening and that broke our four-day heat wave.  Or was it
Bonnie, who broke it?  She sent me snow wishes, writing, "We still have 12 feet of snow an hour from us, and it is snowing up a storm in areas we've never had snow this late.  We're having the coldest June (we call it Junuary) in about 150 years.  It's about 50 and drippy here."

Ah!  Thank you, Bonnie!  I love snow.  :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Whew! It's Hot!

Here in Connecticut we are experiencing our first heat wave of the year.  I'd call it our first heat wave of the summer, except summer doesn't officially start until June 21st.  It doesn't matter, really.  I just know I'm too hot to crochet, and the electric/gas prices are out of control so I'm keeping the AC off for now. 

So what's a crocheter to do when it's too hot to crochet?  Shop!

That's right.  I've been burning up the phone and Internet lines shopping today!  And I feel a great sense of (cool) relief that I have nearly all the materials on hand, or ordered, for my upcoming classes I'll be teaching at the National Conference.  I am still working on my handouts, but having this much done already is a fantastic feeling!

In the past I've always appreciated all the hard work the teachers put into the materials they provided me, and my fellow classmates, when I was taking classes at the Conference -- but this brings a whole new level of appreciation!!  So to my past teachers -- let me thank you AGAIN for being so wonderful!  I do hope that all the work I've been putting into my materials (i.e. class handouts & supplies ) will echo your caliber of greatness!  And to Mr. Dee, I want to pre-thank you.  I know this is going to be a "whole 'lotta" stuff to haul with us to Manchester come this July!  ;)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cluster @ our Coffee, Crochet & Chat

Every month, on the first Wednesday of the month (unless there is a major holiday), we have a "Coffee, Crochet & Chat" session at our local Borders bookstore located in Brookfield, Connecticut.  On this day we hold two sessions: one in the morning from 10AM - Noon, and one in the evening 6PM - 8PM.  If you find yourself in the area, please do consider joining us!  :)

I usually attend the morning session.  And I was there yesterday, enjoying the company of our regulars: Ruth, Judy and Priscilla.  Joining us for the first time, thanks to, was Karin.  Since we were having so much fun, a Borders' customer decided to join in, Marsha!

Ruth was working on a baby sweater that she plans on selling for the Jimmy Fund; Judy was working on a ripple blanket, Karin was working on a dress designed by Lily Chin, and Priscilla was working on a Doris Chan pattern.  Marsha didn't have her crocheting with her, but she picked up a lot of tips, and shared in our discussion of various projects and yarns we love. 

What did I bring?  My "top secret" project.  I did show my current project to the ladies and they loved it.  While showing it I expressed my extreme dislike of using turning/lifting chains when working new rounds starting with a cluster stitch.  Seriously.  You have the chain just "standing there" next to a two-legged cluster.  
 I really don't like the way it looks.  So I changed it.  For this "top secret" project, I have replaced the chain with a single crochet, chain one combo prior to starting the "two-legged" cluster.  To me, it looks more "normal" to a real cluster.  And since it doesn't matter, in this case, that the beginning of the cluster is a bit smaller that a chain-3 would normally be, I went with it for the entire project.  Do you like the way it looks too?

Experiment.  Then go with the technique that you like best.  :)

How to make a Cluster: YO, insert hook in st, YO and draw up a loop (3 loops now on hook), YO and draw through two, YO, insert hook in st, YO and draw up a loop (4 loops now on hook), YO and draw through two, YO, insert hook in st, YO and draw up loop (5 loops now on hook), YO and draw through two, YO and draw through all remaining loops on hook.

How to make a Beginning Cluster Like Dee's:  (remember, only use this technique when starting a round that begins with a cluster stitch)  Instead of joining round with a slip stitch, remove hook from work, insert hook under top two loops FROM THE BACK, placing loop back onto hook; draw loop through.  This will have your loop ready to immediately start a single crochet stitch without the slip stitch joining bulk!  Create your single crochet stitch as normal (no need to chain 1 first), chain one and then create cluster as follows:  YO, insert hook in st, YO and draw up a loop (3 loops now on hook), YO and draw through two, YO, insert hook in st, YO and draw up loop (4 loops now on hook), YO and draw through two, YO and draw through all remaining loops on hook.

If you liked this tip, you should consider signing up for the Pushmi Pullyu class! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Contest: Where In the World Would You Like Dee to Be?

Sandie cracked me up this morning when I read her blog entry expressing her wishes of having me live coser to her in Louisana.  And while I'm not moving, yet, she got me to think:  where else would my readers wish I lived?

And, since I'm coming up to 150,000 visitors here at CrochetingWithDee (not including RSS feeds & subscriptions), I thought that would make a great contest!

So, readers, do share!  Where would you like for me to live -- and why?  Submit your entries by leaving a message here, by emailing it to me, or by bloging your answer (please ensure I have a link for your blog!) !  All entries will be accepted until the magic number of 150,000 visitors are reached.  (please do not reload the page to make the number climb -- I'll know!) Once all the entries are in I'll have one of the Dee's (Dee Jr., Mini~Dee, or Mr. Dee) select a winner randomly.

What will you win, should your entry be selected?  Something grand from my private stash! 

Sandie, thanks for the lovely compliment.  I'm counting you as my first entry for this contest!  :)

Bonus Question:  Create a great caption for the world/frog image here for a Runner-Up prize!  Captions will later be voted on by readers.

If you'd like to meet me in person, I will be teaching at the CGOA's summer conference, The Knit and Crochet Show!  Consider taking a class with me, or meeting me at one of the many events taking place!  I always love meeting my readers!  :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Eye Candy

It's going to be another busy week for me, but just because I cannot show you what I currently have on my hook doesn't mean I can't offer you some eye candy to enjoy!

First, I'd like for you to check out what the International Freeform Fiberart Guild created for the 2008 Challenge entitled "Through Our Eyes":

This year, along with the online exhibition, a companion book is available for purchase, that includes the photos of each piece and the poem or writing that accompanies it by each designer.  And -- 100% of the profits will go to Women for Women International.  The book is available in hard or soft copy; either of which would be a treasured addition to your freeform library or make a wonderful gift for a special friend or family member. Last year many Conference attendees had their books autographed!  More information about the book is available here: Woods did another fantastic job with putting this exhibit & book together!

Secondly, if you're not a member of, what are you waiting for?  I received a private message from Lucy, saying, "Dee: Did you see the NYTimes article about the glass blowers who have made chain stitches with molten glass? The article says, “Who knew you could knit and crochet with glass?” Check out the slide show picture #6. The site is:"

Thank you, Lucy, I hadn't!   Now that's amazing!   :) 

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Question From Reader: Benefiting from Classes?

Dear Dee: I have been knitting for years, mainly using a crochet hook to pick up stitches and do some edgings.  I have tried crocheting an entire project before but found reading the patterns difficult, and forgetaboutit  when it comes to meeting crochet gauge.  I am looking at your crochet classes on the Knit and Crochet Show site, and even googled you.  You are all over the Internet!  Do you think I would I benefit from taking your beginner classes?  Thanks, Linda


Dear Linda,
Thank you for contacting me and inquiring if my classes would help you with learning more about crochet.  First, let me state I am flattered you googled me.  You are the third person this week to tell me they've done so!  :)

Second, my answer is yes!  I do think you would benefit -- greatly, if I do say so myself -- from taking my Crochet 101 and Crochet 102 classes.  Do you need to take both classes?  Honestly, I think you're the best person to answer that.  The Crochet 101 class is for beginners -- those who need to learn from the ground up.  Based upon what you wrote, I'm guessing you are comfortable with some of the basics already.  If this is the case, that you are comfortable with making basic crochet stitches and maintaining stitch count, then I think you can pass on the 101 class.  Then again, we'll be covering information you might find very helpful.

The Crochet 102 class will cover more of the rules of crochet and why we need them.   It also includes gauge (discovering if you are a "lifter" or a "rider" -- which is important to know, reading patterns, how to properly  add on new yarn/colors, and more!  Since you have a knitting background, we can use that information to make your crocheting experience more enjoyable!  

If you're still not sure, then I highly suggest taking both classes.  I definitely think you can benefit from taking both, but since I am not beside you observing just how much crochet knowledge you have already, it's up to you to decide.  I wouldn't wait too long though, as classes are filling up fast! 

By the way, I'm not sure if Google picked up on this when you researched me, but I can crochet with either hand.  So it doesn't matter to me if you are left or right handed!  I teach can teach both!  :)

I hope this helps,