Saturday, January 31, 2009

Houston, We Have Contact! KindaSorta...

If you have been trying to contact me, let me apologize. I know there is a problem ... and I'm not too happy about it either. It seems that I am (again) experiencing either bouncing emails, or receiving emails (seemingly) centuries after they've been sent, finding good emails tagged as spam, and so on. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the recent announcement of AOL laying off more people, but it is frustrating for sure!

In trying to come up with a solution, I have spent the last four hours rerouting some of the email incoming sources ... some of it will go to yahoo, and some to gmail, while the rest I'll keep on AOL -- for now. I am stating this so those of you wanting me to email you back won't be alarmed, thinking that someone has hijacked the "CrochetWithDee" name. This will allow me to try out both the yahoo and gmail services to determine which I like better before I totally abandon AOL. If there is another email service provider out there that is reliable and easy to use, I'm all ears.

If you have tried contacting me and I have not responded, please try again. Eventually we will connect! :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Volunteers Needed; Apply Within

Last week Starbucks had a promotion to help raise awareness that there is a short supply of volunteers. Starbucks was giving a free cup of coffee if you volunteered 5 hours of your time to a charity in need. I had hoped to take advantage by getting a bunch of friends together to go crochet at a local Starbucks during that time -- but it didn't happen; we couldn't mesh our calendars together in time to promote charity and crochet (with Starbucks free coffee!). But just because we were not successful in getting together at Starbucks doesn't mean our efforts are not needed!

It's just the opposite! As more and more people fall victim to our economy, more and more people will be in need. We don't need to go work in soup kitchens, organize coat drives, or any of that (unless you want to -- and those efforts would be VERY much appreciated by your local communities!), and we don't need to go out shopping for more yarn (unless you want to -- and in doing so helping your local yarn shop stay in business). Instead, what we can do, from the comfort of our homes, is volunteer to crochet.

Crochet for those same 5 hours Starbucks was asking we pledge to. Crochet hats, and scarves and donate them to homeless shelters. Crochet preemie sets and donate them to your local hospital. Crochet chemo caps for all ages, and both genders. Find a need, and fill it with 5 hours of your crochet time, then donate the fruits of your labor. Are you with me?

Those 5 hours you stitch will mean the world to someone. Someone such as Dawn who recently contacted me with the following:

Dear Dee,
I am currently in my 6th year of chemo at Danbury Hospital (battling Metastatic Breast Cancer) and today picked up one of your beautiful crochet hats at the Praxair Cancer Center. My hair was damp and the weather had turned cold and dreary and it was just perfect!
Thank you so much for spending your time making something so beautiful, and then sharing it with Me!!

Make a difference today! Pledge to volunteer 5 hours of your crochet time today!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ice, Ice Baby ...

It's been very, very cold here in Connecticut; even colder, at times, than Alaska! How has this effected my crochet?

Aside from dealing with water pipes cracking due to the extreme weather (resulting in loss of water and lots of ice everywhere) for the past couple of days, I have been busy designing a new pattern which I hope to offer in the very near future as a downloadable PDF -- which will be my first! Those who have been watching me designing/crocheting it in person were really excited about it. In fact, on the right is a sneak peak ... curious as to what it is?

For now, I must get back to work in double checking the pattern -- and in looking into a home to offer the pattern on. Thus far I am looking at Lulu, Patternfish, and now, thanks to Kim, Ravelry. If you have a preference, please let me know. J

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Boa-ing Fun on the Fingers

Mini~Dee's glamour-makeover party was a success; everyone had a great time -- and everyone loved the boas -- and loved them even more so when they learned each boa was handmade by Mini~Dee and Dee Jr. (they even ensured every boa was unique in color, all 18 of them!).

And it seems, on this snowy day here in Connecticut, that Mini~Dee and Dee Jr. are still having fun making boas! And why shouldn't they? The boas are quick to make, fun to watch grow, and when doubled up, make great scarves for those cold, snowy days like today!

If you know how to finger weave then you're all set to make your own. All you need to do is stretch out your fingers and use two strands of Lion Brand's Fun Fur together as you create your stitches. That's right, finger weaving requires no crochet hooks, and no knitting needles. All the stitches are created on the hands with the hands making this truly a handmade item! ((grins)) Two skeins is enough to create two boas ranging in length of 7 to 9 feet long.

Don't know how to finger weave? Then aside from taking a class with me, you may want to check out the book, Finger Knitting 1 (v. 1); your local library may have it available for loan.

At the rate my children are burning through my Fun Fur stash, I just may need to venture out to restock! ((wearing a bunch of boas, for sure!))

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ask Dee: Contract Crocheting

Dear Dee,
I was reading your blog archives and see you earn money from crochet by teaching and by designing patterns. Do you ever hire people to crochet for you or test your patterns? I am looking for ways I could make some extra cash with my crocheting.

Dear Bev,
Yes, it's true, I do earn money by teaching crochet locally and nationally, and from time to time by having one (or more) of my patterns purchased by a publisher. Since I do not mass-produce my patterns, nor sell mass-produced crochet garments, I do not hire people to do my crocheting for me. However, I do, from time to time, crochet for others, and you can too.

It's called "Contract Crocheting." This is when you have an agreement with another individual or company (say like Lion Brand) to crochet something for them. They will pay you based upon an agreed upon formula -- either by piece, stitch, or by length of time. And usually they will supply the yarn or thread for the project.

You certainly won't get rich teaching, publishing patterns, or contract crocheting, but it could lead to a little extra cash in your pocket. If this appeals to you then here is what I suggest:

  1. Put together an online page, like on, of projects you have completed. Make sure the pictures are clear so that a prospective employer can see your stitch work. Many designers and publishers scan the Internet looking for people to crochet for them, so this is a good business practice. ((Keep family and other non-related pictures out; remember, you want this to look professional.)
  2. List your qualifications. If you don't have any, then consider taking the Craft Yarn Council of America's certification course, or some other course that will testify to your dedication to the art of crochet.
  3. Join the Crochet Guild of America if you haven't already. Once you've joined, upgrade (at no additional cost) your membership to "Associate" and request to be listed as a "contract crocheter." (or designer, or teacher -- whatever avenue of crochet you want to become professionally involved in.) You will then be paired up with a mentor who will help you reach your goals. ((I suggest joining the CGOA prior to taking the CYCA's course as you can get a discount using your CGOA membership.))
  4. If you can, plan to attend a Crochet Guild of America's Conference. It's a great way to network; meeting those in the industry.
  5. Talk to your tax accountant. Since this is money earned, there is a good chance it will be taxable income. Every state has it's own rules, so it's also good to check if you will also need a business license.

For more information on the Crochet Guild of America, visit:
For more information on the Craft Yarn Council's certification course, visit:

Friday, January 9, 2009

"My, what big eyes you have!"

I am knee-deep in some CGOA activities, fulfilling some contract crochet obligations, and in the middle of helping my daughter plan her birthday party. So why is it, with another huge winter storm headed my way, that I cannot shut my eyes and turn my mind off to possible new projects?

The first project that started churning in my mind is for boas. My Mini~Dee will be having a "MakeOver~Glamor" party, and what would be better than seeing the girls wrapped up in fun, furry boas? If it snows tomorrow, I'll be turning the idea over to Mini~Dee to impliment.

The second project, which popped into my head as I was driving my children to school this morning, was a deep, deep desire to crochet with crystal beads and dark, dark brown fiber (yarn or thread) ... something freeformish, something inspired by the pictures I took yesterday and this morning with the ice clinging to the trees. Obviously mother nature has a huge hand in inspiring me here, and I know I have the supplies on hand. I am just itching to get started! Unfortunately I will have to hold off until I clear my plate off a little. (bummer!)
My question to you, readers, is, when weather or seasons change, are you inspired to crochet? If so, is it a creative project based upon what you see outside your front door, or are you more inspired to crochet for comfort until it passes? Or perhaps both?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Candle Power!

Here in Connecticut we are experiencing a big winter storm ... snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Mr. Dee just called me from his work and said it will be a long time until he is able to make it home as nearly every road is closed due to downed trees. Downed trees means no power, and that is the case for us right now.

Knowing Mr. Dee has been working with this severe weather, I wanted to ensure he came home to a hot meal. So what does a clever girl do? She uses candle power! Check it out ... 12 tea-lite candles, a casserole pan, and a shelf from my toaster oven and I'm good to go! (I made homemake chicken soup.)

... now, to rig up some more "candle power" so I can get some crochet stitching in! :)

Edited on 1/08/09 to add pictures. The images below were taken on 1/08/09 around town. Even after a day of semi-sunshine, heavy ice still clings to the trees, bending the mighty trees, snapping power lines. Is it any wonder why more afghans are crocheted in the winter than any other time of the year? :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Yarn!!

Based on a variety of articles I've been reading, with our economy in a downturn, there is a boom in the yarn business -- great for crocheters, knitters and other fiber art forms. In fact, one could possibly say the fiber arts has entered mainstream with everyone, including the yeti, picking up crochet hooks and knitting needles for some blissful recreation!

How mainstream are we talking? (If you're a local) Just watch your tele ... the latest commercial I've seen is for Ski Sundown, a skiing resort here in Connecticut. The commercial closes with a mother stating to her family, "and next week we'll learn how to crochet like pros!" (haven't found it on YouTube yet, give it time.) What a great way to kick off the new year! :)