Thursday, February 26, 2009

Crocheters -- Go Vote!!

What do you love about crochet? Have you ever wanted to let the industry know what your favorite yarn is, or your favorite way to get a pattern, or who your favorite crochet instructor is? Right now, you can! All you need to do is VOTE!!!

The first voting opportunity is for Mary Beth Temple. She wants to learn about what we look for in patterns ... cost vs. quantity, pdf vs print and so forth. You can cast your vote HERE, and even opt to have your name added for a drawing where one lucky winner will receive one cone of Lion Brand LB Collection Wool Stainless Steel in your choice of the Dusty Blue or Wine colorway. I wouldn't wait on the voting -- she plans on announcing the winner on her Getting Loopy show sometime in March.

The second is Patons yarn company; they have a variety of quick surveys ... the most important, imho, is the one where they are inquiring: “Which do you prefer? Knit, crochet or both?” (refresh the page/revisit it later on if it doesn't pop up.)

The third, and the one that I am most humble and honored to be a nominee of, is the first-ever Crochet Liberation Front "Flamies Award" -- you can cast your votes for the Flamies 2009 Crochet Awards HERE. You can learn more about the Flamies, and the Crochet Liberation Front HERE. I have been nominated for best crochet instructor and best crochet blog for 2008 -- which again, I am truly most humble and honored! I raise my crochet hook in a salute of thanks for the nominations!

Now, what are you still doing here? Go, vote -- then come back when you're done. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

G-l-o-r-i-a gloria

Earlier this week we visited with my Grammie Gloria, which reminded me that I apparently never blogged about giving her the Doris Chan "All Shawl" I had crocheted for her. (Or maybe I had but I just can't find it in my archives...) regardless, she loved the shawl!

When we visited her this week she showed me where she keeps her shawl; on her bed. "I drape it across my chest when I'm reading in bed," she said. Drat! I felt an immediate twinge of guilt for forgetting she had requested I come up with some sort of closure for the shawl so she could wear it without fear of it slipping off.

Before heading to the beach on Friday I had spent some time looking at my projects I have stored on Ravelry. I'm glad I had; when we went to AC Moore I managed to pick out the right colors in beads and buttons for the closures I just finished making for her! (although the image here doesn't reflect that). I'll be mailing these to her tomorrow; won't she be surprised?

How they work: one button is inserted between two double crochet stitches and then stretched over to the other side with the second button inserted between two double crochet stitches. There is stong elastic under the beads which will allow for some stretching. I made two sizes so she can elect to use both at the same time, or one at a time depending upon her needs.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Summer, er Winter Lovin', Had Me a Blast...

Mr. Dee read my blog entry about our plans from earlier this week to go to the beach which had been nixed. He was shocked to learn that I had never been to the Connecticut coast during the winter and vowed yesterday to make it happen. (I love that, even after all the years we've been together, we're still learning things about each other.)

Yesterday was a bright, sunny day, with just a slight peppering of clouds. The wind was gusting up to 35 mph, and it was 18° F, not including the wind chill factor. We packed a picnic lunch and set off to Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT.

While there were some other people at the beach, and tons of seagulls, we had pretty much the run of the park. Even though it was freezing to be outside, the children had a blast collecting shells, including two horseshoe crab shells. For awhile I decided to stay snug-as-a-bug all bundled up inside our vehicle, getting in some crochet stitches, absorbing the scenery through the windows. To be there, in the winter, was beautiful.

Afterwards Mr. Dee surprised me with a ride to Branford to check out a new yarn shop called "The Yarn Basket." The shop opened last August and while I was happy to, like on the beach, have the run of the place, I was sad to:
A. find there were no other patrons, and
B. find there was VERY little for the crochet support/merchandise. The saleslady was nice and I did manage to treat myself to a little bit of yarn. (see picture on left)

Mr. Dee then decided I needed to go to AC Moore located a few towns over. On the way we got a little lost and decided to pull over to consult the map (yes, we should invest in a GPS). In the parking lot we had pulled over in was a beauty supply store and I decided to check it out. That is where I found my new manaquin head (who now needs a name; any suggestions?). ((So, if we had GPS, this discovery would not have been possible. Scratch the idea of getting a GPS!))

Once we figured out where we were, we made it to AC Moore in record time. Funny thing though; I didn't purchase a single skien of yarn -- only beads. Hmmmmmm.

It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, and, in looking at my purchases, it seems as if the colors from the beach were etched in my mind, wouldn't you agree? ... anytime Mr. Dee wants to whisk us back to the beach, I'm game! :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Beta Testers Wanted

While it's true I can be found on Crochetville, Ravelry, Facebook, and in various Yahoo! groups, I've decided I'd like to try out a feature that came with the new home for my website ... my very own "CrochetWithDee Forum!"

I'm really excited about this and want to give it a six-month trial to see if my students and friends like having access to me in a location known to all who know me:

If you'd like to be a beta tester, please visit my website and look for the link for the forum to join. At the present time I have it set for manual approval -- this is to keep spammers and negative commentators out in hopes to keep the experience a positive and inspirational place for participants. All I ask is that members keep the language clean, keep to the topic of the fiber arts, and honor copyright.

I'm looking forward to seeing you all in the forum. J

Monday, February 16, 2009

All Knotted Up

Going to the beach today was ruled out, 1 to 4. How can that be fair that one out rules four? When it's an upset stomach. Mine. Ugh.

Rather than let the day go to waste, Mr. Dee has been tinkering with the television. We don't subscribe to any of those paid TV services (satellite, cable, etc) so we, or rather HE, is trying to figure out if we'll be needing one of those digital converter boxes. All I know is if he can pull in The Knit and Crochet Show, that would totally rock!

As for my accomplishments today? I have been in knots. Not just my stomach, but actual knots -- known as the world of macrame. I managed (with the assistance of Dee Jr.) to make my own macrame board (a huge one to attempt garment making), along with working on getting the new Ravelry group, Macrame: All Knotted Up, up and running.

If you think macrame is only for plant hangers, think again. Check out this stunning necklace that combines macrame with beading and crochet: ... I think it's stunning!

And then check out the sweaters by am_tm_mitsuko ... be sure to flip through the photos for an eye full of inspiration! :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beachin' Birthday Week Extravaganza

I want to thank everyone for the well wishes, and for the offerings to adopt my yarn stash. Mr. Dee is optimistic that A. he'll be able to find a new employer, and
B. that he will be able to stand looking at my stash for long lengths of time.
He's a trooper, I tell you! :)

He and the children have been whispering to each other all day, making plans ... I think, based upon what I've heard, they'll be taking me to the beach tomorrow as a way to kick off my birthday week extravaganza. I've only been to the (ocean) beach during the winter once. That was when I was visiting my family in Florida many years ago during Christmas. On Christmas eve my brother drove me out to Daytona Beach ... no, really, he was driving is 'vette ON the beach with the T-tops off ... grand memories I tell you!

In all the years I have lived in this state, this will be my first time visiting an ocean beach during the winter here in Connecticut. I find that really hard to believe!

What does one wear? I'm sure it will be much, MUCH colder than it was in Florida! Perhaps even colder than walking across a frozen lake. ... And, what should I bring with me to photograph? I love taking various crocheted items and photographing outdoors; I really should do it more often!

Going to the beach in the winter; what a howl! I can't wait! :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Uh Oh!

After today, Mr. Dee will be home more often. He is joining the many, many thousands of other Americans laid off from their jobs. He was with his employer for 18 years. And while there are many emotions that come with this news, I will do my best not to rant. However, I will not rule out hanging up a picture of what has happened to the American division, nor will I rule out darting my knitting needles at the CEO's picture. ((just how does one go about sharpening knitting needle points anyway???))

Mr. Dee, home. With me. All day.


Don't get me wrong; Mr. Dee is an awesome guy! I love spending time with him! And he happens to be my biggest supporter with my crochet adventures. But I wonder: will he still love me once he REALLY sees how much yarn I have stashed?

The first thing I need to do is have a plan of action! I recall Lily Chin has a Top 10 list for hiding yarn ... ((you can read it here, scroll about 1/2 down) ... perhaps along with her ideas I can also build a false wall with the children's legos ... would he notice?

Mr. Dee, home. With me. All day.

Maybe he'll embrace the warmth from my yarn stash and finally learn how to crochet?

Readers, I wonder. Just how creative have you gotten in hiding your yarn stash?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dinner Conversation

My children like to look over my shoulder while I'm on the Internet, checking out my world of crochet. Tonight was just like any other time, except, well, let me tell the story:

There I was, checking out how the traffic to my blog and website are doing when I noticed a huge spike in visitors. Now, while I like visitors, I also happen to like to know what is bringing people to me, and tonight it was a conversation on Crochetville about one of my patterns.

This got my children to inquire about what my favorite type of crochet is. Truthfully, I don't know if I have a favorite. After all, I now have 120 Types listed, and have tried nearly all of them. How can I be asked to pick just one to love?

OK, said my children, then tell us which is your least favorite to do!

Least favorite? Impossible! I love them all, I exclaim!

And then they started naming them:
I love it.
I love it.
I love it.
Rabbit? I never heard of Rabbit! You're making that one up!
I love it.
Love it too.

And on they went. And this got me to thinking that perhaps you, readers, might have favorite crochet techniques, or perhaps not so favorite. If so, please share your thoughts. ... and, ahem, if you know of the Rabbit, let me know.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Question From Reader: Where is Graydog?

Dear Dee,
I have been reading your blog for a while now and know you love Graydog crochet hooks. I can't find them on ebay. Can you tell me where I can purchase them? Thank you.

You're right; I do love my Graydog crochet hooks! Graydog crochet hooks have been sold on ebay by Bill and Jill since 1998. I purchased my first Graydog in 2001 and have been collecting them ever since! At the moment you will not find any Graydog crochet hooks available for purchase/auction on ebay as Bill and Jill are taking some time off. Jill assures me they will return to offering us beautiful hooks in the future. To ensure you don't miss their return to ebay, you can set the ebay option to be notified when an item you're looking for comes up for auction -- it's a great feature ebay offers!

In the meantime, I would like to recommend you try crochet hooks made by (Brian will customize them for you if you'd like) and (they are producing their hooks for retailers, so check your LYS). has beautiful hooks too; and a visit to Jimbo's blog is a must to see where he gets his inspiration from. You see, there are so many wonderful hand-turned crochet hooks for us to try, that I believe it is a personal journey to find the crochet hook -- or hooks -- that will enhance your crocheting experience. I recommend trying all crochet hooks that cross your path to find that perfect balance of shape, weight, and style that fits your personality and crocheting style!

Thanks for writing in!

Readers: Do you have crochet hook recommendations not covered here? Do tell!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Presidential Crochet Connections

For not knowing the true age of crochet, crochet does seem to have a lot of connections to people in history. Let's look to the American Presidents. How many can you name that has something associated with crochet?

First, lets look to our new President -- did you see what his mother-in-law was wearing during his Inauguration? Yeah, crochet! (I wrote to the White House requesting more information but have yet to hear anything. I think it would be wonderful if she crocheted the set herself!) That totally rocked seeing crochet upfront and center like that!

And, with our new President, there has been more focus on President Abraham Lincoln. Where is the crochet tie-in? If memory serves me correctly, I saw/read/heard something that his wife, Mary, was a crocheter ... I'm just waiting to confirm this before adding her to my list of Famous Crocheters.

Have there been other Presidential Crochet Connections? Yes!

  • Edith Wilson. She was considered the "first US woman president" for running our country for six months after her husband, President Woodrow Wilson, had a stroke!
  • And, there is James Buchannan. He was our 15th President -- the only to never marry -- who loved to crochet.
  • What about Ronald Reagan? He wasn't a crocheter, but he did appear in a movie with an actress who could! ... that would be with actress Ann Sheridan in the movie Kings Row
...And speaking of Famous Crocheters ... you all know about George Washington Carver, right? He wasn't a President, but he was named after one. Check out this nice write-up on AnniesAttic:

And, finally, did you know I have a connection to George Washington Carver? Yep! I attended 6th grade at George Washington Carver Elementry School located in Jacksonville, Florida, AND I was already crocheting at that time! Does that count? :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fringe Benefits

There are two camps to the issue of to fringing: to do so or not. It's a personal decision, and one could have crocheters counting the ways they love it, or not.

I have long been an advocate of NOT adding fringe to children's scarves as there have been horrible accidents of it getting caught in school bus doors. And up to about eight or nine years ago, I also stopped adding fringe to baby blankets as I've learned there is a possiblity of the strands coming loose and the baby (who puts EVERYTHING in it's mouth) could choke on it.

So, imagine, if you will, my silent 2:00 AM scream of horror in feeling the fringe, from the afghan my mother lovingly crocheted for Mr. Dee and I, tangling and then yanking out my earring! Fortunately I was not injured; but it does add another strike against fringing. (Or for those who love fringe, they could just state I shouldn't be sleeping with my earrings on. This of course is another personal choice thing.)

Don't get me wrong, there are many places fringe looks great, but not, in my humble opinion, when it could cause injury. I think adding crocheted borders are a much safer route to go. I'm just saying ...