Saturday, January 15, 2011

...And the Winner is ...

I would like to thank everyone who participated in my Anniversary Celebration.  I greatly enjoyed reading everyone's Crochet Wish Lists -- it was amazing to see so many listing Tunisian Crochet as one of your seven crochet techniques that you would like to learn.  Fortunately I can help you with that come this September at the Knit & Crochet Show that will take place in Greensboro, NC ... be sure to mark your calendars! 

It was also interesting to read many participants are not CGOA members but expressed an interest in joining.  I wonder, what is stopping you?  Why not take the plunge, join, and discover what I find so special about this Crochet Organization?  And why not join with a friend, perhaps gifting her/him with a membership too?
Giving a CGOA GIFT MEMBERSHIP is very easy -- CGOA memberships include 6 issues of Crochet! magazine plus all the regular member benefits of the Crochet Guild of America.   Want more reasons on why to join?  Check out the top 10 Reasons to Join!

I am pleased to announce the winner of my drawing for the one-year membership to the CGOA:

Congratulations Carol, and once again, thank you to everyone for participating, making this a wonderful way for me to celebrate 7 years of blogging about crochet, and celebrating my 10th Anniversary of being a CGOA member.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Question From Reader: Nuns Crochet Hook

I just came across an old wooden crochet hook, size K, with the name "Nuns" on the side. It must have belonged to my grandmother. Are you familiar with this brand? And do you know when it might have been made?
Marcia of Brookfield

Dear Marcia,
Thank you for the wonderful question! You have led me on a fun quest to learn more about your grandmother's crochet hook!  I have never seen a Nun's hook in person, so I was very intrigued!
Photo of Nun's Crochet Hook by Marcia.
Your crochet hook comes from T. Buettner & Co. Inc., well known for the "Nun's" branding, that was in business from the mid 1880s until its reported dissolving in 1960. The company was located in Chicago, Illinois, and specialized in the importing and manufacturing of goods for crocheting, embroidery, knitting, spool knitting and the likes.  Many companies, like the T. Buettner company, published their own patterns to help support the sales of their thread & yarn lines, so it is no surprise they also offered their own line of crochet hooks.

1926 T. Buettner & Co. ad for Nuns
"Boilproof" Embroidery & Crochet Cotton
The original owners, two brothers by the name of Emil and Ernest Buettner, seemed to have been immigrants from Germany; I am not sure why they came to America, but it is during the time period where there was a huge influx of Russian-Germans settling in that part of the country. The business was successful  to the point where they were able to hold dual residences in America and Germany.  (And their business took up three addresses in Chicago!)  Many of the items they sold from their American company reportedly came from Germany. As a side note, I noticed a lot of labels for their "boilproof" threads and yarns were stamped with "Made in Switzerland!"  

Your crochet hook is stamped with the letter "K;" this means that the hook was created for American use, regardless of where it was made.  If it were crafted for European use, it would have been stamped with a metric size. Unfortunately I am not able to figure out when -- or where -- your grandmothers Nun's crochet hook was created.   Readers, do you know more information about the Nun's Crochet Hooks?  If so, do tell!  :)
Websites to visit for more information: 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Now That's Just Creepy!

Oh, those things that are never more than 6 feet away from us -- no matter where we are.  We're talking those silent creepy crawlers, most of which spin webs -- spiders! 

In  2009 a unique cloth was created by "milking" over one million "wild" golden orb spiders -- taking some 70 people, and 4 years to do so -- to create an 11x4 foot textile (it was on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City).  The fabric is reported to be very elastic and so strong it is is compared to steel!  They call it "spider silk."  You can read the 2009 article, as well as see the "spid-y" fabric here.

And this is not the first time spider silk has been woven into a textile!  The first time, based upon the AMNH Video, was in the early 1900s, with the completed work placed on exhibit in Paris. Since that time the textile was lost!

Now, as reported in the January 2011 issue of Popular Mechanics magazine, scientists at the University of Notre Dame, and at the University of Wyoming, are genetically engineering silkworms to incorporate spider DNA to make "super-strong silk."  My guess they're looking to make the spider silk more affordable by being able to mass produce it through the use of silkworms.

My question is, what if they mess up like they did with the bees?   What are your thoughts on this?  Would you crochet or knit with spider silk?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Question From Reader: Double Ended Crochet Hooks???

What does one do with a double ended circular crochet hook? A.C. Moore carries one by Susan Bates for $9.95 and I have this great 50% off coupon. I've perused EVERY Tunesian crochet book in the store and there is no mention of using this type of hook ! The websites for Susan Bates etc. don't even mention or show it...hhmmm.. I can't think of anything with which to use this other than Tunesian crochet. Any ideas? Pictures? Projects using this type of hook? Ginger in Greenville

Dear Ginger, What a great question!!

The reason your Tunisian crochet books do not mention the double-ended crochet hook is because the hook in not part of the Tunisian technique.  Well, it is, kindasorta, but it isn't really considered a part of it.  I say "kindasorta" because if you know how to do Tunisian, you'll pick up the Crochet on the Double technique in a heartbeat!  On the other hand, if you know how to Crochet on the Double, then you'll pick up the Tunisian technique in a heartbeat.  They're that similar, yet, still different enough to be considered unique crochet techniques.  :)

The idea behind double-ended crochet hooks is that you can use different colored yarns, and/or textured yarns, to create beautiful crochet fabrics/projects.  You may want to check out the book 101 Double Ended Hook Stitches for some inspiration; your local library may have it available for loan.

At the moment,  my "on the go" project is a scarf I'm working up with some yarn that has been sitting in my stash for ages.  Not having enough of each color to create a single project is what kept this yarn from being utilized.  I have found combining them together using the double-ended crochet technique marries these two colors together beautifully: one side will be more "orange," and the other will show more "blue."  The gold running through both yarns pulls it all together.  (Side Note:  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.)
Take a look at the crochet hooks (pictured on the left) I am currently using -- test driving actually.  These are prototypes ...sweet, sweet, prototypes, I might add-- hand-turned by Tom of   Yummy looking, right?  These hooks are not on the market -- yet -- but the knitting needles are.  You can go here for the Ravelry discussion.  Keep watching my blog, I'll be discussing these hooks more in-depth soon!

I hope this helps, Ginger.  Now, go out and try this double-ended crochet technique.  It's pretty cool -- and, if you haven't already, consider entering into my CGOA One-Year Membership Drawing:)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Crochet Cover-Up on Wall Street

As a former "day trader" I got huge chuckles when the story of a crochet cover-up on Wall Street hit the news. And that's no bull. Well, actually, it kindasorta is...

On Christmas Eve, Agata Olek set out to cover the well known Wall Street Icon, the charging bronze bull that was created by Arturo di Modica. You can read the story here, and also watch the magic unfold below. And you can check out more of Olek's interesting crochet works here.  Want to know why she did it?  Read her blog entry here.

I love this sort of "yarn bombing!"  :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Yarn!!

The start of a New Year is always a good time to take stock of all that is good in our lives, as well as to make resolutions for what we hope to accomplish for the year.  ‎2011 will be my third year in reducing my yarn stash; many items for charity will be crocheted. Of course, with the kids liking the needle-felting, I can't say my roving stash will share the same fate.

The start of 2011 also means, that in just two short weeks, I will be starting my SEVENTH year in blogging about my crochet/yarn adventures, AND it will be my TENTH year of being a CGOA member.  In researching my very first post, it wasn't much.  But then again -- it was.  It was Ruth Arbitelle, one of my devoted crochet students who repeatedly asked me to share more about my crochet adventures.  At the time blogging was still fairly new and I didn't know much about it.  I decided to jump in and see where it would lead; the journey has been wonderful.  I am sure Ruth is smiling down from heaven, happy I'm still blogging (and probably wishing I'd update more often! lol).

To celebrate these milestones, I decided to have a drawing!

The rules are simple:
1. Entries accepted from now until January 14, 2011, midnight, eastern time, by leaving comments at this Blog entry.
2. List seven  things about crochet you'd like to learn.  If you're not sure, visit my "Types & Techniques" page on my website,, for some ideas.
3. Include if you are a CGOA member or not.
4. Leave a way for me to contact you should your name be drawn as the winner.  If I can't reach you, I'll need to have another name drawn.  Winner will be announced on January 15th; the winner will receive a One-Year Membership to the CGOA!
I wish you all a happy, healthy, crochet-filled New Year!  :)