Friday, June 24, 2011

Growing Up

It is so easy to get caught up in the details of daily life ... sometimes too easy.  It is when we have time to reflect that we realize just how fast, and precious, time is.  This week my sweet Mini~Dee graduated from the eighth grade.  Is it possible that much time has passed since she was pinned by Gwen Blakley-Kinsler, founder of the CGOA?  (see photo on right that I borrowed from Casey's website, Wow!

Although I did not crochet anything for her to wear to her school dance, or for her graduation, I did create some of the jewelry she wore, such as the pieces she's wearing here in this pre-graduation photo:  

Eighth Grade was a year of transition for her: starting a new school, taking the bus for the first time, making new friends, and more!  Although she struggled at first, she took each challenge head-on and worked her way back onto Honor Roll. We are very proud of her!  She even turned some of her new friends into fans of Sheep & Wool Festivals!

To my Mini~Dee, and to all of her graduated friends from her old school, and her new, I say CONGRATULATIONS!  ... and let's take the next four years a bit slower, OK?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Crocheters Mourn Legend

Today crocheters learned the sad news of crochet legend Jean Leinhauser's passing.Rita Weiss and Jean Leinhauser, 2008  Jean is one of three in the "Old Broads Rule" exclusive club; the other two members are Rita Weiss (pictured with Jean on the right), and Margaret Hubert.  This was an exclusive club they enjoyed; to be a member you had to have been in the publishing business for as long as them!

I first "met" Jean at a local craft store where I purchased my first crochet book on baby afghans -- with her name on the cover.  I had always wondered who she was; it wasn't until a few years later, once I went "public" with my crochet and joined the online movement, that I joined Crochet Partners, then a private group with its own website.  Shortly thereafter, when the group was moved to Yahoo! (where it still flourishes today) did I learn she owned the group!

I finally had the honor of meeting Jean in person in 2005 at a CGOA "Chain Link" Conference, and looked forward to seeing her at every Conference I attended thereafter. Jean will be honored and remembered at the upcoming CGOA Conference being held in Minneapolis as the first member inducted into of the Crocheters Hall of Fame.   She will be greatly missed!

To learn more about Jean, please read the interview on The Crochet Insider:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Question from Reader: Greek Filet Crochet??

Dear Dee,

I've recently been on holiday in Kefallonia, a Greek island and while I was there I saw an old Greek lady doing some sort of crochet. I don't speak Greek; she didn't speak English so I couldn't understand what she was telling me but basically it looked like Filet Crochet with one end of her work tied to a chair and the other end had 2 or 3 stitches on it, attached to what looked like a metal rod in her left hand and this was pulled to keep her work tight. She worked through these stitches with what looked like a long needle with an elongated eye and cotton threaded through it, using her right hand. I would love to know what this technique is and am currently trawling the internet to find out what it is. Maybe it's just a local craft? Cynthia from the UK

Dear Cynthia,
What a great question!

I believe, based upon your description, what you observed while on vacation is a technique called "Locker Hooking." This involves having a mesh fabric (yes, the mesh certainly could be crocheted if you wanted), with a "needled crochet hook" (a crochet hook with a hole at the end) to pull yarn or material up into the space, then secured once the yarn attached to the hook is pulled through. The end product has a very similiar look -- yet a bit different -- to those woven on an actual loom. The specialized crochet/locker hooks can be found in some craft/yarn shops, and online such as at and at Amazon. There are also books available such as the one I own, called: "Hook, Loop 'n' Lock: Create Fun and Easy Locker Hooked Projects.  Your local library may have additional references available.

Check out this video I found on YouTube:; I believe it will be the technique you observed while on holiday.

And, for the record,  I do think of the Locker Hooking technique as a hybrid between crochet & weaving, much as I think the Tunisian technique is a hybrid between crochet & knit. 

Thank you for writing in! :)

ETA:  If you're interested, there is a  small group on Ravelry for this technique:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Jelly Makes it Sweeter

When my daughter came to me the night before a class field trip for a band competition at a local amusement park she was panicked.  She stated she needed a new beach bag.  Naturally I did what many parents would do: yell at your child for sharing this information at the very last minute, and then proceed to pull a miracle out of thin air.  In this case I knew I did not have enough time to crochet a bag for her, so, with little sewing experience I decided to get my machine out and see what I could create.  Considering I had no pattern, or expert advise, I put the pedal to the metal, powered through and managed to create a cute bag for her with breaking just one sewing machine needle.

Of course, after all the hugs & thanks, there was a promise for better timing in the future -- but we all know Murphy's Law needs to be factored in...

Yesterday, after my CGOA Chapter's monthly meeting, we went shopping for my daughter's Middle School Graduation gift -- a Polaroid Waterproof Digital Camera.  Once we got home and opened the packaging we discovered the camera did not have a camera strap/leash.  Oh no!  This would mean for her class field trip she would need to hold the camera in her hand the entire day.  Not wanting to trust Murphy's Law, I decided she needed a waterproof camera case that she could wear on her wrist.

Using Jelly Yarn's "Super Fine" black yarn, and crocheting into the wee hours of the morning, I designed this great little waterproof camera wrist bag waiting for her that was ready when she woke up this morning.  She was thrilled, and said the bag worked out great today during her class trip to Holiday Hill. 

With a week left of school, I'm hoping this is the end of last minute projects.  I need some sleep!  LOL

Monday, June 6, 2011

Crochet Machines?

I took some time off to enjoy some time with my mother and my Grammie Gloria over the past few weeks; what a good time we had!  :)

Prior to that I started going through my many, many emails -- I am amazed at how many inquiries for information on crochet machines I have received!  I had left a quick blurb on my facebook account promising to address this topic here just as soon as I could, so let's discuss this topic today.

Crochet Machines: do they exist? 

The answer is Yes.  And the answer is No

The first thing we need to address is the definition of crochet.  As crocheters, or rather as "human crocheters," we define crochet as the act of using a single tool with a notch at the end to pull one loop through another, creating one stitch at a time.  It is a simple definition, and for human hands with some experience, it is (mostly) a simple action to do.

Many knitting machines that exist today "knit" with a multitude of 'sticks with a notch at the end' to create the fabric by interlocking many loops/stitches at a time.  This is not crochet.  This is knit.  And, these machines can be purchased for the home (simplified & affordable) and for the factories (huge & complex, and expensive!).

If you Google or Bing "crochet machines" on the Internet, you will find links to companies selling what they claim are actual crochet machines.  However, if you look at the images of the finished products the machines create it is not in fact crochet.  There are machines on the market that can create very simplistic crochet stitches, such as the crochet chain, and, based upon a discussion in the Crochet Partners group on Yahoo, it would be used for finishing touches found on items like curtains.  These simplistic machines used for this purpose cost in excess of $10,000 US -- each!

The truth is, as simple as crochet can be for the human hands, it is too complex for machines to replicate.  All those crochet goods you see in the retail stores were indeed manufactured BY HUMAN HANDS.  The reason it is so inexpensive (aka, cheap) is because those human hands (& their owners) reside in third world countries.