Friday, October 28, 2011

Question From Reader: Tunisian Hooks a Pain?

Dear Dee,

I am learning Tunisian crochet and find I have too many loops on my hook. How do you deal with this? Thanks, Marnie

Dear Marnie,

prototypes of DyakCraft's Interchangeable Crochet Hooks
What a great question! Tunisian crochet requires us to load up our hook with many loops, much like a knitter would load up one of their knitting needles. The problem of having too many loops on the hook causes the loops to stretch out, fall off the hook -- or worse! -- cause an actual physical injury!

Since I have experienced all three issues (yes, I sprained my thumb a number of years ago from too many loops/too much weight on the hook) I now almost exclusively use cabled Tunisian crochet hooks.

My current "go to" cabled Tunisian crochet hooks are the proto-types for that I mentioned this past January {LINKY} ~ based upon the discussion on Ravelry, their interchangeable hooks should be available anytime soon!  The interchangeable crochet hooks, including the Denise version (which I also own) and others on the market, do tend to cost a bit more, but in my humble opinion, they are well worth it!  The interchangeable's are great because you can change the hook size and/or the cable size for your project.  In the picture above I have nearly 200 loops on the hook & cable; by moving the loops down the cable I disperse the weight of the work.  {{both the Dyak Craft & the Denise interchangeables are made in the USA!!}}

The interchangeables are also good for the "amazing needle" (aka knooking) technique, and the crochet-on-the-double technique.  If you're not sure what these techniques are, visit my website at and check out my Crochet Types & Techniques page.

Maybe now is a good time to put an interchangeable crochet hook set on your Holiday Wish List.  :)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello, I'm a Beadaholic and my name is ...

As a very young child I always loved when my mother decided to clean out her jewelry box as she would pass the treasures she no longer wanted to me.  Usually this meant pierced earrings with various beaded assortments relevant to the then fashion trends.  Being one of the few kids on the block without pierced ears, this would mean that my Barbie dolls would inherit them.  I'm not sure what happened to all those treasures mom gave to me, but I do recall all the many hours I spent adorning my dolls with them -- not just their ears, but in hanging them off various garments too.
Through the years, that fascination with bling-y bead stuff never left me.   In all seriousness, I can understand why Manhattan sold for $24 worth of beads; I think I would have sold it for the beads too.  Today, I still collect Barbies, and  I still love playing with beads -- just not together (Barbie has enough stuff thankyouverymuch!).  Now I pass on the tradition of cleaning out my own jewelry box, handing down various items I no longer want to my own kids: Mini~Dee and Dee Jr. 

Sometimes items from my jewelry box never make it to their eager hands -- did I mention that I like to crochet with beads and sequins?  I do!  I will get my pliers out and enjoy a little cannibalism.  LOL  (Apparently I'm not alone in thinking various jewelry components will look great on my crochet!)  I think adding beads and sequins to crochet projects adds a little zip; a little glamour to the intended project.  Of course, from time to time I will cut corners and buy pre-beaded, or pre-sequined yarn, such as Deborah Norville's Fashion Jeweltones to save a little time ...

Recently I started to make my own beaded stitch markers, such as the ones above.  In fact, I brought two sets of my stitch markers to show at one of my Chapter meetings recently and the members all "ohhhh'd" and "awwww'd" over them. This month is Part I of our Chapter's 10th Anniversary, and next month is our Part II of the Celebration; I decided to make three sets of stitch markers:

Our CGOA Chapter is represented by 3 colors: Purple, Silver and Gold.  Purple for our passion for crochet, Silver for making new friends, and Gold for keeping the old.  I wanted to avoid creating "cliques" with the stitch markers  and encourage them to mingle, so I mixed the three sets up.  (photo credit: the hook in both pictures is a Graydog crochet hook.)  Each set is on a ring so they can be worn while working on a project (preventing the sofa from gobbling them up!)  Come this time next month, three lucky HHCC members will each win a set (hook not included).

What about you?  Do you look at your jewelry with cannibal eyes?  Does your bead stash demand nearly as much shelf space as your yarn?  If so, you're a beadaholic too!  :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Loot, The Goods, The Bounty ...

The question that seems to be on everyone's mind (including Mr. Dee & the kids) since I've been back from ChainLink - which was what? A just week ago? -- is what did I come home with from the Vendor's Market?
On Thursday night, when the market opened, I decided to swim the current of shoppers to see what was "new to me," and what had "potential inspiration."  Like a child in a candy store, there was a plenty that fit these two categories!

On Friday afternoon, while many attendees were in class, I re-entered the vendors market and swam, like a shark, from vendor to vendor.  My first purchase were stunningly-beautiful handmade buttons by  -- I'm not sure why the color orange sang to me so loudly (maybe the yarn I purchased at Rhinebeck last year is finally ready to be worked up?), but I was in love.  There was no leaving them on the rack!

 I stopped at another vendor that was offering hand-dyed hanks of yarn.  I resisted the temptation, but could I really?  No.  I went no further than 10 steps away before I found myself returning to adopt a stunning hank of "blue denim" bamboo ribbon.  I then ran over to the CGOA's Yarn Winding booth and handed my precious new baby over to be wound into cakes; they were raising money to donate to the ASPCA in Jean Leinhauser's memory.  (If you ever tried to wind ribbon yarn, you'll find having someone else do it for you will be the best dollar-while-helping-a-cause will be the best dollar you'll ever spend!)

On Saturday evening, just moments before the market closed I made one more final purchase: a skein of Rozetti's sequined Soft Payette, and a skein of that new funky yarn that opens into a rickrack style of lace, Rozetti's Marina Multi.  This type of yarn is known as "webbed ribbon."  The video below is Rozett's video on how to knit with it:

and below is Kathleen Sams, of Red Heart Yarn, demonstrating how to crochet with the netted ribbon they're calling Sashay:

Pretty cool, huh?

The last goodie I got was not purchased.  It was a gift from my friend, Prudence Mapstone. It is a handmade button crafted by Petra of New Zealand. It's absolutely beautiful! Thank you, Prudence! :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Crochet Tributes

So here is the thing, if you take one of my classes, and you are wearing something you created by hand, and there is a stage ... then yes, there is a really, really good chance I'll ask you to get up on the stage and proudly show your creations off!  Thank you for being such great sports!  :)


As wonderful as it was to see all my old friends, and meeting so many new buddies at the recent ChainLink/ Knit and Crochet Show in Greensboro, NC, I did feel an incredible absence.  To not see the great smile of Jean Leinhauser there, who passed away this summer, was very sad to me.  She was the author of the first crochet pattern I ever laid eyes on -- and tried!  She was at every crochet conference I ever attended.  In the past 10 years we exchanged many emails discussing various topics about crochet; her wisdom and humor I cherished greatly.  To not see her at this conference felt to me like there was a huge hole;  I was delighted to see there was a Tribute to her on the Vendors Market floor:

She accomplished so much, and did so much for our World of Crochet.  Yes, Jean was & is greatly missed.

Check out this Tribute Leisure Arts created:

Jean will always be with us, in every stitch we create.