Monday, April 30, 2012

A Sheepishly Good Time

sheep sheering at the 103rd CT Sheep & Wool Festival
On Saturday, April 25th, I got up early, had my coffee, packed a few last minute things and was out the door by 7AM.  By 7:15, with my car loaded with teenagers (who were volunteers to help my CGOA Chapters members), we were on the road headed to the 103rd Connecticut Sheep & Wool Festival.
Some of the HHCC'ers at the
103rd Connecticut Sheep & Wool Festival
With traffic being light, we arrived by 9AM and started setting up the HHCC's demonstration booth in the Red Barn.  I was so glad I brought a coat: with the wind, it turned out to be quite freezing!  For most of the day, when not teaching or demonstrating, I wore the crocheted mittens I brought for the display -- a real life saver for my frozen fingers!

When I wasn't busy at the HHCC's booth, I was spending time with the teenagers -- one was celebrating her 15th birthday, so we had yummy carrot cake and crochet lessons in the warm sunshine for her!  ... and I got to do a bit of shopping too.  I bought mostly stitch markers and ID size tags.  Sure, stitch markers are sold local to me, but this is the first time I've seen them in purple!  My CGOA Chapter color!!  LOL  My daughter bought me the sheep beads which I think I'll make into earrings.  I didn't buy any of the super yummy yarns although I wanted too -- I'm still working through the yarn I had bought back in January!
Dee's loot matches HHCC color theme.
A nice surprise was a judging contest that took place in our barn.  We had no prior knowledge about it, so when they came to our booth asking if we'd like to submit something I nudged Nancy.  She submitted two items and walked away with two ribbons!  She had the biggest smile on her face; I loved seeing how happy it made her!  You can read about her ribboning experience on her blog here:

For a sheep & wool festival of its size, it is a great way to spend the day, sharing in the love of all alpaca'd in a single day.  I think everyone had a sheep-ishly good time.  I know I'm looking forward to attending again next year!  :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Take The Time to Stop and Smell the Flowers ... and possibly save a life!

In the summer of 1995 I was in a car accident.  After obeying a stop sign, I had just removed my foot from the break, preparing to hit the gas to proceed forward when I was hit: the impact pushing my car into the middle of the intersection.  The driver who hit my rear bumper said he didn't see the stop sign. (Why the driver did not see my car is a whole 'nuther story.) The responding police officer said if he had hit me while my breaks were still applied, there'd be no doubt he would have pushed my rear bummer into the middle of my back seat.

Last fall, while stopped at a stop sign, awaiting for a parent with a young child to finish using a crosswalk, a driver wasn't willing to wait and decided to drive around me, nearly hitting them.  In the driver's case, they were in a rush to go 100 feet further to drop someone off.  The case goes to court next month.

What's the rush?  In our world of speed and multi-tasking (we could insert the whole array of what people actually do while behind the wheel), I think it's pretty cool that Bryan in San Diego has found a way for drivers to actually stop and smell the flowers -- well, not really smell the flowers -- but rather to take notice of stop signs he and a dozen other crocheters and knitters have turned into flowers.

Bryan's goal was to bring art to San Diego.  I think he's done that.  But I also think he may have possibly saved a life or two, just by encouraging people to take notice of the stop signs! 

In support of the Stop Sign Yarn Flowers, we're encouraging those in support to help us set a trend on Twitter by tweeting "#ILuvYarnFlowers."  Join us!  :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Education: BAARAM University - RU A Graduate too?

One of my favorite movies to watch with the kids when they were younger was the 1995 movie, "Babe."  Do you remember it?  It's a story about a pig wanting to be a sheepdog.  Aside from being an inspiring movie about reaching one's dreams, I loved the line, "Baa-ram-ewe! Baa-ram-ewe! To your breed, your fleece, your clan be true! Sheep be true! Baa-ram-ewe!"  This single line from the movie would be repeated by my entire family for years!

And as the years passed, and my passion for all that is crochet and fiber related grew, eventually I began telling my kids I was a graduate of "BaaRamU" --  of course, no such school/university exists, but if it did, then I think I'd have well earned the right to state it is my school of choice.  Think about it.  If you crochet, or knit, or weave, or spin, there is a lot of education there: math, science, liberal arts ...

Flash forward to last week when I was updating my Facebook account: I'm not a fan of giving Facebook a lot of personal information so I decided to list BaaRamU as my "official college." (Feel free to list it as yours too!  lol)  Then I decided that I need "BaaRamU" attire that shows the pride of my "choosen school," so today I created the logo and then opened the CafePress shop:

BAARAM University - RU A Graduate too?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Evah Feel A Bit Jaded?

Have you ever fell in love with a yarn? I'm sure you have. I know I fall in love with yarn ALL THE TIME!   For me, it is more than just "yarn lust," it's a full-fledge, heart pounding "yarn love" that I regularly suffer from.  Why else would I choose to live with so much of it???  The only problem is the heartache that happens when the relationship splits up (like when the manufacturer decides to discontinue a particular line of yarn regardless of its popularity, or how deep my love for it is) -- or, when you discover that, gasp!, there is more than just one dye lot.

Yummy hand-dyed Tosh Merino Light yarn by Madelinetosh; 2 different dye lots.
Yes, I'm feeling a bit jaded.  Jade is the manufacturer's name of the hand-dyed yarn I have slated next for my crochet hook. I had received one hank as a gift from my good friend Grace back in 2011. I loved the yarn so much, I wanted more! So I ordered two more hanks earlier this year, and now that I am ready to start my project, I noticed the extreme color difference. Sigh. I should have known better!

In the picture above, the "cake" is the original Jade, while the two hanks are more like a granny smith apple green. Usually I recommend buying all the yarn you need - AT THE SAME TIME - to ensure this doesn't happen.  But at the time, I didn't know what the yarn wanted to grow up to be; I just knew that I loved it and had to have it.  I was willing to let the relationship go slow; to "mature with age;" until it was ready to blissfully flow from wound cake to individual loops swooning magically off my hook.

What to do? What to do?   Since I need to blend in the two dye lots, I plan to save the darker for the trim; using the lighter for the body of the project.   Next time, if you see an empty peg hanging at your LYS of a yummy yarn, know that it was me, buying out the entire stock -- of the same dye-lot. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kaplow ~ Thank You!

Dee Jr headed off to school this morning with the 40 hand-crocheted Chemo Caps, a variety of school supplies, and the $100 collected from our generous sponsors.  When he got home from school this afternoon, this is the story he told me:

"I turned the donations in to my homeroom teacher; when I gave her the check her eyes got real big and she said, 'Wow!' (The check had a copy of the blog entry attached to it about how the funds were raised.)

"While at my second period class we were decorating boxes for the donations to be placed in when I was called out to the hallway by my Writing teacher who was in charge of the Charity Drive/Community Project honoring Louis Kaplow's memory.  When I went out to the hallway I was introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Kaplow; they shook my hand.  They said that they were really happy and thankful for everything - especially the hand-made chemo caps and the money we raised.  My teacher said she had thought I was a good student, but after today she said I raised the bar.

"My teacher then took two of the 40 chemo caps around to every classroom to explain to my fellow classmates that they were hand-made and what their importance was.

"It was a great feeling to help with this drive. I'm glad so many people helped me contribute to it!"

I agree with my son; this wouldn't have been possible without the support of our family & friends!  Thank you, everyone, who helped us make this donation possible!!  :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chemo Caps for Kaplow - Wanna Help?

My son came home from school explaining they were doing a drive to remember Louis Kaplow, a boy who was known for his courage, humor and perserverance.  Tragically Louis lost his battle with brain cancer.  Every year since his passing, the school has a "Community Service Day," doing something to honor Louis' memory that benefits others.  This year they are collecting donations to present to the Yale New Haven Children's Hospital; Louis had spent many weeks at Yale and was reportedly given the best of quality care.

1.4 miles (or 6 laps around the track) of yarn was used to hand-crochet these 25 chemo caps in Kaplow's memory.
I had originally pledged to hand-crochet 20 chemo caps - one for each child in my son's homeroom.  Thinking I was done, I received word yesterday that the school is falling short of their goal for this drive.  In the last 24-hours I managed to whip up another 5 caps for this worthy cause!

Then it dawned on me ... why not offer to have people "sponsor" the caps.  With the 25 I hand-crocheted, and another 15 one of my Chapter Members offered, there are 40 caps total.  Then I thought, what if folks sponsored caps for $5 each?  We could raise up to $200! 

When Dee Jr came home from school today I presented him with this idea -- not only did he like it, but he also jumped on sponsoring two caps!  Then his sister also pledged to sponsor two caps.  This means we've already raised $20!  Since the caps need to be turned in Friday morning, I'm wondering if we can get all the caps sponsored within the next 24 hours.  What do you think? 

All monies raised will be turned into the school with the caps on Friday. The school will use the funds collected to purchase items needed for the drive, benefiting infants to teenagers all battling cancer.  Thank you for your support!  :)

             ----------------------- THANK YOU SPONSORS!  We raised $100!! ------------------------------
Dee Jr:  two caps, $10
Mini~Dee: two caps, $10
Grace, HHCC Pres: two caps, $10
Sharon & Dewey: four caps, $20
Andrea G: two caps, $10
Ellen Gormley of two caps, $10
Kara G: three caps, $15
Kyooms of two caps, $10
Mr. Dee: one cap, $5