Monday, October 22, 2012

The Sheep, The Wool, The Fun

The Sheep, The Wool, The Fun ... this is how I think of the New York Sheep and Wool Festival held in Rhinebeck, NY.

2012 NY Sheep & Wool Festival
 at Rhinebeck, NY

I was to have participated in this fun annual event on Saturday, but just minutes short of pulling into the parking lot I discovered I had completely forgotten about a prior commitment.  I turned the car around and vowed to return on Sunday.
When yarn gets motion-sickness.

Ever wonder what happens to yarn when it gets motion-sickness?  Yarn vomit.  There I said it.  It was the running joke of both trips to and from Rhinebeck. Mini~Dee had brought a friend with her (one that had attended the CT Sheep & Wool Festival this past April) on both trips: she crocheted, her friend knitted.  And they both worked on cleaning up the yarn guts.  LOL
The kids enjoying the beautiful weather at Rhinebeck.

Fortunately the weather on Sunday was just as beautiful as it was on Saturday; the sun was shining, the air was warm, everyone there seemed to be smiling, even the animals!

I concentrated on finding the "gems" of the festival: things I couldn't live without.  Every booth was filled with beautiful treasures so I really had to narrow it down.  I purchased a pair of green crochet hook earrings from SassafraCreations; some notions from BitsyKnits (including a pair of Knit Picks knitting needles that I can use with my recently aquired Interchangeable crochet hooks (with hopes of trying the Portuguese Knitting technique)); and some dee-licious lightly beaded, hand-spun angora yarn from AngoraOnline.  And scored a tube of "Heal My Nose," a must for the winter season!
Angora treasure found at Rhinebeck

There was a ton of food at the festival, including some hot sauces reportedly some 650+ times hotter than jalapeno peppers.  Naturally the kids decided to try it, and then instantly regretted it!  LOL  One of the biggest hits in the food building was the DeeDeeDesserts -- we came home with four flavors.  Am I saying this just because they have the name "Dee" in them?  No; the kids really liked it and want to make the holiday desserts with it.  The lamb burgers were fantastic, as was the "roving looking" maple cotton candy. 

The other enjoyable activity was in watching all the people -- it was like a Stitch Feast for the Eyes, with non-stop action of finished crocheted and knitted projects everywhere.  The only sighting that seemed to raise the kids eyebrows was the man wearing the very short knitted shorts.  (I'm not sure if it was the shorts that got them to giggle or the day-glow brightness of his legs. I'm sure the stitch work was nice, but I dared not to take a closer look!)  This year there seemed to be a lot of crocheted ponchos and sweaters in beautiful color arrangements & fibers. 

Here's looking forward to next year's event!  :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Setting Fire to the Yarn

The following question was asked by my cousin, a new crocheter:

I have a yarn ? I'm hoping you can help with... When I get bags of yarn at a thrift store or garage sale sometimes they don't have the sheath with info on them. Sometimes the yarn is deliciously old and high quality, too! But.. And here is the pickle.. is there any way to be sure what the yarn is: i.e. wool, acrylic, etc??? Also..I'm careful not to mix say...cotton yarn and acrylic yarn in one piece..or wool and anything else...but is it OK to use different synthetics in the same garment? Like, say, an acrylic yarn scarf with eyelash yarn trim? Sorry for all the questions! Thanks! ~Nancy

Great question, right?! :)
from 2006, the dark brown is
a leather yarn; the lighter is
an acrylic.
As I type this blog post, please first let me apologize should you get Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" running through your head.  I know it is now stuck in mind.

Getting back to our topic, I advised Nancy that she can certainly mix her fiber contents.  I mix my fibers quite often.  In fact, in the 2005 book, "Fabulous Crocheted Ponchos: New Styles, New Looks, New Yarns," I have a beautiful blue/teal poncho featured with different yarn fibers and weights.  I think the most extreme mix I've done thus far is mixing an acrylic yarn with a (real) leather yarn.  Freeform, a crochet (and knit) technique, is renown for mixing both stitches AND fibers.  Aside from figuring out the gauge issue caused by different yarn weights, is to remember to change the washing instructions from machine to hand-wash, and to lay flat to dry to prevent the more delicate fibers from being damaged.  Leather, well, that requires cleaning magic provided by my local dry cleaners.

Side Note:  If you are donating an item to charity, it is best to label the donation with the fiber content.  If you don't know the fiber's content, then stating it is unknown is still appreciated.
As for determining fiber content from yarn missing its manufacturer's labels, there is a burn test you can do.  This was first (that I know of) mentioned in Darla Sim's book, "Crocheting for Fun & Profit."  It is also detailed on these two websites: 
I have of yet to try the burn test myself, so if you do decide to give this a try, please take all necessary precautions.  Remember, safety first! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

She's Growing Up

2006: Myra Wood assisting Mini~Dee
with her 1st Runway appearance.
Photo from Mini~Dee's website,
Can you believe my Mini~Dee is a sophomore in high school?  Me either!

It does not seem all that long ago when CGOA Founder, Gwen Blakley Kinsler, was pinning her as a "CGOA Member," or when  Myra Wood took her by the hand and helped her make her first runway appearance at ChainLink.  Where does the time go??

This past weekend she worked at The Knitshop Girls booth at Stitches East.  This was her first official job, and she enjoyed it tremendously.  Not only did she have fun working, but she also got to see fiber-friends she hasn't seen in a few years ... like Drew, Tammy Hildebrand, and Kathleen Sams (of Red Heart).  
Mini~Dee working at Stitches East,
enjoying a Starbucks coffee.
Mini~Dee modeling a garment
for The KnitShop Girls.
Everyone who knows her that got to see her at Stitches East was shocked to see she has grown -- and she loved seeing all those shocked faces!  LOL

She hasn't had much time to crochet (or knit) as she is very involved with her school marching band.  At the moment though, she is working hard at raising the $1,000 she needs to go with the Band to play at Disney in April.   One of the things she is doing for fund raising is taping into her knowledge of how sofas eat stitch markers -- something that both crocheters and knitters alike need, and how much we love bling.  With this in mind, she's selling "Bi-Stitchual Stitch Markers" in my Etsy shop.  If you'd like to support her fund raising efforts, or would like to see what she has available, please visit   As of this blog post, she has another $700 to go to reach her goal. 

When will she be at another fiber event?  Possibly at Rhinebeck (she has a PSAT test to take first!).  If you haven't seen her in a long while, you too might be just as shocked at how much she has grown!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Crochet Classes to be taught in New Fairfield, CT

I am thrilled to announce some local classes that I will be teaching for my town.  If you are interested in signing up, please visit  to download the brochure, and   to register.

The crochet classes are be held in the Library of Consolidated School, located in New Fairfield, CT. 

Crochet Classes  101 & 102
with Dee Stanziano 
Crochet 101: The Absolute Beginner
This crochet class is designed for the absolute beginner: learn how to properly start your work, the importance of the foundation chain, how to create the single crochet, how to count stitches, how to build upon your work to create beautiful fabric, and how to properly end off.

When: Monday, OCTOBER 15, 2012 from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
# of Sessions: One.
Fee: $20
Required Materials: light colored worsted weight yarn, size "H," "I", or "J" hook.
Class Size Limit: 10

Crochet 102: The Refresher
If you took 101 last week and are ready for the next step, or perhaps you crocheted long ago and need a refresher, then this is the Beginner Crochet class for you! In this class participants will learn to build taller stitches and the importance of turning chains, how to read yarn labels for crochet projects, learn the importance of gauge, and more! This class is designed to help beginners take their new passion to the next level.

When: Monday, OCTOBER 22, 2012 from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
# of Sessions: One.
Fee: $20
Required Materials: light colored worsted weight yarn, size "H", "I", or "J" hook, or current crochet project stuck on.
Class Size Limit: 10

Enhance your Crochet Knowledge by learning
new Crochet Stitches With Dee Stanziano
Crochet 201: Six-Stitch Scarf
Crocheters proficient with the basics will learn at least six beautiful crochet stitches in this class series to create a personal scarf (or for the more ambitious crocheter, a small throw). Instruction on how to finish off your project, including how to properly block your project to take it from "home-made" to "hand-made" will be included.

When: Mondays, OCTOBER 29, November 5 & 26th, December 3 & 10th, 2012 from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
# of Sessions:
Required Materials:
worsted weight yarn (1 - 2 skeins to start), size "H", "I", or "J" hook.
Class Size Limit: 15