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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lily VS Lisa

The great race has been completed and a winner decided. No, I don't mean the "Tour De France", I mean the world's fastest crocheter race. Here's the link:


First off, I get no kickbacks from either of these ladies, but I have purchased and used some of Lily Chin's books. I don't know Lisa but if she has published patterns, I probably have some of hers, too.

Lisa won with an impressive 107 stitches to Lily's 82. I'm not sure of the time period this encompasses, I think 3 minutes. That's pretty _amazing_, I wonder what kind of hook she used? I bet it was a Boye hook, but I'd say that because they are my _favorite_ hooks. The Addi hooks are supposed to be fast, but I've never tried them yet. Yes, even though the Boyes are my favorites, I stray from time to time. But I always come back to my beloved Boyes;) Perhaps Lisa will get a crochet hook deal? Lily Chin already has her own brand of yarn out, as well as several pattern books. At any rate, I wish both parties the best of luck in their future endeavors (and if they want to give me some yarn or something, that's cool too;))

A lot of people feel speed is not something that should be considered for crocheting. After all, crocheting is fun and you probably shouldn't hurry fun. But I can tell you when you start crocheting, it's _all_ about picking up speed. I remember the first afghan I made (okay, I sort of made it. My older sister Bee helped a _lot_ with it). It seemed to take me forever to get a row done. It wasn't even a hard afghan, just stripes of double crochet. I never thought I'd finish it. Now I could whip right thru it, providing there was enough on tv I wanted to watch. I'm not saying everybody should strive to be superfast - that's up to you. But becoming accomplished in your field of interest is a good thing.

That's part of the reason I have so much trouble with knitting. It seems to take me forever to knit a scarf, and again, a simple garter stitch pattern. And when I drop a stitch - well, it's not a pretty site. I will rip it out and begin again, this time crocheting. I imagine if I tried harder and practiced more, I'd get the hang of knitting. But crocheting is so much more_fun_. You can immediately see where you're going with it and what shape your object is taking. You're making a hat, you can see what shape and how big the hat will be within a few rows. Knitting takes longer to get to that point. Crocheting to me seems to be a more fluid art form.

Oh, yes, I said "art form". Crocheting is an art form - maybe a wearable art if it's a sweater or even functional art if it's mittens. A beautiful doily is a truly a work of art. It is art in one of the purest forms - the artist, the medium, the tool. Unless you figure paint or use your hands to sculpt, you can't get much closer to creating art than fiber arts such as crochet and embroidery. (Yeah, I know knitting, sewing & quilting are in that catagory, too, but this is_my_blog - I get to emphasize what I want to.)

So there you go, future speedy crocheters - the number to beat is 107. I don't think I'm capable of going that fast, but I wish I could. It would give me an excuse to buy more yarn;)

Monday, July 11, 2005

playing with loops & copyrights & patterns

I was in a Barnes and Noble bookstore checking out the craft books recently. I got a really neat one from Carolyn Christmas, it has the "tumbling blocks" baby afghan pattern. (nope, no kickback from either of those two mentions.) I also spotted a knitting book that used an idea I was kicking about in my head - it has items (I presume more than one, since I didn't pick up the book) made from loops. I was surprised, I just had presumed I was the only one kicking it about in my head. Actually, I still am because I am talking about crochet loops, not knit ones.

This brings up a very intriguing thought - who is copying who? Obviously, the writer put the book out _first_ so the argument could be I was copying the writer. But since I don't knit that well and I thought of crochet _before_ seeing the book, I couldn't be copying from the author.

That's where copyright gets kind of weird. There's tons of patterns for granny square ponchos, but they fit the same basic directions - lay the squares out in a certain way and sew then or crochet them together. So who owns that pattern? Who could claim it, anyway, since granny squares seem to have been around forever? Or how about the big deal about Martha Stewart's poncho? There's at least 3 different versions of that floating around the internet. You could create the same item at home, not realizing a designer is creating it someplace else.

I won't pretend to be an expert on copyright. You can surf the net and learn about these things. But the most important thing is if _you_ think it's wrong, it probably is. That goes for copying patterns for your friends or selling copies as your own design. You can't sell the item you make unless the author gives you permission to do so. (Some patterns state you can sell the item, as long as you don't claim the pattern. If you are in doubt, don't use somebody else's pattern.)

You can avoid this problem by making up your own patterns. And it's really not that difficult - all you need is the time to create an a general idea of what you want to make. FOr me, I sketch what I'm trying to accomplish on paper. Okay, scrawl would be the better term, but it helps me see how the item will turn out. Sometimes I actually make a paper pattern (out of old grocery bags or newspapers) so I can clearly see what shape I am trying to make. I would guess this helps me because I used to help my older sister cut out clothes' patterns and I could clearly see the shape the garment was taking. So I have been scrawling loops and such to make this scarf come out how I picture it. It's working up fine, using Lion Brand's Homespun (no, no kickback from these folks - I just _love_ their yarn). And while I play with it, I get more ideas of what to do with my loops. I plan to write them down and try them out. ANd I think I will try to post some pictures when I get finished, so you can see what I'm tinkering with when I should be cleaning my house;)


Thursday, July 07, 2005

a lot on Ebay about crochet stuff

Sooner or later, if you're surfing the internet, you will happen upon Ebay. Ebay is loaded with things to purchase, but I'm going to talk about crochet stuff to buy.I have purchased a lot of great crocheting items and have had no problems so far. (no, I get no kickback from Ebay or the products I'm mentioning.)

If you're looking for a fancy crochet hook, there are plenty available. There's specialty hooks that are beautiful - Graydog Hooks, Clark Carved Hooks, Sonshapes Hooks, SilverGoose Hooks, UnclePawPaw hooks, BearCrazyMan hooks, AJ's One of a Kind hooks and Sharky hooks just to name a few. These are hand turned hooks, decorated with such things as lampwork beads, cats, bears and fish just to name a few. I don't own any of these (yet) but they are gorgeous looking.

Or maybe you're looking for the mass production hooks - you're also in luck. They have Boyes hooks, Susan Bates hooks, Lion Brand hooks, Coats and Clark hooks, Brittany hooks and Aero hooks just to name a few. Looking for a hairpin lace fork or afghan hooks - Ebay is likely to have them.

But_before_ you bid the grocery money on the hooks, take a close look at the description. Are you bidding for _one_ hook or all the hooks that are in the photo? Is this a hook that you may not be able to get locally or maybe it would cost more locally? Check the seller's description carefully. SOme people make the mistake of lumping knitting needles in with crochet hooks. That's fine if you want both, but if you only get 2 hooks out out a 15 "hook" offer, you may be disappointed. You also want to make sure you're not getting 15 size 10 steel hooks as opposed to 15 different size steel hooks.

I can't help you on the "vintage" hooks. I know nothing about them and so I don't buy them. If that's your interest, check out the description for dates and manufacturers' names. That way you have an idea of how "vintage" the hook is.

Be sure you check the postage and handling. A $1.25 hook isn't such a great bargain if you're paying $8.50 to have it shipped. And sometimes the sale is restricted to a particular country - some people won't ship overseas.

Last but not least, check the seller's feedback. You'll get an idea of how long the person has been selling and if the person is prompt in sending out orders. Remember a lot of times the "Ebay store" is a "mom and pop" type of operation, they don't have dozens of employees just sitting around waiting for your order. All the sellers I have dealt with have been very good - most of the sellers on Ebay are good. But if you do have a problem, try emailing your seller _first_ with your concern. THe package may on the way to you, if you contact the seller you will know when it was shipped. By contacting the seller directly, you can make sure there wasn't a problem with the package.

So now you have to excuse me. They have some fantastic yarn (all sorts - silk sari yarn, Berocco, Lion Brand, Paton, Red Heart, Caron...and more) on Ebay I want to get.

Have fun!

Monday, July 04, 2005

How can it be July already?

That's what I'm wondering, how did it get here so _quick_? I'm not ready.

Anyway, I have been working more than usual and only been working on scrunchies and preemie hats. Not the most exciting thing in the world, I'll admit, but I'm stitching along.

Click here: Submit a Slogan!

Currently Lion Brand Yarn is running a comtest to pick a new slogan for their coffee mugs. The current one is "So much yarn, so little time" or something along that line. It's a good one. If you submit a winning slogan, you get $100 worth of Lion Brand merchandise. (and if you win, I will cry _real_tears;))I wish I could think of a great slogan, but my mind is like old applesauce right now. $100 worth of Lion Brand merchadise, I think I'd have a hard time stopping at $100. I used the "Thick and Quick" chenille to make a poncho, it is _great_. (No, I don't get a kickback from them.)

Luckily, I got quite a stash of yarn, so even if I don't win, I can continue to crochet. When I was _much_ younger, I didn't have much of a stash and would have to rip stuff out so I could crochet again. There is something very soothing about crocheting, the repetition of the stitches, the smoothness of the hook - and the texture of the fabric that is being created. When I work on preemie hats, it's as if my hands are on automatic and the hat gets created without a lot of conscious thought on my part. It wasn't that way when I first started making them - with any new pattern I have to get used to the stitches and the shaping. But now, it's almost like a meditation to create the stitches.

I even find looking at yarn catalogs soothing. Reading about the various fibers and the colors makes me think about different projects I could make. This, believe or not, helps me sleep at night. I don't fret about the price of the yarn - mostly because I know I'm unlikely to buy it unless it's on sale;) And I think one of the best jobs in the world has to be naming the yarn - there's "Manhattan", "Paris" and "Moonglow" among others. I don't know how they come up with the names - if the particular names actually are related to the yarn or just the advertising department's creations. But they are fun to contemplate.

And I just remembered I was supposed to write down a pattern for somebody, something I was playing with......