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Sunday, August 28, 2005

revisited: the world's fastest crocheter

This is a great article about Lisa Gentry, the current world's fastest crocheter.
Eva Owsian does an excellent Q&A with M's Gentry. I've never seen that particular website before, but M's Owsian has interviews with various crocheters that are great - she asks the questions I would ask if I were given the opportunity.

I didn't realize I had done business with M's Gentry before, thru her website, http://www.caneyladyscreations.com/

I have purchased several of her patterns and they are very clear and concise, just what you are looking for in a crochet pattern. I just wanted to revisit this lovely lady and through the article on BellaOnLine, I did.

I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Free patterns until September 1, 2005

There's a great website that has some very cool free crocheting (and knitting) patterns. THe company, Solutia, intends to pull the plug on it on September 1, 2005. I suggest you get your mouse over to
before they close it down. A lot of great designers (Katherine Eng and Melissa Leapman among them) have patterns posted there. One of my favorites is the daffodil afghan. The stained glass quilt afghan is also posted there. But there's a lot of other patterns might interest you more.

Go check it out - you know you want to;) And just think, the money you save on patterns could go towards more yarn or thread....you're actually _saving_ money by looking at this;)


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"Family Circle Easy Crochet"

First off, none of these people / companys mention give me anything for mentioning them.

It's out! You might find it at Michael's or A.C. Moore or maybe a bookstore such as Barnes and Noble or Borders. Some newstands carry a variety of magazines, but not the ones around me. Or else I go at the wrong time. The last time I was at one particular newstand, the clerk _grilled_ me over my magazine choice, I think it was "Crochet Fantasy". She did not believe anybody read those magazines or made the projects. I stopped going to that particular newstand.

Anyway, it's got some interesting patterns, a few that look sort of familiar, some pictures of some great hooks from http://brainsbarn.com/
and of course a lot of great looking yarn. But one of the most interesting ads are for a free skein of Bernat's Disco yarn http://www.bernat.com/
It's not often you get a magazine and _free_ yarn. You've probably seen this yarn, it looks like a metallic garland, sort of what you'd put on a Christmas tree. It would be quite stylish as a scarf or maybe as a trim on something special. And you can't argue with the price, unless you really like to argue.

I am hoping they make this magazine as maybe twice a year (or more) but we'll see what happens. Right now I think the powers that be are waiting for the financial results.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

crochet calendar :(

I got the pattern a day crochet calendar. It's got some wonderful patterns in it - no, really it does.
I'm just a tad disappointed in it, though. I submitted a pattern, got the acceptance letter and thought my pattern would be in the calendar. It wasn't. I emailed the nice lady and she explained that there wasn't enough room. And somehow the email telling me it wouldn't be inthe calendar never got sent. :( It isn't really a "pattern a day" - some patterns run over 2 or 3 days, but there is well over 300 patterns in the calendar. I was told it could be in the next one, if I wanted it to be. I feel kind of silly because I told people "yup, I got a crochet pattern published". But that's the breaks of the game, isn't it? I know of designers who are having their work held up for a very _long_ time, so this is not that big a deal. okay, I wasn't a happy camper yesterday, it has been an ugly week, but in the whole scheme of the world, it really isn't something to get bent out of shape about.

The patterns are _truly_ amazing. There are thread bears, some fascinating granny squares as well as an assortment of hats and scarfs. I was really impressed with the gloves, they look so _cool_. All the work looked terrific and congratulations to everybody who had a part in putting this calendar together. It's supposed to become a tradition and I hope it does.

One thing I don't care for is that all the pages are loose. I don't normally get a day by day calendar, so maybe this is how they are set up. I would have preferred a wire bound calendar, but that's just _me_. It does come in a box that allows the paged to "sit up" and I guess you put older pages in the back of the newer pages. If you're interested in the calendar, they do sell it at major book stores as well as Amazon. (nope, no kickbacks for me)

While we're on the subject of crochet calendars, I have a story to share with you. A long time ago, "Annie's Attic" would put out a crochet calendar, a pattern per month. I thought this was a _great_ idea, bought one and hung it up where I was working at the time. It's really cool to be able to look at something other that a computer monitor all day and the patterns, as of all "Annie's Attics" pattern, were generally good. Other people had their calendars up - my youngest sister, who worked across the aisle from me had her calendar up - "The Men of Chippendales". Not a big deal.

Around the middle of March, I was called into the office of my supervisor. Apparently, somebody had complained _long_ and_hard_ about my calendar, claiming it was "sexual harassment". I thought this was a big joke. Than I was told I had to take the calendar _down_. I asked why. Seems as if a guy who was working there was "offended" by my calendar. I went back to my desk and showed it to my supervisor, asking him to show me the offending bits. He couldn't. But I _still_ had to take it down. Not one to go gently, I pointed out my sister had a Chippendale calendar, surely he must have meant _that_ calendar. No, my supervisor said, he said "Robin's calendar". So I took it down and put it in my desk at work. No more could I look at intricate stitches when I should have been thinking about work. No more would anybody be offended by seeing "mile-a-minute" afghans or *shudder* half double crochet stitches in all their sensual glory.

As for my sister's calendar, well, it stayed up the whole year. _Nobody_ complained about it, leaving me to wonder what kind of fruit loops I worked with - apparently those who were turned on by crochet. Good thing they didn't know I had a pattern book in my bag most days - I can't imagine what would have happened to me;) But one thing I learned - I never hung up another crochet calendar at work, it's just too risky;)


Thursday, August 18, 2005


okay, so I didn't get it _all_ organized. I did find out I have at least 2 totes of yarn in the living room. I wonder how we found anything;)

I used some clear plastic pencil cases from Wal-Greens (nope, no kickback) to store such things as embroidery needles, yarn needles and sewing needles. That cuts down on finding them in the rug in my bare feet. I used a plastic food container (Glad? maybe) to store the "daisy looms" that I have. I keep thinking I'm going to do that and I probably will, but just not right now. And I got something pretty neat at big lots, it's like a huge zippered pencil bag. It has two pockets. So far, the steel hooks are living in 1 pocket, the larger hooks in the larger pocket. I will probably get a pencil case like I used for the needles for the steel hooks. I probably will also get another large zippered bag for the afghan hooks & the cro-hooks. I haven't figured out how to store the huge tunsian crochet hooks yet.

This is a good time to get organized because of the school supplies being sold everywhere. Pencil bags can be decorative or clear. I like decorative, but clear is better for me so I can see what I have in the bag. You can even pick up what I have heard called a "retro PDA". I've been using this for years and never heard that term. It's index cards! Yup, just like the ones you'd get at Office Depot, Office Max or Staples. You can get a small plastic box to carry them with you. That way, if you're at the grocery store and the way the eggplant looks next to the squash, you can make a note to yourself about it, maybe even jot down a design. I like the index cards that are in a wirebound notebook. The index cards stay together and makes it harder to lose them if they are bound together.

*sheesh* all this organizing and nothing about the actual act of crocheting! That's the problem, organizing takes away the time. But it also gives the time back to you. That way you're not searching everyplace for your "H" hook or your yarn needles. It's a definite trade off.

As always, I receive _no_ kickbacks_ from any of these companies. Really, I _can _be bribed;)
Just nobody tries to;)


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Scrips and scraps

I have been lucky the last couple of days - I hit the used bookstore and found a _lot_ of old crochet patterns. A lot of the patterns are in thread, which I don't do very well, but they are still _beautiful_ to look at. Plus I may give them to somebody who _does_ do threadwork. I have an absolutely _beautiful_ doily made for me by a great crocheter (Beatriz) in Brasil. I have it in a very special place, under the teddy bear my older son gave my mom on my older son's first Christmas - that was his present to his grandmother. I keep it on a special shelf, with the doily displayed around the bear. It really soothes me to look at both items.

Here's something else for you - a barefoot sandal pattern
It's really nifty looking and if you're able to wear that type of sandal, a lovely pattern. (nope, I don't get a kickback form Lion Brand for mentioning it.)

But speaking of Lion Brand, they have a newsletter and in it, they mention having blogs. They have 2 already, but both are about knitting. They ask "what kind of blog would you have?" and I gave the info on this blog. If I'd been a little slower starting or they'd been a little faster, I might have been posting there instead of here. Not a big deal.

I don't want to brag (okay, I do) but I got a lovely gift from my beloved today. We celebrate almost anything around here, but he's the _real_ romantic and gave me a gift for the anniversary of our first date. I got 2 pairs of crochet hook earrings and a crochet hook key chain. These hooks are small, but they are _fully_ functional and very pretty. Here's the info for them http://stores.ebay.com/Jans-Hooks-and-Needles
(nope, no kickback from them, either. I can be bribed;) but I'm not that important for anyone to bother bribing me;))

It's been _too_ hot_ for afghans, so I've being working on preemie hats. They don't lay in your lap and make you warm like an afghan does. And the hats work up quickly, so I feel as if I have accomplished _something_ in this heat.

I really don't have too much more to say. Tomorrow I'm going to try something new - organize my hooks by sizes and types. I have many aluminum (mostly Boyes) and some steel (oh wait, they are _Boyes_ too;)). I am hoping that will make it easier to find the right size hook instead of digging thru the pencil case bags I've been using. We shall see.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

another turtle

I _must get some pictures taken and loaded. I see other folks' blogs and am absolutely _amazed_ at what they have created. I doubt anybody would be amazed at my work, but what the heck, I'd post it anyway.

I finished another turtle, this one is cream & yellow, to go with a "mile-a-minute" baby afghan I just finished. I'm not sure how much I like it - it's pastels and a lot of people like that for a baby, but I'm not really a "pastel person". I'd like to try the turtle that was on the "Crochet World" cover, I think it was in June 2005, the turtle is wearing a diaper. It looks really cute. But my head is giving me a fit (probably allegeries or sinuses, something like that), so I have been making preemie hats. They are pretty quick to make and give me the satisfaction of getting something done.

I am also reconsidering doing the curtains I planned. I had originally intended to use a filet pattern, a lion in profile, to do this project. I used worsted weight and the pattern to make an afghan and it turned out great. But now I'm thinking I should try to match the valance a little better. I think I'm just making the project a little more difficult;) I have to ponder it a bit more. When I was younger and had more time to crochet, I'd jump into projects, trying to work them out as I go along. Now I want to have a pretty clear idea of what I'm trying to accomplish - "frogging" 10 rows definitely does not appeal to me and would cut into the time I have to crochet. And of course since I'm older, I don't work on a project after midnight - that's when I make _all_sorts of mistakes. I had to learn that the hard way, but at least I remember it now;)

If I could only learn how to crochet with my feet, I could crochet at work....

Saturday, August 06, 2005

You only get what you give & other scraps of yarn

First, some fun stuff. This comic strip is "Pickles" and this particular one has to do with crochet. I thought it was funny so here is the info:


This disclaimer: I get no kickback from anybody mentioned here.

That being said, now for the other part - "you only get what you give". I won't bore you with my religious beliefs, except to say I have them. One thing I definitely believe is you have to "serve somebody", that if you can, you should give back to the world / community anyway you can. Maybe it's teaching crochet to kids. Maybe it's donating yarn to "Warm Up America" (http://www.warmupamerica.com/). You can pick a charity such as "Project Linus" (http://www.projectlinus.org/) to make blankets for kids. Or maybe you would prefer "Hugs for Homeless Animals - the Snuggle Project" (http://www.h4ha.org/snuggles/). I've dealt with all of these organizations at one time or another and feel I can recommend them to you, if that's what you're interested in.

I also make preemie hats for the hospital my sons were born in - no, they weren't preemies but my sister-in-law is a NICU nurse and there's always a need for that sort of thing. Lion Brand Yarn website has a free preemie hat pattern available (http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/cja-preemie.html) Sometimes I donate items for craft fairs where all the money is going to support a particular charity. Those invitations usually come over a crochet list - if I can, I try to support these groups*.

For those of you who have a competitive edge, I suggest "Bev's Charity Challenge" (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bevs-charity-challenge/). I participate in this group and I am amazed that thru the challenge, I was able to accomplish more than my original goal for this year. No one forces you to make a certain amount, you set your goal and you chart it. Occasionally, there will be a challenge for "how much can be made" by a certain deadline, but you choose whether you want to participate in that challenge. I find that keeping track of what I am doing helps me do more.

One final group I'd like to mention is "The Chain Gang" (http://www.thechaingangs.org/), a group of kids with various problems trying to earn money to go to the Special Olympics. I have donated some items for them to sell thru their craft fair and they sent me a very sweet thank you note with a granny square attached.

You can pick your own group, go off and do your own thing or even start your own group for charity crochet. You can only crochet so many afghans before your family pleads "No more" as the afghans tumble around them. I hope my little essay / rant has inspired you to pick up the hook for charity. Even if you only make _1_ hat, that's one more person's whose head will be warm because of _you_.

*Suggestion for those soliciting for donations from other crafters. Please be sure to send a thank you, perhaps with a few lines on how the item received was handled. Yeah, I _know_ it sounds petty but it lets the crafter know the item(s) were received and put to good use, as opposed to beung worn by the gnomes on a remote, windswept Wyoming guinea pig ranch.