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Sunday, December 24, 2006

quickie present;)

In case you haven't heard, there's a site that's called Click here: What Not to Crochet
I check it every once in a while, sometimes I'm crocheting what they say not to crochet, sometimes I already have made it. I don't let it bother me because I have no sense of fashion;)

But if you need a quickie crocheted gift for your sister-in-law (or maybe your brother-in-law, I don't know), you should check it out today. It would probably take you no time to make this and it would definitely get a laugh. I had thought about making one for my youngest sister, but my hubby said he didn't want that image in his (or anybody else's) head....

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the little happy dance

I have finished my contract piece (drum roll, please). I was beginning to think I wouldn't;) I have to admit, I never tackled a whole suit to crochet. But I do know what I would do differently if I did this pattern again.

1) Rewrite the pattern to suit the way I crochet and comprehend a pattern. I ususally copy the pattern I'm working on and make notes as I go along. This time, I didn't. I should have read the pattern and broken it down - I'm the kind of crocheter when it says "increase 2 pats for next 10 rows", I need to know what my starting number is and what is the final number. I know, sounds silly, but there you are.

2) Use whatever tool is available. When I need to mark a spot in a pattern, Iusually use a different coloered scrap of yarn. I don't normally use stitch holders except to hold pieces of a pattern together, but I definitely needed to use them on this pattern to keep track of what I was doing. It has been a very long time since I cut a pattern from cloth and made and article of clothing. Crocheting the suit is a similiar endeavor, you definitely have to know what piece is supposed to fit where and a stitch holder is good for that. I found the "normal" stitch holders, the ones that look like large diaper pins worked okay.

3) Plan, plan, plan. It never occured to me that it just wouldn't come together quickly. It also didn't occur to me that other aspects of life would go on - illness, work, household emergencies. I _know_ you can't plan for these things, but I should have been more mindful of what time was available to me.

4) Keep in contact with your boss. I was fortunate as the woman I dealt with was quite nice and understanding and generally available to answer whatever questions I had. But I probably should have told her earlier that I wouldn't make the deadline. I just thought if I worked at it a little harder, I'd finish in time. But it goes back to #3, the "plan" part. Some things came up I had no control over.

That's about all I can think of today. I will send it out tomorrow, priority & all that good stuff. I took a break of about an hour (after weaving the ends in) and picked up another hook and began the next project - the "fun fur" scarf my younger sister wants me to crochet for a friend. That, I am happy to report, is coming along well, though I did take it apart a few times. I always have a bit of trouble switching hook sizes - the "fun fur" requires a larger hook than the suit did.

That's it - time for me to go to bed and give the wrists a rest.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

quickie gift idea

Nope, not my original. But it's Noreen Findlay-Crone's, so that makes it cooler (IMHO). It's for a heart you can make into a pin or perhaps a bookmark. M's Findlay's blog is also good reading.
so check it out:


I've heard a few shops are having a big sale this week - Joanne's is having a big yarn sale today, December 10. A.C. Moore
(http://www.acmoore.com/Newsletter/newsletter_12-10.htm) is doing a special 30% off sale on Tuesday and Wednesday (30% off all regular priced purchases). Nope, I don't get a kickback from anyone I've mentioned but I would accept one. Like most politicians, I can be bought;)

enjoy your day

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Wow, I hadn't realized it's been that long. Between having my extended family over for Thanksgiving on the 18th & than doing a family Thanksgiving on the 23rd, I really haven't had time to post.
I am still working on my contract piece, it is going slower than I thought, but any project goes slower than I think it should go;) I'm the time that would pick up the "24 Hour Projects" book and figure "oh, it will only take me eight hours;) " I must think I have flying fingers.
Outside of that project, not much of anything. I did venture out to Michael's on "Black Friday" for their sale. No, I was _not_ there at 6am. No_way_! I'm not saying they didn't have good sales, but not for me.
They had rearranged the Michael's I normally shop. There was a lot less yarn there, which was a disappointment to me. I was looking for something a bit different, sort of like Lily's "Beadit" (I think it's called that) but no luck. Of course, I did buy yarn. I bought some Matrix, which was on sale for $2 a skein. Good price. And I also lucked into some Lion Brand Watercolors. That was in the sale bin. I bought 2 skeins, $2 a skein. I never have purchased this yarn before and now it's being discontinued! It's lovely yarn, bit I don't remember seeing it at Michael's prior to this visit. I really did luck out as I only had 1 skein of 1 color and was hoping for a second skein but couldn't find one. I stuck my hand in the bin, digging for something else and found another skein of Watercolor in the same color. *woo hoo* Now I want to go to every Michael's in the area looking for more Lion Brand Watercolor. It's a shame I don't have any yarn;)
But _why_ are stores downsizing the yarn departments? I was in A.C. Moore and it was the same situation - a lot less room for yarn, a lot more room for fake flowers and all the slightly different yarns were gone. I thought crocheting (and knitting, as they allege) is the "new yoga". So if it's so popular, why downsize the department? Are that many people shopping on line? I do occasionally shop on line for yarn, but nothing beats that tactile sensation of petting new yarn. That's when it becomes an impulse buy, it's so soft and so pretty, I just don't resist it. Online shopping is great if you know you want Bernat yarn, exactly the color and style, but petting Bernat Boa in person makes me want to think of a project for it.

I don't have any clear cut projects for Christmas. I've got yarn for a scarf as a project, maybe a stocking, but nothing concrete. I want to finish the piece I am working on before I start another project. That's unusual for me, but there it is. I got a lot of cool crochet books for my birthday, when I have a chance I will skim them and give a bit of a review.

I hope your crocheting is coming along fine and the cat did not eat your pumpkin pie.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

scraps and scrips

Probably like most of you, I've been trying to get ready for Thanksgiving. The cooking part I can do just fine, but I am a bit of a pack rat, so cleaning up the house takes a bit longer for me than it probably does for most people;)
I was working on a gold and burgundy scarf for my sister. Around here, that's considered Redskins colors. But it's also the Harry Potter colors. I was zipping along when I noticed that the scarf began to narrow. Apparently, I had forgotten how to crochet a scarf;) Oh well. I did rip it out but I doubt I will start it again. She doesn't really take care of her stuff and I thought "why am I putting all this effort into this scarf?" Plus I made her a similiar one last year, she doesn't seem to wear it, so why make another scarf?
I am currently working on a contracted item. I have not been as careful as I should have been about checking the pattern against what I was doing. The problem this time was the item _grew_. Maybe I need to take Crochet 101. Or maybe I just need to pay attention to what I am doing instead of fretting about how it is turning out.
I visited Joann Fabrics today. (no, I don't get a kickback from them.) I wanted some soft eyelash in an offwhite color, but I couldn't find exactly what I wanted. I had hoped since they were having a sale on their Sensations yarn I could find what I wanted. But no luck. Of course, that didn't stop me from buying yarn;) Get real. Sure, I got 20 or so people coming over for dinner on Saturday night, I still have lots of housework to do and did I mention I haven't even started prepping the food or even making a grocery list?
*sigh* Too bad there isn't a Yarnaholics Anonymous, but that probably wouldn't work. "Hi, I'm Robin and I haven't purchased yarn in 3 hours, but before that I was at the yarn store and they had the _best_ sale. I'd still be there but I had to come here." And almost everyone there would start saying "where? Did they have that chenille on sale? What about the cotton with the beads on it already?"
Plus the meetings would probably be right next to a craft store, so it would be worse than having a Baskin-Robbins next to a Jenny Craig location.
Outside of that, I haven't worked on much of anything. My brain feels like mush by the time I get home from work. I forget to put anything in my bag for the ride to work because my brain feels like mush. I'm not too sure what's going on, whether it's the time change or what, but my brain has been mushy of late.
mmm, maybe I should go to bed, maybe that would help the mushiness....

Thursday, October 26, 2006

time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

*whew* How did I get to October 26 already? Absolutely no clue, but I think work has been sucking out my brains (or whatever I have that passes for brains).
I did put together a lot of the little granny squares and made a lapghan or maybe a colorful baby afghan, mostly in pinks. Right now I don't have any idea of what to do with it, so PussyFoot (our only female cat) has decided it belongs to her. I am a little surprised - she generally prefers to sleep on items made out of more expensive yarn.
One item I made was a kimono style jacket from Lion Brand yarn -
but of course I decided to change the type of yarn used, as well as other fundamental parts of the jacket. I had constructed it so I could wear it thru the relatively mild winters we have in the Maryland area. (I'm thinking mild as compared to Colorado, not mild as compared to Florida - plus I was having my own personal sauna going on at the time.)
Well....it was _too_ heavy to wear comfortably and it actually wasn't as warm as I had thought. I hadn't calculated the wind chill aspect and it didn't work out as well as I had thought. It was great when the wind wasn't blowing (if you skip the heavy part) but not otherwise.
For quite some time. PussyFoot or my younger son slept with this jacket - sometimes both of them at once;) I decided to put it away to deconstruct it at a later point. Much too heavy and much too expensive for a cat blanket.
Now who do I get to blame for my mistake? Lion Brand, for writing the pattern - I did (sort of) follow their pattern. Well, _no_ not Lion Brand. It's like making a cake, but instead of using butter, you using cooking oil, instead of flour, you use corn meal and instead of granulated sugar, you use confectioner's sugar. You don't get a wonderful pound cake, you get a huge mess. This is because you didn't think the project all the way to the end. And that was my fault with the jacket. I loved playing with the different yarns, and I did like the way it looks, but it wasn't going to turn out to be quite what I was trying to create.
I'm not saying you should never try different yarns or styles. Just think about it a little longer than I did. I spent a lot of time making it, but very little time actually wearing it. I used _double_ the yarn to make the jacket warmer, but all it did was make it too heavy to wear comfortably. And while it looked good to me, I made the mistake of mixing fibers that could not be cleaned in the same way. So now I got a heavy jacket that has to be hand washed and laid flat to dry. Where that flat surface in my house is, I don't know (the ceilings?).
I should have made a scarf first, just to see if the fabric I created would perform the way I wanted it to perform. PussyFoot would have still slept on it, but I wouldn't be thinking about the investment of time I made. But I learned to make a smaller project first, just to test out the pattern and fabric, so that was something cool. And I learned PussyFoot and my younger son have French champagne tastes on a generic near-beer budget. (Like mother, like son).
And I also have a project to unravel at some point in the future. Sometimes that's a therapeutic project for me. So I'll hold off on it until I feel I need that type of therapy.



Monday, October 16, 2006

catching up

I thought I'd give you a look at another one of Beatriz's doilies. She sent this to me out of the goodness of her heart. Again, the picture does not justify the doily, but short of visiting everybody that wanted to see it, this is the best I can do.

Here's her web site for more of her beautiful work:

I'm still putting together small granny squares. It goes quickly while watching tv plus it makes me _really_ want to finish what I am doing so I can start something else. I was waiting for 2 people to tell me what exactly they wanted crocheted, but I'm tired of waiting and after I finish up this batch of granny squares, I'm going to do something else - anything else;) I'm still working on baby caps on the ride to work every day.
I haven't increased my yarn stash (yet) this month so far, but I also haven't been to Michael's or A.C. Moore or the local yarn shop Cloverhill in Catonsville. Again, the operative word is _yet_. I would guess when I am faced with the temptation, I will give in. Who am I trying to kid -"I would guess" - I know I will give in, why else would I go to those stores;) I'm not really a window shopper anymore, I did a lot of that when I was younger. It was fun then, but I feel a severe lack of time (like everybody else in the world) and it's just not fun for me anymore. I will _look_ and_pet_ the yarn - I did that at Wal-Mart the other day when I was there, but somehow managed not to bring any home.

Anyway, enjoy Beatriz's lovely work

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the upcoming worldwide yarn shortage;)

Obviously, it _has_ to be coming. Just one look at my closet stuffed full of totes with yarn in them is the obvious clue. I wouldn't just be hoarding this yarn, would I? The aliens must be planning to land and somehow destroy all the yarn manufacturing plants. I will be prepared because I will have plenty of yarn. I could probably insulate my house with this yarn, but it would make it difficult to get at easily. I tend to be an archaologist when it comes to my yarn and I like to dig thru the totes (or bags).
And I got at least _4_ afghans started, in various stages, in bags. One is a granny square type, using Caron's purple varigated yarn. That seems to have been dropped midstitch. The hook is still in the afghan, there's no effort to have slipped a stitch holder on it, so I can only guess the aliens were going to attack and I wanted to be ready.
The truth of the matter, more likely, is I was doing some cleaning for family to come to my house and I just bagged the project up to get it out of the way. I also have a ripple afghan project that I started to be able to show my cousin how it was done. I still haven't shown her (she lives in VA and I live in MD.) There is a huge stack of granny squares from an exchange I was in. At least those particular squares are on a huge stitch holder.
As you can guess, I've been doing some fall cleaning. But one thing I can tell you - if there's a shortage of almost any type of yarn, I got it covered. (I don't have too much of the more expensive stuff, however. But if you want acrylics, I'm your woman.)
I have at least _6_ skeins of Red Heart's Mexacali. Now I _love_ that yarn, I'm a fool for varigated yarn, but what were my plans for it? A colorful afghan or poncho, maybe a strange toy. Nope, I just bought it on sale. At least, I _hope_ I bought it on sale;). Lion Brand Homespun - got that, too in some lucious colors. I could easily make a few scarves and hats with that for gifts. Lion Brand's Wool-Ease, Red Heart's "Soft" and Bernat's and Paton's....okay, I'm sure you get the point. Surprisingly (to me), I don't have as much of the baby yarn (Jamie, Red Heart, etc) as I thought I did, but I have been working on baby caps. I even got the self striping sock yarn I wanted to make a scarf with, just to see how it stripes, but I haven't gotten around to it. I wonder how that would look as a baby hat?
It wasn't always like this for me. I spent a lot of time taking apart a project and redoing it, not out of a desire for perfection, but due to a serious lack of yarn. I would got from week to week buying the yarn, hoping there would be the right dye lot and color to finish the project. Once, at Woolworth's, I bought 100 skeins of yarn (when Woolworth's was going out of business), much to my younger son's embarassment. They were selling the sport weight yarn at 10 cents a skein, so it was very easy to buy 100 skeins. I've used most of that up over the years, but I still have to laugh when I think about buying all that yarn. I bet Paris Hilton doesn't have that big a thrill when she goes shopping;)
I'm not quite sure of what all of this means. I'm trying to organize what I got so I can make better use of it. It's a pain in the butt for me to know I got that green yarn, but where in the heck did I put it. I wish I had been born more organized instead of so darned cute;)
I'll continue working on it and hopefully finish up some of those works in progress. I have a jacket I made for myself that seems like it would work in the planning stage, but the execution didn't. It's much too heavy to wear for any length of time. This is entirely my fault as I used two strands of yarn while crocheting it and the pattern called for _1_ strand of yarn. Good in theory, but didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to. I am debating if I want to take it apart or not - and that would give me *shudder* more yarn. Maybe I should practice the statement - "My name is Robin and I am a yarnoholic".


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Beatriz's doily

In another crochet group (Crochet Partners) http://www.crochetpartners.org/mailman/listinfo/cplist

one of my friends, Beatriz Medina, posted some lovely squares - here's her website

but quite some time ago I was the very lucky recipient of a doily made by Beatriz and I want to show a scan of it here. This doily is used in what is my shrine to my mom. (I know that sounds silly, but it is what it is). The shrine consistes of the doily draped around the "Grandma" teddy bear that my older son gave to my mom his first Christmas. I had a very difficult time after my mom's death trying to (for lack of a better word) "connect with her. My shrink suggested I use an object that would represent her to me. The teddy bear, a "pot bellied" bear, became that object. It really wasn't complete but I had no idea or clue what it needed. Beatriz's doily arrived in the mail and I realized that the teddy bear _needed_ that. My mom was always a fairly sharp dresser with a great eye for detail. There's nothing I could have created that would have compared to the doily, nothing that fit the purpose so well. It's very difficult to explain and you'll probably laugh (that's okay), but all I can offer it is some sort of spiritual connection. My mom liked Brasilian music, Beatriz (and the doily) is from Brasil - there's more but it's dificult for me to explain. Let's just say the beautiful doily was a wonderful gift from a terrific woman. It arrived at the right time for me....
the picture does_not_ do it justice
thanks, Beatriz

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

almost finished

I have almost finished the 8 point star baby afghan, I made it in blue and white, using worsted weight instead of the bulkier Red Heart recommended. I had to do a few more rounds to get it to be as big as I thought it should be. Now I am at the weaving in the ends stage, my favorite part;)
One neat thing about this afghan is that you start off making a chain 3 for the "starting double crochet". That means when you finish the round, there aren't so many slip stitches as is traditional with say a granny square or similiar motif afghan. I really liked that. Also the writer suggests you stagger your beginnings - you atttach at point one for the first color change, than at point 2 for the next color change, and so on. That makes it a bit neater to look at, too.

Now I got to finish the weaving ins and make a turtle. Sometimes I weave in as I go, but even if I do, I recheck the article to make sure I remembered to weave _everything_ in.

I sent out samples of my crochet to the person who was asking for them. I don't know when I will get an answer from that. I'm sort of excited and sort of nervous. Of course, I think my samples are _great_ (sometimes). And I also think "sheesh, couldn't I have done something _better_?" (sometimes). I did a 4 inch sample of a shell stitch, a crossed stitch, a pebble stitch and one square was stitches from small to large. There was no suggestion on what the woman wanted to see in a crochet stitch, but I thought that would be a good representation. Of course, now I'm thinking I should have done the Tunisian stitch *sigh*. Oh well, what's done is done. All I can do now is wait.

Monday, August 28, 2006

the new project

I am workin on the 8 point star afghan from the "100 Crochet Projects". The pattern in the book uses Red Hearts' "Baby Clouds" (I think, it's that very fluffy yarn - hmm, could be "Light and Lofty") which I decided I didn't have the proper colors in that particular yarn. I am using Red Heart's soft yarn (no, really, I think that's waht it is called) and Caron's "Simply Soft" in a blue and white pattern. I am using an H hook (of course, it's a Boye;)) and it is working up quickly. Of course, it won't be finished in 18 rounds - the yarn is not that thick. But I'll just repeat the pattern until it gets to be the size I want. I'll probably make a turtle to go with the afghan (a co-worker's wife is pregnant.)
On the way to work (nope, my younger son drives), I crochet preemie hats for the NICU at University of Maryland Hospital. I like using varigated yarn, but I have to watch it. One time I put "curls" coming from the top of the hat and some parents didn't want their sons to wear a "girl's hat". Well, I thought it was cute.
Despite my protests to the contrary, I did buy more yarn at Wal-Mart. One is something I've never seen before from Red Heart - it's called "Strata". It is a wildly varigated yarn. I also bought a skein of yarn that had 70s colors in it . Yes, I know that's a crazy thing to do, but who said I was sane? I plan to make a turtle pin cushion out of that yarn, and maybe a few more pin cushions.
Oooh, I got to take a photo of the purse I made. It's cute, it's seasonal and probably a bit young for me....

p.s. I do not get a kickback from any of the companies I named. Now if they want to bribe me, they can just send me yarn - a lot of it;)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

vital statistics for the socks

I used a discontinued Red Heart sport yarn called "Buckle" for the socks. Each sock took less than 1 3/4 ounces (49.6 grams on the package) or almost the whole skein of the yarn. I bought this quite some time ago, it was on sale. I don't have any other colorways, if indeed there were any different colors.
The pattern I used was "Tutti-Frutti" by Janet Rehfeldt, from the book "Crocheted Socks". The book came out in 2003, so I have had it for a while. But you can probably find it at a craft store. I used the large size, because I have large feet and I acheived gauge without much problem. This is unusual for me as I tend to crochet loosely and normally have to adjust the hook size downwards to scheive gauge.

I also wanted to include this poem. It's not mine (I could only wish!) but it's great because it takes an everyday article such as socks and praises them. Now my socks aren't anything like the socks described in the poem, but it's still cool to see how someone appreciates a handmade gift.

it's called "Ode to My Socks" by Pablo Neruda


Monday, August 21, 2006

2 Ugly Socks;)

I finished the pair of socks. If they are not the world's ugliest socks, they have to be in the top three of the list. I intend to put fabric paint on the soles so I can wear them as slipper socks.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

you might need sunglasses or tada, the first ugly sock

Here it is, the first sock done in all its radioactive glory;) Despite the fact it looks small, it does fit my size 10 foot. If it doesn't look all orange and yellow and green, you may need to adjust your monitor;)
I already started on sock number 2. I doubt I will wear them with shoes as I can feel every stitch and that makes my feet uncomfortable. (I can sometimes do that with store bought socks.) But if not to wear out (which I really should, for the whole effect), I will put puff paint on the bottom and they will be slipper socks. I tried to get the other members of my family try them on, but I think they were afraid they wouldn't want to take them off - or maybe the sock would eat their foot, I don't know which;)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Barbie and Ken

I never had either of these dolls growing up because I didn't particularly want them. I had other dolls (anyone remember "Tammy, the Ideal teen"?) My girlfriends and I would make furniture or cars from anything we could get our hands on. That was fun. But I didn't know how to crochet back then. Later on, I got a Barbie so I could make clothes for her as a gift for my younger neice. I first worked with the very thick chenille for a project for Barbie - I made Barbie a mink coat. (I don't remember how I did it, just making it to fit the doll).

But some people take their Barbie and Ken a little more serious. At this website, Barbie ends up with some cool furniture, some cool clothes and a crocheted doggy.
check it out:

Click here: Threadbared: A Threadbared Epic: "Barbie & Ken - Living In A Crocheted Paradise."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

fastest crocheter update

yes, I am slow with the news and I apolegize. But Lisa Gentry is officially the world's fastest crocheter with something like 172 stitches a minute. I'd like to lie to you and say I could stitch that fast, but why lie? I _can't_. I'd like to think if I was about 30 years younger, I'd stand a chance;)
I met M's Gentry at the CGOA conference and she's very nice, very approachable. She currently has a website with patterns to sell as well as free patterns. She even has the pattern for the project that took the prize.
check it out
Click here: Fastest Crocheter

there are some really cool patterns there.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

the biology of yarn

I have a theory about socks that go into the laundry. Either the detergent and water causes some to mutate, so you can never completely match up your socks or the heat from the dryer causes the mutations. I can't figure out how I can buy 5 pairs of white socks in a pack and within 3 weeks, they are 11 different shades of white. I expect that won't happen to my ugly socks.

I do think yarn spawns more yarn. I'm always surprised to see how much yarn I have;)
This blog entry

Click here: Mambocat's Knitting Asylum: 07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006
from July 28, 2006 explains how this happens. This is not for the faint of heart - it actually shows yarn being born;) It's pretty cool.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

ugly sock update 3

well, I did take the ugly sock apart & start again, I am much happier with the way this one looks right now. I think it would better if I used real self striping sock yarn but this is just for fun. This particular pattern uses slip stitches to build on. FIrst the cuff is created, which is relatively simple - single crochet in the back of the previous single crochet row. Than crochet a row of single crochet along the long edge of the cuff, join with a slip stitch and begin slip stitching around. In the book, it's called "poor man's knitting" but it only looks like knit to me on the wrong side. The test will be turning the heel (eeek!);) I got to get moving on this project, I got 2 baby afghans I got to make by September. I am going to use the star ripple pattern
which worked up very quickly for my neice's baby. Again, it will be blue and white (twin boys, a co-worker's wife) and I will be using stash yarn. I can't really say I am using up my stash. I tend to buy more all the time. I buy it "on sale" as if that makes it all right to continue to acquire yarn. *sigh* But I'd probably be buying something else (clothes, books) if I wasn't buying yarn.
There is a neat round ripple pattern in "100 Crochet Projects" also, but it uses the Red Heart Baby Clouds yarn. I like this yarn, but believe it or else, I don't have the right colors in my stash to create this pattern. I bought the green, but now _everybody_ seems to know the sex of the baby, it just seems appropriate to do the afghan in the traditional colors. I wonder if they sell as much of the green and yellow baby yarn now?
I hit the thrift shop again and got some more of the pink and lavender eyelash yarn. I can only guess that somebody moved or cleaned out their stash and I'm the lucky buyer. They also had granny squares. I didn't buy any of those, I got enough around here for at least 2 afghans if I ever get around to putting them together. I'll just put that on my "to do list" . I just need to learn how to crochet with my feet;) After all, my feet are just under my desk most of the day, so why not? Hmm., I'd probably get carpal tunnel of the feet....


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Scrips and scraps again

I don't know how many of you have seen the fuss regarding this crocheted necklace, but here's the link to it
Click here: Hayden-Harnett Handbags On-Line Store - Reese Handknit Crochet Necklace

it is absolutely beautiful, but it seems something is not quite right with this situation. The woman making the necklace admits it's not her design, it came from the Interweave Crochet magazine, but she still is selling it for $120.

Here's Interweave's link Click here: Interweave Crochet
They are coming out with a new crochet magazine in the fall (nope, I don't get a kickback from them). I think it should be on the newstands mid-September or you could use PayPal to order it. I chose that option because I didn't want to be going all over town wasting gas trying to track it down.

In case you like to crochet in the dark, there is a brand new tool for you - it's a LED enhanced crochet hook

It looks kind of cool, but for $40, I don't know. They were on display at the CGOA conference, but I didn't see them at that time. I do think the knitting needles are cool, Barbie and Ken could re-enact "Star Wars" using the needles as Jedi swords;)

On the ugly sock update, I ripped it out (or "frogged it" as some say) and plan to use another pattern. I was so far off on that pattern, I couldn't have saved it. I think it was me not paying enough attention to the pattern, not the pattern itself. I have made errors in other items I've made, I either corrected it or went off in a different direction. But this pattern I just "didn't get".
I think I'll try it at some later date just to see where I went wrong. I like the way it looks, but it definitely wasn't turning out like the photo. Oh well, nobody's perfect.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

ugly sock update

I tend to forget that I can't watch tv and crochet a pattern I'm not familiar with at the same time. I am watching "Joan of Arcardia" on dvd (I didn't see it when it was out) and trying to work on ugly sock number one. I keep looking at the heel and think "what is wrong with this?". the heel seems to be getting wider. I do have fat feet, but even _my_heels aren't that wide;)
I think I must have skipped a part in the directions, sort of glancing at it and thinking I knew what was going on with it. Obviously I must take it apart to figure it out. Maybe I should have picked a sock pattern where I wouldn't need to turn a heel.
At any rate, I'll take a closer look tomorrow and figure out where I went wrong. I should study the crochet pattern a bit more and maybe look at the other patterns. I've made socks before, just never used this particular pattern. Too bad they won't let me crochet at work;)

Friday, July 28, 2006

little scraps

I am currently working on the world's ugliest socks. The pattern itself is not ugly, but the yarn, well, I'll say it's not colors that would seem to work together very well - green and orange. But I am working on the leg of the first sock with a Red Heart sport weight acrylic yarn I bought many years ago. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking of when I bought it, except maybe "it's on sale";) I wil definitely post a photo of the socks. I keep teasing my family, saying "I'm making these socks for you" and the look I get is priceless;)

I get the Lion Brand Yarn newsletter http://cache.lionbrand.com/content-newsletterArchive.html
and they have a neat article about tiny purses. I made one for my mp3 player which I never seem to use. But when I had to go pick up some pizza, the pants I was wearing did not have any pockets. So I stuck the money in the mp3 player purse, put it around my neck and it worked. I just made mine from the self striping sock yarn (Berocco? Bernat? I think Bernat) , just made a small pouch, made an ending round with a double crochet, chain stitch pattern so I could thread yarn thru it and it was done.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Yvette's dress

I got this photo from someplace else. I met Yvette at the CGOA conference in the lobby. She was wearing a granny square tank top and busily working on the dress in this picture. She used Sugar & Cream and Casual Cotton (or is it "cotton casual" - it's by Coats & Clarks). She had intended to make it a big longer than it turned out, but was so busy, didn't get a chance.

What they didn't show of her ensemble was even _cooler_. She took a pair of high heels that had a clear plastic strap across the part of the foot where the toes meet the foot. She carefully cut the plastic and used a hole punch to put small holes in so she could crochet an embelishment. She used gold yarn (metallic) for that, it was _really_ cool looking. Plus if the shoes are a bit too tight, that's a great help. I thought that was so cool I am considering doing that to a pair of sandals that are just a hair too snug. But I got to finger out the yarn to use, the sandals are a pale blue...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

something from the CGOA

At the keynote speech for the CGOA conference, Rita Weiss mentioned a new iniative that Warm-up America has started. It is crocheting (or knitting) caps for newborns in foreign lands. Apparently, these babies are very small and would wear a cap the size of a preemie cap. There's a whole package involved with it. They suggest a letter to President Bush regarding the situation of newborns.
here's the link:

At the risk of sounding heartless and wicked, I'm not sure how caps will keep the babies from infection or diarrhea. Yes, it will keep the babies warm, but there's a lot of other problems that also have to be overcome. Even in the USA, with a lot of expensive technology, preemie sized babies have a difficult time making it. Lots of the babies will continue to have problems thru out their entire lives - even with all that technology and medicine can do. I agree to giving the hats in principle, but I don't think that's all that should or could be done. One problem is lack of surgical knives to cut the umbilical cord. You can see that having a contaminated surgical knife would cause massive problems for the babies.

I don't have any alternatives to suggest, I wish I did. And I'm not saying everybody should or shouldn't do it. (The link gives you the patterns you should use for the caps.) I'm just saying this problem is a bit more complicated then crocheting hats. If I find or figure out anything a little different on this subject, I'll post it. Hopefully there's a group out there addressing the other needs.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

new "Crochet Fantasy"

No, I don't get a kickback from them, I wish I did. The new issue has finally been delivered (there's a major screw-up on the cover, it says "Spring 2005"). It's all pink, so I'm sure that means it's for spring. I have been subscribing to CF for a very long time. Yes, it has had some not so hot patterns. _All_ crochet magazines have them (well, I don't know about "Magic Crochet", never read it.) . All have the patterns that make you wonder "what were they thinking?". Perhaps something gets messed up between the pattern and the execution, maybe the editor says "seems cool" but it isn't, I don't know. I've never been the editor of a magazine, but I'm sure it's like many jobs, sometimes you have an error in judgement.

But "Crochet Fantasy" usually has one project that makes me _think_ about trying a new technique. I can't say that about a lot of other magazines. This issue has the bikini in a bag from "Stitch 'n' Bitch - the Happy Hooker", a felted tapestry bag by Carol Ventura, some ponchos for little girls and a jacket designed by Melissa Leapman that looks pretty cool (as well as some other neat patterns). The "think" part comes from the article about the lucet. I don't remember seeing it at the MD sheep and wool (tho the author of the article did), but now I wish I would have seen it there. I probably ignored it, thinking it was something to do with spinning wool.

The lucet helps to make cording for shoulder straps for purses (you can use it for anything). The example given is for a cell phone bag, looks pretty neat. There's also an article on tunisian mitered squares, as well as one on Irish crochet. I like to read CF slowly. I like to savor the photos first. Sometimes I recognize the designers from the photos. I pick and choose the articles I read. I read the lucet article first simply because the mention of the MD sheep and wool festival. I'll read the other ones within the next week.

I do wish CF didn't have such an erratic publishing schedule. This is the spring issue, which I recieved on Friday, July 14. On the third page of this issue, there is a statement that "next mail date: August 14, 2006". I'll be quite happy to get another issue so quickly, but there was a long wait between the winter and spring issue. I hope CF pulls it together. I know there are other magazines out there, but CF has been there during the times of other crochet / needlecraft magazines failure. There was "McCall's Needlework", "McCall's Crochet" as well as the Herrshner magazine that turned into the "Crochet From the Heart". Now there are new magazines popping up (Coats & Clarks is lauching one in September 2006, "Crochet Today" and Insterweave Press is putting out another issue of their crochet magazine). I think there is enough room and interest for all of these magazines. At least I certainly hope so. Check out a copy at the newstand if you don't subcribe and see how you like it. It's got sometning for almost everybody.

Monday, July 10, 2006

embroidery floss

I hate to say this, but I _love_ embroidery floss. Cheaper and smaller than yarn, I have a _lot_ of it. I used to work at a place that had a McCrory's (sort of a five and dime shop) and when work would get too crappy, I'd buy some skeins of embroidery threads. I have been crocheting with embroidery thread using a 00 steel hook, which I think is roughly equilvalent to a B. I've just been making small flowers, but I still think they are cool. I use a lot of the varigated floss, which I really like to use. My plan is to sew them on a pair of jeans I will be wearing to the CGOA conference. (I also embroider with embroidery thread.)

I had a girlfriend in high school, Sally, who crocheted with embroidery floss. Her stitches were nice and tight, mine are not so tight. But she would work with threadas well as yarn and did some great stuff. I'd really love to know what happened to her, she never came to the reunion and nobody seems to know how to get in contact with her. She did great work.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

the best laid plans

I am going to the CGOA conference in King of Prussia for "one day only" next Thursday and coming back to Baltimore on Friday. I had _thought_ I would whip up some fabulous crochet things that would make all the people at the conference stop and go "wow". I'm not sure where I was supposed to find the time or exactly what I was supposed to do. I started working on a bag, didn't like it, took it apart. Started on another bag, didn't like that, took it apart. You're getting the picture;)
It occured to me that I would have to produce something pretty amazing to even be noticed - after all, _everybody_ else is thinking the same thing and trying to produce something striking for people to notice. It also occured to me that I don't have any time to produce anything, especially if I keep ripping out what I'm doing.
Plus, another thing to think about is that if I am busy talking to somebody about my amazing creation, somebody else will be scooping up the cool yarn. I mean, let's get real, you can't act interested in a conversation and be checking out the yarn that's calling your name in the other aisle. So while nobody will comment on how _really_ cool that bag is that's going to have the fish / mermaid theme, I will be able to get _more_ yarn. I guess there is some reward for indecision, after all.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

ta da!

You may have wondered if I fell off the edge of the earth, but probably you didn't. I _did_ finish the lion curtain, here it is, to the left. It was taken on top of my bed, so you can see the stitches. You can't really see the stitches that well when it's against the window except later in the day. (Thanks to my beloved Kimba who took the photo and prepped it for me.)

It isn't perfectly straight, it couls stand to be blocked, but miracle of miracles, I have finished it;) . I had been thinking about it for _months_ but I tend to hesitate before I start any new project (unless it's a small one).

The book the chart came from is "101 Filet Crochet Charts" by Rita Weiss. It's published by American School of Needlework. I do know they sell it at Amazon, I would guess they would sell it at other bookstores. This particular chart is featured on the front cover, along with several other designs. I made this in Red Heart's baby sports yarn, in white, with a G hook. A few years ago, I made 2 of these panels with Caron's "Simply Soft" white with an "I" hook to produce an afghan for our bed. (If you want to know the significance of the white lion, you can click on the side of my blog, "Kimba the White Lion". There you will see the valance that my DH bought, machine made, with the Kimba and Kitty characters.)

It was cool to stretch out my "mad crochet skillz" in doing a chart. It was difficult for me to visualize the progress as I am used to doing patterns where I can see the progress I am making towards the goal. This project had to be handled row by row - at least for me. I imagine an experienced "threadie" could whip thru this chart in no time at all.

But I am happy with it, my DH is happy with it and that is what matters. I haven't tried any of the other charts, but they are definitely intriguing. I do particularly like the ducks and teddy bears charts, but I don't have any need for something like that right now. (My sons are 27 & 25, no grandbabies on the way.)

I did manage to squeeze in another project, not that big a deal. I used the self-striping sock yarn to make a little bag to hold my new MP3 player, so I can wear it around my neck in case I don't have a shirt pocket. Not a big deal but it works for me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

still stitching along

I only have about 10 more rows before I finish the main portion of the lion curtain. I'd like to get it finished so I can put the summer curtains up, so I am hoping for this weekend. It has taken longer (of course) than what I expected. Part of the reason is I don't usually do a filet type pattern, so I have to be careful about the positioning of the stitches. And of course, I've had to rip out a few rows along the way, standard operating procedure;)
But it is interesting to "stretch" the crochet muscles with something new. I learned that using a highlighter instead of a pen to mark where the stitches are is much more readable. I had been using a pen to mark up the rows, but sometimes I couldn't tell where a stitch belonged. Yes, I did make a copy of the chart on the copier at work, enlarging it so it would be easier for me to work the pattern. I don't think it's a violation of the copyright law as it's only for my conveinence and I'll throw it away when I am finished. At least, I certainly hope it isn't because I just admitted to the world I did that.

I always underestimate the time it will take me to complete a project. I'm not sure if it's just wishful thinking or poor planning on my part. There are some days I come home from work and don't crochet. It's incredible to me, but it's true. And when I was _much_ younger, I had a combination of more time and more speed. I'd crochet on the bus going to and from school, at lunch, during study hall. I even had a few teachers that would occasionally allow us to crochet in class. That practice is frowned upon at work, as I'm supposed to be typing all day. Since I still haven't learned to crochet with my feet, I got to concentrate on transcription.

Here's a site you may (or may not) want to check out. It's called "What Not to Crochet". They generally use designers' patterns, so not to pick on any individual person. They have been having a field day with the free "Annie's Attic" pattern. If your feelings are easily hurt, you probably don't want to look at this site. Another piece of personal advice is even if I see a pattern there by a designer I know, I don't tell her (it's generally a her). Friends don't direct friends to sites where their hard work is being ridiculed.

I check it almost every day. If I'm not crocheting whatever item it is, I smile. If I am crocheting what it is, I laugh. I bring this up because the current "what not to crochet" (June 16) resembles a vest I made for my mom many years ago. Mom's vest was only waist length, worsted weight yarn - but get this, I used purple varigated yarn. (My mom's favorite color was purple, she wanted it that way.) If it still existed, I'm sure it would be featured on that site. But my mom, proving she was better than Beaver Cleaver's mom*, wore that vest to work. Whether she took it off and hid it in her locker as soon as she got in the door, I don't know. I did go with my dad a few times to pick her up and she was wearing it at that point. Would I have worn it? If it was big enough for me, yes, I would have. Seeing that photo reminded me of that latticework vest from about 35 years ago and it made me laugh. It also made me appreciate my mom more because she wanted to look her best at all time - and she wore that.

Here's the site: http://whatnottocrochet.wordpress.com/

*There was an episode where Beaver bought his mom some sort of bright colored blouse. Of course, she promised to wear it to the bridge club meeting and didn't. Who would have guessed
that the hostess would have the little brats from school (of which Beaver was one) comeover and sing a song. Of course, Beaver found out and was heartbroken. I forget the ending of that, perhaps Beaver decided to get his revenge on mom by dressing as a beatnik or something.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

something a little different

I'm not a lamp person - my mom was, my grandmother is, but I don't get that excited about lamps. My DH usually picks out the lamps. (I'm also not much of a furniture person - I have been known to drag bookcases that were set out for bulk trash into the house. However the last one I dragged in, the "Roach Radisson" was not well received. As you can tell by the name, the roaches loved it.) And when I think of crochet for the home, I think of things like aghans, potholders, maybe a pillow.

But luckily for me, not everybody is like me. Here's a like where a very talented designer took on crocheted lamps - _not_ lamp shades but lamps
Click here: Inhabitat » Blog Archive » CAI STOCKING LAMP

To me, it doesn't look that difficult to make. (If course, I never tried it;))You could probably use a pattern that would be used to put over a Christmas ornament or maybe 2 doily patterns, sewn together. You could also go by the name "stocking" and make it like, well, a stocking. It would definitely be a different look for a room. If it ever got on one of those home design shows like "Trading Spaces", I bet it would be a huge hit.

Check it out

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

a new site

This vendor was at the recent Maryland Sheep and Wool festival. She was lovely to talk to and also had some great stuff. I couldn't decide on what yarn to buy, but I did buy a few cards and the mug that says "Seize the yarn". The photography is _beautiful_. Their online store opened for business on May 31, they are having a 20% off sale until June 15. (Sorry I didn't post this earlier). No, I get no kickbacks, no yarn, no reimbursement, but I just wanted to pass along the very cool yarn they have.
Here's the site:

I think you will enjoy looking at their products. They also have a bed and breakfast, workshops and various photographs for sale.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'm not a lawyer

and I don't play one on tv, but I have thought of the defense for the woman who stole all that yarn. Insanity, pure and simple. If she gets a judge (or jury, depending on how they do it) that isn't into crafts, the judge/jury will automatically think she's nuts because they won't understand why she wanted all that yarn. However, if she gets yarnies on the jury, she may be in a bit of a pickle. I would ask "How in the world did you manage it?" and "What were you going to make?" and, most important, "Did you make sure the dyelots matched?";)
Part of the reason she "got away with it" was because she gave the appearance of a "grandmother" type, so I guess grandmothers don't steal. And I guess the clerks just figured she really _did_ forget her checkbook. That would never work for me, even though I have handed a grocery store discount card to a clerk to charge my purchases to (the clerk was _not_ amused). I'm definitely forgetful, but I guess I look too shady to be able to pull a stunt like that off.
The lawyer could toss in some stuff about hormones (the PMS defense worked for some women) and how this distorted his/her client's mind between what is right and wrong. I hope the woman does not get any jail time, because though she commited a felony (I think it's a felony), if the yarn was given back to the store unused, there was little damage done. Maybe the yarn shop should hire her to watch out for the other customers. Obviously, if she pulled off this caper, other folks could, too. And perhaps they would give her a discount on the yarn.

I don't know if my defense would work. But I do know if I were her lawyer, I wouldn't wait while she went out to her car to get her checkbook to pay me.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

it's not me, I swear....


I don't live in that area....13 thousand in yarn, _wow_!

They must be more trusting in that area. Here, we have the clerks that look at a 20 dollar bill as if the ink was still wet and Bugs Bunny was on the front of it.

Could these women claim some sort of "yarn acqusition syndrome" for this crime?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

some scraps

The Sheep & Wool festival was _great_ but amazingly crowded. I was in the fairgrounds when they announced the opening (9am) and I was surprised so many people were there already. I had wanted to get the 2006 t-shirt, but the line was too long. That's okay because I can get it online.

There is a wonderful array of yarns available at S&W. Not just wool, but other yarns that various yarn shops from over the US bring - believe it or not, I only bought _4_ skeins of yarn, 2 were Bernat's Baby Coordinates and 2 I forget the brand name - one is a royal blue with bits of different colors in the yarn & the other one is a daffodil yellow, again with bits of different colors. Now there was a _lot_ more I could have purchased but I didn't.*

Interweave Press was there, giving free kits and infor on spinning yarn. I was going to pick up a kit, but the lady before me took the last two. Oh well. I probably wouldn't spin yarn anyway. Yarn Barn of Kansas , Wild Meadow Angora and the Horse Brooch folks were there, along with a ton of other people. I honestly don't go to watch them shear the sheep, but you can't help seeing (and hearing) the sheep. There were angora bunnies, alpacas and of course, sheep for sale.

But what did I spend my money on, if not yarn? Good question. I find the S&W vendors will often have a book for sale before it shows up at the local bookstore or Amazon. I don't know why or how they do it, but they do. I got a book about the buillion stitch (sp?) by Prudence Mapstone. I am quite happy with it, haven't done anything besides look at it yet, but still quite cool. I also bought a pair of earrings that had pewter balls of yarn as the charm.

The baby afghan was a big hit, tho the younger folks called it "psychdelic". More "op art", I think but my neice was quite happy with it, so I was happy. I made a blue & white turtle to go with the afghan for the new baby and mad a blue & green turtle for Payton (her first child). I really liked the 12 point ripple and it really worked up fast. Here's the website for the pattern, in case I forgot to mention it before

It's very much like the kit in the Mary Maxim catalog. I had considered buying the kit, but I really just wanted the pattern.

Currently I am working on lion filet curtains for my dining room. It will just be 2 panels. I plan to alternate working on the panels, 10 rows on one, than 10 on the other - I think it will be easier for me that way. The total height of the panel is (I think) 51 rows. Since it will be used as a tier, it should work out well. I intend to crochet an edge around it. I havent's decided what type of edge yet. I am using the picture from the book, it's just a chart and no instructions are given. I am using sports weight white acrylic. It won't achieve the lacy effect that thread would have , but my wrist protests when I work with thread. I think it will be pretty cool when it's finished, but why wouldn't I? It's my project.

After I finish the panels, I plan on making the world's ugliest sox. I have the yarn - a Red Heart sport weight that probably should be used for a kilt. The colors clash (okay, they fight violently) so I think it will be neat to do a pair of sox with it. It will probaly make my eyes tear up - oh wait, that's just allergies. I've made 1 pair of sox before, with the Lion Brand Thick and Quick. I painted that fabric paint on it, let it dry thoroughly and gave it to my older sister as a pair of bootie sox. She really liked them because she's diabetic, has big feet and it's hard for her to find something like that in her size.

That's it for today.

* The day before, I had found and tossed a box of yucky yarn in my shed. It was entirely my fault the yarn went moldy. It was on top of a tote, not covered with anything and apparently the shed is not watertight. The yarn in the plastic totes was fine.


Monday, May 01, 2006

It's sheep & wool week:)

Yes, my friends, one of the most eagerly anticipated days (outside of half price chocolate day and the "moonlight madness" sales) is coming up. The Maryland Sheep and Wool festival is this coming weekend.

This is one of the coolest (if not _the_coolest) fiber events. There's no admission, so all your money can go to yarn or yarn accessories or even buying rovings if you want. You can just walk around and gaze at the beautiful yarn, pet the sheep and see people spin angora yarn right off the bunny's back. This is the event I have been trying to save my nickels for, so I can blow it there. Last year I didn't find much of anything, but I wasn't in the proper frame of mind to actually be there. My younger sister was dying (in fact, she died the next day) and it's hard to even consider yarn when your heart is elsewhere.

They generally have alpacas, goats and llamas as well as sheep and bunnies. If you are so inclined, you can purchase the animals to get the yarn right at the source;) I won't, because I don't have room for any more animals. But I will look closely at the angora bunnies. Luckily I have one at home and that will stop me from getting another one. (No, I have never spun his fur. I keep thinking I will, but I'm just lying to myself.)

I will be at the festival with my younger son. My beloved hubby will be out of town, taking a class that day. It will definitely be different with my son, because Craig will just wander worund with me. I hope Will has that much patience, we'll see.

I am hoping to catch up with a few folks I only see there now. I will be wearing a large yellow straw hat, I think they call it a "picture" hat, so if you see a middle aged woman with a big yellow hat digging thru the yarn, it's a good chance it's me. I have nothing specific in mind that I am looking for, I probably shouldn't even buy any more yarn. But I'll be there, buying yarn anyway;) The hand painted yarns are amazing to look at, so far I can't part with the bucks to buy a skein. There's lots of different yarn (than what you see locally) and you have a good chance of finding something to tickle your fancy.

They also have items that are knit / woven / crocheted out of wool on display. The judges are very strict. The comments on the garments tell you exactly what the judges found good or bad about the item. Most of the time, I can see why some things are not the first prize winners. One comment surprised me was that the item "smelled of cigarette smoke". I don't smoke and in the open, you can't really identify a smell, but apparently the judges could. It was a shame, too, because it was a beautiful shawl.

I have finished the 12 point round ripple and a turtle to go with it. I am debating whether to make a turtle for the future older sibling. Since the baby shower is for the new baby, I don't know. I could probably make one fairly quick if I quit goofing off and get to work. hmmmmm


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

S'n'B, "The Happy Hooker" error site

There were some errors in the first printing of the Debbie Stoller book (I have a hard time with the title because if I am stitching, I'm not complaining, but that's me) - here's the link

Click here: http://www.bust.com/knithappens/snbhh-errata.pdf

I have the first edition, but I have no idea how many editions it's up to, but it's likely if you purchased it when it first came out, you also have the first edition.
I haven't attempted a project from the book yet, but I'm thinking about printing out the errors and putting it with the book so when the time comes, I'll be ready.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

correction & thrift shop yarns

It was Lord & Taylor that had the crochet earrings. I have never shopped at a Lord & Taylor, wonder what that's like?
They must not have yarn, because if they did, I would have been there already.

For those who are wondering what happened with at least some of the Target yarn that wasn't sold on clearance, Big Lots has it for 79 cents a skein (at least in my area, which in Baltimore County). I have also seen it at a upscale Goodwill, they were selling it for a dollar a skein.
You have to be careful buying thrift shop yarn because you might get something disgusting like bugs ore it could be dry rot. Check the feel of the yarn as best as you can through the plastic bag. If you see stuff moving around in the yarn, do _not_ buy it. If the yarn seems too fragile (breaks as you try to feel it or separates easily), again, don't buy it. You can get some pretty good deals in thrift shops, but you have to carefully examine what you're buying. But you should be doing it wherever you buy yarn. Some yarn feels good to the touch, but it seaparates while you are touching it. If it seaparates easily at a touch, think of how bad it's going to be to work up - splitting the yarn is not my idea of a fun crochet session and probably not yours, either.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter & stuff

I told you I didn't want to _buy_ any new yarn. Okay, I really _do_ but I got more stash than the store does, plus it's already colors I like and it _is_ paid for, which is an important consideration. This past week I got a prize box from the Needlecraft Shop (http://www.needlecraftshop.com/ )
because apparently I was one of the first 50 people to respond to their bill. I got 12 skeins of pastel Red Heart yarn, good for a baby blanket (hmm, did they read this blog?), a pair of bright pink knitting needles, 2 afghan hooks, 1 steel crochet hook and a package of taprestry needles. That was _really_ cool and totally unexpected. I did email them a thank you note because I was impressed - and thankful.

As to the baby afghan, I decided not to go with stripes. I thought that might send me over the edge plus I was debating over using various raised stitches to make it look better. Instead, I found this little gem http://project-angel-kisses.150m.com/roundripple.html.
This works up very fast and is very easy to do. I decided to use the blue and white yarn I had already found in my stash. Plus you can make it any size, you could even make an adult sized afghan by following the directions. I am quite happy with this. It appears to be very similiar to the kit in the Mary Maxim's catalog (nope, I don't get a kickback from them), so if you were interested in that, you may want to check out this pattern.

In case you are wondering why (all of the sudden) I am trying to watch my yarn spending, I have 4 words for you - Sheep and Wool Festival (http://www.sheepandwool.org/) . This is coming up very fast and I enjoy wandering around the festival grounds, wondering what I want to buy. Some years I spend a _lot_. Last year, because of the situation with my younger sister, I spend very little money and very little time there. My younger son is taking me this year as my beloved will be taking a class out of state. It won't be much fun for my son, but what the heck. I'll have fun (but not as much as if my beloved was with me). They do have some of the most amazing yarn I have ever seen, some of it hand spun and hand painted. They even have the rovings so you can spin it yourself. I don't buy that because I know it would just pile up because I'd never get around to spinning it. But I still like to look at it.

If you live in the Washington DC area, the "Washington Post" has an ad featuring crochet earrings. They are _gorgeous_, made with cottin thread. I can't remember the name of the store, whether it was Lord & Taylor or Neiman-Marcus, but they were great looking.

That's it for today.


Monday, April 10, 2006

loose ends

I haven't been crocheting much because my oldest cat, Houdini, was very ill. He died last Monday. Houdini required a lot of care and I just couldn't think straight enough to crochet.

Today I decided I needed to get back to crocheting. I found the Jaimie yarn and the hook I use to make the preemie caps and began to crochet one on the way to work.

And that reminded me that I have another great nephew showing up in about 7 weeks and I should make something for the new baby. I fought (very hard, lol) the urge to go to the store and buy yarn. I probably have more yarn here than A.C. Moore & Michael's combined, but that didn't stop me from wanting to buy more.

I decided to search through some totes of yarn. Perhaps I'd have something suitable;). I found 2 of Lion Brand's "Pound of Love" skeins, one blue, one white. I think I will make a striped afghan, I really am not in the mood to assemble a bunch of motifs. But I might change my mind or maybe do some sort of raised stitches to make it more interesting. I'll just have to see how I feel about the whole project.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

More "Stitch 'n' Bitch"

Here's something Workman Publishing put together as a promotion of the crochet book:

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"Stitch 'n' Bitch - The Happy Hooker"

This book has received a lot of hype, beginning last year with the "Hooray! Debbie Stoller's going to write a book for crocheters" rumors. I'm not familiar with M's Stoller's previous books, which had to do with knitting, so I definitely wondered what she had to offer crocheters. After all, her fame came from the 2 _knitting_ books she had written.

The short review is if you are just learning to crochet, this is probably a good place to start. Is it as good as Pauline Turner's "How To Crochet"? If you go by the amount of patterns, the "The Happy Hooker" has 40 patterns to "Hot to Crochet" has about 15 patterns. If you know a lot about pop culture, "The Happy Hooker" would probably be more to your liking. But M's Turner's book, in my opinion, gets you crocheting much quicker. But there should be a place for both of these books on your bookshelf.

The illustrations by Adrienne Yan are very clear and concise. They show you right where the yarn and the hook should be placed. The terminology which M's Stoller uses seems a bit juvenile to me ( the "butt" of the stitch? come on). Her many references to pop culture make me realize she is aimimg for a younger audience than I happen to provide. It seems to be a "dumbed down" crochet instruction book.

The patterns - the real meat of the book. It's interesting (to me, at least) to note that M's Stoller did not contribute any patterns to this book. Some patterns seem familiar but that's true in any crochet book. You're still working with the same basic stitches stitches. My current favorite has to be the the sock monkey baby hat. I personally don't care for sock monkeys, but my sister-in-law does and I think I will be making a bigger version for her. I plan to make the bunny slippers for myself. And most likely, I will be making the "Jolly Roger" sweater for my younger son.

The patterns feature a variety of yarns in any price range - Aurora, Bernat, Berroco, Patons, Red Heart, Lions are just a few of the yarns used for the projects. The photos of the finished projects really capture the crochet work involved. And the patterns are very good. I'm just not thrilled with the cutesy names ("Knot Ugly Shrug" and "Orange You Glad" for example). It makes it harder for me to remember which pattern is what. But the pop culture references and the cutesy names abound in this book.

I have a problem with M's Stoller's attitude towards crocheting. It seems a bit on the snarky side. I could go on and on, but I'll just leave it at this quote
"when you are working lacy stitch patterns in crochet, you are less likely to create mistakes....it's very easy to make errors while creating lace in knitting and spending hours undoing rows of intricate lace work...". As someone who has been on row 40 of a project and spotted an error on row 8, it doesn't make_ me_ happy to realize I must rip out 32 rows to correct my mistake. I'm sure other crocheters feel the same way.
Wait, please indulge me in _one_ more quote "In the years following that wacky time (late 1960s and early 1970s), crochet kind of burned out, becoming irrelevant to all but those interested in wearing purple-and-green-striped woolen pants." Where does this come from? I remember crochet from that time period and I _definitely_ do not remember that bit of fashion. I get the impression that M's Stoller thinks her knitting book was responsible for making knitting popular and shebelieves she is doing the same thing for crochet.

As to M's Stoller's comment about "hookers" being associated with crocheted lace, according to this particular site http://www.swcivilwar.com/hooker.html, they are named for General Joseph Hooker. I had never heard the story about crocheted lace and prostitutes being linked before reading this book.

Will "Stitch 'n' Bitch - The Happy Hooker" stand the test of time? I don't think so, too many cutesy terms and pop culture references, but that's just my opinion. I believe "How To Crochet" will stand the test of time. Your mileage may vary. I do know there are some great projects in M's Stoller's book. And I do know I got to figure out how to modify that sock monkey hat.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Yarn Stash & Snob Knitters

I have decided (actually quite some time ago) my yarn stash is totally out of control. That, however, did not stop me from buying _more_ yarn at the thrift shop. I could insultate this house with the balls of yarn I got. I'm not bragging or complaining, just stating the facts.
I have been trying to clean up my basement. I'd love to blame somebody else for the vast amount of mess there, but it's mostly all me. Yeah, I could blame Cadbury (the bunny) or the cats or kids or the beloved, but honestly it's me.
I would be better served by "shopping" the basement than by buying new yarn. I have what I need to complete a bunch of projects, including some half started or barely started projects. I have a bunch of the "grannie's daughters" started, as well as the squares themselves. (The "grannie's daughters" are the first round of the square - apparently I was using up some scrap yarn.) I have about 5 crocheted flowers made from embroidery floss. And I found the tiny socks I was working on (but not the pair I _finished_.) A normal person would be more than happy to have all this yarn to work on various projects with and have them all organized according to project, estimated deadline, patterns and such. But I'm not normal. I think I am just hoarding all the yarn I can get my hands on. Yeah, a _very_ long time ago I didn't have much yarn and basically bought yarn as I could afford it for a project. But those days are long over with. I need to get over that bad habit.
I have given some away to various organizations. But I seem to turn around and buy more to fill that space up. *sigh* I probably need to give _more_ away....but it's difficult for me to part with it.
I also need to crochet more. I really haven't been doing too much of late. I don't have a good excuse except it's _cold_ in the car;). Plus I don't have a current long term project. It's time for me to quit whining and get started on _something_, anything. If I could just crochet at work or even with my toes;)

I ran across this post in Live Journal (a very interesting place) and asked the author if I could post it here and she said "yes". Anyway, she talks about various strata of knitters and also the fact that tho she knits, she prefers crochet. I thought I'd pass that along to you folks. I thought it was a pretty cool post.

Here's the link:


oh, here's something else - apparently Bernat is doing a survey in which you get some free patterns. According to their website, it won't be available until February 28, 2006. But here it is anyway....

Click here: Bernat e-Survey


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Guest blogger

Guess what? The "Dee" of "Crochet With Dee" is currently having guest bloggers on her site this week. She's having a contest with it and anybody can enter, as long as you keep your post about (or mostly about) crochet.
I got one of the Wednesday spots:)
anyway, here's the link. I had originally planned to write about something else, but these thoughts popped in my head.
Give being a "guest blogger" a shot.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

a long time (more scrips and scraps)

I haven't been here for a while, I haven't really been crocheting that much. Part of it has to do with getting adjusted to my time change for work. Part of it is because I am at the finishing up point for 2 projects. I think I got to finish those 2 up before I start another - wow, I must be getting old, that was never one of my comcerns before;)

One project is a pirate turtle. I have to make a captains hat for him, but I need to get a look at a pirate's hat so I know what it's supposed to look like. That's made out of Red Heart (don't complain to me about how awful they are, if it wasn't for Red Heart, a lot of people wouldn't be doing any needlework. You got to start somewhere.) If I ever finish it, I intend to sell him on Etsy. It's pretty cool, but I'd think that because I made it.

The other project is lining a purse made of Ping-Pong (is that Bernat or Paton? I don't remember). I haven't lined a purse for eons, so this should be interesting. I also intend to sell it, providing I don't like it too much;) I also haven't made a purse for eons. A co-worker asked me if I could make a purse to her specifications and I think I can do it, but believe it or not, I don't have the color yarn she wants. I'm not even sure how that is possible, but there you are.

As for magazines, I have long ago received "Crochet!". I like the magazine, I'm a member of CGOA and generally I like the projects. I really did not care to see knitting with beads instructions. Does "Vogue Knitting" generally have any crochet projects? You know the answer as well as I do and that's_no_. So why put it in a crochet magazine? There's certainly enough knit magazines around.

And while I'm on the soapbox, let me toss in my 2 cents sbout books that are "knit and crochet". The last few I've seen that allegedly featured both arts, the knitting projects are more numerous than the crochet. (I'm thinking of "Family Circle Toys" as well as "Wrap Styles" here.) If they would just say in the table of contents "Here's a dozen knitting projects and four crochet projects, that would make me happy. I could pick up the book, scan the table of contents and check out what they have. I've have purchased a few crochet books from a book club and was surprised to see they were mostly knit.

Outside of that, what else do I have - I've been invited to the A.C. Moore "Moonlight Madness Sale". Yeah, I know everybody else in the world has been invited, too, so it's not exclusive. But it will give me a chance to use my gift card from Christmas. I have wanted to go there before but I was holding out for a sale. (yes, I _am_ cheap.)


Sunday, January 29, 2006

not the fastest crocheter

It's really true, I'm _not_ . I visited Michael's today because they were doing the contest and I had hoped to snag a prize. They didn't have everybody crochet at once, basically you came in and they timed you for 3 minutes. I wasn't too thrilled that they started the chain for me and I yanked out my first stitch (double crochet) because it didn't look right, but there was somebody faster than me - somebody (at the time I was there) did 50 double crochets in 3 minutes. I just did 38 stitches.
I consoled myself by buying yarn on sale;) The Moda Dea "Wild" and "Vixen" was on sale - so was "Ticker Tape" but I didn't buy any of that.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crochet Fantasy Winter 2005, a review

First off, let me tell you I have been a long time subscriber to "Crochet Fantasy". I do not get a kickback in any way, shap or form from "Crochet Fantasy", so whatever I say is not influenced by any outside forces.

I was a little apprehensive when "Crochet Fantasy" was purchased by another publishing company. Than the winter 2005 issue arrived late, with an apology enclosed. Apparently the people who would normally get their items printed in the Hurricaine Katrina path switched to using other printers. The printers tried to squeeze in as much as they could and as a result, the winter issue of "Crochet Fantasy" was late. I have to be honest and say I didn't know it was late, but I was still opening Christmas cards on New Year's Day.

I like the new layout of the magazine. The photograph of the project is where the beginning of the instructions are, whic makes it very handy for me - I can't remember the various names of the projects and I can see at a glance if I have what I need in my stash. They even have (*gasp*) a few plus size models, which I think is great. Not everybody who crochets a garment is a petite person. The artices seem to be more indepth than they were previously. Perhaps that's just me.

One thing I had been turning over in my mind was the illusion knitting and how would that transfer to crochet. I couldn't quite figure it out how it could work, but this issue gives 2 examples of illusion crochet - enough to get me started and help me see possibly plan another project.

There is an article by Elizabeth Kurr about Judith Copeland and modular crochet. This is a fascinating article as it makes designing a garment so much easier than taking all the measurements and calculating the pattern so everything turns out correctly. There's an example of a funnel neck sweater to show you how to put the modular crochet instructions into a project.

The "Whole World Coat" is a great project by one of my favorit designers, Carol Ventura. I find her work so intricate but as the pattern is broken down to sumplify the process. I like the way it looks and I think it will become a "work in mind".

There's a lot of other good stuff in this new issue of "Crochet Fantasy" - crochet snowflakes, an article about shawl ministries as well as an article about Noreen Crane-Findlay. There's even a pattern from M's Crane-Findlay featuring one of her adorable dolls.

If you haven't checked out "Crochet Fantasy" lately, it's time for you to take a peek again. I am happy to see it alive and kicking. I also think there's enough room for several more crochet magazines - ever check out how many quilting magazines are on the newstand? More magazines and more patterns mean more fun for crocheters:)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

"Not Your Grandmother's Crochet" or my first crochet project

M's Modesitt* (of the "Crochet Pattern a Day" fame) wrote an article some time ago about how she was happy that she does do "grandmother's crochet". Good article and I'd direct you to it, _if_ I remembered where I read it.

But that expression "not your grandmother's crochet" still plucks my nerves. As far as I know, unless she just took up the hobby, my grandmother does not crochet and she never has. She is not one of the "traditional" grandmothers that the phrase seems to have in mind. My grandmother was widowed young (31) with 6 kids. She was too busy working to crochet or do much of anything else - she was (still is) more of a reader than anything else. I learned a lot from her, but I didn't learn crochet from my mom's mom.

I didn't learn from my father's mom. Apparently she was a bit wild in her younger as well as her older days (destroying bars, being a bigamist, living in sin) to have spent her time crocheting.
However, she did like to bake occasionally. I never really knew her well as she lived in in a different state. I also learned a lot from her, but not how to crochet.

My older sister, Bee, taught me how to crochet (and knit). She took dress design in her vocational school and that's something the students had to learn. She struggled teaching me how to crochet because I was (still am) very impatient. It seemed to flow freely from her hands, but I just couldn't seem to grasp it. It took me about a few months of practicing and watching and Bee showing me time and time again for me to get that "aha" moment.

I had to make something for my Home Ec class, any project, but it had to be crocheted or knitted. The Home Ec teacher didn't show us _how_ to do it, we were supposed to know. And we were also supposed to bring the item into class so she could see us actually work on it.
I choose yellow and green yarn for the colors (it matched my bedroom). The yarn I bought was rug yarn, I think. It was the least expensive of the yarns in the five and dime I visited and the start of my love affair with Boye hooks, a size H.

Bee did the chain stitch to start. I had great difficulty starting the project. Now I realize I pulled the chains too tight and couldn't work stitches in them, but I didn't know that then. I don't remember if Bee tried to get me to make them looser or not. At any rate, I was stitching along. Horizontal green and yellow stripes, done in double crochet, that had a sort of "rib" effect. I didn't know I was supposed to put the hook under _both_the loops on the top of the stitch. Bee probably did about 30% or so of the afghan. But having to take it to school and show my work made me try to learn the stitches better.
The teacher had doubts (reasonably so) that I was actually doing the work. I was slow and it would be unreasonable to think I had gotten so much done so quickly. But the day finally came when I could whip the project out of my duffel bag and actually accomplish some rows while in class. After that, the teacher didn't question my ability to crochet. I honestly don't remember what other people made. I can't remember if there were amazingly complex patterns or just ponchos (it was the late 60s). But I was sure glad I got that project done. And it certainly kept me warm.

The afghan is long gone now, a victim of time and moving. It wasn't that beautiful a project, but it was important to me. The joy of actually creating a project that big has stayed with me. I still enjoy the accomplishing of any project, whether big or small. And I've made a ton of afghans since that time, but that first one remains in my memory as an extra special afghan.
After all, how many crochet projects keep you warm, co-ordinate with your room and get you a good grade in school?


Monday, January 02, 2006

scrips & scraps, New Years Resolutions

Here's a few tidbits for you - I hunted down the "Woman's Day Knitting and Crochet" magazine (it appears to be a "one off") and I wasn't really impressed. It seemed there was much more "knitting" mentioned than crochet and the patterns weren't all that exciting. Your mileage may vary, but for all I've heard about this magazine on various lists, it did not live up to the hype. It's interesting, but not overly so to me.

Here's another tidbit.

Click here: The Best of Blogs » Best Knitting or Craft Blog

you can nominate your favorite craft blog here (please _do_not_ nominate _this_ blog _ there are many great crocheting blogs out there and this one does _not_ compare_) . I nominated
http://amigurumi-along.blogspot.com/ as it always makes me smile when I look at it. You can't nominate yourself, but maybe you can get a friend or a reader to nominate for you. The deadline is January 3, 2006. Yeah, I know it's short notice, but I just found out about it the other day myself.

As for New Years Resolutions, I'm a great believer in recycling - I've been using the same ones for about 15 years (lose weight, get more organized, be a nicer person) but I've decided I will subject some new ones, I mean write some new ones this year. They are in no particular order, just sort of random ones.

1) Stop taking it so personally that Howard Stern switched to Sirius Satellite radi, though he knows _full_well_ I can't afford that service. I'll stop feeling that maybe he's trying to "lose" me and accept the fact that life goes on.

2) Do not get a gyn exam in the emergency room if you can avoid it. (If you're a guy reading this, just take it as "stay out of the emergency room"). If this has ever happened to you, you know what I'm saying. If it hasn't, take my word for it, you _don't_ want it to happen.

3) Learn how to use my "Knitting-A-Round" and see if it's as cool as it's supposed to be.

4) Crochet more stuff for charity and for gifts. I was surprised that the gifts I made went over so well, but it's been a long time since I crocheted Christmas gifts.

5) Find something useful to do with my overwhelming stash of hooks and needles. I haven't knitted in about 3 years, perhaps having 25 pairs of knitting needles is a little overkill. (I don't enjoy knitting as it goes too slow for me.)

6) Find a _reasonable_ place for patterns. Now it is similar to an archeology dig but not as well planned out. I have heard some folks put them on disks, but I'm not sure exactly how that works, plus I'd just have to search thru the disks. At least with the physical patterns, I could say "oh, heck, I'll do this instead of that".

There's probably a lot more I should resolve to do (if it's not on my perpetual New Years Resolutions list already) but that's it for today.

Hope your new year is a good one, filled with peace and love.
(maybe I should put "learn to spell";))