Jane's Hooked on Crochet

A place to write about my crocheting, things I'm learning, book reviews, ideas, projects in mind, works in progress, patterns, photos, fair entries, whatever...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Busy Swatching

For the last week I've been busy swatching. I'm trying new stitch patterns, regular crochet and Tunisian, and trying out some new motifs. I'm working with some new yarns. And I'm trying to find the right combination of fiber, hook and stitch pattern so that I can design and made a short-sleeved summer top for myself. I bought some sport weight yarn sometime ago for this purpose, I'm now feeling that it's going to have to be a regular crochet design in a lacy stitch pattern, and possibly a sleeveless vest. I also have some fingering weight yarn that I purchased for either a sweater or a baby afghan. It looks like this might work out for a short sleeved top in a Tunisian stitch. But I'm still swatching.

While swatching, I made three 7 x 9 inch blocks with Caron Simply Soft which I will drop off at Michaels for the Warm Up America program. And one of the patterns I decided would make a nice baby blanket. So I'm working up a design in white which will go to the church's Shawl Ministry, it will be used for the presentation & baptism of a baby in the church.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

great essay by Brenda Stratton at Annie's Attic

Take a few minutes to read this essay by Brenda Stratton, who attended the CGOA conference along with Carol Alexander and other staff. Carol Alexander was the Keynote Speaker on Thursday evening, I think Brenda has captured the spirit of the talk, along with some great quotes.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Interesting hooks

Have fun checking out some fun hooks at Dream Weaver Yarns. Clover Soft Touch, some bamboo hooks, maple Tunisian hooks, glass hooks, lighted hooks,.. Something is sure to catch your eye and your imagination!

"Lighted hooks"

"Glass hooks"

Want to see more of the Chain Link (CGOA National) conference? Patrice got lots of great pictures of the fashion show, check out "her blog" and click on CGOA 2006 Chain Link Conference Fashion Show in the right column. She has pictures of some fantastic freeform work! And she got a close up detail picture of a peacock feather from Pauline Turner's gorgeous cape.

"Basketweave" pattern found

After hours of searching the Internet, I've found the pattern for the basketweave. It's called "MaryM's Goofy Basket 'Ghan". Well, that's why I wasn't finding it with Crazy and Basketweave! On my Google search, page 23 finally came up with Jane's Hooked on Crochet, March 2005! So I went to this very blog to find the link that I was searching for! That's one of the reasons I try to add as much information as I can to these entries. It shares info. with other crocheters, but I can use it as a reference when I'm searching for things I've "misplaced". Check it out, I love the technique and the look. I've been thinking of a complete baby afghan in this technique.

Sunday at the Conference

By Saturday evening, I was saying "My brain is full, don't try to stuff in any more information." Luckily, Sunday morning's class was scheduled just for fun. Some hands on work, carving & sanding. I wasn't trying to get enough information and experience to become an expert hook carver. I just wanted to have the experience of making one hook. The instructor was Nancy Nehring, and she really knows her stuff.
Once again I have to say what a great job everyone did at this conference, every teacher I had was extremely knowledgable.
I selected a pretty oak, I liked the wood grain! When we actually started carving, and filing, I found out that oak is a very hard wood. I got some extra tips about carving and tools from Brian, of "Brainsbarn"
I prefer a tapered head, rather than an inline, so I had a little more shaping to do than some others in the class. I didn't spend any time making fancy rings or adding "fancies", but there were some very nice hooks made in the class.
I have some wicked allergies, so I had to take a short break, go out into the hall and take some extra medication, get a drink of water and breath! Nothing serious, just something I live with.
Anyway, it took me 2 1/2 hours to create this first hook. I selected a thinner and softer wood and started on a second hook. I figured if I got the basic shape worked, I could always do the final shaping and sanding at home. But the second went so much faster than the first and I finished it in 1/2 hour. I took a chance on the walnut oil (possible allergen, but I don't have nut allergies), and I'm glad that I did. The oil brought out the wood grain so nicely.
Tuesday evening I went to Borders, my friend Faith & I crochet in public there, sometimes with 1 or 2 of her teenage daughters. I wasn't ready to jump into any new complex projects, so I took out the small wooden hook and practiced a little Crazy Basketweave. I thought that's what it was called, but can't find a link for it now. I know that I've printed it off at least twice, so I guess I have to spend more time organizing patterns!

Here's a very blurry picture of my hooks, will take another picture. In the meantime, I'm thinking of one more rub with super fine sandpaper, and then maybe some paste wax furniture polish.
After class I went back to the Market, I wasn't planning on buying anything more, I just wanted to stroll through and look at all the fibers, beads, hooks, and other accessories. I just realized (Friday 2 am) that I forgot to look at the books! Well, I've bought some many books and booklets later that I really didn't need to buy any more. But I like to know what's new on the shelves, and the local Borders isn't going to have it. Maybe when both my girls are home we'll take a "field trip" to the Barnes & Noble, hours of browsing books, some fancy coffee, time to chat together about books. Fun!
About 3 pm Sunday I drove home, it took several days of sleeping in my own bed to catch up on lost sleep. What a great week!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Okay, why won't that one picture load?

This is the Master of the Dark Needlearts

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Saturday - Banquet and Fashion Show

Saturday evening was the banquet and fashion show. Everyone was wearing crocheted garments. I think I took almost as many pix of the audience as I did the models in the fashion show.

There were door prizes, too. I think I'll have to check out that Cool Crochet yarn, it looked like it had a nice shine. The bras constructed for the Bravo auction were on display. A lot of creativity there.

I especially like the freeform entries, one in purple from the Connecticut Chapter, and one in pink, I think Dee's work.

Favorite garments include the Master of the Dark Needlearts costume,

a beautiful knitted shawl,

and Pauline Turner's Peacock Shawl!

Saturday at the Conference

Saturday I had two 3 hour classes on Designing better fitting crochet garments, instructor was Lily Chin. If you get an opportunity to take this class, grab it. It was intense, a lot of homework to have ready for class, a lot of information, note taking, but I sure learned a lot. Everyone I talked to later said they had learned a lot, too. I'm ready to put into practice what I learned here. Lily is an excellent teacher, she shares what she knows in an easy-to-understand and fun way. The garments she had for display were awesome. There's a goal to shoot for in my designing! We learned about fibers, stitches, construction techniques, finishing techniques, computer programs, books and magazines to help with garment construction, new books coming out, and a lot of other resources.
Take the class!

More photos

Forget to mention all the gorgeous shawls that were in the Market. There was a beautiful one, light & soft, in the Old Shale pattern, also called Feather & Fan. Still trying to adapt this stitch pattern to Tunisian. If I can't get it as light & lacey as this one, I'm going to have to practice my knitting!

Here are some more pix -

the wooden Tunisian hook I bought from Asciano

the Sock CAL group

After my evening class, I went down to the After Hours Lounge, original just looking for a snack before going back to my room to watch Numbers. There were people working at assembling squares into afghans for Warm Up America. I chatted for a little while, then decided to stay and work a little, also.

Friday at the Conference

Last year I went to the CGOA Regional at King of Prussia, and all 4 days I took 6 hours of classes. Plus, I signed up for lunches, breakfast fashion show, banquet and fashion show, and I walked the Market almost every break. By Friday I was exhausted, the alarm clock rang, and I decided I had to skip that fashion show breakfast and get some more sleep.
I remembered that this year, and took it slightly easier. I took all day Professional Development on Wed, 6 hours of classes Thurs and 6 hours on Sat. But I left Friday morning open. I slept late, and still made it to the market about 10 am. At one of the first booths that I stopped at, the ladies were wearing Santa hats, and they had the perfect item for a friend. No specifics here, I don't want to give away any secrets. After that I kept my eyes open for gifts for other friends and family, and got quite a bit of Christmas shopping done. I bought some pretty cotton/acrylic yarn in pastels, I'm thinking maybe a baby sweater. I also found some yummy colors in #8 pearl cotton thread. It's so hard to find at local craft stores. So I selected some blues and greens, and white, probably to try some Mini Painted Thread doilies. I also bought myself a beautiful wooden afghan hook.

Carol Alexander and her staff from DRG Publishing offered designers a chance to meet with them to discuss ideas. I really loved this opportunity, I'm starting to feel like a CGOA Professional. Very positive feedback. After this meeting, there was a meeting of the CGOA Membership Sock Crochet a Long group. We relaxed, chatted about the various fibers we used, the pattern, what we liked, what we might change with the next pair, etc. We also got to chat about where we're all from, family, and the conference. We took pictures of the group and the socks, passing cameras around to make sure everyone got pictures. Then I went to the CGOA business meeting.
Friday evening's class was called A Different Eye with Karen Klemp. It was looking at old patterns to see how you might make something different, and modern. It was great fun, and very informative. I need to start gathering things into an "Ideas and Inspiration" notebook.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


As I started to type up what I wrote on Tuesday evening and Wed morning, I realized it was rather boring to anyone who wasn't there awaiting the start of the conference.
So, let's skip down the page a little. Wednesday was Professional Development Day, a chance to learn more about crochet professionals such as designers, contract stitchers and pattern editors, and magazine & book editors.
I met Dee Stanziano and Drew Emborsky, who took pictures. I know that Dee was able to blog each day, as she brought her laptop along. I forgot that I had my new digital camera along at first. By Friday I started to take some pictures, now I need time to upload them.
!!Waving to everyone I met!!
Meanwhile, back at the conference, the tables were piled with yarns, needles, hooks, and tape measures. During the Welcomes, we're told that they knew we couldn't just sit there and listen, we were going to be crocheting anyway, so the materials were provided and we were asked to make 12" squares for Warm Up America. Before the conference was over, the squares were to be joined to make afghans to donate. How did we do? Hey, remember it's only Wed. in my story, you have to wait till Saturday night, just like the rest of us!
We had a welcome by Marty Miller, then an interesting talk with slides by Nancy Nehring on "32 Ways to Crochet", lots of beautiful lace. On other days, several of us did mention the shortage of information and pictures about Tunisian. This was followed by a talk by Tammy Browning-Smith on legal aspects of a business -kind of an overview on patents, trademarks and copyrights. There was a great lunch, and the opportunity to chat with fellow crochet professionals. The afternoon session consisted of 3 scheduled break out sessions by 9 instructors. I went to 2 on contract crocheting and pattern editing, 1 by Marjorie Scensny & I by Kathleen Power Johnson, the 3rd session I went to was writing and sending design proposals, by Melissa Leapman. There was a 2 hour break, then a 2 hour talk by Tammy, much more detailed and a question and answer time.
Thursday, class day. I have two 3-hour sessions with Kathleen Power Johnson. In the morning is Basic designing in Tunisian crochet, the evening is 3 hours on Advanced designing in Tunisian. Kathleen really knows Tunisian, I had a class with her last March, also. If you get a chance to take one of her classes, you'll be amazed at how much you can learn in only 3 hours.
Thursday evening was the Keynote Speaker - Carol Alexander of "Talking Crochet" . If you don't get this free, regular email about crochet, click the link and subscribe, there's always something interesting. After Carol Alexander's talk there was a gift exchange. I had brought a gift, but forgot (or maybe didn't every know, there was a lot of stuff to do to get ready for the conference) that the gift was to be gift wrapped. Anyway, those who brought a gift put it on a table in the front, and then each took a gift from the table, opened the gift and displayed it for everyone. There were so many creative, attractive projects. Possibly my favorite was the potholder set that looked like a hamburger - 2 light brown "bun" potholders, a dark brown "burger", red "tomato", yellow "cheese" and green "lettuce". Fun! There were pretty doilies, purses, belts, etc.

A little bag I whipped up for my new digital camera.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Macassar wood & oil, antimacassars

Check out this "pretty wooden hook from Graydog" and learn a little crochet history here.
This is made of macassar wood, which comes from Indonesia. In the 1800's men used macassar oil to slick back their hair. Women crocheted doily-like items to put on the chair backs and arms to protect the upholstry. It was easier to clean the little crocheted items than it was to clean the chair. Or easier yet, toss out the soiled item and crochet more. Since their purpose was to protect the chair from macassar oil, these became knows as antimacassars. If you want to read more, check out "the Wikipedia entry"

CGOA National Conference!!!!

I'm back from the conference, and I had the greatest time. My file box is stuffed with class handouts, swatches, free patterns & magazines from companies eager to promote their products; my brain is stuffed with new techniques, ideas, inspiration and new ways to look things; my shopping bag is stuffed with wooden hooks, yarns, and Christmas gifts. Hopefully, my camera is stuffed with pictures to share.

Tuesday & Wednesday I was able to write in real time, so I will get those up here very soon. After that I was busy, busy, busy; I made notes & will have to write, but will share as much as I can.
I'm already looking forward to finding out about next year's conference and making plans.
If you get a chance to attend, grab it, you'll learn a lot and have a great time.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

COUNTDOWN 6 1/2 hours approx

Last night I almost forgot that it was Shawl Ministry night. I was getting clothes piled all over the bed, making lists, thinking about a store trip, when I realized it. I went and we all had a good time discussing kids, their college plans, summer vacations, etc.
I took advantage of being out in Hershey, and stopped at the KMart for a travel alarm clock, no luck, so will take the hubby's. He can use one of the electric clocks from girls' bedrooms, they're not using them! I also got my grocery store trip out of the way, got juice, fruit, mixed nuts and other munchies; used my debit card & got extra cash, so now I don't have to go out to the bank.
Started designing and crocheting a case for the digitial camera about 10pm. Right, I didn't have enough to do!

Monday, July 10, 2006

COUNTDOWN 25 hours

With approximately 25 hours to go, I've got clothes hanging from the closet door and clothes organized on my bed. What to wear each day? The UPS man rings the bell & leaves a package, it's my online order from Roamans, which includes a pair of jeans in Tall. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find jeans long enough?
The package also contains 2 crocheted tops. One was from a link someone supplied in cplist. It's a long sleeved top coming to a point at the bottom of the center front & center back, the sleeves also come to a point at the front wrist, and there's an o-ring at the neckline. Several people wanted to look at the online page & figure out how to make this themselves. Well, it was reasonably priced, so I just bought it. Like so many items hand crocheted for larger sizes, it has issues under the arms. It is fairly simple, and I think it would be easy enough to figure how to make a similar item, but shaped to fit. Stay tuned - I'm taking 12 hours of designing crocheted garments at the conference!
The second top is sweet! It's a short sleeved pineapple design top over a sleeveless shell, and attached at the shoulder seams. I love the look and the fit! But like most items, where you get what you pay for, no one worries about those finishing touches that are so important to hand tailored, hand crocheted, or hand knitted garments. There are little ends sticking out from many places, and even one spot where it looks like they tied the threads and 2 ends are sticking out, right in the front. I'll take a small, steel hook and work these in as best I can. But, you know that with the ends tied, it won't hold up as well as if they left long ends and wove them in properly.
The mail man also brought my order from Annie's Attic, which includes a booklet on Mini Thread Doilies; and also a new issue of Crochet! September, all ready? I also got the latest Crochet Fantasy last week, and I haven't peeked at it, just dropped it into the file box that's going along to the conference. Now, I have 2 magazines to look at during downtime in the evenings. And some thread work to practice, I sure love the looks of those Painted doilies made with thread, but #20 thread is the smallest I've worked so far.

Misc. stuff

COUNTDOWN - about 27 hours till leaving!
Yesterday my daughter (she's majoring in communications - web design) added a new button to my sidebar. It's for Crochet Garden, I've fallen in love with the beautiful designs. Be sure to check out her site.
While reading my favorite blogs I've found out "The Crochet Dude" is going to the conference. I love reading his blog, because along with crochet information, new designs, new yarns, etc, Drew always has fun stuff about his cats & friends, his house & garden, plenty of photos. My other favorite blog is "Crochet with Dee", and Dee will be at the conference, too. Another blogger who always has plenty of photos and stories. You feel that you actually know these people because they share so much in their crochet stories. Looking forward to meeting Drew & Dee, along with many other fellow fiber friends.
I now have crochet stuff in the living room & bedroom of daughter #1, and clothing in my bedroom & bedroom of daughter #2. Then paperwork in living room & some still on the computer table in kitchen. In the 27 hours I have, I have to pull all this stuff together & get it out to the van. Have a quick trip out to buy a case for the new camera, extra batteries & charger. I'm realizing that I have few crocheted items of clothing to wear, must remedy this!
I'm currently debating whether to wear the Tunisian sweater I designed & made last year. It's got a few problems - mostly in fitting, but I love the stitch pattern & the design does have potential.

"I'm gettin' my act together & I'm takin it on the road."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mailman brings more goodies

Yesterday the mailman brought a box! It was from my brother and contained a digital camera, software, and a Jethro Tull CD. Just in time for the conference I have a digital camera! And new music for the drive. Today's "To Do List" will include buying rechargeable batteries and a charger, and practicing with my new camera.
Oh, yes, I'm also swatching for my Thursday class with Kathleen Power Johnson on Designing with Tunisian crochet.

I'm leaving in 3 days!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Heart Doily

It needs to be blocked, but isn't it cute. Nothing fancy, no fans or picots, just a simple flower center with a circle of hearts around the outside.

Another Serendipitous moment

Last night I picked up the Crafting Tranditions (Jan-Feb '96) that I picked up at the library sale. It has a cute heart doily that I wanted. Well, I discovered that the magazine also has a Valentine/heart afghan done in Tunisian! It has hearts & roses, and none of this straight afghan stitch and add the design in cross stitch. I'm not a big fan of cross stitch. Anyway, this pattern uses the Basic Afghan Stitch (BAS, aka Tunisian Simple Stitch, TSS), but also uses seed stitch, knit & purl, and a bobble. Lots of texture, lots of learning opportunity for crocheters to learn new techniques and stitches.
I started the doily while watching a movie with hubby, and I've finished 12 of the 15 rows, so this works up really fast and easy. I think I'll make up some of these to add to wedding gifts, but they'd also be nice to have on hand to give to a friend, a last minute birthday gift, etc. I'm going to finish my doily, and then get back to swatching for classes!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


My dictionary defines serendipity as "the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for". It was a big part of our homeschooling, you never knew when something would just happen across your tracks while you were working at something else.
Yesterday I had a tutoring session & then was running errands on the way home. I had to drop a book at the library, and contemplated just using the book drop, but decided to go look at the new books. The library was having part of their annual book sale, it's gotten so big that they have a week for hardcover and paperback books, and another week for magazines, cassette tapes, puzzles, etc. This week was the magazines, so I decided to see if they had any interesting crochet magazines or leaflets, sometimes you can find a nice Leisure Arts booklet. Anyway, I found a Crafting Traditions, several McCalls Needlework and Crafts, and some Vogue Knitting. An optional item for the Lily Chin Designing class is a copy of Vogue knitting between '84 and '91, so I selected the Winter '96-'97 issue. At a quarter each, that's great value, on eBay they were 4 to 10 dollars each. Today I took a few minutes to start browsing my magazines. The Vogue Knitting has an excellent article on "Knitting from a Paper Pattern", specifically a stylish Vogue sewing pattern. The article is very well written, and the technique is definitely adaptable to crocheting.
The first McCalls magazine that I've had a chance to look through, and I've found 2 patterns for childrens' sweaters done in Tunisian crochet! One is a cardigan, the other a pullover, and they are gorgeous. Can I borrow someone's child to make a sweater for? Oh, I have a brand new grand-nephew, I can make a sweater and don't have to rush to get it finished before he can outgrow it!
I should get back to organizing the items I need to take to the conference, and finishing up some homework assignments. I had big plans for crocheting clothing & purses to show off, but probably not going to get many finished. So many patterns, so much yarn & thread, and so little time.

Newest Sonshapes hook

On Monday the mailman brought my latest Sonshapes hook! It is Alabaster hardwood in blue and green, size P. It has a ring of green beads in silver, a crystal and a blue tinted butterfly on top, and 3 dangles with blue, green and silver beads and crystal danglies. Oh so pretty!!

I now have 10 Sonshapes hooks, I really love each one. I'm still searching for an H, I keep getting outbid:-(
Here is a picture of the first 8. Not shown, an F in brown, tan & red wood tones, no beads; and the P shown above.
click on picture to get a large view

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mailman delivering Goodies!

The mailman has been very good to me lately, bring new crochet pattern books and a new hook! Perhaps I shouldn't give the mailman all the credit. I've been the one spending so much time on eBay searching for these goodies.

I bought Star book #65 Flower Edgings. This was published by American Thread Company in 1949. Along with edgings and straight insertions, there's a pattern for a Flower Girl, I've been looking at this pattern in various places for months now, contemplating purchasing. There's also a pretty butterfly.

I did have a little difficulty with the format of the pattern, it's basically in paragraph form, and is a little ambiguous. I formed the first flower easily enough, chain, form a ring and work petals into the ring. Then for the next flower, chain, slip stitch into a chain to form a ring, and work into the ring. I thought at first they meant the first ring, but finally figured that it had to be the new ring. Then slip stitch into opposite petal,...ok, opposite of what? I think I finally have it. Here's a small piece I made from the Primrose pattern.

Next, I bought 2 J & P Coats booklets, #329 Pineapple Crochet Designs, published in Scotland, no publishing date; and #456 Pineapple Crochet Designs, second series, published in Scotland in 1971. I'll have to remember that these, like the Lace-Makine book will have European terminology. I've got my eye on a couple of doilies, plus a few motifs that might become something other than a tablecloth or bedspread.
My latest 2 booklets are Crochet Originals #17 by Delena Gilmer. I've never head of this designer before, but fell in love with a doily named Frosty. I saw it on one of the various Yahoo crochet groups that I belong to. There are also several pineapple designs, and some fantastic filet patterns. After the Frost, I think my favorite is the runner with morning glories and butterflies. The second book is #15 Edges by Elizabeth Hiddleson, a big name in doilies and threadwork. I'm currently working on a beautiful pineapple border in bright pink. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, maybe edge a guest towel and give it as a gift. This pattern could use a good English translation, it has an asterisk, like you're starting a repeat pattern, but doesn't have a second asterisk. My favorite, though, is instructions like this: "Row 11 - As 9 to*" so I go to Row 9 and it says "As 7 to *" Now I'm trying to follow all this and look at my hook and thread, too. Row 15 finishes with "continue by picture." I'm not a visual! Please write it in words! I am improving on using pictures and charts.