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...

Friday, July 27, 2007

CGOA Chapter Meeting

The theme for last night's Guild meeting was Christmas in July. And did it ever live up to it's name!

Goodies to snack on - I didn't have time to bake cookies, but stopped and bought some fancy cookies with raspberry jelly in the centers. They looked festive, Crystal made home made cookies! Yummy, thanks!

Fiber goodies - Last month at the meeting we put together a group order for yarn from "Smileys yarn" and I delivered the yarn last night. I also had samples of new yarns for everyone to see and feel, and I gave a quick review. The yarns were Bernat Natural Blends in Soy and Bamboo. I will post a review on the CGOA Membership group as soon as I can.

Conference Goodies - Margie was the only member to go to the Chain Link Conference this year and she had a great report for us, including what was in the goody bags, favorite teachers, classes, techniques, funny moments, and Professional Development Day. Having several of the same teachers over the past years, we enjoyed chatting about the teachers and classes. Margie was very excited about Joan Davis's class on Omega Lace, this is a new technique. She showed us the beginning of her project, using yarns from her goody bag. It was a new yarn from Coats & Clark Moda Dea Fashionista (acrylic and Tencel) in a beautiful fushcia, then she had a multi-colored novelty yarn. The technique of Omega Lace seems to be a combination of knitting, crocheting, Tunisian, and double hook, and creates a very open, lacy stitch. She had a book on Ponchos (note - get exact title) which had Joan's poncho which featured her technique, so we were able to see the original pattern. (note to self - See if Joan teaches this class as an online correspondence course through CGOA, if not, sign up for it at next year's conference!) Margie had brought back a lot of freebies for the Chapter. She had a box of 12 balls of thread, Optima 10 from Ilse Wolle in Slovakia. I saw this thread online last week while searching threads, will have to check for more details. It seems to be a very soft #10. The colors were mostly yellows and purples, with 1 pale green. She said take what you want, Crystal wanted the purples, and I selected 3 yellows that went well together (doily!), and another shade of yellow that went with one of the yellows, but all 4 will not go together. I also took the green, maybe my yellows will be some flowers and the green for leaves. Margie also was given a small box of lighted hooks and told to give them out at the meeting. She had exactly one for each of us! They are Clover Crochet Lite in sizes H, K and E, I got the E and was excited to take it for a short drive last night. Will it be helpful for working dark threads in the late evening? I'll try it and let everyone know. Hopefully I'll get a nice review written for here and CGOA newsletter.

Yarn review - Bernat Natural Blends Bamboo

Tuesday was Sit N Stitch Night at Michaels, and they had new fibers!! Everyone in the group was teasing, you know Jane's going to buy some. Of course, I selected Bernat Bamboo, it's a bulky weight yarn, 89% bamboo, 11% acrylic. This yarn is sooo soft!! I think the soy was fabulous, this is even better!
I started with a little swatch, single crochets, half doubles, doubles, and then some Tunisian Simple Stitch. All of the stitches look great, however, I'd stick to fairly simple stitches and stitch patterns, the yarn has a nice texture. I passed the sample around the group, and everyone loved the softness, several people said "I can see clothing made of that."

A full review is pending, I need to find a small garment to make with the ball that I have, or maybe...pick up a couple more balls?

Once again I find it things that are supposed to be helpful, and there not helpful,... I tried to find a book on the Internet and put in the name of the book, the only "hits" that I got were to my own blog entries! Today I tried to find some information on the new Bernat Natural Blends yarns. Using Google again, the only item I got was my own blog entry. I can't be the only person in the world to know about this yarn! It's evidently not even up on the Bernat website.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tunisian Knitting

Here's a short blog entry, but it has great pictures of Tunisian. They call it Tunisian Knitting, I'm starting to call it simply Tunisian, hoping to pick up knitters and crocheters interested in learning the technique.
The pictures show a beautiful example of the 3 color technique that I blogged about a few days ago. I love the color selection.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

YAS - Stash

You think you've got a big yarn stash? Does your husband pick on you about how much yarn you have? You ain't seen nothing yet!!!
Check out the pictures on the above blog. 'Nuff said.

Tunisian in three colors

Yesterday I was exploring various sites and found a tutorial on changing colors in Tunisian that uses three colors. The interesting part is that while you are working loops on with one color, the other two colors are hanging, one on each side of your work. When you get to the end of the row, either working loops on or off, there's a yarn hanging there waiting for you! No need to think about what color you need to pick up, there's one and only one there. I made up a swatch in a 7 x 9 block, using pink, blue and white. It's so cool!
Today, I got an idea for a baby afghan, then an inspiration of how to use that for teaching classes at Michaels.

Interview with Melody MacDuffie

In that current issue of Crochet Insider there's a fantastic interview with Melody MacDuffie about her crochet technique called Overlay Crochet. If you're not familiar with this technique, be sure to check out this article and the pictures. They'll blow your mind!
I've taken a 6 hour Basic Overlay class with Melody at the 2005 CGOA Regional Conference. She's a great teacher, which is good because this technique is probably very different than any other crocheting you've done. There were quite a few of us experienced crocheters reading the pattern and having to discuss the process. Working as a group, we were all succesful at mastering the technique, the "granny squares" that were produced were gorgeous pieces. I'd love to do a lot more with this technique, check out "Dee's blog"
So far my attempts have looked nothing like Melody's or Dee's, but there's hope for improvement. See my post of June 28, 2006.
After you've read the interview, click on the link to Melody's website, (upper left), then click on Gallery and look at some of her other jewelry. (If you click on the pictures, you'll get a large picture.) She's got a book out, Crochet Overlay Jewelry. All the designs can be worked in larger thread or yarn, there are some great ideas in the book notes I've seen so far. This book has just been added to my Christmas wish list.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Knit 'N Style magazine

Here's a magazine that I'll have to check into, Knit 'N Style. Evidently each issue has a design that's done in both knitting and crochet. This feature is done by Melissa Leapman, wait I've heard that her real name is Melissa Freakin' Leapman!

Feb. 2007 Knit & Crochet Cashmere Pullovers
April 2007 Knit & Crochet Springtime Jackets
June 2007 Knit & Crochet Striped Summer Tees
Aug. 2007 Knit & Crochet Transitional Jackets (August is a Back issue?)
Oct. 2007 Knit Cable Tunic, Crochet Cable Tunic (It's July! how is Oct. current?)

I'm going to have to check into these.
BTW, I found out about this magazine from an interview with Karin Skacel (of Skacel yarn)in the latest issue of "Crochet Insider".

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Family time

I didn't get lost, it's just been a busy week. Our girls have been coming & going, and coming & going since Sunday. Daughter # 2 arrived Sunday morning (5am!) We got a few hours sleep, and then did our favorite "do together" thing - we went shopping! Daughter told Dad she wanted "picnic" food, so we started planning what foods & what day we would have a family picnic. We did have to reschedule frequently. Sunday evening we got a phone call about 9:30, friends were having an impromptu deck party and invited us over. We went, 'cause we have so much fun with these guys & they always have such interesting & fun other guests!
Monday we went shopping again, including the grocery store. Then we went to a little dinner party by a friend. There was just 4 of us, and we all brought food to share. Great time.
Tuesday morning daughter #1 came home, arriving at 4 am! We got a few hours sleep, then daughter #2 headed out for a job interview, and daughter #1 and I went shopping! On our way home, daughter #2 calls, she's almost home & stopping at the Outlet Mall in Hershey. So I dropped #1 at the Outlets so the 2 of them can shop together.
When the girls get back from shopping, we put together our family picnic. Dad (hubby) has made potato salad and 3 bean salad, daughter #1 is a vegetarian and she stuffed mushroom caps with feta cheese, then cut pita bread into wedges, brushed them with olive oil and toasted them, yummy. We also had 2 kinds of hummus and a cheese dip. I made fried chicken. After we cleaned up, we went out to a local ice cream shop. Then came home and played a family game of Clue.
Wed. morning #2 had to drive back to work, so the girls only had a short time together.
Crochet content!- In the evenings I've been working steadily on the "It's All about the Purple Afghan". I've also been collecting even more patterns, and thinking about designs.
Yesterday (Friday) was our 33rd Anniversary. Will tell you about that tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Questions on the Snow Flower Doily

"At Friday, July 13, 2007, Anonymous said...
Hi Jane,
I am new here as I just found this site. I was so pleased to see that you crocheted the Snow Flower Doily. I have started one but am a little confused about rnd 7 and 11. I got the pattern from Freepatterns.com so therefore don't have the "Stitch Guide" available.Is rnd.7 done in 2 rnds? and please enlighten me about the "sc back post" rnd.
11. Thank you in advance for your help. Your doily is beautiful. Dorothy"

Thank you for the compliment.
I can see why you're confused about round 7. This is written a lot like they wrote patterns in the "olden" days, instead of modern terminology. But it is done in one round.
First on Round 6, you made a single, chained 7, skipped 10 stitches and singled in the next stitch; around to the beginning.
In Round 7, you are going to chain 1, single in the first single, 7 doubles in the first chain 7 loop, single in the next single and 7 doubles in the next chain 7 loop, around to the beginning.

sc back post - Back post and front post stitches are done around the "post" or "leg" of a stitch, instead of going into the top loops of the stitch as you usually would. Most of the time, post stitches are made with doubles around the post of a double in the row below. But sometimes, a pattern calls for doing a post stitch around a half-double or even a single. And sometimes, the pattern has you drop down 2 or 3 rows and do a double, or treble around the post of a previous stitch. You can create ribbing, and wonderful textures with post stitches.
For a back post stitch, you insert your hook from the back of your work just to the right of the indicated stitch, put your hook in front of the post of the stich, and bring the hook out to the back of the fabric just to the left of the stitch. For a back post single, after inserting your hook as described, complete the single crochet in the regular manner. I can't find any pictures of a back post single, just back post doubles. The pictures do show you where you put the hook, so this might be helpful.

"Crochet Cabana"
"Annie's Attic" Watch the Quick Time video
I think this video shows the stitches best.

Hope this helps you with the doily, and I'd love to see a picture of your doily when you've finished.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yarn Review final notes

Yesterday I finished the testing of the swatch. I soaked it in cold water and had no color run, I wasn't expecting any because it is a nice light blue. I let it air dry and it looked great. Then I threw it in the washer with a regular load of clothes, warm water, regular detergent and cycle. Then threw it in the dryer, on low. It came out looking beautiful, great stitch definition, no shrinkage, and even softer than before. Final Rating - Fabulous Fiber!!

I'm looking at different stitch patterns, and thinking about colors; there's definitely a sweater in the plans for this yarn!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Blog to Check out

Have fun reading JD's blog about the our Crochet Based Economy!

I'm trying very hard to not be sad about missing the Chain Link conference this year. I did get to go 2 years in a row! I had just started to plan for the conference, we got a new camper, we can sightsee, camp and attend the conference - when H lost his job. Hopefully, by next year's conference, hubby will be settled in a new job, and the conference will be close enough to make a nice vacation out of the educational experience. Live vicariously and read blogs of the crocheters who did make the conference.

Yarn Review - Bernat Natural Blends Soy

At the end of Sunday's long rambling post about the show, was a note about a new yarn that I had to play with. Sunday evening I started swatching with the Bernat Natural Blends Soy. This fiber is 50% soy, and 50 % acrylic. It is a worsted weight, has a nice subtle sheen, and nice stretch.
I started with the hook size recommended on the yarn band, an H. First I used an aluminum Boye hook and made a small swatch of single crochet, then I ripped that back and changed to a Sonshapes wooden hook and made about 5 rows of single crochet, I measured and made notes of gauge on both hooks. Then I switch to a different wooden hook, and made a swatch of singles, half-doubles and doubles. I then frogged that swatch and started over with a swatch of Tunisian Simple Stitch, I ripped that back and using a plastic Easy Tunisian hook, size L, made a swatch of a lacy Tunisian pattern.
On all the hooks this yarn slide smoothly and made beautiful stitches with great definition. I had no problem with the yarn splitting. The yarn also frogged (ripped out) like a dream. I simply started winding the yarn back onto the ball and the stitches slipped out of the swatch smoothly. Even after swatching and frogging a half dozen times, you couldn't see any difference in the yarn used and that which hadn't been used.
I had purchased this fiber just to experience it, and write a yarn review; so I only bought 2 skeins. Each skein is 2.5 oz, approximately 134 yards. I figured that I didn't have enough to actually made anything substantial, but maybe I could manage a baby hat and booties, or maybe a small sweater. I flipped through all my patterns without finding anything using a small amount of worsted weight yarn, so I went to Google and entered "baby sweater" & crochet & worsted. Most baby items are made with sport weight or fingering weight yarn and I didn't want to spend all night sorting through patterns. I was pleasantly surprised when one of the first items on the list was a baby sweater that used 3 oz of yarn, and it was Tunisian!!
Yesterday I made up the sweater, tonight at Michaels Sit N Stitch I made up the matching hat. Tonight I tried to work up some booties to go along with the sweater and hat, but didn't have quite enough yarn. I'll take some pictures of the sweater and hat tomorrow.
I made up a swatch of a variety of stitches, measured it and I'm getting ready to go to the next step of the swatch testing. First I'll soak the swatch in cold water and let it lay flat dry. Tomorrow I'll throw it in the washer and dryer with a regular load of laundry. Then we'll see how nice the fiber looks after that, and measure to see if it has shrunk any.
I'm already planning to make a sweater in this yarn. I just have to decide on a stitch pattern, regular crossed doubles look good, Tunisian Simple stitch looks good, maybe a lacy stitch,....

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

For the Love of Yarn

For the Love of Yarn is a fairly new online newsletter that features patterns, yarn reviews, how to's, etc. The summer 2007 issue (at the above link) has a great vintage crochet pattern. You should have figured out by now that I love to look at the antique patterns. This is a baby blanket from an 1860's book. Don't you just love the minimalist instructions written in paragraph form~! Luckily this pattern is pretty straight forward and you shouldn't have too much trouble, if you understand how to increase at corners "widening at the corners sufficiently to keep the work flat."
Be sure to check out the pattern for a crocheted "wedding canopy". This is an update of a vintage pattern, this pattern could be used for a tablecloth, bedspread, baby afghan, shawl,...use your imagination and find the perfect fiber.
I entered the contest, the prize is a sock knitting kit. Hey, it was just for fun.
The editors are looking for submissions of patterns, articles, etc. If we jump in, we can keep the crochet/knit balance even.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Top 10 Reasons to Buy Yarn

additional reasons:
It doesn't use perfume, hair spray or other chemicals that set off my allergies (if I avoid the wool!)
Yarn never says "She's touching me" (even if she is)
Doesn't require heat or air conditioning.

"Best Ever - Show's a Hit"

Since my last post I've been busy with the annual dance show. Most years I've been busy with costume fittings, tailoring & hemming. Then helping with transporting set pieces and props, and decorating the stage. This year we moved up from using the local middle school to having our show at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg. They have the lights, backdrops and technology that made everything so much nicer. This year was my first year of being an assistant stage manager! Luckily, both my daughters have done stage managing in college, and the oldest is a stage manager for professional opera. I've gotten a lot of helpful information.
Thursday night was technical rehearsal, Friday was dress rehearsal, and last night was the show. So I've been busy at the theatre and not accomplished much in the way of crocheting.

But, that doesn't mean that nothing's happening here in my crochet world. I've managed to work a little on the "It's all about the Purple" Afghan. It's a very interesting pattern called "Old Fashion Fans". You start with a triangle shape as the base of the fan, then work outwards from the base of the triangle and create the fan. Then you work across the top of the fan with stitches that increase in height & then decrease, until you've created a square! Then work several rounds around the square, join the squares and add a final border. The construction was so different that I had to give it a try. This afghan will be donated to the dance studio and raffled as a fund raiser. If you're keeping track, this is the 4th annual "It's all about the Purple Afghan".

I did a group order from Smiley's yarns for our CGOA Chapter. I ordered on Wed, July 4th and got an email on Thursday that it would be shipped, and Friday, the yarn arrived at my door!! Can you get faster service? I don't think so. I also ordered a sampling of yarn, and color cards through a Yahoo group "RA_Yarnsandmore" That order arrived yesterday. I ordered color cards for a lot of worsted weight yarns, so that I can better match colors when planning afghans. I need to find a large 3 ring binder and organize all my color cards. In case you didn't know this, the Red Heart Super Saver color card has a list on the back that tells what single colors match the colors in their variegated skeins. I find this vital, saves so much time in the store, and is the only way to really match colors when buying online. I bought 2 skeins of Caron online, in the color "Off-White". Now, every other brand that has an off-white, the color is basically white. Not so for the Caron, this "off-white" is really a beige/tan shade. I can't use it for what I purchased it for, so will put it in the stash, and possibly use it with a dark green for a masculine afghan.

Yesterday, I played around online and read yarn reviews. Here is the site I was reading yesterday: "yarn reviews" Since I'm allergic to wool, I'm looking for other fibers that will create a beautiful finished crochet project. I then created an Excel spreadsheet with yarns by brand, name, fiber content; and will try to get a ball or two of each and work up swatches and write reviews. The first I'm going to try is Bernat Natural Blends Soy, it is 50% soy, 50% acrylic, worsted weight. I bought 2 skeins (through RA_Yarnsandmore) of a beautiful blue called Tidal, and it is so soft! At 2.5 oz and 134 yards each, I probably don't have enough to make anything substantial, will have to flip through some patterns.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Motif #6

motif CAL #6

I spent several hours online today looking at more motifs that might be good for the Crochet-a-Long (CAL) at the Antique Threadwork group. I found quite a few that I really love, including about 10 pineapples squares that I had missed on "Celt's Vintage Crochet".
If I remember correctly, out of the 5 motifs we've done so far, only one was a square, the rest circles. So I purposely selected a square for this month. I took the pattern and some thread along to our crochet at Border's this evening and I was able to finish the motif. I blocked it when I got home, so I should be able to throw it on the scanner in the morning & then post it to the group and here.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dainty Drawstring Bag

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings I worked on this bag. I have the first 8 rounds finished and written in modern form. Rounds 9 and 10 have been worked, edited, frogged, re-stitched so many times! I think I might have it figured out. I was thinking that I could post my "translation", because I don't consider that a derivative work. But,... after reading the terms of use and distribution, I think that they might consider that a derivative work, because of the use of the words "alter or transform".
I'll be working on this tonight (Tuesday) when we get together at Borders for crocheting in public. Or maybe I should take something easier, and save this for when I'm home alone, and not watching tv!

We took our camper out this weekend, we stayed at a very nice campground in Western PA. Spent Friday evening & Saturday visiting my dad's side of the family. Saturday night there was a dance at the campground, most of the time we watched the kids and teens dance to pop stuff (we sang along with the oldies). But there were some slow dances at the end of the evening & we had fun. Sunday we went to a reunion for my mom's side of the family. It was the family's 59th reunion!

Need to get back to crocheting, I have a lot of projects on the hooks, and way too many more in mind!