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, March 29, 2008

I’m going to the Chain Link Conference – the long story

I went to my first CGOA conference in March of 2005. It was a regional conference held in King of Prussia, PA, which is about 3 hours from home. I have had plenty of experience driving to and from King of Prussia, as our younger daughter has been going to a dance competition in the area twice a year for many years. I took 24 hours of classes in 4 days! And I came home with a four-inch 3-ring binder full of class handouts, notes, samples, swatches, and notes. I met a lot of crocheters, designers, authors and publishers.
I went to my first National conference in July of 2006. This time, I paced myself and took one morning and one afternoon off from classes, I spent more time looking around the market, getting together with a sock crochet-a-long group, joining blocks for Warm Up America, talking to publishers about my designs, and crocheting in the hotel lobby. It was a great experience, and by Saturday evening, I was saying “There’s no more room in my head for more information!”
But I was “hooked” on the conference experience, and planned on attending every year if possible.
In the late fall of 206, we purchased a van camper and started thinking about where we might like to take mini-vacations. The conference for 2007 was in Manchester, New Hampshire; just a little too long to drive by myself there and back. Besides we had a lovely new camper just waiting for us to make plans. I tossed out the idea of going to the conference and finding a local campground. Then in April, Hubby lost his job, no money for a conference; and he had to be around for job hunting, interviews, etc. He got a new job in October, less salary, less vacation time. Somewhere in our talks I mentioned the conference and camping, but I figured it was out for another year. Hubby usually takes a week of vacation in the summer to take his scout troop to camp, and uses a few days between Christmas and New Years, as the plant shuts down and he had to take vacation, or unpaid days. We got another item to consider this month, as his Mom went into a nursing home, and may be getting released to go home soon. He was talking about how to schedule his vacation, and said he didn’t have a troop to take to camp this summer, and as much as he enjoys the time off at Christmas; he thinks he’ll take a week off and stay with his Mom when she first goes home, and a week for my conference! Bless his heart, he remembered that I really wanted to go. That was last Monday night, and the registration had opened that morning. I teach on Tuesday, and then go out to Borders for Crocheting in Public. I got home and got on the computer and registered Tuesday evening – there were some classes already filled! Midnight after a long day, and I have to decide what classes I want to take, what I can take- because I wanted several at the same time, and how much I could afford to do. I can spend a little more on classes, and commemorative hook, etc because we’ll be saving so much by camping instead of staying at the hotel.
I’ll write a separate entry on the classes that I’m taking, instructors, and the little extras.
WooHoo Conference!!

To get more information about the Crochet Guild of America's Chain Link Conference, go to "Knit and Crochet Show"

Baby set finished

The pattern for these hats came from a Leisure Arts Leaflet # 2630 called Baby, It's Cold Outside. There is a very popular pattern on the Internet with the same name, but it is not the same pattern. I added the color changes. The little bootie socks are called Cutie Bootie, and I got the pattern from the Internet. "Cutie Bootie"

Friday, March 28, 2008

Selecting what to do at the CGOA Chapter meeting

This month I had a difficult time trying to think of what to present at the CGOA Chapter meeting. I try to come up with a stitch, technique or book to share with the group. Sometimes it's tied to a holiday or seasonal theme, others just something interesting I've run across. Well, until last week I really hadn't decided, then a lot of things seemed to come together.
While sorting through some crochet stuff, I came across a swatch of a two color reversible stitch/technique. It was all yellow on one side, and white on the other, and I remember learning the technique from a book many years ago (ok, honestly it was many decades ago, probably in the 60's). The one color on each side is worked by working in the front loop of the last row and at the same time in the front loop of the row before. Then, in one of the online groups of which I'm a member, someone posted a link to an afghan using this technique. Then, remember that book I wrote about last week, the one on the waffle weave technique, these are related techniques, variations on a single crochet. That got me thinking about variations on single crochets, so I created a little sheet with the alphabet, and at the meeting asked everyone to think about the variations that they were familiar with. Try this, how many variations can you think of? Part of the project will be determining what constitutes a variation as opposed to a slightly different technique. For example, I considered a decrease a variation, you're making one single crochet, but across two stitches. But I listed an increase with a question mark, you're not making any variation in how you make the stitch, you're simple putting two or more of the basic stitch in the same place. I don't consider that a variation, but some people might. It was fun discussing all the variations, and how to make them, and all the various names for the same stitch. On that note, what stitch do you know that has more names than any other? The one that I think of, is a single crochet variation - the reverse single crochet,...also known as,...the crab stitch, shrimp, corded, piecrust edge, Italian edging,

Two Color Reversible Side one

Two Color Reversible Side Two

I then attempted to explain how to do the two color technique, and then I was going to show them to to do the waffle weave. I did get the two techniques intertwined in my brain, and confused everyone, but several people did get a nice waffle weave out of the two color I was trying to explain. Now I need to go back and get some links to websites with instructions and post those to the group.

Waffle weave in Read Heart Beach (bright blue & lime) with solid Lime green
I can't get my scanner to like this color combination. See what looks like white with a grey/pink tint, that's really a bright lime green!

This is a three color waffle weave, using country blue, frosty green and a variegated with blue, green and tan.
I really love this stitch combination. The fabric is very stretchy, soft, and warm. I've got several projects in my mind, but I've so many that I need to get finished first.

Crochet in Public at Borders

It would be nice to stop running in circles for a few days, take time to catch up on reading emails, write blog messages, finish crochet projects, sort & put away unused yarns, move old books off shelf to make room for new crochet books, etc. For now, I'll have to keep reminding myself to post more often.
Tuesday evening we had a large group at Borders, crocheting, knitting, doing Tunisian, and embroidery. Kathleen, who is visiting from North Carolina joined us. What a great time we had talking and stitching, and laughing!! In the past two weeks we've had two people come up and tell us they noticed that we were having a great time, and it made their evening a little brighter!
Again, if you're in the Harrisburg area, stop in at the Borders in Paxton Towne Center and stitch with us.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hey, I forgot to mention that the reason I went to Joann's today was to try again to get the perfect little buttons for the baby sweater. There were some reallly cute little, yellow dump trucks. I'll have to keep them in mind for a future project, they're a little too big for the little, tiny buttonholes that I've already worked into the button band. I can't forget that I also have a bag of yellow daisies, and a half dozen tulips in pink, lilac and yellow. I wonder if Ravely has a place to keep track of my buttons?
I found some cute little heart buttons that were the perfect size, they had them in pink, red and blue, no yellow :-( The blue was too bright, the yarn shade is more of a periwinkle, it also has some mint and peach. I had to settle for some plain white pearl buttons.
Tomorrow I should sew on the buttons, and maybe make those little socks.

Books on sale at Joann Fabric

I had plenty of time to browse at Joann Fabric today. They had all quilting, knitting and crocheting books on sale at 40% off! I browsed a few of the smaller booklets with thread edgings and doilies and a few learn to knit and learn to crochet booklets while standing at the counter. Then gathered a large stack of books and settled at the pattern book table.
There were a lot of great books, wish I had taken notes so that I could write a review of all of them, but you'll have to make do with the three that I finally selected. I brought home one quilting book, one knitting and one crocheting! That's a strange assortment, since I sew, but don't quilt at all; and only do a small amount of knitting. However, I'm learning to find crochet inspiration in a great variety of places.
The quilting book is by Joen Wolfrom, it's entitle Visual Coloring: A Foolproof Approach to Color-Rich Quilts. The beautiful triangles and squares in blues, greens, and purples attracted by attention,...my three favorite colors. The designer selected colorful nature photos as the inspiration for selecting colors to use in her quilts. The nature photos alone would make a gorgeous book, but the quilts they inspire are just as beautiful. Next the designer selected a group of other quilters to take a workshop on her method. They each selected a photo, then selected fabric and designed a quilt. It's fascinating to see several extremely different quilts all based on the same photo. This is a lovely book, and I hope to use it as a starting point on selecting colors for future afghans.
This was the most expensive of the books, at a regular cost of $28, it cost just under $17.
Next, the knitting book, Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns by Sterling Publishing Co. This book has 550 stitch patterns, each has a beautiful color picture, written instructions, and a chart. I haven't had a chance to look at all the stitch patterns, yet, but I've started looking closely at the ones I really like. I read through the directions, and try to visualize how to work them in knitting, and in Tunisian. I have made a long list of stitches to try. Oh, for some time in the next few days for swatching knitting and Tunisian! This huge book, close to 8 1/2 by 11, and almost 300 pages was a huge bargain at just shy of $9!
The crocheting booklet covers a technique that I've heard of, but I don't remember ever trying it. When I actually get hook in hand, I might find that I played with it in the past, there's very little that I haven't done at least once. Anyway, the booklet is by Nancy Nehring and is title Learn to Do Waffle Weave. You create multi-textured fabric with little pockets that hold air to keep you warm, the subtitle includes the term "thermal-look crochet". There are six projects which range from a pot holder and place mat, to a scarf, afghan and pillow, and a baby afghan. The baby afghan is the project that really caught my eye, and first talked me into looking at the booklet. It's made with pink, lilac, and a variegated, and the coloring is spectacular. I've purchased a lot of variegated baby yarn on sale lately, I think I'll selected two pastels and make up a blanket in this technique. This was my true bargain, at $4! If all that I ever make from this booklet is the baby afghan, I've paid a great price for that pattern. However, I think that learning the technique and having one more skill that I can apply in a design or project is well worth the money.
I think that I'll end my celebration of National Crochet Month by learning a new technique, sharing my book finds at the CGOA chapter meeting next week, and doing a lot of swatching. Maybe I'll even create a new design with some of the swatching.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Baby Afghan completed

Today I finished the baby afghan in the ocean waves stitch (check entries for Feb. 1st and 3rd). I added a simple border of dc shells, worked in a few last ends, and took pictures tonight. It might be a few days before I can get a picture posted. We're going to name it "Not your traditional Baby afghan". But we're both really tickled with how nice it turned out. Daughter is mailing the afghan out tomorrow morning.

Next up, buttons on that baby sweater. How hard can it be to find buttons? Then a few pair of cute little socks to go with the sweater and two hats. Then finish another baby afghan, and get that whole stack of baby items in the mail. I should get a few pictures and post them also. Then I can update projects on Ravelry. BTW, On Ravelry, I'm Crochooked. If you're on Ravelry, check it out.

Then finish the thread runner, I'm working on it a motif or two at a time.

After that I'd love to work on a few wearables for me, but I also have a lot of ideas that I want to try swatching in Tunisian.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Needlecrafter's Computer Companion

Wow, this book by Judy Heim sounds like a must have, but the description is just basic. It would be helpful if someone who has the book would write a great review of the book.
I just did the sneak peek offered on Amazon, and I'm very excited about the book. The beginning chapters deal with the computer, hardware, software, Internet service providers, and everything else. It is written for those who may not be familiar with all the various parts, names, etc, without calling us Dummies. Next chapters deal with various needlecrafts - sewing, quilting, cross-stitch, embroidery and knitting are mentioned in various chapter headings. I did find that tatting, lacemaking, weaving, and crochet are covered by browsing the Index. It's fun to find .gif files, Internet Protocol, Netiquette, and Graphing Patterns for crochet in the same index! Some other items of interest: Yarn, calculating needs for sweater pattern, Information on Internet, Inventory Software; Craft Stores on World Wide Web; Printer, Inkjet vs laser, buying; fractals.
In the meantime, I wonder if Borders has a copy so that I can get my hands on it. I haven't seen it the last few times I've browsed the knitting, crochet, sewing, other needlearts section. Wait I found it on Amazon, New for 19 cents! With shipping and handling, it's under $5.00, so it's in my cart. I wonder if that includes the software disk?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Motif CAL for March

This is the motif I selected for March. It is "Sweet Clover" from Celt's Vintage Crochet.
It's not one of my favorites, but it works up quickly. It does look much better joined with others for the tablecloth than one motif alone. It needs a little more blocking, hope to get to that soon.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Runner motif

Well, I've finally made a decision on the motif for the runner. I don't think I've ever spent so much time on finding just the perfect pattern. I even made several different motifs in several different threads, and then solicited advice & opinions from family and from the Tuesday evening Crocheting in Public group.
The winner is "Lacy Flower Runner" from Art of Tangle.
I made one motif Monday evening, and made a second one of Tuesday evening, so this will work up fairly quickly. I'm using Cebelia #10 in cream.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Motif CAL for January

"Pointsettia" motif

"Charleston" motif

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Library display - National Crochet Month

Yesterday some members of the CGOA Chapter met at the East Shore Library to put together a display for National Crochet Month. Our theme was Crochet Books, how appropriate for a library display. We started with displaying some favorite books, and projects that members had made from the books. Some of the books and projects were 52 Tunisian Crochet Stitches Combine to Make An Afghan Stitch Sampler, Dolores Franks; and 101 Easy Tunisian Stitches, Carolyn Christmas and Dorris Brooks. With this was my Tunisian sampler baby afghan. Along with the book 24-Hour Crochet Projects, by Rita Weiss, was "Must Have Blouse"; and with Fancy Hawaiian Lei in Crochet by Roberta Wong, was a beautiful red & yellow lei made by Faith. From the Better Homes and Gardens book Forever Favorite Crochet, was a 5-Sided Pineapple Doily; and a baby dress and booties were displayed with the book Sunday's Best for Baby by Patricia Nassars. Also display were crocheted thread hearts made by Faith, a thread angel made by Crystal, and napkins with thread edgings crocheted by Shelby.

I hope everyone in the Harrisburg, PA area stops by to see our great display.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Crocheting, Knitting, Tunisian WIPs

I finished the Fat Bottom Bag yesterday. I started a new swatch in knitting, it's a diagonal stitch baby blanket in garter stitch. It's got a work as you go border, I love this. I really like the look of the borders, and love that when you're finished with the afghan, you're finished. You don't have the then add a border, "working stitches evenly down the sides of the rows". That's one of the things that I like least in crochet. Anyway, I'm tempted to keep working on this swatch, as it's cute, stretchy, and springy in color. But,...it's lime green, and I don't have enough to make it into a baby blanket or even a triangular prayer shawl. So I guess I'll have to pull it out, and then possibly start a blanket in a yarn that I have plenty of, in the stash.
While searching through the stash I came across a diagonal stitch baby afghan that I was working in Tunisian, with a work as you go border. And it's looking pretty good! So tonight I worked more on this afghan. It will be nice to finish up this WIP and use up some of the stash.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Latest projects

Today I finished the little hat to match the sweater. I think I wrote that it's a white DK yarn with little sprinkles of blue, green, yellow and peach. I changed the sleeve ribbing and the button/neck band to yellow. I still need to decide on buttons. The citrus colored ones that I though might work are just too bright, and a little large. The tulips, in pink, yellow and purple would look great, but they think that the baby is a boy; so I'd like something different. I'll keep looking, I do love buttons! Next I'm thinking of making a yellow hat with the white/multicolor for the ribbing.

Today, while thinking about the books and projects for the display, I spent time browsing some books I haven't looked at recently. I found a great purse, the Fat Bottom Bag, in the Stitch N Bitch Crochet, The Happy Hooker. I even had yarn in stock that works perfectly. The pattern calls for Lion Brand cotton, and I had some Cotton-Ease (a cotton blend), in a faded denim/periwinkle shade. It'll make a great everyday bag. I even had two packages of purse handles in the stash, so I have a set of round bamboo handles that'll be great. I'm about half finished already, so I should be able to finish tomorrow while hubby is at a Scout activity all day and I have the house to myself.

This and That

I tried the flower motif in Simply Soft, the flower was much softer but I still wouldn't use it for an entire baby afghan. The Simply Soft blue was a county blue, similar to faded blue jeans, not a bright baby blue. While soft, I didn't like the look of the fabric. I might try the Pound of Love, or Caron Wintuk, or a pompadour,...I'll keep looking. In the meantime, I do have the book and some samples to share at the next Shawl Ministry get together.

Today I started getting things together for our library display. We'll probably put it up on Monday. The theme will be crochet books, and we'll display a book, and a project that we've made from that book. I started gathering books and projects, sent emails to the group regulars, and started a spreadsheet of the projects and the book titles.