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...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wednesday at the Conference

Wednesday was Professional Development Day, many professionals in the CGOA share their knowledge and experience with associate professionals, and new professionals. As I'm waiting for the registration booth to open, a woman comes up to me and says "I saw my design coming down the hall." So my response was "Then, you must be Tammy Hildebrand. I love your design!" We chatted about the design, and I was brave enough to tell her of my dilemma, and how I had rearranged the panels. She seemed pleased with my adaptation.

At registration I picked up my name badge holder, it was a clear plastic holder that pinned to your clothes and since I was wearing the new Ring Around the Posie top in bamboo I wasn't pinning anything to it. I was glad that I had brought along the blue canvas holder given out at earlier conferences. I wasn't at any of those, but had picked up the holder for $2 at the 2005 conference in King of Prussia. This holder has lots of space above your name tag to stick CGOA pins, and on the back it has pockets to hold business cards and several pens, this is extremely handy all week.
I also picked up the "goody bag" for being one of the early registrations. This bag was supplied by Coats and Clark and included: stacks of pages of specific yarns with a color card and yarn specs., booklets of Crochet Threads, TLC Yarns, Red Heart Yarns, The Yarn Collection booklet from Herrschners, a skein of Red Heart Soft in a pretty blue, a skein of Designer Sport yarn colors by Candi Jensen (I got a pretty Blush Rose), a skein of Creme de la Creme worsted weight cotton in Scarlet, and a skein of Lustersheen in Medium blue. I haven't used Lustersheen since the late 1960's, but I worked up a couple swatches for a Friday class and was really impressed. I'll need to make something with this yarn. The goody bag also included a bookmark and a booklet on the Red Dress Project which educates women about heart disease, a set of knitting needles and a Tunisian hook.
I forgot that I had to pick up the Commemorative hook at the registration booth and no one mentioned it, so I had to go back later in the day and pick it up. This year's hook was handmade by Brian of "Brainsbarn". This is a beautiful handcarved wooden hook with a blue bead with flowers. It's engraved simply CGOA '08, and it's a size H (I think).

As we entered the room for the Professional Development Day (PDD) we were given our PDD "goody bags". These bags were provided by Lion Brand Yarn and stated with a huge tote bag, this will hold your largest WIP! Again we got stacks of free patterns, and booklets with different yarns, a Lion Brand crochet hook, the book Just Bags: 30 Patterns to knit and crochet by Staphanie Klose and Cathy Maguire, and a bag of 3 skeins of Vanna's Choice in Sapphire. Now, I will admit that I haven't been impressed by the Vanna's Choice when I saw it in stores, the colors seemed dull, however, we were asked to work up some afghan squares to Heartmade Blessings while we listened to the speakers. I found the yarn to be squishy soft and worked up nicely. I'd seriously consider this for a quality afghan if I can find colors that I like.

The morning session was lead by Rita Weiss and Jean Leinhauser, aka Creative Partners. These women have decades of experience in needlework design, editing, and publishing. And, together they're probably the two funniest crocheters you'll ever meet. Their topic was getting published, and Rita had conducted a mail survey of dozens of publishing companies. Several of the topics covered were: your audience or market, your vision of your book, agent or not, ISBN #s and bar codes, print on demand and self publishing.

During a break Dee said "I've got a job for you. You'll be perfect for it." That was intriguing!

Then we had a PDD luncheon with a talk given by Amy Shelton of Crochetville, about how Crochetville can benefit professionals in all aspects of crochet. The lunch was fabulous, really a full dinner buffet!

In the afternoon, there was time for three breakout sessions, and we had a choice of about 10 different topics. I started with Book Proposal 101, which I thought would be a great lead up to Thursday's three-hour class on self publishing. This was lead by Mary Beth Temple of Getting Loopy, a podcast about crochet. Next I went to Contract Crocheting, I attended a similar breakout in 2006, so I don't know that I got much out of this, but it was lead by Susan Lowman and Doris Chan. Doris is a fabulous designer, I've bought her two latest books, and have a large list of "to do projects" from them. Doris is also on my "Top Ten Funny Crocheters" list. The lst session I sat in on was Designing for Publication with Edie Eckman, of The Crochet Answer Book.

Thoughout the day there were breaks to pull numbers for door prizes. The prizes were donated by crochet professionals and included books, yarn, subscriptions to magazines, etc. and I think everyone got a prize. I won the book "The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs:500 Classic and Original Patterns" by Linda Schapper. I've never even flipped through this book at a store, so I have a brand new book to explore. This is a 2007 edition of a book first published in 1985. It includes a photo of each stitch pattern, written instructions, and a chart using international symbols.

All in all, a full business day of getting your head stuffed with good ideas, tips, inspiration, and knowledge from the experienced professionals in the CGOA.

Tuesday - travel day

The next posts will be written from notes taken at the Chain Link Conference. I had no time to write the full posts, and no computer/Internet to get them posted in real time. I did envy all those I saw with their laptops in the lounge areas between classes, and at least one who was taking notes on a screen on the outside of her laptop with a stylus (find out what this system is called). Looking forward to a time when I can write the cost of a laptop off as a business expense! But I'm getting ahead of my story.

We finally got the camper packed, double checked the checklist from the RV Vacations for Dummies book, and got on the road about 9 am. When we're going to split the driving, I like to start off. After several hours as the rider I'm too sleepy to do serious driving. So I got down to serious driving. After 4 hours I commented that I had driven through 4 states in as many hours! Moving very fast? or just small states? Actually it was a combination of that, and going diagonal across the corners of some states. We traveled through PA, NJ, NY, Conn. & Mass. before stopping to fill up the gas tank and our bellies. Then we crossed into New Hampshire.
Our campground was about 14 miles outside of Manchester, just outside of the town of Hooksett. When I mentioned this to Dee on Wednesday, she agreed that it would be a great place to say you're from, as a crocheter.
We set up camp quickly and settled in for the night parked next to a river, on a sandy "beach" campsite. We had to run the air conditioner as it was very humid. Early to bed, because registration is 8 am on Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


After a quick trip out to do some errands - return library books, get some groceries for traveling, etc - I finished my personal packing. I also took food, drinks, towels, and tote bags of crochet stuff out to the camper. I have a bag of items and yarn for Thursdays classes - How to Self-Publish your Own Book, and Crochet your Cables from the Center Out. Then I have a tote bag of items, yarn, folder of ideas, stitch patterns, and swatches for Fridays classes - Remake your Favorite Top. The final crochet bag is my regular tote, my "basic" crochet kit. I have more things in my basic kit than most crocheters would even think of owning. This bag got a complete cleaning and re-organizing today.
Just saw from Dee's blog that they're in the hotel already! She also mentioned a few other people there already. Relax and socialize, hope to see you all on Wednesday!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Planning, Paperwork & Preparing for Chain Link Conference

Sunday was the day to work on organizing the paperwork for the conference. I started with a 4" binder and a set of dividers. I already have a 4" 3-ring binder with class notes, hand outs, samples, swatches, etc from classes in 2004-2005, and another for classes in 2006-2007. This is the start of my 2008 binder.
Next I sorted the folder of paperwork that I've been collecting about the conference and put the receipt with a list of classes, meals, and extras that I'd paid for at the front of the binder. That was the basis of the schedule that I created on an Excel spreadsheet. Classes were highlighted in blue, free time for meals and meet-ups were in green, and extras that I might want to go to were in black. I printed two copies of this, one is in the front of the binder, one is hubby's copy. Now he can plan what days he can explore the area and not worry about what time to be back for me. He can plan what days we can go out to a restaurant for dinner, or do some sightseeing.
Next dividers for each class, followed by a printout of the class information: class title, #, instructor, class materials fees, class description, things to bring to class, homework to do before the class, etc. One of the classes needed pattern stitches and swatches, so I got those organized.
That took care of the conference, and classes paperwork. Then I needed to work on the paperwork for living in a camper during the conference.
The final part of the paperwork was a list of all the last minute things I needed to do and things I needed to buy. And, a list of everything that needed to be in the camper.
Final countdown has commenced!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ring Around the Posie!

Yeah! I've finished this top in time to wear it to the conference! I really love how it turned out. This is a beautiful pattern, and the bamboo yarn is fabulous, soft with a nice sheen.
I'm already looking at other patterns for wearables! I've been thinking of a short-sleeved sweater in a fingering or laceweight yarn. The body in Tunisian knit stitch, with possibly shells & columns on the hemline, and edges of sleeves. Right now I don't have any yarn that I'd want to use for this, do I? I have a fingering weight acrylic in mint green that I bought with the idea of a baby layette. May need to do some swatching.
Right now I had better put those ideas aside for a few days and organize the paperwork for the conference classes, make sure I've finished all the homework for my classes, make lists of what I want to take, figure out what we still need to put into the camper, do laundry and pack,...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Still more progress?

How's the Ring Around the Posie coming? Well, everyone in the group at Borders agreed with me that it was going to have to be reworked. So today i frogged the one edging I had on the outside of one long outer panel. Then I took out the 2 front center panels, reworked part of the border on one and joined it back together. Then un-worked all of the border on the other center panel, un-joined and un-worked one motif, then rework the 3 rows of the border and joined it back in as a side/underarm panel. Then I took out one of the center back panels, un-worked the border, un-joined and un-worked one motif, then reworked the borders and re-joined with this panel as the other side/underarm panel. So, here it is midnight on Wednesday and I'm at the very same point as I was at midnight on Sunday. Only happier with the project. Tomorrow afternoon I can finished the neckline and bottom border, and add the 2 rows for the little cap sleeves and I'll finally be finished.
Right now I think I'll give my crocheting arm a much deserved break, get a cup of hot tea and pick up the novel I'm reading.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Progress? Ring ARound the Posie

I spent all day yesterday trying to decide what I should do about this Ring Around the Posie. I'm so close to finishing that part of me just wants to finish it up! And that's what my husband is saying also, finish it, and use your ideas for improvements for the next time you make the top. I could have it finished.

But, I'm so afraid that if I finish it like it is, I won't be happy and I won't wear it. Then I can use my change ideas on the next time I make the top, but I won't have this luscious bamboo fiber. I think that I'll feel that I wasted this wonderful fiber if I leave it like this. But what if I take out the last 3 panels that I joined, and my ideas don't work right, either?

My plan right now is to take it to our "Crochet in Public" tonight, show my fellow crocheters what I'm not happy with, and discuss the changes I have in mind, and see if they agree with me or have some other ideas.

If I take it all apart, or most of it anyway, I still have about a week before the conference. I still need some time to gather some things together for the Remake your Favorite Top class, I think that that's the only class homework I have. But I will need a little time to select some fibers to take along for class swatching. Maybe I can sort out some of my "one ball for swatching" purchases!

Then I still need to make something for the gift exchange. I have several ideas, but if I run out of time I can still select from some items that are "in stock" waiting for a home.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Progress

I was home alone this weekend, with plenty of time for crocheting. I'm making great progess on the Ring Around the Posie. I bordered & joined all the panels, and finally got a first try-on. I really don't like having to finish 80-90% of a project not knowing if it's going to fit. Let's start looking for some top down crochet patterns! Anyway, I've joined one side seam, so now I have 1 side seam, the bottom border, about 2 rounds for little cap sleeves, and one round around the neckline.
The neckline is going to need some "adjustment", but don't know exactly what, yet.
The top is made of square motifs joined into panels, so the project is extremely rectangular. Now the major parts of my body required a size half-way in-between two sizes, so that I had to adjust the pattern from the beginning. But because of the rectangular issue, the shoulders and neckline are much larger than needed. I need some ideas to decrease around the neck without getting "bunchy" or gathers. That's tomorrow's project.
Also tomorrow I need to spend some time researching crochet during the Civil War. There's probably a Ravely group that specializes in period crochet. I can probably find some re-enactment groups on-line, as well as Antique Pattern Library. Love to research!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

No Sheep for You - book review

No Sheep for You: Knit happy with cotton, silk, linen, hemp, bamboo & other delights; by Amy R. Singer. Interweave Press, Loveland, CO, 2006
Over all this is not a crochet book, it's all about how these fibers knit up, and all the patterns are knit. But the book is loaded with information that we can apply to our crocheting.
First, there's information about different fibers; where they come from, how they're processed, what that does as far as strength, shine and dyability (that's a fun word). Then there's some history of different fibers.
Here are some of the natural fibers that I've already tried: hemp, cotton, cotton/milk fiber, cotton/soy blend, soy/acrylic blend, rayon, bamboo,and bamboo/acrylic blend. Some of the synthetic fibers: acrylic, nylon, polyester and spandex.
Some of the fibers featured that I haven't tried yet (they're on my list!) include: corn, lyocell - one brand name is Tencel (wood), Modal (wood from the beech tree), and Seacell (lycocell and algae!).
There's a great chart with the "Fiber Families" and some characteristics, such as stretch, how it feels on the needles and after washing, care, shrinkage and blocking. Another great chart has some fiber properties (such as elasticity) and ranks the fibers from the most to the least. The next chart is how to choose your fiber depending on the wool characteristic you're looking for; for example, if you're looking for the softness of wool - select "...something loosely spun; look for silk, a silk blend, or bamboo. If you're looking for stitch definition - "pick a smooth, tightly spun yarn; knit it snugly". The information in these beginning chapters and the charts will help you select a wool yarn substitute that will work for your project.
Chapter 3, which is about swatches and swatching, without calling them that is worth the price of the book. Even if you never look at any of the patterns, you will have gotten your money's worth. But,...look at the patterns, you don't have to knit any of the pieces, but the abundant schematics on the sweaters will be tremendously helpful when you select your perfect non-wool fiber and start to crochet!
Scattered among the patterns are snippets of useful information like "Why does yarn shrink?" "Why does yarn pill?" "The Myth of the center-pull ball", and the important "Are you really allergic to wool?". The author has gone to an allergist, who explains why some people might get the "itchies" from the scratchy fibers, why some people might react to something on the wool such as lanolin, soaps or dyes; and what you can do about some of these mild to medium "sensitivities"; but she also gives information about true allergic reactions when the immune system kicks in, and the best choice is to avoid the fiber.
I noticed that I first mentioned this book in a blog entry in August, 2007 with a note that I added it to my Christmas wish list. Well, Christmas and my birthday, have come and gone, and I'm still checking the book out of the library. It might be something that I just "have" to buy at the conference.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ring Around the Posie

I worked more on this top today and I have finished about 80% of the motifs, and about 1/3 or the joining. It really is moving along nicely now. I posted a scan on a motif yesterday, but wish you could feel the softness of this yarn! Tonight at Crochet in Public at Borders, someone said "It's softer than baby yarn!" So true, softer than most baby yarns, softer than Red Heart Soft and Simply Soft. You must find a skein of bamboo and play with it, you'll want to make a nice sweater/top for yourself!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Chain Link countdown continues

For those of us that are counting!!!...I leave for the conference in two weeks!
That's all I have to say right now.

Progress on Projects

I finished the Royal Garden doily, now I need to block it and get some pictures. It's very pretty, I'd like to do it in some other colors when I have some time.
Yesterday I worked on some swatches, but mostly I took a post-recital break and read a complete novel.
Today I worked on the Ring Around the Posie top. I had some minor difficulties because of the multiple sizes in the pattern, and I'm adjusting to create a size halfway between two of the given sizes, and the fact that the pattern is over at least 4 pages in the magazine. So I created a "working copy" and used a highlighter to highlight the information on the sizes I was working from, x off the parts I didn't need at all, and made some notes about the in-between size I was creating. I had already made an index card "cheat sheet" for the motif joinings.
Here's a glance at the project so far...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Progress on Royal Garden Doily

I finished the Royal Garden doily tonight. Okay, let's adjust that phrase a little, I worked the final round to the point where I was going to join to the beginning of that last round and finish off. Then I noticed that things didn't match the very first thing that I did in the round, I had missed a single crochet between each of the 25 scallops. I had to frog that last round - 150 picots and 450 half doubles! I'm taking a novel and heading to bed, tomorrow I'll finish that last round!

Friday, July 04, 2008


Tonight we're going to discuss the word serendipity, according to Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (note to self, buy an up-to-date dictionary), serendipity is "the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for".
When we were homeschooling this used to happen all the time. We'd be working on a unit and "discover" something that had been right around the corner all the time, and we'd never noticed it. Sometimes I wondered if luck, or something had caused someone to mention a book, magazine, museum exhibit or something else that just happened to be related to what we were working on; or maybe we were just more likely to notice the item because it's what we were studying.
What does this have to do with my crocheting? Well today I was reading blogs that I read regularly, and one directed me so several of the author's favorite blogs. Lo and behold, I found that I was reading the blog of the man who designed the Patch House edging. Check out The Panopticon on blogspot.com - I'd give you the link, but they still haven't reviewed this blog and declared that I'm not some program that's creating a "spam blog". Now I'm going back to finish reading, and find out about Amy, who's allergic to wool.

July/ August issue of Piecework magazine

I just received a newsletter from Knitting Daily, with information on the July/August issue of Piecework magazine. If you're a fiber-holic of any kind you should check out this magazine. Each issue has something about knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, etc. It has a nice blend of nostalgia/vintage and looking to the future/modern items.
This specific issue warrants mention on my blog for the following two items:
"Travel back in time with Franklin Habit to a Pennsylvania mining town and knit his Patch House edging.
Plus, crochet Polish lace, see Old Sturbridge Village samplers, and cross-stitch motifs from an 1806 sampler."
My great-grandfather, grandfather, father, and mother lived in a Pennsylvania mining town, and it was called "The Patch". So I'm interested in seeing this edging, even if it is knitted. Then one of the photos at the bottom of the newsletter is of this edging, and it looks like it would easily translate to filet crochet.
Next, there is an article and probably pictures of crochet - the Polish lace. Now I'm interested: how is Polish lace different from/similar to Irish crochet lace, or Battenburg lace? On my next trip to Borders I'll be looking for this magazine.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Bernat Jr. Jacquards

Today's mail brought my order of Bernat Jr. Jacquards in a new colorway called Grape Juice. It's white, with purple and pink. It's lovely and I'm itching to grab a Tunisian hook and start swatching! But it is 2 am, and I do need to get a little sleep. Tomorrow is the first tech rehearsal for the recital. I'm going to be getting the parent volunteers and the dancers "signed in". I may have some odds & ends jobs to do, also.
At tonight's "Crochet in Public" at Borders, I brought along the perfect project. I took the Royal Garden doily, the row I had started was double in each treble, and in each chain space. The next row was double in each double. I was able to chat with the ladies, look at the other projects in the works, answer questions, and still not mess up the project that I was stitching on. Bonus! I have about 7 rows left on the doily, then find a small pearl bead to sew on the center of the flower. This is a pretty doily, and easy,... except for that round 6!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Spam blogging?

Blogger has identified my blog as a possible Spam Blog. These evidently "can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site."

I guess non-crocheters might consider that my blog has "nonsensical text". Most crocheters will find it makes complete sense. Same goes for the "irrelevant" identification. Maybe it was the "repetitive" content? Did I say double crochet one too many times?

Anyway, I've asked for a review, a real human has to read my blog to make sure that it's been created by another real human, and I guess make sure it's not too "nonsensical".

They use this "Word Verification" system, where you have to type the letters that you see. I guess that's also so they know that a human is doing the typing. However, I find this system less than perfect, I put on my glasses and try to figure out what letters and numbers they've squished on top of each other. Then I take off my glass and squint at the letters. Sometimes I have to admit that the "eye doctor" chart really doesn't contain real English alphabet letters, hit the enter key and hope that the next set of letters is more readable. Hey humans, can you come up with a better system?

Chain Link excitment!!

Saturday's mail!! I received my packet for the conference!
I've got my name badge, with my class #s on; admission ticket to the market; door prize ticket; and goody bag claim ticket! I've been to 2 other conferences, but I guess I didn't sign up early enough because I didn't get the goody bag either time. It's really sad when everyone is talking about the wonderful fibers that are in their goody bags, and you don't have one :_(
When I get time I should double check my class code #s. Someone asked me what classes I was taking, and I could only remember one class and the Professional Development Day. What classes am I taking?
Once the dance recital is over, I also need to finish the Ring around the Posie top, and check what homework I have for my classes.

In Saturday's mail was also the flyer for Stitches East. Almost all of the classes are knitting, with a few crochet for knitters, basic crochet, broomstick lace, so I'm not signing up for any classes. Would love to go the the market again though. We'll announce it at the Guild Chapter meeting and see who wants to go on a "field trip!"

Royal Garden doily