Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Design Preview

The next issue of Crochet World is set to hit the newstands at the end of December and the preview of What's In This Issue is up on the web. This issue contains my Mosaic Diamonds Rug.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Socks and Gators

We had a great Thanksgiving. MM's homework over the holidays was to eat lots of turkey and she succeeded. But now it's back to work.

I'm teaching a crocheted sock class at Fiber Art on Saturday. I'm terribly excited about this class. You know I love socks, and now I have the chance to share that love of making socks with others. There are 8 people signed up for the class -- a full house!

And then there are submission deadlines coming in early January, so I'm busy thinking of ideas for submissions. Next week (after the 1st session of sock making) I'm going to start swatching and getting my proposals ready. Wish me luck!

On a non-crochet note, my Florida Gators are playing the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC championship game on Saturday. In some polls, these teams are #1 and #2 in the nation. So, for me, this game will be the NCAA national championship -- the winner will surely secure a spot in the BCS national championship game. Go Gators!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What Do You Do . . .

When you have a stomach flu? Crochet, of course. I spent yesterday in bed with a fever and periodic trips to the . . . well, you can imagine. So I started a sock for my girls. I've wanted to make a small sock for some time. I'm using Heart & Sole from Coats & Clark and the colorway is Spring.

Friday, November 21, 2008

CGOA Professional Status

Check over to the right. You'll see something new.

I am now a Professional member of the CGOA (Crochet Guild of America)!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sow's Ear to Silk . . . Hat

What do you do with those projects that are experiments that don't quite turn out the way you'd hoped? We all have them.

I put them "away." I stuff them into a box of other projects; I put them in a cabinet where they are hidden but not forgotten. Every once in a while, I go searching through those hiding places and stare at them, looking for enlightment.

Last night, I found one quite by accident. I was dipping into the bag of left-over Halloween candy and this little gem almost shouted to me. It was originally intended to be a carrier for a WebKinz, but it was too big.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More Socks

Not since I met my husband 25 years ago have I fallen in love with something as much as I love socks (ok, maybe, just maybe there are 2 exceptions to that--MM & K).

I finished the World Series socks and there has been a void in my life for a few days. Last night I started a new pair in San Francisco, color # 206. The picture on the band shows a distinct striping pattern. But one of the things I love about crocheted socks is that the striping pattern develops differently. This means that there is ALWAYS a surprise in store for me and that the pure pleasure I get from seeing the project grow is magnified.

Back to that striping pattern . . . I'm not adverse to stripes; they just don't stir my inner sense of beauty. I would describe the pattern that develops as "mottled." Definitely variegated. The colors play and mix together rather than lining up straight as an arrow, shouting "I am purple" while another shouts "I am grey." They just seem to be more in harmony with one another.

And harmony makes me smile.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Knit & Crochet Today! on PBS

I have been really sad because the second season of the Knit & Crochet Today! show has not been airing on my local PBS station. I loved the first season!

I wrote to my local station but had not received a reply. Last night I decided I would order the DVD of the second season.

I just received an e-mail from the programming director stating that the second season will begin airing on December 11! Just in time for my birthday!

The show has a website that contains a wealth of information as well--episode listings, videos of techniques that have been demonstrated on the show, tips, and free pattern downloads.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Project Status

I'm making headway on my WIP's.

My World Series socks are about 75% complete. I'm still decreasing the gusset on the 2nd sock.

My knitted top in the Gedifra Mayra yarn is 90% finished. I've finished front and back and next to knit are the sleeves. I'll add a crocheted edging around the neck, sleeves and bottom. It has been a fun project and I can't wait to post the picture of the completed project.

I bought 2 hanks of Cascade Pistaza at Fiber Art, Inc. in September. I started a hat that I found in the February 2008 issue of Crochet World. I love to start a new project!

I will be teaching a class at Fiber Art making a Christmas Stocking the next 2 Saturday's. I'm looking forward to working on something for the holidays. I can't believe that Christmas is a few weeks away!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hairpin Lace Hat

This little project was fun to make and I've enjoyed wearing the hat to the bus stop in the morning. I used angora yarn that I purchased at Fiber Art, Inc. The pattern requires 5 strips that vary in length and one joining method--the cable join. I crocheted an edging of shells around the hat in the contrasting color and then I turned up the shells. Too cute!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

House of Tadpoles

Just a little update on the tadpoles . . . they eat shredded lettuce, just a pinch, once a week. They are thriving although none have legs yet.

We offered a few to our neighbor. She is a teacher and spread the word among the other teachers at school. This morning I made a delivery of two cupsful (or is that cupfuls?) to our elementary school. While delivering birthday greetings to K's teacher, I received an order for another cupful. You've heard the saying "it takes a village", well it takes two little girls to catch a cupful of tadpoles!

And speaking of little girls . . . MM turned 8 on Sunday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stitchin' to the Pitchin'

I'm a sports fan, no doubt about it. Football (college and professional), college basketball, baseball, tennis . . . I love them all. Some sports are more conducive to stitchin' than others. Sports that are bound by a time clock are more difficult for me to relax and stitch.

Which brings me to BASEBALL! Specifically, Tampa Bay Rays! Baseball has no time limitations. While the team can get into some mighty tight situations, it's not a game of hurry-up-before-the-clock-runs-down.

Last night was Game 1 of the World Series. In preparation, I did a mental survey of possible projects. The knit top is going well, but knit is still too much like work for me, so that was not a good option. Crochet is my natural habitat, and I needed to be comfortable to enjoy this first-ever franchise World Series game.

I'm in between crochet projects, so whatever the choice it would be started anew. And it needed to be a project that is up there on the pleasure scale with chocolate. That left only one choice . . . socks. Oh, how I love socks!

I've had a ball of Berroco Sox for a few weeks. Last night was the time to break open that wrapper and begin. My hands were itchin', striping danced in my head.

The Phillies pitched and the Rays struck out. I started a top-down sock. The Phillies pitched some more and the Rays struck out some more. I stitched on. The colors were developing nicely, yet unexpectedly in the sock, but I was ok with it.

The Phillies pitched some more and the Rays grounded into double plays. I kept stitchin'.

Close to midnight, the Rays came up short by one run. But I have the cuff and the heel flap done!

And I'm ready for tonight's Game 2. By midnight tonight, I hope the Rays will have a win and I'll have a completed sock!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Still Ripping

I'm still working on the new top and still ripping out mistakes. I think I've worked out some problems with side decreases in this latest rip-out session and I'm happy with it so far. The yarn is Gedifra Mayra in a mauve color (oh so gorgeous!)

On a crochet note, I'm finishing up the pattern instructions for my last design, and I'm working on models for my upcoming classes--the hairpin lace shawl, crocheted socks and a Christmas Stocking.

And . . . there are always design ideas simmering.

Monday, October 20, 2008

At It Again

Fueled by my success with the red top, I started on another top using the same pattern. A crochet teacher once told me to make the same pattern 3 times. I followed her advice early on and saw the wisdom in those instructions.

The second time is easier, but I am still not flying through with no mistakes. In fact, I've taken out 2 inches, knitted it back up to 3.5 inches, ripped out 2 rows (twice) . . .

But, I'm enjoying it. The color is gorgeous and the yarn feels soft and pliable. I love smoothing my hand over the part that I've done and imagining how it will feel draped around me, or how pretty I'll feel wearing it when it's all done.

And I'm already planning what yarn I'll use for #3!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Knit Top

I have been working on a knitted top and it's finally done! I would like to say that I sailed right through this project, but I didn't. I haven't knitted a garment since 1971. I ripped many, many rows outs, dropped stitches, and completely ripped one sleeve out. In addition, I learned to knit using the Continental style. So, this top is an accomplishment on many fronts!

I used SWTC Bamboo yarn and a free pattern, the Shapely Tank Top (with the sleeve option), that I found on the White Lies Designs website:

Sunday, October 5, 2008


We all have colors that we are drawn to and those that repel us. Some like garments that are open and airy, while others like those that are dense. Our neighbor might like classic lines while we adore anything out of the norm.

Each of us has an innate sense of style and when we see something in "our" style, we have an immediate gut reaction. Yesterday, I was at Fiber Art and someone asked me to help with an afghan pattern. My first reaction to the picture was "Wow, I wish I'd designed that!" There was that immediate connection to my own sense of style.

When you are choosing a project to work on, don't ignore your own sense of style. Trust those inner reactions to color and construction. After all, creating something is fun, but above all, it is deeply satisfying.

Monday, September 29, 2008

No Longer Beginners

The second session of Beginning Crochet was yesterday. Three brave souls returned and have officially graduated! Here are Jean and Nancy with their completed bath mitts.

On design news, I was able to get the Bobble Diamonds Afghan information into Ravelry late last week and it has been queued by one person.

I am finishing up a project for a magazine today. I still get that feeling of awe and complete pleasure at seeing a project completed. I am always amazed at how piles of yarn can turn into "something". With crocheting, there is pleasure in the dreaming-up phase and pleasure in the production phase. But there is also that lasting pleasure of being able to look at the finished object (or its picture).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


"What do tadpoles eat, Mama?" I have NO idea. I assume that they need to eat to continue to grow.

As does my creative muse. I compare feeding my muse to making soup. I gather up lots of ingredients, fill a pot, and let it simmer. I look through stitch bibles, crochet books and magazines, essentially anything that has visual images. These images are the ingredients that I put into my pot (my mind). As I go about my everyday tasks, the soup simmers, as do the images in my mind. Sometimes, I taste the soup (swatch a little) and decide it's not quite ready; it might need more ingredients, so I add more.

Sometimes it needs more time to simmer. My mother used to say that something tasted better after it sat for awhile, giving the flavors time to marry. Some designs have to sit longer than others to find the elements that fit together.

Eventually the soup is ready, and so is the design--ready to be eaten, ready to be stitched.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tadpoles on a Table

MM, 7 (soon to be 8) is a creature lover, so when she saw tadpoles she had to "rescue" them. We now have a small fishbowl on our kitchen table that is filled with wriggling little bodies. While the tadpoles and I were having lunch together, it dawned on me that project and design ideas are like those tadpoles--swimming constantly, bumping into or barely missing each other. Just like that fishbowl, my head always seems to be filled with ideas.

As time passes, we will watch those tadpoles turn into frogs, and then they will be relocated outside. Projects and designs swim around in my head--growing and maturing. Then one day, I wake up and the idea has completely gelled, ready to be relocated to my hands and lap.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I taught a Beginning Crochet class at Fiber Art, Inc. As in any class, regardless of subject matter, there were some students who grabbed the baton and took off running right away. And there were also students who struggled with the new skills. These were students who were already accomplished in other needle arts.

This reminded me of my own experience with crochet. While in Girl Scouts (oh, so many years ago!) I diligently worked toward earning badges to adorn my banner. I did embroidery, needlepoint and knitting. I earned all of those badges.

However, there was one skill that I could not master, and that was crochet. So I gave up.

Until . . . my 2nd daughter (K) was adopted. My best friend had given my oldest daughter (MM) a blanket, and MM dearly loves that blanket. Naturally, I wanted K to have a crocheted blanket too. But circumstances change and a crocheted blanket was not in the cards. K did get a blanket that she sleeps under each night, even though she is a whopping 5 yrs old now. But, this need sent me searching for blanket patterns and I saw so-o-o many beautiful crocheted baby blankets.

One night after all was quiet, I sat down with yarn and a needlework book published in 1974; 2 hours later I was crocheting!

But, I didn't master everything about crochet in that one sitting. My skills have evolved and improved over time. Some techniques I worked on months-trying different hook sizes, yarn types and weights-before I was satisfied with the result.

I also learned and relearned how to hold my yarn, how to pull a loop through, and I had to practice "the right way" a little each day until my hands and brain worked in tandem.

I didn't give up, because it was something that I loved, and I hope the students who struggled (yesterday and in the future) will keep trying until their hands and brain work in harmony too.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Design Debut

My first published design is included in the October 2008 issue of Crochet World! I am thrilled to see my name in print and the wonderful photography of my afghan.