Half Shell Summer Cowl

This is my newest pattern release from M2H Designs: Half Shell Summer Cowl. I wanted to create a cowl with beautiful drape that could be a fun summer layer. Summers up on my mountain are a bit cooler than in some parts, but even when I travel to warmer climes I like having a layer to wear in hotels and other air-conditioned venues. The cool and colorful “Vogue” cotton yarn from King Cole was the perfect match for this design.

This design takes advantage of the natural tendency of crochet fabric to bias to the right (for right-handed crocheters). It is worked in the round off of my favorite foundation: stacked rows. If you get confused by this foundation I have a video tutorial on my YouTube channel.

I’m participating in the International Crochet Month Designer Showcase with Underground Crafter. Come join the fun! Every day in March, 2019, we’ll highlight a different crochet designer who is also a member of the Crochet Guild of America. Each designer will share a free crochet pattern or a 25% discount on a premium pattern.

I’m sharing a coupon to get the “Half Shell Summer Cowl” for free in my Ravelry Shop. The coupon is only good until 11:59 p.m. (Mountain Time) April 11, 2019. Enter ICMDS2019 in the shopping cart to get your free copy before April 11, 2019. Please don’t post this coupon anywhere else, instead encourage others to come visit my blog.

We’ve also partnered with some of our favorite companies to get some great prizes for you — including yarn, crochet hooks, notions, pattern books, and more! Find out more information about other participating designers, the schedule, and how to enter to win the prizes on Underground Crafter.

ChainLink 2018

Yesterday was the first day of school for my kiddos, so I finally have some time and some internet bandwidth to get a blog post up. I definitely took a Summer Break from the blog this year. Lots of exciting things going on in my Crochet world and my Sheep world but I’ll be jumping around a bit with my posts the next couple of months.

Being that I am now on the CGOA Board of Directors a lot of June and early July work time was dedicated to helping get things organized for the ChainLink conference that was held in Portland, Oregon July 25-28. I flew out to Portland on Tuesday July 24 and didn’t come home until July 31. The extra days were because I also attended the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructors Program, more about that in a later post.

Unfortunately the first morning back home I woke up with a nasty cold bug that has laid me low for nearly 2 weeks. Don’t these germs know I don’t have time for them?! I’ve been slowly playing catch-up with a couple of days this past week that I was on the go all day.

Let me tell you all about ChainLink though. As always it was a fun and educational time. I was seeing it from a slightly different angle this time with being on the Board. Maybe the strangest moment for me was when I got to the Business Meeting Thursday night and had to sit on the stage looking out at all the meeting attendees.

Though looking out at everyone made me realize how many crochet friends I have made over the years of attending conferences. This is my friend Sharon who I met at my 2nd Knit & Crochet show that was in Portland in May 2009.

One of the fun things about this trip was that my journey with CGOA all started with the Portland Knit & Crochet Show in September 2008. When I found out about that show I also discovered CGOA and joined that July when I registered for the show and classes.

That meant that this year’s conference was also my 10 year anniversary of being a CGOA member. This made for a full circle feeling too, with my first ever conference being in Portland and my first conference as a board member being in Portland as well. I’m a goofy geek, things like this make me smile.

Tuesday evening was all about getting settled into Jan and I’s room and re-uniting with lots of friends. The next day I was going to be very involved with Professional Development Day so didn’t have too late an evening. I was one of the first to arrive at the room for PDD, and helped with set-up. One of the first people I got to meet was Debra L who knew me because of Florence and her adventures on Instagram. So of course, we needed a photo with Florence and Debra before the day was done. I’ll get into more detail about Florence in a future post, you’ll be seeing her a lot in photos from this conference though.

I enjoyed attending the presentations of colleagues and especially found Tamara Kelly’s presentation about email Newsletters interesting. Lots of food for thought. That afternoon I did 2 short break-out presentations on “Face to Face; Facing your Fears”.  I was happy that so many attendees found my subject helpful. Once the afternoon presentations were over there was the final presentation by Salena Maestas on goal setting that was really inspiring.

Whether you are already a crochet professional or are looking at becoming one, the Professional Development Day at the conference is a really useful event to attend. 2019’s conference will be in Manchester, New Hampshire July 10 – 13, with Professional Development Day on July 10.

After PDD I checked in with my other committee chairs for the Design Competition and Fashion Show to see how things were going. Judging was wrapping up for the Design Competition and Fashion Show entries were looking a little sparse. Since the deadline for turning in Fashion Show garments wasn’t until the next day at 4 p.m. I hoped we were going to be seeing more turned in.

In between all the running around I picked up my conference merchandise. This is the gorgeous commemorative hook from Furls.

Wednesday evening was the start of classes at the conference and lots of folks were arriving that afternoon in preparation for taking classes. My roommate, and long-time conference attendee, Jan loves taking classes. She always takes classes in each slot that is available. Because I had already blown my budget for classes this trip with the CIP class I didn’t get to sign up for any of the CGOA classes this time. So I got to live vicariously thru friends that were taking classes. I spent my evening visiting with friends and took a dip in the hotel pool and hot tub.

Thursday seemed to go by in a blur. The morning started with the Volunteers’ meeting, which I missed. I’m not really a morning person and this was the one morning I had marked to sleep in. The Volunteers that attended the meeting were all given a Thank You bag with useful information and some goodies. If you are interested in volunteering with CGOA you aren’t limited to helping at the conference, though we really appreciate our conference volunteers. There are lots of opportunities to volunteer with CGOA to help with the various committees that keep our Guild running and growing.

That evening was the Business Meeting and the Market Preview. It was a good size crowd at both events. Our president, Linda Dean, handled most of the speaking duties at the podium with input from the rest of the Board. There was a bit of hilarity with the microphone since Linda is taller than most of us. You can see a video of the meeting on the CGOA page on Facebook still.

After the Business meeting it was time for the Market Preview. I missed the crowd for the actual moment of opening due to delays with leaving the business meeting. Everyone was very excited though. The shopping bags we were handed as we came into the marketplace were fabulous. Sponsored by Annie’s they were printed with “Of course I need more Yarn”, it’s bad when even your shopping bag is enabling you.

Despite being late to the opening I manage to do a little retail therapy that evening. These lovely bangle bracelets caught my eye right away. They are made from Tunisian crochet hooks that are “seconds” from the manufacturers. Then the folks at “Renegade Yarns” bend them into circles to create the bangles. I actually bought 4 of them, the 3 you see above and a green one as a gift for Jan.

I also couldn’t resist this yarn at Newton’s Yarn Company. They had a table full of bags of Sale yarn. I loved this bright aqua color and thought the gold and bronze color would be a lovely accent color. Not sure what this yarn will grow up to be once I start working with it. Very likely some sort of wrap.

When Jan and I were comparing purchases later that evening she showed me a really neat shawl pin she had found. It was a beautiful semi-precious stone with a magnetic closure on the back. I decided I needed some of those too. I especially liked how you could wear the magnet backing under your garment so your wrap would really stay put.

Friday I spent some time checking in with my committee chairs and then went to the marketplace to look for the shawl pins. This is Michele of Rock N’ More Accents that makes and sells the beautiful pins, you can find her on Facebook as “Spinning Mind Designs”. I ended up purchasing 3 different ones because I couldn’t make up my mind.

This pretty pink and gray toned Rhodonite one.

This dyed Jasper one in Teals and Blues.

And a gorgeous South African Picture Jasper one. I liked this one because it has the look of wood and I thought could be a good neutral pin to wear with lots of my wraps.

The magnet is so strong you have to slide them off to open the pin. This was the closest I could lay the magnet backing to the stone before the magnets would pull together.

I took this photo so you can see the 2 pieces from the side of the back. They fit very snugly together.

I had to stop and visit the lovely Christine at Holy Sheep Balls because the name was so great. She had some gorgeous “art yarn”.

I couldn’t resist this Blue sparkly one.

I doubt I will make anything with it, I’m just going to wear it this winter as a “necklace” it will be cozy warm as well as decorative. I might very carefully do some knot work to hold it together as a kind of cowl shape.

I took a little break from shopping and had lunch with local friend Sarah and our other friend Amy (who was not feeling photographic). You might remember both of them from my adventures in Cama (Washington State) back in 2010. We had a lovely visit and lunch. I spent a little more time doing Board work, then took a break for a  little rest. Of course, I wasn’t finished shopping yet.

I had to stop by and see my friend Elf at RedFish DyeWorks. She always has such amazing colors and yarns. I couldn’t resist this “Starter Pack” dyed in colors picked from the photograph you see on front. I wanted to add a bit of purple to the palette too, but couldn’t decide on which one, so I got both. I have something very creative and exciting planned for this yarn.

Friday evening was the Excellence in Crochet event, where the winners of the Design Competition would be announced. There was quite a line waiting to get in because everyone wanted to get a Goody Bag. I got to spend some time with some of my favorite folks while we waited. That is Shari White, Pam Shore and Vashti Braha hanging out with Florence.

The Design Competition results were applauded and we had a wonderful presentation from Suzann Thompson about her crochet art exhibit. It wasn’t just about the exhibit, it was also about how to put something like that together and getting the community involved and excited about crochet. Very inspiring.

The Goody Bag was full of all kinds of fun stuff. Lots of yarn, both full size and sample sizes. Some wonderful pattern books and magazines also. The bag was from “Simply Crochet” magazine and it says, “Eat Sleep Hook Repeat”. They know us crochet folks well.

Saturday morning I was helping out at the CGOA Booth. We had a ball-winding station, were selling tickets to win a number of prizes and a “Selfie” frame that we helped attendees take their photos at. We were also answering questions about CGOA and encouraging non-members to sign-up.

I got to work my shift with Bobby, who was having a great time with Florence. He was the champion ticket seller for the drawings.

My good friend Kathy White came by and we had our photo taken using the selfie frame. After I was finished at the booth the rest of Saturday zipped by. I helped my Fashion Show Chair, Pia, with a couple of prep tasks for the Fashion Show.

Then ran around stopping to visit with various friends and making new crochet friends before it was time to get dressed up for the Banquet evening. Kathy had to have a cuddle with Florence again.

The Banquet is the last event of the show and it is always when we are all trying to get photos of and with everyone before we all have to say good-bye. They gathered everyone in the hotel lobby and took a large group photo. I got a few photos with friends afterward while we waited to go into the banquet.

Bonnie Metzer with Florence, getting Bonnie to hold still for very long is nearly impossible, so this photo is a bit blurry.

Some wonderful friends from the FreeForm group, Barbara Hynes and Mirto. Don’t you love their dresses? They both modeled in the Fashion Show.

Margaret Hubert wanted a photo with me and Deb Seda, so I handed off my phone for this one. Love this shot with us all laughing. Margaret was wearing her beautiful new sweater.

Linda Dean and I were sitting at the same table during dinner. We actually behaved ourselves well.

All the tables were decorated with crocheted roses around a candle.

During the Fashion Show, Nancy Smith modeled my Shining Day Wrap. It got a bit comical because she kept getting tangled in the lace.

We were all a bit tired after the banquet, but I got some last photos. Here is Carolyn, Susan and Shari.

Shari was having fun with Florence.

She said Florence needed to be in the poster for the evening’s Sponsor.

We got lovely good bags from Red Heart on our chairs.

Yvette and I had been having all sorts of fun thru-out the show, so we needed a photo of her with Florence. She was calling us “pocket book twins” because we were both carrying Vera Bradley bags of the same fabric. Behind Yvette you can see Pauline Turner. She was the recipient of the Hall of Fame award and gave a lovely speech and presentation before the Fashion Show.

My friend Pam surprised me with this lovely mug from Renegade Yarns. She says this is my new phrase, hmmmm is she trying to reform me?

I had looked at the mugs they had and meant to go back to get one but forgot. So this was a great surprise.

Pam also gifted me some yarn she won. She didn’t think the color worked well for her and knows I love corals and reds.

A Portland show isn’t complete without a photo of the lovely Bonnie Pierce and her husband Bill. We didn’t get to spend nearly enough time together but it was lovely to see them both.

I hope I’ve inspired you to join us at a conference soon. The best part of the conference is seeing crochet friends and making more. Plus there are wonderful classes to take. Check out the CGOA website at crochet.org for more information about upcoming conferences.

 

It’s All by Design

Last week I posted about Jan and I having a great time exploring the sites in downtown Chicago after the Chain Link conference. Today I’m writing about the 2018 Chain Link Conference in Portland, Oregon. For me this is going to be a bit of a home-coming.

The first CGOA show I went to was in Portland in September 2008. I’ve told the story before how I met some of my dearest friends at that conference, two of them being Jan and Pam. In fact I met them both in my first class there.

Who could have guessed that a little less than 10 years later I would be returning to Portland for a conference as a board member? It will be a very busy conference for me as I hope to meet as many of our membership as possible, while also attending to my board responsibilities.

One of the exciting events at each conference is the Design Competition. The chair person this year for that committee is Louise Thurman and I am the board advisor. She and I have been working to get everything in place for the competition and I’m excited to see it coming together.

If you haven’t ever entered a piece in the Design Competition then this could be your year, you just need to be a member of CGOA to enter. The deadline for entries is June 30th, so you have plenty of time to get something ready. If you’ve been one to experiment with crocheting you may already have a finished piece that can be entered. It doesn’t have to be recently crocheted, it just needs to be your original design and not publicized or published before.

This year we will have 6 categories, that will be awarded a First, Second and Third place prize:

  1. Fashion: garments (not accessories), including sweaters, tops, jackets, vests, skirts and dresses.
  2. Accessories: including wraps, scarves, cowls, socks, mittens, hats, bags, belts and jewelry.
  3. Home Décor & Afghans: items primarily for the home, including afghans, throws, and baby blankets.
  4. Tunisian: 80% of design needs to be Tunisian crochet.
  5. Artistic Expression: items more artistic in nature, including free-form or mixed media pieces, wall hangings, and wearable art.
  6. Thread Crochet: anything made in crochet thread or fine/lace weight yarn (CYC category #0/Lace); this category may overlap other categories, and includes doilies, garments, baby clothes, or accessories.

Then there will also be the $1000 Grand Prize, the Technical Merit Award, and the People’s Choice Award.

Judging will take place at the conference Wednesday and the winners will be announced Friday evening at the Awards Ceremony. All the entries will be on display Thursday evening thru Saturday afternoon at the marketplace. Folks attending the conference will be able to cast a ballot for the People’s Choice Award, which will be announced Saturday evening at the Closing Ceremonies Banquet.

You can find out more details about the Design Competition and how to enter it at the CGOA website: Crochet.org. From the home page use the Members Only drop down menu at the top, then go to Design Competition.

The CGOA Mega CAL continues

We are still celebrating National Crochet Month, which means a new pattern is now available for the CGOA Mega CAL.

This week’s pattern is “Almost Spring Mitts” designed by Karen McKenna. Be sure your CGOA membership is current because you won’t want to miss this out on this pattern and the others being offered the rest of this month.

Shining Day Wrap as Scarf 800 - Andee Graves M2H Designs

If you missed out on my Shining Day Wrap pattern don’t worry. It is now available for purchase thru my Ravelry Shop.

Jan & Andee’s Chicago Adventure – Part 2

Since I’m now on the CGOA Board of Directors I am very involved with helping to plan the 2018 Chain Link Conference this coming July in Portland, OR. With that in mind, I thought I should get Part 2 of Jan and I’s Chicago adventure up on the blog.

When Jan and I heard that the 2017 Chain Link Conference was going to be held in Chicago we were very excited. Jan lived in Chicago for 10 years before she moved back East to be closer to her family. She says Chicago was one of her favorite places. I’ve always wanted to visit Chicago because of the Art Institute. They have an amazing collection there, especially of Impressionists (my favorites). I also am very interested in architecture and I knew that Chicago has some famous buildings.

Jan and I generally plan to travel on the Tuesday before the conference starts and then we stay an extra day if it is a place we want to explore. Being Chicago was definitely a place we wanted to explore we decided to stay 2 extra days. Honestly, a week extra is really needed to fully explore all downtown Chicago has to offer.

The first challenge we faced when planning our outings for our 2 days was how to best get from the Westin Hotel in Itasca to downtown Chicago. I was in favor of riding the El, but we still needed to get from the hotel to the nearest station. Fortunately this is where meeting Mike, the friendly cab driver, earlier in the week came in handy.

Jan had done all kinds of research for our 2 days to get the most out of the time we had to explore. Sunday we had reservations to go on an architectural boat tour on the river.

It was a great way to see a lot of the landmark buildings of downtown with a super informative guide (and without getting blisters on our feet).

It was amazing to me how much of Chicago’s impressive architecture is visible from the river.

Our second day was dedicated to the Art Institute.

Jan was a little worried that I was going to hyperventilate in the room where the Monet paintings were on display. I wasn’t really in trouble, but I was excited to see those paintings. Most of them I had only seen as photos in books.

It was wonderful to get close enough to the canvas and see how Monet had picked up various colors of paint in one brush stroke. Made my fingers itch to paint again.

It wasn’t just the Monets though, there were also many other paintings that I’ve always wanted to see. Like the beautiful “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte” by Georges Seraut. This is a massive canvas that took up most of one wall in the room with the Monets.

There was this lovely little painting by Degas, “Danseuse rose {Pink Dancer}“.

One of the things I most enjoyed about Chicago was the use of intricate metal working in the architectural details.  Jan had taken us on a specific path thru the city from the El to the Institute so I could see the beautiful Carson, Pirie,  Scott & Company store building (also known as the Sullivan Building). She was a bit horrified to realize it had been converted into a Target store. Though we were glad that the conversion was subtle, it had actually taken us sometime to realize it was a Target store and no longer the department store that Jan had known.

The Art Institute had many beautiful examples on display,

as well as some fascinating stone work.

We really could have spent a lot more time at the Art Institute, but our time was limited. I wanted to make it to the harbor to see Lake Michigan before we were heading back to our hotel.  I wasn’t able to get a really good photo of the lake, but I did get to see some ducks that were begging food off other harbor visitors.

Then we hiked back to our station to catch the El to head back to the hotel. We spent the evening discussing how we needed to do another trip to Chicago together as there were lots of other sites we never got to.

Later this summer I’ll have Jan and I’s next adventure to blog about when the 2 of us re-unite in Portland, Oregon at the 2018 Chain Link Conference. I hope you’ll be there too.

 

 

 

It’s a Shawl, It’s a Scarf, That’s a Wrap

It’s the first of March and that means it is National Crochet Month. To celebrate crochet CGOA is having a Mega Crochet Along with 4 patterns. There will be a new pattern from a different designer every week free to CGOA members.

I’m happy to announce that the first pattern for this celebration is my “Shining Day Wrap”. This wrap is worked in 2 pieces off a center foundation to create a wide lacy rectangle that can be worn as a shawl or scarf. It looks very fancy and complicated, but it is actually an easy pattern to learn.

This pattern includes stitch charts, text instructions and a photo-tutorial on working picots. There is everything you need to successfully crochet your own wrap, even if you are new to crochet. The pattern will be available for free to both CGOA members and non-members on the CGOA website: crochet.org thru March 7th. You will be able to download the pattern PDF thru the CGOA store.

Starting March 8th my pattern will be available for purchase in my Ravelry shop and there will be a new pattern available to CGOA members each of the following 3 weeks.

 

 

Moving Right Along

It’s been over a week since my last post, 2018 has picked up it’s heels and is moving fast already.  On the 10th I had my first CGOA Board meeting and I came out of that realizing that I have a lot to learn about and a lot to do in the next few months.

I also have a number of design projects with deadlines coming up soon. Funny how deadlines in 2018 seemed so far away back in early December, but now they are breathing down my neck.  I’m looking forward to sharing these designs with all of you soon.

In the meantime you can find my latest pattern the Morning Walk Earwarmer in the February Issue of “I Like Crochet”. This is a fun quick-to-crochet project that uses different stitch heights to create a narrow to wide shaping. Earwarmers are especially handy headgear for folks with long hair. They can serve double duty as a hairband as well as keeping the chill off your ears.

I wanted to create an earwarmer that had a little extra thickness over the ears as well as some flexibility in fit. The widest part of the design is a textured stitch with a little bit of open work, then it narrows into ribbing that fits snugly over the ears. Both the top and bottom opening have textured stitch work to create a soft face flattering edge.

I’ve also been doing some clearing of the clutter in my yarn and fiber stashes. I had purchased this fun Noro product last summer. It isn’t really yarn but a very narrow piece of fiber without any twist. That means it tends to break easily and I’ve been using bits of it when doing needle felting projects.

I decided the other day that it would be good to felt in the washing machine because of the lack of twist. I spent about 6 hours carefully crocheting the remainder of the original roll into a rectangular piece of fabric. I used half-double crochet stitches worked in rows.

This was a good brainless crochet project when I was watching shows and movies with my kiddos during the evenings and weekend. I like having something to crochet that is the same stitch over and over where I can keep my hands busy without a great deal of focus. It was also entertaining to see how the colors were going to come together, something I always love about working with long color changes.

My current plan is that the felted fabric will become a bag of some sort, but it will depend on how much shrinkage I get and what happens with the colors when I finish the felting. It could possibly become the background for a needle-felted painting.

Happy 2018!

Happy New Year all my dear readers.  We had a quiet family celebration, though my kids were excited to stay up until midnight. We tried to persuade them to watch the ball drop in Times Square Live on TV at 10p.m. Mountain Time, but they wanted to wait until midnight. I guess when you are 11 and nearly 15 staying up that late is a big deal. My youngest tends to wake up early no matter how late he goes to bed, so he was a bit tired on New Years Day.

I spent most of my New Year’s Eve Day crocheting. I was working on some design ideas for publication proposals. Hopefully you’ll be seeing a few of them in 2018 magazines. I’ve been crocheting some gifts for birthdays this week. 2018 is definitely beginning with lots of yarn fun.

On New Year’s Eve I went back to read my 2017 resolutions and reflect how well I had done with them over the year.

My 2017 resolutions were:

  1. Learn to do Calligraphy.
  2. Open my Etsy Shop.
  3. Clear out a lot of the clutter.
  4. Make more videos for my YouTube Channel.

Resolution 1 – Learning to do Calligraphy is still in the works, though I have gotten a lot more confident with it and other hand lettering. I’ve found that I am more comfortable with the flexibility of free-form hand lettering. Calligraphy has a lot of rules and I find I don’t have as much patience with that. I’ve learnt some of the basics and have been applying them to my free-form hand lettering attempts. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I’m creating the art work with words and images that I had envisioned, but I am moving in the right direction.

Resolution 2 – Open my Etsy Shop did happen, but I’ve since closed it. There were some security issues with their payment options that I wasn’t comfortable with. So I decided that wasn’t the right platform for me. I may eventually find another market place for my non-pattern items, but for now that has slipped down my priority list.

Resolution 3 – Clearing out a lot of the clutter. I have been steadily working away on this one, though some days I feel like I’ve made very little progress. There have been a few time-consuming set backs like the big Whooping Cough illness my entire family came down with in August that continued into October.

Resolution 4 – Make more videos for my YouTube Channel. Unfortunately another resolution that I didn’t do so well with. Technically I did make more videos for my YouTube Channel, only 1 was published though. 2017 was my technical difficulties year. I seem to have a knack for running into problems with both my camera and my editing software. I may primarily be dealing with a learning curve.

I don’t know that I am going to be setting resolutions so much this year. I’ll still have my “list” because it is the way my brain works, but I’m focusing my New Year’s energy more on abstracts this year. I’ve been thinking on this over the past week and I am going to realize this abstraction with single words.

I’ve picked 5 words for my 2018:

Gratitude

      Kindness

           Persistence

                  Compassion

                         Curiosity

2018 is starting off with some big excitement and brings the first word to the forefront. Today the winners of the CGOA Board seats were announced and I am one of them. I’m so grateful that the members of CGOA had confidence in me to serve on the board. I’m looking forward to learning more about what my role on the board will be. There will be some shuffling in my schedule to make sure I can fulfill my duties as well as keep up with my work, but it is a challenge I welcome.

This is the last weekend of the kids’ winter break from school, so I’ll be getting in a little more family time before we are once again doing the school schedule.

Chasing Rainbows

I’m still working on getting well from the Whooping Cough. I am past the constant coughing stage, but am currently wearing my ribs strapped because I have managed to cough a couple of ribs out of place. Friday afternoon my chiropractor got me fixed up and told me to wear the strapping until I had a full 48 hours pain free. Good thing the weather has cooled off a bit, this rib support is really warm.

Meanwhile, what is a busy crochet designer supposed to do with herself when she is stuck “resting” all the time? Design something of course. The best bit of my recovery is I feel like crocheting again, for a while there I was just too wiped out to do more than move my pillows around. I still need lots of sleep, but when I am awake I can crochet and watch movies.

I had 2 balls of Lion Brand’s “Shawl in a Ball” that I purchased this summer. I picked out the “Restful Rainbow” colorway because it has so many of my favorite colors in it.  I started a couple of different shawl ideas in it, but finally decided to go with my simple 2 x 2 pattern with increases for a top down wrap.

It’s perfect for crocheting on while watching movies and if I fall asleep while working on it, it isn’t confusing to figure out where I am in the row. I’ll be publishing this pattern later this fall here on the blog once I have finished my sample.

Meanwhile some other news. For those of you that are CGOA members you may have seen already, but I am one of the nominees for the CGOA Board of Directors. The voting begins November 1st thru December 26th, so be sure that your membership is current and vote for your top 4 picks from the nominees. I hope you will vote for me as I know I have a lot to bring to the board and CGOA.

If you want to join CGOA there is no time like the present. You can find out everything you need to join at the CGOA website: Crochet.org. When you think Crochet, think CGOA!

Jan & Andee’s Chicago Adventure – Part 1

This summer has been all about traveling and it’s time to share some of the highlights from my trip to Chicago the last week of July. I had a great time, both at the CGOA Chain Link Conference and exploring downtown Chicago with Jan.

The conference was full of wonderful reunions with lots of my crocheting friends. Though once again I barely took any photos with my friends. I had 4 big commitments at the conference: Wednesday I was presenting at Professional Development Day, Friday & Saturday morning I had marvelous classes with Myra Wood, and Saturday evening I produced the Fashion Show for the Banquet. Then there were the evening events: CGOA Business Meeting, Market Preview and the Excellence in Crochet Awards.

My flight got in just after noon on Tuesday at Midway airport, so I needed to get across Chicago almost all the way to O’Hare airport. For those of you wondering, I flew into Midway because I try to always fly with Southwest Air and they don’t fly into O’Hare. I really lucked out though, I contacted AllStar Cab Dispatch and arranged to get a lift with one of their flat rate suburban drivers. My driver was Mike, he was helpful, friendly and we had a great chat driving across Chicago. I got a card from him in case Jan and I needed a cab later during our visit.

Jan and Pam were flying in a little later than me to O’Hare, so we had all decided that we would go out to dinner to PF Changs before the general madness of the conference started the next day. We had hoped to take the hotel shuttle, but the timing didn’t work with our evening, so I told them “I know a guy.”  “How is that possible? You’ve been in Chicago like 5 minutes!”. Was a great laugh and our first call to Mike for a cab ride to and from dinner.

The next day was Professional Development Day and I was presenting in the afternoon. The morning started with presentations from Tamara Kelly of Moogly about social media then Nirmal about managing financial tasks for our business. Nirmal gave away fun little acupressure finger rings that everyone loved.

The afternoon was mini sessions of 6 different topics. 3 topics were presented in the first half of the afternoon and the other 3 were presented in the last half of the afternoon. Each topic was presented 2 times allowing attendees to sit in to 4 topics. My topic was “Super Submissions” and my 2 presentations went well. I enjoyed sitting in on Kathy Lashley’s and Cari Clement’s  presentations after I was finished with mine.

Wild Women of Crochet: (left to right) Amy Shelton, Tammy Hildebrand, Laura Krzak & Donna Hulka

That evening I went out to dinner while Jan went to a class. Laura K lives in the Chicago area, she wasn’t able to come to the conference due to work and family obligations, but she wanted to get some of us together for dinner at her favorite restaurant. We had a lovely dinner and lots of fun laughing and catching up.

The next morning I was up bright and early for my first class with Myra Wood and that afternoon I started working on the Fashion Show.

Most of my free time at the conference was spent zipping around getting things together for the Fashion Show. I had a small room with 2 tables and garment racks to organize the fashion show entries. That room would also be our changing room during the show. The photo above is what it finally looked like about 1 hour before the banquet was scheduled to start. It was a bit of tight squeeze once we had all the models in there, but Jan and I made it work.

This year was a bit different from the other fashion shows I have been involved with at the conference. We didn’t have a runway for the models to walk. Instead they were on a small stage with our MC (the lovely Melissa Leapman), then they walked around the banquet room while the next model was on stage. To help the audience know which garment was which I decided they would carry signs with the name of the garment on them.

Initially I was going to hand letter the signs, but fortunately the brilliant Pia Thadani stepped in and typed the signs for me on the computer and we were able to have them printed at the registration desk. Pia and I even had a moment to clown around together afterward.

Despite all the running around I managed to get some shopping in. Especially the evening of the Market Preview. There were some familiar faces and some reunions with vendors I hadn’t seen in a few years.

My friends at Artisanal Yarns were there with lovely yarns.

I had to adopt a couple hanks of the silk blends with sparkly beads in them. I’ve got a couple of ideas of what these beauties will become.

Remember this photo? This was taken at the Reno Knit & Crochet Show in 2012. The very young Harrison Richards and his amazing Furls hooks.

Well he and his company are all grown up and were there for the Chicago show. He had a beautiful booth set-up and lots of wonderful new products. His was one of the busiest booths the evening of the preview, so I had to grab a moment Friday afternoon to take some photos.

My magpie eye of course went right to the shiny colorful CandyShop hooks and accessories.

The Odyssey hooks, accessories and lovely wooden yarn bowls were enticing as well.

Harrison was taking pre-orders for his new colors of the Odyssey hooks. Bet you can’t guess which one I ordered. Nope, not the pink, though it was a near thing.

Harrison insisted that we needed a photo together. I joked that I felt like I was his proud mom. So happy to see him doing so well.

I stopped in for a little bit of shopping Friday and Saturday. Jan kept finding things in the market, then tempting me to add to my collection. We are really rather dangerous together.

I had to get these crochet hooks, I don’t know that I’ll crochet with them, but the handles and colors were so pretty. I think they are going to look gorgeous on the wall in my design office. Jan bought the ones with black handles, but the pretty colors were calling my name.

I also purchased a bit more yarn. The Jenny King yarn is a little hard to find here in the US and it was a beautiful purple color.

Most of the yarn and goodies I brought home from the show were from the amazing goodie bags and give-a-ways at the various evening events. The night of the Excellence in Crochet Awards we were each given a huge bag full of all kinds of wonderful stuff. Yup, that is a wooden yarn bowl in there.

These were the yarns in my Crochetville bag that evening (sorry for the blurry photo). After the event was over there was lots of trading going on as everyone’s bag had different things in them. Jan and I received almost the same items, just different colors.

The evening of the business meeting each chair had a package of yarn. I received the bag of Bernat’s Mega in the gold color and a woman sitting in front of me gave me her bag of oyster colored.

The night of the banquet these were the goodies on my chair. I was very excited about the Bernat Maker Home Dec yarn because it was a color that would go very nicely with the 2 balls I had received the night of the Excellence in Crochet event.

A big Thank You to all the sponsors that donated so many wonderful products to the conference events. There were so many wonderful things that I’m still sorting thru everything. I had quite a time trying to fit it all in my suitcases for the flight home. I actually ended up giving some of the yarn to Laura K for her crochet group. They do blankets and other warm projects for charity, so I knew it would be well received and put to use.

The conference ended with the banquet Saturday evening. But Jan and I were not finished with Chicago yet. Jan used to live there and wanted to show me around downtown Chicago. Especially the Art Institute of Chicago. So we were both staying until Tuesday. That meant 2 days to explore downtown Chicago. I’ll tell you all about that in the next installment of Jan & Andee’s Chicago Adventure.