Warm up your Hands

Cold fingers might not be your biggest concern right now, it is summer time here in the US currently. But fingerless mitts are a fun project to crochet in the summer as they are a quick and small. I love to crochet fingerless mitts as they don’t take a lot of fuss or yarn. You can get as fancy as you want or use a show stopping yarn and let it be the star of your project.

c2009 Red Heart

The first design I had published was a fingerless mitt project for Red Heart Yarn in sock weight yarn that was published in October 2009. You can still find that pattern on the Yarnspirations website.

This July I’ll be teaching my “Warm up your Hands (Crocheting Fingerless Mitts)” class at the CGOA Chain Link Conference in New Orleans. This class will get introduce you to the tricks for making fingerless mitts that will be a stretchy fun layer to wear alone or over commercial gloves.

In class you will make a cuff with a thumb opening worked in DK/light worsted yarn that allows for practicing the techniques needed for making fingerless mitts of any size. You will leave with patterns for full size mitts in sock weight yarn and dk/light worsted yarn.

You’ll learn working in the round with and without turning (and why those make a difference in your fabric). Simple shaping in a tube. How to crochet ribbing that has great elasticity. Modifications to the pattern for making the mitts larger or smaller.  Working 2 at a time when crocheting a pair of anything. Finishing tips and tricks for a polished appearance to your completed project.

You can register for this class at the CGOA website by clicking here.

CGOA Virtual Conference Classes

I’m so excited to share with all my readers that I will be teaching 4 classes during the month of July for the Crochet Guild of America’s Virtual Conference. Like many of my followers that had hoped to go to the conference in Denver this year, I will miss seeing everyone in person. The silver-lining though, for those that can not usually make it to the conference, you can still participate in the classes because I (and all the other teachers) will be presenting our classes via Zoom.

Go to the CGOA website to Register for any of my classes. Keep reading to see the details on the 4 classes I’ll be teaching. Updated June 25, with changes to class times for classes on July 7th and 21st.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

Playing with Triangles Shawl

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Central Time)

Playing with Triangles Shawl

All skill levels, best if students are comfortable with making chain, sc, dc stitches.

Simple and sophisticated this shawl will become a favorite project for you to work on over and over. Choose any yarn with an appropriate size hook to crochet any size shawl. Class will focus on tips and tricks for working a top-down triangle shawl from the yarn you have available. You’ll learn how to take the basic triangle shawl and change it up with a variety of stitch patterns and border options.

No Homework before class. Supplies students will need: Approximately 100+ yards smooth light colored sport or worsted weight yarn for class project, Basic Crochet Kit: Hooks Size G (4mm) thru K (6.5mm) crochet hooks, Scissors, appropriate sized yarn needles, 3 locking stitch markers, Calculator.

Crochet Hats that Fit!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Central Time)

Crochet Hats that Fit!

Intermediate skill level, best if students are proficient with making chain, sl st, sc, hdc, dc crochet stitches, reading stitches and fabric.

Hats are great gifts and fun portable projects to work on, but nothing is more frustrating that a hat that doesn’t fit. Wouldn’t you love to be able to always crochet a hat that fits and be able to use whatever weight yarn you have handy in your stash? In this technique class you will learn how to pick the right hook for your yarn, the measurements you need, plus tips and tricks for making a hat that will always be just the fit and size you want. In class you will also learn the Adjustable Slip Knot start, working tall stitches in continuous rounds, 2 different increase methods, and tips for a snug ribbed brim/cuff to finish off the hat. All these techniques will be practiced on the class project, a new born sized hat.

No Homework before class. Supplies students will need: Approximately 80+ yards smooth light colored worsted weight yarn, Size G (4mm) thru J (6mm) crochet hooks, 8 locking stitch markers (7 in one color, 1 in a different color), Scissors, appropriate sized yarn needles, Measuring tape, Calculator, a 11 or 14” baby doll (can substitute a tennis ball or softball). The doll (or ball) is to give you a small head to measure for the class project.

I have a couple of baby dolls that I use for teaching this class. A nice inexpensive one is the 14″ baby doll from Bumbleberry Babies that I found on Amazon.com. Click on the photo below to purchase yours.

Spiraling Stripes Hat

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (Central Time)

Spiraling Stripes Hat

Intermediate skill level, best if students are proficient with basic crochet stitches (ch, sc, hdc, slip st) and reading crochet fabric.

Spirals are a great way to crochet a seamless striped hat. You can use 2 contrasting colors or even mix a hand-dyed multi-color with a solid for beautiful blending. In this class you will learn the tips and tricks for working head-ache free spirals for top down hats, a fun and elastic crocheted ribbing, and how to modify the pattern to work with different weight yarns.

No Homework before class. Supplies students will need: 2 colors of smooth worsted weight yarn approximately 100 yards each, Crochet hooks – Size H (5mm) and I (5.5mm), 8 Locking Stitch markers in 2 colors (4 of each), Blunt yarn needle for weaving in ends, Measuring tape and scissors.

Stitch Chart Bootcamp

Friday, July 23, 2021 9 a.m. – Noon (Central Time)

StitchChart Bootcamp

All skill levels, best if students are comfortable with basic crochet stitches: ch, sc, hdc, dc, slip st.

You’ve seen crochet stitch charts and you may have even referred to them in a crochet pattern that uses both text and chart. But are you ready to work from only the chart? There is a whole world of international patterns open to you when you can decipher stitch charts, even if you can’t understand the written language that accompanies them. In this class you will work solely from a stitch chart to crochet a lovely motif. You’ll learn what the various symbols in the charts stand for, how they may change depending on the country of origin, and the skill to get results that please you when working from charts alone.

No Homework before class. Supplies students will need: Smooth Worsted weight yarn in light/medium colors approximately 100 yards, Range of sizes of Crochet hooks 3mm thru 6mm, Locking Stitch markers in 2 colors, Blunt yarn needle for weaving in ends.

You can check out the other classes being offered at Crochet.org.

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.

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.





Getting into the Swing of Things Again

Well, it’s been a bit of a hectic re-entry to life in our “normal” routine. We have had lots of snow and some very cold temperatures since our return, not what one would think of for Spring weather, though fairly typical for our springtime. I had quite a few things scheduled for this week, which would have been fine if I hadn’t had the wild 4 weeks preceding this one. I’m slowly chipping away at the mutant To-Do list though.

One of the best things about coming home from Spring Break was picking up our mail. This nifty little box was waiting for me from my dear friend Bonnie Pierce.

I met Bonnie and her husband Bill at the first ever CGOA conference I went too. She was wearing one of her gorgeous Free Form crochet capes and I practically attacked her to look at it closer. I was completely on my own at that show, but Bonnie and Bill took me under their wing and included me in many of the group events they were involved in.

They even rescued my hook case that I had left laying on the table one afternoon. Bonnie and I chuckle about it every time we get together. But it has been far too long since I last got to spend some in-person time with Bonnie. Fortunately we stay in touch online thru social media and messaging.

Recently Bonnie and I decided we needed to have a piece of each other’s work. These 2 drop-dead gorgeous scrumbles are what Bonnie sent me. I’m so inspired by her work, though a little chagrined at how clunky and chunky my own Free Form efforts look. Bonnie is truly a talent with her Free Form artistry.

She is well known for her bullion stitches. Which she had tried to teach me numerous times with limited success.

This flower with the sparkly embellishment is currently my favorite bit on this scrumble. But every time I look at them I see something that delights me.

When Bonnie and I met in Portland in 2008, one of the things we bonded over was Chocolate. We both have a love of wonderful dark chocolate. She told me about a Portland chocolate company called “Moonstruck” and shared some that she had with her. It is marvelous stuff and whenever I find the brand I purchase a few bars, but it is rather scarce in Colorado.

So it is very fitting that Bonnie included some delicious chocolate in the package too. I’ve got to get my piece finished to send to Bonnie now and will have to hunt down some special Colorado chocolates to include. This might require me attending the Chocolate Festival again, sigh, the sacrifices I make for my friends.

I’ve been busy with working on developing classes since our return from our big trip. This cute little needle-felted sheep is one of them. I’m finding the needle-felting quite addictive, I think the total attention that is required is a great form of meditation. That’s been very good for me as I process everything the last 4 weeks has thrown at me and my family.

I hope you are all having a beautiful springtime. April is looking to be another fast-moving and busy month. I’ll try to keep up with the blog and (fingers crossed) to have some more videos for you very soon.

Jan and Andees’ Adventures in Charleston

Magnolia Blossom

My last post was all about the CGOA conference in Charleston, South Carolina. This post is all about Jan and I being tourists in Charleston. If you get the chance it is a city well worth visiting, though I would recommend visiting in the spring or autumn when the weather is not blistering hot.

When Jan and I were planning our trip to Charleston for the CGOA conference she recommended that we tack on a couple extra days for exploring the city. She had been there before when another close friend of hers had lived in the area.

Spanish Moss along the sidewalk outside our hotel.
Spanish Moss in the trees along the sidewalk outside our hotel.

The conference ended Saturday evening so we were leaving on Tuesday afternoon. That gave us 2 full days to explore and enjoy Charleston. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t going to cooperate with us on Sunday. The day didn’t see much sunshine as it was over cast and heavy rain all day long.

Instead we spent the day hanging out with other CGOA friends in the hotel atrium as they slowly began their leave-taking for flights and drives home. Both of us had crochet projects to work on. I even helped Jan with untangling a ball of yarn that had decided to misbehave on her earlier in the week.

Tracee and I

One of the few photos I took with a friend at the conference was this one of Tracee Fromm that Sunday before she left to catch her flight home.

It was fun to see our friends old and new. Some were actually leaving on Monday, so we were all enjoying a decompression day. That evening Jan and I walked over to Bonefish Grill one more time. After dinner we worked on getting a good start on packing up our suitcases.  Neither of us stayed up very late that night, as we both wanted to get an early start on touring the city the next day.

Visitor Center

After getting breakfast in the hotel we walked over to where we could catch an express bus to the visitor center in down-town Charleston. Our timing was great as a bus came about 3 minutes after we got there. Once we arrived at the visitor center we got some maps and picked up tickets for a carriage tour of the city.

Sea Grass Basket info at VC

I had been told by a Colorado friend that has family in South Carolina, to be sure to go by the Market to see the ladies weaving sweet grass baskets. In the Visitors Center was a display about these baskets as well as a lady weaving and selling her baskets right there.

Charleston has great transport for their city. Little Trolleys with routes that take you around to a number of the high points. Jan and I caught the one that would take us to the City Market where we could walk over to catch our carriage tour.

The folks at Old South Carriage had permitted the CGOA to yarn bomb one of their carriages during the week of the conference. Unfortunately Jan and I were too late to see that carriage, but we were able to get our discount on the tour package. When we got to the stable our names were added to the list and they told us our tour would be leaving in about 45 minutes.

Jan and I decided to go explore the City Market sometimes referred to as the Slave Market. We had overheard one of the Old South Carriage guides telling some other folks about the name “Slave Market”. It wasn’t where slaves were sold, it was where the slaves did the shopping for the households they worked in. In fact, the family that deeded the land to the city for the market to be built on, had stipulated that no human beings were to be bought or sold in the market or the land would revert back to the original family.

The Slave Market

The market is still a busy place of commerce with lots of shops and stalls selling everything you could think of. It is a roofed building that stretches along 4 blocks of the city and has streets on the north and south of it. Appropriately those streets are called North Market and South Market. The photo above is the west end of the market. I managed to take this photo during our carriage ride, you can see it was a bit wet as a light rain storm had rolled in.

Our Carriage

Jan and I explored the market for a little while, then headed back to the stable to begin our carriage tour.  This is our carriage, I hadn’t realized how far off the ground the carriage put us until we finished the tour and I took this photo. We actually boarded the carriage inside the stables where we walked up some steps and entered the carriage from a platform.

Our Tour Guide - Elliot

Our guide and the driver of the carriage was Elliot. He was very entertaining and informative about the history of Charleston and the buildings we were seeing.

Our Carriage Horse - Bill 2

This was our horse that pulled our carriage. His name is Bill 2, but he was called Bill by Elliot. He liked to splash the water from his trough, so I had to be quick to get this photo.  Part of the information Elliot shared with us was Bill’s history and capability. Basically being a carriage horse in Charleston is a pretty good gig for these horses. Our carriage fully loaded was actually one quarter of the weight that Bill could pull, and had pulled at the beginning of his life when working as a draft animal on a farm.

Loving all the winding trees

Our carriage tour took us around the area of the College of Charleston and then back along the Market. I was sort of inconsistent in my photo taking. Partly because being on the move made it trickier and sometimes there wasn’t a clear shot. I loved all the tree-lined streets.

Looking up at Oak branches

I especially enjoyed the moss-covered branches weaving overhead. The vegetation in the area is so different from what I am used to here on the mountain and even down in the plains of Colorado. There is a lushness that goes along with all that humidity you just don’t see here in the West.

Beautiful Iron Gate

Elliot told us that Charleston is considered the 2nd most well preserved city in the world. First place goes to Rome, Italy. He said since Rome has over 2000 years on them, 2nd place isn’t too shabby. Everywhere we looked during the tour, and afterward when Jan and I were exploring on our own, there were interesting things to see.  I particularly loved all the gorgeous ironwork gates.

Palmettos Everywhere

The palmetto trees were everywhere along with flowering trees that I can’t recall the name of. I do remember that the ones called “white” had pink and purple blossoms, which was very confusing and amusing. Elliot told as about how Ft. Sumter was originally built from Palmetto trunks. The thinking being that the sponginess of the trunks wouldn’t break under the impacts of canon balls. When the revolutionary war happened the theory was tested and proved true. The soldiers in the fort came out and gathered up the British canon balls and, “Very kindly returned them to the British ships.”

After our tour was over Jan and I headed back to do some real shopping at the City Market. I wanted to get some sweet grass baskets and find gifts for my boys. The day was heating up a bit and we made a stop at a stall that was selling fresh hand-made lemonade. It was delicious and entrancing to watch the lemonade being made. Jan had watermelon lemonade.

My new Vera Bradley bags

Different sections of the market were air-conditioned and in the first of these Jan and I spotted a little shop that had wonderful Vera Bradley bags and accessories. I fell in lust with this purple pattern as soon as I saw it. Turns out it was a brand new fabric release that week called “Lilac Tapestry”. The lady running the shop was very nice and was also a yarn wrangler.

Vera Bradley organizer open

Jan and I were discussing that the large bag would be great as a project bag, and the shop lady showed me the organizer that I could get when I spent $100 or more. I was hooked especially when she pointed out how well the organizer would work for holding stitch markers and all the other accoutrement that we yarn folk need.

There were lots of stalls selling tourist items in the market. I spotted a stall that had lots of different T-shirts and decided to get one for each of my boys, plus one for myself. I also wanted to find a piece of jewelry that had pineapples on it. Pineapples are the symbol of hospitality in South Carolina and they were the theme for our conference there.

Historic Charleston purchases

I finally found the pineapples I wanted at the Historic Charleston Foundation store. I really liked that the profit from these purchases would also help fund their organization. The pineapple ornament will look great on my Christmas tree this year and will remind me of the lovely city. The pendant and earrings were surprisingly light-weight and I loved the glimmering pau-shell that was used to make them. Last of all I purchased the small print of one of the beautiful ironwork gates in the city.

20s style SunHat

Then Jan and I decided we needed to finish up with the shopping part of our day and grab a late lunch. I still needed to purchase some sweet grass baskets so we headed back to my favorite shop we had found earlier. On the way there I was captivated by a stall that was selling hats. This bonnet style one made me think of 1920s style cloche hats, at $10 I couldn’t resist.

Sweet Grass Baskets

Finally we made it to the baskets again. I picked out a couple of small ones, some would be gifts for friends back home in Colorado. I loved a lot of the larger ones, but the price and the logistics of getting them back on the airplane kept me from adopting any. My favorite thing about them was the scent of the sweet grass and while I am writing this one sits on my desk holding paperclips and smelling sweet.

Low Country Bistro for Lunch

At this point Jan and I were definitely hungry so we went hunting for a local restaurant that would fit the bill. One of the very pleasant surprises on this trip was the number of restaurants that had lots of gluten-free options on their menus. We decided to go to the Low Country Bistro. Some other friends at the conference had eaten there and recommended it, and our Elliot from the carriage ride had too.

The air-conditioning when we walked in was quite welcome and our server kept us well supplied with cold drinks as we ate a delicious meal. My favorite part of my meal was the home-made potato chips. I did share with Jan, but it was a near thing.

Cobble stone street
Old cobblestone street

After lunch we decided to do some exploring before we needed to head back to our hotel. Jan wanted me to see Charleston’s version of “painted ladies” which they call “Rainbow Row”. The folks at the Historic Charleston shop got us headed in the right direction. I wasn’t really able to get a good photo of them, but I took lots of other photos as we walked around enjoying the city.

Anchor Gate

So many of the nooks and crannies in the city were intriguing like this gate to a little garden behind a building.

Doorway with lamps

The historic touches were fun too, like the working gas lamps that framed this impressive doorway.

Beautiful fountain and garden

I really loved this beautiful fountain with flowers in front of the Charleston Place Hotel. We had seen it while on our carriage tour and managed to stumble upon it again while walking around the city. I couldn’t tell you what street it was on though.

Waterfront Park - A restful place

We ended our day in Charleston at the Waterfront Park. A beautiful area with lots of shade and fountains.

Waterfront Park - Looking off the pier toward Ft Sumter

Jan and I walked out to the end of the pier to see Ft. Sumter better. That pink circle is around the island where I think it is located. It was difficult to really see and I hadn’t brought along binoculars.

Waterfront Park - Pathway

We began walking along the Waterfront park path where we could see some fountains.

Waterfront Park-Looking out of the Shade

Even in the shade we were very warm, but it was preferable to the bright sunshine. I did like the look of the contrast in this photo though.

Waterfront Park - Admiring Hidden Gardens

There were lots of beautiful gardens alongside buildings on the street beside the park pathway.

Waterfront Park - Pineapple Fountain

Of course I had to have a photo of the big Pineapple Fountain.

Waterfront Park -Kids Fountain

The whole Waterfront Park area seems to be designed with families in mind. This fountain in particular was popular with children running in and out of it. If I had been dressed appropriately for it I might have joined them as I was very hot at this point in our wanderings.

Crane Iron Gate

My last photo before we caught our trolley ride back to the Vistor Center was this lovely gate with a Crane on it. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the highlights of Jan and I’s adventures in Charleston.

I’ve been a busy gal since my return to Colorado. The boys are headed back to school in less than 2 weeks and suddenly our summer break seems to be speeding by. I’m also getting ready for teaching at the Scotts Bluff Valley Fiber Arts Fair in early September.

Finished Free Form Piece

As part of that I’ve been working on a Free Form Crochet art piece for the Fiber Arts Show that is on display in Mitchell, Nebraska for the month before the fair.

With all this stuff keeping me busy I’ve been having a difficult time getting back into my twice a week posting here on the blog. Hoping to correct that in the next week. Thanks for stopping by.


CGOA in Charleston

As many of you know, I was in Charleston, South Carolina for the CGOA conference earlier this month. I flew out on July 12th for an all day travel day to get there and returned on the 19th. You heard a little bit about my travel adventures last post. I’m mostly recovered from all of that and finally getting the promised post up about my fun adventures at the conference.

Badge and Pin

It was a great time seeing my crochet friends from all over the US and even some from out of the country. I was absolutely crapastic about taking photos at the conference though. I was producing the fashion show for the “CGOA Grand Finale Fashion Show & Banquet”, and it was a wild time getting everything coordinated and organized. More about that later.

Tuesday evening was just about getting unpacked in my hotel room and reunions with all the other folks as we all began to arrive. Some more would be showing up over the next few days, but by 10 p.m. that evening I had seen many of my dear friends. A big group of us had gathered for drinks, deserts and cold food in the hotel restaurant. The restaurant was having technical issues with their stove, so cold options were all that were available.

The laughter with friends was great though. Best way in the world to recover from the travel tiredness. My journey to get to Charleston was actually quite smooth. My dear friend and roomie Jan did not have a good travel day. Her flight coming to Charleston had all sorts of delays, but she eventually made it to the hotel and I grabbed her off the shuttle from the airport to hug her hard.

Wednesday morning was a fairly easy start. Neither Jan or I had any commitments for early morning, so we slept in a bit then grabbed breakfast and saw friends there. A little later I went over to the conference center with Tamara to help Jessie and Lorene with setting up the room for the judging of the Design Competition. Jan decided to venture out exploring around the hotel area.

That afternoon I joined up with Jan and the two of us found a comfy spot in the lovely hotel lobby/atrium beside a gentle waterfall fountain to crochet and talk. Jan was taking a class that evening, so we decided to go out of the hotel for an early dinner.

Bonefish napkin

We walked to the Bonefish Grill just down the road and ended up having a wonderful meal. We even managed to time it well enough that we didn’t get soaked in the early evening rainstorm. The rest of Wednesday evening sort of passed in a blur as more friends got to the hotel and I prepared my supplies for the class I would be taking the next morning.

Re-invented Broomstick Swatch

My first class at the show was with the talented Linda Dean. She kept teasing me about being nervous that I would be one of her students, but I knew that it would be a very instructive class. This was her “Re-Invented Broomstick Lace” class. Linda had some lovely samples to show us the various ways you could work up the techniques with simple changes. I really enjoyed the class and look forward to experimenting more with the things I learnt in it. My little class sample swatch looks a bit sad, but that is no reflection on what Linda was teaching us.

That afternoon I helped with the Hooked for Life booth set-up. Mary Beth was teaching and both of her other helpers had some back injuries, so I volunteered to be the one climbing up and down the step-ladder and lifting boxes of things into place. Once that was all done I stopped by the Registration desk to pick up the garments and forms for the fashion show.

I took them all to the room we had been given to use for setting up for the fashion show.  I dropped off the garments and then I zipped back to my hotel room to clean up for the CGOA Business meeting and Conference Kick-off that evening.

Purple Backpack bag

I’m not sure what the numbers were, but the first 100 or so folks coming to the meeting received an awesome gift bag. The bags themselves were from Crochetville. They were a gorgeous purple lightweight backpack with a zipper pocket. The bags were stuffed full of yarn, crochet tools, crafting booklets and loads of coupons. I think everyone that received one was amazed and pleased with them.

Yarn from 1st Gift Bag

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the brilliant idea to take a photo of all the items in the bag together until much later, after I had emptied the bag and tucked the various goodies into my suitcases. This is a pile of all the yarn that was in my giftbag that evening.

After the meeting it was the market preview. A great crowd of folks happily waited to get into the show floor when the doors opened. Jan and I decided to drop off some of our stuff back at the room first. We missed the opening ceremony, but managed to have plenty of time to look around in the market place.

Market Preview Night purchases

I bought some yarn and 2 tools for winding yarn (one for me, one for Jan) that evening and spotted some other booths to investigate when it wasn’t so crowded later that week. Jan bought me the fun ruler with colorful sheep on it.

Back at the hotel after the marketplace closed, Jan and I said “hi” to all the folks hanging out in the hotel lobby bar area but didn’t hang around long as we both had classes the next morning. In fact we would be taking the same class – Vashti Braha’s “The Starwirbel Way: Shaping & Spiraling Star Stitches”.

This class was sold out and I was very glad that I had been able to get into it. I always enjoy her classes because Vashti  always knows her subject in depth. She had experimented and broke down the intricacies of the Star Stitch. I hunkered down in the class and happily crocheted away on the lesson.

Starwirbel Swatch

Even in a simple worsted yarn my class swatch is rather wonderful. I had the best time experimenting with the increase method Vashti taught us and increasing the hook size I was using to see how the fabric would change. I am going to really enjoy playing with the star stitch more now.

Tamara, Lily and I
Photo courtesy of Bonnie Barker

The rest of Friday after noon I spent working on prepping for the Fashion Show. I got the room arranged to my satisfaction and started laying out the items for the show in some sort of order. Later on I met with Tamara and Lily to strategize for the show and a couple of our models joined us so we could assign and fit garments. Bonnie Barker came and set up her photography equipment so we would have good photos of all the items modeled in the show that Saturday evening.

Yarn from 2nd Gift Bag

Friday evening was the “Excellence in Crochet” ceremony where the Design Competition winners were announced and Doris Chan received her Lifetime achievement award. I helped model some of the garments that won the Design Competition. There was another gift bag at this event, more yarn and fun stuff.

That evening after the awards were all presented Jan and I headed out to dinner with Karen Whooley at Bonefish Grill again. I was so happy with that restaurant and will be taking my family to the nearest one here in Colorado soon. The food was delicious and there were loads of Gluten Free options on their menu.

Saturday Purchases

Saturday I spent was pretty much all day preparing the fashion show. I took a brief break for quick shopping in the marketplace with Jan when she was on her lunch break between classes. I had spotted a couple of items that I had wanted to take a closer look at the evening of the market preview. That allowed me to go right to the booths that had what I wanted. Got some wonderful yarn, buttons, fun little sheep tools, and of course a marvelous set of Tulip hooks from Vashti’s booth.

New Shawl Pins

These 2 shawl pins were both gifts from other friends at the conference. The pink one really made me chuckle as I had almost purchased it for myself when I saw it in the marketplace.

Then it was back to working on getting all the fashion show garments ready for the evening. There was a bit of last-minute frenzy with the wearables that won prizes in the Design Competition, but most were sorted out. The banquet went by in a blur as I hustled to get the last few items ready.  Despite some of the behind the scenes craziness I heard that the fashion show was great. That is the problem with producing it, you don’t actually get to see the final product.

If you weren’t able to come this year, or you were there and would like to see the fashion show again check out the CGOA Facebook Page. The fashion show was “live-streamed” and you can watch the videos. I have watched them and they give you a fairly good idea of the fun that was on stage, though nothing beats being there.

I couldn’t have pulled the fashion show off without all the other folks that helped with the behind the scenes work. Of course one of those was my marvelous right-hand woman, Jan (Janet Bates). There was also Chel Rattray, Jenny King, Nancy Smith, Deb Seda-Testut, and Bonnie Barker.  And our wonderful volunteer models, they did such a good job.

Margarets Book

One thing not shown in the videos is the drawings for Door Prizes. I won a copy of Margaret Hubert’s 2nd edition of “The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet”. Margaret even autographed it for me later that night. In fact the entire conference was made extra special by the generosity of all the wonderful sponsors that contributed door prizes, products for gift bags and funding for conference events and competition prizes.

Some of the other fun stuff from the various goodie bags.
Some of the other fun stuff from the various goodie bags.

After the banquet and fashion show finished everyone hung out in the hotel atrium/bar area not wanting the conference to really be over. Jan and I were staying in Charleston until Tuesday so that we would have a chance to tour around the city. I’ll share more about that in a later post.

Next year the conference is going to be in Chicago, Illinois.  A nice central location and if I understand correctly it was where some of the very first “Chain Links” were held. CGOA is also returning to its roots in that this will be a “Chain Link” show again by being all crochet guild. Not held in tandem with the TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association). It would be great to have a massive turn-out of CGOA members to celebrate with us all.


As most of you know, I was in Charleston for the Knit & Crochet Show which is the annual conference for the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) and for The Knitting Guild of America (TKGA) this past week. I had great plans for getting a post up yesterday evening, but the whims of weather and airline travel did not agree that should happen.

Jan and I had stayed a couple of extra days after the show ended so we had flights out on Tuesday afternoon. I left Charleston at 3:30p with no delays for my flight, which made me hopeful that I wouldn’t have any worries for my flight out of Dallas/Lovefield.

Art along the ceiling in Lovefield Airport
Art along the ceiling in Lovefield Airport

I had a 2 1/2 hour lay-over for my connecting flight in Dallas/Lovefield. I spent it exploring the airport and doing a little crocheting. My flight was set to board at 7:oop and we all headed onto the plane.  But the weather in Denver was doing some nasty stuff and all the flights going there were delayed. My flight that was going to leave at 7:35p ended up pushing away from the gate at 10:10p instead. Between flight time, waiting for a gate in Denver, picking up my luggage and the drive home from the airport it was 1:30a when we got home and 2:30a before I was in bed asleep.

Today was the Causal Crochet meet-up at Longmont Yarn Shoppe, so I dragged myself out of bed at 9a and headed down the mountain an hour later. I was a bit tardy, but I did make it there and was glad I did, had 6 crocheters in the group (not counting me). We all had a great time, though it was a little tough helping with crochet with a tired brain.

Knit Picks Order

I also have this lovely box of goodies from Knit Picks that came while I was away. So many temptations. I’ll have a more significant blog post for you this Saturday with lots of fun photos of the goodies I brought home from Charleston. For now though, I am completely knackered and headed to bed.

Time to Fly

Yesterday was my big travel day to Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately there were not any direct flights to Charleston from Denver, so it was a long day of travel including a lay-over in Nashville, Tennessee on the way.

This meant some careful packing to be sure I had crochet projects with me to keep my hands busy during the waiting parts of the trip. I also packed a change of garments and the items needed for today’s activities at the conference. Just in case my luggage got mis-directed during the flight changes.

Fortunately that seemed to work like carrying an umbrella to prevent rain.  I was happy to see both my both my suitcases at the baggage claim in Charleston.

Himself drove me to the Denver airport and half way down the mountain I realized I had forgotten my sun hat. Fortunately I got thru security quickly and found a fabulous hat for $15 at one of the gift shops on the concourse.

Aviary Photo_131129320458309720

Jan and I agreed that this hat practically had a sign on it that says “Andee’s Hat”. Hot Pink and Sparkles?! Too perfect, maybe it was a good thing that I forgot to pack my other sunhat.

I’ve already seen lots of my CGOA friends in the past 24 hours. If  you are here and you see me, be sure to say “Hi”. I may not have another post up until next Wednesday since internet seems to be a bit patchy here.