Happy Birthday Grandma

Today is August 8th and it was the birthday of my Grandma V. Grandma V taught me a lot about thread crochet and to appreciate quality in craftsmanship in all things.

She was my maternal grandmother and wasn’t always easy to get along with. She often was dismayed at my preference for playing in the barn and mud-puddles, and endlessly attempted to turn me into a “lady”.

She passed away nearly 20 years ago. She owned and ran a very successful antique business and had many beautiful doilies and fine pieces of crochet around her house and shop.  With all the designing I’ve done in thread crochet the past year she is often in my thoughts.

I wonder what she would think of her “tom-boy” granddaughter being a crochet designer? I’m pretty sure she would be surprised.

Watercolour Rose


Today is also the birthday of my dear youngest sister, Hatty, and my good friend Mary Beth Temple. Clearly August 8th is a date for the birth of interesting and dynamic women.

Happy Birthday to Hatty and Mary Beth too!

Getting Ready for Reno

If you live anywhere in the West side of the country it’s time to pack your bags in preparation to attend the Knit and Crochet Show in Reno, Nevada.  The last couple of years there have been complaints from our fellow stitchers on the West Coast because all the Knit and Crochet Shows were more East or Central, so I’m really hoping that this will be a very successful show and will lead to more shows in my “neighborhood”.

Maybe you hadn’t realized the show was so near you, but it isn’t too late to register. Early registration ends August 27th. Just pop on over to the Knit and Crochet Show Website and you can find all kinds of fun classes for both the hook and 2 needle yarn happy folks. 

I am packing for my trip already. My packet of tickets came and I’ve got them in my show pouch, as well as gathering up all my pins and organizing my notebook where I keep my class information and receipts. This is going to be an extra fun show for me because I am driving to Reno with my crochet show best bud, Janet.

I hope to see lots of my Southwest and West coast stitching friends in Reno. I know it will be a great time, learning and yarning together.

Stolen Hearts

Meet the girl who stole my family’s hearts last night.

This is Kenna.  Yes, she looks a bit like a bigger version of the puppy we were fostering.

We adopted her thru the Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue organization.  We don’t know much of her history, except that she is pretty young.  Best guess is she is about a year old. She is a little worried about the boys and the cat, but seems to be settling in pretty good.  She is definitely my pal, sleeping beside me while I work and enjoying walks and playing ball when I take breaks.

I’ll be making her a bigger version of the “Kennel Blanket” soon, but she will be staying with us.  For those of you with new dogs that are part of your forever family, having a blanket that is their own is a great training and calming tool for your canine (and feline) friends.  It can become their “spot” no matter where you go with them. Just be sure it’s made with washable fibers, critters get things dirty…just a fact of life.

Keep an eye here for more Kenna stories. I have a feeling she is going to be helping me out with my design, writing and art work a lot.

Another Chain Link

Once again I have discovered I am absolutely horrible at remembering to take pictures when I am at Chain Link.

I am generally having way too much fun:  making new friends and re-uniting with old friends that the days go zipping past and I only realize how lax I’ve been with the camera once I’m back at the airport heading home.

I did manage to take a few pictures on the first day. 

The Pool at the Hotel

The pool room was my place to go warm-up as the air-conditioning was brutal, I didn’t actually swim…just stood out there for a bit to get the chill off. Next conference I shall bring some warmer crochet accessories…like a cardigan!

Sunday Shopping Bags

Since my chronicling of Chain Link was so shoddy, I’ll instead share with you photos of the results of my limited retail therapy time at the show.

Looking at the amount of loot I came home with, I’m thinking it is a good thing I had “limited” time for retail therapy.

The most expensive purchase of the week was my new set of Cabled Tunisian hooks from the Tulip Company being sold at the Buy Caron booth. I had to pick up a few more Etimo hooks, though by Sunday they were nearly all gone.

Then of course, there was YARN.  Yes, I know I have likely reached SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy), but I seem to always need more yarn. This gorgeous silky soft and sparkly alpaca yarn had to come home with me.  My friend Pam had purchased some and shown it to me, I went to the market on Sunday especially to find it.

Of course, whilst searching out the sparkly alpaca, some yummy hand-dyed loveliness at Miss Babs‘ booth begged me to take it home as well.  The colors at their booth were truly drool-worthy, and the staff was very helpful in picking out 2 skeins of close matches in the colorways I fell in love with. 

My conference roommate, Janet, didn’t help matters when she came back to our room one day with some lovely silk from Vijay Fibers. So I needed a few hanks of that too.

Since the first ever Knit and Crochet Show I attended and where I met her (Portland, September 2008), Janet has been a dangerous influence when it comes to my budget.  So it was my turn this conference.  Janet decided to try a new color for something for herself. I can hardly wait to see what she creates from this gorgeous yarn. She is a wizard with the hooks and makes lovely lace goodies.

I didn’t escape that booth (The Yarn and Fiber Company out of Derry, NH) without some purchases of my own though.  Couldn’t resist the T-shirt as it made me giggle and the little felting template looked like a great (safer) way to do some needle felting with my kiddos.

After feeling a bit under-dressed in the jewelry department at the banquet Friday evening I decided I needed some “bling” for future conferences. So I made a stop by the Cookie Lee booth for this lovely necklace.  The ring was just too fun as well, so it hopped into my hand to be purchased as well.  I shall glitter brilliantly at future events.

Sassafras Creations drew me in as well. Lots of beautiful jewelry and accessories that have all been made from old knitting needles and crochet hooks. I purchased a few goodies, though she was just about cleared out of her crochet hook items….she said she will know to bring more to the next Chain Link she attends.

Before all was done, I had to make a stop at Newtons Yarn Country, where the bargain priced yarns were getting loads of attention from many conference attendees. The choices were limited by Sunday but I managed to do some damage to the yarn budget.

Well, now I know why I was so tired Sunday evening.  And this isn’t even counting all the events I attended, the classes I took, and the volunteer duties I helped with. Wheeeee! Can hardly wait til next year.

My Corner

Just a picture of my corner of the living room where most of my work takes place. From here I can keep an eye on my boys as they play, or watch the TV.

My happiest new addition to my work corner is my new chair. It’s comfy and ergonomic. The perfect combo.  This corner is currently a WIP, will see how it all develops this summer.

Twas the Week before Christmas

7 days and Counting

I hear you all out there scrambling to finish gift projects.  You are crocheting (or knitting) like mad fiends in every spare moment you can find.  Meetings at work are viewed as an opportunity to get a few rows done.  And that long train/bus or subway commute isn’t too bad if you can find a stable spot to sit or stand and stitch.

You are staying up late. You’re stitching for hours on end.  And very likely you are ignoring those twinges and aches in your shoulders, neck, arms and hands.

I know I’m not going to persuade you that you should stop tormenting yourself.  Heck! I’m in a similar boat.  But I’m doing okay because I’m adding in a few ways of taking care of myself.

I like to listen to music or watch movies when I am working.  Sometimes my TV shows are on.  I make sure to set some sort of interval that I am going to stop for a moment and do something else.  Every time the commericials start or at the end of a certain song or scene. 

Yes, that is a sneaky way of saying I take a break.  Remember the rule with breaks is, you don’t have to go do yoga in the corner.  Get up and move! That’s it.

Go switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  Get a drink of water. Run to the loo.  Just move your body in a way that is different from crouching over your crafting.

Of course, I’m also reminding myself regularly not to “crouch” over my project. Keeping my shoulders and neck relaxed really gives me more energy and efficiency when stitching.  So between my “Get up and Move” breaks I take little mini-breaks.

Mini-breaks are just a quick moment to take a deep breath, relax my shoulders, maybe look up at the ceiling or gently twist my neck from side to side.  Anymore these are such a habit that I do them without thinking.  I can even keep stitching often times.

I know it seems counter-intuitive that taking time for a break of any sort will speed up the progress of your project, but it really works.  Those little breaks add to your overall energy level and improve your chances of working “smarter” instead of “harder”.

Also a reminder. If you are still looking for some quick gifts for some of the folks on your list my first pattern “Little Christmas Wreath” is very speedy.  You can make it as a brooch or a fun little ornament for the tree.  Even makes a great Fridge magnet.

Take a look over at my Happy Holidays post to get the coupon code for a complimentary copy.