Friday, April 28, 2006

Spiral Stitch

Hi Everyone,

I'm all packed and ready to leave for my trip to England to attend "EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED".  This  very exciting crochet event, being organized by Pauline Turner of Morcambe, England, is sure to be lots of fun.  I am sure that I will have lots to tell about this fiber journey when I return. I will not be posting while I am away, so I thought that I would give you another technique to play with.  This is called a spiral.  The sample above is made in all double crochet, but once the technique is mastered, you can add popcorns, puff stitches or even bullions to give your spiral lots of texture.  I am sure that you will come up with some ideas of your own.  Besides being lots of fun, Spirals are great for making hats, pillows and bags.  I also use them to add interest to my free form crochet projects.

The instructions are below.

The Spiral is basically worked as a circle, increasing every round, always having one

stitch more between increases each round, and changing colors as you work:


To Begin, make a loop with the first color and work 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1dc into the loop,


drop color 1, drawing up the loop so as not to lose it,   join 2nd color (in the same loop), work sc, hdc, dc


with 2nd color, drop color 2, drawing up loop so as not to lose it, con’t this with a 3rd


and then 4th col, always working in the same beg loop.  Tighten original loop so you now have a circle with 4 segments,


each in a different color (3 sts each color, 12 sts in all). Place a long , different


colored thread in your work to carry as a marker for beginning of rounds.  This


marker indicates beginning of round, not beg of color.   Continuing with the 4th


color work 2 dc into each st in color 1( this is first inc row), Leave color 4 and pick


up the loop of color 1 and work 2 dc into each st in color 2.  Leave color 2, pick up


color 3 and work 2 dc into each st in color 2 etc.  Carry on working with each color,


until you reach the next color. You will be inc 12 sts each round, having 1 more st


between inc each time.    Work till desired size is reached.   At this point you can end


off  the segments by working a hdc,, sc, slip st.   Or you can leave the uneven edges


to be worked into your free form piece.



Have fun,





Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Good Morning Everyone,

About 5 years ago, I heard about a method of crocheting called Entrelac Crochet.  I had done Entrelac Knitting for a long time, but never heard of Entrelac Crochet.  I asked a question on the International Free Form Crochet list, and received a reply from an Internet friend in England, Pauline Fitzpatrick.  Pauline wrote that she had tried the stitch, although she was not its creator.   She sent me a copy of the stitch, and I immediately loved it.  Little did she know that she would be creating a "monster". 

Fascinated, I played around with Entrelac Crochet a lot, till I felt really comfortable doing it.  Soon I was designing patterns using the method.  Three of them can be purchased at (pictures above).  One of the patterns combines knitting with the Entrelac Crochet.  My patterns have also appeared in several publications.

In addition to designing patterns, I do workshops teaching the method to others.  One of my students has gone on to create her own beautiful works, and I featured her in another segment (one of the pictures above). Check out Loren's beautiful work in the archives of 3 -17-06.

I am adding the pattern here, and have put step by step photos above.


First Color Strip: (This strip begins and ends with a triangle).   With COL A, ch required amount loosely.  Beginning triangle; Row 1, draw up a loop in 2nd ch from hook (2 loops on hook) YO draw thru both loops.  Row 2, insert hook between first 2 vertical bars and pick up a loop, then pick up a loop from the chain (3 loops on hook), work off by YO, draw thru 2 loops, twice, 1 loop left on hook.  *Row 3, insert hook BETWEEN  first 2 bars (inc made) and pick up a loop, draw up a loop from under next bar and the next ch (4 loops on hook), {YO draw thru 2 loops} 3 times (1 loop left on hook).  Continue in this manner, having 1 st more each row, till you have 7 loops on hook, work them off as before, then bind off as follows: insert hook under next bar, draw yarn through bar and loop on hook (slip st worked) continue to work slip st through each bar to end*.  Slip st in SAME ch as last loop of row 5.  DO NOT END OFF continue making next square as follows:

SQUARE ONE: (we are still on color strip one) Draw up a loop in each of the next 6 chains (7 loops on hook) {YO and draw through 2 loops} 6 times (1 loop left on hook) This loop is the first loop of the following row.  Row 2, insert hook under the next bar, draw yarn through (2 loops on hook) draw up loop in each of next 4 bars, draw up a loop in next ch (7 loops on hook), work off loops as row 1 of square. 

Rows 3-5 rep row 2, bind off this square by slip st in each bar to end, slip st same ch as last loop of row 5.

SQUARE TWO: (we are still on color strip one) Draw up a loop in each of the next 6 ch (7 loops on hook), work off as before, complete same as square 1.  Con’t in this way until there are 6 chains left at end of row.

ENDING TRIANGLE (we are now at the end of the first color strip) Draw up 6 loops in rem chains in addition to the one on hook, work off as before, next row draw up 5 loops, plus 1 on hook, work off as before, Con’t in this manner, always having 1 less loop each row, until 1 rem, end off.  This completes the first color strip.

SECOND COLOR STRIP:  This color strip begins and ends with a square. Each square has 5 rows.  SQUARE 1.  With Col B, pick up 1 loop in each of 6 slip sts of the beginning triangle, pick up a loop in end of first row of first square on strip 1 (7 loops on hook), work off loops as before.    Con’t in this manner as in square l, picking up the first set of sts in the slipped sts, then under the bars in subsequent rows, you will always have one loop on hook picking up 5 more loops, and the 7th st will be picked up in the end rows of the first square on strip 1(along the side edge),  instead of the chains. When 5 rows are completed, slip st under each bar, having last slip st in the last row (top point) of the same square.  Con’t in this manner, always picking up 5 loops (one already on hook makes 6 loops on hook) and the 7th st in end of rows on next square.  Continue across row, ending with a completed square

THIRD COLOR STRIP: With COL C, Begins and ends with a triangle.  Begin triangle as follows:  With MC ch 2, draw up a loop in the first ch from hook and pick up a loop in side of first row of first square of color strip 2 (3 loops on hook) {YO and draw thru 2 loops}  twice.  Rep from * to * of first strip triangle 1, slip st in first bound off st of square 1 strip 2.   Work squares across row, ending with a triangle as ending triangle color strip 1.


Continue to work color strips 2 and 3 in any color sequence.



Have Fun!









Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sharing favorite stitches and free patterns

Hi Everyone,

We have had rain for 3 straight days, and I know the grass and flowers need it badly, but I long to see the sun.  It is so gloomy.

In the past few days, on a crochet list that I belong to, there has been a discussion about designers sharing their patterns.  There seems to be some misunderstanding here, as I see it.  We designers usually sell our designs to magazines or book publishers, once that is done, we are not at liberty to go sharing the patterns with others, free of charge.  We hope that they will buy the publication that the design appears in. 

That said, I do have some free patterns on my web sight, which many people use for charity knitting, , and  which I am happy to share with any one who wants them ( two pictures above).

Thinking about this subject though, I thought that it might be fun, from time to time to share some of my favorite stitches.  Pictured above is a stitch called Tunisian and Shells.  I really like this stitch.  Below are the instructions on how to do it.

TUNISIAN STITCH WITH SHELLS: Chain multiple of 8 plus 4

Row 1 (shells):  4 dc in 4th ch from hook *skip 3 ch, 1 sc in next ch, skip 3 ch,  9 Dc in next ch: rep from * end sk 3, 1 sc next ch, sk 3, 5 dc in last  ch. Ch 1 turn.

Row 2: (right side) (tunisian st): *(draw up a loop in next st and retain loop on hook) 5 times (6 loops on hook), draw up a loop in next st and draw this loop thru first loop on hook forming an upright st or bar.  (yo and thru 2 loops) 5 times *.  There are 6 bars and 1 loop on hook.  **the loop on hook counts as the first st. so skip the first bar, retaining  loops on hook, draw up a loop in each of the next 5 bars (6 loops on hook), draw up a loop in next st and thru first loop on hook, (yo and thru 2 loops) 5 times.  Rep from ** twice.  Insert hook in 2nd bar, yo and thru bar and loop on hook (1 st bound off), bind off 4 more sts, 1 sc in next st.  Rep from * , ending bind off 5 sts, sc  in top of turning ch.  Ch 1 turn.

Row 3: Sk 1st st (ch 1 counts as 1st st), 1 sc in each st across, sc in turning ch, ch 3 turn.

Row 4:  (first part of shell row):  Yo, draw up a loop in 2nd sc, yo and thru 2 loops on hook, (yo anddraw up a loop in next st, yo and thru 2 loops) 3 times, yo and thru 5 loops on hook, ch 1 tightly to for eye of ½ shell * ch 3, sc in next st, ch 3, (yo and draw up a loop in next st, yo and thru 2 loops) 9 times, yo and thru 10 loops on hook, ch 1 tightly to form eye of full shell; rep from * end ch 3,sc in next st,ch 3 (yo and draw up a loop in next st, yo and thru 2 loops) 4 times, yo and thru 5 loops, ch 1 tightly to form eye of ½ shell. Ch 3 turn.


Row 5:  (second part of shell row):  4 dc in eye of first ½ shell, sk ch 3,  1 sc in first sc, sk ch 3,  *9 dc in eye of next shell, sk ch 3, 1 sc in next sc, sk ch 3; rep from * end,  sk ch 3,  5 dc in eye of last ½ shell, ch 1 turn.


Repeat Rows 2 thru 5 for pattern.

Have fun


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Free Form Crochet and Knit

Good Morning Everyone,

My trip to Morcambe, England to attend the EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED workshops, being organized by Pauline Turner, is coming up really fast. 

I started making a new free form sweater about 2 weeks ago, hoping to get it done in time to  enter it in the fashion show at the event.  As the time was flying by, I decided that if I was ever going to get it done, I had better modify my design.  I thought that if I made the sleeves in a simple crochet shell stitch pattern, instead of the more time consuming free form, I just might do it.  I finished it this morning and I love the results.  The sweater turned out to be light and airy, making it great for summer wear, and I love the contrast of the free form, against the simpler stitch of the sleeves.

I am really starting to get excited about this trip, It should be a wonderful adventure.

Have a great day,



Monday, April 17, 2006

Add a little crochet to your knitting

Good Morning Everyone,

I hope that everyone had a great holiday weekend.

I had a nice surprise yesterday.  When my little grand daughter came to visit, she was wearing a little knitted sweater that I made for her when she was just 3.  She loved the sweater so much, but it soon became very short on her.  I added about 4 inches of a simple crochet shell to the bottom and about 2 inches to the sleeves.  Now at age 5, she is still wearing the sweater and still loving it. She chose to wear it when she came for her Easter visit.

The original knitted sweater is a free pattern on my web site 

Have a great day,


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Alls well that ends well

Happy Holiday Weekend Everyone,

About a month ago, I received a mail order for two of my video tapes and booklets from C.  I mailed them right out, priority mail, and they should have arrived safe and sound at their destination in about 2 or 3 days. 

About 3 weeks later, I received an e-mail asking if I received the check, and about how long should the order take.  Needless to say I was concerned, after all,  priority mail should not take so long.  I went to the Post Office, receipt in hand, and was advised to wait a few more days, before filling out a claim form.  Meanwhile, I wrote to C and asked her to please check with her PO, to be sure that they were not holding the package.  After many e-mails back and forth, several trips to the PO, and filling out the paper work, I mailed off another package. 

Two days later I received an e-mail from C, BOTH packages were delivered on the same day, dated 1 month apart!  Well that was good news, but where was the first package for a whole month?  We arranged that one package would be sent back to me.

Any way, now comes the fun part.  C's Mom was visiting her that same weekend, and started watching the tapes.  Mom decided she would buy the second set.  Yesterday, I received a check, and a lovely note from C and Mom, telling me how much they enjoyed them, and how they felt that the tapes contained so much useful information, etc. They also loved the instruction booklet that I send with the tapes.  Their enthusiasm really made my day. 

Have a great day



Friday, April 14, 2006

Holiday Weekend, etc

Hi Everyone,

Happy Holiday Weekend!

I was feeling blue, this week, as it was a relatively slow fiber related week. After the several weeks of highs, my books coming out, designs in several magazines, Ewephoric Weekend etc, etc, here I was at a standstill.

Making endless swatches,  trying to find the right color combo, yarn and stitch for my new projects.  I felt as if I was not making any progress at all.  Kind of like "writers block" for designers.  Did my well of ideas dry up????

Sometimes ideas come in the strangest ways.  I was at my daughter's, and she showed me a little dress that she had made for my grand daughter's doll.  My daughter is a very busy, working Mom of 3, and sometimes I wonder that she even has time to breathe, let alone make doll clothes.  She is very creative, and in another life (before marriage, kids, career etc) she even had her knit and crochet designs accepted for publication in several magazines.  Sharon had come up with a very clever idea, using a very ordinary stitch in an unusual way.  I loved it.  I asked her if I could "steal" her idea and apply it to what I was working on.  Of course she said yes (wonderful daughter that she is).  I could not wait to get home to try it out.  Boy did I have fun,  I came up with several designs, one that I really liked.  The well was flowing again.  Thanks Sharon!

Remeber Jackie, my student from last year, who made me feel so good at Ewephoric Weekend?  Well Jackie is at it again.  I received an e-mail from her this morning.  She was so excited about being on my blog, she told everyone in her immediate world to go see her picture on my blog.  She is such an avid student,  every teacher's dream.  I just had to put Jackie's picture up again, so all her friends and family would be sure to see it.  Thanks Jackie.

Have a great weekend everyone


Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Good morning everyone, 

Its a beautiful, sun shiny day in Ny this morning and maybe, Spring has finally arrived. 

The picture of the craft bag above, has a really funny story behind it.  I do not sell the bags, and I am not affiliated with them in any way, I just love it. 

Last month at the Happily Hooked on Crochet Guild meeting, 3 or 4 of the members all had this great bag, overflowing with yarn and all their stuff.  I loved it immediately and had to have one. It has all kinds of pockets on every side, inside and outside, it even has a little drawer that pulls out of the bottom.  I felt that you really could be organized with a bag like this.   They told me that they purchased them in AC Moore in the craft department.  I mentioned it to my  daughter, as there is a shop near to where she lives,  and asked her if she ever saw one, to buy it for me.  I called her one day, and she laughed, said "guess where I am, standing at the checkout, buying THE  bag for you."  I asked her what color she chose, (do you believe it?) and I asked her to exchange the one she chose, for the green.  The cashier was very tolerant, and allowed her to exchange colors :-). 

The very next weekend, while attending The Ewephoric Weekend, I arrived at breakfast Saturday morning wearing my Spectacular Squares Poncho.  Several women were standing by laughing and talking.  As I passed by one of them said "we were admiring your back", so naturally I did this little swirl around, showing them the back of my poncho - she laughed and said, "your poncho is very lovely, but we were admiring your BAG, where did you get it?".   Talk about a pin in your balloon :-(!

have a great day




Monday, April 10, 2006

Happily Hooked on Crochet Guild Meeting etc

Happy Monday Everyone,

(I am thinking "Pink" for Breast Cancer Awareness)

Yesterday was the regular monthly meeting of the Happily Hooked on Crochet Guild of CT.  They are a very busy, happy, active group, meeting on the second Sunday of every month in Danbury CT.  Yesterday, we had a large attendance at the meeting, a new member, and two guests, who were contemplating joining. In addition to enjoying each other's company, sharing our knowledge (and many times our yarn), taking road trips and lots of other fun stuff, we contribute large amounts of crocheted items, to several local charities and are always participating in events at crochet gatherings around the country.  I am honored to be a member of this great group.

You may be wondering what in the world I am doing in the picture above.  Well, Casey, our youngest member , was busy working away on her Barbie Knit Hit machine, making a pair of socks.  I have never seen any one make a pair of socks this fast.  Casey, put them on to show me, and I noticed  (oh no!)  a dropped stitch, making a lovely ladder right down her work.  Not to worry Casey, Margaret to the rescue.  I took out my ever handy crochet hook and worked that stitch right back up to the top, while Casey was still wearing it!  Her mom, Dee , was so tickled by me mending C's sock, while still on her foot, that she had to record the event. 

To top off a great day, when I arrived home I had an e-mail telling my that my blog had been mentioned, along with Dee's,  in the's weekly newsletter by Sandi Marshal

  Now it was no surprise to me that Dee's blog would be mentioned, but that Sandi mentioned mine, was absolutely mind boggling to me.  What fun!

Have a great day



Saturday, April 8, 2006

The Joys of Learning Something New

Hi Everyone,

When I posted all the photos and details about Ewephoric Weekend, I neglected to mention that several of the photos were taken in the Twirls and Swirls class, being taught by Barbara Hillery .  Barbara teaches this great workshop on making the most wonderful twirly shapes, both knit and crochet, that can be made into bags, pillows, hats, etc.  They are also great for adding to your free form work.  Barbara had some super samples to show the class.   I really enjoyed being the student for a change.  As you can see by the photos, everyone is having a ball playing with their string.  That's Barbara on the right, and Dee, in the first photo. 

Tomorrow I plan to attend the regular monthly meeting of the Happily Hooked on Crochet Guild in CT.  Always a fun day for me. 

Have a great day,


Friday, April 7, 2006

New Ideas for Today's Crochet

Hi all,

Every one who knows Dee , knows that she is a dynamo on 2 feet.  She is bound and determined to get me to do the blog thing, and do it right.  Today, she has introduced me to, via the Internet,  a helper of sorts, who is supposed to get me through all my blogging problems.  She really could not stand all the tears and carrying on over some lost numbers :-). Thank you Dee, we shall see how that goes.  I will keep you posted. 

I Thought that I would mention another great new book coming out soon, NEW IDEAS FOR TODAY'S CROCHET by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss.  I have a few designs in this book and I cannot wait to see it.  You can check it out on  (and even order it in advance).  Wait till you see the cover, just fabulous.  One of my designs is in bottom corner of the cover, but the spectacular bathing suit, that  is the main cover design, is breathtaking. 

Have a great day


The Amazing Internet?

Hi Everyone,

Seems to me it was just a few days ago, that I was extolling the amazing qualities of the Internet, the awe I felt that I was actually blogging etc.  Well, today, and yesterday, and the day before that, my feelings were not quite that ecstatic. 

 My friend Dee suggested that perhaps I should follow her suit and make my blog a .com.  Now I know that Dee has a lot of confidence in me, and she e-mailed me the instructions, seriously thinking that I could just follow them and off I would go.  Dee also did a search on my name, Hooks and Needles, and told me that there was an on line list with that name, so she suggested I make it "My Hooks and Needles". 

After about a half hour, I finally figured out how to change my blog name, only to find out that my hard won, over 1000 visits, was now once again reduced to ZERO.  Oh this hurt, because it was the second time that it happened :-(. 

There must be something wrong here, because losing that "number" almost overshadowed my joy at receiving my second book, HOOKED HATS, in the mail.  The book is a collection of very easy to make hats.  The color photos, the gorgeous models and wonderful photography are just so beautiful, I love it. Even though it is not due to ship for a few months, it can be ordered on .

In addition to receiving a copy of the book, I finally received a copy of CREATIVE KNITTING MAGAZINE, with my article and free form bag in it, and I had lots of nice e-mails about my sweater set in the new CROCHET MAGAZINE, I had a mention in the INTERWEAVE KNITS CROCHET ISSUE, and two bags in VOGUE BAGS ON THE GO. 

With all these great things going on in my life, why oh why, am I letting this wonderful, awe inspiring, frustrating tool, that we call a computer,  get to me so? And believe me, I am not even mentioning what I am going through trying to renew my anti-virus protection subscription, which expires today (Oh where are my kids when I need them?). 

Have a great day


Sunday, April 2, 2006


Hi Everyone,

I just returned home from teaching at Ewephoric Weekend, hosted by Phyllis and Bob of the Wool Connection in Avon, Ct. .  I joined quite a few other teachers, Lily Chin, Melissa Leapman, Judy Pascal, Barbara Kerr, Barbary Hillery, just to name a few (I will get the whole list of teachers up tomorrow). 

This is a fun filled weekend, where about 200 students come to learn new skills in their favorite needleart. 

The weekend begins Saturday morning with everyone arriving, full of enthusiasm, anxious to begin.  The classes start early, and by the time we break for lunch, every one is ready for this break. 

Before heading back to the classrooms, every one goes to the shop, to search for just the right yarn to complete their projects or enhance their stash. What a beehive of activity that was.  My students were so enthusiastic, surprising themselves at the great work that they were doing.  I was very impressed.

Saturday night, after attending a "Wine and Cheese" hosted by Phyllis and Bob, at the shop, quite a few of us went to dinner at a local, very popular restaurant.  By the end of dinner, I think all of us were ready to call it a day.

Sunday arrived bright and sunshiny, with every one scurrying around to find their classrooms.  My students were so early, I barely had time to set up.  Once again I was blown away by their work.  It always amazes me, that each student's work is so totally individual, even though they all follow the same set of instructions.  Their color and yarn choices make each piece unique, check out their work in the photos above. 

Sunday lunch was a great meal in the dining room with a fashion show by Lily Chin featuring  garments made with Lily's new line of yarns .  Bob and Phyllis had lots of door prizes to hand out, and students treated us to a show of their finished and partially finished items.  A great time was had by all.

By the way, Andrea from tells me that Lily's yarn is on sale right now at her shop.  In addition to Lily'syarn, and a great selection of other yarns,  Andrea carries Blue Heron Yarns , which I also love.  

 Right after lunch, a smiling young woman ran up to me and asked if she could take a picture with me.  She said she was my favority fan.  Jackie took a workshop with me last year.  How's that for an ego boost (first picture in the album). Other pictures show Dee www.chrochetwithdee , standing in front of the shop, Bob and Phyllis giving out the door prizes, Me with several students all busy working and showing their work.  

 We went back to the class room, finished up our workshop, went back to the Wool Connection for one last look for something we could not live without, then headed for home. Every one left, talking about coming back next year!

What a great time.

Have a good night all.