Friday, January 26, 2007


Good Morning Everyone.

It's a bitter cold morning in NY, my thermometer is reading 0 degrees, and the news says wind chill is about 15 below, brrrrr. 

Opening up my e-mail warmed my heart though.  The first e-mail was congratulating me on my designs in the new BIG HOOK CROCHET.  Then another congrats and another.   I did not even know the book was out yet, so that was a big surprise.  Especially coming so soon after my HOOKED FOR TODDLERS arrived, then Jean and Rita's  100 PURSES TO KNIT AND CROCHET a few days ago.  Wow, it seems all my work of the past year is coming out all at once.  I hope all the new books will inspire knitters and crocheters to start new projects.  What better way to spend cold winter evenings?  Perhaps even think about starting next year's Christmas gifts, or get some charity projects going. This could even be the time to start a great project for yourself.  So many people tell me that they only make household items or things for others.  I love to wear my own creations, and in between all my designing and teaching, I always have a project going for myself.   While I was at TNNA, someone came up to me and told me that I was my own best advertisement, and that made me feel really good. 

One of these days, maybe after I get home from The Mall of America Knit Out/Crochet Too, I will start a new project and I will post my progress.  I have been thinking about this for a while now, maybe do some kind of a follow along.  More on this later.

Have a great day, keep warm.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

New Book

Good Morning Everyone,

I had a nice surprise in my mail yesterday.  I received a copy of Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss' new book ONE HUNDRED PURSES TO KNIT AND CROCHET.   It is a wonderful book, something for everyone.  I may be a little prejudiced because I have a design in the book, but it is just one among the 100. 

There are so many designers represented, that it is truly a delightful smorgasbord of creativity. 

I saw Jean and Rita at TNNA, and when I introduced them to someone standing nearby, I said that Jean and Rita at written hundreds of books.  They both looked at me and said it was more like thousands.  That just blew me away.  I feel  privileged to know both of these very special people, who have contributed so much to the world of knitting and crochet. 

Have a great day


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Knit Out/Crochet Too

Good Morning All,

On February 17th and 18, The Craft Yarn Council of America will be sponsoring a Knit Out/Crochet Too at the Mall of America, in MN.  This is a first for this event. It will be for two days, and indoors.  Usually they are held in different cities in the East, in the early fall.  They are one day events and are held outdoors.  If you live in the area, do try to attend.  They are lots of fun, they are free, there are fashion shows, demos, instructions and lots of freebies. 

I will be demonstrating Free Form Knitting and Free Form Crochet on both days, so if you do come, please stop by and say hello. 
You can find out more about it at

Enjoy your day


Saturday, January 20, 2007

The rewards of teaching

Hi Everyone,

This past fall I had the pleasure of teaching a Free Form Crochet workshop along with a spectacular Squares workshop at Camp Crochet Texas.  They were an enthusiastic, great group and the the whole weekend was lots of fun.  I wrote about it at great length when I returned home.  Our homework was to make a few different squares and some "scrumbles".  Scrumbles are what we call all the little pieces that go into creating a Free Form piece.  The term "scrumbles" is accredited to Sylvia Cosh and James Walters, who were pioneers in the Free Form movement. 

While this was two separate workshops, I encouraged students to think out of the box, and mix and match their pieces till they were happy with the results.

A few days ago I received an e-mail with pictures from Saundra, one of the attendees.  Saundra wrote that she was having trouble turning her pieces into the bag that was our goal in the workshop.  She put it aside for awhile, then started playing with it again, and was pleased that she managed to finished the bag.  She was so excited, and I was excited for her.  It is so great when the light bulb goes off, and you can actually see the finished piece in your mind's eye.  Saundra gave me permission to share her bag with you.

Great job Saundra, I am sure that you will come up with many more free form pieces in the future. 

I'd love to see finished projects from some of the other attendees.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 18, 2007

More on TNNA

Happy Thursday Everyone,

The days do go flying by, just not enough time to get it all done.

I was at TNNA to do a book signing for my HOOKED BAGS book, and it was very exciting for me.  TNNA is a trade show, which means it is not open to the general public, so everyone attending is a retailer, wholesaler, teacher, designer or somehow affiliated with the industry.  I had a lot of opportunity to speak with shop owners from all parts of the country, and they told me that many of their customers are asking for new crochet patterns.   I was also thrilled to see my new HOOKED FOR TODDLERS book.  It will be available for shipping very soon. 

Myra Wood, my friend and fellow designer took a long train ride just to spend one day at the show.   She was so excited to be there, as it was a first for her.  She joined TNNA at my urging, and is so glad that she did.  You can read about her adventures on her blog

Walking through the show is a mind boggling experience.  You are completely surrounded by the most dazzling display of needle work of every description.  In addition to yarn companies featuring their gorgeous yarns, the textures and colors, the sample garments in the booths, there are booths featuring needlepoint, counted cross stitch, embroidery of every description.  Taking pictures is a no-no on the floor, so the pictures posted of the CGOA/TKGA booth, and in Nicky Epstein's class, were taken with permission.

As if the displays are not enough, walking through the aisles is like walking through a "who's who" in our world.  I met Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss at their book signing (and was lucky enough to get a signed copy of the book) 100 CROCHET PROJECTS.  We have a mutual admiration society going on here . I took a workshop with Nicky Epstein, and we had the fun of sitting across the aisle from each other on the plane ride home.  Myra Wood, Edie Eckman,  Marty Miller, Jane Schwartz and Carol Ventura are only a few of the designers present.  I also had the opportunity to spend a little time with Bobbie Matela , editor of Creative Knitting Magazine. 

Two of my designs were featured in the Tahki/Stacy Charles booth, and they are both covers (one front, one back) in their new instruction books. I will have to ask if I am allowed to show pictures.   My "quilt of flowers" was on display in the Alchemy booth.  I made this quilt for Alchemy a while ago, but they bring it to every show, and I am always so pleased when they tell me it is still a show stopper.  

Jennifer Hansen's booth Stitch Diva, always has the most fun designs.  Be sure to check them out at .

More as I think of it.

Have a great day




Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Good Morning Everyone,

I have finally settled down a little after arriving home at 2 am yesterday morning from a fabulous trip to San Diego and TNNA. 

When I first arrived in CA, I wandered over to the Convention Center and found a beehive of activity with people scurrying all over, trying to get the floor ready for the onslaught of visitors.  The Offinger group was running in all directions tending to the thousands of details needed to make this event happen.  I had never arrived so early and I had never seen, first hand, the transformation of a convention hall.  Seeing the bare floors and walls of this huge, cavernous structure, turn into the wonderland of yarn and needlework, with carpeted aisles, posters,  gorgeous finished works etc. was a marvel to me.  I have a new, awesome respect,  for the people who make this happen.

I offered to help set up the CGOA/TKGA booth along with Penny S from Offinger, Marty and Jane.  I was not much help, but it was fun just the same, being part of it all.  Penny proceeded to open box after box of goodies, and under her direction, the bare space turned into a charming diner, sporting ice cream cones and sundaes, cleverly made of yarn.  The checkered table cloths, the black and white tile floor,  posters and wall hangings added to the "look", and really received lots of attention.  The charming booth caused many attendees to stop in their tracks.  It gave us the opportunity to tell them about CGOA/TKGA and while there, they took the time to look at the magazines, ask questions, and learn a lot about the organizations. 

On my second day, I took a fun workshop with Nicky Epstein , CUT FELTED FLOWERS.  Nicky had us make a knitted square and felt it, as homework, then showed us how to turn our squares into the most charming flowers.  Nicky is also the author of many great books, including the fabulous KNITTING ON THE EDGE and  KNITTING OVER THE EDGE. 

More on TNNA to come.

Have a great day



Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Good Morning Everyone,

I did it!  I never thought that I would be able to complete this in so short a time, but there it is, buttons and all.  Speaking of the buttons, I did not make buttonholes, but just sewed on buttons, and button them in the open work mesh on the Left front.  I did have most of the pieces made, or it never could have happened.  I was trying for the look of one of those little suede or leather vests, lined in fur, and the fur is showing all around the edges.  Well I didn't quite make it, but I am happy with the results.  The fit is perfect.

All of the yarns that I used were some shades of green, some had hints of pink.  I used about 12 different yarns, which is a small amount for a free form piece.  I used mohair, ribbon, cotton, 100 % wool and several blends.  Some were quite thin, some very bulky.  In fact with one of the bulky ones, I just held it in place and did a double crochet over it.  I do not worry about mixing all the different yarns.  As long as the yarns are hand washable, I will use them in the mix.  The yarn came from all over.  I bought the first ball in Atlantic city at Stitches East last year, continued to purchase yarn, at least one skein, everywhere that I visited in 2006.   England, California, Chicago, Texas, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusettes and New York.  The colors do not always look true on the monitors, and some of the yarns look beige instead of green.

I would be happy to answer any questions on the construction of the vest, or any of the stitches used, but would ask you to hold the questions until I return from my trip on the 16th.

Have a great day,


Monday, January 8, 2007


Good Morning Everyone,

My fingers were flying last night, well as fast as I can work any way. I crocheted my armhole piece and it fit right in place.  I then used the paper trick again, and made a template of a piece that I needed to fill in at the bottom. 

After making these 2 pieces, and sewing them in place, I decided this was the time for more filet stitches.  I needed to make the back grow a little faster.  After adding mesh to the large paisley, and pinning it on my dress form, I realized that I needed a few fan shapes to fill in.  I knit a fan shape, using #10 needles, so it would be fairly large, and fill in a big section.  I then crocheted the smaller fan on the bottom.  Everything is now taking shape, and going in the direction that I wanted.

The armholes are slightly gaping, and I will have to correct that with some rows around.  The right front is narrower, and more uneven than the left front, so I will want to work on that a little.  In Free Form, we usually do not try for perfectly matched, even edges, but -- -- I am one of those people whose orderly, symmetrical personality is constantly fighting with my free form personality!

More tomorrow, hopefully a finished vest, as I am leaving Wednesday morning for TNNA in CA.

Have a great day,


Sunday, January 7, 2007


Hi Everyone,

Sorry its been so long since I posted, but with the holidays and looming deadlines, the time just flew away. 

About a year ago, while attending Stitches East in Atlantic City, I fell in love with a skein of yarn that combined some pink and greens.  I did not know what I was going to do with it, and it was not my usual color range, but I had to have it.  Throughout the year, every where I went, I found myself buying another skein of green to go with my project.  I would make a little scrumble or two and put it aside in a plastic box.  My "green" box, was growing with yarn and scrumbles, but still no direction as to what it would eventually become.

Last night I started playing with it, thinking that I just possibly  might have enough done to create something new to wear at The National Needlework Show.  Nothing like waiting till the last minute.   I decided that if I had a chance to finish anything at all, it would be a vest, a very small vest at that :-).

By the end of the evening, after sewing most of my pre made scrumbles together, I had what looked like two fronts just about done, and a few pieces that, with some work, could become the back. 

While I was working away, I thought that this might be a great opportunity to show any one who might be thinking of free form, just how to go about creating an "art to wear" garment.  Unfortunately, I did not think of this when I first began, but I will take pictures of each step as I progress from now on.

Maybe it will inspire someone to try Free Form Crochet, Free Form Knitting or a combination of both, which is what I usually do. 

I began by using one of my shirts as a template.  I pinned several pieces right to the shirt, moving them around trying to get a "fit", something like a jig saw puzzle.  When I thought the fronts were good, I sewed the pieces to each other. 

I then began on the back.  I took the few pieces that I had made, and made them larger, mostly by doing an open work filet crochet stitch all around the outer edges.  This was the quickest way to make the pieces bigger, and also doing the filet stitch around pieces is an easy way to make the garment lighter in weight. 

I pinned these pieces to the back, moving them around till I was happy with the placement.  I really needed a lot more to complete a back section, but I was more than half way there. 

I needed an odd shaped piece to fill in the top armhole section, so I cut a piece of paper the shape that I needed, and I will work on making this shape next. 

We'll see how far I get tonight!  More to follow.

Good Evening Everyone,