Saturday, May 31, 2008

New Hampshire Conference etc

Happy Saturday Everyone.,

The time is flying by and the Knit/Crochet Conference in NH is getting closer and closer.  I am happy to say that two of my classes are totally sold out, but there is still room in two others.

The Crochet Intermeshing Class was the first to be sold out.  I learned this method from James Walters while we were both attending a Fiber Forum in
Australia.  James has given me permission to teach his methods in the U.S.,
so I am excited about that.

The other sold out class is the Free Form Knitting and Crochet Combination class.

There is still room in the Knit/Crochet Embellishment class.  This class can
be all knit or all crochet or a combination of both.  Students learn to make a bag in this class, but also learn how to apply the method to other items.
Embellishing is another way to free form, but a little more structured.

Here are two examples of small evening bags made
with embellishing.

The other class is called BEYOND SCARVES

In this class the knitter or crocheter, who has been
 stuck in the groove of just making scarf after scarf,
can learn how to take their art to the next step.  In
class, again, we learn how to make a small bag, but
much more than that is covered.  Its fun to see how
far your scarf making skills can take you.  There
really is no limit to the items that can be made with
just chaining or casting on a few stitches and
getting creative.  It really is lots of fun and once
your creativity is jump started the ideas will begin
to flow.  Time permitting, we will also learn about
lining our bags, and adding zippers or other closures. 
This information will be in the handout, even if we
do not get to cover it in class.

Crocheted Bag

Knitted Bag

On a totally different note, my new book
KNITS FOR MEN is now available.
You can buy it at

Lion Brand Yarns has featured it in their news letter
They also offer a free pattern from the book.

Cover of the book.

Free Pattern from Lion Brand
Click on Free Patterns, click pattern finder
write in Alpine Knit. Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

International Free Form Exhibit

Hi Everyone,

Several months ago The International Free Form group members were asked to participate in a challenge. 

Our challenge was to create a piece showing the world "THROUGH OUR EYES".  We were also asked to write a little about what inspired us. 

One of our members, Myra Wood, collected all the pieces and put together an on line exhibit and a book. 100 % of all proceeds from the book will benefit WOMEN FOR WOMEN
INTERNATIONAL, a non profit organization helping women world wide.

I am so thrilled with the exhibit and the book and so excited to be a part of it all.



Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indiana Jones and Karen Allen

Happy Holiday Weekend Everyone,

I started off my weekend with dinner
and a movie last night.  One great thing
 about having grandchildren,
(8 big boys, 1 little girl) is, they invite
me to join them for an occasional night out.
Two weeks ago I got to see Iron Man, and
was surprised that I liked it, and really thought
Robert Downey Jr. was great in it.

Last night the movie of choice was
the new Indiana Jones movie.
 Not having been a big fan 20 years ago,
 I really did not know much about the
the previous films, except that they were
action packed, and had Harrison Ford in
them.  Another surprise, I enjoyed the movie
a lot.

Why am I telling you about my movie
adventures?  Just before I left last night,
I got a phone call from a friend, who told
me that Karen Allen, Indiana's leading lady,
was an avid knitter and owned a shop in
Great Barrington, MA.  That's just an hours
drive for me, and I have spent many a summer
weekend strolling through GB, and browsing the shops.

I have also spent many wonderful hours, (and dollars)
browsing a shop called Wonderful Things.  A yarn
shop in GB,  jam packed with all sorts of great yarn,
plus other unusual handcrafted items.

 I was not familiar with the
shop that my friend was talking about so I
googled Karen Allen, and I discovered

Have fun browsing her site.

Enjoy the rest of the Holiday weekend.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a Butterfly"   proverb

I woke up to a surprise this morning.  About 10 days ago I bought a butterfly kit, with 2 plants and a Chrysalis, hopefully to see a butterfly emerge.  It was very cold here last night, so I brought my plants inside and put them on my kitchen counter.

There it was, on the side of the box, hanging
on for dear life.  How exciting, I had hoped to
see it emerge, but it did not wait for me.

It looked like it was ready to fly, so I brought
it back outside.

I watched and waited, and waited some
more, absolutely no movement.  I went
back inside to have some breakfast, and it
was gone in a flash.

This may be "old hat" to some of you but I had
never seen this before.  As much as I love butterflies,
this was all new to me.  Great fun!

Have a wonderful day!


PS:  A reader, Lucy, wrote to me this morning saying that she was
enjoying me blogging more often.  I explained that the reason
is, I am "between jobs" as they say.  I just finished one book
and I am awaiting word on some proposals that I sent in. 
Meanwhile, I am getting all my hand-outs ready for my classes
in  NH.  I am thrilled to learn that two of my classes are sold
out already.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Good Morning Everyone,

The Happily Hooked on Crochet meeting
this past Sunday was, as usual, lots of fun.
 Whenever I get to attend, it is the highlight
 of my week. 

The members are such a happy group,
 their enthusiasm is infectious.

In addition to all the crocheting going on,
we had a special guest speaker at this meeting. 
Sarah M. Wanczyk,
Coordinatior of Creative Arts for the Eastern States
Exposition, gave us an over view of all the changes
going on in this venue.  Sarah outlined the changes
in submitting items and in the judging process, as
they pertained to crochet especially.  There was a very
informative question and answer period.

Missy Boo, looking on as Mini Dee models
her sweater, made for Missy Boo by her mom
Nancy.  Sarah getting in on the picture.

Celeste making a scarf from my HOOKED ON SCARVES
book.  Celeste chose such interesting yarns for her
scarf, that I was amazed at how different, and how
gorgeous it looked.

is cooking up a special surprise for the
charity auction at Chain Link.  She has
asked members to make faces, lots of faces!!!
Don't you love Jay Leno, 2nd from left, top row?

Busy bees working on their own projects.
Lots of charity work going on here also.
The group supports several local organizations
such as Danbury Hospital with Chemo Caps,
preemie hats and blankets.  We also support
The Salvation Army with hats, gloves and scarves
for the winter project.  I cannot remember the
numbers, but we have made several hundred
items for both these groups.

Missy Boo decides to model her own
sweater.  Mom Nancy. made this sweater
in tunisian crochet.

Dee, showing Priscilla and Phyllis a new stitch.

Missy Boo, me and Mini Dee

Elaine was teaching us how to make her
lovely rose, which can be felted or not.
Mary Ann, Patty and Celeste working on
their roses. 

Mary Ann, proudly showing us her lovely afghan.
Mary Ann says this is a tremendous amount of
work, and it shows.  The picture does not do it
justice, it is magnificent.

Priscilla modeling her lovely shawl.  I have
to twist arms to get them to model their work :-).

Great meeting all.  Have a great day.


Friday, May 16, 2008


Hi Everyone,

It is a very gloomy, rainy Friday afternoon, but I am feeling very happy.  Just about a month ago, I finished another new book for Creative Publishers Int.
It was my eighth book for them in a little over three years.  I thought that the contents of this newest book was still under wraps, so I have not discussed it at all.  KNITS FOR MEN is just about due to be released and I have been talking about that one a lot.


Yesterday afternoon I received an e-mail from fellow designer Robyn Chachula,
and Robyn told me that Natalie Zee Drieu, editor of CRAFT magazine had mentioned Robyn's "Day in the Life Of" series on her blog.  I went to check it out and found my name highlighted, so naturally I clicked on it.  Up came with a page of my books.  There at the bottom of the page was my very newest, barely completed book, big as life. 

I could not believe it.  I tried to call my editor, but it was late in the afternoon and she was gone for the day.  She called me this morning and told me that I could now  "tell all" about the book.

I thought about doing this book after hearing all the buzz about converting knit patterns to crochet and vice versa.  Now I am not saying it cannot be done, but it is not an easy task.  Crocheted stitches by their nature are wider and higher than knitted stitches even when done on the same size needles/hooks.  You definitely can get the same looks, but lots of math and swatching is required.  Every stitch does not have a "twin" in both knitting and crochet and I really tried a lot of stitches before finding look alikes.   It is not a simple thing to just take a knitted item, and change it to crochet stitches.

First I came up with 15 designs, then made each sample and wrote each pattern  in a knitted version and a crochet version,  30 projects in all.  Each one is written out, so no math required on your part.  There is something for everyone in this book, from some smaller items to sweaters.  Something for men, women and children.  I had lots of fun doing it,  learned a lot along the way and hope that you will enjoy it too.

My KNITS FOR MEN is due out any day now, and  KNIT OR CROCHET HAVE IT YOUR WAY, is already on amazon taking pre orders.

Some days are "golden" in spite of the rain!

I think both knitters and crocheters alike will have fun
with the projects in this book.  Maybe, just maybe,
I'll have some converts on both sides of the fence.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008



A fellow designer, Robin Chachula, 
had the idea of all of us posting what a day in our life was
like.  Sounded like a great idea so I wanted in on the fun.

Monday is just about my busiest day of the week. 
I always set my alarm for 7 am, but rarely sleep till it goes
off, I usually wake up by 6-6:15.

I started my day at the computer, working
on my handout for one of my classes at the
 July conference in New Hampshire. 
Working on instructions early in the
morning works best for me.
I work till 8:00 am, then I decide that I had better
 go over my part for my Shakespeare club meeting.
 We are reading  "The Taming of The Shrew"
and today I am Lucentio.
 I study my part over a cup of tea and toast.
 I had better get myself moving.
 I teach at the local yarn shop
every Monday and I hate to be late.

My student's are so enthusiastic, and they
greet me with smiles, makes me feel good.

Carolyn and Inga, working on their projects.  Both
of them are fairly new crocheters, but doing really
great work.

Kathy is really concentrating on learning entrelac
crochet.  Kathy loves to learn different, challenging

When I leave class I go to my Shakespeare
club meeting. We have about 30 members, the club
is over 100 years old and is the oldest club
 in the state, that has met continuously
for all that time.  It was a really fun meeting
today, went on till 5 pm,
time to head for home.

I still had the whole evening ahead,
 I did not feel like eating at
all, since the refreshments at the meeting
 were really good,  no
need to cook a meal tonight.

Checked my phone messages, checked my e-mail,
settled down to get some work done. 
 I just finished another new book, and sent in 3 new
proposals,  still waiting to hear.  One phone message
was from  my editor informing me that the
 review date for new proposals is this Thursday. 

I get a lot of work done in the evening hours
and usually work till 11 or 11:30.  I am currently
working on four afghan restorations,
my fashion show entry for Chain Link,
and my handouts for the conference. 
Tonight I decide that I will give each project an
 hour or two of my time.
I turn on the TV, two of my favorite shows are on, I
listen more than watch, while I work.  By 11:30 pm I
have one afghan finished, one set of instructions firmed up,
one sleeve started on my fashion show
entry (back and fronts done already) and I feel that
 I have had a really productive few hours.

Time for bed, I am beginning to wilt.

If you would like to read about "A Day in The Life Of"
 some other designers please visit their blogs.

Have fun


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Great Weekend

Good Morning Everyone,

I am happy to report, that my blog seems to be back in working
order, so perhaps I can get more entries in.

I had a really fun weekend.  I usually try to keep my blog all about my adventures in knitting and crocheting, but every once in a while I like to share some other things in my life.

Saturday started out a beautiful, sunny day, and I had several things planned.  My first stop was our library book sale.  By 10:00 am the huge tent in the village was jammed with people pouring over thousands of books.  I managed to squeeze into the "How To" aisle, where I found 2 needlework books that I did not already own, and had to have :-), plus some new reading material.  I stowed my armload of books in my car, and walked down the street to the yarn shop (surprise).  On my way back to my car, I spied a truck that had a sign on it that said "RAINBOW'S END BUTTERFLY FARM & NURSERY".  Seeing the truck reminded me that I had read an article in our local paper about Rainbow's End, and also reminded me that they were going to be in the village that day.  Naturally I had to check it out.  Any one who knows me knows that I love butterflies, and always include one somewhere in my work.

Rainbow's End is a family-owned farm that is all about butterflies, committed to having a positive impact on the environment by creating and restoring butterfly habitats.  After talking to Pat DuPlessis, I had to have one of their kits.  I went home with my very own Butterfly Habitat Kit.

I was so excited, here is my very own kit, with the
chrysalis tucked in a little mesh pouch.

The instructions say to remove it from the pouch, hang
on the box, watch and enjoy.

Pat, (on left) ? on right (I didn't get a name) holding a
   Mesh covered cage filled with
beautiful butterflies.

You can learn more about them at

Free form jacket.  I call it Butterflies in
the garden.

More butterflies in my long vest

See the butterfly on the shoulder of one of my newest

You can get a free copy of the instructions for this
butterfly at

After the books and butterflies I was off to the plant sale at
St. John's church.  My car was getting filled with
goodies very quickly.

I had one more special thing to do, I was off to a fund raising
dinner at the United Methodist Church.  The Youth Group was
raising money for their annual trip for ASP.  ASP stands for
Appalachia Service Project.  This wonderful group of
teens and their adult supervisors spend one week each
summer working to help others less fortunate than themselves.
The work that they do is mind boggling.  They have repaired
leaking roofs, replaced plumbing, restored electricity, installed
flooring, you name it, they have tackled it.  In this world where
we constantly hear of the wild things that kids do, this group is an
inspiration for all.  At the dinner all the teens auction themselves
off to do all kinds of work.  They donate all the proceeds of their
labor to buy supplies for their project.  I am so proud that my
son, daughter-in-law and grandsons are
 part of this wonderful project.

That was my day on Saturday.  Sunday (Mother's Day) was also
a very fun day.  I started my day attending a church service with
my Son and his family, after the service, the congregation was
invited to attend a "coffee and", lots of food and conversation.

After that we went to  a movie, Iron Man.  I always get to see some
fun movies when I go out with the kids.  I did not expect to like
the movie, but was very pleasantly surprised.  Robert Downey Jr
was terrific, and I enjoyed the movie a lot.  After the movie,
we went out to dinner.  Needless to
say, by Sunday night I was ready to get cozy, watch tv,
 and get out my latest crochet project.

Have a great day


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Readers sharing projects

Happy Saturday Everyone,

The sun is out, and a beautiful weekend is in store for us in the North East corner of our country.  Lots of activity in our small town today.  There is a giant book sale, which our library does every year, and I cannot wait to get to it, always lots of fun.  In addition to the book sale, local churches are having dinners and a plant sale.

I had a lovely letter from a reader yesterday, which is always a day brightener. 

Sue sent me pictures of some projects that she completed from HOOKED BAGS.  Sue thanked me for the easy to follow patterns. I love seeing the projects, thanks for sending them

For the Victorian Pouch, Sue used Silky Kidd rather
than the Silk Purse from Alchemy that I used, and
it looks terrific.

Sue made the hobo bag and added her own
touch of a flower that was featured in Hooked Hats.
The Hobo bag is made with Lion Cotton.

The Shoppers Tote was made with Sugar and
Cream by Lily.

Great job Sue. thanks for sharing.

Happy Mothers day to all the wonderful mother's out there.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Restoring Heirloom Crochet Pieces

Good Morning Everyone,

Quite a few years ago I discovered that I had the ability to look at a piece of crochet work and immediately know what stitches were used to create it.  About 10 years ago, my local yarn shop asked me if I was interested in restoring heirloom pieces that were brought into the shop in great need of repair.  I agreed to give it a try, and since then have restored many pieces. Lately, I have been so busy that I wanted to give up this phase of "things that I do", but the thought of these lovely pieces disappearing forever, keeps me doing it.  My other problem is time (not enough of it).  As long as the person wanting the work done, is willing to wait, sometimes months, I will take on the job.

My biggest challenge to date, was a huge bedspread, that had over 20 very large holes and several smaller ones, scattered throughout.  I am sorry that I did not think to record my progress as I worked on it, but you can see the finished product below.

It is very large and very heavy, fits amply on a
king size bed.

I found it difficult to photograph the white, but
I think that you can see how beautiful it is.

Close-up of pattern.

The photograph below is of a bedspread that I
rescued from a flea market.  It was tossed over
the back door of a van.  The young man who was
selling it, had no idea of what he had.  It was dirty
and torn, and he could not believe that any one was
even interested in buying it from him.  I took it
home and worked on it for a long time.  After all
the repairs, I worked on getting out the stains.
It was worth all the work. It is magnificent!

My flea market find, all repaired and clean and
gracing the bed in my guest room.

By restoring these pieces I feel that,
somehow, I am honoring the women,
who so long ago put so many  hours of
love into each tiny stitch.

Have a great day!


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Another Great New Book

Hi Everyone,

It has been a busy week for me, and aol is driving me slightly mad with my blog.  Days go by, and I cannot add an entry.

Two days ago, I received a copy of a new book by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss, NEW IDEAS FOR TODAY'S KNITTING.

Jean and Rita asked a group of designers to create knitted clothes that are glamorous and sometimes daring, for this book. 

I have several designs in the book, and the cover is my little black dress, called "A Little Night Music".  There are over twenty designs in the book, from bikinis, shells, accessories, dresses and jackets.  Even a bridal dress.  Something for

As usual, Jean and Rita have put together a great book.  Each item has lots of photos, showing back and side views.  Readers will love to be able to see  closeups from every angle.
The instructions are not cramped on the page, lots of white space for easy reading.

If you want to add a little excitement to your knitting, this is the
book for you.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.