Thursday, April 28, 2011

2012 Special Olympics Scarf Project

Scarves I made for the 2011 project - all ready to go
I am excited to be able to pass on the news that the 2012 Special Olympics Scarf Project is getting started but also that they have announced the official colors.

*drum roll please*


So it's a blue and red kind of year!

If you are looking for more information on the project, do visit their website at

The website includes the color numbers as well as pictures of the yarn to be used.

Like last year, Red Heart brand yarn is to be used; however, there is additional news. Scarf  makers are not restricted to the Super Saver line only. This year you can use the colors from the Super Saver line or the Soft line of Red Heart yarn. I know I will be using the Red Heart Soft yarn simply because it is softer. It may be a little more expensive, but there is something to be said about cuddling up in a nice warm soft scarf.

I hope you take a moment to consider donating your time and efforts to making a scarf (or two or three or twenty) for our Special Olympians this upcoming year.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's a Guy Thing.... too

It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that while the professional chef industry may be male dominated, crochet is definitely a girl thing - but does it have to be?

I was pleasantly surprised two weeks ago when I attended my first ever yarn group meet-up that a gent was at the end of the table, knitting away. I believe he was sitting next to his wife, but I am too new to the group to be making assumptions.

I was equally as thrilled a few days ago when my son asked me if I could show him crochet so he could craft at the yarn group too. I didn't think anything of it as I got him started and showed him the half double crochet. (he chose camo yarn... no surprise there).

In the 30 years I have been crocheting, I must admit I have never noticed guys taking up the craft until the last few years, which I personally think is a great thing. Perhaps I didn't notice because I really don't view it as a "girls only club." I may sound like an uneducated oaf to some when I say this: I think that each individual can offer a different perspective to various tasks, and I think that a person's gender can influence his or her perspective. So having "guy eyes" and "girl eyes" on a project could possibly lend way to more creativity than we already have.

*waits for hate mail on the topic*

Anywhoozles - with all of that said, there is still a negative connotate when it comes to males who crochet or knit. Many times these guys are looked on as weaker or effeminate. To this, I say balogna-sauce! Ya know who else would say balogna-sauce?

Mike Rivera.

Who is Mike Rivera? Well, the sports fan would identify him as a 6' 2", 252 pound lineman for the Miami Dolphins who landed himself on the inactive list after getting injured.

However, if you ask the students at Hillcrest Elementary School, they would say he was their crochet instructor 'Michael.'

Yup - tough man is a hooker too.

According to an article posted on ESPN, Rivera is using the NFL lockout time to crochet more. He learned to crochet when he took a trip to Guatamala, where a former classmate was teaching. Rivera is quoted as saying "people say 'crochet, isn't that something old ladies do?' ... Football is masculine and testosterone driven, but I think it shows you can do other things and be well rounded."

People fight stereotypes every day, including myself; however, Rivera's openness and willingness to teach children to crochet is tearing down the walls associated to crochet being 'only for old ladies.'

According to the ESPN article, Rivera does not watch television or play video games. He spends an adequate amount of time volunteering in his community. He volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club and has recently starting teaching crochet. He is even considering opening a shop to sell his crocheted hats as a side project. From the article, it appears that Rivera is taking heed in knowing that he will not be able to play football his entire life. He wants to become a teacher when his football career ends -

Now, the ESPN article doesn't say if he wants to teach crochet or teach in the traditional sense of the word - but either way, if crochet needed an ambassador to show males it is ok to crochet, I think Mr. Rivera is a good first round pick - or hook, as the case may be.

ESPN Website -
Miami Dolphins Website -

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crochet Content

Hello, everyone!

It has been a few since I updated my blog with anything and today will be no different. I don't technically have an update, but I do have a question... perhaps more like an idea I'd like to run by you all.

I was just having a conversation with a co-worker via email about crochet. She brought up showing her three younger cousins how to crochet - and they are lefties. She said it was hard doing everything as a mirror image to what she was used to. She even said that later that night, she had to put her crochet down because she had confused herself with trying to show them how to crochet backwards.

So - is this the case? Is left-handed crochet only a mirror image of right-handed?

Obviously, from my videos, I am a right-handed crocheter, but my thoughts are this: if left-handed is nothing more than a mirror image, I could "flip" my current crochet videos and provide a right- and left- version of whatever I am demonstrating. I have the software to do it, I just never thought to do it before.

I know there are a few people on YouTube who already do this, - do you think it's tasteless to "mimic" what they are doing just in my own videos? Obviously, I am building my own video library here, so it makes sense to just do it.

I'm just struggling with 1) is left-handed crochet truly a mirror image of right-handed and 2) is it tacky to just flip a video and 3) would I be a copy cat?

I'd appreciate your input on this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Big Blue Bear; Big Blue Chain

I'm a yarn and crochet junkie. I am always looking for awesome new patterns and really cool techniques, but what a lot of folks do not do is look for crochet in the news. Granted, I don't get to look everyday and sometimes, there just isn't anything there. Today, I found some I wanted to share:

Ladies Fancywork Society Tags 42-ft Bear Statue
As it turns out, there is a HUGE bear statue outside the Denver, Colorado Convention Center. The bear is 42 feet tall and, oddly enough, is blue.  As you can see from the picture, it's rather up close and personal to the Denver Convention Center.

So as it was, this group of crochet enthusients who call themselves the Ladies Fancywork Society have had a long-burning desire to 'yarn bomb' the bear.... and they succeeded!

This morning, on April 19th, around 4am, the ladies finished attaching an eight foot ball and chain to the blue bear.

A representative of the yarn artists stated that the ball and chain took 15 miles of yarn to make and was inscribed with the message "Slave to the Craft." The same representative said it took approximately 20 minutes to set up.

The Denver Post was invited to cover the story in the short time that the bear was wearing his ball and chain.

Unfortunately, just before 7 am, the ball and chain had been removed by convention center workers.
Personally, I think this is am amazing display of art using yarn. It is a shame it was not left up longer for more people to enjoy the craft, the humor, and the sheer effort it took to pull of this 'yarn bombing'

Brava to the Ladies Fancywork Society!

Thank you to Google for allowing me to search for photos on this - most likely taken by the Denver Post.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

[Video] Simple Chain-Slip Stitch Edge

This video tutorial helps you create a simple edging using the chain and slip stitch.

Monday, April 18, 2011

[Video] Stitch: Reverse Single Crochet (rev sc)

This video illustrates how to complete the reverse single crochet as an edging.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

[Video] Double Crochet/Slip Stitch Edging

This video walks you through making a double crochet-slip stitch edging.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

At Last - Crochet Comradery

Comradery is not something I had every experienced before when it came to my crochet habit. As a small girl, crocheting, or any fiber craft, was not exactly something people were lining up to do. I had a unique advantage in that my family participated in Civil War Re-enactments; however, while that would have been a prime opportunity to craft with others older, but crafters nonetheless, I spent my time running around riding horses, playing powder monkey to my dad's cannon crew, and gambling with my fake confederate dollars.

Fast forward to college.... mmm perhaps a little more.

As an adult I have crocheted but mostly at night and on my own. A few times I had looked for a group of fiber artists and never had any luck. I conceded that if I wanted to be in a group, I'd have to create one and most likely be in it by myself for a rather long time... and I was already doing that in my living room.

I have been a member of Ravelry for a while now; however, I must admit that I did not use the groups and forums as much as I could have/should have/do now. I happened upon a group that has weekly meet ups at a local store.

Needless to say, I am very excited to say that I went to my very first fiber artists meetup last night.

I was a little worried at first that it would be awkward considering I knew no one and that I had my children in tow. Granted, my daughter chose to take her loom knitting with her and my son was obligated to finish his homework quietly. While I felt a bit awkward as I approached the table, it only took a couple warm smiles and an offer to draw up a chair to break the ice.

It was a great night. I had a wonderful time and truly enjoyed meeting all the ladies and the gentleman. (and I got 4 rows done on the super-secret mother's day gift).

I do think this is going to be a healthy step forward with my crochet. One thing I have lost as an adult is having people to go to when I'm in a lurch or to learn about new stitches or patterns. I'm excited to be able to have people to bounce ideas off of and get direction from. As a child I had my mother and grandmother and other people in the family that crafted. As an adult, I don't have that anymore... I have become that person to my children and other people looking to learn.

While I was hoping to see more crocheters than there were, I definitely will be going back.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Ah - another Wednesday which means it is another list of things that I have yet to finish.

For the last couple weeks I have decided against going with my big list of things on the hook and only concentrate on talking about the primary item - the hot ticket item - the thing that needs to be finished first... which pretty much means that since deciding to do it this way, I've only talked about the basketweave baby blanket..... that is now finished.

So what is my hot ticket item, you may ask .... well, I can't tell you.

You see, my mother reads my blog occassionally and with Mother's Day looming, I am working on something special just for her. I cannot take a picture of it. I cannot type about what I'm doing or how much fun I'm having... or how fast it is working up and how I'm excited to see the look on her face when its done...

Nope - I can't talk about any of that.

Now Playing: I Love This Yarn - Ivory Tweed
(sounds like a song and a band name hehehe)
I can tell you that for this project I went back to what I love most - my favorite acrylic yarn in one of my most favorite colors.

So since I cannot talk specifically about my project, how about I talk about starting new projects in general.

I personally like a feeling of accomplishment. I think even non-crafters can appreciate this feeling: a big project at work gets finished, painting the living room a brand new color, - anything really where you set out with a goal in mind and accomplish the goal in a relatively acceptable amount of time. What crafting does, for me anyway, is expidite that feeling and allow me to have that feeling as many times as I wish. I can have that feeling of accomplishment quickly if I hook out a set of coasters or take my time and really relish in the feeling after completing something large like an afghan.

So get somewhat back on track to starting a new project - there is something to be said of the feeling I get when the first loop is put on the hook, the first chain is completed - and from there I can see my work efforts grow until goal is achieved, the last tail is weaved in.

I think most of this stems from the idea I know someone, somewhere is going to enjoy the work. It took a long time for me to be comfortable with giving a handmade item as a gift - and in some cases, I still struggle. My crochet is not one of those areas (usually). When I am not making gifts, I crochet for charity, which I encourage everyone who can crochet to do. Something can be said for putting a smile on someone else's face be it through a gift to a specific person or a box of scarves being given to people who genuinely need the warmth and knowledge that someone out there really cares.

I am glad to have started this project for my mother. I do think she will enjoy it and she will appreciate everything put into each stitch -


If you are interested in reading what other people have on the hook/needle, visit Tami's Amis link party for WIP Wednesday.


As much as I hate to ask - do leave some feedback on the new comment system, even if you hate it. I want to make sure this is a community-friendly blog. I want to get to know folks :) It is hard to do that when we cannot freely reply to one another via comments.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

[Video] Stitches: Puff Stitch

The following video tutorial will show you how to do a basic puff stitch.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Finally Finished Friday

Basket weave baby blanket in pastel green
All I can say, is *WHEW*

I have worked solely on the baby blanket and it's finally done! This is the same blanket that started out as a bobble blanket, was frogged, and then re-started in the basket weave pattern.

I have not had time to block it and honestly, it lays pretty flat and square.

The pattern is a simple basket weave in squares of 5 stitches. I couldn't decide on an edging and the comments made sense - I had to take into consideration that I don't know the gender so I didn't want anything too frilly and I also needed to consider the pattern of the blanket. I didn't want to conflict with the pattern by putting on a busy edging.

So - I went simple. The edging is a simple sl/dc in all the stitches around. It adds a little frill but not enough to compete with the pattern of the blanket.

I have to say that I really do like this blanket and I hope that my friend and his wife appreciate and enjoy it.


If you are interested in reading about other's finished projects, do stop on over to Tami's Amis blog and check out the link party.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Hello, dear readers and friends.

Last week I did not get a chance to put a list of my works in progress (WIPs) because it was knitting and crochet blog week - which is ok... and I had a blast doing it. I hope everyone enjoyed that week as a blogger, reader, or both.

But with that said, this space is explicitely reserved for my WIPs. Like always, I have a lot of WIPs going at one time; however, the last week my focus has been in one project and one project alone: the baby blanket.

Many of you may remember the history of this blanket... a skein to partial bobble blanket with lots of frustration turned wadded up pile of frogged yarn turned basketweave.... a true Hallmark made for TV movie right there.

the epic basketweave baby blanket
Well, I'm almost done with it! I contemplated taking a newer photo this morning showing all my progress but I think I would rather leave you all in suspense, in hopes that I finish the last pass of the basketweave pattern tonight along with the edging (which I have yet to decide upon!) - all just in time to post it in my "Finally Finished" post this week.

My big push has come in the last two weeks mostly because my friend's wife is due in the next few weeks! Nothing like a baby to solidify the idea of a deadline. *chuckles*

I know a lot of people can crochet out a baby blanket in a matter of one or two nights. Unfortunately, I am not granted the time I would like to set aside for crochet - but that's ok! I get enough to eventually finish projects and that is all that matters to me.

So, my friends, my question to you at the end of this post is: what is your favorite edging? what edging would you suggest for this blanket?

EDIT: Marjorie left a couple great suggestions in the comments and I realized I left out something very important: we have no idea what the gender of the baby will be. My friend and his wife opted to not find out and leave it to be a surprise. I tried to convince them to have the sonographer call me to let me know, but for some reason, they didn't like that idea. *smiles*

EDIT #2: As a side note, I'm trying to make my blog a bit more user friendly and community driven. The first order of business is to get the ability to reply to comments (and send notification of replies!). I'm currently fiddling with disqus and would love any feedback you have on it. I want this to be a friendly, interactive place so everyone has some say-so on the matter. Thanks and I do apologize for all the modifications!


If you like reading about what people have on their hooks and needles, I'd suggest going over to Tami's Amis blog and checking out the WIPs posted by other people.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Twitter Tweets and Crochet Feets

So this post isn't going to be a very exciting one, which is probably why I felt compelled to create a catch, fun title. Basically, I'm taking this space to let everyone know that I have joined Twitter.

I know I vowed I never would but the more I see people stopping by that are not part of blogger, the more people I see leaving with no way to get updates for my blog. So I figured I could start up a twitter account and "tweet" when I make new posts. If you follow me on twitter, you'll be able to get updates about the blog and I'm thinking perhaps it would be a good place to handle some quick giveaways.

You would think as an IT professional I would have all this social networking stuff down - well, I must admit, I do not. I enjoy programming and analyzing data, not being overly social with online applications. I do prefer speaking to people face to face or via phone. For 34 years old, I sure am old fashioned (and very ok with that!)

So with that said, if you are interested in following me on Twitter, the link is to the right. If not - then that is ok too. I am just trying to be a little more "internet friendly"

Thanks and Happy Hooking!
- Cris

Monday, April 04, 2011

Book Review: BBOD - Introduction

I have decided to create and review every dishcloth pattern in the book "The Big Book of DISHCLOTHS" by Leisure Arts. The book retails for $7.95 at Michael's. I wanted to create more dishcloths, primarily to give away as gifts, and got the idea that it may be a good idea to review the patterns in the book. In the next few months, expect to see various reviews for the dishcloths appearing among other crochet related posts.

Because there are 99 patterns in the book it is going to take me a while to get through them. I want the reviews to be short and sweet, including a picture of my final piece. I am not going to publish the pattern here as that would be some serious copyright infringement. I am only going to offer my opinion on each pattern and in the end, make a recommendation on the book.

I'm going to try and keep all the reviews relatively consistent so you can easily search my blog for all the reviews. For this book, the primary tag to search for will be "Book Review: BBOD" or "BBOD." All these reviews will be listed under Book Review and Pattern Review as far as tracking and reading by label.

So... that's all I have to say for this post. I hope to have a review up for Pattern 1 soon - considering I've already finished the dishcloth, I just need to finish the review.

God Bless and Happy Hooking!
- Cris

Sunday, April 03, 2011

[2KCBWDAY7] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 7

Hi there and welcome to my final post in the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011 online event. Today we are supposed to talk about our knitting or crochet time... for me, obviously, it will be my crochet time. Not necessarily "where" we crochet, but what we do when we craft - our trends and the like.

This is actually a relatively difficult topic for me simply because I do not have a set time or place - mostly because I can't have a set time and place. My life is always a wee bit hectic and depending on the time of the year or month, one moment can be complete night and day to my last. I hate playing the "I'm so busy" card - but right now that is how my life plays out, every moment of every day. Just to give you a taste (considering I don't normally reveal this sort of thing on my blog) - I (1) work full time, (2) am a full time graduate student, (3) am a mother, (4) am a full time artist, (5) am working on losing weight which is a full time job, (6) cooks meals at home most of the time because of the weight loss thing, (6) works out at least an hour a night if I can in order to lose weight, (7) have to find time to clean the house....

And the list really does go on and on. It's just part of who I am as a person and the other part is that I don't like to complain about it. I wish other people could get a general understanding of my schedule and time constraints, but if I try to help them understand, it will only come off as whining - so I try to not do that.

So, while I may not be able to crochet a set number of hours on set days in a set place, what I can guarantee is that I make time for it. I try to squeeze it in between homework and fitness as best I can. Some Saturdays I can just dedicate 2 or 3 hours for crochet - and that feels heavenly.

I tend to crochet alone but not by choice. I would love to join a crochet group but my time is not conducive to "getting away" for that hour or two a week/month/year. So, I sit in my recliner most of my crochet time and hook away, listening to music, watching a movie, or chatting to the kids.

I do tend to crochet in the car on long trips (read as: any trip over 10 minutes). I have panic disorder and thanatophobia which can be read as: riding in cars is not my favorite thing to do. So when I get the chance (obviously as passenger only) I'll bring my bag along and hook, head down, trying to drown out the sound of the tires in my head. I refuse to allow those two things to rule my life so while I do not like doing certain things - I do them anyway and am usually glad I did.

I enjoy the meditative feeling that comes with crochet - I can easily get lost in a pattern and it helps calm my nerves. So while I do not really have a set schedule as to when and where and with who, I can say that I make time for it daily - even if it's just 15 minutes between all the things that tend to pull me one way or the other. Having something to ground me in the middle is always a good thing.


If you are interested in what others have said about their crochet time, shoot on over to google and search on the keyword 2KCBWDAY7 - you will find a lot of blogs!

I have really enjoyed participating in this event and look forward to participating again next year. I thank everyone who read and commented on my blog and appreciate all the new followers (although I must admit, it makes me a wee bit nervous that I'm not that entertaining!) hehehe

Have a great day! God Bless and happy hooking!
- Cris

Saturday, April 02, 2011

[2KCBWDAY6] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 6

Today's post for Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011. Today's topic is all about what we aspire to do in the near future or what we are ready to tackle.

First and foremost, I do not feel like I know it all in the world of crochet. To that, I ask - who does? I have been at this for just over 30 years and know there is so much more I want to do. So I figured I'd put a few of my list items down.

1. Create an afghan for all of my children
I want to create something my children can keep and use as an heirloom - something to remember me by. I currently have 2 done and one more to go. Of course, the two are for my youngest which means I will most likely need to recreate them when they are older. Right now, they are viewing the afghan as purely functional, which is a-ok in my book.

"High Mountains" by Cris
 2. I want to make a graph-ghan.
Many people who read this blog may not realize that I paint. I try to keep this blog very focused on my crochet effots and adventures so many won't know some of the other crafts I do. I would love to be able to "paint" a picture in yarn. I see people post pictures of graphghans they have completed and it never ceases to amaze me. I want to do one and then display it at the art show I show at every month. I think it would be an amazing experience to complete a painting using single crochet and color changes. (not to mention, the IT nerd in me would love to get a software that creates graphs out of pert near everything)

"Tree of Life" by Cris
 Now - I have no idea what picture I would do or if I would want to do it as I would a painting - such as doing a graph-ghan of a more traditional painting like "High Mountains" or something more abstract in nature with a hint of conceptualism like "Tree of Life"... or maybe a photograph of my children or dog...

I do know that whatever path I take, it is going to be a fantastic learning experience that, even if using the most basic crochet stitch, will force my crochet skill to grow exponentially.

3. I want to branch out into larger clothing items and socks
You'd think after a person has been crocheting for this long that there shouldn't be much of anything left that they haven't made - well, not this crocheter! I would like to make a sweater or perhaps a cardigan for my husband. I have found some sock patterns in the last week that I am wanting to try. I even went and bought the yarn! My problem is this - when I see larger pieces, so very few of them seem to be flattering if crocheted. When I see a sweater, I think knit. When I see socks, I think knit... well, I need to re-program my brain to know that with the right yarn and hook size and pattern, any of those items can look attractive in crochet. I'm going to prove that to myself, hopefully this year.

4. I want to master interlocking crochet.
Interlocking crochet is a masterful bit of crochet that I know I can do, I just don't know "how" to do it. It is a series of stitches on two different yarns that interweave with eachother to create patterns. I recently started watching some videos on YouTube and I know I will be able to do it - I just want to get to a point where I not only just do it, but I do it well. I am hoping in 6  months I will be able to say just that.

And that is a list of 4 things that I want to really push myself to learn in the near future. I think of them all, the graph-ghan is the one that excites me the most - although they are all going to be a blast.

Do you have anything? If you are doing blog week, post a link to your topic of today. If not, just write it in a comment. I'd love to hear what you want to work on in the next year.

If you are interested in reading what other people have to say and are participating in the blog week, then go to google and search 2KCBWDAY6.

Friday, April 01, 2011

[2KCBWDAY5] Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Day 5

The scheduled blog for today is "it is time for something completely different."

My intention was to animate the joke, unfortunately - I ran out of time to do the animation - so while it's not as flashy as it could have been, I still think the joke is funny, somewhat yarn related, and very different to my normal posts.

The Joke...
Three strings ride into an ole wild west town, and they are parched. They decide to go to the saloon. They walk in and sit at the bar. The bartender walks over and looks at them funny and says "hey, aren't you guys strings?"

The strings looked at each other, totally confused and the one string looked at the bartender and answered, "Why, yes... yes we are."

The bartender looks enraged and screams "Get out of my bar - we don't serve your kind in here!"

The strings reluctantly get up and leave - very confused at the whole situation.

Still thirsty, they decide to head to the small restaurant in the inn. They go in and have a seat. The waitress comes over and before she could ask what they wanted, the owner came over and asked "Hey, are you guys strings?"

The second string looks at him and reluctantly answers, "Yes, we are strings."

The owner of the inn gets almost irrate and screams "Get out of here - we don't serve your kind in here!"

The strings get up and leave, even more confused at what has happened in this little town. They decided to try one more place, a smaller saloon, at the other end of the town. They get up to the door and before going in, the third string looks at his buddies and says "Go on with out me - I'll be in shortly." His two buddies look a little confused but go inside and find a seat. Within moments, the third string walked in and he had successfully wadded himself up into a ball. He joins his friends at their table.

Before they could ask him what he had done, the bartender walked over to the table and slowly asked them, "Are you... strings?"

The third string looked up and confidently said, "No sir, I'm a fraid knot."

And that's it.

If you want to check out other people who are doing Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011, google 2KCBWDAY5 - you'll find lots of blogs!