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In the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Crochet Magazine, my article about Erika and Monika Simmons, “Double the Fun,” was published. Before I knew them, I was excited by their pizzazz and sense of fashion and I wanted to know more. It took me a while to track them down; and what I learned when I visited them in their studio was even more inspiring! Erika and Monika are “spreading their magic to the younger generation in their neighborhood and “double-handedly” giving crochet its due as artwork in the form of adventurous, one-of-a-kind flair that IS Doublestitch.

Once my article was published, the young ladies told me that, as a result, they had been offered a contract to write a book of crochet fashion for the same publisher, Interweave Press! They expressed sincere gratitude and from there I waited patiently, looking forward to the unique and exciting kind of book that I knew they would produce.

While working on their book, the twins became the local spokespersons for the Chicago Coral Reef Project; and I saw them at every event I attended and always asked for an update on the book project.

Finally in February 2008, the PR about their book began to appear and there were plans for a book launch on May 29, 2008 at the Jane Addam’s Hull House on the campus of UIC. Why Hull House, you ask? Jane Addams was an activist who strongly believed in using the arts to promote social activism. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, she opened Hull House in Chicago in1889.

I received a complimentary copy of their book and found that they had mentioned me in the opening pages and thanked me for introducing them to Interweave Press. Delighted, I made plans to go to the book launch to get their autographs in my book! As the long day at work unfolded, it would have been easy to not trek to downtown in rush hour traffic. However, I wanted to congratulate them personally and persevered. I was glad I did!

Things were starting to get underway for a fashion show of the book’s garments as I arrived. I was greeted with big hugs and words of thanks from Erika and Monika. The professional models showed off their garments in fine style to the rhythms of a DJ. With the runway cleared, Monika and Erika thanked all their supporters and gave a special mention to me for being the catalyst for their book. I felt like something special, but really, it was out of selfishness that I sought them out in the first place. I am always on the lookout for fashionable crochet patterns!

The book signing began and as I stood in line, I was greeting by Jade, their publicist and thanked again. Their mother also introduced herself and thanked me. I noted that she must be so very, very proud of her twins and she introduced me to her other daughters. Another reason to celebrate is that Monika has a new baby; three-month old Starr Christina is the inspiration for a line of baby clothes named after her that these prolific crocheters have already launched!

I felt like a “Crochet Rock Star” that night and you could feel that way too! Keep your eyes open for crochet related ideas or designs of interest to all crocheters. Share with everyone who might be interested in the true sense of “guild.” Encourage a child who is learning to crochet or a new designer with his/her first publication. You will be rewarded with praise and thanks and feel like you made a great contribution to the world of crochet!


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