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Packing Frenzy: Yarn In Yarn Out

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
One year ago today my mother died. It is a sad day, but maybe by tomorrow we will be over that one-year hump. I talked to Dad and he, of course, is sad today, but he made decisions : he took Jack, his doggie, on a long car ride and he accepted an invitation to go to my brother's house for dinner tonight. Good work, Dad. Tomorrow is another day!

Three days and counting until we board the plane to Mexico on Jan. 2. The luggage has been setting out for weeks and I have slowly packed every essential I think I can't live without for three months! I worked really hard last right through the 23rd and this week I am finding very little on my schedule. So...as always, I continue to crochet. I have dipped into the yarn that I had packed and finished two really quickie neckwarmers. The mostly chains neckwarmer in the Winter issue of KnitSimple was a one-night project and I found the Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky very scratchy on my neck. So, I took it t…

Book Review: Contemplative Crochet by Cindy Crandall Frazier

Contemplative Crochet: A Hands-On Guide for Interlocking Faith and Craft by Cindy Crandall-Frazier
Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2008. Soft cover, 187 pages; $16.99
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_21?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=contemplative+crochet&sprefix=contemplative+crochet


December 22, 2010
Contemplative Crochet is a good read. I’m a “soft-sell” for any theme that puts the spotlight on crochet as an important influence on those who are seeking positivity while here on earth. My intense passion for crochet is intertwined into my daily life and I have written about how it is connected to my outlook on the world. Cindy’s book, however, amazed me and I was moved in many ways. It called to me as I read it cover-to-cover in two days!
Cindy Crandall-Frazier is a talented writer who has done a fantastic job of combining her passion for crochet and her passion for striving to live a faith based life. Passionate and seasoned crocheters will be …

My World is About to Change!

December 20, 2010: I am feeling under control, but should I? In 12 days, we will be boarding a plane with two suitcases each, plus a carry-on with all the worldly possessions that will sustain us for three months while we are wintering in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico!! That's not to say that we won't be able to buy something critical that we've forgotten. Of course, we will. We can even most likely purchase any medications we might need, without a prescription. But we're not going to forget those. It is the yarn and patterns and stitch guid that I am worried about!

The shopping is done, the presents are under the tree; the menu is set and I have started some preparations for the meal. We have a tradition of doing hordeurves and desserts on Christmas day. I am soooo looking forward to having our children and precious granddaughter here. Chloe turned one on November 24, 2010.
We will eat, laugh, play games, laugh and then have to say good bye for three months. I will MISS th…

Late Blooming Crocheter

December 13, 2010: I have interviewed many a crocheter for publication in various magazines and newsletters. A common "thread" runs through those conversations: they've learned to crochet at a young age from their grandmothers. Moms don't seem to be the best teachers; but put a generation between and the warm touch of Grandma's hand creates lasting memories and crochet skills.

I'm different (well, you know that already!); I didn't learn until I was twenty two. That's not to say that I was deficient in handwork skills. No, I was experienced in embroidery and cross stitch. I was surrounded by needleworkers. My mother and grandmother were seamstresses who created wonderful stay-at-home businesses for themselves in an age when the "independent woman" was unique. My grandmother also did very delicate tatting.

In my sixth decade now, I am, of course, constantly being reminded that it is important to keep the mind active to avoid the perils of old a…

1,000 Santas

What could be better than sighting 1,000 Santas decked out in full red garb running past me in the street as I arrive at the yarn store to teach a Saturday morning class?

A beautiful snow had fallen during the night and the police blocked the street so the Santas could take off running just as the store was opening. I didn't even mind having to walk two blocks from where I had to park. The sight was awe-inspiring; especially knowing from my friend, Linda, that the Rotary Club organizes this annual run to fund their national and international programs.

My class, a Crochet-Along (CAL) to make Doris Chan's Tokyo Vest in Tahki Cotton Classic Lite, has been going on for 3 months. My four students work pretty independently on the project and check in once a month with questions they may have and to get any help that is needed. Thank you, Doris! It has been a great learning experience for all of us! I truly wish Gail had not left quite so early because our picture would have been mor…

Type-A Crochet

For type-A personalities who like to stay organized, keep on track and get things done, isn't crochet a strange bedfellow? Now, now, don't panic; I'm not going to give up crocheting. I have just been mindful this week that here it is Wed. and my vow to post on Mondays went by the wayside. I have been skittering around in a mad rush all week, post Thanksgiving, crocheting in the car; crocheting between wrapping presents that have to be amiled, thinking about packing for Mexico, teaching crochet; crocheting to finish gifts.

I JUST NEVER GET DONE AND NEVER SEEM TO STOP BEING IN A RUSH! Isn't crochet supposed to be relaxing? I am still having fun, though, and loving my crochet still. The ideas keep coming to my head; and anyone who crochets knows that it is SO much fun to start a project! It must be the weekly hanging out in the yarn shop that is so stimulating. I know for a fact that it's where I get a lot of ideas.

Ideas come from everywhere, actually. That's a p…

Yarn Bombing

Monday November 8, 2010 Those of you who know me know that I am a sort of Peacenik from way back! Yarn bombing really speaks to my sensibilities! I had a blast last Friday bombing a perfectly darling bench in front of my favorite local yarn store (LYS), Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarn Store in Arlington heights, IL www.fuzzywuzzyyarns.com
The occasion was the first anniversary of Fuzzy Wuzzy, my new fiber home. Thursday afternoon and evening I stitched like mad and made a colorful strip that included both crochet and knit patches. I had eyeballed the bench for size on Wed. when I was there and took of from there.

Easy Friday morning after exercise and looking like crap, I slinked on over to the so as to attach the strip before Chris the owner arrived to open the store. I kept my eye out for cops and I was lucky because only one lady walked by and a bus was idling behind me, but I don’t think the driver was aware! I stitched it on in 20 minutes. Nearly froze but the smile on my face kept me warm. Ch…

Cowls: the New Scarves

I'm excited about cowls. Why you ask? I am going to Mexico, a warm spot, for the winter. What would I need with a cowl? I don't NEED one; it is just that I love crochet and cowls are the newest;and there is so much potential for designing them. My fr;iend Vashti,www.designingvashti.com, has started a blog just for cowls. Check it out at http://crochetcowls.blogspot.com


Over the weekend, I crocheted a cowl designed by Sheryl Means and it is in the current issue of Interweave Crochet Accessories. It is called "Marcelle's Fancy Neck Wrap"
and is easy-breezy to make. I used Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky. Here is a scan of it; I hope you can get an idea. I am without a camera for a few days. I really love the feel of the alpaca on my neck and it will go on display tomorrow at my LYS as a shop model and a potential crochet-along. Sheryl kindly gave me permission to teach her design pattern.

I love Sheryl! She is the co-owner of Yarntopia in Katy, TX. She and her partner, A…

The Gemini Factor

Our luck is holding out because the temperature is remaining balmy although the leaves are turning colors and drying and the winds are beginning to blow. As a "feel" of fall begins to fill our senses, my thoughts are turning to my first-ever winter in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. You will be hearing more about my life and house in Ajijic when we get there and you can read earlier posts from my vacation there in 2009:
http://crochetqueen-royalramblings.blogspot.com/ajijic-jalisco-mexico-augsept-2009.html

As I begin to make lists about what to take to Mexico I began to also think about what a different life it is there. I feel like my soul has one foot in Mexico and one in Chicago. I am, afterall, a Gemini, and I do have two personalities. I have clothes for Mexico and clothes for Chicago. The same goes for jewelry. There is some overlap but somehow certain pieces of apparel just work better there than here in the Midwest!

















Now, don't get me wrong...I have friends here in Chicago…

Internet: We've Come a Long Way, Baby

Monday, October 18, 2010
I am on my computer every day and I check into Facebook and Ravelry daily too. I am proud of my internet skills and I am appreciative of my sharp braincells as a result of the HUGE learning curve I have embarked upon to get to where I am today. I am slightly annoyed at those who like to say that those who spend time on Facebook has "no life." I just write off comments like that as jealousy or lack of confidence to navigate their way. I have a life and that's what I write about.

In 1992 when I was taking the first baby steps in forming the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA), I was using an Apple computer merely like a keyboard. The internet was just starting to bubble and my dear friend and neighbor, Gerry, and I were both starting to learn. Since she and I were the only "contacts" we had, we decided that each time we would send an email, we would have to let the other person know. It wasn't like today when we just pop on the computer for…

Crochetqueen is Learning to Knit!

Of course in my crochet-friendly, fiber community at my LYS, I am exposed to many knitters who are doing marvelous projects that I greatly admire. For years I have been feeling like I "should" be able to knit. I even went so far as to buy the Debbie Bliss How to Knit book and I learned to knit-stitch from a student nurse when I was working at the hospital. I had a weekly crochet group there for our clients with dementia. Heck, I know how to do every other type of needlework and have tried them all, embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, quiltng, tatting, sewing.....Why not knitting? Somehow, though, the knitting book never came off the shelf and I never went any further than knit-stitch.
So, last week the day finally came when I woud receive some professional knittig lessons from Chris at Fuzz Wuzzy Yarns.

Chris owes me for crochting ashop model for her store-see "My Crochet Home" I am taking my pay in services and product rather than cold hard cash! She is providing…

CGOA Hall of Fame

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Tues. October 5, 2010
I was honored to be invited by Cari Clement of Caron Yarns back in August to participate in a new Crochet Guild of America committee: The Hall of Fame. Since then our committee has met a couple of times and we have established the guidelines for this great idea that Cari has initiated.

It's got me thinking about all those wonderful crocheters from the 70s that I so admire. I still have their books and find inspiration from them each time I take a peek. Who do you admire in the crochet world? Who has inspired you? Who has made a lasting impression on you?

Here are the basics: "The CGOA Hall of Fame will reconize those who, over the years, have made a significant and lasting contribution to the art and craft of crochet. We invite all CGOA members to send us suggestions of people to nominate. Don't neglect to consider..... Who inspired your teachers? Who runs your favorite art-to-wear shop? Who wrote your favorite books? The possibilities are endless.…

Fall is in the Air

Thursday, September 30 ...and I am stoked!! Is it the crisp air and golden sunshine? Is it the premiere of all my favorite "must-see TV" shows: House, Glee, The Office, Thirty Rock and Grey's Anatomy? Is it the excitement in my LYS for crochet and my classes filling up? Is it the anticipation of dear s-i-l, Alice's visit next week and our late-night fiber talks? (She is a marvelous quilter and has a Masters in Quilt History)? Is it my long-anticipated appearance on Getting Loopy this week? Or is it just plain too much caffeine??

We our without internet until Oct. 6 thanks to an ATT-Snafu of the first kind! (Lonnnng story) so I started out making daily trips to Starbucks to check email. It's a comfortable community there. Are the emplyees paid more than minimum wage, because they seem really happy and polite? Or is it the caffeine they sniff all day? The wi-fi is FREE too, but I was spending a fortune on pumpkin-spice latess!

Lucky for us, dear neighbor and friend,…

My Crochet Home

Monday, October 11, 2010
So much is going on in my "Fiber Community" that I decided to add on here. Tonight I will begin the 2nd session of tunisian crochet: Tutti Frutti Tunisian Baby cap. The numbers have leveled off; I only have two students. But that's okay; they are enthusiatic and have waited for this class to be offered on Monday.

I have also started a Tunisian Crochet-Along with Doris Chan's design: Tokyo Vest. Students can pay-as-you-go and we're meeting the first Sat. of Oct,Nov. and Dec. for them to check in with me and work out the kinks when they get stumped on the pattern.

Monday, September 20, 2010
I was not the first to discover Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarn Store in Arlington Heights, IL, but as soon as I heard about it in January, I got over there and introduced myself to Chris, the owner. I made it very clear to her from the beginning that I am a passionate crocheter and I would be interested in teaching crochet in her shop.

Obviously, by the name of her store, …

Crochet Anonymous

Hey, Tuesday is the new Monday! I am on a crochet-high today; well, actually I have been for a couple of days. Is it the cool air that each year inspires us to think ahead to the holidays that always sneak up on us? Is it fall scents that inspire us to get busy making crocheted gift for those holidays. Is it just plain too much.
coffee?

I had a great day at Crochet Connection today at the LYS (Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns in Arl. Hts., IL) I turned in the Frog Hill Origami Jacket to Chris which I have been crocheting for her since the end of July. It is always such a good feeling to get something done, especially a very big project like this. Luckily, this summer we have had a lot of road trips, so this project helped those hours sail by while Alan happily drove.

Actually, Crochet Connection was Bi-Craftual today because two of the four of us were knitting and that is okay!Roz was so excited about starting her knit jacket that she could hardly stand it until the shop opened on Tuesday! I was able …

"Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire"

Friday, September 3, 2010
So much for my plan to blog every Monday! Oh well, here goes... It is a glorious day-33 years ago I gave birth to our first-born daughter. She has continued to bring joy to our lives to this day and has presented us with an incredible granddaughter named Chloe. She's a friend, she makes me laugh and she is a willing listener. Thank you, Nicole, for being you!

We were able to celebrate with Nicole this week when she came into town with Chloe to take her mother-in-law far a birthday celebration at Ravinia outdoor theatre to see Carrie Underwood. We got to take care of Chloe!

The time together was great and we treated Nicole and Bethany, younger daughter, to a Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise.

The day was perfect and we had a great time with dinner afterwards in Bethany's neigborhood at our favorite Turkish restaurant, "Istanbul."

My CGOA chapter, nicrochet, has an Annual Chapter Challenge in which we are given theme or a word and we a…

The CROCHET Compartment of my Brain

My new habit is to post on this blog every Monday and today's thoughts, although very personal, have been calling to me since last Monday. I am a private person in many ways, but in other ways not. I am about to share some thoughts that I haven't shared with very many outside of family. I usually don't believe that my problems are other people's problems, but it is time to get this out for the therapeutic value.

My husband, Alan, is loosing his ability to speak. It has been coming on for about 5 years and is getting progressively worse. It has to do with deterioration of his cerebellum which controls coordination. His tongue, a very complex muscle, is not able to coordinate words very well. I can still understand him, as can most people; but sometimes it is tough to understand some words. It is a very long story, but after three trips to Mayo clinic and numerous dollars later, we have no diagnosis or cure. They basically told us, "We don't know what it is or w…

Dads

August 9,2010: Now that my mother is gone and I am left with just my dad, I am beginning to realize that dads are a different breed! I think that my dad is also finding out all that a mom/wife is and how much that we do is taken for granted by all of us. Moms keep track of all the social aspects of life and they know just when to send a birthday card and time it so it arrives just at the proper time! Moms know what is going on in the extended family because they don't mind talking on the phone and keeping in touch. They go shopping and run into people too and keep up with the neighbors and the friends from church. Moms plan meals and shop once a week to get everything that is needed. Moms know what to do with leftovers!
I think Mom would be holding Chloe if she were here, just because.....











It has been seven months since Mom left us and Dad is learning. He's doing a fine job of trying to make a life for himself alone. The winter was very rough and lonely and cold for him. Spring …

Covering My World In Crochet

Crochet is my life; crochet is my world. I want to see crochet everywhere, so I started covering thngs in crochet! Rocks are my current favorite to cover. Artists who use crochet as their medium are my passion and years and years ago, I was inspired by fiber artist, Claire Zeisler in a photo of her covered rocks in Fiberarts Magazine.

My latest creations are here at the top. To see my first covered rock, inspired by Claire Zeisler, see below. It is a little worse for the wear and probably 15 years old! To see other things I've covered as "yarn-bombing," go to the post: "Hooka, Please"



The Rocky Shores of Maine, Northern IL Chapter Challenge, "Summer", 2009



Rock for Alan, 2008



Hard As A Rock for the Nipple Project, 2008


Rock Garden, front (R) and back (L),2008



Heartrock Hotel(2006): Northern IL Chapter Challenge, "Heart," 2008, 3rd place; 1st Place Art Category, CGOA, 2009





Rocky Trio, 2008








Mossy Zen Rock Garden in Kooky Crochet by Lark Books, 2007





Roc…