Monday, July 18, 2011

Crochet is my Bliss

Monday, July 18, 2011
Ya know how sometimes a word whose complete meaning you're not sure of pops into your head just when you need to use it? I knew "bliss" was the right choice for today's post, but had to look it up just to be sure before sending this message out into cyber-space! "Complete happiness, paradise, heaven": Yep these words fit the bill and describe what my crochet means to me.

Most days crochet engages me in conversations with others. Today while being tested for allergies, I was asked what my job is. Designer/author; it led to conversation about patience, beauty bedspreads in fine thread and my favorite thing to crochet. I told the nurse that crochet art and covering rocks in crochet pique my interest. When I told her that I also covered a frying pan in wire crochet, her reaction was less surprise and more awe that I would have the patience for such things!

"Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire!"

She also asked if I could think about other things while crocheting and I assured her that I can multi-task and also float into the relaxation zone with my crochet.

I had made a note to my self to talk about crochet as art and in particular my crochet art this week, so we'll segue down that road here. I was very pleased with an interview about me done by Marie at the undergroundcrafter this week. She did a superb job of weaving my answers to her questions and many links skillfully to give me some great exposure. Marie described me as a "crochet artist." I was pleased by that, but I would say I've been more of an advocate for crochet as art.Since 1994 I have promoted crochet as art, not only by juried exhibits at the annual Crochet Guild conferences but in other venues as well. My crowing glory, I have to say, was the traveling crochet art exhibit, "Rhythm of Crochet," that traveled the country as part of the Tenth Anniversary celebration of CGOA!
"Rhythm of Crochet" traveling juried art exhibit

You can read Marie's interview of me here: Marie stressed my art and it got me to thinking that I haven't written much lately about my art or shared my latest wacky creations. Think of this as a pictorial essay:
"Memories of Honduras" Mixed Media: Cloisonne cabochon, yarn, metallic thread, beads. Bead-Crochet CAL at cro-Kween Designs
"Aunt Mary & Me" Mixed Media: ceramic mask, crochet, jelly yarn.

Mixed Media: Grapevine Basket

Crocheting with Porcelain: business card holder.

Famous Face Series: Frida Kahlo

If I get through the measuring for new granite countertops tomorrow morning, I will feel like I am home free to sit back with a blank calendar and wait for baby grandboy to arrive. His due date is 7/22, just 4 days from now. Just this minute Nicole called to report that she had some strong contractions last night and they started up again just now!! Things are happening. The contractions are erratic, 7 minute, 10 minutes apart, but it is surely a sign that he's on his way!

I have my crochet bag packed should there be time and another bag is half started. Hmm, better get on that tonight!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Crochet Touches My Heart!

Monday, July 11, 2011
Who knew that a warm fuzzy feeling about crochet is possible on trip to Home Depot! A chat with Tanya McGuire at Midwest Folk & Fiber Art Fair led to warm fuzzy feelings in her glorious flameworked beads booth! But that's to be expected at such a place! She and I talked about her upcoming booth at Stitches Midwest and I admired one of her crocheted bracelets. All well and good; what does this have to do with Home Depot?

Tanya's bracelet requires plastic tubing and dear hubby didn't have the right size in his garage storage bins! So, off I went to the Depot to find just the right tubing. The young and handsome clerk that showed me the various sizes of tubing ask what I was going to do with it. I told him I was making a bracelet and covering the tubing with crochet.

His first comment was to ask if I had seen the story on CNN about yarn grafitti.
When I told him that I do that myself, he was impressed. I told him about the lion's tail I covered recently. He said his grandmother did crochet non-stop, but he never learned and didn't have the patience for it. As I left with my stash of tubing, I thanked him again and he replied, "I'm happy to be a part of it." AW, how very sweet!

Here is the bracelet I made using Tanya's concept. It is embellished with one of her gorgeous ceramic beads that I got last year.

Be sure to look for her booth at Stitches MW. It is her first time to sell there and I told her to be sure to bring plenty of patterns and ideas for crocheters!

I was also touched this week to find that I was featured as a crochet artist on the blog "Crochet Concupiscence.
I was very flattered by this prolific and ardent crochet writer. My art on my website was referred to, and I was reminded that I don't update my website anymore since I am so active on Ravelry and flickr.

Next week, I will post some of my newest art creations that aren't on the blog.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The State of Things

Friday, July 1, 2011
It is always a little intimidating to get back to blogging after letting it lapse like I have for the last 3 weeks or so. This relaxing holiday weekend seems like the right time to sit down, contemplate these past weeks and write about the "state of things" (crochet)

With crocheting, with volunteering, with most anything we like to do, we often say "real life" (RL) gets in the way. I've always refused to let anything get in the way of my crochet, because even if if I was in the hospital, I think I would find a way to be able to crochet some. For sure in doctor's offices, baseball fields, in the dark on a car ride, etc, etc, I CAN CROCHET!

Some may think that R L has gotten in my way these last few weeks. Well, yes it has, but I have not stopped crocheting. Crocheting sustains me; crocheting allows me to drift away for short periods of relaxation.

My husband has a degenerative disease which is affecting his ability to talk. It is a very long story and I am a private person when it comes to things like this. I'm not comfortable with people feeling sorry for me, so you won't have to slog through the story here! It doesn't have a simple label that tells the story quickly like that of diabetes or heart disease ; it is very unusual and takes a lot of explaining. You probably won't "see" me "talking" about it here again for a very long time. It is so rare, in fact, that we spent last week in Bethesda, MD at the National Institute of Health's "Undiagnosed Disease" program. We are very glad we went and can't say enough about the brilliant and caring professionals who we met there.

I took along several crochet projects that just looked like they would be fun to do. I love following crochet patterns written by other people; I like crocheting with thread. I have also been on a crocheted flower kick lately, maybe becaue it is summer. Here are a couple of the finished objects. I did while gone. It is very satisfying to start and finish something in a realtively short time.

Since Alan is not acutely ill, he was given a pass each day to leave the hospital and didn't have to stay overnight. That's when we switched gears to "vacation mode."

My first goal was to visit the World War II Memorial on the mall in D.C. Using the Metro to get around is easy-breezy and we were glad we went there. I found my father's name in the computer kiosk. He served in the army and landed on Normandy Beach on D-Day! He survived it just fine, but doesn't, to this day, like to talk about it. I went there because at 91, her never will. I got some good photos which I will share with him along with the brochure. We also took in the Viet Nam Vets Memorial and then headed to Georgetown to wander. There we found a fabulous and very authentic Italian restaurant where we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. It was Father's day too, so we stopped at the cupcake shop and treated ourself to one!

Bethesda is full of restaurants and there was no lack of enjoyment there! On our last afternoon, we rode the Metro in the opposite direction to Alexandria where we visited the Torpedo Factory Art Center. I enjoyed it immensely and we watched several artists still at work in their studios on Friday afternoon. I found some inspiration there for my crochet as well. We found a super-delicous hamburger at the Seasfood restaurant, by just stepping into Baskin Robbins to ask for a recommendation! We found people to be extraordinarily friendly there. A friend who lives here and used to live in DC says it is because no one is really born in DC, they all come from somewhere else and are more apt to reach out. It shows!

Oh yeah, and I left my mark on Bethesda with some yarn bombing:

I've been teaching some at the local yarn shop as usual this month; hairpin lace seems to be popular. The day after we returned from Bethesda, I taught Irish Crochet at the Midwest Folk & Fiber Art Fair. I enjoyed my students very much. Evolo and JeneeR have already joined the Court over at Cro-Kween Designs on Ravelry. They were enthusiastic about learning, had good skills and a willingness to learn. I think I was able to offer them some good information about Irish crochet technique and hopefully, I launched them onto a path of creativity with inspiration from the classic Irish style. These teching venues are always inspiring to me also. I liked the market place a lot and was happy to see a bead artist,Tanya McGuire, return this year. I stocked up and got some good ideas from her and also gave her a few!She will be at Stitches Midwest and wants to offer a crochet bracelet pattern. I told her I would help her tech-edit it.

A new little being is about to come into our lives as daughter Nicole is due to have her second baby, a boy, on July 22. I asked her not to come early so I could teach at Folk & Fiber AND not to come late so I can teach at Stitches Midwest at the end of August. So far, so good! We are in waiting mode; the calendar is pretty well cleared. I think I will pack a bag soon, so that is ready when the phone call comes! We miss Chloe terribly and can't wait to see her again with her new little brother! .

I have finished up all the crochet projects I wanted to do or needed to do for classes and am ready to launch into creativity mode. No more pattern following for me; I am off on a quest to create things that have been rolling around in my head for some time. No more procrastination! No pressure either!

I look forward to the coming days and even though we know we have some hard times ahead, we know we will be strong and do what needs to be done to cope with whatever comes