Monday, October 13, 2014

Fond Memories of The 2003 CYCA CIP Class

Arnetta Kenney teaching the CYCA's CIP for Crochet
at FIT in NYC back in 2003.
Have you ever attended an event or a class that created memories that, even years later, still brings you smiles?  I have.  As I was looking through some of my old photos, I came across some I had taken during one of those magical times...

In 2003, Grace and I booked a hotel room in New York City for an extended weekend to attend the Craft Yarn Council'' CIP (Certified Instructors Program) for Crochet at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York City.  I look back and think of this as an amazing experience!

 The 3-day course started on a Friday evening, went for eight hours on Saturday, and then concluded early Sunday afternoon.  (Even with homework assigned, Grace and I still found time to go out to dinner and catch a movie!)  Our class was taught by the ever-wonderful (and singing!) Arnetta Kenney,  If I recall correctly, it was the first CYCA CIP Crochet Class ever held at FIT!  I asked Mary Colluci, the CYCA's Executive Director what she remembered about this  class: "I recall the wonderful enthusiasm and energy in the room. Of course, Arnetta can do that to a class."
Look who stopped by! Mary Colluci,
 the CYCA's Executive Director

I had decided to attend the class rather than take the Correspondence Program because I found the completion of the class work quicker since it included (and still does!) Levels I and II, and I liked that by taking the class at FIT I could also earn some Continuing Education Units. Mary adds, "There's a set curriculum for the onsite CIP class but so much more is exchanged because of the interaction between students, the questions they ask and the expertise they share. It's a wonderful experience."  She is so right!

  Maybe you'll recognize some of the students from that class?
A most fun class!  CYCA's First-ever CIP for Crochet class at FIT in 2003.

Grace, Arnetta, Barbara and me.
Where Are They Now? What happened to some of the students once the class concluded?  Melanie (standing next to me in the photo above) went on to found the Tallahassee Chapter of the CGOA, and reports she is currently looking into starting another Chapter in the Thomasville, GA, area.  If she looks a little familiar, that means you've been checking out photos of various CGOA ChainLink Conferences where she has modeled many beautiful creations!

Grace, standing behind me in the photo on the right, went on to become the Happily Hooked on Crocheting Club's President (we joke "for life," but then again, we were serious! lol) all while keeping up with her beautiful grand-daughters..

Barbara went on to help organize the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project that went to the Smithsonian (and other museums!), was a Guest Speaker at the Museum of Arts and Design, and now works for the Craft Yarn Council as a Master Teacher for the Crochet Instructors Program! She also taught a Modular Crochet Workshop for The HHCC.  Did I mention (prior to the CIP class)  she also Founded the New York City Crochet Guild?  You can check out Barbara's website at

During the class "Show'N Tell" session, students such as Von
got to talk about the different crochet techniques we enjoy.
Von (pictured on the left wearing red), started teaching more, including being taped for a local cable show, self-published crochet patterns with Bead Biz, Twisted Sistah Fiber &Beads, Tess Designer Yarns, and Creative Yarn Source. Currently she is expecting her Crochet Maille to be published with Mainly Crochet. She has written a good number of articles for the CGOA's ChainLink Newsletter, and has volunteered many times for the (then) NYC Knit Out and Crochet Too events.  She even substituted for Arnetta once in her "Crochet For Pleasure" class.  Prior to attending the CIP class, Von founded the group Von’s Crochet Cyberspace, which at one time had over 500 members. Today you can find her at and
Hmmm, was on the blackboard... 

If you are interested in teaching and you would like to learn more about the Certification Instructors Program that the Craft Yarn Council offers for both crochet and knit, visit
I also liked (and still do!), that regardless if you take the 3-day class or the Correspondence Course, Crochet Guild of America members (and the Knitting Guild members too) are offered a little discount!

We had some free time in the class; I taught everyone how
to finger weave. Rosalie is helping another student with the
finger placement.
In the time since I've completed the CYCA CIP program and getting my Certificates for Levels I and II, I've gone on to teaching in several states, teaching at several of the CGOA ChainLink Conferences, having some patterns published, becoming a CGOA Professional Member and Mentor, blogging, writing articles for the ChainLink newsletter, and more!  So what is next? I'm thinking once things settle down here that it is time for me to sign up for Level III.

Note: If you attended this CYCA CIP for Crochet Class and would like to be added to the "Where are they now," please contact me. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Review: Tunisian Crochet For Baby

Title: Tunisian Crochet For Baby
Author: Sharon Silverman
Year Published: 2014; printed in USA

Dee's Rating: 10 Hooks out of 10

Remember that adorable baby blanket I crocheted for my nephew-to-be? (We're expecting his arrival any day now!) The pattern was by Sharon Silverman, which I enjoyed working on greatly.  Shortly after I completed that project I was asked if I would review her newest book, Tunisian Crochet For Baby, I was tickled, well, yes, one could say I was tickled pink!

In flipping through the digital pages I was instantly pleased -- this book has some really great projects for crocheters wanting to crochet something special for baby while perhaps learning something new in Tunisian such as entrelac, cables, even Tunisian in the Round!  The projects range in skill level from Easy to Experienced, so there is plenty for the beginner with some crochet experience to grow their skill with, and projects to give the Experienced crocheter some challenge.

Something unique about the projects featured in this book I'd like to point out: some of the projects can grow with the tike!  See that Checkerboard Blanket pictured on the top right? It is now on my To Make List for my Mahgurl.  That's right, for my grown babygurl who is all set to graduate high school come summer! Wouldn't it look great in the school colors of the college she'll be attending?  I think so too!

And then there's the Nursery Box. If I had crocheted something like that for Mahgurl when she was a tot, it too would have grown with her. From holding little baby treasures, to crayons, to Barbies, to hair accessories, to whatever she'd need it to store in her dorm room.

In the sixteen project-sections of the book, Sharon offers 23 adorable patterns for the bundles of joy in our lives, with the sizing focus on newborn to 12-months. The projects are shown in a variety of colors from traditional to non-traditional, with clear and crisp photography (this is quite nice if you utilize the zooming option with digital books!).  Even the How To's are photographed very well, with good sized photos for clearer understanding.  Even sweeter -- the projects are complete with accompanying stitch charts. Sharon also included refreshers for both Traditional and Tunisian crochet, and a Beyond the Basics section which is great for newbie and "a bit rusty" crocheters! Because of everything I just mentioned, I give this book the rating of Ten Hooks!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Too Nice to Use??!!

When we crochet, knit, craft with someone in mind, we do so as a symbol of our love, of our appreciation, of our friendship.  As each stitch is crafted, that love is poured into it.  So yes, it does bother us, well, at least it bothers me, when I am told upon gifting this item, that it is "Too nice to use."


I've been crazy-busy lately, so has Mr Dee.

I recently purchased this "new to me" super yummy yarn that was just more than ready to grow up into a hat for Mr Dee,  You see, fall is upon us. And with our neighborhood losing two beloved neighbors this year, this means Mr Dee has been busy taking care of their lawn-needs while the families grieve and work out all of the probate stuff.  And you know what comes after fall.  Uhhuh. Snow weather.

And Mr Dee's regular, store bought hat, is looking rather "ratty" if I do say so myself.  I grabbed my hook and set to work, sneaking in stitches here and there until the project is complete, and the tails are securely woven in.
Mr Dee gets a new crocheted hat. I get a new yarn to love.

I present him his new hat. He thanks me, looks over my stitches and exclaims, "Wow, your stitches are so uniform it looks like a machine made this!" (Yes, we all know that machines cannot crochet. Knit yes. Crochet no.) He tries it on. It fits him wonderfully. He checks it out in a mirror and then asks me why I crocheted him a new hat.  I explain it to him. He replies, "It is too nice to use. I'll ruin it!"

To which I reply, "Ruin it then!  I can always buy more yarn and make you another!"

Of course we all know that if he doesn't wear it I'll simply have to throttle him. You know, out of the name of love.

Note: No husbands were iharmed as a result of this project.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Jolly Joining

There I was. Busy crocheting my third scarf (and hat set) for the 2014 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge when I decided I didn't want the scarf to be a scarf.  No, I decided I wanted it to be a cowl. (Yes, cowls count in the Challenge).

Unfortunately, as I had decided this, I looked at the beginning tail -- the tail was not long enough to utilize for sewing the "scarf" ends together. Groan. This would mean I'd need to cut yarn off my skein, sew the crocheted fabric together, and then securely bury the ends in... Shouldn't be a big deal, right?

Have I ever professed at how much I don't like sewing in my ends? I know I'm not alone in this; we'd much rather crochet than have to stop and bury those ends! For the most part, I don't mind sewing in a few, but when it comes to sewing in "unnecessary" ends because I hadn't planned ahead, well, those I loathe. It feels like punishment! (lol)  So I started thinking.

And thought some more.
Jolly Joining crochet edges with live stitches.

Made some more stitches.

Thought some more.

And then the light bulb went off.  "OMG! Why has no one shown me how to do this before??!!  I'm sure someone else has thought of this!!"

Jolly Joining: I made my last turning chains, aligned the work where I wanted to join it, removed the hook from the live loop (see 'B' in image), then inserted my hook (from front to back; see 'A' in image) into the fabric I wanted to join to, then I replaced the live loop back onto my hook and pulled it through. Next, I made my stitch (in this case I was working with hdc sts), repeating the process of pulling the live loop through the opposite fabric before making each stitch I needed for that last row until the join was complete.

And you know what? I love it! No additional sewing required! No additional ends to bury! On the working side (aka the "back side") there are "slashes" that look like it had been hand-sewn.  But on the front side (see image below) it looks seemless!!  And, bonus!, it is flat to the touch!  Squee!!
Jolly Joining leaves a clean, seemless, and flat finish!

Mr Dee came over and asked why I was so happy. When I explained the process to him he replied, "Sounds to me you found the perfect jolly join technique."  He's so right! I can't wait to utilize this joining technique more!

sidenote: If you know of someone else using this join technique, and/or know of its proper name, please let me know as I'd love to give proper credit.  For now, I'm going to give Mr Dee the name credit.  :)

Yarn in photo: Knitting Fever Candy Cane
Crochet Hook by Dyak.

Monday, September 1, 2014

11th Annual 60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge!

2014 is our ELEVENTH Annual “60 Scarves in 60 Days Challengethat had originated here on my blog, With so many people wanting to participate it became easier to track the participants and their scarves over on Ravelry,

How the Challenge works:
    1. Crochet, knit, or weave a scarf (or more) for charity. You can use a pattern (give credit to the designer if that’s what the pattern calls for!), learn a new stitch, or create your own pattern. The scarf MUST be made by hand!

    2. Pledge it for a local charity near YOU; no need to ship! Check with your local homeless shelters, Salvation Armys, religious institutions, and schools to find a home for your scarf/scarves.

    3. To have your scarf count towards the goal, tell us about it on our Ravelry group; if you upload an image label it ”2014 Scarf for 60 Day Challenge.” Or post about it on your blog and post the link to the group.  You can participate as an individual, or as part of a group or Chapter.

    4. The scarf/scarves must be created by hand between September 1st and November 30th, 2014, midnight, eastern time, to count. (Yes, we know this is really 90 days, but we’re keeping the name of 60 days)

    5. Any skill level, age and gender can participate! Spread the word!
… and no, you do not need to crochet, knit or weave 60 scarves in order to be a participant! That is, unless you want to! All that is required is crafting one scarf by hand from September 1st through November 30th and then posting about it to the group. Your scarf - or scarves - are then added in with everyone else’s. Much like adding drops to a bucket; eventually it will fill up!  <3 comment-3--="">

Join in on the fun while helping YOUR local community!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

She's An American Girl

This summer I decided to travel light. This meant no bringing half my yarn stash and crochet hooks with me. In all seriousness, I had decided I would take a little vacation from crocheting.  Little did I know that it would take one of my youngest nieces to persuade me to forgo that intended break!  ((I know, what was I thinking??!!??)

My 8-year old niece said her American Girl doll needed a sweater. "Oh!," I replied, "why is that? She lives in Florida, with you. Does it get cold here?"

My niece then filled me in that when she travels on airplanes to visit other places like Colorado or Washington, or Chicago or New York, then yes, Saige, her doll, does indeed need a sweater. "And if you could make it in teal, blue, or purple, she'd really like that."

I had no idea that the two of them were such jet-setters, or that Saige was in such dire need of a sweater. When I returned home for a week I was pleased that my daughter's American Girl, Nikki, was more than happy to stand in while I constructed a couture sweater for Saige. All I had to do was promise Nikki I'd take her to LIU (Long Island University) when I went to pick up Mini~Dee from an Honor Summer Program she attended -- after all, they do have horses there.  (Nikki is the American Girl Doll that has a HUGE love of horses!)

As for me, I loved that Caron's Simply Soft *Paints* had all her favorite colors together in a single skein. The color is called "Oceana," perfect for my niece, our future Marine Biologist. And now that summer is just about over, it is time to ship this sweater off, and to make every attempt to get Tom Petty out of my head.  Enjoy! :)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Suggestion from Reader: Try Knitting Looms

I love hearing from my readers and website visitors. While I was away over the summer taking the kids on various college tours and visits with family, I received quite a few emails from you! Thank you!

One of the emails I received was from Kate. She wrote the following, encouraging me to continue with my knitting adventures:
I enjoyed reading about your forays into knitting with needles! When I was a child, a babysitter tried to teach me to knit, but my brothers would unravel whatever I did, so I never got to learn to cast off. I gave up. A few years ago, I saw some knitting looms at a dept. store chain and bought some. I found using them to be much easier than trying to knit with two needles. I was looking for a nice way to finish off my pieces, so learned how to do a crochet edging. That began my exploration of crochet over the last few months. It was so much easier to learn, I thought, than knitting. I have done some Tunisian crochet and Cro-hooking, in addition to regular crochet. I am still very much a beginner, but enjoy learning it. I was thinking that you might like to try using the round knitting looms and the knitting boards. Knitting boards, as you may know, allow formation of an interesting two-sided fabric ("double knitting"). You can work up big blocks and lengths of fabric, which you could then surround with your lovely crochet techniques.

Kate, thank you for the suggestions. I have tried some of those knitting looms and boards, but for me, I find them a tad slow, mostly because I can't help but compare it to the speed of my crochet stitching which I have a "tad bit more" experience with. However, I do like using my Singer Knitting Machine, especially when I'm looking to craft up some fabric to do some felting with. Turning a crank to bang out several knitted stitches in mere seconds seems to be more my speed; lol. Does this mean I don't have an interest in eventually conquering my fear of the dual needles?  No. Just like with my crocheting, if I keep giving it a try, eventually the lessons will sink in. And who knows, maybe in time I'd actually grow to enjoy it!

I love that you are branching out in learning new things about crochet. Cro-hooking and Tunisian crochet are cousins, relating the worlds of crochet and knit together. Some find that after they master one or both of these crochet techniques that it is easier for them to knit. I would like to add that trying the Amazing Needle technique (now more well known as Knooking) is also a good way for crocheters to give knitting a try.  Thanks for writing in! :)