A Week of Fun, Learning, and Terrific Memories…All in the Name of Crochet

ScannedImageI cannot believe that I have already been home from the Knit &Crochet Show for over a week! I basically only just unpacked all of my supplies.

I had a great time while I was there, I took some fabulous classes, talked with some fabulous people, met even more fabulous people, and had a fabulous time (in case you hadn’t realized, crocheters are fabulous)!


Jennifer Ryan and myself in the middle of some of her yarn bombing.

I love when new things happen and they instantly become occurrences that should continue always, an example of this was the “Yarn Bombing” of the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester, NH. Jennifer Ryan (a fellow crochet designer), spear headed this undertaking and it left everyone wondering why it had not happened before now. There were little yarn motifs and decorations almost everywhere you turned. It definitely had a fun feeling.


A few of my students at the Make & Take of “Cented Flowers”, they were such a fun bunch!

This was the first year I was actually up in front of the room giving some instruction. I moderated the Professional Think Tank, where professionals in the crochet industry, and those striving to be were able to share ideas and ask questions that were relative to their careers. I also helped co-teach the CGOA Master’s Day, with Susan Lowman and Jane Rimmer. We helped those interested in completing the Master’s of Advanced Stitches and Techniques Program with guidance of common mistakes, and overall how to approach their work as a Master. Then I presented a make & take Project and had 18 students learn my “Cented Flowers”, they were created with Designing Vashti Lotus yarn, in white, and green (celebration colors for the conference), with dimes in the center, of 2 flowers 9so there was 20 cents for the 20th anniversary celebration…yes I probably over thought this project), but I had fun teaching it.

I also took some great classes.

I took Shuttle Tatting from Susan Lowman, and what I learned in that class…how I can appreciate the skill and nimble fingers it takes to create these delicate pieces. I practiced for w6 hours, but all I had to show for it was some short threads, and a souvenir butterfly, that Susan made for everyone in class. There were a couple of people that picked it up very quickly, and my hats off to them, I think Lindsey Stephens has already gone home and made a couple of book marks!

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Just some general fun with Margaret Hubert, myself, Vashti Braha and Marcy Smith

I was also fortunate to get into Vashti Braha’s Star Stitch Class. I always love taking her classes; she goes so in depth into the ins-&-outs of the stitch and what makes it work, she takes you to the very limit of what that technique has to offer. There is always an “Awe Ha” moment in her class, and this one was no exception. It helped me to look at this stitch that I considered “old & dense” in the past, as one that has some real possibilities to create gorgeous fabric.

I also to a very interesting class by Dora Orhenstien, it was about tension in crochet and how to adjust it. It opened my mind up to a different way of thinking. Usually you find that if your stitches are not coming out correctly that you are either pulling loops up to high, or not high enough, but this class caused you to take into account how your tension can effect various advanced as well as basic stitches. It is something that I never considered before and was really enlightening.

I wrapped up my classes with a Sunday morning class with Karen Whooley on Venetian Lace. I admit I was a little distracted during this class with issues at home, but still Karen presented a well planned class, that gave a complete history and understanding of this different lace style. It opened my eyes, historically speaking. In understanding different approaches to lace throughout Europe and she had beautiful samples that her grandmother had created. A fascinating class, I definitely enjoyed it.

It was a very enjoyable time and I always love the experience I have when I attend, this time was no different.

Easter Egg Dyes Yarns

ScannedImageEaster is right around the corner, and one of the things I look forward to is the egg dye. No, not necessarily dying eggs, but the dye for the eggs. I have enjoyed using this in the past to dye fibers. I thought I’d give you my process so you could attempt it for yourself, and if you have already colored eggs in your home, not to worry, Monday you’ll find coloring kits discounted at stores.


Skeins before and after dying

I prep an area just I am planning a bunch of kindergarteners to be dying eggs, I usually work outside, It is fun to do some dying but I don’t really care for stains all over the house.

First you have to have an item to dye. This could be yarn, and finished crocheted/knitted item, or un-spun wool, the only catch; it has to be a protein based fiber/material. Basically yarns are made out of 3 main fibers: protein, cellulose, and mineral….animal, plant, and other (think acrylic). This process only works for fibers that are from animals, such as wool, silk, alpaca, etc. You need to get this fiber wet, and soak it in a mixture of 1 Tablespoon 56% citric acid crystals and 1 quart warm water. (56% citric acid crystals sounds more impressive then it is, this is an edible ingredient that with help the dyes adhere to the fiber and be permanent, it can be found on-line at places like www.nuts.com, (or just search for citric acid crystals) or at compounding pharmacies, in a pinch you can even use Kool-Aid powder, just remember Kool-Aid has a dye already in it, and this will set to the fiber as well). The fiber will float on top of the water; you can gently coax it down and give it a squeeze to work our air bubbles.

Next, you make up the dye as directed on the package (color eggs if you want; there is still plenty of dye left over). Dip your item into the dyes, or use a brush and paint the dyes onto your item (I’ve even had fun attempting tie dye). Consider “over dying” by placing a dyed spot in another dye, or using a fiber that isn’t white…browns and grays can dye up in really pretty ways. Once you have the color where you want it, let it sit for a minute or two (this gives you time to clean up some of the mess), then go ahead and rinse out the item until the water runs clear. Let it dry and enjoy. I have found this a personal way to play with color, allowing myself to have the ultimate control over my creation in a way that has no surprises except for what my imagination can create.


Dipping treated silk skein in Easter egg dye


Skein waiting for a rinse after being dipped into dyes