Memory Magic In A Hook

I have used the same hooks for years. Since working in crochet professionally I have learned that there are many different hooks with different subtleties and that there are many people that love them for various reasons.  However I still believe the most powerful hooks are the ones that share memories.

I am hard pressed to find a crocheter that doesn’t have a hook that shares memories, some remind me of particular projects, some remind me of people, and some remind me of times. I even have some that simply share a memory as an idea or inspiration.

I have a hook that reminds me of the time I began crocheting with wire and all the craft fairs I worked selling necklaces. I have a set of hooks that were gifted me upon a friend’s death, so obviously these hooks remind me of her. I have a hook that reminds me of my grandmother. I have a little glass jar of hooks that reminds me of my aunt while stirring my imagination about my great-grandmother. A hook that reminds me of appreciation, a hook that reminds me of a friend.

I have a hook that reminds me of an incredible trip I took, a hook that reminds me of the lunch with a friend. I have a hook that reminds me of a design that an editor of a magazine really loved. I have a hook that reminds me of student’s questions. I have a set of hooks that reminds me to be humble, a set that reminds me to be kind, a set that reminds me of friendship, and a set that reminds me of generosity; all because of the stories behind them.

These memories might be more powerful in my designing as the yarn itself. These memories somehow have become embedded in the handles and find themselves helping to create new magic. Memories can be magic, and I am in awe of how much magic sits in my jar.

Sweet Memories with Sato Sugar Shawl

ScannedImageI have some fond memories of my latest design.


Original version in blue, published in cream.

Sato Sugar Shawl originally entered the world at a fashion show in San Diego, at the annual Crochet Guild of America Chainlink (or otherwise referred to as the Knit & Crochet Show). I had created it from 1 skein of a new yarn from Lisa Souza Dyeworks, Aurora, and seriously just finished it on my way to the show. I hadn’t even formally given it a name or anything.

Summer2016Crochet!_Sato Sugar Shawl

Sato Sugar Shawl, photo courtesy of Annie’s

I was encouraged to enter it in the annual members fashion show that happens at the banquet dinner. I agreed to model it, as I was already assisting in modeling other items for the show. I was hastily writing up its description in the back of the staging area, to be read by Ellen Gormley, editor of Crochet! Magazine. Not only was I attempting to put together a nice write up that I would have to walk on stage with, but I also had to make sure that Ellen could actually read my hand writing, which is no small feat.

I was getting input, ideas, and guidance from a wide variety of people that were modeling as well, with designer Vashti Braha giving me some excellent “romance” for the description. One of the things that struck me was a comment that Vashti made about how she had never seen the Love Knot stitch used in the way I had in this wrap. That took me back a little, as Vashti teaches classes on the Love Knot, she has researched its many ways of being made, when it was historically used and such, so to hear her mention that it was completely new to her caught me a little off guard, in a good way.

Summer2016_Crochet!Later that night Ellen pulled me aside and said “submit it, I want it”, and the Sato Sugar Wrap made its way to the pages of Crochet! Magazine for the current Spring 2016 issue. Only the yarn and color were changed for the publication, everything else remains true to the original, I think it worked up nicely in the Berroco Folio Luxe.

It is always fun to see me designs newly released, they often have some story and memory with them, maybe not as all-encompassing as this one, but still they all have stories. Much like each gift I have created over the years, the memories that I have of choosing the yarn or the pattern for “so-and-so for that event and such”. The release time is often a while after I created it, so seeing the latest issue of a magazine can transport me back in time a little, bringing up memories and fostering new ideas.

Easter Challenge, I Think Success

ScannedImageI was recently presented with a challenge, and honestly I enjoy designing this way.


Empress Jeweled Egg US $3.50

Bead Biz, a great bead supply company, presented me a challenge to create a beaded ornament primarily for Easter. After some research and some playing I think I came up with a couple that fit the build pretty nicely.

At my home Easter is pretty quiet. We color eggs, finding that we love the jewel tones that come from dyeing brown eggs, then I may use the dyes to color yarns that I may have around (you can find out how to do that here). We snack on candy from baskets, may head out to an egg hunt at a local park, and generally enjoy day as a family. However doing some research into this challenge brought back some memories for me, and some of the images of egg decorations I found very fascinating. I remember as a kid, one year my mom decided to attempt some natural egg dying, using onion skins. I recall her poking pin holes on the ends of the eggs, and blowing the content, after much work, into a bowl, leaving the egg hollow. She then tied small leaves around the egg and rested it in her onion skin dye. After a great while she removed the egg and its bindings and she had a beautiful brown colored egg that had leave images. However what I remember most, is her finding the effort not entirely worth the outcome. She only did this craft once.


Imperial Delight Jeweled Egg US $3.50

In designing these ornaments some of these memories joined me, so I managed to keep the overall design simple, but what I think are beautiful results. I really wanted the beads to shine, and I think I have succeeded in that. They really seem like the star of the show. I found that once I was completed with them, that I felt that I could find a place in my home for them year round. They can easily be adapted to the Christmas holiday traditions, as well as beautiful gifts to welcome a baby, a birthday, or even a hostess. They work up rather quickly, and with different bead color combinations can offer many stunning results. Each pattern actually has two designs, one for a large oval ornament, and one for a small plastic Easter egg, giving variety and additional options and inspiration.

I have both sets of patterns available on Ravery and Craftsy, and if you would like to check them out for yourself, I am offering a 20% off coupon code for all of my patterns through the end of March 2016 to celebrate National Crochet Month. So if you see anything you like at my Ravelry store, use code SW2016 and receive this discount until March 31, 2016.

If you want to learn more about using beads in your crochet? Or even your knitting? Considering attending my class “Beading 3 Ways” at the Knit & Crochet Show in Charleston, SC Saturday July 16, 2016. I am excited! It is my first time teaching at a national venue, if you happen to be able to attend, please check out my classes!

Documenting the Past -Looking Forward

ScannedImageI found a little trip down memory lane today when my kids were pulling out photo albums. When I was a kid growing up, my mom use to create oil paintings. I have a couple in my home now, but they were and still are almost the only things on the walls of my parents’ home. She had been paining long before I was born, and I remember as a child flipping through a small photo album that she kept of all the paintings she had created, in a way it was her portfolio.

My first afghan

My first afghan

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, someone had asked about all the afghans I had made. At this point I was already over a decade of stitching and had made many finished items to my credit, but I thought about my mom “portfolio” and picked up my camera to document some of the work I had done. I was probably consistent with this for a few years, and since designing it has become important for me to do such. However when my kids pulled out my little “portfolio” photo album it was a little journey for me.

I know that not every piece is in that album, but the ones that are brought back memories. There were many wedding gifts, and baby showers, many birthdays, and thank yous. I knew where most of the afghans had found homes at, and a couple I could not quite place.


35 different baby yarns make up this afghan of scraps and memories.

In a way it is amazing to look back and realize how prolific I have been in my creating. This little book may only represent a couple of years of work, but it fills many pages. I have a scrap afghan that represents this as well; it is a full size afghan made out of baby yarns. These baby yarns are the left over yarn from the numbers of baby afghans I have made, and if I even wonder how many babies have been wrapped in a blanket I made, I can get a starting point with the 35 different colors in the afghan. Even that was created nearly 20 years ago, so I know the number would have increased since then.

I guess as a maker I need to keep my hands moving and my mind designing, I guess it has always been a part of me, but it is only in looking back that I can see that. Only in taking stock in where I have been can I better see my journey forward.

Not All Color Is Created Equal In My Eye

ScannedImageSummer creates a time of adjustment in my household. Our routine is thrown upend…okay, my routine is thrown upend. With the children home from school, it seems that their lists of activities and events occur daily, and leaves me to working in smaller spurts of time, except for when the sun finally dims and I convince them to go to bed.

So it might seem odd that I sometimes find great insight in my work during this time, but today proved to be one of those days. As I drove my kids to yet another outing, I was looking at the colors upon the land scape, and my reaction to colors of yarn came into focus.range-68838__180

There are certain colors that have never held much inspiration for me, there are definitely some other colors that just sing new ideas for me, and today I understood why that is true for some.

I will admit, I am picking about green. I like what I describe as happy and cheerful greens, greens with a little touch of yellow, greens that are bright. Greens that lean more olive, greens with a blue/gray tinge, green with a reddish brown underlay have never piquet my interest. If I am completely honest with myself, they make me a little uncomfortable, and today I understood why. They remind me of colors of certain pine and live oak trees that flourish in the area I have grown up and live.

Now there is nothing wrong with these trees, however when I think of the colors, it can remind me of hot, yes I mean hot, the dry hot of California summers. They remind me of afternoons that I spent as a child helping my family gather firewood for summer, or find missing cows in the rural foothills, or simply times I spent outside to avoid my younger siblings. The colors remind me of the trees that I sought shade, which never seemed to cool. Of the prickly nature of the live oak leaves, and the tall dead grass that would stick to my sweat socked legs. Unfortunately these colors never were ones that I associated with comfort.

I hope that by finding and understanding the association I have with these greens, it might help me to find a new relationship with them. I believe that the colors we love, or dislike, have some associations that cause us to feel the way we do…so know why am I so drawn to blue?