Saturday, May 30, 2009

Trunk Yarn Charity Work

Trunk Yarn

Our LYS owner gave our guild some yarn for our charity projects last year. I couldn’t keep the yarn at my house, so I threw it in the trunk of my car. All this yarn started out in two very large zipper baggies, and, now, I have condensed it down to a suitcase and one big zipper bag.

Every time we meet for our Charity workshop, I take out the yarn, and we use from it for our charity items. And when our members forgot yarn at our regular meetings, I go to the trunk and pull out the yarn.

Wendy suggested that we call this stash our “Trunk Yarn”, so that’s how it was named. Now, when members forget their yarn, they ask if we still have our “Trunk Yarn”, and, of course, it’s always in my trunk for just that occasion.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Free Patten Friday--Dog Sweater

Free Crochet Pattern

Free Crochet Dog Sweater Pattern

Happy Friday Everybody! Check out the newest Free Pattern Friday project--the Gooseberry Patch Dog Sweater.

When I saw this easy granny square dog sweater, I thought about all the little dogs that stay in the house in the summer. I thought maybe they might get chilly in the air conditioning. So I decided to try out this pattern in the I Love This Cotton yarn for my niece's miniature dachshund named Miss Weenie. I think it turned out very nice and lightweight.

Dog in sweater

Poor little dog. Miss Weenie didn’t know what to think, and she was so excited to see me that she had a hard time standing still. Doesn’t she look sweet? Too bad the sweater didn’t fit over her tummy, or she would’ve had a new addition to her wardrobe. That's an easy fix though. I'll just add a square or two, and she'll be good to go.

sweater flat showing snaps

I also have a tip for you. When I sew snaps or buttons onto crochet pieces, I like to add some fabric or grosgrain ribbon to the back for more stability.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

CGOA Design Contest

How many of you are going to enter a design in the CGOA Design Contest this year? I entered a piece last year and didn’t win, but it was exciting anyway just to think that my jacket traveled all that way to the contest.

I am going to enter something again this year. I didn’t know I was going to when I started the project that ultimately turned into my entry. I was just going to use up some scraps of yarns. I didn’t have a plan, but each time I would finish one skein of yarn, with the next and different yarn, I would get another idea, and it just kept growing. Get a sneak peek at my entry below:

CGOA Design Contest

Please think about entering something in the contest. You can find all the details on the CGOA website, and you have to a member to enter. There’s a form on the members only section of the site.

And when it’s time to mail your design clear across the country, oh man, that’s hard. Especially when the postal worker asks if you want to insure it, and how do you put a price on something like that???? After working on it so long, it’s a part of your soul. I can’t wait to see all of the entries.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Old Books and Projects

Leisure Arts Vintage Books

My sister surprised me on our trip road a couple of weeks ago. She had gone to another neighboring town the week before and found some neat vintage crochet books. And guess who published them? Leisure Arts! What a fun find.

I just love old books and leaflets. I have been truly blessed by the books that have been handed down to me from my grandmothers and aunts. They even have their names on some of them (Vada, Pearl, Erma, and Nettie). I feel like there is a little of them still with me.

And aside from how cool it is just to collect them, I have a great time taking the old patterns and recreating them in today's colors and yarns for wonderful new designs.

I would love to hear about the things that you have inherited, like hooks, books, yarns, and crocheted items. Tell me your stories!

Happy Crocheting,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Mary Engelbreit Cherries

The meaning of Memorial Day is: a public holiday to commemorate soldiers who died in war, observed on the last Monday in May.

Did you do anything wonderful this Memorial Day weekend?

When I was a child, Memorial Day meant that my dad had a three day weekend, and my mother and we kids would get ready for company to arrive. We would prepare for weeks in advance, and since there were five of us, we all had our jobs to do. We would clean and help with the food. I don’t remember ever minding because we would get to see our family from Oklahoma. That meant our mother’s mom and dad and sometimes her sisters and their families.

None of our guests got hotel rooms. Our two bedrooms were turned over to the grownups and all of the kids had lots of floor space. It seemed like the floor pallets went from wall to wall, and we would make our beds out of "overall quilts" (which were made out of miscellaneous jeans and my Grandpas overalls). And we still had plenty of quilts to cover up with. My maternal grandmother was a scrap quilter, and my mother inherited the love of quilting from her. And heaven knows, she had enough scraps from all of the many pieces of clothing that she made for others. So they would make quilts. I remember sitting as a child cutting the threads as my Mother sewed each block in a line, (my mother was taught this by her mother, too) and then ironing each square for her. I learned to iron from ironing quilt blocks.

As we got older, we would plan our Memorial holiday around a little trip to Oklahoma and a family reunion. We would stop at the cemetery first to visit our grandparents, aunts, uncles and baby brother’s graves, and Mom always had an arrangement of flowers to put on each of their graves. Then we would head off to the lake for swimming, fishing, cooking, eating, and cleaning up.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Me Crocheting

I would like to tell you about my husband of 17 years. I think I have already mentioned this, but I get up at 3:30 am every morning to crochet so that I am not disturbed while I am creating, and he just goes with the flow. My husband has always encouraged me with whatever I was involved in throughout the years. Sometimes, we'll be sitting in the living room, me crocheting and him reading the paper, as I look off into space thinking about the next thing that I want to create. When I finally look over at him, he will put the newspaper down and just be smiling at me. He always wants to know what I am dreaming up this time. Sometimes I can explain to him what I am thinking, and other times, I have to show him. I love it when we get together with other people, and he tries to explain to our friends that when he wakes up and walks out of the bedroom in the morning, he looks downstairs and “if she is sitting in her favorite spot crocheting, it's going to be a good day.”

John and Me

He also tells them that he will look over one minute, and I will have a piece of yarn in my hand and the next time he looks up, I have a completed project in my hand. He seems to exaggerate a little. I love this picture of John and me. We had just finished taking down a booth at our local quilt show. He helps me with whatever I stick my feet in.

Do you have an understanding husband? I'd love to hear what makes him so special.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Mary Engelbreit Cherries Pattern

Mary Engelbreit Cherries

Welcome to another Free Pattern Friday! You've got to check out the free Mary Engelbreit Cherries project. Isn't it cute??? What’s not to love about cherries, especially when they are a Mary Engelbreit design? I had the privilege of meeting Mary on one of her book tours a few years ago. She visited Wichita, Kansas, and my sister and I and our friend went to see her at the Dillard's store. I purchased two of her children's books, and we proceeded to stand in line with all of the other Mary Engelbreit fans.

When Mary got ready to sign my books, she asked me who I wanted her to address them to, and I told her my granddaughter Megan. So she addressed both of them to Megan. One of them is ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and it’s the book that my daughter has to have read to Megan every Christmas Eve.

(Oh, and I forgot to tell you that I was wearing the beaded necklace that I crocheted, and Mary looked up and asked me if it was crocheted.)

Then we got an idea and asked if we could have our picture taken with her and she agreed. I love this picture of my sister, my friend, me, and Mary

Pink Cherries

Of course I still like to think about different colors to do things in, other than what you would normally use. So my cherries are PINK!!!! Have fun with the Mary Engelbreit Cherries pattern.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twist the Yarn Shop Windows

Last year when I found out that March was National Crochet Month, I asked my local yarn shop owner Shelly if our guild could display our crochet projects in the windows of her store. Since she welcomes everyone's ideas, she immediately said, "Yes, of course." Well, this year was no exception, and I asked again, and her answer was the same. So I right away thought of Stephanie (she designed the windows last year), and she graciously agreed, and Wendy agreed to decorate the windows, too.



As I was thinking about displaying crochet in the windows, I wondered how many of the other shops in neighboring towns were going to celebrate crochet in the month of March. So I emailed five shops. I received two responses back. One of the shops had open crocheting and light refreshments on Monday, March 23rd. Then another neighboring town emailed me back and said that they did not plan on doing anything because of lack of interest in crochet, but they responded favorably to crochet and said that they would keep trying to "hook" more people. I think we are very fortunate to have such an open arms welcoming person like Shelly in our hometown. She even has a sign on her door that says, "Crocheters Welcome Here!" We all love her and appreciate everything that she does for the people who visit her store.


Anyway, Stephanie came up with a very interesting window theme with crocheted flowers made out of doilies, and we made a collage of crocheted pieces that our guild members crocheted for our January and February programs. Then, she let me display a few of my recycled sweaters and skirt pillows. What a fun time we had pulling it all together.

Twist Windows1

Twist Windows2

Twist Windows3

Twist Windows4

Twist Windows5

Tell me something interesting about your local yarn shops or places that you meet up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yarn Shop Road Trip

Looking for a fun thing to do? Grab a few friends and go to a neighboring town that has a yarn shop. Get to know your neighbors. Since one of my responsibilities of holding the office of President of KS My Stitch is to organize outside activities. I thought it would be a good idea to plan a little field trip. But first I had to scope it out. So I asked one of my friends who happens to be member of the guild (Sheri) to go along. My sister (she’s also a member) heard that we were going, and she asked if she could go, too. Being a good big sister, I said sure.

For our first stop, Sheri mentioned that she needed to go to the Quilt Shop in town and pick up some door prizes for the Prairie Quilt Guild meeting (she is on the hospitality committee for the quilt guild). Of course, that is just right up my sister's alley since she loves to sew, and Sheri does, too.

(I used to love to sew, until I started crocheting again and came to the conclusion that I LOVE TO CROCHET. I don’t need a machine, just a hook, pattern (or thought), yarn, scissors, and occasionally a yarn needle. Don’t get me wrong; I like to sew, too, but only when it calls for it in my designs or when I need to mend something.)

Anyway, we spent a long time in the quilt shop, and by the time we got ready to leave, it was time for lunch. I always like to ask the local people where they like to eat and this was no exception. I asked one of the ladies at the quilt shop, and she pointed me to the little cafe on the corner across the street. What a great choice.

yarn storefront

We had a wonderful lunch and headed for one of two yarn stores in the town. We were greeted warmly. Sheri and Jackie headed directly to the coffee bar, since it was the coldest day of the year. I headed for the ladies at the table to ask what they were making and to find the owner of the shop. I introduced myself to the owner and told her that I was planning a field trip to their town and planned on bringing the guild members to the yarn shops. I asked if she had anything planned for crocheters during March National Crochet Month, and she said they were offering was an embellishing with crochet class. All of the staff and people in the shop were very nice and friendly and KS My Stitch will be visiting them soon.

Necessities Storefront


We never made it to the other yarn shop because we were sidetracked by a little antique store called Necessities. What a fun place to go. I found all kinds of neat crochet things. Look at the cute little crochet shoe pincushions and all the crochet trims and goodies underneath them.


We had a great time, and I will let you know how our field trip turns out with the other guild members in April. Let me know about your adventures to neighboring towns.

Monday, May 18, 2009



Can we talk about the different kinds of yarns out there these days? Oh my gosh. You haven't lived until you have tried crocheting with all of the cool fibers the yarn companies are coming out with. (I like to make scarves out of the bamboo and nylon sock yarns.) I love to try new yarns in my crochet pieces. I would love to hear all about your adventures with the new yarns, too.


And the colors! Can we talk about the colors? The neutrals, the dark colors, the neon colors, the pastels, and the hand-dyed yarns, the choices go on and on.

Just when you think you have seen them all, the yarn companies come out with more new and unusual yarns. Did you ever think that you could crochet with bamboo, wood, shellfish, nylon; the list goes on and on.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Teaching Crochet

Oh my, where do I start? When I was asked to teach crochet at one of our local quilt shops, I was surprised and kind of shocked because of my past experiences with teaching or not teaching my daughter to crochet. How would I teach someone? I didn’t know if I could.

The owner of the quilt shop is very nice. Her name is Lisa, and the name of her store is Picket Fence Quilt Company. She advertised my class in her store and in her monthly newsletter. Much to my surprise, eleven people signed up for my class and four of them were left-handed. Wow, I was a little overwhelmed because I was not prepared at all for left-handers. How do you teach them? (I am surrounded by left-handers. My husband is left-handed, two of my three brothers are left-handed, my boss is left-handed, and my granddaughter is left-handed.)

Everyone caught on to the crochet except the four left-handers. I was so disappointed that I immediately consulted the world wide web and found crochet instructions for left-handers. I made copies and was ready for my next class. In my next class, much to my surprise, one of the left-handers came back, and I handed her the instructions that I had printed out, and she got it this time. Maybe the other three will come back someday.


After 3 years of teaching, I think I have finally got it down. I teach at one of the local yarn stores here in Wichita called Twist. I provide "Learn to Crochet" and "Crochet 102" classes once a month, and I love teaching. My classes are two hours long, and I start them out making 21 chains with single crochet back across making 20 single crochets. Then I make about 10 rows of single crochets. I ask each student to do the same thing. This helps them have something hold onto while learning to hold the hook and the yarn. After they feel comfortable with making single crochets and ch 1, I have them make some half double crochets. When they are comfortable with that stitch, I have them do some doubles. This takes about an hour, and after that, I make sure that all of them are comfortable, we cut the yarn, and I show them how to finish off and how to hide their ends. Then I start them making the chain and crocheting into the chain.


The books and videos that they now have out are wonderful tools. This "I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting” book is so great; it has left-handed instructions, too!!!! I wish I that I'd had this in my first teaching experience. Please tell me about your teaching methods. Do you have a certain age group that you like to teach?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Free Pattern Friday: Gooseberry Patch "Berry" Cute Coaster!

Gooseberry Patch Berry Cute Coaster

Guess what! Every Friday, I'm going to try and introduce or at least spotlight one of Crochet Soiree's Free Patterns. And in honor of Spring and strawberry season, for our first Free Pattern Friday ever, I've picked this Gooseberry Patch "Berry" Cute Coaster!

When I saw this free strawberry coaster pattern, I couldn’t help but think about one of the members of our KS My Stitch Guild. The member that I’m talking about is a retired man who happens to love to crochet and square dance. He and his wife square dance at the Senior Citizen Center and attend the square dance convention held here in Wichita.

Bob's Strawberry

His name is Bob, and he likes to crochet strawberries. He has kept a count of every one that he has made, and the number's in the upper hundreds. It isn’t exactly like the pattern that we are giving away, but it’s based on the same principal. When I first started going to guild meetings, Bob would give a strawberry hot pad to every new person that attended. Bob is a very interesting man and has children and grandchildren that he crochets for. They receive a baby afghan per family for births, and they receive a crocheted gift when they complete school and when they get married. We love having Bob as a member of our group.


I couldn't resist playing with this free pattern myself. Of course, I had to experiment. I completed two strawberries out of different sizes and colors of yarn. I don’t crochet with red very often and love to make patterns in different colors, so I chose pink. I was a little apprehensive when I first decided to make them. I thought maybe I would have to make two pieces and then sew them together, but the pattern is really cool, and it comes together all by itself. You will see once you start making it. What a fun thing to give as a gift or just to keep for your own summer table setting. I can’t wait to see how you’re going to make your strawberries.

Gooseberry Patch: Fun-to-Crochet Gifts

If you like this "Berry" Cute Coaster, check out the how-to book it came from, Gooseberry Patch: Fun-to-Crochet Gifts, for more inspiration!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crochet Thread Pieces that I Gave to My Mom!

Mom's Tablecloth

Before I had to work outside my home, I crocheted gifts for many people. I made two of my sister-in-laws a tablecloth each, my sister and my mother got three tablecloths each. That's one of Mom's tablecloths in the photo above. Check out the other two below:

Mom's Tablecloth 2

Mom's Tablecloth Edging

Mom's Tablecloth1

I was at Mom's house on Mother’s Day and decided to take some pictures of the pieces that I had made. (Pictured below is the curtain I made for her back door.) I still can’t believe I have made all of these things. As I was looking around my mother’s home, I finally got the whole picture. I now know definitely where my love for crochet and all things lovely came from, my mom.

Mom's Back Door Curtains

Please tell me about the special pieces that you have crocheted for others.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bosses & Crochet



As you learn about me, you'll soon find out that I am crazy about crochet. I love to crochet and get up at 3:30 am to do so. I know you might say this is an illness, but this is the time that I have set aside to do the thing that I love to do. I do crochet at other times, too, but I have dedicated this time of the day to being creative before I have to go to my real job. I may only crochet about an hour and a half in the morning, but that is my quality time with no phones ringing, no one asking me what's for dinner, or the usual "what are you doing now?" question. I leave for work by 7:00 am and leave my full time job at 4:30.

I have been working for the same company for going on 14 years this year. My bosses are good people and understand that I have outside interests that I will always be involved in, and they support me 100%. Their names are Gary and Karma Mason. They are the husband and wife team that owns iSi Environmental Services. They know that they will find me on my lunch hour crocheting at my desk, and they sometimes stop and ask me what I am making and want to see it. I'm not sure if anyone else has nicer bosses than mine, but if you do, I'd love to hear about them.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Teaching a Daughter to Crochet?

Teaching Daughters To Crochet

Can we talk about daughters? My daughter's name is Jennifer. I had Jennifer when I was 19 years old, and we sort of grew up together.

When she was born, I didn't work outside the home, but I did the housekeeping, cooking, and etc. For extra income, I sewed, embroidered, and crocheted for other people. It was something that I needed to do at the time. My daughter grew up with it all around her, from the whirring of the sewing machine to the embroidery hoop and flosses. She would actually take off running with the floss, and I would have to run after her.

I did everything for her. I helped her with her homework, cooked for her, took her to school, and picked her up after school. But when she asked me to teach her to crochet, I told her go visit her Grandma (my mother) and see if she would teach her. I just had no patience with her when it came to teaching her to cook, clean, or crochet. She tells people over and over again that she can't believe that I teach other people to crochet, but I can't even teach my own daughter. Now that I have been teaching for about three years, I have heard from other mothers that they have the same problem. They even bring their daughters to me to teach them. In spite of my not teaching Jennifer to crochet, she is a crochet fanatic, too, just like me!

I am so proud of my daughter. She is a single mom and a CNA at one of the local hospitals where she works third shift on the weekends so that she can be with her daughter (Megan) during the week. My little Megan is now taking the crochet hook from my daughter and wanting to try and crochet. She is only 6 years old. I can't wait for her to learn. Tell me about your daughters and how they learned (or didn't learn) to crochet.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I would like to honor some of the mothers that I know. Some of them are not crochet people, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate the art of crochet. In no particular order, here are some of the special mothers in my life:

Debbie (My Best Friend)

Debbie (My Best Friend)
We’ve been friends since grade school and get together on our birthdays and throughout the year for lunch. She is the one that has been with me through my marriages, children, death, and weddings. A very special mother of three and grandmother of five, she is also a manager of a mobile home park here in Wichita, and she loves to crochet, too. I am very proud of Debbie and what she has accomplished in her life.

Jennifer (My Daughter)

Jennifer (My Daughter)
She is very special to me because she is my daughter, and I am so proud of her. A single parent of my beautiful granddaughter Megan, she works as a certified nurses assistant on the third shift at one of the hospitals here in Wichita. She works weekends only so that her ex-husband and family can care for Megan during work hours. I admire her for working all of that out, and I know that it’s hard sometimes. What I really love about Jennifer is that she loves people no matter what age, and she loves crochet! I can’t take credit for teaching her, but I think I have encouraged her along the way. (The handsome young man is my son Joshua, isn’t he cute?)

Rosina (Co-Worker/Good Friend)

Rosina (Co-Worker/Good Friend)
She is a wonderful mother and wife. I work with her, and we have held office with our local crochet guild for the past two years. She has two daughters and three granddaughters. I am so proud to call her my friend. She loves to quilt, sew, do counted cross stitch, crochet, and knit. Thank you, Rosina, for all that you do for me!

Karma (President/Owner of the company that I work for)

Karma (President/Owner of the company that I work for)
She is a mother of three and also the owner of a multi-million dollar company. I am honored to work for, and with, her. I would like to thank her for allowing me to work for her company for fourteen years. Although she doesn’t crochet, she is always wants to see all the things that I am making. Her interests are her children, husband, and competing in triathlons. Karma is just simply amazing.

Leann (Co-Worker)

Leann (Co-Worker)
Leann is an environmental project manager at the company where I work. She’s a mother of a two year old. She loves to scrapbook in her free time.

Diane (Special Friend)

Diane (Special Friend)
She’s a mother of three and has a granddaughter. Diane works for a drug and alcohol rehab facility and likes to knit and crochet. We love to talk about designs and bounce ideas off of each other.

Shelly (Owner of Twist Yarn Shop)

Shelly (Owner of Twist Yarn Shop)
Shelly’s a mother of two beautiful children and the mother to many of the crocheters and knitters that visit her shop. She’s a teacher of many, and I can never thank her enough for all the she has done for me in my adventures in crochet.

Cori (Friend)

Cori (Friend)
She is a mother of three. This busy lady works for the newspaper, teaches at the university, and teaches crochet at Twist. She is a crocheter and has just recently taken up knitting. Congratulations, Cori, for being able to step outside your comfort zone and learn something new.

Sheri (Good Friend)

Sheri (Good Friend)
A mother of one, Sheri loves to quilt, sew and crochet. She belongs to the quilt guild and crochet guild. She is a very beautiful and intelligent person. I am honored to call her my friend.

Jackie (My Sister and Friend)

Jackie (My Sister and Friend)
She is a mother of three and has one granddaughter. Jackie loves to sew, quilt, and scrapbook, but she crochets only when she has to. I love her anyway. I am so proud of her; she has designed two lines of fabric and her own line sewing patterns, Jackie Clark Designs. We’ve been through a lot together, but that’s a story in itself. I appreciate all the encouragement she has given me.

Ruth (My Mother)

Ruth (My Mother)

Ruth (My Mother)
Isn’t she still as beautiful as she was in high school? My mother is very special to me, and I know I don’t tell her that enough. She’s the mother of five, grandmother to seventeen, and great grandmother of eighteen, with one more on the way. I grew up with the humming of the sewing machine, the swishing of the crochet hook, clanking of knitting needles, and the noise that the sewing needle and thread make pulling through a piece of fabric in an embroidery hoop. She made all of mine and my sister’s dresses and my brothers' shirts. She passed down her love of sewing to my sister and her love of crochet to me. My mother still enjoys sewing and quilting and does a beautiful job at both. Thank you, Mom, for being there for me, and for all that you do for your family. I love you dearly!!!

No matter who we are or what we do, we are all still mothers that only want the best for our children. We simply want to see them grow up happy and to love what they do. Please tell me about your special mothers.

Hope you have a Happy Mother’s Day, too!