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Monday, October 20, 2014

Speaking Truth: the color purple

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and its color is purple. While I refuse to label myself as a former victim of domestic violence, I am certainly a survivor of it. I won't bore you with the details. Let's just say that my design career and Al Anon saved my life.

I was fortunate recently to be invited to read a pre-publication copy of Lee Gant's LOVE IN EVERY STITCH, a collection of stories that point out the incredible Saving Grace that knitting and crocheting has had in the lives of many. It won't be published til next year, but it's a read to look forward to. It does seem to me, at 61, that every stitch I take is still a triumph over being that victim.
                                                   Make something purple this month.

            (bruise from tripping over an unnoticed mini-curb in Bath, ME, closeup of Bonnie Barker's Braided Cable Wrap In Lion Brand's Heartland Thick & Quick at

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Good Sport

Red Heart's Team Spirit yarn was the beginning and end point to the designs above. With football season happening now, and the holidays coming up, sports related gifts/stuffs is totally in the creative mind. Why not create your own pieces like the ones above (yes, all available with a subscription, along with 200+ other designs at or try your hand at these....

School is back in session!  With new shoes and backpacks and notebooks comes the excitement of team sports and those home games.
These projects are very good for beginners, and don’t  think “just for girls”. Boys love machines, and this simple sewing  project may get them hooked on using a sewing machine.
                     (yes, that's my long suffering grandson, Lee, in his younger days)
For the scarf, you’ll need: ¼ yard polar fleece in each of your two team colors- let the fabric store do the heavy cutting-polar fleece comes in 58-60 inch widths, so a ¼ yard cutting will give you just the right size for a scarf; straight pins; sewing needle and matching thread; and of course, a sewing machine.
Lay the pieces of fleece one on top of the other, matching up edges.

 Pin edges with straight pins. Sew along the two long sides and one short side, leaving the second short side unsewn. Use ½ inch seam allowances. This will give you an 8 inch wide scarf. When all three sides are sewn, turn the scarf so the seams are on the inside. It helps to clip the corners slightly so the will turn to points. Using a pair of scissors to push the corners out is recommended.
 Because polar fleece doesn’t really have a right or wrong side, it will look good however you have laid it out. Fold the last short edge inwards and pin to close. 
Sew this last edge by hand. Polar fleece is very forgiving, so don’t be worried about your sewing skills. Just use an overhand stitch using small stitches and they will pretty much disappear. When this seam is finished, you’re done!

For the pompoms, you’ll need: 1 skein each Red Heart Super Saver yarn in your two team colors; a 10-1/2 inch piece of cardboard OR even better, a school notebook; scissors; a large crochet hook (optional).
Pull yarn from center of each skein. Using a strand from each skein held together, wrap yarn around the cardboard or notebook 120 times. Cut 1 strand each color 21 inches long. Tie tightly with a square knot at one end of cardboard or notebook under all yarn wraps.  With 1 strand of each color held together, make a chain with the crochet hook that is 24 inches long. If you are uncomfortable using the crochet hook, this can also be finger knit just using the yarn and your fingers; just make sure the chain is 24 inches long. Tie this chain with a square knot around the already tied top of the pompom. Then make a knot with the remaining ends of the chain. This created the handle for the pompoms. Not cut the other end of the pompom so the strands are free at the other end. Trim ends of yarn so they are even. Repeat the process for the second pompom.

                             Tie your scarf on, grab your pompoms and head for the game!
(this was originally published in A Little Bit Crafty, a column I did for a Michigan free paper)
Of course, I think the best sport is crochet! But even non crocheters must be clothed and kept warm!
Thanks to Kaydee Rose LockeHeart, Abigail Nikolaus Smith, and Leland Dyke for modeling! Photos by Michele Maks.

Friday, October 17, 2014


It's happened before- I create a design and in the words of Jacqueline Susann- Once is not Enough.
Lion Brand's new Vanna's Tapestry has me enthralled, and I was ready to do another color way in exactly the same yarn, but couldn't quite wait for the new yarn colors to arrive.

I did this variation routine with It's Christmas,Baby! I just could not quit. I roped Susanna in to create Mr Loopys as well, and THEY wouldn't stay one color either!
It was a real struggle to stop at only 4 color ways......
I LOVE the Tapestry version of the ripple in the beginning above, but I also remembered that I had some Red Heart Gumdrop, in their fruity multi colors. I started by using one strand and didn't appreciate the weight after using the worsted Tapestry, so I tried 2 strands held together with an M hook.
And now, having written and titled this blog, I'm also wondering how several shades of Maine's Bartlettyarns worsted weight would look as well......

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


was a really strange day! We had a photo shoot scheduled for in town Bath and driving on the road from Phippsburg into town, a police car with flashing blue lights came straight at us in the middle of the road, as if it were playing CHICKEN with us. We didn't have mutual heart attacks, but pulled over quickly, just barely avoiding the cop car, and the parade of WIDE LOAD vehicles behind it. OK... adrenaline rush, but OK.....and then a deer ran across the road.
               We did make it to town, rather shaken, but ready to meet Lyric and her Mom Brianne, to model some mainly crochet designs, at the Cafe Creme.

                Lyric is 4-1/2 and was a bit shy at first......
A cookie and a Smoothie helped!
Sweater and hat by Karen McKenna
Sweater by Karen Whooley
Wearing ponchos by Jessie Rayot with her Mom helped break the ice too...
We discussed color choices and nail polish colors
 and skipped up Centre Street,
and took the time to smell the flowers
here in a Joyce Bragg design, a great kid in crochet!
We'll be producing these for www.mainlycrochet -will keep you posted!
all photos (unedited) by Don Patty

Friday, October 10, 2014

I Love Yarn

                      Just to be clear, I am not, and never will be, a yarn snob. I love it all!
And although, at the moment I'm so into LB's Tapestry that I think I'll never use another yarn again, I know from experience that won't be true. I am a yarnaholic, a nymphoyarnomainiac, a fickle, but joyous, yarn imbiber.Yarn is Bliss! Every day! Every way!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Silliness and Eating With the Irish

I must admit, I'm obsessed with Lion Brand's Vanna's Tapestry yarn. Always a variegateds lover, the colors and the hand of this yarn continues to suck me in. Doing errands yesterday, I was stitching on this in the passenger seat when we noticed a car in the far parking lot. OMG! This was exactly what my adolescent self thought I would drive as an adult when I became Emma Peel. (Avengers, the REAL one. If you don't know it, you're probably too young!).As we drove over for a closer look and a photo, Don said -are you going to do your Vanna White point at it? So I did, of course- complete with the Vanna's yarn in hand!
            This should truly remind me to put my ball gown on when I go to town!
                            Will the real Vanna White please stand up?
Seeing such a thing of beauty shifted our consciousnesses enough that we actually went to a completely different dinner place- a pub that I've walked by numerous times, but never went to, and OMG! what a happy decision that was! Byrne's Irish Pub had a sign outside for the soup special- Cheddar Beer, and the rest is gastronomic history...
There was music in the corner as well.....
and in case you think this wasn't work related, I believe we've found the perfect place to shoot a certain Irish poncho we have on board. Being here made us also brainstorm about the convention worthiness of Bath. This City of Ships has a large Hampton Inn on one side of town, within walking distance of its old European style Main Street. Bath is home to many fine eating places and shops, and Halcyon yarns. It also has a trolley for those who don't enjoy walking. Hmmmmmm....