Friday, December 31, 2010

Well, here I sit at the tail end of 2010. It's been an interesting year to say the least. I have had more patterns published than ever before, my husband ran for political office, we had another grandchild born, we have struggled with the economy like everyone else, there have been loved ones lost and many changes in our family. Recent events, like last night, have brought things into focus to remind me how fleeting life is. Our dear daughter in law and grandson survived a tornado last night. It was over with before we even knew anything happened. Thanks be to God and to Jessica for her quick thinking and reaction in getting the baby and herself into the bathtub in the nick of time. They have pretty much lost everything, but being the grounded young adults that they are, they realize what is really important is that they are still here. Things could have turned out very differently, in a bad way. I am so very grateful that they didn't.
So to all of my family, friends, acquaintances, and business colleagues, may we all keep in mind throughout 2011 what really matters. Give thanks to God for the many blessings in life, including each other. Stuff is just stuff, (yes, even yarn!) and can always be replaced if need be. Love your family; mend fences if you have to. Life is too short to do otherwise. God Bless you all and I can't wait to see what He has in store for 2011!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crochet Renee'.....TV?

So, what seemed like a good idea is now seeming like a GREAT idea. The concept of doing a web-based TV show came to me like a bolt out of the blue. While I am not really fond of seeing myself recorded for all posterity to see, I do like the experiences I have had in talking with all of the interesting folks, and look forward to chatting with even more. In addition, there are (and will be more) instructional segments, product demos and other features. I have in mind to also do some instructions on specific projects as well. I am open to any and all suggestions; what would you like to see on Crochet Renee' TV?

If you haven't seen it yet, click here, and by all means, subscribe so that you will never miss an episode!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Crochet Renee' TV...awesome!

To watch my interview with Anne Bean, organizer of the Arkansas Fiberarts Extravaganza, click here. Then go to the Crochet Renee' Facebook page to enter a giveaway for fab fibery prizes! Then, subscribe to Crochet Renee' TV on YouTube to stay on top of all the great episodes coming and future prize giveaways that will be coming up!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

One repeat done...Spider Stitch Shawl!

So I have a good start on my Spider Stitch Shawl for the CAL. I am using Naturally Caron's Country in the colorway Spice House. It says Fall to me. This is a lovely, affordable blend with 25% Merino wool and 75% Microdenier (which is a big word that means extra fine) Acrylic, making it machine wash and dry. I am thinking the wool will add to the warmth, and the easy care fibers will make this something I will wear often. How is yours coming along? Remember, we have a Ravelry group, where everyone can show off their work!
Happy Hooking,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spider Stitch Shawl CAL

I designed the Spider Stitch Shawl for Caron Yarns, International some time ago. When it appeared in the Caron Connections Newsletter quite some time later, I was reminded how much fun I had designing this shawl. I asked the nice folks at Caron if they minded if I did a Crochet-Along (CAL for short) since I decided that I would like to have one to keep. That got me to thinking, "I wonder how many other folks would like to do a crochet-along with me?" So, if you are interested, get yourself some yarn and a hook and let's make it together. The original was done in Simply Soft, but I think I am going to make my version in Naturally Caron's Country. Feel free to use the Caron yarn of your choice! They have so many lovely colors and so many options. I have created a Ravelry group, as well.The pattern is free here, so what are you waiting for?

Photo courtesy of and copyright
Caron Yarns, International 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I woke up yesterday morning, feeling HORRIBLE, tonsils swollen and could hardly talk, but started getting ready for work anyway. DH said, "You're not going to work like THAT, are you?" I whined, "What else am I supposed to do?" In the end, I called my boss, who told me to stay home and try to acquire some antibiotics. Fortunately, we now have a walk-in clinic, in of all places, Wal-Mart. I was a little leery, but being a Saturday morning and not feeling it was emergent enough to go to ER, I went. I must say it was a good experience. I was in and out in about 45 minutes, prescription in hand. The pharmacy? Well, that was another issue.

Anyway, after taking my first dose and sleeping until my bones hurt, I decided to work on a project that I started for myself. Pretty much all of the crochet I have been doing lately is tip-top secret, so I haven't been able to share that. But I have been knitting a little more lately and had fallen in very serious like with the Slanting Gretel Tee from Interweave Knits. I have swatched 3 or 4 yarns to find gauge and finally had arrived to a very happy result with Universal Yarn's Classic Shades in the "Storm Clouds" colorway. It's a nice yarn, a little fuzzier than I should have liked, but an affordable choice for the first "grown-up" sweater I have ever knit. I couldn't see dropping a wad of cash on a more expensive yarn when my learning curve is not quite up to it yet. But I think it will be after I finish knitting this one. I could definitely see making this again in the future. Here is my progress so far.

I have been making so many things for everyone else, I decided it was time for me to make something for me. I am also making the Multnomah Shawl, with a Cherry Tree Hill yarn. This is my "purse project" which goes with me everywhere, so I have something to work on if my hands need to be busy. It's a very easy knit, so far, as I am still in the body, which is all garter stitch. I have done Feather and Fan before, so I am not too worried about the border.It is a sock weight yarn; sorry, I don't remember the line or colorway; something like "Denim" or some such.
It should be a nice little thing to throw around my shoulders when things are chilly. David's dog also had a puppy. There were two, but the first one was breech and didn't survive. Looks like LB is going to be a great mom.
There's never a dull moment around here.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tessa what?

The neighboring county where I work (as opposed to the county where I live) recently opened a brand new library. I went to purchase a non-resident card today, as our own county library leaves much to be desired. I only had about 15 minutes left to browse...and having never left a library empty-handed, I found one book that I had to take home. Designing Tessellations by Jinny Beyer. What is a tessellation, you ask? It is a repeating shape that forms interlocking patterns. (Think M.C. Escher) I thought this would be an interesting read from a designing perspective. Man, is that ever an understatement. If you are interested, this is the book. It is really getting the creative juices flowing for me. Many designs I have already done in the past utilized this concept, I just didn't know that it had a name! One example is my Spider Stitch Throw that I designed for Caron Yarn, International. This photo doesn't show it in detail, but there are "tiles" rotated around a point to form a pinwheel type pattern. There is a better picture on the Ravelry site of a version made by grumpyspixie here. Yep. Tessellation. This is gonna be so. much. fun! Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chain Link 2010

On Professional Development Day, there was a raffle to raise money for Lyme Disease. Here Kimberly McAlindin and Amy Shelton of Crochetville are busy vogueing....I mean selling tickets for the awesome door prizes. I won a copy of "Crochet Bouquet" by Suzann Thompson in the drawing. It's a beautiful book with LOTS of beautiful crochet flowers. Suzann kindly agreed to sign it for me. There was nearly $1,000 raised!

Here is a shot of many of the folks who participated in PDD. We heard from Kristin Ohmdahl and Lily Chin. Then there were break-out sessions for further education. It was all very informative. Participants were also given hooks and their choice of yarn to crochet blocks for charity.( was able to make 2!)

Here are Rebecca Velasquez, Ellen Gormley and Lindsey Stephens. We were all just hanging out in the 24 hour crochet lounge. It was great to have a place to hang out and create with each other! There were so many beautiful things that folks were working on.

One of the more unusual entries in the fashion show included a dress made entirely of plarn (plastic yarn) from recycled, or upcycled shopping bags. The gentleman's vest if made of upcycled VHS tapes!

The designer of this pretty sweater was told by the members of her knitting group that crochet was only good for trim on knitted sweaters. She found a tongue-in-cheek way to make her point, by crocheting the sweater and knitting on the trim!

Here is Vashti Braha, modeling her prize-winning Weightless Tunisian Wrap. She created it with and all new Tunisian stitch she calls the Wicker Stitch. Beautiful! 
 Finally, I couldn't NOT show the Grand Prize Winner, a beautiful confection of fibery arts goodness. It's a little kimono by Shelby Allaho, called Kyoto Coat. Shelby did a fabulous job of fusing several fiber and needlearts together to come up with this creation. Click on her link to read more about her creative process.

There were so many wonderful entries, both in the design contest as well as the fashion show. There is not enough room here to show them, but if you like, you can visit my flickr photostream to see the rest!
 If you have never been to a Chain Link Conference, I highly recommend that you do so in the future. I promise you will learn lots, meet lots of interesting people and come home with lots of inspiration to fuel your own creative spark!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Here are the socks I have been working on. They are a gift for someone, but can't tell you who, they might be reading my blog! Anyway, I have increased and am ready to turn the heels. This yarn is beautiful, and I am happy to report that I did buy more in another colorway to make some for myself. Stay tuned to see how they look when they are done! I don't think I will ever knit one sock at a time again!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blue Hawaii Jacket

I have had a couple of readers of "Easy as 1-2-3 Crochet" by DRG publications contact me for clarification of how to work the sleeve ends on the Blue Hawaii Jacket. The photos in the book don't have a great close-up of the sleeve detail, so I figured if there were two people who cared enough out there to email me for clarification, there might be others out there who have perhaps started this project and run up against some confusion while working this part of the jacket/sweater. 
As you can see in the picture,  it appears as though half a "doily" is attached at the end of the sleeve. the yarn is joined at the center medallion seen at the bottom edge of the picture, worked back and forth, anchoring each row to the end of the sleeve. At one point, the pattern says, "you will now begin working in the round" (I don't remember where, and can't put my hands on the book right now, but the instructions really do say something like that!); at that point you will work in the round, and the lower inside edge of the sleeve with look like this:
 Hope that's a little clearer than mud! If you have any questions about any of my published patterns, feel free to email me. I like people to be successful in recreating my designs! Happy hooking!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ends, ends and more ends....

Just finished my most recent project for a major yarn company a couple of days ago. Here is what's left of all the ends I had to weave in! Pretty colors, huh? Project details forthcoming; stay tuned!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bunny Yarn!!!

So I got the itch after plucking some Angora bunnies to do some dyeing. I like to use ketchup and mustard bottles I have gotten from the local dollar store. (They come two for a dollar). That way I can better control where I place my color. I just mix my stock solutions and they keep in there for whenever I am ready for dyeing.

This is the fiber from one of my male bunnies, one I call Hunny Bunny. I call him that because he is a warm, honey color. Here the fiber is pre-soaking (in about an inch of water with a drop of Eucalan) before adding the dye.Here is the same fiber with the colors added. I used Jacquard Acid Dyes in teal, turquoise, sky blue and pink.

This is the fiber after having simmered gently in the dyepot for over an hour.

I had to let the fiber sit for a couple of days because I had a deadline to meet for a crochet project. I was itching to spin it to see how it would turn out, so I took it to the open work night last night at my LYS along with my spinning wheel. This is the finished product. Actually I still have to wash this to set the twist, but I was so excited, I had to share it! Now I have to figure out what it wants to be...any ideas?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Don't know if you can see it or not in this pic, but it snowed most of the day today. I didn't get another pic after the ground was white, but believe me, it snowed like crazy!

So, you can see below how I kept myself busy today (as well as yesterday). It was an excellent day to stay inside and crochet! I didn't go to church today, as I have been fighting a combination of my allergies and the tail end of a nasty cold. So, I decided to keep my germs to myself!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dear friends, heirlooms and crochet

Today I went to lunch with a dear friend, Joyce. We go at least once a year to a Japanese restaurant in Springfield for sushi. Joyce and I have been friends for several years now. We once worked together, and she is now retired, but we still see each other and chat with each other. I have been fortunate in my life to have many folks in my life whom I consider dear friends, and Joyce is one of those. She and I share many things, including a love for all things handmade. Today she gifted me with these vintage pattern booklets, which once belonged to her mother. Joyce's mom was once a gifted knitter and crocheter, but can no longer enjoy these endeavors. I am very honored that Joyce would give them to me; she knows I will add them to my vintage pattern library (I am a sucker for the old-timey stuff and can't pass up vintage patterns when I find them in flea markets and antique shops!).
It seems needlecrafting is in my genes; I had a great-great aunt on Mom's side who once owned a shop where she sold items she and her sisters had sewn and crocheted. You would think some items might have come down to my Mom, but alas, none have. We only have the stories. For me, it's not so much about the stuff, but it's more about holding something in my hands that was made by the hands of my foremothers, women whom I will never know. What were they like? Who taught them how to crochet? What did their work look like? Since they sold their work in the shop (and I understand the shop was quite successful in the day), I can only assume their work was top-notch. Knowing how skilled my own Mother is with a hook and a string should confirm this, as she learned her craft at the knees of these women.
I love the "Father Knows Best" look on this one!

Most of the booklets are mid to late '40's to early 50's. One is dated 1946, another 1950, the others not dated, but in the same style. So even if I can't have anything heirloom from the distant generations in my family, I can cherish the heirloom patterns of one of my best friends mother. My grandson was the recipient of a gorgeous hairpin lace blanket that Joyce's Mom had made and I was delighted to find the pattern in one of these booklets. The heirlooms will start with my own Mom, who has made a beautiful doily, and quilted table-topper and a counted cross-stitch sampler for me. I told her this year I would love to have a crocheted throw. She said she had never thought about making me one, since I crochet so much myself; but I told her I wanted one that SHE made. So, she's swatching and playing with some design ideas, which is even better than using a pattern, since mine will be the only one in the world like it!

I hope ya'll cherish the little things that you have recieved from generations past, whether they are "things" or stories. I am thinking there is a lot of design inspiration in these; now where did I put my hook?

Friday, January 1, 2010

This year I propose not necessarily to make resolutions, but to continue with some of the things I already do, but just do them more often and with more frequency. Here are some photos I took this year to help illustrate what I mean....

...I will remain curious.

I will continue to use my creativity. 

I will appreciate the beauty that God creates....

I will have more fun. 

I will fish more often. 

I will rest more and enjoy a good backrub whenever I can.

I will enjoy God's bounty and take time to smell the flowers (and make tea from them, too!)

I will continue to meet interesting new people, make new friends, and keep the old ones close to my heart.


I will walk...A LOT more!

I will love more, pray more and let those I love know it!
May ya'lls New Year bring many blessings and I pray you will enjoy the Lord's favor! Until next blog, keep those hooks and needles flying and may your yarn never tangle!
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