Sunday, September 02, 2007

Crochet Cases by Crippen Works

Just found time to take a picture of an item ordered at the 2007 CGOA convention from Crippen Works
Handmade by Katharyn Crippen Shapiro in NY.
Buy already made or made to order as Brian did above:
Each will hold at least 20 crochet hooks for safely transporting back and forth for the upcoming shows; the case has a flap to cover those decorated hooks and the case rolls up "stiffly" for protection.
We couldn't be happier with the crochet needle cases! Thanks Katharyn and it was a pleasure to meet you!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Stitch of the Week at the CGOA Message Board- part 2

Stitch of the Week from the CGOA Message Board.

Left: Week #4 - Spider stitch

Middle: Week #5 - Tulip stictch

Right: Week #6 - Waffle stitch

My grandaughter has already claimed the center one for her bath :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Crafty Hair Sticks and/or Shawl Pins's something new and different. I like different! These items can double as a hair stick or shawl pin. You will be noticed! Just like grandma's hat pin...this also acts as a weapon (!!??) African Porcupine Quills...who'd have thought! They sure grow them big there (and these aren't even the longest!); I hope I never run into one still wearing his quills...
The hairsticks/shawl pins will be for sale on as they are made.
** Note: Porcupines are grown/raised for food in Africa; by- products are either used there or exported; nothing is wasted.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

2007 New Jersey State Fair

2007 New Jersey State Fair....Wow...1st Place Blue Ribbon PLUS a Special Award Ribbon. Who'd have thought? Crochet class for Scarf or Shawl; special award for best in class...basketweave stitch done in a beautiful soft Colibri yarn from Austria. It has a slight shimmer to it with very muted coloring.
An unexpected 1st Place Blue Ribbon...and first time I ever entered the Lacemaking class. Above is an Irish Crochet Heart Rose in size #30 thread and done with a steel hook #11 (also first attempt at using a thread smaller than #10). The item is also from the course I took at the 2007 CGOA convention with Kathie Earle.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A 2nd Place Red Ribbon for the "once-a-year-let's-do-it-for-the-State-Fair-doily".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A 2nd Place Ribbon for the Crocheted Lisette Sweater Shawl; pattern by Carolyn Christmas of I had this at the 2007 CGOA conference and wore it to the Fashion Show Dinner.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now this really was a surprise...3rd Place Yellow Ribbon for Jewelry: Other (meaning that it is not Strung or Woven). I started making the above Hairstick/Shawl Pins just recently and thought I'd add it to the other items for the Fair. I'll be making more and they will be selling on the BrainsBarn website and our upcoming shows.

Judge's comments will be known this Sunday when I pick up all the items... :)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

CGOA 2007 Convention...Fashion Show & Silent Auction

The highlight of the convention has arrived...the Chic Street Fashion Show and Silent Auction. This year's donations on monies collected for the "bag auction: will go to the Helping Hands Foundation . Brian bid on and won 3:
Bag #6...donated by Nancy Nehring, author/designer/teacher/hook collector

This bag is absolutely breathtaking!! My jaw dropped when I saw I had just taken an Irish Crochet course that morning with Kathie Earle. I can appreciate the work and time that went into this piece. It also has tiny, real pearls worked into the stitches. It's a pleasure and a joy to look deserves a display case so it can be seen and it will have one...


Bag #13...donated by Diane Moyer of pawprint creations

Absolutely FUNKY! I love FUNKY OOAK creativeness and this IS it! Lining is a gorgeous royal purple with embroidered butterflies...actually this bag is perfect for a Red Hatter!
Diane was so gracious and thanked Brian for bidding and winning her creation.


Bag #17...donated by Dee Stanziano, designer/teacher. Dee's Blog A clutch size bag done in freeform by Dee. Bag has a chain for shoulder use or it can be tucked inside and held as a clutch. It's lovely! Dee also won second place in the People's Choice Award. Here's a great picture of Brian and Dee; Brian gave Dee the ribbon; he kept the purse...LOL! Dee also has a pic of Brian on the runway just after he was announced high bidder. What a hoot!...he did get lots of whistles! That's MHubert on the other side of Dee holding up the Helping Hands placard for pics...and on the side of Margaret you can see a little of Prudence's freeform bag. Dee has many more pics of the auction on her site rather than duplicate them here...see link above for that entry.

I am more than interested to know what next year's silent auction will be?? Brian now has the Bra made by Dee from the 2006 convention; this year a bag...all in freeform. Could it be that he is going for a whole outfit by Dee?? As we expect to be at next year's convention...only time will tell! Stay tuned! Personally, I can't wait!

Here's a photo after the silent auction: our table won a total of 7 bags. Dee's blog has it all! She was really busy with her camera:
For Fashion Show pics see here .
For links to other convention pics see here . I'm still going through them!
Vashti Braha was a showstopper in her unforgettable creation. See the story here

CGOA 2007 Convention...Day 3...07/14/07

OK...last big day ending with this evening's Chic Street Fashion Show.

Should I admit that one (meaning me!) should not take an Irish Crochet thread class at 9am in the morning??!!

Kathie Earle's Irish Crochet Heart Rose. The woman is amazing...her samples prove it to question about it. Also see this page for 2 samples of her work featured on the Guild of Irish Lacemakers site.

Good thing that I finished the homework- and Kathie was gracious enough to compliment my work...especially for a leftie. But she couldn't figure out why the roses were excellent and then the classwork was so-so. LOL...and more LOL!

I mentioned that I needed my tensor light and magnifier and that I never even tried to thread crochet this small--especially at this time of the day!! I was hyperventilating to get an even chain with a picot for the heart shape...with a steel size #11 hook and size #30 thread.

This threadie thought she was pretty good with #10 thread and a steel size #6 or #7 hook but this is another ballgame! I loved it though and am happy to report that I frogged the classwork and redid it. Will have to let Kathie know I didn't give up! The woman has the patience of a saint...

Kathie also gave each one in the class a rememberance...a pin so fine that I studied it at home under a magnifier! What beautiful work and something for this threadie to strive for...if my eyes and fingers hold out! Thank you Kathie!~~~~~~~~~~
I met up with Brian and we took off for the Market...

Natalie and Ann of DreamWeaver Yarns are 2 young, hip women and a pleasure to talk to...

Brian finally got to meet Tom Diak of Grafton Fibers . Knowing that the subject would be woodworking/turning, I chatted with his lovely wife, Linda. Did you see that creative Mermaid??

One couldn't go through the market without stopping to chat with Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. What a hoot those 2 are together!! Made our day...Brian is still talking about how much he enjoyed them! You couldn't say enough about these 2 ladies and the contributions they've made to the art of crochet!

Onto the FreeForm booth to really study the art that was displayed. Myra Wood put the wallhanging together and has a stunning site showing off her creative works. It includes links to other sites and an invitation to join the FreeFormers group.

Katharyn Crippen Shapiro of CrippenWorks has the most luscious rollups for your crochet and knit supplies. We ordered 3 rollups from her great choice of fabrics and sent plenty of our friends her way...

I won a door prize! A tote bag and 2 skeins of Aran yarn from Irish sheep! It was donated by The Irish Ewe , a vendor from Maine. Brian wound one hank on a nostepinde and presented it to her as a "thank you for your donation". She loved it and yes, replaced my skein. LOL!

I then had it in my head that perhaps I should try knitting. Free classes were offered by Coats & Clark in the marketplace. But!- if I was going to do this then the lease Brian could do was to try the Learn to Crochet class. You had to have been there...good thing I or he didn't grab the camera.

I kept "hooking". This was worse than the first 2 times I ever tried to knit. I'm too far gone on crocheting to even get used to holding 2 sticks...let alone ever hoping to finish an item in this lifetime with any kind of speed.

Brian at least got to crochet a chain and the start of his first row. Don't know what happened then but he gave up too...LOL! Didn't look bad to me even though he needed to work on tension...

We have learned that I can't knit or make hooks; Brian can't crochet.
End of story...and an appreciation of what each other does...

Short rest and getting ready for the Chic Street Fashion Show...deserving of it's own post...

CGOA 2007 Convention...Day 2...07/13/07

After a late night JD's bar/restaurant...and Brian and I playing with our sleep number bed...let's not go there...was I glad I didn't have a morning class scheduled.

As it was I was scheduled to take "Beginner's Guide to Tunisian Crochet" with designer/teacher Darla Fanton in the afternoon. What a lovely woman!...and a great teacher. She has to be to teach this left-hander! I like it!...and have since bought a Tunisian Stitches Crochet book plus a pattern book. If I get comfortable with it there's always Darla's Illusion Crochet to look forward to if offered next year.

For backup I have friend Amie of NexStitch with her online video tutorials for the Tunisian/Afghan stitch(es) ; that's reassuring!

Anyway...Darla's class was informative and asset to the learning process. The booklet received is so helpful and I've referred to it many times already. I love the knit and purl stitch done in CROCHET! And I've actually learned something NEW...proving one can teach an old dog new tricks (except for knitting...and I'll get to that later!) LOL!

Darla's website can be seen here ; her blog can be seen here . Both are well worth a looksee...Darla also graciously signed her booklet handout for me after class :)~~~~~~~~~~
Attended the CGOA Chain Link Annual Meeting at 6pm. We had missed it last year and was glad to make it this year to hear Rita Weiss, our CGOA President talk of all the interesting things she has planned for the CGOA Organization. Also read the September issue of Crochet! magazine's Newsletter.

Not a member yet?...Think about it and supporting your art...
Off to the FreeFormers Dinner. What a great group of talented people! It was great to catch up with friends not seen from this group since the year before.

Plenty of pictures to see...rather than duplicate see Margaret Hubert's blog ; Crochet with Dee blog for more pics and don't miss Dee's pics of the FreeFormer booth at the Market and her story of "the tree".

The highlight of the evening (besides being with this group) was connecting again with Prudence Mapstone .Don't miss this site...her work is astounding!

What a gracious and busy lady! At the close of the convention on Sunday she was off on a knitting cruise...featuring "her" of course and leaving that afternoon from Boston. This was one time I wished I knew how to knit!

And it's also the second year she spotted us before we spotted her (as she is always surrounded)... What an honor that she says hello and how have you been...can you tell we both are "Prudence groupies" ??
~~~~~~~~~~ it was a semi-late night already and we missed the Crochet Coffee get together from 9-11pm. Off to JD's for a nightcap...and then to bed! I have a 9am class...

CGOA 2007 Convention...Day 1...07/12/07

Our trip to the 2007 CGOA Chain Link Convention this year was great! Lots of friends and good times. Hubby Brian and I were on the go all day every day till checkout on Sunday, 07/15:

We arrived on Wednesday 07/11 after a 6 hour drive from NJ with an easy check-in at the Radisson Manchester in NH.
Within an hour of arrival we had dinner at JD's Cafe with friends from CGOA chapters Houston H-Town and Crochet Texas! -and surprise to us- Melody MacDuffee! What a gracious lady she is and it was a delight for us to meet her. She talked of her upcoming trip to Africa to teach a village her beaded crochet. A designer and teacher of overlay crochet, Melody has created a site that can be seen here .
Perhaps I'll feel confident enough to take her overlay course next year if it's offered again.

5 FUN Friends: (Back L to R):Bobbi, Christy (Front): Tina, Carole, Saundra

Thursday, 07/12/07:

After a late start on Thursday catching up on needed sleep (already) Brian and I had brunch and bumped into more friends after we registered and received goody bags... yarns I had my first class scheduled with Lily Chin at 2pm in her soldout "Crocheted Tips, Tricks and Hints". Lily is a delight to meet...taking the class was well worth it just for hearing and watching her in action. I sat beside my friend Amie of NexStitch...see her blog for her conference reviews here .
Even though I have Lily's new book "Couture Crochet Workshop" ...some tips were helpful to see visually and questions could be asked right then and there to the designer herself. Lily also graciously signed my book at the end of class :)

Thursday night's Keynote speaker was Cari Clement of Caron International. She did a good job of talking about crochet as a fashion statement and showed pictures of outrageous retro designs from a favorite vintage magazine I happen to have in my collection...Ladies Home Journal, 1976.
After Cari's speech it was time for the preview opening of Market Street. Beautiful and luscious yarns to be seen. Being more an impulse shopper at something like this I would have really done some damage if crochet patterns were seen made out of the yarns. For next year, hoping to attend, I will have some patterns of things I want to make with me and will just match yarns needed to/for them...lesson learned...and no further comment.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stitch of the Week at the CGOA Message Board

At the CGOA Message Board there are member volunteers giving a "stitch of the week" that other members can try - or not.
Being that I have a box of Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn I thought I'd give up crocheting bibs for awhile and give it a go...

On the left is the Week #1 Square: A single crochet with a choice of two edgings. I used Sugar 'n Cream 4-ply worsted weight 100% cotton yarn in color: Newport, using a G+/4.50mm hook and made an 8" square that I'll try out as a dishcloth.
In the middle is Week #2 Square: A split single crochet using Sugar 'n Cream 4-ply worsted weight 100% cotton yarn in color: Fairy Tales, using an H/ hook and 6" square that will be given as a baby washcloth.
On the right is Week #3 square: A crossed double crochet that can be done in two variations. Again I used Sugar 'n Cream 4-ply worsted weight 100% cotton yarn in color: Light Blue, using an H/ hook. It finished at 8" square and is already placed in the shower to use as a washcloth.
*Stitch of the Week patterns are only available at the present time for CGOA Message Board Members. Copyright, 2007.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth of July!!

Time to celebrate the freedoms we have left...have a happy, safe 4th of July everyone!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Another WIP ... Barbie Wedding Dress I have another WIP. At least the dress/pillow form is stuffed and done; the bra (smallest I've ever done!) is started...
But look at the back of that gorgeous dress... yards and yards of crochet lace to do. Now that this project has seen daylight again I suppose I'll have to think about's another INTENSE thread crochet project. LOL!
It won't make the State Fair this year...but there's always the next one!

Pattern: "Annie's BrideDoll Gown"; copyright 1991, 1995, 1996 by Annie's Attic.

FOUND! Another Work in Progress...Dr. Who ????

Hiding on the bottom of a a Dr. Who scarf! I must have been really bored or carried away with thoughts of the '60's.

This is only about 1/2 way done...I think there's about another 300 rows to go! ALL in single crochet. IS a conversation piece!
Pattern for crochet and/or knit is here:

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Organizing Crochet Books...Hardcover

I thought I'd mention a site called Library Thing for those of you who haven't heard of it. It was really helpful to me in keeping track of the hardcover crochet books (that are now organized in a bookcase...yay!!).

Even though it takes time initially I found it well worth it. And it's easy now to add one at a time as more (!!) are acquired.
My catalog of needlework books, more crochet than anything but there's a couple on sewing, can be seen here:

Some booklets come with an ISBN # so it's easier to list. One can also see who shares their interest...meaning they also have the same book in their library.

But what to do with all the magazines, leaflets, booklets, etc. that I can't list?? I love to look through them; they aren't and haven't been published in years. Old McCalls, Ladies Home Journal, Better Homes & Gardens, Woman's Day, Family Circle...mostly all from the 1970's.
Funny, but one can really see that "what goes around, comes around...". Not too different in style from what's being touted as new today...except that there are much nicer yarns today...from plain to specialty with greater color varieties.

The magazines are being organized slowly but surely. I also like the idea of large binders for patterns printed from the net to be organized by category...afghans, baby items, etc. At least I won't have to go through LARGE PILES of papers everytime I'm looking for something.
Scary! Maybe I'll be able to find what I'm looking for...

PS. I also listed my cookbooks...yes, seems I have quite a collection of those. Listed under a different name they number more than twice the amount of crochet books...
Does that mean I cook more than I crochet?? Not!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Crochet at Bellaonline Interview !

On 4/17/2007 Kate Pullen, crochet editor of BellaOnline, published our first
online interview for BrainsBarn:

In her own right, Kate creates beautiful jewelry that can be seen here:

Crochet and Knit Jewellery:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hook Display...and Granny Square Sampler Afghan

I've been asked by many as to how I display my hooks. I have an earthenware item that seems to be perfect at this time. I added enough rice...uncooked of course! let the hooks stand on their own and then I just "planted" them. A garden of hooks that really looks nice on the table :) and they are handy.

The item under the hooks is a work in progress...and has been for a while. I came across it while organizing...hah! But the beauty of this afghan is that it can be added to when one feels like doing a granny square. The squares do not match in size so it's fitted together. Here's a better picture. It's the "Granny Square Sampler Afghan" from an old Better Homes & Gardens hardcover book "Crochet&Knitting"; ISBN #0696001551; copyright 1977.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Have a Great Easter!

From our home and barn to yours...
Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!

10 More Scarves and counting...

LOL!! Am I done yet? NO...not until I make a single-skein scarf out of every color there is of LB Homespun yarn.
Love how these come out! They may be toooo simple but they are long, soft and there will be different finished ends on each scarf. I like to look for beaded fringe, long fringe, tassels, etc. Sometimes I like to add a pin to one end...each scarf will be different. They are waiting for what I come up with...looks like I'll be set with scarves for the craft fairs/shows starting in September. They sell well besides having gifts on hand.

Here's a sample of a beaded fringe found for this scarf...may do both sides of each end?? I'd appreciate comments on this please...

Hooked Scarves by MHubert...3 more scarves

Margaret Hubert is a favorite designer. My husband and I first met her at last year's CGOA convention in King of Prussia, PA. She's not only a very talented designer but a very lovely lady. We hope to meet up with her at this year's CGOA convention in Manchester, NH.

The above 3 scarves are from her book "Hooked Scarves". Far left: The "Handsome Basket-Weave Scarf" on page 72. I took it a step farther by making it very long and using a Colibri Flausch Austrian yarn from my stash. This scarf's a "keeper". Middle: It's the "Cuddly Pompoms Scarf" on page 62 made in LB Velvet Spun "Bluebell". Instead of gathering the ends and putting on a pompom--I added fringe in a complimentary nylon color. Right: "The Mixed Greens Scarf" on page 55 made with 3-4 different textured yarns. Absolutely love this scarf done in pinks. I've already made one in orange/browns/gold and sold it at the last craft show done in March.

5 More Scarves...

Above: 3 finished scarves...

Top: Long scarf done in 2 complimentary skeins of LB Jiffy w/fringe.

Middle & Bottom: LB Homespun one-skein scarves. The fringe using the same Homespun "Gazebo" plus Pink baby cloud (each strand is knotted to prevent unraveling). Bottom scarf is Coral Homespun gathered at bottom edges and fringed with ribbon yarn.


Below 2 scarves:

Top: Long scarf/long fringed scarf done in Pink "TuTu" yarn. SOLD

Bottom: Potato chip spiral scarf in mohair like yarn fringed with a long ribbon yarn.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I'm on a scarf kick...

I've been on a scarf kick lately...and using up stash! Remember that I am cleaning and organizing?? never knows what is hiding around here so it's like being on a treasure hunt :)
The above scarf SOLD right out of my hand! Yes, I travel with projects and was in the right place at the right time. I think it was the colors and the long length (scarf is folded in half in pic - used 2 skeins of Moda Dea Metro in color: Santa Fe. Pattern is from the Lion Brand yarn site: Lacy scarf (shown in suede on their site).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pizza Break...'s time to head downstairs and join my overly aggressive Amazon for pizza. Maybe she'll let me have another piece. Of course she will...I'm the one she's bonded too! I also better head out to the barn and tell Brian to come in before there's none left...

Irish Crochet NJ State Fair Winner

While we're on the subject of least I am :) ... the above is from the 2006 NJ State Fair. A second place...why? Because I was up late finishing it. Judge's comments stated gorgeous but the sides were slightly wavy. I did change hooks but it wasn't good enough. I deserved it for rushing... but hey! I'm not complaining about a 2nd place in a State Fair!

Pattern is from a 1979 Leisure Arts Afghan booklet by Jean Leinhauser. Hi Jean!
Crochet Insider for a recent interview about this fascinating lady.

Star Afghan

One of the Star Afghan patterns from the site
I just adjusted the colors and number of rows as I liked...finished and brought to yesterday's KnitWits meeting. A smaller one in a lapghan size; perhaps in Red,White & Blue for the American Legion... :) Oh well...a completed project and one WIM...the list gets longer...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Victorian Cape & Baby Cloud Blanket

This was given with the yarn Christening Gown pictured below...almost forgot about it and glad I started taking pictures last year...won a ribbon in the Warren County Fair.
Free Pattern from Crochet Pattern Central: Victorian Cape

In addition I had finished a baby afghan done in Red Heart Baby Cloud yarn; 3 different colors; ripple pattern on wrapper. Impulse buy!...I wanted to try an item with this yarn...

NJ State Fair Winner

Cute Outfit!! Won a 2nd place ribbon in the NJ State Fair and later was given as a gift.
Pattern from: Crochet Fun!; Number 12; Copyright Aug/Sept, 1989.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Christening Outfit #2

Ok...sometimes I need something INTENSE! I go to a thread project. This suited that need very well.
Done in a vintage style pattern with a pineapple hem in size #10 crochet cotton and size #6 steel hook.
Pattern is from the Leisure Arts Christening Collection; leaflet #2568; design by Kay Meadors, copyright 1994.

Complete with hat and booties
Close up of pineapple hem...

Christening Gown set #1

This was commissioned for and used last year for a christening. I love making these sets! This one is in LB Jamie Pompadour baby yarn.
Pattern is from The Needlecraft Shop; leaflet #921804; "Crochet Special Moments Baby Layette", copyright 1992. Designed by Sue Childress.

Monday, January 15, 2007

POSER! My #1 model...3 year old grandaughter Mariah in her Lion Brand Velvet Spun plush hat and boa scarf. Pattern is free on the LB site.
Hat is slightly askew as she pulled it down over her eyes...pushed it back up...and gave me a quick pose.
This is toooooo funny! A Psychotic Tomato ! I made the above from the free pattern on her site and have it sitting on the top of the puter. Cracks me up everytime I look up...
A very talented craftsperson, IMHO, with a wild and vivid imagination that shows in her projects. Follow her blog and website for some good humor!
I think I HAVE TO GET that jellyfish! What a hoot!

Hats, Hats, Hats and other fun stuff!

What would a craft fair be without them?! OK...I only have been making one kind- the Skull/Skullie Cap. They're a BIG seller in this area especially in the Camo "flavors"...for both boys and girls. Easy and fast to make in DC' or closed stitches...with SC rows for the brim.
There are many patterns available on the web. This one is a favorite and available at: TwinStitch
And let's not leave out the little ones. I gave more of these hats away as gifts and donations than anything - with added jingle bells on the top loop chains. It's a really cute hat by a talented traveling gal: Yarncat
Great site she has...take a look!

Both types of hats are also made by the NW KnitWits group for donations.
Flip Flops and Decorated Gloves...

I usually make at least one dozen, if not more, of an item for a show and this is what's left of the fun fur flip-flops and the funky gloves from the show in March.
I used 2 strands of fun fur and made them really fluffy...and who would have thought how cute gloves could be decorated with Puffy Paint?? Both items proved to be best sellers...

Scrunchies and more scrunchies...

What's a table without Scrunchies?? I always have a nice basket or two of different patterned ones...the kids love them as they are priced to be gentle on their allowance.

Pretty Dresses & Sweaters:

OK...I've started going through bins and surprised myself by what I found. I forgot about these.

Yes--they are from that hard to find OOP Annie's Attic "Baby's Heirloom Wardrobe"; leaflet #87H30; copyright 1983. I made all of the patterns and have the below 3 dresses left...
I love to do baby projects. Pretty and you know there will be an end to the project. :) Like the sweaters below. I entered one in the NJ State Fair a couple of years ago and won a Blue Ribbon. It's a vintage are the other two. I didn't keep track of what book/magazine I took them out of so I can't give a pattern reference.