Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Famous Crocheters Through History

What do Queen Victoria, President James Buchanan, Madonna and I have in common? Yep! We all crochet. I was curious about what famous figures crocheted, so I did a little research. Some of the results really surprised me! Really, President Buchanan? Good on you! Perhaps if more heads of state crocheted, there would be less political unrest!!

Meryl Streep crochets, as does Bette Midler. Estelle Getty crocheted, and she even did it on camera as Sophia on "Golden Girls". Debra Messing and Shelley Morrison, Grace and Rosario respectively from "Will and Grace", crochet. Patricia Arquette, Anne Bancroft, Aretha Franklin, Sally Kirkland, Eva Longoria, Alyssa Milano -- the list goes on and on! Martha Stewart learned to crochet in jail. Attagirl!!

"Wheel of Fortune"'s Vanna White and Deborah Norville of "Inside Edition"  not only crochet but have their own collections of yarn, Deborah through Premiere Yarn and Vanna with Lion Brand.

Former New York Giant and LA Ram Rosey Greer crochets. I knew he needlepointed, but the crocheting was a revelation! Lyle Alzado, formerly of the Broncos, the Browns and the Raiders, God rest his soul, also crocheted.

George Washington Carver crocheted. The mind reels!

Men, women; athletes, performers, heads of state, icons -- how cool is it to have this connection to this wide array of people? Crocheting is obviously a craft that stands the test of time and crosses all class, income and education levels. It's simple to learn, portable, and the results can be beautiful! And if you run into Madonna on the street, you'll have something to talk about!!

Stitch 'n' Bitch at the Glenwood on Thursday! As always, Peace, Love and Yarn!!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fond Farewell to Evil Squirrel

We found out last week that our dear friend, Shawn "Sparky Bobby" King, is closing the Evil Squirrel Comic Book Shop. If you browse my past blog posts, you'll see many mentions of Shawn and his shop. Shawn gave my band Glory Chain our first opportunity to play in front of people. He and crafter extraordinaire Rico Blance also gathered their group of knitters to go head-to-head with my group of stitchers for the holiday craft war to benefit Emmaus Ministries. Their team kicked my team's booty down Glenwood Avenue, by the bye! I arose in the pre-dawn hours (pre-Dawn-Marie hours too!!) to crochet with Rico and the other knitters when Shawn's shop was featured on WGN Morning News.

Shawn is a very special person and has given generously to the Rogers Park community, and I'm so sad that he's no longer able to support his physical shop. However, he has a magnificent online shop at http://www.evilsquirrelcomics.com/ and he is also offering a Nerd Delivery Service, where one of their "esteemed nerds" will deliver comic books right to your home!

Evil Squirrel is hosting a farewell party on Sunday, 10 June. The theme is, appropriately, Zombie Apocalypse, and Glory Chain will be part of the entertainment. Check my blog for further details.

Also, to  Shawn and Rico and all of your loyal knitters at the Evil Squirrel Knit Night, I hope you will all join us at the Glenwood on Thursdays from 7-9 for our Stitch 'n' Bitch!!

So that's the news for now, darlings! As always, Peace, Love and Yarn!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We Come in Piece(s)

Today I want to talk about UFO's. No, not that kind!! I'm talking about UnFinished Objects!! If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may have inferred that I am a procrastinator. It's true -- I absolutely am! I am also prone to over-committing and, the whipped cream on the sundae, I have a touch of the Attention Deficit Disorder. Or I am susceptible to distraction from outside stimuli. Or something. Hey, did you see that awesome -- nevermind! Put it all together, and it leads to a plethora of UnFinished Objects. Addison Spore's carseat blanket? UnFinished Object. My mom's mittens that I was designing for her for Christmas? UnFinished Object. The adorable shell pattern hat that I was making  LAST SUMMER but the cats got into the yarn and tangled it all up into a nest? You guessed it -- UnFinished Object.

Every crafter has these!! I was discussing this issue with my friend Sharon Garvey Cohen, who is a quilter. We start something, we get busy with life stuff, we discover a newer, shinier project, and the original project gets relegated to the UFO pile. Or bin. Or closet. Or room. Brothers and sisters, it is time to dust off these UFOs and give them the love and respect that they're entitled to! It's time to finish the unfinished! I am committing to you, my loyal readers, that I will spend the rest of the month of May, and into June if need be (I'll keep you updated on my progress) completing my UnFinished Objects. And when I blog about it, it happens! I've been working on that spring cleaning a little bit every day, and it's making me a little bit happier every day! You, gentle readers, are making me a better person! And for that, I thank you!

In related news, I'll be returning to the Glenwood for a Stitch 'n' Bitch on Thursday from 7-9. I haven't hosted a   Stitch 'n' Bitch for three weeks, due to other obligations. It will be good to get back at it. I hope to see lots of you there, perhaps UFOs in hand!! Until Thursday, my darlings, as always, Peace, Love and Yarn!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Oh, I DO love a good cause! I really, really do! And my friend Anne Zumm introduced me to a new one! WomenHeart, the Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, has a program called HeartScarves, and I'm really excited to participate in it. From a press release on their website: "HeartScarves Craft Community for Excellence in Community Outreach for having grown from a scarf knitting group founded by WomenHeart Champions into a nation-wide network of volunteers who knit and deliver thousands of red scarves to women heart disease survivors across the country.  The red scarf symbolizes the lifelines of caring and support that exist among us. The red scarves are delivered to women heart patients to give them comfort, support and encouragement. HeartScarves also provides a platform for awareness and education about heart disease in women."

They've teamed up with Red Heart Yarn and created HeartScarves kits for crocheters

and knitters.

You can order these kits from the WomenHeart website for $12.99, and Red Heart Yarn will donate $3 to WomenHeart. Or you can find a friend who's in a heart support group and donate scarves you've made directly to her!! The scarves need to be 4 inches by 52 inches, and, of course, they have to be RED!! So let's do it, my darlings! Let's crochet and knit beautiful red scarves for our friends with heart disease as a symbol of our support and encouragement!!

That's all the news for now -- I've gotta make a red scarf!! As always, dolls, peace, love and yarn!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Boy Beanie Pattern for Bernard

Here's the thing: everybody's very busy right now. It's been this way for quite some time, and it's difficult for two people in the modern world to find time in their schedules to sit down and learn to crochet a hat. This has been the case for Bernard Holcomb and me since I taught him to crochet in October. He's a crocheting machine with the one pattern that he knows -- as you'll recall, he made ten scarves by Christmas -- but man cannot live on scarves alone!!

I've been promising for months that we'd find time to sit down, I-hooks in hand, and make hats. I even went so far as to make it a point to repeatedly swing by his dressing room, stalker-style, during Aida in order to stumble upon him with some time on his hands. It hasn't happened. So, in the spirit of social media, and as a token of my supreme trust in Bernard's crocheting ability, I present the Boy Beanie Pattern. This pattern is from Debbie Stoller's awesome book, The Happy Hooker. It's easy, it's fun, and I can whip one out in about an hour. When I dressed the supplementary men's chorus at the Lyric for Lohengrin, before the fellows went onstage to sing a one-hour act of Wagner, I would ask, for example, Geoff what color hat he wanted. Geoff wanted green. So he went to work and so did I. When he returned after Act I, I had a beautiful, freshly-made green hat on his desk. Magic!

The pattern is for two colors; a main color and an accent color for Rows 10, 12, and 14. I usually do just one color straight through. In fact, I've gotten to the point where I just do 13 rows of Double Crochet instead of the accent rows. I'm smooth like that! You can get creative and switch out several colors if you want -- I just don't like to tuck all those ends. As I always say, if I'd wanted to sew, I would've taken up sewing.

So that's the news for now. Remember: if you want to Stitch 'n' Bitch tonight, go to Evil Squirrel Comic Book Shop -- I'm going to a concert! As always, my darlings, Peace, Love and Yarn!!

Boy Beanie


Red Heart Super Saver 971 Camouflage (MC) 
Red Heart Super Saver 0254 Pumpkin (CC)  

Finished measurements - length = 8'\ circumference = approx 20" unstretched. 

one size fits most ages teen to adult, repeat round 9 for a longer hat^ skip round 

9 for a shorter skull cap. 

Gauge - using 5.5mm (US size I) hook^ after round 4 your swatch should measure 5" 
in diameter. Adjust hook size to obtain correct gauge. 

Stitches - 

si St - slip stitch 

sc - single crochet 

dc - double crochet 

sc tbl - single crochet through the back loop only 

dc tbl - double crochet through the back loop only 

Pattern notes - this hat design is made crocheting in rounds^ each round will begin 
with a number of chains which will count as the first stitch^ and is ended by 
joining the last stitch with the top of the beginning chain creating concentric 
circles, ^^st" denotes the stitch of the previous round. 

Begin - with MC ch 3^ join with a slip st to first chain to form a ring. 

Round 1 - ch 3^ 9 dc into ring^ join with si st to top of ch 3. 10 sts. 

Round 2 - ch 2^ dc into same st^ 2 dc in each st around^ join with si st to top of 
ch 2. 20 sts. 

Round 3 - ch 2^ dc into same st^ dc in next st^ * (2 dc in next st^ dc in next st)^ 
repeat from * 8 more times^ join with si st to top of ch 2. 30 sts. 

Round 4 - si st into back loop of same stitch^ ch 2, do in next st^ 2 do in next 
st^ ^ (do in next 2 sts^ 2 do in next st)^ repeat from ^ 8 more times^ join with si 
St to top of ch 2. 40 sts. 

Round 5 - ch 2, dc into same st^ dc in next 3 sts^ * (2 dc in next st^ dc in next 3 
sts)^ repeat from * 8 more times^ join with si st to top of ch 2. 50 sts. 

Round 6 - si st into back loop of same stitch^ ch 2, dc in next st^ 2 dc in next 
st^ ^ (dc in next 9 sts^ 2 dc in next st)^ repeat from ^ 3 more times, dc in last 7 
sts, join with si st to top of ch 2. 55 sts. 

Rounds 7 , 8, 9 - si st into back loop of same stitch, ch 2, dc in each st around, 
join with si st to top of ch 2. hold MC to back of work 

Round 10 - join CC, ch 1, sc in each st around, join with si st to beg ch . 

Round 11 - with MC, ch 2, dc tbl in each st around, join with si st to top of ch 2, 

Round 12 - with CC, ch 1, sc in each st around, join with si st to beg ch . 

Round 13 - with MC, ch 2, dc tbl in each st around, join with si st to top of ch 2, 

Round 14 - with CC, ch 1, sc in each st around, join with si st to beg ch . 
tie off CC. 

Round 15 - with MC ch 1, sc tbl in each st around, join with si st to beg ch . 

Round 16 - ch 1, sc in each st around, join with si st to top of ch . 

tie off MC and weave in yarn ends with a tapestry needle. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring Cleaning

In previous posts, I have alluded to the fact that I have ridiculous quantities of yarn in my apartment. This is, of course, de rigueur for a crafter. I also have copious amounts of other stuff. It's not that I'm a hoarder -- I don't want all that crap in my living space -- it's that I'm a dumper. I find myself constantly running from activity to activity, stopping home to DUMP OFF workout clothes and pick up yarn, DUMP OFF yarn and pick up art supplies. It's a horrible lifelong habit that is exacerbated by the presence of two curious and badly-behaved cats named Roxie and Velma (sidebar: NEVER name your pets after murderesses. They will terrorize you). They see new and exciting playthings in each and every item that I drop at home, and they root around and play with it, knocking things over to see if they're toys -- and EVERYTHING'S a toy.

And then there are Michael's things. Michael's been gone a year and a half, and I still haven't gone through his things. It's a big job, and it's easier to deal with his absence by just looking at his stuff rather than trying to sort and dispatch it. There are those who don't understand what's taking me so long. They just don't get it. Everyone grieves differently.

However, it's spring. And it's finally feeling like spring. So it's time to focus on new beginnings. Also I'm only semi-employed til June, which frees up some of my time for new adventures. And one of these adventures must certainly be organizing my apartment. I need to redirect some energy flow, give my eyes a relaxing place to rest. Establish a place where I can dump things in a safe and contained environment. I can feel my sister and neighbor Mia breathing a sigh of relief as I write this!!

I'm making Lily of the Valley my totem flower this spring, especially in my spring cleaning endeavor. Lily of the Valley signifies a return to happiness, and it's time for me to make that return. It's time to set aside my feelings of grief and loss -- I'm not GETTING RID of those feelings; I'll always feel them. I'm just going to find them a nice spot in the closet where I can take them out if I need them. You know, next to the off-season clothes and the skeins and skeins of baby yarn. It's time for me to return to happiness. And spring is the season to do it. And Lily of the Valley is a great reminder.

So that's the news for now, darlings! I'm off to start my cleaning project. No Stitch 'n' Bitch tomorrow -- I'm going to a concert. As always, until next time, Peace, Love and Yarn!