Monday, June 30, 2008

Color Play! Great Sites for Inspiration

(Below find the promised pic of puppy Rosebud)

At the same time that I've been researching upcoming color trends for the Trendy Crochet class, color came up in the International Freeform yahoo group. This summer I just want to play with colors. I can't name a favorite color because of how they change in combination with others. Below are my favorite links.

Colorcube has lots of color games. My favorite is "Color Scrambles" because I love competing with myself to distinguish subtle shades. See also the articles and screensavers.

Colorjack is great for sophisticated color combinations. Many interesting options.

Fun, fun, color news at the Colour Lovers Blog! Best of all, create COLORED PATTERNS!!

Wellstyled has a color wheel that is so well designed that it seemed simplistic to me at first. Then I looked closer and saw the refinements possible. Nicely designed, concise. I learned what my color combining biases are. uses actual random Flickr images (or others images of your choice) for real-life color schemes. It took me awhile to figure it out. Includes the ability to tag colors and if I understand correctly, the tags are communal.

Check out Lollygirl's Project Spectrum. It's not just for knitters anymore.

Lines and Colors blog has a pretty cool discussion of the color wheel and its development.

I bookmarked this list of color names because I learned such things as, I've had heliotrope (not neon yellow), olivine (not acid olive-green), and puce (not dirty caramel-chartreuse) wrong all my life! And, that I'm probably not the only one confused by "indigo" which sometimes appears as a deep herby edgy teal, and other times as a vivid violet. Check out all of the lavenders. How many people know what "zinnwaldite" looks like? Or Mountbatten pink??

And here's Rosebud, Queen of the Couch, circa 1999 (full name Rosebud Fu Fu Shen). If she could speak: "We both know that I'm not supposed to be on the couch, but I was just about to take a delicious nap, so you could waive that rule just once, right? I won't make a regular practice of it."

Rosebud was the most beautiful dog I ever had and probably the most intelligent. Also the closest thing to a tawny pet lion.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tagged: Time to Face the Music

Doris tagged me so I can run, but I can't hide.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
That was a big year: defended a multidisciplinary thesis on "gender essentialism" so that I could graduate from New College. Succeeded in getting pregnant. Got a puppy, named her Rosebud (nope, not because of the movie). Started paying a mortgage instead of rent. Please check back for a pic of beautiful Rosebud.

Five things on my non-work to do list today:
- Make apptmts for check ups--eye, dental, general physical, blah blah blah.
- Light grocery shopping. Am craving me some fruit and a layer cake.
- Finish cleaning out a closet.
- Get just enough sun.
- Call up a long distance friend.

Snacks I enjoy:
- Cherry pie--I miss my grandmother's made-from-scratch pies. She made her own egg noodles too.
- All nuts except brazilnuts and filberts.
- Chocolate chip cookies from scratch (code for real butter, whole eggs, dark choc)
- DH's hummus

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
- Create huge prestigious juried cash prizes for crochet design, innovation, & development, you know, like scientists have.
- Spend months at a time living abroad.
- Fund the education of girls worldwide; in some cases this has to include feeding and clothing them. Seems to me that educating women nips many socioeconomic & environmental problems in the bud!
- Create a "Stitchbrain"--a digital bank of every crochet stitch pattern in the world, totally cross-ref'd and indexed and searchable by stitch symbol sequences, clickable alternate formats (full text vs abbrevs vs symbols etc), linked to designs featuring them, zoomable & flippable & rotatable, clickable infinite colorwork combinations yes, swatch uploadability from the crocheting citizens of the planet (with gauge and fiber info). It would be beautiful and cheerful and fun and revolutionary.

Places I've lived (in reverse order):
Hollywood FL
Fairfield IA
Seattle WA (my all-time fav place)
Portland ME
Governors Harbor, The Bahamas (I really did move from the Bahamas to Maine. In autumn!)
Cambridge MA
East Troy & Mukwonago WI
Hamilton OH

Jobs I have had:
Buyer/purchaser for a specialty market--fun!!
"Herb Goddess" (the title became quasi-official at a health food store)
Cashier/store clerk
French and Biology tutor at a community college
"Credit Associate" of a department store
Office Manager of a dessert company (ohhhh yes)

People I want to know more about:
I'd love to know what Pam was doing 10 years ago and all that!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

CGOA, Collectible Hooks, and Dee Stanziano!

My blog posts are stumbling over themselves to be written. Now that I have updated my handout for the Trendy Crochet class that I teach every year, I can resume blogging.

An article that I wrote for Yarn Market News (May'08, page 36) about CGOA's commemorative crochet hooks has been reprinted in full here (scroll down to June 16 entry). If you don't know what "HAS" is, the article will fill you in.

It's an honor to see my article on Dee Stanziano's blog! A big thank you to the YMN editor, Karin Strom, for giving permission to reprint it, and a big hug to Dee. (Can you tell from her photo how huggable she is?)You can see the classes she'll be teaching at the CGOA conference here (scroll down to "Stanziano").

This is a great time to thank Dee also for being CGOA's Volunteer Email Correspondent for six years. If anyone had a crochet question, Dee was there to answer! But that's not all. This amazing CGOA member also moderates the Hook Collector's Group forum (this is a special group within CGOA), has a large and happily active CGOA Chapter in Connecticut, is active in a wide variety of crochet forums, and has agreed to lead one of the guild's most important committees. Not only that but her husband and kids are delightful.

If you haven't yet met Dee, attend the conference next month and sign up for one of her classes!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More TNNA Show Highlights: the PEOPLE

This is the last installment of my TNNA trilogy: photos and a name avalanche!
We have the photogenic Kristin Omdahl who wore her own beautiful designs every day of the show. Here's a great pic of Ellen Gormley (who wore her own stylish designs every day to great effect) and that's Doris Chan between Ellen and me. Doris was ready to celebrate the successful taping of her TV episode and although she couldn't wear the China Doll (see story here), the blue lace top she's wearing will show up magnificently on film.

The last two pics were taken at the fashion show. We have The Crochet Dude (Drew) and the Crochet Insider (Dora) gearing up to cheer for the 1% crochet content; and on the other side of me sat the radiant Diane Moyer, who endured my cheeky mood that night. We roomed together this year and believe me, she awakes every morning with a rosy glow and her hair looks already styled.

Steady yourself for the name avalanche: I had remarkable first-time conversations with these new friends: Sandi Wiseheart, Maggie Pace, and Clara Parkes. I treasure the quality time I got to spend with Ellen, Kristin, Amy O'Neill Houck, and Annie Modesitt, in addition to the usual suspects (Marty Miller, Jane Schwartz, Mary Beth Temple, Doris, Drew, Dora, Diane). Finally got to meet Jess and Casey and Mary-Heather! I've come to count on seeing Stitchdiva groove a conference! Can you believe Prudence Mapstone's biz trip to Columbus overlapped with TNNA for a few hours before her flight back to Oz? I wish I'd been able to get an espresso (or something) with Robyn Chachula, Kim Werker, Nancy Brown, and Karin Strom (to name a few) and don't worry, I did get espressos, but always when none of these folks was nearby. I kept wishing I could see TNNA regulars Margaret Hubert, Gwen Blakley Kinsler, Mary Jane Hall, Kathleen Greco, and Cari Clement but they couldn't make it this time. Should I list more people I loved meeting or wish that I'd met at TNNA? Because I'm afraid I'm leaving someone out. I haven't even mentioned the cool yarn shop owners I met. Nor have I really talked about the published sweaters walking the show in living breathing 3D.
Supposedly TNNA is about yarn, but it's really about the people. And the way they drape yarn all over themselves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Crochet and TNNA 2008

Let's get down to brass tacks, shall we? You'll find lots of knit-focused blog entries about TNNA-Columbus right now but take a walk with me on the crochet side. My overall hit from this show? Crochet is solidly on the up in knitworld. [I have a dream that someday it will be more accurate to say 'yarnworld' instead] From whence comes such an impression?

Not TNNA's fashion show, which was composed of the same ratio of crochet to knit as the other two years I've attended (oh, about 1% crochet content). What gets shown on the runway is the result of many factors though, so I'll just leave it at that.

Crocheted garments were sprinkled into many show booths, so crochet fairies have been working hard. These garments ranged from magically delicious to practical classics. Some draped more than the knits; some knit sweaters weighed more than the crocheted ones. [There will come a day when I won't feel the need to point this out] One might be tempted to say that this is what causes my "crochet's on the rise" tingles, but not really--there was some great crochet last year. Tinkerbell is a crocheter.

Here's where something truly new is going on: a new attitude among enough knitting attendees to matter, whether they be yarn shop owners or even 'knit establishment' insiders. Knit blinders are off! People are looking at crochet in its own right, not mentally comparing it to knits [and then coming out with a biased verbal gaff]. Crochet designers as a group [not just big names] seem to have earned some credibility somewhere along the line. An open-minded interest is replacing the closed-minded stony-face that crocheters have encountered for years.

I wish I could go into some specifics that reinforce my impressions but I'm sorry I have to be discreet else how will someone be able trust me with secrets in the future? :-)

Crochet's stock is going up. Isn't it great?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Yarn Discoveries at the TNNA Show

This is my first day back from the show, exhausted and happy, so here's a simple list of special yarn discoveries. More on the show tomorrow.

Unusual fiber content:
(yes, the metal, though it doesn't look at all metallic): Zaol BioRope contains "mirawave" which is a silver-content fiber that is supposed to lend the yarn special properties such as being antimicrobial and conducting heat away from the body.

Jadeite (yes, the rock known as jade!) SWTC's "Therapi" is 30% jadeite.

Vicuna, Qiviuk, Guanaco yarns and blends: the yarns were heavenly and so were the first-rate crocheted samples in the booth! (At the website some of the crocheted designs are called "knit".) Here's a hairpin crochet wrap in handspun qiviuk and silk; here's a qiviuk wedding dress.

Milk fiber: Kollage's "Creamy" in icecreamy colors!

Recycled soda bottles? There is a new polar fleece yarn and I can't remember its name nor could I make it to that booth but Marty did and I love the projects she crocheted up already. The yarn looks great crocheted and has all the best qualities of chenille with none of the drawbacks! Hopefully she'll comment here or blog about it herself.

Z-twisted yarns: the yarn is plied with a counterclockwise twist, whereas many yarns (in the US anyway) are s-twisted, which is clockwise. Yeah, I'm the only one I know who actually has a thing for z-twisted yarns. Call me weird, but when I really like the way the yarn makes my stitches look and there's zero splitting, the z-twist is often the reason. (Lefties might prefer s-twist.) When I spot a z-twisted yarn I buy it because I know that even 20 years from now, if it's still in my stash, I'll still enjoy crocheting it.

-Two ShibuiKnits yarns: Highland Wool Alpaca; Merino Alpaca.
-Plymouth's Oceanside Organic.
-Be Sweet's Bamboo. 100% Bamboo yarns usually split on me so I've been anxious to try a z-twisted one. There's also a z-twisted bamboo blend called Spa.
-Two Zaol yarns: the silver-content BioRope (see above) and the lace weight 100% tencel Olive.

After attending previous TNNA shows where designer inquiries were not always welcome (as Stefanie mentioned in her blog today), I didn't even bother asking for samples of the above yarns to swatch with. Now that I've blogged about them I wish I had!