Monday, July 27, 2015

Here is my pattern for Wink2 Tribute.  It is a mandala I designed, using Marinke's design elements into my own original design.  I made it to be part of Kathryn Vercillo's Mandalas for Marinke Project to honor Marinke's life and to raise awareness about depression.  See: for more details.  I am offering this free pattern especially for those of you who may like to use it for Kathryn's project.  Feel free to contact e if you have any difficulties with it.

Crochet Hook: I used a U.S G-6/4mm because I like tight work.  However, the yarn I used recommended a 5mm (U.S. 8) and it might be easier to use a larger hook than the one I used.  This should not matter for the Mandalas for Marinke Project since a mandala size was not specified.

Yarn: I used Paris Drops, a loosely plied 100% cotton that was Wink’s favorite yarn.
                Colors Used:
                   Color A = strong yellow #14 (for center of center flower and sun rays)
                   Color B = vanilla (light yellow) #35 (for cluster-petals of center flower)
                   Color C = opal green #11 (for stems and leaves)
                   Color D = white #16 (for fence)
                   Color E = hot pink #06 (for blossom clusters)
                   Color F = dark turquoise #10 (for sky edging)
                   Color G = red #12 (for heart)

Sewing thread in color G, Darning needle, Sewing needle, and Scissors

Rnd 1:  Using color A, ch 2, 8 dc in 1st ch, sl st in 1st dc; finish off.

Rnd 2:  Using color B, (dc 4, sl st in back of 1st dc, [cluster made], ch 3) around, sl st in top of 1st cluster; finish off (8 clusters).

Rnd 3:  Using color C, (sc 4 in ch-3 sp {between clusters}) around, sl st in 1st sc; finish off (32 sc’s).

Rnd 4: Using color D, attach yarn above one cluster, (sc 2, long sc into space below 3rd-Rnd {between next two clusters}, sc in next2 sts) around, sl st in 1st sc; finish off (40 sc’s).

Rnd 5:  Using color C, working in back: (trc in 3rd-Rnd before a cluster, ch 2, trc after the cluster, ch 5) around, sl st in 1st trc; finish off (16 trc’s).

Rnd 6: Using color E, (4 dc in ch-2-sp, sl st in back of 1st dc [cluster made], ch 8) around, sl st in top of 1st cluster; finish off (8 clusters).

Rnd 7:  Using color D, (sc 5 in ch-8-sp;  ch 2, sl st in 1st ch [picot made];  dtrc in 4th-Rnd-long-sc [spoke made], sc 5 in same ch-8-sp) around, sl st in 1st sc; finish off (8 spokes topped with picots).

Rnd 8:  Using color A, working in back loops only: dc on one side of a picot, (ch, dc on the other side of picot, ch, sk 1, dc, ch, sk 1, dc over closest side of cluster, ch, dc, ch, sk 1, dc, ch, sk1,dc on closest side of picot) around, sl st in 1st dc; finish off (48 dc’s).

Rnd 9:  Using color F,  starting between 2-dcs-above-spoke (dc 2 in next ch-1-sp, dc 3 in next ch-1-sp) around, sl st in 1st dc; DON’T FINISH OFF (120 dc’s).

RND 10:  Continuing with color F, sc in same st as sl-st, (sk 3, dc 6 in next st, sk 2, sc {directly above 6th-

Rnd-cluster} [1st fan made]; sk 3, dc 6 in next st, sk 3, sc  {directly above 7th-Rnd-picot} [2nd fan made]) around—ending with sl st in first sc; finish off (16 fans).

HEART:  Using color G, ch 6, dc in 3rd ch, sl st in same ch, ch 2, trc in same ch, ch 2 , sl st in 2nd ch of foundation-ch, finish off.  Weave tail through 1st ch of foundation-ch and up one side of heart and down the back-middle, weave other tail up other side of heart and down back-middle. Using sewing thread, tack heart to center of mandala.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!  

Spiraled/Twisted Crochet Hooks

I promised a blog posting on May 31, 2015, and I am sorry that I am almost a month late.  This blog was to accompany the article in the Autumn 2015 Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) Chain Link Newsletter.

In that article I referred to a favorite antique hook...and although it is not spiraled, but rather has cross-hatched markings,  here it is:
It is bright copper, with an elongated in-line size 13 hook head.  Other than liking in-line style heads, I can't really say why I like it so much, but I find it to be a great hook for working fine threads.  Finding a hook like this is one of the advantages of collecting many types of crochet hooks.

But my article was about spiraled or twisted crochet hooks.  Here is a picture of those in my collection:
Most of these hooks are vintage.  On the top is a very long spiraled celluloid plastic one.  Celluloid is an early plastic.  The two hooks on the left in the line-up are bone with simple spirals incised in the base of the handle.  The third is also bone, but has more deeply carved spirals.  The fourth is ivory, with a lacey spiral-carved handle, with a clamp on top for the missing hook.  The fifth is bone,with incised spiraled vines.  The sixth (the one with the carved hand) is ivory and also incised with spiraled designs.  It is followed by one with a spiraled mother-of-pearl handle.  The eighth is the 2012 CGOA annual hook.  It was made by Knitting Glass Guy and is glass with spiraled latticino within the handle.  It is followed by a Celtic Swan forged brass hook.  I probably bought this about 15 years ago, when they still made brass ones.  I would love to get one of Celtic Swan's silver or gold ones in which they now specialize.  That is followed by three vintage forged steel hooks.  The second to the last hook in the line-up is a metal hook with incised spirals.  I think it was a nut pick, that was repurposed into a crochet hook.  The last in the line-up is one with spiraled wire, spiraled again around the handle.  On the bottom is a relatively new hook with a spiral-carved olive-wood handle.  This hook was found on eBay.

I mentioned one other kind of spiraled hook, one that is made of naturally twisted wood.  I don't have any like that in my collection, so I started a search for one.  I did not have any luck.  I found a vendor on Etsy who carves hooks, some which look almost like they are naturally twisted in the photographs.  I asked her if they were and she told me that wood like that usually has been damaged by insects or rot.  Anyway, I still want one.  We had a pawpaw tree fall in our yard, with many years' growth of vines.  Below is a photo of some of the twisted branches/vines I salvaged.  Maybe someday I will attempt to make one (or more) of my own.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Current Activities, Freeform Crochet, Beading, WWI Knitting, and Mining

Update on my activities.  About two months ago I finished my freeform crochet contributions to Prudence Mapstone's latest crochet/knitting collaboration: 50 Years of Flower Power.  My paisley

 is typical of many of the other contributions , but then I decided to create a tribute to Peter Max.

I can't wait to see how Prudence will assemble her collage of many hundreds of freeform contributions!  She is such a busy lady, teaching freeform knitting and crochet worldwide.  So I don't know when it will be completed, but occasionally she posts teasers of small sections that have been assembled.  See her blog (You may have to sign-up to access it):

A couple of weeks ago I completed my submission to this year's International Free Form Fiberarts (IFFF) Guild.  This year's theme is: The Ocean/the Color of Water.  I was inspired by Bobby Vinton's song "somewhere Beyond the Sea...on golden sands" , by shells naturally "freeformed" by sea worms and surf (which I found at Carolina Beach, NC), and by my love of beachcombing.  Mine is done in thread and bead crochet and various beading techniques, including freeform peyote beading.  I can't release my pictures yet, not until approximately late June, but in the mean-time check out past year's IFFF challenges on 

Currently I am writing an article on WWI Knitting Propaganda for the Center for Knit and Crochet--due in about a week.  Their earlier articles (many of which are really interesting) can be found on:

A few months ago I bought a beautifully-made and unusually-colored Sonoran Sunrise Jasper cabochon from Laura Lyle Wing (who sells her cabochons on Facebook).  It is blue turquoise and copper color rather than the more usual blue-green and red.  This cabochon has been calling me while I have been working on all my commitments above.  It really wants to be made into a necklace.  Despite deadlines, I have bezeled it and have started its design.  I plan to submit my design to one of the many beading magazines.

Lastly, I am so excited about (and am starting to prepare for) my upcoming (July 10-12) Mining Women Beading Retreat with Amy Katz and Paulette Baron .  We will be mining at Poland (Maine) Mining Camp for quartz, tourmaline and other gem stones and will have beading classes in the evenings from Amy and Paulette.  All food and bedding supplied by the Camp.  What could be more fun?  One of our little party has had to drop out due to family issues, so if you are interested in purchasing her slot contact Amy or Paulette.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I recently published an article in the Crochet Guild of America's (CGOA's) Chain Link Newsletter on the "Miss Nimble Fingers" Speed Crochet Contest which took place on the grounds of the 1940 New York City World's Fair.  I promised close-up pictures on my website, but I am having problems with updating my website.  So I am posting them here.  Here's the program announcing the contest:

And here are the contestants:

Out of a field of 300-500 contestants, there was one man, Mr. Clifford Anthony of Union, NJ.  Here he is receiving a $5,000 accident policy "against the perils of flying crochet hooks":

And here he is demonstrating crocheting "hazards":

And here getting a demonstration of nurse's medical attention, should it be needed:

And because "the women made it quite hot for the lone male," here he is receiving water and shade:

And despite all the attention paid to Mr. Anthony, here is the winners' circle (with no Mr. Anthony). Mrs. Jennie Verbeak (or Verbeck, depending upon the source) won with 118 scallops, Mrs. Elizabeth Steffanelli (or Stafanelli) won the second prize.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

There were 20 contenders for my NatCroMo give-away for the two ca.1913 Stitchery Quarterlies.  Anyway, I hated to disappoint so many, so I dug out 5 additional duplicates of vintage crochet publications that I have, to offer as "consolation" gifts to 5 additional people.  They are:

  1. Mary Card's 1920 Original Designs in Various Styles of Crochet Book No.1 published in NY, in good condition, but with a bad tear across the cover.  It contains many of her fabulous designs.  But it is not in modern American notation, however the first page offers descriptions of each stitch.  It also has fabulous vintage advertisements.  
  2. - 5. are 4 issues of Needlecraft Magazines, all missing covers, but all patterns intact.  All patterns appear to be in old notation similar to British crochet notation, so you will have to do some additional work to reproduce these patterns.  The first of these is November 1913, including crocheted finger purses, coronation braid crochet, some really neat crocheted ties for neck bows, and a few crocheted needlework tools.  
  3. Needlecraft Magazine, January 1918 containing some nice filet crochet edges, crocheted baskets, WWI knitted comforts for soldiers, sailors and airmen.  
  4. Needlecraft Magazine, March 1918 containing a handful of lovely filet crochet designs including a Mary Card "Great Seal of the United States in Filet Crochet".
  5. Needlecraft Magazine, December 1918 (some pages torn in half, but not affecting readability of patterns) containing Mary Card Crocheted Gifts designs, daffodil filet crochet design, camels in filet crochet for a child's bedspread, and knitted items for soldiers, sailors and airmen.  
I blindly drew 7 names, all winners have selected their publications and all publications were all mailed on April 21, 2015.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015 NatCroMo

As we near the end of March, I hope everyone has been enjoying National Crochet Month (NatCroMo) and I am delighted to participate in Crochetville's 2015 NatCroMo Blog Tour again this year.  I thank Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka for including me in it.

Let me get to my fabulous give-away first.  Since I consider myself a textile historian (specializing in handwork, particularly crochet and knitting), I approach things a little differently than my fellow designers.  (Actually, I feel a little presumptuous referring to myself as a designer; I consider myself a fledgling designer.)  So, rather than a free design or yarn, I am offering two (one each) c1913 Stitchery Quarterlies to two randomly-chosen people who send me a Facebook message stating "NatCroMo" between March 31 and April 15, 2015.  (If you are not already my friend, you may have to befriend me first to send me the message.)  I will put your names on slips of paper and blindly select the lucky winners no later than April 30th.  Good luck to all entrants!!!

So, you might ask "What are Stitchery Quarterlies?"  They are publications edited by Flora Klickmann during the early 20th century to supplement her Girl's Own Paper and Woman's Magazine (GOP), which she also edited.  GOP was a British equivalent to the 19th century U.S. Godey's and Peterson's Magazines, covering all topics deemed of interest to women. As Stitchery's title reveals, these supplements were devoted to textile handwork.  For more information see my May/June 2011 PieceWork magazine article "Flora Klickmann: Author, Editor, Needleworker."  I am proud that my adaptation of her butterfly is on that magazine's cover.  As you see I also have made these butterflies with finer, size 80, tatting thread.

Stitchery No.1 starts out with Flora's editorial "How Needlework Reveals Our Aims," and features Irish crochet patterns including the original instructions for the above butterfly (all patterns are in antiquated {pre-standardization} British notation), plain crochet (both thread and wool), Tunisian (Afghan stitch) crochet, articles on: Flora Klickmann's needlework tools collection, lace (bobbin and needle), beadwork, and other techniques.  It is a delightful little magazine.

No.4 starts our with Mary Frances Billington's editorial "Needlework and Commonsense." It includes many plain thread and wool crochet and Irish crochet, knitting, macrame  and embroidery patterns.  It includes a fabulous thread Daisy Design Baby's Cap made largely out of bullions (roll stitch).  It, too, is a delightful little magazine. 

Additionally, I am reintroducing my free Flower Bangle Pattern, in case you missed it last year.  See for pattern instructions.

This blog is supposed to introduce me to you.  I am a retired government official, having specialized in large, main-frame computer systems. While working at that high-stress job, I relaxed by studying textile history, learning many textile and beadwork techniques, occasionally teaching others to crochet, and collecting textile handwork tools and publications.  While I still relax in the same way, that was my "other" life. 

Since retiring from my computer career in 2005, I have devoted much of my time to becoming a Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) professional member and earning CGOA's Master of Crochet Stitches and Techniques. My CGOA mentor, Randy Berne Cavalier, (a talented designer of classic crochet patterns) encouraged me to follow my passions and helped me recognize that I could fill a unique niche due to my years of studying textile history. So I began writing about textile history and adapting antique patterns for modern use.  You can find my articles in PieceWork, Crochet Traditions, CGOA Chainlink Newsletter, and Paper & Advertising Collectibles Marketplace magazines and Gwen Blakely-Kinsler's Royal Ramblings Blog.  

So, why am I wearing a vintage WWII-era hat with knitting needles on top for a crochet event?  Although my favorite techniques are crochet and beadwork, I study all needlework techniques and two of my specialty areas are the "WWI and WWII Workbasket Campaigns," which I define as the campaigns during the World Wars to knit (mostly), sew, quilt, and even crochet, items for warriors, wounded, refugees, and the patriotic homeland.  In addition to: displaying portions of my collections at various museums,  the blogs I wrote for Gwen ( and, and writing the March/April 2012 PieceWork "Patriotic Knitting Tools" article; I have provided consulting services to Melanie Gall for her CDs of WWI  Knitting all the Day ( and WWII Sweeter in a Sweater  ( knitting songs.

In 2011, at Greensboro, NC, I took freeform crochet classes from Prudence Mapstone.  (This is also where I first met Gwen.)  Prior to Prudence's freeform jewelry class I went to the nearby Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, NC and gathered semi-precious gemstones with the aim to use them in Prudence's class.  During her class I began making my NC Necklace.  I was honored with CGOA's first place award in their Small Wonders category the following year.

In 2013 Prudence Mapstone invited me to participate in her 2013 Hearts & Flowers Freeform Knit and Crochet Tour of Australia and New Zealand.  Here is my contribution:
I wanted to make something to serve as a U.S. ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, and what could be more American than to highlight the international nature of our heritage. I lived in Berlin, Germany during my high school years, where I saw many symmetrical interwoven hearts, so I designed a distorted version of the German heart as the 'ground' of my design, I filled it with flowers symbolic of my heritage: the wild rose for British, the edelweiss and cornflowers for German, the Iris for French, the double rose for my mother's birthplace in New York (and where my parents met during WWII), the violet for my and my father's birthplace in Wisconsin, and the dogwood for my husband's and son's birthplace in Virginia and my home (excluding those years in Germany) since 1951.

This year Prudence Mapstone invited me to participate in a 50 Years of Flower Power Collaboration piece.  Here is my Peter Max Tribute contribution (using his motifs and palette, but all made in crochet and put together in my own composition).  I also made the paisley motif, which is more similar to those contributed by other participants.  I can't wait to see them incorporated in the completed Project.  Prudence has a fabulous eye and it will be exciting to see all the contributions put together.

Future plans:  In addition to writing my regular column in the CGOA Chainlink Newsletter, I am working on a beadwork and crochet ocean-themed project for this year's International FreeForm Fiberarts Guild Challenge---I can't divulge more details on that yet.  I hope to make some headway into some of the books I am planning.  And I want to do more beadwork---I have so many designs in mind and many fabulous cabochons to incorporate...  Also thinking of posting vintage postcards (and other cards) depicting cats with textiles and/or textile tools.  Is there any interest in seeing those cards?