Tag Archives: Camano Island

Your wish is my command!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the CLF Members in the USA. I don’t know about you all, but here on Camano Island it has been COLD! Unseasably cold, and somewhat tundra like, the North Sound is a bit quiet these days as snow and ice have rendered many house bound. I am always so grateful I crochet at these times when I am house bound, or forced into pedestrian activities (trust me yesturday I walked two miles uphill both ways in the snow…them are some big hills.)

That being said, I have not been inspired to write about crochet, because well, I’ve just been doing it. Getting fingerless gloves, and hats, and scarves and blankets done for Christmas presents, I am tickled pink to spend hours by the fire, hot cocoa or hot buttered rum within easy grasp, watching my hands dance with creative spurts of energy. It’s a cozy time. But, fear not, I never neglect you, dear readers, for too long a stretch! I know you want more information, I know that we are so underserved by the publishing world, that I shall not ever take too long a break from the blog.

So, I asked on the CLF Facebook page what more did you want to know about crochet, and two respondants asked about non-yarn projects, in particular Rag Rugs. So, off to Ravelry I went to search for patterns, and to give a bit of thought to the matter.

Some of the best bath mats I ever made years ago were out of old cotton bedsheets. I cut the strips about 2 inches wide, and with a Q hook crocheted them into giant wash clothes about 19 inches long by 14 inches wide, just single crochet rows. They were super absorbant, easily washed, and lasted forever!

Here’s a project with a free pattern from Suzie Johns for a cute little rag rug made out of t-shirt materials etc, you can make them out of any fabric, her directions are metric, but I find for t-shirts you want the fabric not less than 2 inches wide, often a bit wider because it is more fragile.

 

Other neat finds on Ravelry? Oh yes, yes there were a plenty! Check out some of these cool projects!

 Click on the photos to go to their pages on Ravelry!

Hope that gives you plenty of crochet inspiration! Remember if there is a technique you are interested learning more about, always feel free to give a shout on our Ravelry Group, CLF Headquarters HQ or on our Facebook Page!

I will leave you with one last thing, the CLF Website is finally back up and running, and I have spent a good part of the afternoon working on the redesign at home. I will let you know when I get it all polished and published. A face lift, a new way to look at us, and I’ve even figured out next years, crochet retreat theme!!

Crochet@Cama in Review ~ Photos and Fun!

 The retreat began with beautiful music by Don and Deb (Cerdeb) Burger of North Carolina, our LYSO (Local Yarn Store Owner) Sirkku Bingham joined in to play her sheep! Goody bags in hand, with crochet hooks at the ready, the first of many evening door prize drawings got the festivities kicked off!

The weather was unseasonably beautiful, and I’d love to take credit for it, but I’m not going to…beautiful sunny brisk days with gorgeous moonlit nights, and the water…Did I mention it stayed glass like all through the retreat? Eeriely fabulous!

From morning classes where folks learned new skills…

And yes...we bought yarn!

On Monday the local yarn store in Stanwood WA, Pinch Knitter Yarns hosted a wonderful luncheon party for our group of mad crocheters! Wonderful nibbles and fabulous yarn was had by all!

Monday night Andee Graves (Mama2Hands) gave an inspiring and intreguing talk about ergonomics and how to keep our hands, shoulders and necks healthy as we hook! Inspiring because she’s coming up with several classes for next year that will help crocheters on their road to healthy hooking and creative expression! I just can’t wait!!

Andee teaching us all about hooks, handles, grips and stretching!

Tuesday featured more classes! From free form to Commando Crochet to the dyeing of much, much yarn…

Bonnie Pierce free form crochet artist extraordinaire with Mary McDaniel

Many yarns were dyed on Tues

Jimbo and his giant hook "Dippy"

The Center For Wooden Boats' nautical afghan was nearly complete!

Deb Burger took on the charity afghan project. It’s not just any project, but a beautiful nautical themed afghan done in filet using Plymouth Encore. We finished all of the squares (20x20in) and just a bit of the border was left. More to come on that in future blog posts!

We had a great time trying on new stitches, and modeling each other’s clothes!

Group photo and ready for next year!

More retreat photos to come here on the blog and on our website! One thing for sure, we’re doing this again!! Mark your calendars for 2011! October 16-20 at Cama Beach State Park!!

Hooks & Boats

 This is where hooks shall be whittled with Jimbo the greatest hook maker I know! The best part about him coming to the retreat (besides getting to see him cause he’s so awesome) is that he’s teaching how to whittle your own hooks, and both my hubby and my son’s best friend signed up to take his class! Hah! More hooks for me!

Fall has definately arrived at Cama, sadly we’re not getting huge amounts of fall color because of the way we were wet and then really dry, the poor leaves aren’t real sure about what to do! Yet we’re having the most glorious foggy mornings with crisp sunny days! WONDERFUL weather for a retreat! Now if the orcas show up like I ordered it’s all good!

I was taking care of details and logistics with Andrew from CWB and park staff yesturday. You wouldn’t believe how excited everyone is for the retreat to start! I brought Big Red the octopus, which I finally finished, just need to weave in ends, and they fell in love!

They are all plotting and scheming along side me about how to best do the exhibit and how to get as much participation as possible, and where to do fundraisers with it! It’s great to have our enthusiasm for our craft spill over to others! Ok, so most of these folks are like family to me, this park is really special and we have all put our heart and soul into it, so you know that makes a difference. But in some odd way I feel like I can finally bring two of the best things in my life together in one place! The CLF and Cama Beach, what a fabulous combo!

You still have time to sign up for the retreat but not much, I stop taking registrations Oct. 10. Even day pass folks get the fabulous goody bags so, if you can only make it for the day please come! To register go to our website!

Cro-magination…

Cloudy or blue skies, the power of nature is always felt at Cama Beach.

Imagine with me for a moment. It’s early in the morning on the shores of Puget Sound. You’ve bundled up for the cool October morning, cup of hot coffee or tea or what ever wakes you up in the morning, in hand you huddle with others like wise clutching their morning steam power. There is a fog bank rolling over the top of Whidbey Island coming across the water towards the shores of Cama Beach. The water is still, and dark like glass.

It’s quiet, other than the murmurs and shivers of the early risers, until a lone loon wails it’s plaintive song. It’s cry echos against the hill-side, leaving everyone quietly in awe of the new day.

Through the fog bank, the light of the sun coming up from behind the hillside creates a miasma of pink and purple sunrise.

Shuffling off to class, bags and hooks in hand, focused on learning the new skill, or hoping to just pick up a trick or two, you find yourself draw to looking at the water. And suddenly it doesn’t matter if you are “getting it right”, you realise that you are sitting in a room with others, like yourself who love the textures of the fiber they are working with. You stop your reverie and look about the room, instead of picking up your hook you decide to watch the others. Their hands are dancing, in silent rhythms, magic is being made with a single hook and a strand of 4ply yarn.

After class you gather with a new friend to sit at a table outside and have lunch. Sure it’s misting, but the fresh marine air is crisp and clean. Worries melt away, and the early morning  cry of the Loon is replaced by the chattering of Bald Eagles. It’s primal, it’s touches your soul.

After lunch you gather together with your friends to enjoy a talk or a workshop, and once again the hooks come out, and the inspiration flows. You’ve figured out a new skill, or a half step that just makes it so much easier. Then you hear the shout of someone from outside, “Whale! Whale!” Hooks get dropped and people rush to the shore, and the local Orcas are playing not more than 100 feet off the shore, the Bald Eagles sing out, Kingfishers dive for fish, and some where you hear a gull laugh at the folly.

Beyond the crochet, beyond the new technique, beyond the learning about yarn and hooks, and fiber and color, you have had a time, that takes you back…no television noises, no non-stop chattering, no rush hour, no bumper to bumper shopping carts.  The joy and awe on everyone’s faces illuminates the afternoon, and then again the crochet hooks and yarn begin to stitch their magical threads.

As the sun begins to set behind the Olympic Mountains, the orange ball radiates out shafts of light that begin to paint the clouded sky in an artists’ palette of purples, reds, tangerine and it is outlined in gray and white. Everyone stops to look, to take a photo. The Eagle cries one last time as it heads to its nest, and the Raven child says “kerplunk”, you hear a distant Great Horned Owl hoot in the distance, and then the Loon once again sounds its plaintive cry…

Time for dinner, everyone decides to make it a potluck. The gathering of kindred souls has created a bubble that no one wants to break. Sitting in the old building, warm and cozy, good home cooked food to share with friends. Laughter, and more hooks and yarn it’s almost surreal in how good the experience is…

Now for the evening program. Not just a speaker full of hot air, but an interactive event, no one cares if you’re crocheting while they talk. No one admonishes you, you’re on a roll, everyone gets that. The instruments come out and songs are song both silly and sad, fun and heartwarming. The sounds of a dulcimer echo off the hills, and you are transported to a time further back still, when humans enjoyed simpler pleasures.

At last it’s time for bed so another day can begin a fresh. You wash, and change and scramble into your warm blanket, and as you rest your head on your pillow the visions of the day pass through your mind’s eye. You’ve never felt so relaxed, you’ve never been so inspired, you never expected life to be this good.

Yeah, I’m pitching the retreat…but I thought instead of telling you how reasonably priced it is, and how much work we’re putting into it, that I would share my end goal with you. The above story is exactly my vision for people coming to the retreat. I have a little piece of Heaven here on Camano Island; I want to share it with you.

Another fair is past, time to look forward to the retreat!

Well, back to the modern world of cell phones and internet connections. I have to say this year’s fair was the best I’ve had in years!! Even though it rained, and of course it had to rain heaviest when we were judging fleece. For three hours I stood and clerked for our judge with rain pouring off the canopy and down my back, trying to keep the fleece dry was indeed a Herculean effort!

We had some beautiful entries this year from a beautifully finished felt purse created by a 14-year-old exhibitor, to a knit tam made from lace weight spindle spun 2 ply yarn, but my real favorite was the crochet collection by exhibitor Chris Cockett. The story behind these crocheted items is one that will amaze you!

 

 

 

 

 

Crocheted with 2ply hand spun silk thread

The tiny ornaments to the left and right of the doily are a booty and a moccasin, edged in metallic sewing thread, and the moccasins have dangling beads as an embellishment. They are no bigger than 3 inches long, and 2 and a half inches tall. She used a size 7 steel crochet hook, and 2 ply hand spun silk thread which was not the most evenly spun. Her work is highly skilled, but even more so when you find out the whole story.

Chris had a stroke earlier this year, it was quite severe, leaving her paralysed on her left side. Now, as crochet experts, we know that we use our non-dominant hand every bit as much as we do our dominant hand. Chris and I crochet very similarly, we hold our work and control our tension with our left hand, we dance a bit, with our fingers on the left hand manipulating the threads for tension purposes. Not only could Chris not feel her left hand, her entire arm was numb and jerks suddenly as nerves get messages through from her brain.

The day after her stroke, while still in the hospital she demanded her crochet, she has been crocheting since she was a little girl and didn’t want to lose her beloved craft. Two months after her stroke she began to crochet these beautiful and nostalgic ornaments, and the cross bookmark. She complains that the doily took her three weeks to complete, instead of the one week it would have before the stroke.

As a hand spinner as well as a crocheter, let me tell you the challenge of working with silk like that! It likes to mate to itself, and is difficult to rip out, it’s so fine that it knots up, and it loves to tangle. It is slippery, and stains easily, and it’s hard to keep an even stitch when the silk is as varied in diameter as this particular skein is (thick and thin spots).

When she brought the entries in last Wednesday, I cried, she cried and we hugged. Crocheter to crocheter, we both know what it took for her to accomplish this feat of skill. We both know how much the craft means to her, it has been her sanity for many troubled years, and her joy to gift those she loves. She makes gifts for her nurses and doctors, and the receptionists at the offices in town, her grand babies have little dresses and sweaters, and she decorates dolls too. Her fillet crochet is gorgeous, and yet she has been looked down upon before by those who do not recognize crochet as a skill. This year was different. She sat in the log cabin demonstrating and I would point her out to people and explain that the lady pictured above her work was sitting with us, and tell her story (she didn’t want to herself) and explain how amazing these pieces are under any circumstance let alone doing this post-stroke.

And now, ladies and gents, you know why I do the fair. Every year there is a story, every year someone in our department reaches a point of victory. They find out just how capable or creative they really can be in their art forms or in their lives, and sometimes the two cross over. It is an honor to know this self appointed, “Determined German” and I only hope that someday if I should be in the same situation I would have the guts and grit to persevere and over come my obstacles.

You can meet Chris at our upcoming retreat this October! To sign up for the retreat go to the CLF Webpage and click on the links!

Crochet Retreat! Oct 17-21, 2010 Camano Island, WA

Where some of our classes and activities will happen!

I’m getting excited! Since we’re closing in on the end of May, we’re that much closer the CLF sponsored retreat in the Pacific NW Crochet @Cama ! Registrations keep coming in, and that’s fabulous! But we can use more, so please go to the website and register, the sooner I have a decent head count the sooner I can add some really nifty extras for us all!

This coming week, after Memorial Day, I’ll be back to work at full steam on the retreat. This week I was busy traveling to yarn stores in Northern Puget Sound promoting the retreat.

What’s happening at the retreat? 

Morning Classes and afternoon/evening activities, all full of crochet, community and creativity! We’re gonna play and hook, and hook and play!

The retreat only costs $75 which covers all the afternoon/evening activities, classes are registered for separately and are only $10 per hour. It’s affordable, fashionable and fun!

Don’t forget to join us!

Also, if you have a hankering for CLF Gear check out our Zazzle Store I’ll be getting up the CLF 12 Step Program T-shirt very soon!  And if you haven’t got your own copy of the CLF First Ever Book you can do so from our website www.crochetliberationfront.com!

And life goes on…

Before I get down to brass tacks and business, I want to thank you all for the beautiful messages of condolence. I’d like to say that I’m “over it” and moving on, but I can say, I’m merely moving. Truth be told, I’ve experienced a lot of grief in my life and it is really no stranger. This time though it’s just a wee bit stacked up, and I’m just trying to put one foot in front of the other to get my work done in between fits of pouting and mourning.

Sometimes life just ain’t fair.

And again, thank you so very much for your kind words and thoughts.

So, maudlin blahing aside, here’s the work at hand.

Please register for the retreat by going to the CLF Website !!  I know I’m going to need it by October, that’s for sure!

We have people coming from all over the US, from New Jersey to Colorado, Montana to Califoria, it’s really amazing to see the registrants home bases! We can sure use some local Washington folk, so I’ve finished our brochures and those will be sent to local yarn stores every where in the North Puget Sound area. Come on people, sign up, let’s show the industry what we’re made of…

I even added a new afternoon workshop: How to Dye Yarn for Crochet! Ooooh yeah, we’re gonna have a good ol’ fashion dye party!

The retreat is October 17-21, 2010 at one of the most beautiful venues you can find in Puget Sound!