Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crocheting with Elizabeth

Elizabeth Hiddleson-isn't she pretty!!!!
I am such a crochet nerd; I get all excited when I get some new thread, and I order old patterns off of Ebay that I know I will never make. I drive David crazy by pointing out afghans and doilies in the old western movies he loves to watch, and I will drive 50 miles for a ball of Royale size 10, #0424 Lt. Peach if I have to.
So, it will probably come as no surprise that I am a crochet designer "groupie," (for lack of a better word.) I love my favorite designers and I collect their patterns the way I once collected David Cassidy records (at least I don't have posters of them on my bedroom wall!)
I have a short list of my all time favorites: Annie Potter, Esther Parnell Hewlett, JoAnn Maxwell, and the superstar of the crochet world: Elizabeth Hiddleson. I don't know a lot about her personal life. She had many designs published in Workbasket Magazine in the 50's where she was often refered to as "Miss Elizabeth Hiddleson." I have heard stories that she was a hermit and lived alone out in the desert in California; that she became so wealthy from selling her patterns that she bought houses for all her children. Who knows what is fact and what is fiction? I do know she was a prolific and extremely talented designer. Her doilies are still popular today, and with good reason. They are simply beautiful.
Her patterns can sometimes be a little hard to understand. She relied heavily on the photos that accompanied her doilies, and the phrases "watch the picture," and "continue by picture," are used often. She sometimes sounds like a mother in the wording of many of her patterns (the following are quotes taken directly from Volume 10 of her designs):
"Rnd 22: (this may not sound right, but do as stated)...."
"Rnd 1: ch 3 for dc, I will not keep repeating this, just remember when rnd starts with dc to ch 3 for 1st one....."
Some of her abbreviations are a little hard to understand, too. What the heck is a "prr," (I think it means previous row/rnd)  and what does "sl st in top of 3 ch bgr" mean? (I believe this means "sl st in top of the ch-3 at the beginning of the round") The first time I made one of her doilies, it took me three days to figure out that "rf*" meant to "repeat from *"
What a dummy I was! But sometimes when I have been struggling with my own patterns like I have been lately, it makes me laugh to read some of the old patterns, and see what they used to be like.
"No Checks Please"- looks like some things never change! Elizabeth used lots of clip art in her books.

But the letter she included on page 32 of the book touched my heart, and I want to share it with you:
To my customers--
Whom I regard as unseen friends. I want to thank the many who sent greeting cards. I wish time would permit that I might reply separately to each of you, but the number is too great. Therefore, I hope you will accept the fact that each message is appreciated.
Also to the thousands who have written how very much they enjoy my creations in Crochet, I am most grateful. Of course I must make a living, but aside from the financial part of my business, it is a much more satisfactory life just knowing that through my creations I am providing pastime and enjoyment for others.
Again thank you each one.
Wow, Elizabeth, I couldn't agree more!!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

LoisLeigh's Mermaid bookmark

I have almost come to terms with the fact that there are just not enough hours in each day for me to crochet all the things I want to make. Almost come to terms, but not quite. I am good most of the time; I try to spend my time wisely, working on my own designs. I can't tell you when was the last time I bought a new crochet pattern designed by someone else.
Well actually, I can. It was last Friday, when I saw this: This cutie is "LoisLeigh's Story Time Mermaid Bookmark." When I saw her, I knew I had to make her; she is just too cute!!!!
Lois Leigh Anderson is a very talented knit and crochet designer, who has also designed Jack and Jill bookmarks and is working on a Little Red Riding Hood version (I can't wait for this one; Red Riding Hood has aways been my favorite fairy tale.) The patterns are available for download in her shop on Ravelry:
and also in her Etsy shop:

I love her sweet face, and the garland of shells around her head!

I had hoped to work on her this past weekend, but things didn't go as planned (as usual.) But Lois says she works up very quickly, so I will make the time to sit down and crochet her soon.
My plan is to make her for my granddaughter Anna for Christmas. I think she would make a wonderful gift for a little girl (or a big one!), tucked inside a book of fairy tales (maybe marking "The Little Mermaid," by Hans Christian Andersen?) I know she will love it.
And after I have finished Anna's, I will make the Little Red Riding Hood for myself!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A wonderful site to visit!

I always hesitate to post about a "new find" because I am afraid everyone but me already knows about it, and I am just woefully out of touch (as is usually the case). Anyway, if you already know about this site, please bear with me. Maybe there is someone else out there that hasn't heard about it, and it really is too good to miss.
This morning while rambling around on the Internet I came across this wonderful site:
If you love old crochet patterns like I do, I know you will want to visit. They have pdf's of many wonderful old crochet, knitting, tatting and other needlecraft books and magazines. They are all in pdf format, and they are FREE!!!! I spent an hour looking through many of the old crochet books. They even had a copy of "The Bungalow Crochet Book" by Winifred Clark, which I have been searching for forever. Unfortunately, I didn't find the other book by Winifred Clark for children's and baby crocheted items that I have been looking for, but there were many more beautiful old books. All of the books are in the public domain, so there is no copyright infringement.
This is a marvelous site, and they are doing such a wonderful service to the crochet community by preserving and sharing these amazing old books. I am going to look through my old patterns and see if I have any I can contribute.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Mabel's Fairy Doily

There are two things that stand out in my mind as highlights of my career as a designer:
The first was having one of my designs published.
The second is realizing someone actually crocheted one of my designs. I LOVE to see pictures of things you talented folks have made from my patterns- it is such a thrill to see what you have done with them.
Last week, Mabel sent me a picture of the Flower Garden Fairy Doily that she had made. She has displayed it in such a wonderful way. Here is what she says about it:
"I purchased a shadowbox and mounted the doily in the center. I added various flowers and leaves and some butterflies around it. I've gotten a lot of compliments on it from friends and relatives."
I understand why, Mabel, it is gorgeous. I love the pansies!
If you have crocheted one of my patterns and would like to share it, please let me know at:
I would love to see what you have created!