In a pinch: Needle protector

What crafter doesn’t have wine in the house?

cork needle protectors

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Safer already

Most security grills for windows feel too much like prison bars.  We needed to secure some windows in our house and thought of designing our own in metal. Instead of getting out the welding kit and torch, Dan laser cut a Chicago skyline and installed it outside the windows.   I love our new downtown view!





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Something quick

With too many projects and very little time, I kept putting off a baby shower gift until the last minute (not unlike many knitters and crocheters!).  I was relying on Bernat Baby Blanket super bulky #6 yarn and a size P hook to quickly crochet up a baby blanket.

Once again, it was down to the wire. I frantically weaved in the ends in the car on the way to the shower,  wrapped the blanket in tissue paper and tossed it in a party bag!

01_baby shower blanket

My only disappointment was that the granny square pattern had many holes that normally are not recommended for baby blankets.  I should have known better. In the end, the recipient, my niece (her baby due at the end of August), loved the final product.

What is your favorite last minute gift.


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Lily Chin

Lily Chin demonstrating how steaming can add drape to stiff yarn

The Crochet Guild of America’s Chain Link conference was held in Chicago this year, well, in the northwest suburb of Itasca.  It was a special treat to experience a conference dedicated to just crochet.

I was thrilled to learn that Lily Chin was teaching What to Look For In a Yarn and (crochet) Tips & Tricks. I first met Lily in 2007 when I attended a knitting retreat at an Indianapolis yarn store.  Lily has found a solution for many knit and crochet’s little annoyances, from how to rid the gaps at the end of the row to avoiding casting on 250 chains. She has an enthusiastic teaching style, and most of all, a fabulous sense of humor.

Below are my favorite “Lily-isms.”  What is the funniest thing a teacher has taught you?


Yarn StashKnitting Mistakes
Red Heart Yarn

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Inevitable (adj), certain to happen

Someone just asked me if it is inevitable that my (3yo) daughter will be a knitter. Your thoughts?


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Spin of Door County


On a recent trip to Door County I visited Spin yarn store, Sturgeon Bay, WI.  The store owner bought and refurbished the building. The building’s first 50 years housed the Bank of Sturgeon Bay.  Its next 50 years it was an insurance company.  Since the early 2000’s, it been a yarn shop.

The store was easily 3,000 plus square feet and carried many great brands like Rowan, Berroco, Noro and Sirdar. In the second room of the store was a large table with a wall of yarn and a wall of books.  The third room was a classroom that included a larger table, and a small area with a couch and comfy chairs.

The ceilings at least 12 feet high with original tiles. Other details included the decorative window panes and lite above the door. The building still has the alarm box attached to the exterior.

The bank vault was intact and was safe keeping the lace yarn.

Spin is a very charming yarn store. I love the attention to detail and uniqueness. Moreover, I was lucking enough to visit the weekend of their yarn sale!

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Lady Liberty: An Inspiration to Immigrants


Many front yards have potted plants, a goose or a gazing globe. For the 4th of July, many folks fly a flag. Not Dan, nope. He has bigger and better ideas!

Dan designed a Statue of Liberty sculpture in opposition of the recent U.S. travel ban. After weeks of designing, Dan first laser cuts a smaller prototype of his sculpture.


The final design was cut on a ShopBot carved on MDF board.  Dan never really appreciated “The New Colossus” sonnet until he ended up reading it a hundred times as he prepared the pedestal for the engraving process. He found the full context much more striking than the few words that are regularly recited.

Statue of Liberty.

A few coats of paint and a gold leaf flame later, and Dan’s tribute to Lady Liberty was complete.

Statue of Liberty.

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