The Crochet Life

This month we welcomed crochet enthusiast Deborah DeBord. Deborah has been a fiber lover for decades and shared her journey through yarn with us, as well as offered practical advice for blind and visually impaired crocheters.

January 8, 2020

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Audio Transcript


Crafting Circle – The Crochet Life

Presented by Leeanne Frydrychowicz and Jennifer Quinn

January 8, 2020

Leeanne F: Let's get started. For those of you that don't know me, my name is Leeanne Frydrychowicz. I am a learning expert with Hadley. I teach all of the braille literacy courses as well as all of the math courses, and I've been an avid crafter for most of my life. I'm particularly interested in knitting, scrapbooking, card making, and quilting. Jennifer James is my co-host and, Jennifer, you want to chime in?

Jennifer Q: Hi everyone. Hi. Yeah I was having some trouble with my own muting here, so thanks for being patient. I am Jennifer James Quinn, and I am the graphic designer and photographer here at Hadley, and I'm a crafter for life. I have a degree in arts, and for my own personal stuff, I like to do mixed media. I've done jewelry making. I do painting, and I really wanted to get into the fiber arts and craft crocheting, so I'm really looking forward to our discussion today.

Leeanne F: Okay thanks, Jennifer. I wanted to make an announcement before we get to our speaker. Hadley has decided to try having Facebook groups for our discussion groups. What that means is Hadley has created, for those people that use the Facebook platform, they have created a discussion group that is a crafting circle discussion group. It is not moderated. I've joined. I know Jennifer joined. It doesn't mean that we're going to be having lengthy conversations on there. It just means for those of you that want to connect in a different way, maybe have lengthier conversations or post maybe projects that you've done or articles that you found that we may not have time for on this platform here in our hour-long conversation once a month. I'm very excited about it and hoping to be able to get to see what everybody's working on, those that join the group.

So I think that's it. I'm very very excited about our speaker today, and I'd like to introduce her and get started on it. I'm thrilled to welcome Deborah DeBord. Deborah has been a fiber lover for decades, and she is an author. She is an educator. She is a cook, a chef, a gardener. I believe she is a renaissance woman of 2020, and I know her a very little bit, and I feel that she is one of those people that she and I could sit down and probably talk for hours and hours and hours without scratching the surface of the things that she's interested in and passionate about; but when I asked Deborah to talk to our group about crocheting and crocheting specifically without sight, I think that this is a real passion for her, and I think that this is something that many of us can learn a great deal from, and I think that she'll have a lot of good ideas for us.

Deborah D: Okay. I'm Deborah, and I was listening to all of your names and everything, and it sounds like a lively wicked smart group, so I'm looking forward to hearing what you people are doing as well. I'm talking to you from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. We live pretty high, in the mountains I mean, in a forest on a river and sort of away from ... Well we don't have cell phones or things like that here, so we're kind of Repidado as they say in Spanish, and I have plenty of time, now that I am retired, I have plenty of time to pursue my craft, my writing. I'm working on a, I think, fourth cookbook. I have a couple of titles with National Braille Press, and I'm having a great time right here in the Rockies.

So what I think I'll do is start with the very first time I ever touched a crochet needle and wondered what to do with it and bring you up to the present with more complicated projects that I'm working on, and then we'll open it up because I'm really interested in hearing what you're doing as well. I think I was about five years old or maybe younger even. My grandmother just kind of handed me a crochet hook. It was actually a hook that my father, so her son, had whittled out of a chicken bone, and she said, "Here I'm going to show you how to do something," and she just showed me how to wrap yarn around the crochet hook and just wrap it and wrap it, not doing anything with it just kind of get the feel of it, and then she said, "Okay now I'm going to show you what to do to make something," and she taught me just a single-chain chain, and when it got to be about a foot, I said, "Okay what can I do with this?" And she said, "Well first of all, you're going to have to do this for yards and yards. You can't start to make something until you really know how the yarn feels and how it reacts and where you make mistakes and when you make a mistake and it starts to unravel and things like that."

So for a long time, I just made chains, and living on a farm, if you have barns and things with the bare light bulb hanging down in a barn or a chicken coop or something, it always has a chain that you pull to turn the light on, a bare bulb; and so I outfitted everybody in the neighborhood and everybody on every farm with their chains and, "Okay okay, now what can I do?" And it wasn't until I was actually in college that my roommate, we were paired up by astrology signs of all things, and we were very very different even though we shared a sign. She was in architecture and art and art history as well, and I was in foreign languages, and I was quite the hippy chick, and she was very very conservative; but we got along famously and just loved being roommates, and one day she toted in this women's day magazine, and she said, "We're going to learn something new. We're going to figure this out," and it was an article on how to take this chain that I knew how to do and how to make projects, how to make pillows, and ... I can't remember what else ... Slippers, I think, of all things.

And so she and I sat, and I, of course, couldn't read the directions, so she read the directions. She tried to figure it out, and then thank goodness she was left-handed, so she could just face me which would reverse the idea for me, and that's how I learned how to crochet, and of course that was in, I don't know, '68, '69, yes. We're that old, and I learned how to do about four or five patterns, and she and I made a pillow with four or five different-looking things as the front of the pillow and then four or five different-looking things for the back of the pillow; and then I thought, "Okay well I'm not much of a throw pillow person, so what else could I do?" And she said, "I know. We need to have," not a contest but, "A group effort or a couple's effort, and we'll do afghan. You do yours. I'll do mine, and we'll see how it works out."

And we found out how to do, which is what we're going to concentrate on today is, the granny square, and sometimes when I mentioned the granny square, very advanced crochet people in the table kind of go, "Oh oo. Everybody does that." Well yeah everybody does do it, and one of the reasons I do it; what is it now, 60 years later; is because it is so predictable and so easy to handle and so versatile. I can do little tiny stitches with silk if I want to or cotton if I want to do something for a baby. I can use a larger needle if I want to do afghans or lap robes. I've even used this ... I don't even know what it was. It was a Z or something needle. Huge. I could barely hold it, to do rugs, to make rag rugs; and it's all the same pattern. I do exactly the same thing. I just start with, "What is it that ..." Either the person that I'm doing it for, "What do they want? What do they want to use it for?"

If I'm doing it for myself ... Which I keep very few things for myself. It's always passed on, or if they have somebody in mind like they're about to have a granddaughter or something. "What is it that they want so that I can help them chose the fiber, whether it's going to be a little tiny skinny fine silk thing, or do they want something more robust, and if it's for a baby, what kind of non-allergenic stuff that it ..." So then I start with how it's going to be used instead of ... The first thing people always ask is, "What color do you want?" And it's like ... That's kind of the last thing I usually ask.

So the granny square, I'll just describe what it looks like in the end. Well, guess what. It's a square, which means that it's very versatile, and you can use it for small things, medium-sized things. You can make a small thing and make a bunch of them and piece them together. You can make one large one for a big king-sized bed. You can make several squares, so they'll always be the same size, but if you piece them together differently, you end up with a rectangle because you put two wide and three long or however it works out; and it's very easy to plan, and when I say plan I mean not just decide what you're going to do but how is it going to be used? How much does it cost you? What kind of fiber do you want because of what the other person has said they were going to use it for?

The planning stage for me is just a joy. It's just joyful because I get to talk to the person or to myself if I think I might be using it for myself and find out all kinds of things, and so what I'm going to do is walk you through the ... Oh I didn't finish. The shape is square, but the actual effect of a granny square is it's like having hundreds of shells connected to each other so that you see these little ... I don't know how to describe it. The bottom of them are all pinched together, but they open up like a shell, and they're all connected, and it's just magical the way it all comes together, and it's so easy to keep track of everything; and I know that I sound excited about this one stitch, but I've just been doing it for the majority of my projects for years. I just have had fabulous luck, and I just finished a project on New Year’s Day, and I can use that as an example.

But let's say that, now that you know kind of what it looks like, it's a little bit lacy. You could stick a finger between two of the shells or not if you make it very tight with a real small needle and real fine thread, so it's really up to you, and once you figure out how the different fibers react then to you because you're doing it, and you might be doing it a little bit differently from the way my hands work ... My hands are 70 years old, so I've got to do it a certain way, and once you figure that out, then the world is just open. It's just a fabulous way to spend time, so let me go through a few activities or a few products that you could end up with the same activity. I might do something as small as a face cloth, something to wash your face with, which would be about maybe nine inches square, and I would use a cotton. You don't want to use wool. Who wants to scrub their face with wool? But I would use a cotton or a cotton fiber, probably not acrylic but something that's natural but very soft and that can stand up to water, and for years, I've used cotton chenille; and I just make a small-ish square, but on one corner, I kind of fly out with a little loop I guess you'd call it, the size of an okay sign with your thumb and first finger; and I just make a loop so that somebody, whoever has it, can hang it on something like hang it on something in the shower for example.

So I might make a bunch of those started in about August or September as ... What am I trying to say? Christmas stocking stuffers or holiday gifts or birthday gifts or whatever, and I do things like exchange with a friend of mine who's a soap maker, and I might say, "Let's do a baker's dozen of these. Let's make 13 of these, and I'll do 13 of the squares, and you do 13 small-ish bars of soap, and we'll do it twice. We'll do 26, and then we'll exchange," and we each end up with a wonderful gift for a very small amount of money, and it's half hers and half mine, and we pass it on to all kinds of people; so that's a really small project, and that might take me about an hour to do or hour and 15 minutes so less than a movie on TV, and you end up with something really really nice in the end.

The next size up, I also do what I call stroller tucks, baby blankets; and they're larger, but they're also square, and since I put fringe on two opposite-facing ends, then it ends up being more of a rectangle, and I do it just the size that an infant would need to have it tucked around him or her in a stroller or a carrier or something; and I give that to my friends who are pregnant or waiting for either a grandchild or their own child, or sometimes I do it for churches or spiritual groups or for whatever, for just the purpose that you might need something about that size. Let's see. The next size up would be ... This is something that I'm doing a lot of these days. A lot of my friends are avid readers, and we live here in the mountains, and we spend some pretty cold winters; and sure, we've got fireplaces, and we can stoke those, but we try to stay low on the fuel and stuff, and so a lap robe is really welcome for if you're a movie watching or book reader or you have a friend who's one of those. Then they're very welcome, and they're strong. They're sturdy so that you can sort of stretch them and lie down and sort of put your feet in one corner, and it stretches a little bit. They're just very forgiving, and I'm going to touch wood right here. I have never had one unravel on me or get hooked or cut or anything, which could be a disaster. If it started in the middle, then you can't catch it, so that's a very good size, and those, depending on how big the person's lap is, I usually make them about four and a half feet square. I had a fellow recently that said, "Make mine five, five and a half." I said, "Fine," so all it meant was a little more time and a little more fiber.

And then of course from there, you can just get as large as you want. A queen-sized bed takes about a five and a half foot, probably, square; and what that would do would be to cover the bed and then drape over about six inches. King-sized, same thing only you're starting with six or seven feet and then a little extra for it to drape over, and within square pattern, you've got all kinds of choices; and I'm going to describe the very first thing that Billy Sue, and I made. Billy Sue. He's here in Texas. You got to have two names. Billy Sue and I, in our little hook off thing, we made tiny squares, I'd say maybe three or four inches square, all different colors, and one square might be red. One square might be red and blue. One square might be white and pink or all pink or whatever. We chose colors that would actually not offend each other by being next to each other, but we ended each one in black so that it would be a multi-colored square with a black not a ring because it'd be square but a black four-sided thing around all of those colors so that it would look like stained glass. It was just stunning and so fun because all the blacks kind of hooked up together once we put them all together and sewed them together. They all hooked up so that it looked like stained-glass window which would have bright colors, probably, in the middle. Or it doesn't have to be bright. It could be muted and earth toned or whatever, but that black sort of ring around it would signify the lead that stained glass is held together with, which always looks like a black line in between colored glass, so that was our first project, and as I said, I was kind of a little hippie chick at the time, and so that very first project is one of the few that I've saved for myself, and it actually has my then golden brown ... I had long, long pigtails. A few things of golden-brown strands of hair that got crocheted in here and there, and I saved that one for myself. The only other thing I've saved for myself that I'm going to pass on sometime soon I think was also smaller but not quite that little, maybe a foot square but many many different hues, I guess you'd say, of white, so white is not only white. It could be winter white which is sort of a beigier thing. It could be snow white. It could be bunny white. It could be all kinds of ... And I would just collect fiber over many many years, and as I got enough whites to make a square that would be that size, and then I'm going to put them all together, and they're huge. I mean it's going to be at least a nice king-size afghan or coverlet. I made one for my now husband, and we call his sleeping style the JW Ramsay all-star rodeo because he can't be still for five minutes at night, so when I first made his in the '80s I think it was or the late '70s, I thought, "Oh gosh. If this withstands his sleeping habits and his idea of what it is do to at night, then I know that this is a strong stitch," and he still has it today so 2020, and so if it withstands that, then it's good for anything.

And it's washable because I used all organic fibers, all soft wools and cottons, and I think I even was able to work in some hemp, and just it's a gorgeous piece, so I hope I'm giving you an idea of what you can do with it. Let me add one thing that I think is important, and that is the planning, which is ... I always ask the person that will end up with it not, "What color do you want?" Or, "What are you going to do with it? Is this going to be something that you curl up with a good book? Are you going to pass it onto a relative or someone maybe that you don't even know?" And then we go with the colors and the sizes and the size of the stitch, whether you want it to be really tight and not frilly but very neat and small or, "Do you want it to be larger?" And then we go either to the store if they're close, or I can go, and I have a woman at the Yarn Barn place that will take pictures of colors for me and email them to the person if they're not close by, so I always start with the person that's going to end up using it. Then I end up with what I call ... I put intention into the project so that I actually sleep with it, not next to me but between two quilts. I'll sleep with it for a couple of nights and maybe have some good dreams I hope and pass that on with the project itself, and then I also include a letter that describes everything like where did the yarn come from, why were these colors chosen; and I also tell them how many French knots, and I've got a little recording here. I think it's 38 ...

Speaker 4: Thirty-six thousand two hundred.

Deborah D: 36,253 French knots were in my most recent project that I just finished, and it was a lap robe size, and I have a thing that I know how to figure it out, and it's always pretty interesting for them to hear, "Oh my God. 36000 knots you made?" "Yeah that's why it took me six months to make it," and then I also will be giving her a list of all the movies that I watched while I worked on it, the books that I read on tape, and then also maybe the thoughts that I had when I just worked in peace. The end. Okay, let's open it up, Leeanne.

Leeanne F: Thank you so much, Deborah, so if anybody has any questions or comments, anything that you want to either ask Deborah or mention, please raise your hand at this time. Let me ask you something, Deborah. Your vision. Are you totally blind? Are you partially sighted?

Deborah D: No I am black blind. I'm what they call in the UK black blind, and I also have the hallucinations that sometimes goes with it which is entertaining, but it's not, I don't know, not annoying, and it doesn't distract from what I do, but that's always there and, no, I don't see anything. No light, nothing, so ...

Leeanne F: Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Okay, Ann, let me unmute you. Ann, you have a question or comment?

Ann: Hey. Well okay so all of your projects are done with square. I don't necessarily do that. I'll do a double crochet blanket where I'll do it in rows. Have you ever done anything like that? I'll count my stitches, make sure they match.

Deborah D: Yes, I have, and I'm a little distracted kind of psychologically. I like to talk while I'm doing this or listen to a movie or something, and I got to where ... You sound like a really smart woman, and you can probably count just fine and always end up with what you need. I was finding that if I did the square, I never had to count, and it always ends up where it should be at the end of a round. You don't do them in rows. You do them in rounds so that you end up back where you started, and you never have to count. You never have to ... I do check. I do make sure that I'm not going caddywhompus because if you're real uptight or something or you're nervous, then your stitches get smaller, and so I keep track of that to make sure I'm not going off on a tangent, but I know what you do, and I have done that, and I love that. You can make some really pretty ... The double crochet patterns and everything, and that's basically what this is only I use a triple crochet, and that reminds me. If you get patterns on YouTube, if they're British or Indian or Pakistani, they use triple and double in different ways, so you have to be careful of that, yeah, and so what have you made recently?

Ann: Well one of the things ... And I've done a half double crochet. I've done baby blankets. I've done throw blankets for my daughter, my nieces and my nephew and for my twin nieces. Along with the throw blankets, I make scarves and baby doll blankets, and now I'm working on ... Have you ever heard of a stitch called a love knot?

Deborah D: Yes.

Ann: I'm working on crosses that I've designed using the love knot.

Deborah D: Oh I bet that's just beautiful.

Ann: It is, and they only take about 20 minutes. Depending on the size, they only take about 10 to 20 minutes to make.

Deborah D: Oh really? Okay well and I would encourage you and everyone. Consider using ... What do they call it? The name was [inaudible]. Variegated. The variegated colors, I'm using those now. It's from Peru, this bunch in Peru that hand dyes with knots and all kinds of things, techniques; and it's not intended to be all the same color so that it might go from ... The one I just finished, she wanted autumn colors so from kind of a golden orange to a sun yellow to a green evergreen and all that, or it can be ... The one before that, she said, "I want it to look beachy," and so we had the blue glass that you find on the beach and the sun and the sea and the greenish and all that so that it's supposed to change colors, and it does so in a disorganized way so that it just looks splashy, and I'll bet that stitch you're using with something like that that's supposed to change colors, then you don't have to keep up with the color or anything, and it's just-

Ann: Right well these I'm just doing for my church because they're doing an outreach program, and people were so appreciative of them, and then my pastor's wife, she asked me to do them for their outreach thing they're going to do at Easter, so right now, I'm just using some scrap yarn that I have, but when I buy yarn, I probably will get some variegated to do those. One more quick question. Where do you find your patterns?

Deborah D: There's a lot available online that I'm going to give a couple caveats which are, "Beware." Sometimes they're not accurate, and it'll be somebody like me that does it for fun, but when you try to write that stuff down and you try to make patterns, then if you're not really, I don't know how to say it, in tuned to what you're actually doing, you can make mistakes writing that down; so for that reason, I'm always not curious, but I look with a squinty eye at patterns that I find online, and other patterns, the ones that come out in magazines like the Woman's Day and the, what is it, Family Circle or whatever; they are accurate, and you don't have to worry about, "Did they really count that right?" Or whatever, so if it's published in a magazine or if your yarn supplier ...

If you go to a yarn store, Yarn Barn or whatever, if they trust something, even if it's online like my friend, she knows which ones to trust and which ones not; so I usually go to somebody who's already used it because I don't want to be the first one to give it a shot and then to find out that that wasn't a good pattern, so that's where I go. If you do online, make sure that it's with somebody that has already tried it, and they trust the source.

Ann: I found some on Pinterest that I want to use.

Deborah D: Again, that's kind of like the YouTube things where it might be just fabulous and bang on, but you can also find errors, and I hate to be negative, but I don't like throwing people into that maelstrom.

Ann: Right but what I do is I test it, and if I notice that something's missing, I will either not use it, or if I know a friend who's doing on, and she's got something in a Dropbox ... There's a blind craft [crosstalk] that has a crafters Dropbox, and I saw some slippers, and I read through it, and I tried to do it. I'm like, "Okay something's missing here."

Deborah D: Yeah yeah yeah, and you sound like you've got enough experience that you already know that, and you're not banging your head against the wall ...

Ann: Nope.

Deborah D: ...That you don't try it and try it and try it and then go because you end up feeling like somebody, I don't know, wasn't nice to you.

Leeanne F: Okay Ann, if you're okay, I'd like to move on just because we have a fair number of other hands.

Ann: Okay that's fine.

Leeanne F: I'd like to make sure we get to everybody. Thank you so much, Ann. Okay so let me see. There we are.

Sue: Okay. Yeah, I'm Sue, and I've been crocheting and knitting and tatting and all that for 50+ years, but one of the questions that I have is do you use the magic ring when you're making your granny afghan squares? I find that is the super best thing to do.

Deborah D: And say it again. Magic rings?

Sue: Yeah. What you do is you wrap the yarn around your fingers so that you don't have to chain, and then attach that chain to start the ring that you're doing your granny afghan squares from.

Deborah D: Oh for the very beginning, for the very start.

Sue: Right.

Deborah D: Ooh that sounds brilliant.

Sue: Yeah it really really is and especially if you're using it to make hats.

Deborah D: Oh okay because that gets you started with the perfect size. That sounds brilliant, and where do you find those?

Sue: The magic ring, you just go on the internet and type in magic ring onto YouTube, and they'll explain which two fingers to wrap around and where to put your hook, so you pull through, and then you just pull it closed, and some people will tell you to double wrap for a magic right, and I find that I like it with the single wrap because then I don't have to figure out which yarn to pull.

Deborah D: What is your name again?

Sue: My name is Sue, and-

Deborah D: Sue and Sue, we might have some never ever beginners that are listening in, and it's a little daunting when you're first starting your first project-

Sue: Absolutely.

Deborah D: And you've got some experience, but you are literally what they call ... You're doing fiber work in the air. I mean you're not hanging onto anything. You're not leaning up against anything. You're literally starting with nothing. You're starting with a piece of yarn, and so it looks very daunting, and in fact if it's the one part of a piece that I'm not crazy about, that would be it because I can't do it in a car. It makes me seasick to start something in a car or on a boat, on a ship. I can't do a starter on a ship, and it's because you're working in thin air, and I'll bet those magic rings would be really nice.

Sue: I have found them to be the answer for especially people who don't see what they're doing.

Deborah D: Well sure.

Sue: [crosstalk] see your chain. You know which one to stick your hook into and [crosstalk]-

Deborah D: Sure, sure.

Sue: ...And go on from there, but with the magic ring, you don't have that same configuration problem so, yeah, do try that and-

Deborah D: Good. Thanks for that.

Sue: ...The only thing-

Deborah D: I'll give it a shot.

Sue: Yeah, will you?

Deborah D: Because I'm about to the new one.

Sue: The only thing I wanted to-

Deborah D: All right, thank you.

Sue: ...Doubly iterate with what you had said was that when I learned, I learned from my great grandmother, and she said there's a difference between English and American crocheting; and of course, 11 and being a little bit adventurous, so I didn't believe her. Well it wasn't until I got to making my parents' 25th anniversary scarves, scarves, that I-

Deborah D: You learned the hard way.

Sue: I bought an English book, and it did not look like the pattern, and so I had to go back to the beginning of the book and relearn my terminology to work an English pattern, knowing how to do the stitches anyway.

Deborah D: Well but now you know.

Sue: Yeah. The other thing is make lap robes. You can do those in a triangle fashion, and they become wonderful as a shawl to put around your shoulders or to drape over your legs. When I lost my vision, that's when I had decided that in our church, we need to be able to keep warm in the air conditioning, and we also need to keep warm in the wintertime, so I wanted to make shawls to put on every single pew. Well we acquired the yarn, and people would donate. Nobody but me ended up making them, and it's just my legacy to leave the church that I did make all these shawls that you can either drape over your shoulders or put over your lap when you're just sitting at mass.

Deborah D: Well good for you.

Leeanne F: Nice. All right, thank you so much, Sue.

Deborah D: You're welcome.

Leeanne F: Okay let's see. We have Debbie.

Debbie: My comment or question was mixing the different fibers, the acrylic and the natural fibers because you said something about you did a project, and you had all different types of fibers and stuff like that, and how do you care for something like that especially if you give it away as a gift? Because I was thinking that you didn't want to mix fibers.

Deborah D: Well when I acquire fibers ... I do quite a bit of traveling, so if I'm in New Zealand, I kind of know their wools, and when I'm in South America, their wool is completely different, and I just happen to know, and I happen to keep little scraps with me so that I can talk to somebody maybe on the actual shepherd where they're growing the stuff and just to figure out what will go together and what won't, but you're right. If you are combining something like cotton and silk, well I wouldn't do that, a cotton and wool for example, I might even use a larger needle for the cotton so that it's a little bit looser because if you're machine washing it, then it's going to shrink more than the other, more than the wool would; and when in doubt, I have things dry cleaned, but I try not to have to do that, so I really consider it in the planning stage.

I don't mix acrylics with much of anything. Acrylics play very well together, but they don't play very well with wools and some cottons, and I might even just try a row or something, a six-inch piece, and throw it in the washing machine. See what happens, or try twisting it, or give it to the cat. See what the cat does with it, and so part of it is a little bit of a test before I ever start.

Debbie: Thank you.

Leeanne F: Okay thank you, Debbie.

Deborah D: Sure.

Leeanne F: Okay and Lauren, you had a question or a comment.

Lauren: When you're making the quilts or the blankets that you're using on your lap or whatever, are they one square or separate squares that you sew together?

Leeanne F: Good question.

Deborah D: Well that is your design choice. I am making just the one square this year, I'll say, because I just finished one. I'm about to start another, and as I said, I include a yarn that changes colors so that it looks vibrant and splashy to those people who can see it, and I don't have to count or piece together later on; but I have done a smaller square if you could imagine this. Let's just say a foot square, 12 by 12 inches, and then I make those in different colors or fibers and then hook them together once they're all finished so that I have a stack of squares, and then I'll lay them out on the floor and then piece them together; and that way, I can make it all square again, or I can make it rectangular, two squares by four squares so that it's longer and skinnier; so it's your design choice in the design stage, in the planning stage.

Leeanne F: So this is Leeanne. Is it my understanding then ... So if you decided to just use one large granny square, the pattern could repeat itself and just get bigger and bigger and bigger.

Deborah D: Yes.

Leeanne F: Okay.

Deborah D: And it just gets bigger and bigger, and it can be, as I described, either a face cloth, a baby blanket, a queen-sized, a king-sized because you can just get bigger and bigger, but it's still a square, and it's just same stitch over and over.

Leeanne F: Okay, thank you. Thank you, Lauren. Okay we have about five or six more hands raised, so I guess we're going to have to go a little bit faster. Okay the guest with the phone number that begins in 617, could you tell us your first name and your question?

Jeanette: First name is Jeanette, and I have two quick questions. The first is for beginners, what would you recommend as a good teaching resource? And my second is if you use more than one square, do you crochet your squares together or sew them together?

Deborah D: Yes and yes. You can do either one, crochet or sew, and I have given Leeanne four titles of books that are available on BARD, that are available through National Library Service, Library of Congress on tape.

Leeanne F: Okay, person that phone number starts with 734, could you tell us your first name please?

Allison: Yes this is Allison. Deborah, it's nice to meet you. I've been crocheting since I was in middle school and high school. My grandmother taught me to crochet, and I was wondering. I have two questions. One is how exactly do you do a granny square? And number two is when do you use steel hooks versus wooden hooks? I've seen wooden hooks before.

Deborah D: Yes I use only steel just because eventually the wood will splinter even if it's just a small bit, and the book that Leeanne will say is the best of the four gives you really, not interesting, intricate, "First you do this. Then you do that," and we don't have time to do that today, but it is very well done for the granny square as well as pinwheels. It has all kinds of floral things and everything, but she does an excellent job because I tried to do it exactly what she said and not what I know, that I've been doing for so many years, and it works. It works beautifully.

Allison: Oh okay. Thank you.

Deborah D: Then just check that book out, and it'll take a while for you to make some mistakes, but ...

Leeanne F: Okay thank you so much, Allison. All right, Susan, question? Comment?

Susan: Yeah, the only question I got is see I've never done it before. I'd like to learn how to do it, and I'm going to look for the things that you said. You're going to put the books after for BARD. See I'm legally blind, and I'd like to learn to do it, and the only question I got is where do you get the needles and stuff? Can you get them at Walmart or…

Deborah D: Yes you can go to any store that would carry yarn so any craft store. There are stores that do nothing but yarn, and they do crochet and knitting and all kinds of yarn crafts. What is the ... Is it Michael's? Is that the-

Leeanne F: There's Michael's. There's Joann's. There's Hobby Lobby's. Places like Walmart, though they do typically have a smaller craft section. There are separate fabric, I'm sorry not fabric, yarn stores for knitters and crocheters. There's online if you shop online. I mean Amazon has everything you could possibly need, but I would say probably the most cost-effective way especially for a brand-new beginner, some place like Walmart. The specialty stores are fabulous and may even offer classes, but the yarn and all the materials are going to be pricier.

Deborah D: And our local store is very good about taking a very inexpensive ball of yarn and showing you some things, and of course they're in the business of business, and they want you to come back and buy their expensive wools and everything, but they're very ... At least here in Colorado, they'll spend some time with you, and what I usually do if I'm really stumped on something, I'll take a pan of brownies and say, "Can I trade you some brownies for some information?" And they'll spend an hour or two with me, and so it's really a personal connection because not everybody is going to be articulate about telling you exactly how to do it because they might've been doing it for 30 years and can't put it into words, and they'll say, "It looks like this," and you'll say, "Yeah but I can't see this," so making a personal connection, I think, is just stellar.

Leeanne F: Absolutely.

Susan: With being blind, is it hard to do, or is it ...

Deborah D: It's ...

Susan: ... Do a lot with hands.

Deborah D: Yes. It's not difficult. I don't want to say like riding a bicycle because you might not do that either.

Susan: I've done it years ago.

Deborah D: Okay but it's once you get the idea, you go, "Oh is that all it is?" Because it really is just pulling a piece of thread with a hook. That's all you're doing, and you're just doing it over and over and over, but you can change the over and over part to make it look different and to feel different, but you're really ... I mean the word crochet just means hook. It's French for hook, and that's all you need, and in fact, when they teach children in France, they teach them to do it with their fingers, no hook. Just they show them how to do it with their fingers so that they get the idea that it's the fiber that is the queen of the day, not you.

Leeanne F: Sure. Okay. Well thank you, Susan for your question. Okay we are coming up on 5 o'clock, so I have three more hands raised. Okay the caller that starts your phone number with 843, can you tell us your first name and your question or comment?

Andy O: Yeah, it's Andy O, and the whole time since we've been talking, I've had my crochet hook in my hand, and I've been crocheting even though the cat's tangled up the yarn now. I heard some ... I think it was Ann, and I've been trying to figure this out the whole time, what a love knot is because I learned to crochet from another individual that was also visually impaired, so she learned from somebody that was very patient with her because of how much vision she lost.

Leeanne F: Okay so you're wondering what a love knot is?

Andy O: Yes.

Leeanne F: Okay so hang on. Let me un-mute Ann. Ann were you the one that was talking about a love knot?

Ann: Yeah. Yeah, all you do is you do a chain ... You can't do very many chains at one time. You only have to do these one at a time, okay? So what you do is you do your chain stitch, and then you do single crochet in the middle in the center loop of your chain.

Andy O: Okay. Yeah because I [crosstalk] figure that out-

Ann: And then you do that, and you ... Yeah and then you chain the next one. Then you do your single crochet, and you do it as long as you want, and then if you're going to do a cross to the arms of a cross, you turn it, and you chain to turn, and then you single crochet into each of the stitches from the single crochet to the chain loop, the top chain loop to the single crochet. You would chain in those stitches to a point and then you do love knots to do the cross, and then what I do is I turn it around, single crochet into the cross. Finish going around into this cross arm. Finish going around, and then turn it around, and then single crochet up the other side, and then once I get across, then I do my love knots for the cross, and I finish it up on top, and then I do love knots for the handle. I know that's a long way around to describe what I do but still.

Andy O: Yeah. Yeah because I was doing double.

Leeanne F: No that was great.

Ann: Oh you did a double crochet love knot?

Andy O: No because I had no clue what love knots are, but the whole time that we've been on the call, I've been double crocheting what I've been doing because it's hard to set up-

Ann: Oh. I'm going to ...

Andy O: I've been working on for months now for somebody that saw a few of my other pieces and was like, "Can you do this for me?" And I'm like, "I can try," and it's almost completed now because she wanted something to put her iPod in, and I had to use several iTunes videos to get it figured out.

Ann: Okay but I've never done a love knot with a double crochet. I learned how to do it with a single crochet like I said. Deborah, are you in that crafters group, the blind craft group?

Deborah D: Well that's where we are, aren't we?

Ann: Yeah, well I don't know.

Andy O: Belong to [crosstalk]?

Ann: No no no. This is one that's a

Deborah D: Oh, no.

Andy O: No.

Ann: Okay. I'm not in the group, but I shared the Dropbox, and there's another lady named Deborah, and she put some ... I think either her or Faith Cummings put some patterns in there, and one of the things that they used for the classic bag keeper, I think, was a handle. He was making love knots, and you can use make drawstrings with them too.

Andy O: Oh.

Leeanne F: Hm.

Ann: Yeah.

Leeanne F: Okay. Kayla, thank you for being so patient. You had a question or comment?

Kayla: I had a couple quick ones. I was wondering ... Deborah, you said you don't like to count your stitches. Another pattern that would be good for you is a corner-to-corner where you start at one corner of the square, and you work your way to the other, but there's no counting involving which can also be YouTubed or not. [crosstalk] do both.

Deborah D: I have, and that's ...

Kayla: So I like those because they work up quickly. I've actually taught crochet a lot to different people with vision issues and other disabilities, so my biggest suggestion is, to someone who has not crocheted before, to start with a thick-ply yarn, a thicker yarn and a bigger hook so that you can feel where your stitches are, and every yarn that ... Well most yarns will have a hook recommendation on the yarn packaging itself with care instructions and all that, so ...

Deborah D: Excellent.

Kayla: ... For those who were asking earlier, most of the yarns will have their care instructions and stuff like that. Unfortunately, not most of them are accessible, but it's there for you to have access to I guess, so that was it. I just wanted to [crosstalk] that for the new people to use a bigger yarn, so they're much easier to start.

Leeanne F: Sure, absolutely. Absolutely. Well thank you for that.

Kayla: And I already got in the Facebook group, so if anyone has questions or needs guidance, I'm there already.

Leeanne F: All right thank you so much-

Kayla: So just reach out to me.

Leeanne F: Thank you. Okay I think we got through everybody's questions. Deborah, thank you so much for being willing to share your knowledge, your expertise, with our group-

Deborah D: Yep.

Leeanne F: ... And offering your wisdom and advice. Hopefully you will keep in touch with our group, and we can use you as a resource as needed. I will go back and look at the email that you sent me again, and I will post the resources, those four books that you had listed. I'll put those on our website as well so that people could access those, so I do appreciate you sending those to me. I hope everybody has a fantastic month. Have a great night-

Deborah D: Been my pleasure. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

Leeanne F: Thank, Deborah.

Deborah D: Happy hooking.

Leeanne F: Take care. Bye bye, everybody.