Archive for January, 2011


Introducing my latest design: The Diamond Shell Stole

Drum roll please! Without further ado, the Diamond Shell Stole, coming to you soon as a free download from Kraemer Yarns. Look for me at Stitches West, February 17-20, appearing in the Piedmont Yarn and Apparel booth, signing copies of my Kraemer patterns.  Drop by and say hello and view the original Diamond Shell Stole on display.

Happy Stitching!


Confessions of a Middle-aged Hooker

It is ten years ago this week that I first picked up yarn and hook to begin my crochet journey. It has been a marvelous ride and has taken me to a place of which I dared not dream. In 2001, I was a full time data entry clerk/customer service rep and a part time massage therapist.  Today I design and teach crochet. My life now would have been sheer fiction to me in prior days. Crochet was supposed to be a hobby. Now, it is my life.

Obviously, I came to crochet rather late in life. I was halfway between 50 and 51 and in need of a means to help me quit smoking and to generally focus my free time. And it almost didn’t happen. You see, after purchasing the requisite yarn and hooks and downloading a tutorial from CGOA, I sat myself down, materials in hand and discovered, to my dismay, that I was totally at sea. For goodness sake, how hard should it be to make a silly chain stitch? I struggled and stabbed and pulled and prodded, all with little success. I was an abject failure as a hooker. Oh well. Only $20 and 2 hours of my time wasted; time to move on to something else.

About ten days later guilt began to creep into the equation. You see, I was on a rather limited income in those days (some things never change! :D) and the thought of squandering even that small amount began to gnaw at my conscience. With a renewed spirit of determination (those of you who know me may also interpret this as acquiescence to my incurable stubbornness), I cleared my mind and my space of all distraction. I set about TO DO THIS!!!

Well, the rest is history. Within one year I began my designing efforts (baby steps, of course. My first break did not come until 5 years later with the publishing of my Gatsby Sweater). My successes have been limited until recently. I’m proud of my recent associations with yarn companies and other fiber enterprises. You can currently see some of my designs at and soon my Noro Shell will appear in the next issue of Crochet! Magazine (though the name may very well have been changed).

So here I am, halfway through my 61st year and an overnight success! HAH! Still, it is what I choose to do and is what makes me extremely happy. Teaching crochet is also a very rewarding endeavor and I am most proud of the successes of my many students. To be able to pass on my knowledge and passion for this art provides its own compensation. That’s not to say I don’t have important plans for those pay checks.


Recipe for the New Year … Beet and Blood Orange Salad

Beet and Blood Orange Salad

@  2011 Peter A. Franzi

Note: I recommend using all fresh ingredient for the salad and vinaigrette. Canned beets and oranges can be substituted for the salad and frozen orange juice for the vinaigrette with less than stunning results.

8 Medium Beets (I suggest Golden or Chioggia or any of the white or striped varieties.. the common red beet will bleed significantly and may overpower the oranges.)

5 Medium Blood Oranges (any orange can substitute for a different flavor combination).

1 Medium Red onion.

1/3 cup White Balsamic Vinegar (Any white wine vinegar may be substituted. I don’t recommend red wine or cider vinegar, but it’s your call).

Zest from one orange

Juice from one orange

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, crushed

¼  tsp Kosher Salt

¼  tsp black pepper

1 ½ – 2  cups olive oil.

Cook beets completely covered in boiling water for 40 minutes for al dente, 60 minutes to completely cook. Check at 30 minutes with fork to gauge. Allow to cool. Peel and cut into 1/8 ‘s. Remove peel from 4 oranges and divide into segments. Peel and slice onion into very thin slices. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Set aside.

In medium bowl, crush garlic with kosher salt. Whisk together vinegar, zest from one orange (grate before cutting for juice), juice, mustard  and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil gradually, whisking until vinaigrette is emulsified (Adjust amount of oil used to your own taste.) Pour over beet/orange/onion mixture. Toss.  Refrigerate at least two hours, preferably overnight. Adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.  Enjoy.

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