Tammy and Me: CFFs (Crochet Friends Forever)

Who’da thunk it?  My CFF Tammy Hildebrand has just published her beautiful new book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. I believe mine is the final stop on the book’s blog tour, the trail of which you can backtrack by visiting Tammy’s Facebook page, Hot Lava Crochet.

Tammy Hildebrand's new book!

Tammy Hildebrand’s new book!

Others have written reviews and extolled the wonderfulness of Tammy’s bouquet of designs.  I can only sit here stunned.  HOKEY SMOKES!  Ten years ago when we first met, we could only have imagined this happening in our wildest dreams.

I kept running into Tammy (and I do mean literally) at a Crochet Guild of America conference, summer 2004 in Manchester, New Hampshire. This was my first CGOA event and I was a wannabe professional crochet designer there to meet like-minded people and forge a network, so I was going full tilt, dashing around and blithely bumping into… well… everyone.  The first days I was there I ran over Tammy a number of times wandering through the hotel lobby, piling into and out of the elevator.  We had a little mutual admiration thing going on, trading comments and compliments about each others crochet wear. Back then Tammy seemed a shy thing, hanging back from the crowds and commotion, hesitant about public speaking, avoiding any glare of attention on herself. Her husband George, the gallant gentleman, was ever at her side, carrying the huge bags of yarn Tammy had collected from the show floor market, lending his steady calm support and encouragement.  GOD, he really believed in her and wanted so much for her to realize her potential as a crochet designer, even if Tammy was reluctant to put herself forward.

Being complete newbies to the design game, we both jumped at the chance to worship at the feet of crochet legends Rita Weiss and the late Jean Leinhauser, who were on site scouting talent for their latest publishing ventures.  Tammy, not realizing that the two crazy ladies were holding court, like queen bees, smack in the center of the hive of activity in the hotel lobby, had missed her appointment and was anxiously looking around for a clue as to what she should do.  I found her there at the edge of the crowd and offered to share my own appointment with Rita and Jean.  From there we became buddies.

I don’t remember exactly when she started calling me her “little buddy”.  Oddly, geekily, it makes me think of the Skipper and Gilligan (“…a three hour tour…”). Through the years we have shared our crochet lives as best we can, long distance by phone and e-mail, meeting once or twice each year at CGOA events. Tammy, once too painfully shy to be coaxed into the limelight or onto the catwalk, would go on to serve on the CGOA board of directors (she was just elected Vice President!), chair the Professional Development committee, became one of my go-to models for fashion shows and the Design Competition parades, where she now enthusiastically models her own award winning designs and anything else we throw on her!  Tammy blossomed, not into a delicate flower, but one of those Steel Magnolias, now in charge of her destiny and enjoying life to the fullest.

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It was to Tammy I turned in 2005 when I desperately needed help to finish samples for my first book, Amazing Crochet Lace.  She put her own work on hold and crocheted the Allegheny Moon Mobius and the huge Pistachio Parfait Ruana.  And now in 2014 I am thrilled that Tammy asked me to contribute a comment for the back cover of her book and to participate in this blog tour.  Again I ask, who’da thunk it?

I am bursting with pride and happiness for her and can’t say enough about Crochet Wraps Every Which Way.  Please see for yourself with this wonderful Look Book created by her publisher, Stackpole, and join me in congratulating Tammy on her success.