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Everywhere, No where
I started the CLF as a joke on Ravelry, back in July of 2007. The joke was on me, we're a real group, that seeks to liberate ourselves from stereo types about our craft and ourselves. Other than being called "Fearless Leader", I'm a designer, mother, editor, wife, hand spinner, yarn addict, incessant reader, and over all geek in the coolest of geeky ways.

Beware Defamers of the Hook!

Beware Defamers of the Hook!
Like Joan of Arc, and the Scarlet Pimpernel we are here to seek Justice!

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Official Blog of the Crochet Liberation Front

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If only I had more time!

If you didn't know that the CLF is a group of almost 3450 people world wide, and run by lil' ol me, and some very trusted helpers on Ravelry..well, now ya do!

We are crochet enthusiasts all, but we are more than that! We are 3450 people with skills, talents, ideas, beliefs, and lives that have more than fiber in them!

Part of my goal with the CLF is to help us grow together as people, with respect to our humanity, and hopefully find a way for those who wish to improve their own skills, and economic models to do so!

It's a big experiment that flows and grows almost as it's own organism, with a life of it's own. Like individual cells in the body, each CLF member adds a vital and important part to the "body" as a whole...

One of the things all organisms require is food/energy. This kind of organization's food is money and time. You have given your time and talent, and many of you have purchased the CLF First Ever Book! Which is bringing in the needed money to help Fearless Leader travel to parts known and unknown to see you and to do more!

Please if you haven't bought your copy yet it's available on our CLF Official Website! or as a PDF Download on my LULU.com store. I have other patterns there, too, need to remember to write a few more to add to the collection!

In the meantime, I'm plodding away on "Crochet in Chains" our second book, 6 patterns are completed in layout and have been sent out for proofing! WHOOT A few more to go!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

4 o'clock in the morning RANT

Yes, it's past bedtime. I've spent most of the night and early hours of this A.M. working on the
Second Book. Sadly not even bleary eyed at this point, I'm energized and have unclogged a bit of a creative block.

I like how I layed out the first book, but I don't want all our books to look like clones lay out wise, and I want to retain the clarity (and improve it) of the space used. I was stuck on one particular pattern and how I wanted it to look and I licked it!

Part of what drove me so hard, was being niggled all night after listening to Getting Loopy with Mary Beth Temple. Her guest was the editor of Crochet World Magazine. Now, I don't see this magazine often in my area, but I have bought it in the past.

I'm an equal opportunity crocheter, I like all kinds of patterns. I do not belong in the camp that believes crochet has to be all about fashion. I like fashion, and wearable crochet, but I also like hats, scarves and quick gift crochet, too. In fact I like kitsch, as the family of garden gnomes in my front yard can tell you, and my poor best friend has to put up with (though she's bought me most of those gnomes!). So, it's not the content I have a problem with, when I say the conversation on the show bothered me.

That niggle stayed with me all evening, I tried to pin point what really bugged me about it. And as I finished off the pattern that was attempting to thwart my layout efforts, I realized what was really bothering me.

It was the tone and tenor of the words, the inbetween the lines that I perceived as the editor explained what her "market" is and what they want. I'm rarely the demographic for most marketing efforts, but I am very much right on when it comes to crochet. (Kind of a relief not to be a complete oddball)

We, in the chatroom, asked if they were planning to add charts and/or schematics. Charts are especially useful when working with thread or lace making. and Crochet World often has thread projects.

The response was dismissive, and the pat answer of "Our market isn't interested in this, none of our surveys indicated our readers want charts or schematics." was given. My first thought was, did you ask on the survey if that's what people wanted? It's hard to indicate you want something if you don't ask the question. I've never been polled by Crochet World, seen a poll by them or survey so I can't say what was asked.

Why the all or nothing attitude? Why is it so hard to have a chart or two, or a schematic now and then? Why not offer a little more, why be satified with what has always been? We've lost some very fine crochet magazines over the past five or six years. I don't think it's necessarily because crocheters don't buy magazines, I think it's because the folks who run the magazines forget to evolve and keep a value added nature to their publications. Things change, markets change, and if you are good at what you do, you make your market.

I'm not saying replace written instructions with charts, or schematics, heck I like a mix of both. I don't think all patterns require charts/schematics even. I do prefer my doilies and lace and fillet to have a chart versus just written instructions.

I don't think I'm alone. I don't think I'm cutting edge in this desire, I think I'm shooting straight down the middle.

So I ask you, what do you think?

If you have two magazines to choose from with equal pattern types, will you pick the one with only written instructions/photos, or the one with written instructions/photos/ and charts &/or shematics.

I'm asking the question on our ravelry message board, you can answer it there if you like ;)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Celebrating Spring, Getting Ready for Portland!

I host a monthly
"Spinning Group",
but really we're
an all fiber arts group!
If you forgot what I look like,
I'm the chick standing up,
holding Jimbo's HookKnuck,
wearing the funky
free form sweater.
Mary (in Red) and Ann (yes, THE ANN I always talk about), helped me out taking an "action" group shot, to use. I'm not used to the whole need for photos, etc to send to periodicals or websites etc. In fact I'm kind of camera shy, so it is a real effort to remember to get photos of me in action, or inaction :)
The garment on the table is my free form vest I'm hoping to have completed for the Knit and Crochet Show in Porltand, Oregon. Egads, It's taken on a life of it's own, how much you wanna bet I'll be finishing it on the train ride to Portland?
Anway, I'm working on the Second Book. Just got some revised files back from participants, looking foward to recieving the rest of them, and I have to put a few more together. I have a lot more energy now that I've done some good physical work with my buddies down south! (Yes, I do weird alternative healing techniques, but hey it works for me.)
Also, I have got some great copies of Knit and Crochet Today that I have been watching! I love this show! Candi Jensen has put together a real winner of a television production and Brett Bara is a fabulous host! It's been so much fun watching beloved CLF members strut their stuff on Camera! Once again I am in awe of how talented and fabulous we needle arts people are! Don't let the name of the show put you off, Crochet gets EQUAL billing on air, and I'm really excited by what I see!
I'll post more in depth about the shows I've watched later, I just want to say that I love it, and you should check it out if you haven't already!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Saturday of Quiet...

Ok, so I was supposed to go help Gabrielle and Thomas with their food booth in NW Portland. I would have loved to do so, but I wasn't so capable of finding my way there.

I'll tell you the reason in a minute, but this reason is also why I'm starting another blog about my own liberation process...The CLF is part of that process, but I have tried to keep my personal journey, and beliefs aside, so as not to confuse the issues, or seem like I'm trying to convert anyone to my process or ideas or belief structures.

I try to value all ways of human expression, if not value, perhaps accept. Sometimes people just have to be where they are, and feel what they feel, and be what they are, whether I like it or not...and since crochet is not about belief systems, or feelings, or strictures, I want to keep it that way as much as I can here on the CLF Blog.

But, I would be a liar if I didn't admit to having my own spiritual journey, my own belief (and be-life) systems. I've had an unusual journey and believe it or not I've been asked by four separate Christian Denominations to be ordained, I just can't do it though,because I've chosen to service humanity as a whole, and in MY belief system, if I choose a denomination or a particular religion then I'm excluding someone...

So, anyway, I was raised in a Christian household, so most of my spiritual understanding is couched in Christian language. But I am also a student of many other faiths and religions, and spiritual practices. I want to serve and understand people, as they are, why they are, and well, that's really my big trip in life.

The CLF is sort of part of that...my little joke, fostered in my own particular crafting frustrations, has ended up being a place to explore my own ideas and accept others from over 3400 people! I know in the past two years my own thought processes and ideas have morphed, I have grown, and I have watched other folks blossom and expand. Crafting in crochet being our "foil", vehicle through which we find new ways to be creative, create community, serve our fellow humans, grow as people and expand our understanding of the world. Or in the most simplistic and joyous of ways; have fun.

Oddly enough, I'm not the irreverent smart ass that I constantly portray here, I'm rather academic and studious and shy. I try to tone that down because it's not so entertaining, and really all study and no play makes Fearless Leader a dull girl, and no one wants to read about that...

If the CLF has taught me anything, it is to "Lighten Up"...Be light, be joy, enjoy the process, stop taking myself and the world so darn seriously, because in truth we're only as stuck and oppressed as we allow ourselves to be...really and truly... I knew that before I started it, I just wasn't as good at being silly and having fun...and things seem to work better for me when I'm having fun...and poking fun at myself!

So, if you are interested in my own journey, and some of my wackier spiritual adventures, with my wacky spiritual friends...Crochet and Creativity are included in this journey, because it's all connected, everything matters and everything doesn't... Anyway..".Adventures with a Fearless? Leader" is the name of the new blog and possibly the start of something I've always wanted to do; but you'll have to read about that there... http://www.adventureswithfearlessleader.wordpress.com

What does this mean for the CLF? Nada... CLF is it's own creature, it's own being, it's own entity made up of over 3400 individual, beautiful, creative, talented, curious, and fabulous souls...It's not about me, I'm just it's "Mom"...As with all children, it grows and develops with it's own personality, and I'm only here to be the guide on the side not the sage on the stage...That's for the new Blog ;) And rather than Sage, I'm thinking Fool is more appropriate.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Roving Crochet News..

So, here I am ensconced at my really good friends' house, helping prepare some tasty Living Food (also known as Raw Food) for tomorrow's Earth Day Weekend Celebration in NW Portland. Gabrielle Chavez is a fabulous Raw Food Chef and afficionado, I've known her since she and her husband, Thomas, were simple and delightful vegetarians, and have followed their whole journey through the Raw Food process over the past 8 years.

If you want to taste Gabrielle's fabulous goodies (and other folks contribute as well) she and her cohorts meet every Sunday Night at Kairos-Milwalkie UCC, at 5:30pm for a tasty meal and spiritual explorations.

If you are in the Portland area this is worth trying at least once!

Part of being a good friend is sacrificing yourself on the alter of good cuisine. I've enjoyed being a taste tester and sous-chef from time to time, and I never leave here disappointed.

Since, I'm being pampered and spoiled with healthy delcious, soul filling goodies, and quiet. Yes, quiet, no cats or dogs fighting, no kids asking me for their due, I've had some internet time to just look around at some very cool crochet happenings.

I've brought my crochet too, but I've been catching up with friends and forgot to do any so far, which is fine, though they don't mind me crocheting while we talk. As I have followed their journey; so too, theyhave followed mine.

Anyway, I finally got to watch the TED Talk about Hyperbolic Crochet... I love how crochet is one of the very very few ways you can model Hyperbolic Geometry....

The Power of the Hook is Strong!!! Check out just how powerful! Here http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/519

Oooh and if you live in Philadelphia: Check out this exhibit http://chemheritage.org/events/event-detail.asp?id=451

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Extended Deadline, Earth Day, and other crochet goodness

First things first!!

The new deadline for the 400 yd or Less book (also known as CLF Book #3) is May 20th. My life is slightly hectic at the moment, and I'll be in Portland, Oregon playing with my CGOA and Free Form pals, AND Fellow CLFers!

Don't forget we are going to Party with the CLF! How? Heck if I know. We'll figure out something fibery and fun ;) Maybe an impromptu conga line or something.

So...on to Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day many folks look to using "natural" fibers, especially plant fibers. I want to encourage people to play around with many natural fibers, animal and plant. However, as you well know I get mighty miffed by the constant use of "common" wisdom and mythology.

1) Animals and Plants both use land. When agriculture is practiced properly nothing is wasted or harmed. Poor farming practices (including organic practices that are less than above board but meet the USDA standards...rolling eyes) happen, but don't tar everyone with the same brush. That's foolish. I know lots of goat and sheep farmers who act responsibly, and I know a lot of vegetable/fruit farmers who don't (and many others who do)... So, if you live in an agrarian area check out your local farms if you can and make up your own mind. If not, don't believe everything people say, without researching it for yourself!

2) Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean it isn't harmful. Remember that lead, cadmium, arsenic, uranium, and ammonia are all very very natural.

How we use, dispose, re purpose and how we shop for our products are important matters. Everyone has to come to their own conclusions about things...

But for the love of all that's fuzzy, please remember that people are natural resources too, and when looking for yarns try to find out where they were made.

Have a happy Earth Day. Treat our planet and all who live in it well this day and everyday!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CLF News and other things...

It's a beautiful sunny day as I write this post. I'll try not to make too many mistakes as I rush to finish blogging and head out side to enjoy the sunshine! In the Pacific NW you have to grab the sun when you get it!

I've been crocheting up a storm getting ready for the CGOA regional in Portland, Oregon (also known as The Knit and Crochet Show). Got my train tickets and the event packet showed up in the mail this week so WHOO HOO! Ready for PDX, as soon as I get that free form vest done. It's looking pretty spiffy, but the back is taking me forever to finish!

At the same time I'm working away at the "Crochet in Chains" book, slowly but surely, this book will manifest. I've figured out some layout issues that were bugging me, nothing technical, purely aesthetic, sleeping on the problem fixed it!

I've begun recieving submissions for our 3rd book, "400yds or Less" which will have some cute, fun and quick crochet projects. Keep those rolling in!

So, now I am off to Cama Beach State Park to see if our Interpretive Specialist, Tina Dinzel Pedersen needs my help at the information desk. It's a sunny day, and that makes folks want to play at the park. I like working at the information desk, even when it's slow, because I can sit and work on the book!

Before I leave my library sanctum, I want to remind you that the CLF First Ever Book is still available at Amazon.com or the e-book is available for $9.99 on lulu.com. Thank you again to all who have purchased the book(s). It was our first effort and an amazing one, I think we'll all be pleased with the next few books as we've figured out how to move ourselves forward.
That being said, I'm so proud of our first ever book! I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hookalicious Stash Buster!

Blog Photos 4-19-09 010
Originally uploaded by AlaskanPurl

CLF Member Alaskanpurl, made this fabulous Granny Square Afghan busting her stash of Noro Kureyon.

I love the use of colors, shapes and sizes to make this fun-ghan!

It looks warm, inviting, and joyful and CUDDLY! I love cuddling under blankies :)

Alaskapurl consider yourself the recipient of the CLF Hookalicious Award for fun, fanciful, and artful use of the great granny!

Love the afghan keep up the good work!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

International Year of Natural Fibers: 2009

The CLF message board on Ravelry.com is a fabulous place, our members come from a wide range of countries, socio-economic status, professions, beliefs, you name it! One of the things I love most about the message board is the dedication by members to spread the word about events, contests, and activities to provide awareness and how we crochet enthusiasts can participate!

Marly, known as The Yarn Thing, posted a great piece today about a real world and virtual effort called Keeping the Fleece.

Keeping the Fleece is an organization that is celebrating the International Year of Natural Fibers as sanctioned by the United Nations. I could give you a history as to why we would be concerned about natural fibers etc, but they have a fabulous website and put forth the infomation very eloquently. They also have a fabulous contest with some really fun categories! We'd love for crocheters to represent well in this activity! So check out the contest on Keeping the Fleece's website.

I am definately thinking of entering, and I'm going to inform my local fiber arts group and LYS with this information too. I'm a big fan of Heifer International, sustainable farming, and self-sufficiency.

If you support this kind of activity don't be quiet about it, feel free to share the information with friends, neighbors, family and fiber arts groups. Heck blog about it. The more folks who network the more things can happen!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Do you have your copy of the CLF First Ever Book?

Hey gang! A quick reminder that we have the CLF First Ever Book available as a PDF Download on lulu.com, I also have a few of my own patterns and the Secrets of Yarn Guide (which covers fibers, their properties and the "best" craft usage guide. "Best" is a relative term, if you can make it work great :) If you are wondering how a fiber can be best used to it's advantage the list works as a great rule of thumb.

If you want a hard copy of the book it's available from the CLF Website or from Amazon.com (just click on the carosel to your right on this blog!), it's cheaper from my website, but you can get faster shipping from Amazon, you choose!
Another option is buying one directly from me in Portland, Oregon (or bring you book for a signing!), I'll have a limited number of hard copies on my person during the Spring Knit and Crochet Show at the Double Tree in Portland Oregon. I'll be hanging out at the Double Tree from May 14 through the morning of the 17th. I'll have my sharpie ready!
We should have a few of our contributors in Portland as well and they will have a sharpie ready! Collect as many of our signatures as you can!!!

Crochet Road Trip...

Hi folks, it's a Roving Fearless Leader who greets you today!
In fact at this very moment I'm on a WA State Ferry heading to Poulsbo, WA for a long overdue visit with my favorite Uncle!

I've crocheted several more bits for my freeform long vest (to be worn in PDX), and once at Uncle Lawrence's house i get to see the table cloth my grandmother started for him in 1955 but did not get to finish before she died in 1956 and see if I can finish it for him. I can think of no greater thing I can do for my favorite uncle..Especially since I learned all of my "hot" crochet skills by copying Grandma's work!

I'll get some photos and we'll show you what I get to finish...and I'll just keep crocheting!

Happy Hooking All!

Friday, April 10, 2009

So it's spring, now what?

For many of us Spring has sproinged. One of the very well worn myths about most needlework in general is that it is soley a winter activity.

Why put away the yarn and hooks just because the days are longer and the sun may (or may not) be peaking out a little more.

You can always make a fun cardi for spring! The above was a free form ditty I made up a few years ago to wear to a spring art show in which my friend Bec Thomas was exhibiting. It was a simple and easy project, using left over bits of handspun exotic yarns, and a skein of lovely black acrylic (to help support the more fragile yak and kid cashgora yarns), I made the sleeves lacey to provide some well needed air conditioning!

With Eastertide upon us (or passover or Spring celebrations), now is the time we have furiously (or will do so tonight and tomorrow if you're like me) crocheted our little mitts off to make some presents for loved ones.

Some last minute ideas:

  • Egg shaped soap bags (soap savers)

  • Restorative Eye-pillow covers (you can get eye pillows as health and wellness stores or pharmacies, why not crochet something with some lovely soft cotton to cover it up?)

  • Crochet some lace around plastic Easter Eggs

  • Floral themed wash cloths or dish cloths (you can never have to many of those)

  • Bunny Slippers!

  • Crochet an easter basket out of roving and felt it (doesn't take more than an hour to make :) )

For spring tide crochet ideas:

  • Use cotton, bamboo, linen, and blends of such lovely materials to make tops, lacey over skirts, sun hats, socks, and sandle socks (ok for those of you who dismiss said things, remember some of us live where it can be sunny AND rainy at the same time!), take some anklet cotton socks and add funky trims, make jewelry, baskets and so much more!

There is always time to make pretty things out of pretty yarn... I'll leave what's pretty up to you!

And remember, when gift giving, don't bother giving your gifts to people who do not appreciate them. What is hte point? Save it up for the folks that do...

Well, I'm off, I have to make some cute little Easter themed hair clips for my neice :) She's just at that fun age! I can spoil her with all kinds of frufru things!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crochet In Chains...The Second Book

Ok, so I have the fourth pattern formatted, I've sent out three of the four for editing, and am going to send out the fourth in just a few minutes.

One of the things that will be different about this CLF book, will once again be the articles. Since this is our "adult" book, I'm taking the opportunity to use the book as a vehicle to discuss some "touchy" subjects, that are often swept under the carpet or seen as taboos.

Again, this book is fully intended for adults, and there are subjects that adults should be able to discuss in a rational manner.

What will the articles be about?

Body Image
Reproductive Health and Safety

Of course these will all be handled with the same humor and respect that all subjects are dealt with by the CLF.

I put this information out to you now, just so you know there may be an article or two that might make some uncomfortable, but I think more people will find that the articles are mature and thought provoking.

I don't believe you can truly separate any issue into a little box. The patterns are fabulous on their own, but their intent is to be sexy and fun in the bedroom, you just can't leave sex out of the equation in this... So why not talk about it?

As with all things CLF I stand by the axiom; "We are people first, people who crochet!"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Crocheted Goodness...

Hello Folks!

Spring has sprung on Camano Island, and it feels so good! It actually hit 60 degrees (F) and my it almost felt balmy! The flowers are starting to bloom, trees are leafing out, and I'm wondering in the long swing vest I'm making for the CGOA Regional Show in Porltand is going to be to warm to wear? Eeep!

I'm making my daughter a lace over skirt to wear with her jeans, inspired by Doris Chan's cute patterns.

Last night I was doing my friend's laundry (and no, I will not do yours unless you have a hip replacement) and got to use her internet connection. The benefit of that was at long last I got to hang out in the chat room with all the folks at Getting Loopy! OMG that was brilliant!!

If you have never tuned in to Getting Loopy live, if you have never had the fun of hanging out in the chat room, if you have never had fun harrassing Mary Beth Temple while she's on the air, then by golly you should! It was a blast! Now I will be sad next Monday when I don't get to do it live...Bother! So, folks I want you to go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mary-beth-temple
sign up for the reminder and listen in it's FABULOUS!

Next item of great news:

http://www.gailsyarns.com is owned and operated by Gail aka Nosenabook, CLF member extraordinaire. If you are an overseas CLF person and want a hard copy of our CLF First Ever Book, Gail is your woman! She has great shipping prices, and it's well worth going through her! She also has a lovely supply of yarn and hooks! Have at it!

So, today I'm working on the second book, Crochet In Chains. Three patterns down, working on the fourth, and have two articles written :) This is going to be a fun, fabulous book.
And you know, I'm not sure if I'm going to give my Grandma a copy of it or not, but I don't think even she (the great dowager that she is) would be offended by it. Besides she's the one who told me, 'Oh, every generation of teenagers thinks they invented sex."

Me:"WHAT? Grandma? "

Grandma: "Oh dear, don't look at me like that, I haven't always been old. How do you think your father got here?"

Me: But Grandma, you weren't a teenager when you had Dad.

Grandma: "No, but I enjoyed all the practice until I did have him."

Me: Thanks Grandma, this is need to know information. I didn't need to know that.

Grandma : Picks up magazine, and chuckles softly and evily into the pages.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Vicotoria's Secret is totally HOOKALICIOUS!

Every Sunday my family goes over to my cousin's house to have dinner and play games. My cousin loves fashion, she's a clothes horse extra-ordinaire! So, she has a mega collection of magazines, and catalogs. One of those being the Victoria's Secret Catalog, which she couldn't wait to show me!

The latest catalog has the CUTEST little crocheted bikini/skirtlet out fit..but even better? They highlighted the very WORD crochet in a positive and cool manner at the top of the page! WHOOT!!!

So, curious I went to their website to see what else they had for crochet and wow! I see that we're not so far off in doing our Adult themed book...Look how sexy crochet can be...


Adult themed book? Have you forgotten my friends? The latest crochet bit of wonder is being created at this very moment. Patterns, and articles, fun and precoscious and yes, very sexy: Crochet In Chains: The CLF All Growed Up will be out in a few months. No publication date as of yet, because I'm taking my time and not stressing on the book! LOL...I have enough non-crochet related stress at the moment.

I can't tell you what's in the book, but I can say the CLF minions have pulled all the stops for this one! It's walking the exact line I wanted, tasteful and sexy...A tease more than a peep show, fun, and frolic along side serious sensuality! It's every bit as sexy as we are!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cafe Curtains are totally Hookalicious!

Cafe Curtains 1
Originally uploaded by JBProfusion

Hats off to CLF Member Profusion for making these fantabulous Cafe Curtains using a table runner pattern and adapting them to her whims!

I love these! Lace is the core of crochet, and I so enjoy seeing well made, and useful, beautiful and practical crocheted wonder!

Congratulations Profusion! You are duly awarded the Hookalicious award for outstanding crochet skill and ingenuity!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lookie, Lookie I got hookie :)

So....Today I open my mail and lo and behold what do I find?

A hook with a handle shaped like brass knuckles....hmmmmmmmmmmm....You think someone's sending me a message? Am I a brawler? Who sent the hook?

Who else but CLF Hook Meister Jimbo!http://www.jimbosfrontporch.blogspot.com
He won the 2009 Crochet Award for Best Handcrafted Hooks
(for sale or by auction)
and this little beauty is now our

IT's sooooo awesome and it works too ;) So, this will travel with me...and after events you'll have to start looking for who got to hold our Brawling Hook...
Or who has been dubbed "Knight Errant of the Wholly Hooker"...

And I ask you..."You wanna piece of me? Huh? Do ya?"

This was the best April's Fools Day I've ever had!

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