Crochet Guild of America

As I discussed in my last blog post, I just found out there is a National Crochet Month and there is a Crochet Guild of America. I am not surprised that I just learned this, I have only this last year committed to joining the larger crochet community. I have been enjoying every day since I decided to take that leap. It has lead to me to learn so many things I didn’t even know that I wanted to learn. One of the 25 things, from the Red Heart- Heart Strings Blog, to do during National Crochet Month, is join the Crochet Guild of America.

So, I thought I would look into it. According to the website, www.crochet.org, “As is the only national organization dedicated to the craft of crochet, CGOA provides the opportunity for members to learn more about crochet, be inspired by innovative designs, and connect with other passionate crocheters.”

Good first pitch. But how did the CGOA come to be? Gwen Blakley Kinsler wanted to attend a crochet only conference, there was not one in existence, so she decided to create one. From 1991 to 1994, Gwen worked diligently, to bring about the The Chain Link crochet conference, “Ancient Roots, New Beginnings,” which took place in Chicago, Illinois in August of 1994. At the second conference, in 1995, attendees voted to establish the CGOA. The CGOA was earned its 501(c)(3) status in October of 1995. CGOA was “run and managed by volunteers during its first 10 years”, and received day-to-day business support from the Craft Yarn Council “(1997-2002); Reach Unlimited (2002-2003); Offinger Management Company (2003-2017); and now Celtic Chicago (2017). Today, CGOA is still the ONLY organization exclusively for crocheters.”

What a great way to start an organization, a conference. So, when is the conference this year? July 25-28 in Portland, Oregon. Registration will open Mid-April. This is really close to home, only a nine-hour drive. I couldn’t seem to find the price to attend the conference online, maybe that won’t be up until Mid-April.

But I probably will receive a discount on the conference ticket price if I become a member of CGOA. Membership. Member ship for an individual is $35.00 for individuals in the U.S. and the benefits of membership are many.

There are also CGOA chapters that CGOA members can join, but, of course, there is not one in Reno. And, I don’t have the capacity to start one right now, so, I will stick with the online crochet community for now.

I am really excited by the CGOA, I am absolutely going to become a member.

Are you a member of the CGOA? Have you attended the Chain Link Crochet Conference? Are you a member of an organization for your hobby or business? What has your experience been with membership? Have you attended an industry conference? Let’s talk!

Featured Image.

Another reason to love March: It’s National Crochet Month!

Apparently, March is National Crochet Month. ). I found this out while reading the Red Heart, Heart Strings Blog, which discusses 25 ways to celebrate National Crochet Month.  I am going to add all 25 items on their list to my crochet to-do. According to the article, “In 1994, the Craft & Hobby Association named March as National Craft Month, celebrating the creativity of all crafting. Six years later, the Crochet Guild of America named it National Crochet Month.” There is a Crochet Guild of America? Yes, the internet confirmed it. I am going to look into membership.

I have always found month long celebrations an interesting thing. There are only twelve months in a year, but infinitely more causes than twelve worth recognizing. Who decides which causes have to share? Some things are easy to see why then ended up in a month, like Irish-American Heritage Month occurring in March because of St. Patrick’s Day. (Btw… St. Patrick’s Day is my birthday!)

March is Women’s History Month because International Women’s Day is March 8th. Why is International Women’s Day March 8th? According to the United Nations International Women’s Day History of the Day “The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.” Then in 1917, “Against the backdrop of the war, women in Russia again chose to protest and strike for “Bread and Peace” on the last Sunday in February (which fell on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar). Four days later, the Czar abdicated and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote.” Historical moments in suffrage movements around the world occurred in March. But it wasn’t until 1975, “During International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March.” So it makes sense to me that other women focused month long celebrations would happen in March. National Breast Implant Awareness Month and International Black Women In Jazz & The Arts Month, occur in March.

But, why is March National Craft Month and National Crochet month? I couldn’t find an answer for why March is National Craft Month. There is also no good reason why March is National Crochet Month, except for the fact that March is National Craft Month. There is some strong linkage between women and crochet and there is a specific kind of crochet referred to as Irish Lace. So, I could make something up about National Crochet Month happening in March because it is also Women’s History Month and Irish-American Heritage Month, but I won’t. We will just have to accept that March is National Craft Month and National Crochet Month just because it is. After all, March is Optimism Month, we should be optimistic even though we didn’t find a satisfactory answer.

I was already a huge fan of March, it holds my birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, reminds everyone how awesome women are and, now I know, it celebrates my favorite past-time. March for the win. Now, I am off to drink lots of coffee and disobey the recommendation given this March during National Caffeine Awareness Month.

Do you have a favorite month? Celebrate a birthday recently? have fun stories from St. Patrick’s Day? Are you excited to learn that March is National Crochet Month? Let’s Talk!

Featured Image.

“Jolly Holiday”

Crochet is a world with a language all its own, but if you practice you can learn the language. When I was discussing the value of stitch markers I mentioned that a stitch markers favorite movie is Mary Poppins. Why is this you might ask? Well, I don’t know about you, but I am a fan of movies where they sing, dance and, especially, where they make up words. I am projecting these loves onto stitch markers. In other words, I love Mary Poppins. The Off-Broadway Mary Poppins came to my hometown a few years ago and I was so sad that I could not afford to go. I will see Mary Poppins live one day. #goals #bucketlist And, you best believe that I am anxiously awaiting Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins. I may even get brave enough to go watch a movie on it’s release date, which is Christmas of this year (2018).

So, what does Mary Poppins have to do with crochet? If you are a true fan of Mary you might think of her scarf, but that is a no go (it is knit). Although, there are some crochet makers who have made imitation patterns, I confess I have not tried any of them. What is it then? The songs of course, or rather the parody I am about to introduce to you. All Mary Poppins songs are awesome, like A Spoonful of Sugar, Pavement Artist (Chim Chim Cheree), Jolly Holiday, Super‐cali‐fragil‐istic‐expi‐ali‐docious, Stay Awake and Step in Time, to name a few. I think of Mary Poppins when I crochet because there are so many applicable lessons in the songs from the movie. I like to think of what having a Mary Poppins to help me through my crochet journey would be like. I think it would sound something like this:

In every crochet project that must be done,
There is an element learning,
You find that thing and snap!
The project becomes a game.

And every crochet project that you create,
Each stitch becomes more innate,
A double crochet, a chain, the excitement is easy to maintain.

A spool full of yarn makes the person calm down,
The person calm down-down,
The person calm down,
Just a spool full of yarn helps the person calm down,
In the most creative way.

A parent wanting to clean the home,
Has very little time alone,
While ferrying the children around town,
The parent loves the children well,
But wants to crochet for a spell,
And knows that crochet will make a house a home.

A spool full of yarn makes the person calm down,
The person calm down-down,
The person calm down,
Just a spool full of yarn helps the person calm down,
In the most creative way.

The person looking for patterns,
From the internet to the yarn store,
Never tires of searching for the perfect one,
Because they learn a little bit,
From every project they don’t quit,
And so,
They find,
Crochet brings them peace of mind.

Ya-a-a-a-a-a-rn, Ya-a-a-a-arn!

A spool full of yarn makes the person calm down,
The person calm down-down,
The person calm down,
Just a spool full of yarn helps the person calm down,
In the most creative way.

If you didn’t figure it out I created this crochet parody from A Spoon Full of Sugar. That is what I think a crochet Mary Poppins would sound like. Do you imagine having a Mary Poppins/god-mother like person helping you along your crochet journey? Are you weird enough to come up with song parodies that they might sing to you? Are you looking forward to the Mary Poppins remake with Emily Blunt? Tell me about it!

Feel like you need some more Mary Poppins right now? Me too.

Find this video on Youtube.

Feature Image.

X Marks the Spot: Using Stitch Markers while Crocheting

One reason crochet is wonderful is because of its portability, you can crochet “Whenever, Wherever”. Grab a crochet hook and yarn, and you can create crochet goodies. But, there are other tools in the crochet world that will make your crochet experience better. I introduced you to the first crochet accessory, stitch markers, while discussing the importance of counting while crocheting. However, in that post I did not do justice to the stitch marker, I told you its first name, but nothing else. This post, this is a proper first date with a stitch marker, by the end you will know its last name, where it works and its favorite movie.

I will start off by saying this, you are not required to use stitch markers, crochet is cool with that, keep living dangerously. I like to live a little dangerously. I will admit I don’t use stitch markers as often as I should, but I am getting better about using them more regularly. I know for a long time I didn’t use stitch markers because I simply forgot to bring them with me around town. Now, I have this tea box that I keep with my crochet stuff that makes it easy to bring stitch markers around town with me. Another reason that I didn’t use stitch markers is that I didn’t know great they are. And, stitch markers are awesome.

So, let’s talk about what a stitch marker is. It is anything that you use to mark a place in your crochet project. There are bulk manufactured stitch markers you can buy from yarn stores and there are handmade stitch markers that you can buy from physical and online craft marketplaces. Then there are the less conventional stitch markers, like paperclips, earrings, and scrap pieces of yarn. I have been in need of a stitch marker before and used a bread tie. Crochet doesn’t care how fancy you are. The most important thing about the stitch marker, is that you can easily remove whatever you decide to use as a stitch marker from your project. This means that you cannot use anything that is a complete circle. If you go to the yarn store and see circular stitch markers DO NOT buy these, they are for knitters. Now that you have a use for all of the bread ties that you have been hoarding in your kitchen drawers, we will review all the reasons why stitch markers are awesome.

Awesome at Helping You Count Stitches

Using stitch markers can help you count as you crochet.

Awesome at Calling Out Places in the Pattern

Some patterns will include instructions to “place a marker”. This may be because the area in the pattern will be difficult to see when you come back around to it, or the yarn the pattern requires does not have good stitch definition. But, if the pattern calls for a stitch marker, I would advise following the recommendation. The person who wrote the pattern is the person most familiar with that pattern, if they say to use a stitch marker, I trust them and I use one.

Awesome for Pattern Repeats

Some projects have patterns that repeat. Think about trying to remember the following pattern: 1, 12, 2, 12, 3, 12, 4, 12, 5, 12, 6, 12, 7, 12, 8, 12, 9, 12, 10, 12, 11, 12, 12, 12; and repeating it over and over again. Which 12 are you on?  Which 12 in your pattern are you on if you have to repeat this pattern 15 times? If you mark the 1 at the beginning of the pattern and/or the 12 at the end of the pattern, it will be much easier to start your count over. Using the stitch marker means that you only have to count 24 stitches, and not up to 360 stitches, to know where you are at in your pattern repeat.

Awesome for Helping You Seeing Where You Were and Where You Are Going

One of the most common places to put a stitch marker is the beginning/end of a round. Think about laying bricks in a circle to create a tower. On the second or third row you might still remember which brick you laid down first, but by the 20th row will you remember which brick you laid first? A stitch marker makes it very easy to see where the beginning/ending of your round is. Using a stitch marker in this fashion is especially important if your pattern does not ask that you join the round with a slip stitch, i.e. if it does not ask you to create an ending to your circle. If the pattern wants you to crochet in a continuous row/round (not join) then the stitch marker will help you keep track of the number of stitches you have made/need to make. You can use a stitch marker while working in the round if your pattern calls for you to join, but I tend not to. I can clearly see the beginning of my rounds, but if you are having a hard time seeing the beginning of your round, or if you just prefer to not have to question where you are in your round, the stitch marker will highlight this for you and make your life easier.

Awesome for Keeping Count of Rows/Rounds

You can place stitch markers on each row of a flat project or each circle of a round project (row/round) or at a certain number rows/rounds to help you keep track of which row/round you are on in your project. There are other tools you can use to keep track of rows/rounds, but stitch markers are an easy and obvious way to do this.

Awesome for Attaching Pieces

Stitch markers can be used to call out the places in a project that need to be stitched together and can be used to hold pieces together while seaming. Using the stitch markers, you can count the number of stitches in your pattern, place stitch markers at the same intervals, ensure that your stitches line up evenly and your seams are perfect.

Awesome to Keep Your Project from Unraveling

I carry my crochet all around town, and the country and to other countries, my crochet goes everywhere with me. For many years, I would throw my crochet into a bag and when I would take it out to start working again I sometimes had lost a whole row/round of work, so frustrating. But, placing a stitch marker through the last loop that you made prevents the project from unraveling.

 

Stitch markers are awesome! But, there is one part of this date that we didn’t get to, what is a stitch markers favorite movie? Mary Poppins. Check back on Thursday for my next blog post and I will explain why!

What kind of stitch marker do you like to use? Do you have a unique way to use a stitch marker while crocheting? I would love to hear about your stitch marker stories.

Meme Credit

Count von Count

I wish I knew why I ultimately decided I had to make a blanket for my mother, and why it had to be a blanket for a king size bed. Why couldn’t I just have made a throw? An Afghan? Why wasn’t I satisfied with a scarf? Why? It is probably because I always feel I need to swim the deep end. I wouldn’t recommend learning to crochet the hard way, like I did. If you are going to learn how to crochet, start small. Make a dish cloth, coasters, a beanie, don’t make a huge blanket. But, no matter what you make as your first, or even fifteenth project, there are some important things that you should do as a beginning crochet maker. As I mentioned previously, it is essential that you practice your stitches. What comes after that?

Embracing crochet specific arithmomania. What is arithmomania? It is a disorder which involves the obsessive counting of surrounding objects. My favorite arithmomaniac, Count von Count from Sesame Street. If you need some inspiration from the Count you can follow him on Twitter.

I know that you may not think that counting is such an essential part of crochet, but trust that it is. Here is why. Let’s do the math to figure out the number of stitches that went into the three-year blanket for my mom. My goal was to make each row 300 stitches wide. I mentioned previously that I picked up a Vanna’s Choice yarn in cranberry, dusty rose, and dusty green, but then I also bought navy, chocolate, dusty purple, pale grey, and beige; eight colors total. I don’t think that I mentioned this before, but I decided to make the blanket for my mom for her 45th birthday, so I decided that there should be 45 rows of each color.

45 rows multiplied by 8 colors is 360 rows total, multiplied by 300 stitches per row is 108,000 stitches.

Fortunately, you don’t have to keep counting up to 108,000, but you need to count the stitches in each row. I don’t know about you, but I don’t regularly count to 300, and when I have occasion to, I often miscount or lose my place. I am not Count von Count, I need some assistance, when crocheting this assistance comes in the form of stitch markers. When crocheting you must count, I cannot stress this enough. Not keeping track of stitch counts can leave you with holes in your project, or more egregious, will make the sides of your project look like a kindergartner tried to draw a straight line with their eyes closed, using their non-dominant hand. So not pretty. Use the stitch markers to help keep track of stitches using easy to remember multiples, i.e. place stitch markers every 20, 40, 50 stitches or as many stitches along the project as you feel is appropriate. I did not do this. As I was making this blanket I could see that the sides were not straight, but I didn’t know why. Now, I know that one of the biggest reasons for this was not counting my stitches.

 

Working on your first project? Just finished a project? Count von Count knows how you feel.

Are you a fan of the Count? What techniques do you use to help you keep track of your stitches while you crochet? Let’s talk!

Video from the Youtube Channel of Sesame Street.

Status Update: In a Relationship with Crochet

Like any good American child, I have been trained to bring my art projects home and give them to my mom. I happen to have a great relationship with her. When I decided to make my first crochet project, I planned to make it for my mom, of course.  Using the yarn, I bought on my first shopping trip. I had worked my way through all of the cranberry yarn and had added the dusty rose yarn to my project. I had this seven-foot long by one-foot wide crocheted project. I had a crochet project! I could have stopped there, it would have made a great scarf, but I decided that I had to make my mom a blanket.

Within months of obtaining my driving learner’s permit, having spent almost no time behind the wheel within those months, my dad, my brother and I went on a road trip. Yes, I learned how to drive on a cross-country road trip. It seems fitting for my life that I decided that my first crochet project should be a blanket. I wanted to jump into crochet with both feet, no straddling the fence, go big or go home, bigger is better, insert additional commitment catch phrase here. I wanted swim in the deep end of the crochet lake.

You may not want to be in the deep end, that’s fine, you can choose your relationship status with crochet. If you want to date but don’t want something serious, crochet is cool with that. If you to hit-it and quit-it, only making one project, crochet is cool with that. But I knew that crochet was not a one-night stand for me, I was in a committed relationship from that very first stitch. Even if my stitches looked like kindergarten handwriting.

It turns out that I would be committed to my first crochet project for three years. It is the lengthiest project I have ever completed. Most projects don’t take that long to finish, graciously. Now I have a rule of thumb that I have to finish projects within a year. Do you set a timeline to complete projects? What is the longest time you spent working on a project? Tell me about it.

“Whenever, Wherever”: The Origins of Chelsea Crochets Around the City

One of the most attractive features of crochet as an art is its portability. Just think about carrying a canvas, paint brushes, and paints with you so that you could paint whenever you had time or inspiration struck, not something that could easily be accomplished. Crocheting requires only a hook and a ball of yarn. I had worked my first project, with the Vanna’s Choice yarn, into just a few single crochet rows before I took the project on the road. I was asked to watch a friend’s kid, while my friend had a night out. After completing the night time routine, the kid in bed, I grabbed the yarn and continued crocheting. This was the beginning of what I now call “Chelsea Crochets Around the City”.

It started small, bringing my crochet with me when I knew I would be waiting somewhere, like the DMV or a doctor’s office. Then I brought yarn with me to school and crocheted in my college classes. I create more crochet in my college classes than just about anywhere else. Soon I was crocheting at friend’s houses, at home while watching TV, out at the movies, if I was sitting (and I didn’t have homework to do) I was crocheting. I was living in D.C. and I saw a woman knitting on the metro and I couldn’t believe it hadn’t occurred to me to crochet on the metro. When I pack for a trip, my checklist includes enough yarn for the length of the trip, sometimes this requires a second suitcase, just for yarn. It’s like Shakira said “Whenever, wherever, we’re meant to be together, I’ll be there and you’ll be near…”.

Do you carry your hobby around with you? If you crochet, where do you crochet? Are you a crochet at home only person? Or are you like me and take your crochet everywhere? Tell me about it.