Reason to Join a Local CGOA Chapter #6: Local Crochet Experts!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Post by Stacy Vaka of Crochet Kitten.

Welcome back to my blog series on what it's like to join a local CGOA chapter! I joined the Prince William County chapter of CGOA back in January, and I've been writing about what the experience has been like. You can find links to the whole series on this post.

One of the best things about learning how to crochet in the digital age is having a library of free resources at your fingertips! When you want to learn a new technique, all you need do is type the name of the technique in Google, and suddenly all the video and photo tutorials you could ever want are right in front of you.

But sometimes the photos are not clear, or the video is at a funny angle, and sometimes it would be really nice if the person who made the tutorial was just sitting right next to you telling you exactly what to do. Obviously that's just not going to happen in most cases, but on the bright side, your local guild chapter is a place you could go to meet crochet experts in your area who could potentially help you with whatever has left you baffled. And sometimes, the particular expertise that your local guild members have may surprise you.

At our last meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting Karen C. K. Ballard of Threadwinder. If you have ever read CGOA's newsletter Chain Link, you may have happened upon a regular column that focus on the history of crochet. This has been one of my favorite features of Chain Link, and as it turns out, it is written by none other than Karen Ballard!


CGOA Member Spotlight: Amy Ramnarine

Monday, August 22, 2016

I'm Marie Segares from Underground Crafter and this is the eighth post in my monthly series highlighting a CGOA member with an interview.

Amy Ramnarine.
This month's interview is with Amy Ramnarine from The Stitchin' Mommy. Amy is a freelance crochet designer and blogger. Amy has been crocheting for seven years and she is also a knitter (on and off). Amy has been a professional crochet designer for the past four years and also shares recipes and craft projects on her blog. Prior to her design career, she worked as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs for five years and was a preschool teacher for two years. She's now a work-at-home-mom of two living in New York. You can find Amy at The Stitchin' Mommy, or follow her on Etsy, Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter

All images are used with permission and are © Amy Ramnarine/The Stitchin' Mommy.

Apple of My Eye Apple Cozy, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting? 
Amy: A friend of mine tried to teach me how to crochet about 8 years ago. I didn't really catch on but I was determined to learn since I was between jobs and needed a hobby. I started watching YouTube videos and borrowed crochet books from the library. I started teaching myself how to crochet and it eventually brought me to where I am now.

Kiss Me at Midnight Quick Cowl, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.
UC: When did you start designing? 
Amy: I started designing about 4 years ago. I had been crocheting for a few years already and I was ready to express myself through crochet with my own designs. 

Sunshine and Hugs Beanie, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.
UC: How long have you been a member of the CGOA? What’s your favorite thing about being a member? 
Amy: I have been a member of the CGOA for two years now. I love that the CGOA allows crocheters to connect with one another through the CGOA website and in person through local chapter meetings and the CGOA conference. I also love that the CGOA provides all of it's members with opportunities to learn and grow with the help of reading materials, classes, and other programs.

Mini Clutch Purse, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.

UC: You used to be a preschool teacher. Has your background in teaching had an impact on your designing and blogging? 
Amy: I think the organization skills that I picked up when I was teaching have helped to keep me organized during my blogging career. I have definitely utilized my task management and scheduling skills when it comes to working with sponsors, yarn companies, and other bloggers. Now if I could only utilize the skills to help me clean up my craft room!

Stashbuster Granny Stripe Afghan, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for relaxing? 
Amy: I like to work on blankets that have a very easy stitch pattern so that I don't even have to look down. I can just continually crochet without thinking. My favorite easy one to work on is my Stashbuster Granny Stripe Afghan.

Rising Sun Afghan Square, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.
UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for challenging yourself? 
Amy: Anything related to Tunisian crochet. I am still a novice with Tunisian but I do enjoy a good challenge. 

Little Bubbles Dishcloth, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for warm weather? 
Amy: I don't really like to sweat it out in the summer under a huge wool blanket so, tote bags and anything that I can use around the house like baskets, coasters, and dishcloths.

Shell Stitch Baby Blanket, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to give as gifts? 
Amy: Baby blankets. They are near and dear to my heart. I make a baby blanket for all of my friends and family members when they are expecting. It's been a kind of tradition of mine that I plan to keep going for as long as I can. This was the first one that I designed.

Fluffy Clusters Infinity Scarf, free crochet pattern by The Stitchin' Mommy.
UC: What are you working on in 2016? What's next for you? 
Amy: I am going to continue to help myself grow by learning new techniques and skills. I am also hoping to continue growing my blog. I want to design more garments. I have been afraid to tackle them for a while but am starting to feel a little more confident. I have a few other amazing projects coming up that aren't finalized yet but I will share them on my social media sites when things are official :).

Thanks for sharing your love of crochet with us, Amy!

Book Review - 75 Colorful Hexagons to Crochet

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Title: 75 Colorful Hexagons to Crochet
Author: Leonie Morgan
MSRP: $21.99 USD

Book review by Pia Thadani - Stitches'N'Scraps


I've always been a big fan of hexagon motifs. There's just something about the roundness and symmetry of the shape that appeals to me, more so than squares and other shapes. Maybe it's just because I associate them with snowflakes - all hexagons, but all so different.

With 75 colorful and unique designs, this book definitely doesn't disappoint! You're bound to find the perfect design for any project. In fact, you'll probably have trouble deciding between them.

CGOA Book Review & Giveaway - 75 Colorful Hexagons to Crochet by Leonie Morgan

To help you choose, the book starts out with a 4 page hexagon selector gallery, showing all the different designs. It then goes right into the motif designs, including both written and charted instructions.

Pages 10 & 11 - 75 Colorful Hexagons to Crochet by Leonie Morgan


The designs are divided into 3 sections according to difficulty level: beginner, intermediate, and experienced. At the end of each section, there are project patterns that are made using the hexagon motifs. My favorite are these sunny and bright Citrus Pillows.

Page 86 - 75 Colorful Hexagons to Crochet by Leonie Morgan


The last section of the book contains information on tools and techniques. This includes illustrated instructions for basic stitches and a few more advanced stitch variations. There are also tips on gauge, blocking, joining motifs, and much more.

The publisher, St Martin's Griffin, has generously agreed to give away a free copy of this book!  To be eligible, you must be 18 years of age or older, with a valid, US or Canadian shipping address. The winner will be contacted by email, and must reply to that email and provide the shipping address within 1 week in order to receive the prize. If the winner does not reply within 1 week, a new winner will be selected.

The giveaway ends on August 31st. Hurry and enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A free review copy of 75 Colorful Hexagons to Crochet was provided by St Martin's Griffin. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. All images of copyrighted material are used with permission.

Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf CAL Part 6: Dots and Dashes Stitch; Assembly and Finishing; Giveaway!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Welcome back to the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long! You can get all the information about the CAL, including a complete schedule and links to previous posts, here.
Part 6: Dots and Dashes Stitch.
Or, watch the video below.

Join in the crochet-a-long and share your progress with other crocheters.
Enter the giveaway below by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, August 28, 2016 by sharing a completed project picture for your chance to win a great prize! 







Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long Part 5: Morse Code Stitch and Giveaway Sponsor Update!

Monday, August 8, 2016


Welcome back to the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long! You can get all the information about the CAL, including a complete schedule and links to previous posts, here.
I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts of a crochet-a-long is the prizes at the end. Learning new stitches is fun and who doesn't love chatting with other crocheters? But, c'mon, you know you want to hear more about the giveaway prizes, so let me go right ahead and share the details with you.
For this crochet-a-long, we have four fabulous giveaway sponsors! In alphabetical order, our sponsors are...

Crochet Guild of America is providing one fantastic prize.

Show your support by following CGOA on Facebook and Twitter!

CGOA is offering a one-year individual membership to one lucky winner! This CAL has introduced many crocheters to the Guild, and now you'll have the chance to get to know it even better. 


GMC Books is providing two fabulous prizes.

Show your support by following GMC Books on Twitter!


Animal Heads: Trophy Heads to Crochet by Vanessa Mooncie (reviewed here on CGOA Now! by Pia from Stitches'N'Scraps) is a book featuring 10 delightful crochet patterns with helpful tutorials.


Granny Squares and Shapes: 20 Crochet Projects for You and Your Home by Sue Pinner (reviewed here on CGOA Now! by Pia from Stitches'N'Scraps) is a book featuring 20 designs, including home decor and wearables, along with tutorials for motif projects.

Mad Mad me is providing one handmade prize.

Show your support by following Mad Mad me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


Charissa Ragsdale is the crochet designer maker behind the Etsy shop, Mad Mad me. You can see some more of her current work in the shop!

Quarto Group is providing one amazing prize.

Show your support by following Quarto on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!
Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters: 200 Stitch Patterns in Words and Symbols is a brand new stitch guide from bestselling author, designer, and teacher, Melissa Leapman.
More details about how to enter the giveaway will be shared along with Part 6.
You can get the stitch pattern for Part 5: Morse Code Stitch, here on Underground Crafter.

Or, watch the video below.

Join in the crochet-a-long and share your progress with other crocheters.
  • Share your progress on social media with hashtag #cgoasummercal.

Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long Part 4: Grids and Columns Stitch

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Welcome back to the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long! You can get all the information about the CAL, including a complete schedule and links to previous posts, here.


You can get the stitch pattern for Part 4: Grids and Columns Stitch here on Underground Crafter.

Part 4: Grids and Columns Stitch

Or, watch the video below.



Join in the crochet-a-long and share your progress with other crocheters.



Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf, Part 3: Chains and Spines Stitch

Monday, August 1, 2016


Welcome back to the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long! You can get all the information about the CAL, including a complete schedule and links to previous posts, here.

Part 3: Chains and Spines Stitch

You can get the stitch pattern for Part 3: Chains and Spines Stitch here on Underground Crafter. Or, watch the video below.


Join in the crochet-a-long and share your progress with other crocheters.



CGOA QOTM: Your School Year Crochet Schedule

July was hot and tumultuous, but also fun and full of love!  August is the month that transitions us from summer's change of pace into the new school year.  But what does that mean for a crocheter?  

For parents, it could mean more available crochet time.  Grandparents, aunts, and uncles may want to spoil their school-age relatives with handmade accessories, blankets, or school supplies.  Teens and college students,  may start to work quick projects to balance stress levels and/or improve focus during lectures.  For commuters like me, the increased traffic will lengthen commute time, necessitating the tightening of morning and evening routines.  
As these transitions fall into place, how are you going to work crochet into your new routine?  If there is no schedule change, how does the new school year inspire your crochet?
As for me, I am going to take a crochet kit with me on my commute so I can sneak in a few stitches here and there (while parked only!)  I have found that sometimes just adding 2-3 minutes extra in the car can really add up in terms of completing a project.  My car project will be simple and intuitive.  Nothing fancy!
I have a few crochet time-finding ideas.
  • Parents - Put down your cell phones during pick up and drop off and pick up the hook instead! 
  • Extended Family - Find out your school-aged relative's favorite character and crochet a hat with those specifications.  For college students, crochet a thick and comfy blanket in the school colors.
  • College Students - Keep crochet by your side during lectures.  If you're not taking notes, make a few stitches if that helps you to absorb information. (Be sure to check with the professor first out of respect.)
  • High School Students - For those times on the bus or waiting for class to start, have a simple project nearby.  Maybe you could make amigurumi and sell them to your classmates for some extra cash!
But how do YOU schedule crochet in the new school year?  And how does the school year inspire your crochet (if at all)?

Last month was all about showing love through crochet and we got a lot of love on the Facebook post and the blog.  



In addition to Meg's comment and picture, there were many other Facebook fans who chimed in to share how they show love through crochet.  For example, Wendy said,
I show my friends and family love by making them surprise blankets.  I show myself love by using crochet as therapy: it is calming, it creates flow, it makes me feel good about myself knowing that I am going to make someone else happy.
Facebooker Susan crochets blankets for Linus Connection, and prayer shawls.  She also designs gifts for her family members.   Pam is a fellow prayer shawl crocheter.  I am sure they provide much comfort to those in need.  Bobbie shows love by teaching her friends to crochet.  Linda is going to make scarves for the troops.  Tammy makes scarves and clothes for winter clothing drives. Sherry shows love by how much she enjoys crochet.   

On the blog, there were some in-depth comments
When I first started crocheting, I quickly filled my family's needs. Although I still make gifts for family and friends, I was thrilled to find that there are many local charitable organizations that greatly need items such as hats, scarves, and mitts for the homeless; and baby items for the newborns that would otherwise go without. And these things are used by people who truly appreciate that someone took the time and cared enough to make something. I always include a card that says "Stitched with love for you". -Jane
I crochet prayer shawls, lap robes, baby blankets and stuffed animals for our prayer shawl ministry. They have been sent around the world. I pray for the person while I am crocheting, and the entire congregation prays over the object before it is sent out. It is amazing the responses we have gotten. People say they can feel God's love through these items! -Sandy 
Thank you to all who answered last month's question.  It means everything to learn more about fellow CGOA people.  And I loved seeing a picture of Meg's work.  I want to know all about your fall crochet schedule, so let's keep the conversation going.  Please leave a comment here on the blog, or on the CGOA facebook page!  Do you want to connect on social media?  I can be found on facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat (It's fun!).  Join my newsletter about crafts, crochet, and education. 
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Reason to Join a Local CGOA Chapter #5: Field Trips!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Post by Stacy Vaka of Crochet Kitten.

Welcome back to my blog series on what it's like to join a local CGOA chapter! I joined the Prince William County chapter of CGOA back in January, and I've been writing about what the experience has been like. You can find links to the whole series on this post.

This month I had the opportunity to take part in one of the benefits I've been looking most forward to since I heard the year's agenda laid out in January, and that was a crochet field trip! In the past, my particular chapter has talked of making group trips to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and the Knit & Crochet Show (and indeed, two of our members attended the Knit & Crochet Show this year and gave us the insider details at this month's guild meeting), but the field trip I partook in this month was to Bonita Yarns in Essex, Maryland to meet and have a workshop with Lianka Azulay, inventor of the crocodile stitch.

Lianka with her mother Rachel's adorable pup.

One of the fun things about visiting a crochet designer in her own element was having the opportunity to see the designer's own crochet handiwork in person. We've all seen the crocodile stitch dragon and mermaid patterns (even I'm guilty of these obvious applications with my Sirens of Atlantis and Angel Wings patterns), but Lianka's abilities speak to more versatility than that. Did you know crocodile stitch could be this beautiful?

Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf, Part 2: Divider Rows; Horizontal and Vertical Stitch

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Welcome back to the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long! You can get all the information about the CAL, including a complete schedule and links to previous posts, here.

Part 2: Horizontal and Vertical Stitch
You can get the stitch pattern for Part 2: Divider Rows and Horizontal and Vertical Stitch here on Underground Crafter. Or, watch the video below.

Join in the crochet-a-long and share your progress with other crocheters.

Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf, Part 1: Getting Started; Staircase Stitch

Monday, July 25, 2016

Welcome back to the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf Crochet-a-Long! You can get all the information about the CAL, including a complete schedule and links to previous posts, here.

Part 1: Staircase Stitch
You can get the stitch pattern for Part 1: Getting Started and the Staircase Stitch here on Underground Crafter. Or, watch the video below. Please note the written stitch pattern for Part 1 has been updated and corrected.


Join in the crochet-a-long and share your progress with other crocheters.

Summer, 2016 CGOA Crochet-a-long: Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf

Monday, July 18, 2016

Everyone had so much fun with our Across the Board crochet-a-long that we've decided to host another!

Like our last CAL, our summer crochet-a-long features a pattern designed by a CGOA member - me! You may know me as the host of the monthly CGOA member spotlight series, but I'm also a crochet (and knitting) designer and the blogger behind Underground Crafter



I've been holding onto this pattern for a while, waiting for just the right time to share it! Let me tell you about more about it and the crochet-a-long.

About the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf

Explore intermeshing crochet (also known as interlocking crochet or double filet crochet) by making this reversible sampler infinity cowl. The pattern includes 6 different stitch patterns.
Intermeshing crochet seems hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be happy you tried it! You need only basic crochet skills since intermeshing crochet uses just chains and double crochet stitches. This unisex project is a great way to get a head start on your own fall accessories or holiday gift-making, or to make something special to donate to charity.

About the Layers of Texture Infinity Scarf CAL

This pattern will be released in 6 parts. Each section will include both a written pattern and a video tutorial to help you as you make your first (or latest) intermeshing crochet project.

How to Join the CAL

You can crochet on your own, but isn't it more fun chat with other crocheters? 

Summer 2016 CAL Schedule 

Here is our CAL schedule. As each new part is released, this page will be updated to include links.
We'll be sharing more details about giveaway prizes in an upcoming post. Until then, if you'd like to join in, let us know on Ravelry or Facebook. Share your progress with hashtag #cgoasummercal. You are welcome to use the button below to spread the word! Link back to this post so other crocheters can join in. We're looking forward to crocheting with you.


Thanks so much to the rest of the CGOA Now! blogger team for their support, especially Stitches'N'Scraps for finding giveaway sponsors and Art, Like Bread, Crochet Kitten, and Jessie At Home for sharing ideas.

And, of course, thanks so much to our giveaway sponsors:


P.S.: You can find more details about the supply list and how to choose yarns for this project in this video.

 
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