CGOA Winter '16 Holiday Crochet Along - Introduction

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hey!  With two successful CALs under our belts, let's round out the year with another fun one!  Excitingly, this is a Holiday CAL and will be finished before Thanksgiving, so that you have plenty of time to finish and send your pieces before the December holidays. 


Did you know that the 2016 Across the Board Pattern Book is out?  It is out and it is lovely!  Containing six wonderful shawl and wrap patterns written by the CGOA Board of Directors, the e-book is absolutely free to CGOA members.  These patterns are so pretty, and I can see crocheting each one for someone different.  The only difficult decision is where to start!  


Well, you can start here with the Crochet Along!  Over the next six weeks (October 1 - November 12), we will be crocheting both the "All the Stars Above" shawl by Karen McKenna and the "Lace Ripple Fans Shawlette" by Susan White Sullivan.

How to Join the CAL
You can crochet on your own, but why not join us?  Check out the Ravelry thread or our Facebook group to chat, ask questions, and share your progress. We are psyched to see what you do!

Share your progress on social media with hashtag #cgoaholidaycal.  Link back to this post so other crocheters can join in. We're looking forward to crocheting with you.

Supply List
We are crocheting two pieces.  For the "All the Stars Above" shawl by Karen McKenna, you will need 
  • a yarn needle
  • an L/11 (8mm) hook
  • about 936 yards of DK weight yarn comparable to Skacel Simplicity Tonal
For the "Lace Ripple Fans Shawlette" by Susan White Sullivan, you will need 
  • a yarn needle
  • K/10.5 (6.5mm) hook 
  • about 262 yards of DK weight yarn comparable to LB Collection Angora
Winter 2016 Holiday CAL Schedule
Sept. 26 – Intro post: CAL schedule, materials list, & prize list!
Oct. 1 – "All the Stars Above" shawl by Karen McKenna (Rows 1-32)
Oct. 8 – Part 2 "All the Stars Above" shawl by Karen McKenna (Rows 33-80)
Oct. 22 – Finishing "All the Stars Above" shawl by Karen McKenna (Edging & Fringe)
Oct. 29 Beginning "Lace Ripple Fans Shawlette" by Susan White Sullivan (Rows 1-7)
Nov. 5 – Finishing "Lace Ripple Fans Shawlette" by Susan White Sullivan (Rows 8-13, blocking, and ribbon)
Nov. 12 – Giveaway entry deadline
Nov. 19 – Wrap up post / prize winner announcements.

You Could Win!
We are very fortunate that we have four excellent sponsors who are tempting us with five fantastic prize packages!  At the end of the CAL, you can enter to win!



Next Steps: Download your copy of the CGOA 2016 Across the Board Pattern Book at crochet.org, join the CGOA facebook group, gather your materials and get ready to go!  If you want to swatch, you can begin by swatching.

Thanks so much to the rest of the CGOA Now! blogger team for their support, especially Stitches'N'Scraps for finding giveaway sponsors.


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

I don't know about you, but I am super-excited to get this CAL going.  Questions? Leave a comment here on the blog, in the Ravelry thread, 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. 

CGOA Member Spotlight: Tamara Kelly

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I'm Marie from Underground Crafter and this is the ninth post in my monthly series highlighting a member of the Crochet Guild of America with an interview.

Tamara Kelly.
This month's interview is with Tamara Kelly from Moogly. Tamara is a crochet designer, blogger, teacher, and author. She's also a mom of three. She lives in Iowa with her husband and children. Tamara describes herself as "an unrepentant yarn addict," but then again, aren't we all? You can find Tamara on Moogly, or follow her on Facebook, InstagramPinterest, RavelryTwitter, and YouTube. Tamara is a Craftsy instructor, and you can get 50% off any of her classes using this link.

All images are used with permission and are © Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

Amelia Shawl, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
Tamara: I had been wanting to learn how to crochet for years (I've always been crafty!), but this was back before YouTube. So I had to meet someone who knew how first! That turned out to be my sister-in-law! She taught me how to single crochet, and I was off and running from there!

Ups and Downs Slouchy Beanie in 3 sizes, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

UC: When did you start designing?
Tamara: I always sort of goofed around making my own stuff, but I didn't try actually writing anything down for several years. Even then it was a slow start - a dishcloth in 2008 was all I did until things really started to take off in 2011, and it became my full time job!

Mesmerizing Mini Bag, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

UC: How long have you been a member of the CGOA? What’s your favorite thing about being a member?
Tamara: I've been a member for about 2 or 3 years now - the time has flown by! My favorite thing is connecting with other designers, and going to the CGOA Conference! And I love doing my part to help spread the love of crochet!

Amara Shawl, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

UC: You've gone to several CGOA Conferences. What are your favorite things about attending.
Tamara: Oh gosh, where to start? I love meeting Moogly readers, taking classes to expand my skills, and meeting people who enjoy nerding out about crochet as much as I do!

Capulin Cross Body Bag, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

UC: You also teach crochet. Does your teaching influence your designing?
Tamara: Yes! Most of my teaching is done online - through Craftsy classes or YouTube videos. I learn a lot while teaching - even when it's just me and camera - and it influences how I word my patterns, and what techniques I include. 

Modern Rose Afghan, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for relaxing? 
Tamara: Blankets! Once I've got that repeat down, it's all sit back and relax!

Eloise Girls Sweater in 3 sizes, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly. You can get the Eloise Baby Sweater in 5 sizes here

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects for challenging yourself? 
Tamara: Sweaters! So. much. math. 

Shannon Infinity Scarf, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

UC: What are your favorite types of crochet projects to give as gifts? 
Tamara: Tote bags and infinity scarves - they are guaranteed to fit!

Snow Drops Reversible Cowl, free crochet pattern by Tamara Kelly/Moogly.

UC: What are you working on in 2016? What's next for you?
Tamara: This year my husband is going to be joining me to work on Moogly full time as well! We're hoping that this will only increase the quality level, and free me up to do some more projects and expand even more. Once we get the new office remodel in the basement done that is... I'll also have a book coming out this year - assuming all goes according to plan!

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


Book Review - Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters

Title: Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters
Author: Melissa Leapman
MSRP: $24.99 USD

Book review by Pia Thadani - Stitches'N'Scraps


Do you like to create your own designs? Or maybe you like to work with existing patterns, but change them up a bit? If so, this book is for you. For beginning crocheters, Most of these designs can easily be used to make squares or rectangles for blankets, washcloths, scarves, cowls, and more.

Indispensable Stitch Collection - Cover - Book review on CGOA Now!

The introduction section has everything you need to get started personalizing patterns or even designing from scratch. It includes tips on reading the stitch pattern charts, incorporating the stitches into projects, and shaping your projects without interrupting the pattern.

Indispensable Stitch Collection - Book review on CGOA Now!


The 200 stitch patterns are divided up into categories - Simple solid patterns, shell and open fan stitch patterns, openwork and lace patterns, textured patterns, colorwork patterns, and edgings. Each stitch pattern includes written instructions and charted instructions. The stitch multiples are also clearly indicated so you can easily adjust the edges as needed to fit your project. Some stitch patterns are reversible, and are marked as such with a special icon.


Indispensable Stitch Collection - Page 31 - Book review on CGOA Now!

At the back of the book is a reference section, containing detailed diagrams for all of the basic stitches and techniques used in the book. It also includes abbreviations used, standard symbols, and more information on reading the stitch diagrams.

Indispensable Stitch Collection - Resource Section - Book review on CGOA Now!

You can win your own copy of this wonderful book, provided by the publisher, Creative Publishing International. 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 September 30th. Hurry and enter below! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: A free review copy of Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters was provided by Creative Publishing International. 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.

Getting to Know You - Jenny Brigham!

Friday, September 9, 2016



Welcome to the new series "Getting To Know You" on the blog. This is an opportunity for our members to share a little bit about themselves, and for us to learn more about each other and continue the family feel after leaving the annual conference. Although we may crochet by ourselves in our own homes, we are not alone in our love of crochet, and we have more in common than we realize. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we will all learn something new about each other and the art of crochet! This month, enjoy getting to know...

Jenny Brigham






Location:
Fort Collins, CO


How did you learn to crochet and when?
Both my mother and my grandmother did a number of crafty things such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, sewing, and quilting. They taught me to do all of them, but crochet is the one that really stuck with me. It wasn’t until college that I really got going on making blankets and scarves, so I’ve been actively crocheting for about 30 years now.


Do you crochet with your left hand or right hand and how do you hold your hook? 
I’m right-handed and I hold my hook like a knife. I’ve tried to do the pencil hold but it just doesn’t feel right to me.


What is your favorite hook? 
I don’t have a favorite hook, though I’m partial to wooden hooks. I’ve been trying out some of the ergonomic hooks but haven’t found a favorite one yet. I do prefer the tapered hooks rather than the inline hooks.


What is your favorite yarn? 
I crochet with just about every type and size of yarn, though I don’t much care for using the bulkier yarns. My favorite is lace weight alpaca and alpaca blends. I also enjoy doing thread crochet.


What is your favorite crochet stitch, and why?
It’s easier to tell you what my least favorite crochet stitch is….Catherine wheels. For some reason I struggle to get them correct.


Do you prefer a written pattern, a chart, or both, and why?
My preference is a written pattern, though I find charts very handy for the more complex sections of a pattern. It’s so helpful to be able to visualize how something is supposed to look.


What is your favorite item to make and why? 
I enjoy making all sorts of different things; blankets, stuffed animals, doilies, shawls, tablecloths, cowls, scarves, cat beds, ponchos, towels, etc. Probably my favorite project I’ve ever made was the first stuffed animal I made for one of my grandsons. It’s a stuffed orangutan that we named Otis.



Who do you crochet for? 
I crochet mostly for my friends and family, for charity, and occasionally for myself.


How long have you been a CGOA member, and what is a fond memory from a CGOA Conference? 
I’ve been a member of CGOA for 3 years. My first CGOA conference was in 2014 in Manchester, NH. What a wonderful introduction to CGOA it was! I took classes from Susan Lowman and Jenny King, and I met so many other wonderful people. It was the 20th anniversary celebration that year and I won one of the large door prize gift bags at the banquet. It was stuffed full of patterns, yarn, and fiber wash. The very best part of that conference though was being matched up with a Buddy. My buddy was Susanna Tobias. We hit it off and are now close friends.


Do you belong to a local CGOA chapter in your area? 
There wasn’t a CGOA chapter near to where I live so I started one. The Crochet Guild of Northern Colorado came into being in January 2016. We have about 20 people who participate regularly. We have a monthly meeting, usually on a Saturday or Sunday, when we talk about guild business, plans for charity projects, show off our completed projects, help each other, and share ideas. We also have evening get-togethers once or twice a month that we call Crochet & Chats. Those are casual evenings at a local coffee shop, restaurant, or library.

Earlier in the year we made and donated 50 scarves to a yarn bombing. It was a “pop-up” art installation that the town of Windsor, CO did for Arbor Day. We made scarves that were displayed on trees along the main street of Windsor. The scarves were then donated to local homeless shelters.




For World Wide Knit (and Crochet) in Public Day in June we spent the morning crocheting at a local coffee shop.



At our July meeting we had our first yarn swap that we called “Christmas in July.” Everyone left with new-to-them yarn to play with.

Our current charity project is making teddy bear loveys (part blanket, part stuffed animal) for an organization called Life for the Innocent. They work with kids in Southeast Asia who have been impacted by human trafficking. Life for the Innocent currently has about 700 kids in foster homes and they have asked for teddy bear loveys as Christmas gifts. One of our guild members works with Life for the Innocent so she connected us with the organization. Our chapter has committed to making 100 loveys by November 1. We’re about half way there!



I’ve always known that crocheters were kind and giving people, and starting a local chapter of the CGOA has proven it once again. The people in our group are so supportive of each other. We have members of all skill levels and interests so there’s no end to the number of conversations and ideas that get shared. A few of my favorite things about our guild are:

·       *  Motivate each other to try new things
·       *  Share crocheting tips and tricks
·        * Share information on stores, sales, fiber festivals, workshops, etc.
·        * Share yarn for making charity projects
·        * Discussions on pros and cons of different types of fiber, stitch markers, hooks, websites, blogs, etc.
·        * Have someone who understands to commiserate with when you’ve had to unravel a large project
·        * Have someone to celebrate with when you complete a big project!

Each meeting is like getting together with old friends, even though I’ve know them all less than a year.


What are your crochet goals for the future?: 
I just recently earned my CGOA Masters of Advanced Stitches & Techniques, and am now starting on the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Crochet Instructors program. I have also started doing some contract crocheting, and hope to branch out into tech editing patterns.

My biggest goal though, is to get busy on all of the projects that I have patterns and yarn for, but just haven’t started yet!


Thank you for sharing with us Jenny, it's been fun "getting to know you"!

Stay connected with Jenny and her CGOA chapter:

Become a CGOA member today, click HERE to join.

Have a great day!
Carolyn

_________________________________________________________________________________


Brought to you by blogger contributor:
Carolyn Calderon
If you would like to be a featured member, please contact her HERE.











CGOA QOTM: Your September Holidays

Thursday, September 1, 2016

As September arrives we're rounding the corner into the fourth quarter of 2016.  Can you believe it?  In a few short months we will be ringing in a new year.  September is both the calm before Thanksgiving and the December holidays, and the very month of the Jewish high holidays.  As always, there's a lot going on, and a lot to plan for.   

Thinking about holidays brings us to this month's question, in two parts.  1. What is your favorite (traditional or wacky) September holiday?  2. What would you design or crochet for it?  For a comprehensive list of both traditional and unexpected September holidays, check out the Brownielocks page here.  
I'll get the ball rolling.  Well, according to Brownielocks, the 23rd of September is Love Note Day.  To celebrate, I will crochet Sarah London's beautiful Fancy Hearts pattern in thread and send it in a sweet note to a loved one.  

Last month, I asked you how the school year inspires or changes your crochet habits.  One very in-depth response stood out on the blog.  Regina shared,
 "As a school bus driver, when the kids return to school, so do I. I treat it as an opportunity to learn a new stitch or two, and incorporate it into a pattern which eventually turns into something pretty good.  When we drivers go on our afternoon shifts, usually we sleep, eat, read, or listen to music. I bring a bag with a "smalls" project that is usually for my stock of finished items that I bring to craft fairs, and I work on them. Or I would be consulting my calendar for possible craft fairs I would be doing. Or working on lesson plans for private lessons.  
School is very inspirational for my work. I run a grass roots charity for The Home on the Hudson, it's a beautiful facility for the elderly volunteer firefighters and their spouses. Bringing homemade blankets, lap warmers, caps and scarves, shawls are showing my appreciation for the sacrifices they did back in the day. So far I donated over 100 lap warmers, and developed a very simple pattern I will publish in Ravelry.  
My husband was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma back in March. So to keep me focused, and relaxed, I turned to stitchery and crochet. I plan to make to donate simple caps to Mount Sinai Hospital cancer treatment center, and to Long Island Hematology in Syosset, as a thanks for helping my husband fight this disease. He's doing great btw, we are getting ready for his final hurdle, extraction of stem cells, a treatment to wipe out his bone marrow, and the transfusion of his improved stem cells to completely wipe out the cancer, and to allow good blood, bone marrow growth, and his bones to thicken and strengthen.  
I got a lot of worries, I am thankful for this hobby in keeping me sane and calm throughout this process. Namaste!"
In the Cyber Crochet of CGOA Group on Ravelry, TK-Arts told us she wants to get back to designing!
"With summer winding down, I’m really anxious to get back to work on my designs. I had declared a halt to people showing up to visit at the last minute, but the kids are a different story……. ;o)"
I love love love love love hearing from you, so let's keep the conversation going.  Which holiday, wacky or serious fuels your September fire?  And what will you crochet for the occasion?  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. 

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!
 
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