Getting To Know You - Michelle Campbell

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Welcome to "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...

Michelle Campbell

Location​: I spent the first 31 years of my life in Jacksonville, Florida but now reside in Croswell, Michigan (Thumb Area) which is a small one-light town about 1.5-2 hours north of Detroit & 30 minutes north of Port Huron. 

How many years crocheting and/or how did you learn to crochet?​ In 1996, I started the 10th grade; I was given my class schedule and because I didn’t pick my elective courses, they were chosen for me. I distinctly remember seeing the ‘Crochet’ class, rolling my eyes and thinking ‘Oh God! Totally not interested!’ Well, I had NO idea at the time how much I would grow to *LOVE* the art of crochet! (Note: Crochet is one of the few tools I learned in grade school that I still use to this day and I’m deeply saddened that these kinds of skills are long forgotten in our schools) Fast forward to 2005: I’m a single girl living on my own with my dog/best friend Buddy Bear. I had lots of free time in those days & I loved going to bookstores to browse and waste the day away. I came across Debbie Stoller’s ‘The Happy Hooker’ and that light bulb in my head switched on: I had taken that crochet class in high school… I got this! That book ignited something in me! I bought the book, grabbed some inexpensive yarns/hooks and the rest is history. There’s not many days that go by when I don’t pick up my hooks. It’s an obsessive passion! Crochet is my creative outlet and without it, I’d be lost! So - between learning in high school, the gap of not crocheting then picking it back up in my 20s, I’ve been crocheting 12 years. 

Do you crochet with your left hand or right hand and how do you hold your hook?  I crochet with my right hand. Knife hold all the way! 

What is your favorite crochet hook?​  I have 2: Clover Amour and Susan Bates bamboo handle. I prefer an in-line hook when possible. I rarely crochet with bamboo hooks, but I still like them. I crochet looser with the Bates for some reason ( maybe from the thumb grip?) and I love the feel of the 
Clover Amour handles, however, I crochet on the tighter side with them. Not sure why, but I do not like Boye hooks. 

What is your favorite yarn?​  Oh man, this a tough one… I honestly haven’t met a yarn I don’t like, but I can say that I prefer a worsted or bulky weight yarn. I’m really into tubular yarns right now. I love cotton or cotton blend yarns. Acrylics will always have a special place in my heart as well! I don’t have much experience in fingering/light weight yarns, but I’d like to change that! 

What is your favorite crochet stitch?​ The half double crochet stitch is my favorite basic stitch. The simplicity of a single crochet with some height! When it comes to stitch patterns, I enjoy designs that have stitch variations so that I get to use all the stitches! I guess what I’m really saying is, I love them all equally! (Except for the slip stitch, ugh…) 

Do you prefer a written pattern, a chart, or both?​ It’s nice when designers include both, but I understand that’s not always easy. I must say I rather enjoy reading patterns, even when they seem complex. Sometimes they present a challenge and I’m always up for that. However, there’s no guess work when it comes to charts. Also, no matter what language you speak, you can always understand a chart! 

What is your favorite item to make?​  I got stuck on hats for many years because they are quick makes, but now I find myself more interested in wearables and functional pieces. I love making bags & purses particularly. Crop tops are super fun to make in warmer months. I’m getting ready to begin stitching a cropped tee shirt pattern.  

Who do you crochet for?​  Myself and family as well as items to sell. I began selling on a popular handmade site last year; I do well in the cooler months with hats but business dies when the weather warms so I’m reformulating everything. I’ve began adding vintage clothing/finds which sell well. I have an entrepreneurial spirit for sure! 

 Have you ever participated in a yarn bombing?​ . Yes! My very own front yard tree! It got quite the attention, but the colors have faded so it’s time to plan a new one. I’d love to yarn bomb the bike rack at my work, which should go over awesomely since it’s a needlework/craft shop! I’d yarn bomb the world if I could! 

How long have you been a CGOA member, and what is a fond memory from a CGOA Conference if you’ve attended one?​  I just joined in January 2017, so my CGOA experience is in it’s infancy. I really hope to make it to the Chicago conference this summer! 

Do you belong to a local CGOA chapter in your area?​  I do not and we don’t have a local chapter. Yes, I plan on changing that! I have a particular interest in reaching out to our youth to teach them the benefits of learning how to crochet. It’s given me self worth, taught me how to believe in myself and nothing is cooler than making your own stuff so I’d like to pass that on to kids who may otherwise have no one else to introduce them to this wonderful & self fulfilling art form. 

What are your crochet goals for the future? ​ Definitely to design my own patterns. I could have done this long ago, but the perfectionist in me wants to make sure everything is just right before delving into designing. Teaching is for sure on the list as well. I was able to fill in for a teacher at Mary Maxim for a class last month and not only did I love it, but the attendees walked away with a better understanding of crochet which means they felt more confident which means they’ll crochet more! It was a win-win! I learned that I’m a patient instructor that gives detailed & easy to understand instructions; it’s quite humbling! 

Any crochet tips that you would like to share?​ Hmm… While I think the magic ring method is cool, I get the same effect when I crochet into the first chain then pull the tail to tighten it.  

 Do you have any other favorite past times, interests, sports, or crafts you enjoy doing? I love sewing, I’m (slowly) learning hand embroidery, I can't wait to sun bathe all summer, I love live music and festivals! 

Anything you would like to share, not covered above? ​ I feel like I was born in wrong era - I have a particular fondness of 60s-70s fashion and music, you’ll find me listening to anything on Sirius XM Classic Vinyl while crocheting. When I think of designing crochet pieces, I am drawn to all things 70s and hippie/gypsy style. I work at the Mary Maxim retail shop in Port Huron; my title is ‘yarn enthusiast!’ I also work at the local David’s Bridal in the alterations department. I spent my 20s living a colorful life with no cares, but now in my 30s I’m a mother to an amazing little gal named Callahan and married to a hard-working husband who’s happy to know I’d rather have yarn than diamonds! (One of these day I hope I don’t have to pick-give me both!) I went to cosmetology school & spent 6 years doing hair. I spent some time doing home health aide work, but I’m just now seeing that in order to keep my interest, I need to work in environments that allow me to use my creative brain at all times!

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

Become a CGOA member today, click HERE to join.
Have a great day!

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

Spring 2017 CAL - Sargassum shawl - Main section 3

Monday, April 24, 2017

Welcome to the CGOA Spring 2017 CAL! In this crochet-along, we will be making the Sargassum Shawl. Be sure to check out the main CAL post for all the details, including prizes and giveaway information, the full schedule, and more.

So far we've done the bottom border and the first 2 main sections, but there's still lots of time to catch up! You can find the Sargassum pattern here, and it has now been updated to include the third main section.

Last week, someone pointed out a problem with the chart for sections 1 & 2 - it was more or less backwards from the instructions! The error was discovered on Tuesday evening and corrected that night, so if you downloaded / viewed the pattern after that, you have the right version.  If you did follow the backwards chart, it will still work, so don't worry.

The 3rd section is very similar to the last two. The main difference is that this is a bigger section, and has a different striping sequence. If you're all caught up, now would be a great time to stop and weave in some ends so that you have fewer to deal with later.

I hope you'll share your progress photos with us on the Facebook group. Some beautiful photos have already been shared and I'm really excited to see how the shawls turn out!

Remember to show some support to our wonderful giveaway prize sponsors:

We couldn't bring you great CALs and prizes without them! You can find complete prize details and giveaway entry instructions in the main CAL post.

Happy hooking!

Spring 2017 CAL - Sargassum shawl - Main sections 1 & 2

Monday, April 17, 2017

Welcome to the CGOA Spring 2017 CAL! In this crochet-along, we will be making the Sargassum Shawl. Be sure to check out the main CAL post for all the details, including prizes and giveaway information, the full schedule, and more.

Last week we did the bottom border, so now it's time to start the main pattern sections! You can find the Sargassum pattern here, and it has now been updated to include the first 2 main sections.

The stitch pattern is fairly simple, but the color changes and bead placement do not repeat. The sections are separated by thin stripes of color A (green). As we work towards the top of the shawl, these stripes get farther apart, and more of color C (teal) is incorporated.

We finished the border section by stringing beads and joining our new color. This week we're starting off with our first bead row. The beads you strung earlier will now be worked into the chain spaces as you go across the row. If you haven't yet done so, you may want to look at this Crocheting with Beads tutorial.

I hope you'll share your progress photos with us on the Facebook group!

Remember to show some support to our wonderful giveaway prize sponsors:

We couldn't bring you great CALs and prizes without them! You can find complete prize details and giveaway entry instructions in the main CAL post.

Happy hooking!

Spring 2017 CAL - Sargassum shawl - Bottom border

Monday, April 10, 2017

Welcome to the CGOA Spring 2017 CAL! In this crochet-along, we will be making the Sargassum Shawl. Be sure to check out the main CAL post for all the details, including prizes and giveaway information, the full schedule, and more. Today we are going to start working on the bottom border of the shawl. You can find the Sargassum pattern here, and it has now been updated to include the bottom border section.

This section is done all in one color, and you don't need any beads until the very end. So if you don't have your beads yet, don't worry - you can get started without them! A few new techniques are introduced in this section, so let's talk a little bit more about those.

  1. Foundation single crochet: This is simply a way of starting your first row without having to make a foundation chain. The "chains" are worked into the stitches as you go. It makes a stretchier edge, and I feel it's easier to work into later, when you come back to do the edging.

    If you struggle with this method (or just don't like it), it IS ok to start with chains like normal instead, and there is an alternate starting row included in the pattern.You'll see I've also included a note about making a few extra chains. This is because the row is long, and it's so easy to "lose" a few chains as you go. Making a few extra just gives you a bit of a buffer. When you finish the row, you can undo any extra chains from the tail end like this:

  2. Chainless starting double crochet: This is a method of starting a row of double crochet without having to "chain up" with a chain 3. It makes the edge neater and less "floppy". Again this is totally optional. You're welcome to start your rows with a chain 3 instead.

    Chainless Starting Double Crochet Tutorial on Moogly
    Image provided by Moogly - used with permission
  3. Puff stitches: Many of you have done puff stitches before, but you may not have worked them this way. Working them into chains allows them to lay sideways so they look like little beads hanging in the middle of the chain spaces. Be sure to keep the chain that you're working into pretty snug - it's going to want to get loose, but if it does you'll have a floppy, loose puff. Also remember to make the chain at the end to close the puff, or it won't be centered. (see pattern instructions).

That's it for new techniques for this week. The bottom border is the most complicated part of the shawl, so take your time with it. If you get a little behind, don't worry - there will be lots of time to catch up later!

Big thanks to our wonderful giveaway prize sponsors:

Please take the time to show them your support - we couldn't bring you great CALs and prizes without them! You can find complete prize details and giveaway entry instructions in the main CAL post.

Happy hooking!

9 (Mostly Free) Crochet Patterns for Beautiful Wraps That Make Perfect Mother's Day Gifts

I'm Marie from Underground Crafter. Each month during 2017, I'll be sharing a seasonal roundup of crochet patterns by some of the many talented designers who are members of the Crochet Guild of America. (If you're a crochet designer and CGOA member and would like to give us permission to include your work in these roundups, please contact me via my blog.)

This month's roundup features 9 (mostly free) patterns for beautiful wraps that make great Mother's Day gifts. These patterns include shawls, wraps, ponchos, and lacy scarves. All photos are used with permission of the respective designer or publisher. Enjoy!

Clockwise from upper left corner:

What are your favorite crochet projects to give (or receive) as Mother's Day gifts?

Spring 2017 CAL - Sargassum shawl - Getting started

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's finally Spring! Time to put away the cold weather wear, and make something light and lacy. In this crochet-along (CAL), we'll be making the Sargassum shawl. I designed this shawl specifically for a Florida vacation earlier this year. The color of the green yarn (which was in my stash) reminded me of the seaweed on the beach, and it just grew from there.

Jump ahead to:
Sponsors / Prizes | Social Media | Getting Started | Schedule | Giveaway | Photo gallery / Link up

Support our Sponsors:

What would a CAL be without prizes? We have a couple of great prizes to win from our generous sponsors. Please take a moment to visit their websites and check out their other offerings! You will find the giveaway entry form at the bottom of this post.

Knitters Pride is giving away one set of their Waves crochet hooks. This set contains 9 hooks in sizes from C (2.75mm) to J (6mm). The hooks have soft but sturdy grips in a rainbow of colors, and come in a faux leather case which zips closed. Take a look at all the other great products and accessories Knitters Pride has to offer too!

One set only, colors may vary. 

Karen Whooley is offering a Ravelry e-book copy of her latest book - A Garden of Shawls. If you like this CAL project, you'll love the shawls in this book! Read my full review for more details. Karen is a prolific designer, teacher, and CGOA member. On her website you can find her many other patterns, books, and publications.

Bead Biz is providing a fantastic "Summer Greens" sampler kit! It includes 5 tubes (approx. 25 g each) of 6/0 Czech glass seed beads. The beads I used for my shawl were from this same kit - specifically I used the Silver-lined Emerald Matte AB, and the Evergreen Mix colors. the other colors included are Light Olive Sol Gel, Transparent Pale Green, and Green Iris. Looking for something different? They offer a fabulous selection of beads in dozens of colors, and other shapes and sizes too. Bead biz has given us a special coupon code just for this CAL - use the code CGOACAL when you check out for a 10% discount!

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Join us on Social Media

A CAL us much more fun when we all connect and share our progress! Join us on this Ravelry forum thread and/or in the Facebook Group. If you're posting about this CAL on social media, please use the hashtag #CGOACals so we can all see what you post.

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Getting started:

Are you ready to get started? Here is the Sargassum pattern. The pattern is being released in sections as we go along - see the full schedule below. Today's section has the materials list, gauge, special stitches, and links to recommended tutorials. A few notes:


The beads are optional, but I do highly recommend adding them. They are not all that visible in the photos, but they sparkle beautifully when they catch the sunlight. They also add a really nice weight to the shawl.


Be sure to block your gauge swatch before measuring it. I used cotton yarn, and that's what I recommend. Bamboo would be a nice alternative as well. You can substitute other yarns, but you may need to adjust the sizing. Cotton stretches more when it blocks than some other fibers, so your shawl may end up smaller in another yarn.

Recommended Resources:

We're going to be using a lot of different techniques in this project. If any of them look unfamiliar to you, take some time now to review the tutorials. We'll go through them together as we get to them, and there will be easier alternatives available for most of them as well.

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CAL Schedule:

Links will be updated as they become available

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We have 3 prizes for 3 separate winners, all of which will be awarded at the end of the event. Please note the Knitters Pride Wave crochet hooks prize are available to ship anywhere worldwide. The Bead Biz Sampler Kit prize can be shipped to an address in the contiguous US for free, but can be shipped elsewhere as well if the winner pays a shipping fee. The Garden of Shawls ebook will be sent electronically, through Ravelry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Share your project and WIP photos with us, and earn a bonus giveaway entry! Photos / links should be of this shawl pattern only please.

For your photo to count as a giveaway entry, you must: 1) Add at least one link or photo of your shawl to this linkup. 2) Go to the Rafflecopter giveaway form above and fill in the "share a photo" entry option with the email address you used on your link-up entry.  If you don't do both, you will not get credit for the entry!  

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