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"!

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Have a great day!

Brought to you by blogger contributor:
Carolyn Calderon
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