Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CHA Chicago 2010: Double Stitch, Marisa Pawelko, Westcott, & America's Next Top Crafter

The coolest thing about going to CHA this year was all of the unexpected surprises.  Mom and I felt like we were kids in a candy store! 

Before attending the two-day consumer event, we signed up for workshops each day.   It was not easy figuring out which ones to take, but after careful consideration, I selected Funky Junk with Marisa Pawelko, because it sounded very innovative and the picture looked cool.  :)  I knew I wanted to see Erika and Monika Simmons, the Double Stitch Twins again, so mom and I also signed up for their Remix It Crochet Class.

This is their commercial.  How cool are they?

Marisa, also known as The Modern Surrealist, really did teach us how to take junk and make it into upcycled treasures.  We learned little secret techniques and even folded paper bags into itsy bitsy scrapbooks.  Marisa was a wonderful teacher who spent a lot of time checking on every student and making sure that we were getting it right.  She was very supportive of each of our styles and completely inspired us to be fearlessly creative.  I was in awe of her GORGEOUS creations!

I was thrilled to see Erika and Monika Simmons, the Double Stitch Twins, in their class sponsored by Red Heart.  In fact, it is through their newsletter that I learned about the Supershow in the first place.  They were brave enough to teach a crochet class with no experience necessary!  They patiently taught everyone how to attach the yarn to our remix T-Shirts and form the stitches needed to make fun and funky creations.  Every time I see them in Crochet Today magazine or doing their thing for Red Heart, it makes me happy to say I've met them and they are as nice and down to earth as can be!

CHA is a time to throw caution to the wind and to try new things, so when I was on my way to the Westcott booth to make some rad scissor holsters (designed by Marisa Pawelko), I was all too enthused to participate in the live game show: America's Next Top Crafter.  It is hard for me to explain how completely cool and awesome the experience was, but suffice it to say, meeting the celebrity panel of judges would have been prize enough.  The show was hosted by none other than the Modern Surrealist herself, Marisa Pawelko!  The judges were Sarah Moore of Craft Critique, Stephanie Girard, who wrote Sweater Surgery, and Erika and Monika Simmons, who wrote Double Stitch: Designs for the Crochet Fashionista.  No pressure.  Nope.

We were given ten minutes to decorate a scissor holster with a bunch of pretty fabric, ribbons, puff paint, and gemstones.  My weapon of choice:  the hot glue gun.  When they said go, I was moving fast and my hands were shaking.  There's nothing like speed-crafting to get your adrenaline going.  The minutes flew by and we were each asked to present our creations.  After seeing my competition, I knew I had lost, but it's not about whether you win or lose, right?  It's how you play the game.  The thing was... I didn't lose.  I actually won!  I couldn't believe it.  And the judges were so sweet in how they described my work.  I was on cloud nine!

So what did I win?  Well, I was lucky enough to win the entire line of Westcott cutting tools!  Can you believe it?  I love the tools because the titanium scissors are much stronger than stainless steel or other metals used in scissors, so they stay sharper longer.  I've definitely seen that so far.  I've been using them every day at school for various things and they cut like a charm, even through sticky stuff.

Now I'm set for quite a while in the scissors department, but you are reading the blog of someone who was once stopped by TSA for having 9 pairs of scissors in her bag. (I was very distracted! With good reason!) So as you can see, I need scissors, and I really do use them!  :)