Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pick Up the Hook

March is National Crochet Month.  Every day is a reason to celebrate, but I love this type of holiday because it provides us with a specific time to reflect upon our craft, enumerate our efforts, and expand our skills. 

During National Crochet Month, 2011, I mainly carried on with my normal life, which is regularly steeped in crochet, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  However, in honor of the month, I have decided to round up my crochet-related activities.

1) I started and/or worked on 9 crochet projects (and one knit one).  Almost all are listed on my Ravelry project page, and you are welcome to view them.  Included in these projects are my first pair of socks, and a new technique, brioche. 

I crocheted Shirley's Socks from Interweave Crocheted Accessories.
 2) I sent out two gift packages containing a total of three crocheted projects.  One was for my mother for her birthday, and the other was my fourth Lion Brand Swaps package.  As always, it was a great experience.  Both my mother and my swap partner received a Sunspree Shawlette and they both love them!  

Crocheted in Lion Brand Amazing yarn in Rainforest.
3) I listened to crochet podcasts, like Getting Loopy, and YarnCraft by Lion Brand, which leads me to the next point.

4) After much unnecessary hemming and hawing, I joined the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA)! For only a $35 annual fee, I am now entitled to so many benefits my head is spinning.  I was pushed over the edge by listening to the fabulous Getting Loopy podcast.

5) I voted in the Flamies. For the uninitiated, the Flamies are the annual crochet awards sponsored by the Crochet Liberation Front.  I have been aware of them since their inception, and even attended the event last year on the (virtual) red carpet through the Getting Loopy LiveCast.  Voting ends on March 30, and the ceremony will take place on April 18, 2011.  Be sure to tune in!

6) I read several crochet publications, bought a bunch of patterns, and queued up a bunch of projects on my Raverly queue.  The fabulous Sarah London was running a ridiculous sale on her website, and I snatched up the patterns that had been tempting me for a while.  I love her work. It is so beautiful and well-done.  I've bought patterns from her before, and I was happy to do so again. 

The most surprising publication was the new issue of Tangled, which is an online crochet and knit publication produced by Tracy St. John and Brittany Tyler.  I heard about the online pub from Linda Permann, who is a prolific crochet designer and twitter buddy of mine.  The theme of this issue is Jane Austen.  Trust me, the designs will make you want to start a project right away!  I certainly did.  

The online magazine is great, because you can browse all of the wonderful patterns and buy the ones you choose.  There are even a few free patterns.  The most special feature of Tangled is that in each issue a few designs are "cross-threaded", meaning that they have both crochet and knit versions of each!  My first Tangled project was Tracy St. John's Radicowl, a beautiful brioche cowl, which is cross-threaded in knit as Newsprint by Haven Leavitt.

My Camicowl Romance is brioche crochet, using the Radicowl pattern.
 7) That brings me to my next point - Three crochet designers commented on my Ravelry project pages in one day!  First Rebecca Velazquez commented on my Sunspree Shawlette. 

Wooh!  And in the same day, Tracy St. John (yes, the one from above) commented on my Radicowl in progress.  Hooray!  Next, Vashti Braha, Designer/Blogger/Guru of Designing Vashti, also commented on my project and told me she'd post my finished cowl to her Crochet Cowl blog! Yes!

8) I was also happy to have organized and attended a crochet meet up.  Well, actually, it was a "Stitch Group" meetup, but the crochet projects outnumbered the knit ones this time.  We've arranged to meet again and teach a curious member to crochet! 

9) All of this was incredibly exciting, but perhaps the most important thing I did this month was teach a child to crochet.  I've been trying to spread the love of crochet all year and I could tell that some students were interested but nothing panned out until I brought in my famous Twinkie Chan food scarves.  

Not long after that, a student and I arranged to meet for half an hour after school once a week to crochet.  My student took to crochet like a fish to water. I was incredibly impressed with her manual dexterity. This girl is quick! She began with a headband and later wanted to add some flowers.  I made up a quick pattern on the spot and we worked on it together.  She got the hang of the flower pattern, but ran out of the chunky yarn.  Thank goodness for abuelitas (grandmothers) because her grandmother gave her some spare yarn and a hook. This girl went from working with an I-9 hook and size 5 yarn for the headband to a tiny hook with lace-weight yarn for her second project.  Can we say prodigy?  Not long after, my student was proudly wearing her very own handmade flower on a barrette.  It's so cute!

10)  I bookmarked, tweeted, pinned, raveled, and facebooked crochet.  What good is a fabulous hobby if you don't share the love?  Check out my yarn trends board on Pinterest, and my profile on Raverly.  I love having new friends, so follow me on TwitterI'm still working on a page for this blog on facebook, but one of my friends on my personal account told me she was inspired to learn crochet through one of my posts! 

March isn't over yet.  What will you do to celebrate crochet?