Monthly Archives: January 2010

Love Crochet? Have trouble with tension? Check this out!

A while back on the CLF message board someone asked if anyone had bought or used an item called Kroh’s Crochet Aid. No one had, or had any information about it at the time, and I was waiting to hear a review before I wrote about the item in question.

The very same person who had brought up the question, had indeed purchased the item for her mother-in-law, who had ceased crocheting due to health issues. This device helps hold your yarn tension, freeing you to just crochet! Well, since recieving her gift, mother-in-law is back to stitching again!

There are lots of reasons people stop doing their crafts of choice, often it has to do with repetitive stress injuries, arthritis, or worse conditions such as stroke, MS, etc. It’s nice to know that this product exists for those who love crochet, and can afford them the ability to keep on doing what they love.

As you know my dear friend, Ann, has had some close calls with strokes lately, though thankfully she has been left relatively unimpaired physically by these. I have assured her, should another occur that leaves her with weakness on either side of her body, I will make sure she gets one of these devices to help her continue in her needlework!

On a very selfish crochet side, isn’t it cool the tool is called the “Crochet Aid?” I mean how often do we get tools named just for our craft!!

You can see reviews and purchasing information at the websites below.

http://www.accesstr.com

http://www.dynamic-living.com

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Sign up for classes with Fearless Leader!

Hi CLFers!

If you are in NW Washington, you can join me at Pinch Knitter’s in Stanwood for some crochet classes, starting next month.

Each Friday I will be teaching from 11am-1pm.

The first class is a beginning class (so maybe that friend of yours who wants to learn can sign up!), this is a three hour class designed to teach the basic crochet stitches, how to read a simple pattern, and create an attractive washcloth/facecloth from beautiful kitchen cotton.

Footie Sock Class: Feb 12,19, 26

Learn to make quick and easy crocheted socks, using fine sock yarn. This step by step class will get you moving on how to create a sock to fit just right!

Crocheted Roses, Flowers and Leaves: March 5th

This  class is a nod to free form, with just a little structure! Learn the basic construction methods for creating beautiful, fun, and inspiring flowers, roses and leaves. While not a traditional Irish Crochet, the roots of these flowers comes from that most honored echelon of crochet! We will use both a beginning pattern, and also learn how to craft unique flowers and leaves using some basic guidelines!

Seeing Crochet with “New Eyes”

Dear CLF members and friends,

I have a confession to make…mea culpa…I was wearing glasses that were too old and scratched up. My glasses are what help me function in the world, and I was a bad fearless leader, that’s right I was. I meant to get my eyes checked two years ago, but I got busy, then last year? Well, we know how last year went don’t we? Between big exciting things and awful things, I ended up not getting my new glasses. For the past six months, I was feeling my way around. I had stopped driving long distances as much, in fact I wasn’t doing more than grocery shopping if I couldn’t help it.

To make matters worse, I couldn’t figure out WHY I was exhausted after working on the second book for more than 10 minutes at a time. Well, two years passed, without me taking care of my most essential need: My eyesight.

Do I know better? Yup and Uh huh…But I did what lots of moms do, and wives, and husbands and dad’s do, I put me last, and forgot that if you don’t take care of it, you don’t always notice how bad it’s getting.

So, now that I’ve publically beaten myself up for letting me run around with crap all for eyesight, here’s the wonderful news.

For the very first time in my life my vision has been corrected to 20/25. Usually the best they can get is 20/35!!

I picked up my new glasses yesturday and I couldn’t believe everything I could see! I don’t know if I can still register all of the changes! It’s WONDERFUL…and the best part, I got to crochet, and see the whole piece and not just one stitch at a time… It’s amazing.

So expect things to move along a little better now, because as I told my family when I walked into the house and saw the details of the dirty house…ARG…”Mom, can see now, and you’re all in trouble!”

It goes for the industry now…I can see, and oh my are you all TROUBLE!” (not the CLF’ers of course!)

Celebrating Crochet

There have been a few close calls on our message board of late. Nothing invalid with the sentiments in them, people annoyed at fairly well known pointy stick personalities dissin’ the hook. The subject has been well hashed over at the CLF message board, and frankly we don’t like to mention folks by name. Mostly because a) it gets them more attention than they deserve for “good naturedly” bashing the hook, and b) because it doesn’t do us (The CLF) any favors.

Here’s the deal folks, if those so called experts actually knew two cents worth about crochet they wouldn’t malign our craft. It’s all just mumblings of the “I use pointy sticks, therefore I know more about yarn than anyone else” syndrome, and plenty of the pointy stick people have that syndrome; trust me.

So here’s our remedy to the situation:

a) don’t engage.

b) don’t buy their products

c) Celebrate the fabulous crocheters out there who have been working hard to showcase our craft, up our knowledge base, and give us wonderful designs to make.

I particularly like c) because it is proactive. Frankly, I don’t give a rodents derriere about what some pointy stick expert has to say about crochet. Why? Well, mostly I’ll never read those opinions anyway, since I do not purchase pointy stick reading paraphenalia, any more than I buy wood turning reading paraphenalia. I do not do either of those crafts so why purchase the reading materials? Meh.

Those folks who say what we do is ugly, or can’t do this, that or the other, are misinformed, misguided, and frankly full of the dung of many camels. So, why give them the advantage of bad press.

Remember all press is good press, including bad press, so just stop talking about them. Stop buying their products, and support the people who show love for the hook. Let’s focus on what is right here, and ignore the motherless daughters of flea ridden beasts and their spewing of untruths.

A New Year’s Rant…Marketing.

Recently I received a wonderful letter from a gentleman in Texas. He’s been crocheting for many years, and even though he buys crochet magazines, he’s often annoyed at all the baby patterns etc, because he doesn’t often have any infants to crochet for, and finding men’s patterns is tough.

Recently, a baby was born into his family and so he was flipping through old Crochet Today magazines, and found the July/August ’09 issue, and found the article about the CLF and myself. Here’s what he had to say…

Suddenly I needed to go back through my magazines, and other sources for a whole new genre’ of work. And there on page 10 of the July/August issue was the picture of the book cover, and it reached out and grabbed me, I can’t imagine where my head was the first 3 or 4 times I perused it. 

I was heartened beyond my ability to express. I guess I thought I was the only one who felt bruised and abused by all the companies out there who seem to only want to cater to those who pursue the “K” word. I have no idea how many emails I have sent to those sites that seem to think our fabulous art is somehow “less”, and beneath their attention and inclusion. I suppose there may be more folk out there who “K”, but as we all know we use more yarn than they, pattern to pattern. And yet we remain the redheaded step-children of the yarn community. Some of the companies sell some very beautiful strings, but I would rather use RHSS bought from someone who at least recognize our existence, than spend one cent with the stuck-up snobs who belittle us, and I have communicated those feelings to the thoughtless offenders.

 Anyway, I was so very happy to learn of your efforts, and join you in the cause.

This letter made my day, my week, and I felt it was the auspicious sign I needed for 2010. I know this gentleman is not alone in his feelings, we have almost 4500 members in the CLF today, and so many come into the welcome thread, excited to have found a group full of people like themselves.

People who are tired of being put down because of something they do. People who are tired of having difficulty finding patterns, or yarn that meet their needs. Tired of going into stores and being told the yarn they are buying is for some other craft, because crochet can’t possibly do it justice. People who know these are untruths, people who know that crocheting is a wonderful and fabulous art form, the CLF is full of people just like you.

Here’s the deal. Coats and Clark (owner’s of RedHeart),  have always served the crochet market. Whether you like their yarn or not, they have indeed decided they like the color of our money. (By the way, RHSS is number 4 on the Ravelry list of yarn used in projects, and most of those? Knit, with over 1000 pages of projects, you know stick projects: just pointing out a fact.)  So, to those in the industry, once again let me give you some free advice that’s actually worth something.

If you want to make more money in a crappy economy, why not try the following:

A)    Advertise to us specifically.

 Lumping us in as an addendum is ridiculous, we don’t like being “and crochet”, we don’t like being seen as an after thought. If you want our money, try talking nicely to us, and telling us how pretty we are…It’s kind of like dating, if you want to get the girl/guy, maybe treating them nicely will get you further. Telling us how we don’t quite make the grade doesn’t get you a date.

B) If you don’t know enough about what crochet is and can do, hire someone who does to be a consultant.

It amazes me how the yarn companies, magazines, and stores are willing to hire experts in other fields but are not willing to hire crochet experts. It’s as if they truly believe the idiocy of the myths. You will sell more if you hire competent, expert level crochet enthusiasts to help you market better and choose patterns that will be more likely to appeal to the crocheter.  I mean really, why hire an expert in another fiber art, who may or may not have a passing acquaintance with crochet, and then take their word for it? Do you hire your mechanics like that? Someone who works on marine motors is not always a competent car mechanic.

C) Stop blaming the consumer.

This goes for crochet groups and crochet aficionados too. I am so TIRED of hearing about cheap crocheters. My GAWD people, there are those who are budget conscious and those who are not. There are those who prefer to buy quality goods at decent prices, and those who don’t care. It’s not craft specific, it’s a personality thing. Stop saying that crocheters are cheap. Start offering what we want to buy. You haven’t figured it out, because you haven’t listened.

We do write in, we do ask, we do buy, but you seem to be so entrenched in your own mythology boxes that you refuse to see the economic truths of the matter: People will not buy something they do not want, need or can use. It is YOUR JOB to show us how much we might want, need or can use your product.

Three simple things that can help your bottom line. It’s that simple. And thank you Texas Gentleman, you made my year!

Fearless Leader’s Hiking Socks

Featured in Crochet Today
Photo from Crochet Today

 I forgot to post the photo! Duh…Here are the quick and easy Hiking Socks I designed for CrochetToday! Magazine. You can check out the magazine on their website. (I think the model is just tooo cute!)

The yarn used is Red Heart’s Heart & Sole with Aloe Vera. It’s an easy yarn to work with, washable wool, and it’s a pretty smooth ride all in all. I find it comparable to Regia (which is owned by Coats & Clark in Europe) sock yarns. 
Often when we think of Redheart yarn we think of Supersaver, which has it’s place in the scheme of the yarny universe, but Redheart actually has a TON of different kinds of yarns in many different textures. I have to give this yarn a thumbs up, I’d like to see more solids in it, as ombre wouldn’t be my first choice to work with, or if I had another choice I might throw a solid strand with the ombre to break up the striping. But, as you can see in the photo above, I worked the yarn as best as I could to keep that pooling to a minimum! I particularly like how the “gussets” come to nice angles, which look great in the sock 🙂
Stay tuned for more crochet sock news! I’ll be teaching a three part sock class in Stanwood, WA. I’m almost done with the pattern. A completely customizable sock pattern that will work for any size foot, without having to laboriously count stitches 😉 Oh yeah, let’s hear for the lazy hookers like me!

CLF News: Fearless Leader activities & Sightings…

If you haven’t already heard, I recently had a pattern published in Crochet Today! I know, I know, what happened to my indie spirit? What happened to my wanting to go it alone? Hey, I found out that I can indeed work on a contract, and it turn out great! LOL, I still have my indie self out there, and I don’t mind working for “the fuzzy man” (or woman as the case may be)…

In the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Crochet Today! my Hiking Socks are featured. Huges thanks to the patience of the tech editor and to the editing staff at Crochet Today! What a cutie that model is! To see this pattern online go to Crochet Today’s website.

I actually really enjoyed the process of working with someone else, especially since it entailed a lot less work to just write the pattern up and mail off the socks. Normally, that’s only my beginning, then I have photography, and editing photos, and laying out pattern, and making sure it’s correct and blah blah blah…and then I publish it 🙂 This time I just got to be the paid “crochet sock monkey”…that worked for me! I look forward to more pattern writing for others in the future, but for now?

I’m still working on the book, I’ve found some little niggly things that I’m tweaking, the book will most likely max out at 80 pages. So why is it taking longer? Um…so I don’t have to redo it three times like I did the first book 🙂 That’s why!

The good news is that it’s looking great, I love the patterns, and I’ve enjoyed designing the book. It’s a little more “traditional”, but the content is too much fun! The book looks like it will max out at maybe 80 pages (doing the dividers now etc and some filler) which will make it considerably cheaper, while still being full color! YAY

Thanks for all of your patience!