Category Archives: activism

A year in Review ;)

Finally it’s here…I promised it was something special.

We did a lot in 2009! I know I promised at least one book this year, but I can promise it’s almost complete. My year was one of way ups and down. It started with my ex-husband passing away in January, and so we dealt with the kids going through the loss of a father they didn’t know well or remember well, but it was still a loss.  This fall my father in law passed away suddenly, rocking our world…The CLF lost a big fan. I lost a great father in law, my kids lost a fantastic grandpa, and my husband lost his father. I rarely have a year I wish to see end…2009…GOOD BYE!

I have hope that 2010 will be far better than 2009.

Yet beyond my own personal “crap”…(I could call it loss, tragedy and other more descriptive nouns, but frankly, “crap” describes it better as to how I feel about it)… The CLF went from strength to strength this year!

In February the CLF helped my local community raise awareness and funds to help keep our library (my office) on the island! Hundreds of Curly Wurly Googly Eyed bookworms came to Camano Island to be adopted by our youthful library patrons. We didn’t set a donation cap, the kids could bring in a penny, or 1000 pennies to get their bookworms. One little boy (3 yrs old) was collecting a WHOLE FAMILY!…This effort definately contributed to the Sno-Isle Library Systems’ dedication to continuing our library into the future! Thank you CLF!

We sponsored the first ever Crochet Awards: The Flamies!  A huge thank you to Mary Beth Temple for hosting the Flamies on her show! We’re doing again next year, right now we’re accepting nominations!

We went to the CGOA Regional in Portland! And many of you went to the National in Buffalo! I went to the Sock Summit, and found that most of the vendors were more than friendly, they were welcoming!

With Rockpool Candy and Jimbo we unveiled the world’s largest hook in Portland, and crocheted a giant spider’s web!

It was a good year for the CLF. Check out the video I made to represent all we did! You never know you might see yourself!

Calling all Crafters…

We interupt the regular scheduled programming of the Blog for an important announcement!

As you know I have offered to help Candi Jensen, Executive Producer of Knit and Crochet Today bring awareness to the public about the need for underwriting dollars and private donations.

Folks we’re starting to get down to the wire, and yes Candi has secured some new underwriting dollars, and yes the donations are beginning, but we are only about half way to where we need to be in order for Season 3 to hit the airwaves in January! By the middle of September we need to be fully funded! So, crocheters, knitters, yarn lovers if you can donate $5, $10, $20 or heck $50 to the show, you will be listed as a donor on the website and make history!

Did you know that the show is the number one rated of it’s kind in the USA? And it even got nominated for a Regional Emmy!

If you haven’t been able to see the show, you can check it out on the Detroit PBS Website! If you want a sneak peak of Season 3 check out this interview with Debbie Maccomber on the Knit and Crochet Today Website!

And to donate? Easy peasy just go here! http://www.knitandcrochettoday.com/donate.html

You can also sign up for the upcoming newsletter and register to get free patterns! YAY! Check it out!

If you can help please do! This is such a great show and Candi Jensen is a brave and talented woman for tackling such a great venture!

Back to Portland, Sock Summit Here I come!

I am packed, ready to go, and I can’t wait to leave tomorrow morning! I get to go back to Portland, and this time we’re celebrating socks! Hopefully I get to see Karen Whooley who is the ONLY crochet teacher at the Sock Summit. I do have to say, I know she shall represent the hook fabulously well there!

For CLFer’s like me who couldn’t make the fabo stuff in Buffalo, if you can stop into the marketplace at the Sock Summit you may just spot MOI! I have a couple of fun, Crochet Ambassador pins to pass out. So if you see me ask if I have any left!

My miniature sock is firmly on a pin, and I shall proudly wear it! And I’m just finishing up the toes on a cute pair of Merino/Alpaca anklet socks I shall be sporting through my Birkenstocks 🙂 It is PORTLAND we’ll be hoofing and hookin’ around!

So, look for me, I’ll be hanging out in the market place. I may stop by for an little bit tomorrow when I reach PDX, and for sure I’ll be around on Friday and Saturday, possibly Sunday.

See you there! (If you’re not having your picture taken with me in Buffalo! LOL…you’ll see!)

It’s time to pony up!

Candi Jensen, Executive Producer of Knit and Crochet Today asked me if the CLF would help her generate awareness about the need for funds to produce Season 3 of the show! (To air on PBS starting Jan. ’10).

Before I tell you all that a $5 donation could actually help save her show, I want you to know a little bit behind the production of the highest rated tv show of it’s kind!

Candi is a one woman operation. She fell into being the Executive Producer of the show, had to learn how and what to do as a producer and owner of a production company. She’s a designer by trade, and has many patterns, books and articles floating out there. But imagine being thrown into that awesome path, having to learn on the fly and THEN losing the sponsor and having to find the money to keep the EMMY NOMINATED and HIGHEST RATED TV Show on the air!

WOW! Daunting! I so resonate with Candi, and over the past few months have had the absolute pleasure of helping her with ideas for fundraising, and gotten to know that she really is as nice as she looks in her pictures in the magazines! (I’ve admired her and her talent for YEARS…yes, I have stars in my eyes)…When I found out she was a one woman operation I had to help, even if she named her show incorrectly. I mean we all know it SHOULD say Crochet and Knit Today, but really there’s trademarks and copywriting in the way now, so I’ll stop bugging her about it.

I’m a one woman show too, and thank heavens I have so many willing helpers in the CLF to get things moving and running! That’s why I offered to get the word out! So, here’s the deal, the link to the donation page is

http://www.knitandcrochettoday.com/donate.html  

You can help by donating, or blogging about this fabulous TV Show. I have the shows on DVD and I love them. I have even learned a thing or three from them. (And shshshs don’t tell anyone, I was even tempted to pick up the sticks!)

Please help the show out! There is more information on the website listed above. I think we often imagine tv shows being millions of dollars of budgets. I happen to know that this show doesn’t have that kind of budget and if we can help raise about $50,000 in small donations then YEAH we can show the world that we LOVE this kind of programming. It’s worth it to me, and I hope it’s worth it to you!

Change of Plans & Choices & Books

Ok, CLFers don’t hate on me, cause I’ve had a change of plans for August. Yes, I said I was going to Buffalo, I wanted to go to Buffalo. I love my CGOA brothers and sisters. I wanted to take my hooks and yarns, and buy more hooks and yarns, and play play play! However, I had a few decisions to make and I will spell them out just so my loyal minions and ring leaders know why. I believe in transparency.

If you noticed I haven’t been talking up book 2 too much. That’s because, as with book one, the problem was my computer was running sooooooooooooooo slow.  Now as I wrote in the last post, the CLF has finally made enough to oover a few basic expenses. (Certainly not enough for me to fly to Buffalo AND stay in a hotel, let alone do silly things like eat and stay in the black). So, I made an executive decision to buy new memory for the lap top.

It was a good decision. For you technophiles, envision this. I pulled off a 198 page full color book will a laptop with 2  512K memory sticks installed. Today I got 2 1GB cards put in, I’d have loved to put more, BUT my laptop can’t handle more. Now I should have less freezing, and my c omputer should be able to handle the load of the books.

There is no inspiration for working on a book when your program decides not to respond and you have to recover files and pray you saved the last bit, because it may or may not be able to recover the page.

So, no Buffalo. But, I will be mailing a few things to a few dedicated CLF minions and ring leaders to pass out to all and sundry. And, I will be doing a little subversion here on the left coast. Stay tuned for those details.

The other reason, I chose this, is that my local community fair is the week before Buffalo, and I am the Department Head of the Hand spinning and Fleece division. All of my normal help are elderly, and some of them have been quite ill this year. I will not have the help preceeding the event as normal, and that means for 2 weeks in July (not to mention the actually 3 days of the fair) I will be running my buns off doing my job here locally. I know how exhausted I get those weeks before the fair, and after the event itself, and as a measure of self care, part of my decision to spend the airplane ticket money on the computer (and the other subversive activity) was made knowing I would end up zombie like if I pushed myself.

Thank you for understanding that my will to go cannot meet my physical ability to do so, and I am sad I will miss out on the fun and  seeing and meeting you! BUT next year is the retreat for the CLF, AND I’m thinking of doing a SE USA tour…more details to come when I figure it out !

Hooks Raised! CLF SALUTE!

Thank you for your support and a minor celebration!

Hey there Minions and Ring Leaders!

Thank you to all of you who have purchased the CLF First Ever Book, be it on Amazon.com, or through our Website, or even in the .pdf version, your support has helped the CLF hit a new milestone. It was time to renew our website domain, and hosting service. Which runs just over $100.00 a year for what I am using (not counting the blog), and this is the first year that I did NOT have to dip into the household budget to pay for it! YAY! It was so nice to just be able to pay for the website from my little paypal account.  This year I may not be totally in the red, I may not be in the black but if I can get the CLF to breaking even, then I will be achieving several of my goals for this fine organization! 

1) Proving that you do not need to take out bridging loans to run a business.

2) Able to do more for the CLF and be that much closer to being able to pay for patterns for future books.

3) Showing that you can be for profit AND socially responsible!

What do I do with profits? Well, one day when I see any (grin) they will be invested directly back into the company. And maybe one day I can pay myself a little salary, that would be nice. I believe we can achieve great things in small ways, with good decisions, and firm core beliefs that run to the idea that if everyone does well we all do well! So, again thank you so much to everyone who has purchased the CLF First Ever Book, and also to those who have purchased our fabulous propoganda on our Zazzle Store!

By no means am I rolling in dough here folks, but if I am correct we just might squeak through even and that is a cool thought.

So a HUGE  CLF SALUTE TO ALL OUR GREAT SUPPORTERS!

Fuzzy logic; Economics and Crochet

So, I’ve been reading this book called “Banker to the poor” by Mohammed Yunis. If you don’t know who this guy is, you should. Professor Yunis is the man who founded Grameen bank, the only micro-lending bank of it’s kind. And, read that sentence again, the ONLY micro-lending bank of it’s kind.

This man was a professor of economics around the time Bangladesh gained it’s independance from Pakistan in the 1970’s. He noted the extreme poverty in the villages surrounding the university where he taught, and began to think about how to “fix” the problem of extreme (and I mean extreme) poverty. I won’t detail how he started Grameen Bank, or his economic theories. What I do want to do, is state that what I have observed in his writing (and I’m half way through the very thoughtfully written tome) is two fold:

1) Dr. Saif, whereever you are, can you PLEASE change my grade in economics now? I know it’s been twenty years, but really, this guy has done exactly what I was talking about in 1989 and it’s working. I would like that C marring my GPA change to at least a B+.

2) Much of what Professor Yunis has done is address not just the money side of poverty but the social side of poverty. And this is where my thoughts are turning.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CROCHET? A lot.

1)  Go into any department store and you will see crocheted garments and accessories (you will also see hand knit items)., these are made most often in third world countries by the poor. Unless it is a special fair trade organization where the workers are allowed to both acrue and re-invest their earnings, most of the goods are made by people who make less than a sustaining wage. Forget living wage, most of those people end up owing the factories for their room and board, and never ever have a chance of succeeding in feeding their families or educating their children. This ensures future generations of poverty.

2) Even in the USA where our poor have a much higher standard of living and a better “quality” of life, the majority of people who make handmade items make very little if anything from their labors. Most of them are female, and most often their work is discounted and devalued because it does not meet the current world view on what is and is not worthy of due payment and wealth.

The problem for us as crocheters isn’t the fact that knitters exist, that never has been the problem. They are equally mistreated economically, and in truth they may have a better rep in the handworking world, but all handworkers are looked down upon by the “real world.’

Whatever this “real world” is saying is frankly b.s. and DOES NOT WORK.

Any system (economic or otherwise) that only benefits a minor percentage of any population group or demographic, is a failing system.

Now, we’ve identified the problem. The next step is to figure out what to do about it.

1) Support your local handworkers.

2) Do not accept the lies that what you do is not of value.

3) Buy locally, think globally.

4) Do NOT by sweatshop created projects. Believe it or not people are far better off in their local villages than going into big cities to be indentured or slaves. And yes, that is very much how people are treated. They do not ever have a chance at living, they die young, poor and in bad health; leaving their children to the same fate. Believe me, I have seen these things first hand, ugly and brutal are poor adjectives to describe it.

5) Find an NGO (non-governmental agency) to support that works in fair trade, and then support them.

6) Price your own work above free. What you do has value.

I’m hopping off the soapbox for a little while, but be prepared I’ll be getting back on it as I read through the book. Because it’s making my brain tick. Crochet is a very small part of the world, but I can’t change the big picture. I can work at changing just a small part of this little microcosm. We don’t have to change the world anyway, we can just change our own world.

News, Notables, and Male Members

The weekend approacheth, and I’m busy beyond belief. Half of my to-do list didn’t get done this week, due to some insane wackiness that was sent my way by ill winds of fortune. Luckily, I banished the winds to their rightful place, and am trying to get back on track! YAY. So, this post is going to be a hodge podge of CLF awesomeness!

First of all, the CLF Sponsored Flamie Awards are getting mentioned in print! The latest Interweave Crochet magazine (and on the Crochet Me site) they have an ad for the magazine feature their 2008 Flamie Award for Best Crochet Magazine! That graphic was designed by Darlisa Riggs (Fignations on Ravelry), she is a fabulous artist and also manages and runs the awesome E-Zine Crochet Un-Cut, the Official Unofficial Magazine of the Crochet Liberation Front.

Yup, I just said it. Male members.  We have them in the CLF and while I often wax on about feminism, I acknowledge with ferver that men indeed crochet (and knit, and weave, and spin, and do all the kinds of crafting women do), and we have many men in the CLF. Many of them notable crocheters in the industry, and some notable in their awesomeness as CLF members, and all of them notable not because they are male, but because they are awesome crocheters. They happen to be male.

One such member, is Josh, who’s article on male inclusion into Chat-n-Chains (or Sit and Knits) is featured on the Crochet Insider’s fabulous E-Zine. It’s worth the read, it’s funny, short and makes a really good point. As much as we do not like being harassed as women when passing a construction site, men don’t like being harassed when coming to a handworking event. Oh wait there are female construction workers? Yeah, and there are male handworkers. Equality folks. Let’s not harrass the guys, especially if we don’t like being harrassed!

Oddly this article is timed with some of my very own thoughts on the subject of male handworkers. As I wrote above, I know I have written plenty about the feminism side of life, and have been wondering if that has made the guys in the CLF feel a bit left out. It was and never is intended to leave our male members out of the loop or not included. And I was about to write a post up just for them. Josh, however did a much better job of it, and I think I’m pretty clear in the CLF Manifesto that we crocheters come in all flavors, and sizes.

So with that in mind I’m off and running to the rest of my day, and hoping to get more off that to-do list! YAY for crochet we’re doing more and more out in the world folks. Let’s just keep hookin!

Crochet Today! Reader’s Survey

Here at the CLF, we often talk about wanting the industry to ask us, listen, and implement. Well, Crochet Today! Magazine has a reader’s survey in both their print version, and here at their website.

It is a pretty comprehensive survey, and I urge all of you to take it and let our voices be heard. After all they are asking for us to speak up! So, have fun with it!

http://www.crochettoday.com/survey

Call To Arms

As you know we in the CLF are tired of being downtrodden and mistreated. A good example of this was the latest crochet challenge thrown down out of Interweave’s PieceWork magazine.

According to the author (not a crochet expert by any means btw) this vintage pattern was not worth her time to finish, or she couldn’t understand it, what ever, it was flippant, rude, and why they had her do the article, instead of an expert crocheter is beyond me. And frankly, it’s lace, it’s not even necessary for an “expert” to do, just someone who does thread work, or has done thread work, or has crocheted more than 20 projects.

One of our CLF members Yarntricia, has suggested that we the CLF (and mad crocheters!) that we flood Piecework in a show of defiance.

Are you game? Check out their website, get the magazine or find a copy and get the challenge information including the pattern. It’s a 19th century pattern. But it seems the author was confused by this: “to join in a circle”…um…in crochet we join things to make circles all the time. That’s kina basic.

So if you are up for the challenge go for it. Yeah, it’s thread, yeah it’s tiny hooks, but hey get a good light and a magnifying glass. I’ll be off searching for a copy of said magazine. Because as you know finding any fiber arts mags in these parts (other than quilting, and I refuse to get into a back ally fight with a quilter because they have ever SHARPER pointer things), so I’ll be wandering and looking for the crochet challenge.

It isn’t that I don’t have other things to do,because yes, yes I do, but come on…it’s lace. Lace is JUST COUNTING…really that’s all it is. The most basic stitches are what you use to make the most delicate lace, really, truly and honesty.