Category Archives: Crochet Love

Competition Ammendment & 2010 Retreat update!

Ok, real quick like the competition has an ammendment for entries! You can just send me links to your photos if you have them stored on a site like Flickr, or Photobucket. If I can’t blog them from there I will ask you for files later when we go to do the blog expose, especially the two big winners!

NEXT ITEM!

The 2010 Retreat. On the LONG CLF To-Do list, the Retreat falls somewhere in the middle. I finally got some great photos of the place up, no inside pics but you can go here to Bec Thomas Photography’s website and see a gorgeous interior shot.http://www.becthomasphotography.com/Bed.jpg

I even tested the swings yesturday; they work just fine!

 

fearlessleadersays2

To see fabulous photos, and a little information about the venue (and please bookmark the page because more info will be coming out by October 2009) go to: http://www.crochetliberationfront.com/retreat.html  the photogallery is at http://www.crochetliberationfront.com/camabeachphotos.html

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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.

Weaving in ends…a never ending task.

Weaving in ends is the chore I hate the most. I hate weaving in ends so much, that I have been known to crochet over them as much as possible, or create a fringe to incorporate all the loose ends…there are many creative ways to avoid weaving in ends; unless you can’t.

I just finished the skirt I designed for my teenage daughter, and am thinking of submitting for the design contenst for the CGOA (if I’m not too late). I have spent all evening weaving in ends, and then I still didn’t like the skirt. I realized why once I wove in all the ends, or at least part of the reason anyway; I resented it. I resented the skirt for being that kind of project, you know the kind…the kind where I have to weave in the dang ends. So, I put it down, walked away, had a cup of tea, ate a salad, and came back to it.

Oddly enough, that brief moment of walking away made me look at the skirt in a different light. First of all the daughter loves it. Secondly, the real reason I didn’t like it, is that it needed just a little “something” to finish it. When I figured out that the little something was a really quick and simple fix, I did it, wove in the ends, and voiila. I actually like the skirt now.

Weaving in ends is kind of like the details of life. The little chores we don’t really enjoy doing that make everything else just look better, or at least allow for the space to see what is the real issue. So I am here to say that this week, I will be weaving in some ends in the CLF to do list.

I don’t ignore those ends, there are just a lot of them, and I am only one person. I will be getting in touch with a few of you in order to get some help on some minor details that I do not have to do on my own. But, sadly, some of these things are up to me, and me alone. I don’t mind it, I don’t avoid them, they just pile up, and I’m working through them while staying current on the dailing stuff. So, last week I worked on the website, this week tying up some other loose ends to do with CLF stuff, and I will get back to working on book two.  One of my top priorities is getting a day planner.

What? I don’t have one? Nah, I threw out my old one 10 years ago, swearing I would never own one again (that and a watch), and sigh…here I go getting one. Never say never.

25 Reasons I love Crochet…

1) I can make anything I can imagine with a simple instrument (hook) and something that can wind around it (fiber, wire, plastic, roving, feathers, yarn, string, twine, fabric).

2) I love the reactions I get from others when I wear my hats, scarves, sweaters.

3) I love the reactions I get when I gift my loved ones with my “latest” and “greatest” creations.

4) In less than 10 minutes I can mystify a child by making a wiggly worm or a hair scrunchy.

5) I love how my husband watching me as I take yarn and hook, and whispers “It’s like magic when you do that…”

6) I love how it eases my stress levels and gives me yoga like levels of relaxation.

7) I love that when I was a struggling single mother of two small babies, I could afford some thread and a steel hook and make their Christmas happen. (I couldn’t afford ornaments for the tree).

8) I love that now I can afford exotic fibers and get to use my glass hook with my camel/silk yarn…and it feels orgasmic as the hook slides through the soft, delicate fibers.

9) I love that I am never bored.

10) I love that I can whip up an instant gift when I have a birthday/wedding/anniversary/baby gift I’ve forgotten to buy.

11) I love that young children ask me to teach them how to crochet…

12) I love that I can make socks that look like socks, feel like socks and act like socks.

13) I love that crochet has helped me meet some of the most generous, creative, talented, and loving people.

14) I love that I am doing something that women have done in my family for more than four generations.

15) I love that I taught my daughter and she loves crochet as much as I do.

16) I love that my daughter and I had the common ground of crochet to get through the worst of the early teen snarky stage without killing each other.

17) I love that each time I pick up a hook, I feel like I’m sitting with the woman who first put one in my hands. My great grandmother.

18) I love that I don’t have to use a pattern to have something turn out fabulous.

19) I love that I can use a pattern if I’m feeling lazy.

20) I love that with over 32 years of crocheting experience that I can still learn something new.

21) I love crochet because it taught me patience, perspective, and helped me find my artform.

22) I love crochet because it allows me that “me” time, I wouldn’t normally take in my daily life.

23) I love that I can make son laugh by making him puppets.

24) I love the feel of a hook in my hands.

25) I love knowing that I am doing something she did, even though I never got to meet her, her work inspired me to be every bit as good as she was…

Who is she? My grandmother, Grace Rogers, she died in 1956 when my mother was 8 years old. People say I look like her, sound like her and act like her, she was only 36 when she died. When times were hard crochet helped feed my uncles, aunt and mom. I have some of her things, they have always inspired me. She is one of my favorite reasons that I love crochet, because through the hook I have a connection to the woman I supposedly resemble in many ways, but never got to meet.