Category Archives: yarn industry

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!

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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.

Crochet ignorance…

You know what really steams me up? (Oh I hear your chuckles loud and clear!)

When people who don’t do much crochet, malign our art/craft. Especially people in the needle arts industry, they should know better and their lack of knowledge often mortifies me.

Here are a few of the myths that make me go “Mmmm?”

1) Lace is difficult.

No it isn’t. Lace takes time, attention, and the ability to count. Yes, you heard me COUNTING. That’s the biggest skill required. In general lace is not difficult to do, it often doesn’t require any stitch more difficult than a crown picot or maybe a clones knot, maybe a bullion stitch. All you have to do is is practice a bit before you do a stitch that needs finger flexibility. Lace is about negative space and making holes. Hard to do with the sticks, easy as chaining three, skipping two stitches and inserting your damned hook into the third stitch and single crocheting, with a hook. Yeah you heard me, a hook.

Does no one wish to sell thread? I mean for the love of all that’s fuzzy, Doris Chan has shown us what we can do with those marvelous old lacey motifs and stitch patterns and do in bigger yarn. So it works up faster. Faster doesn’t mean easier, it means faster. DUH.

2) Only fashion wear is good crochet.

Oh go jump off a tall bridge. All crochet is good crochet when someone pays attention, has even stitch work, and the project suits the needs of the hands that made it. One person’s “OMG what is that THING” is another person’s precious treasure.

If you start telling me that potholders aren’t useful, then pick up a hot dish straight out of the oven or put it on your nice new wood table. If you tell me that slippers aren’t of importance come to my house in January and walk around without socks. If you tell me that hats and scarves aren’t needed, then walk on my local beach in March when a 30MPH squall is blowing. Pillows, afghans, dolls, and toys all have their places too! My teenage neices still have all the dolly blankets, and toy horse saddle blankets I made them when they were young, they are now keeping them for their kids! (I think that is very cool.)

Jewelry, purses, socks, slippers, rugs, shopping bags, bicycle panniers, Ipod covers, cell phone holders, game system holders, and the ubiquitous hair scrunchy; THEY ALL HAVE THEIR PLACE, in the hands of a hookster.

3) You’re only good a needle arts if you use sticks…

Explicative, Explicative, and BLEEP. Rolling my eyes here. No, you are good at needle arts if you do any kind of needle work with attention, patience, and proficiency. And who said you had to be good at it? Doesn’t everyone have to start somewhere? I don’t know many people who started out making perfect projects.

4) If they can’t do it, it’s obvious it’s not a good craft.

Get over yourselves. People who think that way belong back in elementary school. I cannot use sticks beyond swatching. Does it mean I think knitting and knitters suck? Nope, I think I suck at knitting. Am I a lesser form of crafter because I crochet? Hell NO! In fact most of the people who malign crochet couldn’t do half of what I do with a hook with their sticks, and the other half may be talented but are rather short sighted and don’t bother to look past their own feeble crochet attempts.

5) Crocheters love ugly colors.

From what I see in many a magazine and from the big yarn brands you’d certainly think that. Thank the FUZZ GAWD that some of us actually do have an understanding of color and color theory and can see past the “Oh my god that color combination inspires my stomach acid to react to my lunch” color choices they foist on us.

I mean really. And some people do like the color choices, color is subjective dependant on cultural tastes of the beholder. (But I still say they have it out for us.)

6) You can only really be loyal to one craft.

Bull puckey. I know so many crafters who do so much more than one craft. We may have our favorites, but really most of us have dabbled in many forms of crafting. I, for example, am into crocheting, embroidery, rug making, spinning yarn (on a wheel), and have done some weaving (though it’s not my thing), I also felt and make coiled baskets. But because I don’t use sticks, why none of the rest of that can possible count…dripping sarcasm aside, I’d love to ask the folks who think that way to come warp my Jack loom. It’s only 48 inches wide, with four harnesses, I bet they could manage it cold.

7) Crocheters are old, fat, lazy and stupid.

They may not say it, but man they sure act like that’s what we are. I’m not saying there aren’t old, fat, lazy and stupid crocheters out there, but I’ve met some pretty skinny, hyperactive, very young (thinking of my 15 year old) crocheters. I’ve met kids as young as five who crochet, and women as old as 98, most of us fall in between that gap. In fact in one my own online surveys, the average age of a CLF member was 34 years of age.

8) Crocheters are cheap/low class.

What ever. You should see the emails flying from the Free Form Crochet list as The Knit and Crochet Show approaches. People are strategizing about how many bags they can bring to the show so they can get all their yarn purchases home. There are stories of people getting ready to ship their laundry or yarn home, just to fit it all in to the trip! Yeah, that’s real cheap.

As for low class. Folks, the US Census Bureau has the US Median Income at $40,000 per house hold. We have over 300 million people in this country, you are in the top 20% if you make more than $50,000 per year. I don’t know where you live, but where I live that doesn’t go very far. The majority of people ARE worker bees, and these folks should be respected, and the companies and magazines should think about what it takes to get their business. We all love the bottomless wallet, but there is only a scant percentage of the population with that kind of income. Sorry to burst your bubble, not all of that scant uses sticks.

I’m sure I’ll think of more things that cheese me off, but this should do for today. Industry people, RETHINK how you treat us, cause we’re getting REAL organized.