Tag Archives: Fearless Leader

Avante Garde Crochet…Shake it up

Hooksters, Crochet Aficionados, Yarn Lovers…Lend me your ears or eyes as the case may be…

A wonderful member of the CLF has made a very important point on the CLF Message Board on Ravlery. There seems to be a rut in design happening. Now let’s not blame the designers over much, but we have to acknowledge that because of poor wages a designer has to crank out multiple designs at lightning speed to make any kind of earnings at all. This is not grand for creative expression, and it is a sad fact of our crochet industrial world.

On the other hand, publications are not willing to be daring and risky in the designs they publish, and back to what they are willing to pay for something HOOKALICIOUS: Not much. They are also afraid of innovation, because what worked last decade must work in this one, right? WRONG. Sad really.

One of the issues we’re facing, and not to discourage budding new designers in the least, is the amount of people with stars in their eyes to be published as a designer and they put up a rather simple double crochet (dc) or single crochet (sc) scarf or hat into the pattern upload, for free or not for free and flood the pattern searches with things that, may or may not be attractive, but aren’t innovative. Now, again I do NOT want to discourage our budding designers however I do want to encourage you, the budding new designer, to stretch your wings and do something EDGY, do something exciting, do something daring if you are going to publish. After all, we all want to be published out of some kind of desire…the desire to be known, to share our knowledge, to share our creativity, to be seen, to show off our skills and creative abilities. Find your motivation and then DARE!

Dare to be creative, avant-garde, out of the box, create fabulousness…and then…wait for it…wait for it!

                                       CHARGE FOR IT!

The internet is FLOODED with free content, some of it is great, some of it is rubbish, and some of it is just ok. I have seen free patterns that are DIVINE and frankly should NOT be free! If you want to design, that is an occupation that is worthy of compensation, if you aren’t prepared for success, then make a plan and get ready and go for it!

Crochet needs designer leaders, and we have some of those for certain! But you too could be a leader in design…you could be more, design more, and create more…we can all benefit from more creativity…from diversity…from something out of the box!

So, promise me this in 2011, GET OUT OF THE CROCHET BOX and FLY!!!

Crochet @ Cama! Classes & Activities

Ok, be prepared, my mind is solely focused on the Crochet @ Cama Retreat! You will be hearing a lot about it from now until the end of September. Why? Because I am a) excited b) I talk about things I’m doing.

Todays post is featuring the work of our fabulous teachers, Karen Whooley, Deb Burger, Jim “Jimbo” Price, and Bonnie Pierce, and yeah me Laurie Wheeler.

There is still time to sign up for classes, I would hate to have to have any cancelled due to a lack of sign ups, and I would also hate for you to miss out because the classes are full!  You must sign up for the retreat or purchase a day pass (coming soon) in order to sign up for the retreat! So do it today!

 Karen Whooley will teach a class on Fair Isle Crochet. You’ll be making a swatch, not this huge afghan but I just love this photo! If you click the photo it will take you to the project page on Ravelry. Karen is a gifted crocheter and a wonderful instructor, she has a very clear and concise way of teaching and infinite patience! 

Karen is also teaching a class on beginning crocheted lace. Whether you’re working in yarn or thread, you can learn some very simple stitching techniques that can lead to beautiful objects like those pictured above!

 How to crochet socks from the toe up are also being taught by Karen at the retreat! Don’t miss an opportunity to learn Karen’s tips and tricks! You’ll love it!

Internationally celebrated, Bonnie Pierce is a gifted crocheter and Free Form Diva! She is offering a three hour class on Beginning Free Form crochet that you just don’t want to miss!

Photographing you Finished Object! With Deborah Burger. Deb is a great photographer, and is teaching this short class on photo techniques for crocheters twice at the retreat! You want to sign up if you want your photos to pop online in your Ravelry projects page, or if you are trying to get published professionally, and especially if you sell your own patterns independently! Deb is also a gifted and talented crocheter and instructor with vast amounts of teaching experience! She and her husband are coming all the way from North Carolina to join us at the retreat, so sign up for her class! Trust me you’ll love the experience!

Whittlin’ is what Jimbo does best…or so he says, I personally think he does a great many things well! I have played with his hand turned hooks, and own a few 😀 Jim is offering two fabulous classes on how to whittle your own hook and our most subversive class yet! How to turn a bamboo needle into a hook! I can not wait for that one!!  This is me and Dippy crocheting together 😀 Dippy is accompanying Jim to the retreat…you too can crochet with Dippy 😀 Check out Jim’s blog to see his stunning work and know that we’ll be in safe hands when we learn to whittle!

And me “Fearless Leader”, Laurie Wheeler am teaching two courses: All About the Yarn, and Commando Crochet, Let’s Go Patternless!  You can learn to do and make things like

 This pirate outfit or a motif jacket or a bag or purse or scarf…Yes, I did NOT use a pattern to make that over coat ;D I’ll give you some really easy and simple information to take your crochet into confident new territory!

All about the yarn will help you get there too! Learning about your materials is important! In fact to add to that class experience if you go to my lulu.com store you’ll find the Secrets of Yarn Guide which is the platform for the All about The Yarn class 😀 It’s inexpensive and  really useful!

I’ve found a further activity for us, as a member of the community on Camano Island expressed interest in the Coral Reef Project, well heck we’re on Puget Sound, we can make a Crocheted Sound-Scape! How cool is that, and man do I have lots of yarn to share with you all!  So imagine this: We’re having a “Yarn Tasting”, Crochet Fix It Clinic, Dye Workshop, Afghan Making for Center for Wooden Boats (Our partner), our local LYS in Stanwood, WA Pinch Knitter Yarns is hosting a private party for us on the Monday during an extended lunch time!!

Can you believe all of this? Plus evening speakers and games, it’s all crochet, it’s all the time…Heck it’s a forward kind of retreat!

Now to take these fabulous classes you MUST sign up for the retreat! So do it quick, the price goes up to $95 on Sept. 2! Get your early bird deal NOW!!! Only $75!

Happy Birthday Crochet Kharma!

Yesturday was my birthday, my gift from husband was a trip out to my favorite bookstores, which is a long drive through pretty country side.

This one book store has all manner of treasures, I know if I’m looking for something funky, out of the ordinary, or a subject that has little information on it, this used book store will have it at some point. Today I scored crochet gold!

I found two older crochet books, one from 1948, hardbound even, entitled  “The Complete Book of Crochet” by Elizabeth L. Mathieson. It’s a fabulous book for the crochet historian to possess. I’m honored to be it’s latest keeper!

The second book I found is PROOF of all that I have been requesting in books on crochet!! It’s entitled, “America’s Crochet Book”, by Gertrude Taylor. Published in 1972 by Charles Scribner & Sons. This book has it all from how to learn crochet with some of the best written instructions I’ve ever seen, (Lefties beware though, the antiquated view on left handedism is present but the other information is so worth skipping that vingnette).

Chapter One includes:

  1. General :  Types of hooks and hook sizes: Steel hooks, Aluminum or plastic hooks, wood hooks, afghan hooks
  2. Description of Beginning Stitches: Chain stitch, Single, Half Double, Double, Treble, Double Treble, Triple Treble, Slip Stitch
  3. Shaping of Crochet Pieces:  Decreases (in each of the stitches by the way), Increases, Bind off.
  4. Pracice stitches with yarn: Joining new thread

From starting your first project, to learning how to fit garments and finish them correctly (to make them as polished as anything anyone else purchases!) to instructions for Tunisian Crochet and hairpin lace…this book is an amazing amazing tribute to our craft.

The information on fitting garments and how to alter a pattern to fit YOUR body is EXACTLY what we have been asking for, and when publishers say it can’t be done we can now point at this book and blow them big raspberries!

It can be done! It has been done! And where was this book in my life 20 years ago!!! It’s fabulous! Written in plain Engligh with the beginning garment maker in mind I love this book.

Here’s a sample of some of the encouraging text!

“So many people think that they need only purchase yarn, hooks, and a pattern book to create gorgeous garments. This is not so. You must develop a new skill and start your way at the bottom of the ladder and work your way up rung by rung. If you have crocheted for years, making doilies, edgings, or tablecloths, you have a little head start on the brand new beginner, but still you must learn how to fit, block, and finish garments made of yarn.”

Have I been channeling her? Is she still around? Does anyone know her or did know her in real life, because I want to make sure some one hugs her on my behalf! I love, love, love this book and it is now my brand new favorite of all time!

Did I mention it’s in mint condition, dust jacket and all? Oh yes, it shall have a hallowed place in my home.

I want to thank all the wonderful folks on the CLF message board on Ravelry, and on Facebook for the birthday wishes!  How lovely to be thought of!

A reminder to you all the Crochet Liberation Front’s 3rd birthday is July 27th, what do you want to do to celebrate?

Hats…

Recently I asked on the CLF Facebook fan page, “Do you crochet hats? Do you wear them besides in winter?” The responses were quite amazing, it appears that I am not the only hat loving crochet fiend!

I love wearing hats, recently though I have gotten rather sick of my hat collection and want to make more hats to replace the “same ol’ same ol'”. Especially since I am almost done with the blanket I’m making for a college bound niece, and want a few immediate gratification projects…

So I thought I would ask you guys to suggest hat patterns, mostly for spring, summer and fall…what are your favorites?

Hook on! Live Long!

Laurie

Crochet Time…

Well, I’ve obviously not be blogging much, sadly I haven’t crocheted a whole lot either, well that’s not true. I can say I have crocheted but not finished anything of note. I have a broomstick belt that needs another five rows, a half done wash cloth, the back of a sweater, half an afghan, three quarters of a baby blanket, and 1/4 of a hooded cowl on my hooks right now. I’m scattered.

I have to say it’s just the way it is right now in life. I’m scattered, my brain is scattered, my life is scattered, and so my crochet is scattered. I attacked my house with a vengence yesturday and cleaned, trying to create order. I mean I have a retreat to finish up, by the way don’t forget to register!! Articles must be written, samples must be finished, and presents need to be whipped out and ends woven in!

May be I’ll get some of that done to tomorrow! The one thing I do know, is I absolutely love every project I’m working on, so it could be worse 😉

2010 Crochet Awards: The perks of being Fearless Leader

I’m getting so excited; The Flamies are coming! The Flamies are coming! It’s funny some people have interpreted Flamies to mean we’re putting down crochet, and have missed out on the fact that the standard of the CLF for all members to bear, is the Flaming Hook of Justice! The awards are named after our beloved Flaming Hook.

One of the best perks of being FL is the fact that I get to know who won in advance, AND I get to see the wonderful award graphics as they are being made by 3-D graphic artist Darlisa Riggs (publisher and editor of Crochet Uncut). OMG they are so awesome this year, a completely different design to last year, and if I could afford to have the trophies made for real I so would! Beautiful rendering by a very very talented woman, I can not wait until they get unveiled! Darlisa has requested we keep it hush hush until she gives the nod, so this is all I can say right now. What I will say though, is the winners should just be thrilled to have them, beause they are gorgeous!

Thank you Darlisa! Check out Darlisa’s work, her art website is linked in the top right hand corner of the blog! Please honor her talents by checking out her detailed and creative work! 

Don’t forget to tune into to Getting Loopy for the 2010 Crochet Awards: The Flamies. Monday, April 19 6pm pacific/9 Eastern!

Fearless Leader’s Special Hook

I’ve been meaning to show off my special hook. My dear friend and CLF member, Jimbo creator of “Dippy” the world’s largest hook, created this fabulous hook for me. It’s so special and unique, it’s made from the core of my good friend “Dippy.”

CLF Certified World's Most Humongous Hook

Me (Fearless Leader) hugging on our Big Man about Town "Dippy the Wonder Hook"...

Holiday Crochet: A few tips on gifting.

I’ll get back to my regular schedule programming of putting up cool crochet ideas for the holiday mad crafting season, but I thought I should take a moment and give some gifting advice.

So often in forums and in email groups I hear the sad tale of hard working crocheters who lovingly make gifts for family and friends only to have them unappreciated by the recipients. I have to say I have not had that experience, my family actually has no problem over loading me with requests, and I’ve had to get very serious about stating what I can have done by when etc…such as, “Yes, you will all get blankets, however not all of them will be done right away. Throughout the year and into 2011 I will be making these. I love you all, the order they are made are not in order of preference.”

But, I hear the lonely voice out there saying, “I wish my family did that…”

Well here’s the deal folks, in any gift giving whether it is handmade or store bought a few simple rules apply:

 Know your audience. ~ What are their interests? Do they like the out of doors, are they computer geeks? Are they forever attached to a cell phone or hand held gaming device? Do they have allergies? What is their lifestyle like? Are they super busy? Can they afford dry cleaning? Would they bother to wash something by hand and air dry it? Do they have babies? What are their ideas about resource use? Do they want natural fibers? Do they care?

And here’s a big one: What is their favorite color?

I’ll give you a totally non crafting related example: My cousin hates, and I mean, HATES orange. Her mother in law of almost 20 years consistently buys her house hold decor and plates etc in what color? Orange.

Ok, do it once, it’s cause you didn’t know. Do it again and again after being informed that someone doesn’t care for that color (my cousin has not informed her mother in law in a rude way, but she has let her know…) and sheesh it seems like you the giver, doesn’t really care.

When I make items I spend almost as much time thinking about the person and what they like/dislike, what they enjoy doing, their life style, interests, and what or how the item might be used as I do making the thing!

Which is why my handcrafted gifts are most welcome, and why my lovely nieces and nephews  give me their gift  requests. They know I hear what they want, and do my best to make it happen. Effort is appreciated, and it doesn’t take much effort to ask: What’s your favorite color.

If they don’t like it after all of that? Well screw ’em, they are just ungrateful (EVIL GRIN).

Experts make it look easy…

Regardless of the craft, event, activity, an expert is going to make something look easy. I remember watching cooking shows on PBS when I was a kid, and then “trying it at home.” I was always so frustrated when I couldn’t make those fancy icing flowers like they showed me on T.V.! In fact, I thought I wasn’t any good at making icing flowers. What I had not considered was the fact that a) it was the first time I was attempting the feat  and b) the person on the T.V. made them all the time, mostly likely on a daily basis.

So it goes with crochet. Because I learned so long ago, I have forgotten how alien yarn and hook once felt in my own hands. I do remember learning to hand spin yarn however, and that helps me to slow down, and recognise that where hook and yarn are mere extensions of my appendages, for other people that may not be the case.

It’s really hard on people who are around me all the time, watching my fingers fly and my projects get made and given away or sold. I make it look easy. Throwing bullions, making lace, whiping out flower after flower in minutes, amusing little girls like Gandalf did the hobbits with fireworks. Sure, I’m a showboat, I love making flowers to dazzle the kids, or ripply snakes for those who don’t want flowers.

So when someone who knows me, decides to pick up the hook I over see a cloud of frustration cross over their brow. Sure they learned to chain as a kid, and the basic stitches, but why oh why aren’t they zooming along. I mean, it’s JUST crochet right? It’s no more technical that cooking right? Oh wait, it’s a skill.

Part of me gets a kick out of their frustration and confusion, not in a mean way; but it does make me feel better to know that they now understand that what I do IS a skill. I practice it all the time, I still make mistakes, but I’ve learned to fix them. I still bite off more than I can chew, but I’ve learned to finish the project, I still don’t weave in my ends on my own hats, but I do on others 😉 ! But, it’s not so easy that you can just grab a hook and run with it, with out a few bumps a long the way.

Invariably, I work with people quietly and slowly. Watching what they are doing, guiding them, and empowering them. Learning what is the cause of certain problems: “Oh that’s not you, it’s the yarn, it likes to do this and thus and so…” or “There are lots of ways to hold your tension. Here are two I do, but I’ve seen other people do it this way or that way. Be comfortable.” and always, “If you are getting the results you wanted, then you did it correctly!”

As the holidays approach like a derailed train, take it easy on yourself if you are a beginner/ocassional crocheter. Don’t worry if you can only get a hat or two done. After a few years of practice you too, can be your own mini crochet sweatshop.  And, yes, those of us who do it all the time, we do make it look easier than it is, but unlike many reality tv show stunts, I urge you to: TRY THIS AT HOME!

CLF News..updates: The Book, The Retreat, etc

Hello!

Well, my head is no longer spinning, but it will be a long time before things feel 100% ok again. As the reality of my father in law’s death sinks in, the more I really miss him. I think I fell in love with my husban deeper after meeting his dad! Joe and I could play name that tune together, and argue international politics for fun, and he had this great ability to make you want to do more, and be more. He thought our First Ever Book was a great concept, and was really proud of my figuring out how to do it on a shoestring!

He chuckled mightily at the thought of our adult book, his eyebrows raised, and asking, “Not too racy though right?” LOL..I teased him not answering, but he knew me well enough to know that it wouldn’t be raunchy!

Speaking of books…Needless to say, I’m a little behind schedule on getting things uploaded. That’s on my agenda this week. I have another website to work on too, and I’m behind in that AND I have work to do on the CLF Website. BTW  pdf is selling well of the CLF First Ever Book! Thanks to all of you who have purchased it from our own website!

The Retreat: Almost finalized the details. I have one more meeting with the people at the park and then I’ll get that portion of the website up. I think you’ll all be terribly happy with the prices etc…It’s going to be very informal, but chock a block full of crochet fun and crochet goodness.

Before the New Year the Retreat information will be available! BTW any business (especially yarn companies) that want to sponsor the retreat in the way of donations will get little web ads on the CLF website! And definately full acknowledgement at the retreat! I’ll be contacting many of you because we want to do a yarn tasting 🙂

So just getting back into things. Thank you all for your patience!