Tag Archives: crochet guild of america

How to Start a Crochet Circle

How to Start a Crochet Circle in Your Local Community on Underground Crafter

These days it can seem easier to find other crocheters online than in your local community! Meeting regularly with a crochet circle can be a great way to finish your crochet projects while having fun.

This post contains affiliate links.

What is a crochet circle?

A crochet circle is a group that meets regularly for socializing and crocheting, and they can take many different forms. Some circles are made up of close friends while others are open to the community. Some meet in public while others rotate visits to members’ homes. Crochet circles may meet as frequently as once a week or just a few times a year. Before starting up a crochet circle, think about what type of group you’d prefer to organize and join.

Membership

Open Membership

If one of your goals for the crochet circle is to meet people, you may choose to have open membership. For the privacy, safety and convenience of members, meet in public locations such as coffee shops, food court dining areas, public library community rooms, book stores, or local yarn shops. Many of these venues will allow a crochet circle to meet for a few hours free of charge while others will expect members to spend a minimum amount. Check with the manager if you are unsure.

You can recruit members with fliers placed in the meeting location and local community centers. Talk up the circle at your local crochet guild. (You can search for local chapters of the Crochet Guild of America here.) Online, spread the word by starting a thread in a local group on Ravelry, writing a Craigslist ad, or Tweeting using a local hashtag.

Network Membership

Perhaps you don’t have many friends and family who crochet, but you don’t want to open membership to the public. Target your own networks of friends and family, co-workers and alumni.

Creative Video Workshops on Creativebug.com

Email your friends and family asking for referrals, or ask friends to share your Facebook post about the crochet circle. If you work for a medium to large employer, talk with a Human Resources representative. The company may be willing to promote your crochet circle as part of their efforts to increase work-life balance, and may even allow you to use a conference room during lunch or after work for meetings. If crochet circle membership would be industry-appropriate, consider sharing information on LinkedIn or with professional networking groups. Update your high school and post-secondary school alumni networks with information about your crochet circle, especially if you live near the campus. You may even be able to use an alumni lounge to meet.

With network membership, you may feel comfortable hosting the first meeting at your home, or you may prefer to find a public location.

Closed Membership

A personalized invitation can go a long way towards growing the membership of a crochet circle made up of friends and family. Create your own crochet-themed invitations using color pictures of a crochet project or yarn. Print invites at home on cardstock, or find some great customizable print invitations on Zazzle. If the first meeting takes place at your home, be sure to mention whether you are providing snacks or if it is a potluck.

The First Meeting

Set the stage for a fabulous crochet circle by welcoming everyone. Share your vision and get feedback from the other members for the next steps. Some discussion points to consider are:

  • Meeting frequency: Will you have a set meeting day and time, or will meetings change based on member availability? How often will the group meet?
  • Meeting location: Will you always meet at the same location or will you rotate locations?
  • Refreshments: Are meetings potluck/bring your own snacks, does the host provide refreshments, or do all members contribute towards the cost of refreshments? If you’re meeting at a public eatery, be sure to inform members about any minimum orders you have discussed with management.
  • Activities: Will you work on group projects such as charity blankets, pieces for a street art project, or a layette set for a mutual friend? Or, will each member bring their own project(s) to work on?
  • Skill Building: If some members are new to crochet, will other members provide technical support? Will the group want to hire a teacher for some meetings to demonstrate new techniques? Do members want to volunteer to teach a new project or skill to other members?
  • Field Trips: Will the group attend local fiber events together?
  • Communication: What’s the best way to get in touch with each other between meetings or on the day of the crochet circle if plans change?

Once you’ve established guidelines for your group and have grown the membership, the fun begins! Be sure to periodically revisit membership and guidelines to keep your group active and engaged.

Do you have a local crochet circle? What are your tips for keeping one active?

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

10 Ways to Spread the Love of Crochet during NatCroMo!

Are you ready to have a great month celebrating crochet? I know I am!

March is (Inter)National Crochet Month, and I’m thrilled to share my love of crochet with pretty much anyone who is willing to listen! I’m also excited to kick off Crochetville’s 2015 NatCroMo Designer Blog Tour! Visit Crochetville here to see the daily schedule of blog stops, learn more about the featured charity, Halos of Hope, and find out more about the daily giveaways.

I’ll be sharing my own special gift for readers at the end of this post, so read on for details!

10 Ways to Spread the Love of Crochet During National Crochet Month on Underground Crafter

I love celebrating (Inter)National Crochet Month every March, and I know a lot of other crocheters feel the same way. Here’s a list of 10 ways you can spread the love of crochet during March (and all year round).

This post contains affiliate links.

Share, share, share!

There’s plenty of eye candy on display during NatCroMo so it’s easy to share! Set up a special Pinterest board, share links on your preferred social media platforms, or create roundups of your favorites on your blog.

I have over 30 crochet boards on Pinterest, including this one you may enjoy!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Pattern Roundups on Pinterest.

Show appreciation

Do you have a favorite crochet blogger, designer, author, or teacher? What about a crochet-friendly local yarn shop (LYS) or yarn company? Is there a crochet book, hook, or magazine that you love? Show your appreciation by commenting or reaching out on social media, making recommendations to your friends, or writing reviews.

Start a crochet circle in your community

March is the perfect time to start a local crochet circle. Crochet circles are great ways to meet people and have fun together while crocheting.

I’ll be sharing my tips for starting a crochet circle on the blog on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (I was going to share my tips tomorrow, but I’m hosting a giveaway instead, HINT HINT.)

Share your skills

Teach a friend to crochet or host a lunchtime class at work; volunteer to teach children, seniors, or hospital patients; or ask to lead a stitch demonstration at your next crochet guild meeting. You’ll have fun sharing your love of crochet and you may inspire someone else to pick up the hook!

Make a gift

Crochet an unexpected gift for a loved one. To keep the experience stress free, make it a surprise and choose a project you’ll enjoy making!

Wear your own crochet

If you gift more crochet projects than you keep, make something extra special for yourself and be sure to wear it to display your crochet pride!

Donate to charity

Contribute to a local or national charity by donating yarn or hooks, or crocheting blankets, chemo caps, or other items for distribution. Crochetville’s featured NatCroMo charity, Halos of Hope, lists their donation guidelines for chemo caps here. You can find other organizations that accept crochet donations through…

Always check with the charity to make sure the information is up-to-date before delivering a project.

Crochet in public

Take your hook outdoors and crochet on public transportation, in the library, at a coffeehouse, or wherever people spend time outdoors in your community. Be prepared to chat with strangers about what you’re working on, and don’t be shy about explaining that knitting is the one with two needles.

Learn something new

With all the excitement surrounding crochet this month, it’s a great time to learn something new. Pick up a new stitch, learn a new technique, or even try out a new project to keep up your enthusiasm for crochet.

Geek out on crochet gear

Visit Café Press or Zazzle and add a crochet t-shirt, bag, bumper sticker, mug, or other conversation starter to your collection!

Some of my favorite crochet-themed shops are:

What other suggestions do you have for spreading the love of crochet during NatCroMo?

I’ll be celebrating NatCroMo all month long on the Underground Crafter with great giveaways, interviews with crochet designers, and more! To start the month off right, I’m sharing a coupon code with my readers:

Use coupon code natcromo15 to download one free crochet pattern or ebook of your choice from my Ravelry shop through Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.

Enjoy!

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

Interview with Tanis Galik, intermeshing crochet designer

Underground Crafter's Crochet Specialty of the Month: January 2015 intermeshing crochet

 

Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

This post contains affiliate links.

Tanis Galik is probably the crochet designer most associated with contemporary intermeshing crochet, so I’m thrilled to share an interview with her today as part of my January focus on this crochet technique. I first was introduced to Tanis’s work through her book, Interlocking Crochet, which I reviewed here (along with 20+ other crochet stitch guides). 

You can find Tanis online on her website, Interlocking Crochet, on Pinterest, YouTube, and Ravelry (as tanisgalik, in the Interlocking Crochet group, and on her designer page). She has a wide collection of video tutorials on the intermeshing technique if you are excited to dive in! You can find links to her 3 starter videos in this roundup of 4 free online resources to learn intermeshing.

Interview with intermeshing crochet designer Tanis Galik on Underground Crafter

Tanis Galik.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Tanis: My paternal grandmother taught me. It seems there is a long line of crocheters on my father’s side of the family. (My father remembered his grandmother crocheting all the time.) Of course, back then it was mostly doilies my grandmother made. Her house was covered with them. Each had tiny colorful fruits incorporated into the doily. They also had delicate ruffled edges starched with sugar water to make the ruffles stand up. The most amazing thing (which I did not realize until much later) was the yarn she used. It was like fine thread. How did she see it? Or work with that tiny metal hook? Unfortunately, I never thought to ask for a doily.

I stopped crocheting; however, in high school crochet fashions started becoming popular so I picked up a pattern and began re-teaching myself. I think grandma’s training and my family “crochet gene” helped me to pick it up easily. Once I started, I never stopped.

Interview with intermeshing crochet designer Tanis Galik on Underground Crafter

Watermelon Parfait Baby Blanket by Tanis Galik. Published in Crochet! Image (c) Annie’s.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Tanis: I’ve often taken a crochet pattern and adjusted it for my preference or taken a basic crochet stitch pattern and used it for something else so I guess that was the beginning. However, it was really learning the basic Interlocking or intermeshing crochet technique that started me designing and submitting to publishers.

Interview with intermeshing crochet designer Tanis Galik on Underground Crafter

Diamond Baby Blanket, free intermeshing crochet pattern by Tanis Galik.

UC: Since your book, Interlocking Crochet: 80 Original Stitch Patterns Plus Techniques and Projects, was published, you’ve been strongly associated with that technique (also known as intermeshing crochet). How did you begin working with this method and what do you enjoy about designing with it?

Tanis: Several decades ago I took a CGOA class from Sylvia Cosh and James Walters. They had been crochet innovators for decades when I met them. At the time they were just beginning to experiment with intermeshing crochet. I learned the basics and a few designs. They said they were going to publish a book. I went home and experimented myself, continuing to come up with various designs. I waited for a book to be published. When the Internet became popular, I searched for a book and never found one. I decided even though I had never been published, I had better try so this technique could be shared with others before it was lost.

I enjoy coming up with new designs, especially those that have a different pattern and dominate color on each side. I used to go to baby showers and watch the seasoned crocheters turn the blanket (usually with three or four panels of double-sided designs) over and over again, trying to figure out how I had done it.

Interview with intermeshing crochet designer Tanis Galik on Underground Crafter

Irish Blossoms Baby Blanket by Tanis Galik. Published in Crochet World. Image (c) Annie’s.

UC: What are your favorite projects to design?

Tanis: I tend to do accessories – scarves, hats, bags, ponchos and comforting items – baby blankets, afghans, lap throws, dog mats. Since I donate most of my crochet to charities, these items are the ones they usually want.

UC: What are your favorite crochet books (besides yours, of course) in your collection?

Tanis:  Needless to say, I have a large library of crochet books since I have been collecting them for decades.

I tend to like books that have a large selection of crochet stitch designs, including granny squares. Many of them are older books from England that have 200 – 300 stitch patterns. These give me ideas of some different stitches to use in my designs.

I’m beginning to collect Tunisian Crochet books and Irish Crochet books since I want to work more with both of these techniques.

I’m also the first to buy any “new” crochet technique book for my library. I love looking at and trying these different crochet approaches.

3-in-1 Double Crochet Woven Scarf, free crochet pattern by Tanis Galik.

3-in-1 Double Crochet Woven Scarf, free crochet pattern by Tanis Galik.

UC: Do you have any crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Tanis:  I do have a place on Pinterest and Ravelry. I’m one of the moderators on a Ravelry group called Interlocking Crochet.

Interlocking Crochet Reversible Placemat, free crochet pattern by Tanis Galik. Published in Knit and Crochet Now! Season 5. Image (c) Annie's.

Interlocking Crochet Reversible Placemat, free intermeshing crochet pattern by Tanis Galik. Published in Knit and Crochet Now! Season 5. Image (c) Annie’s.

UC: What are some recent designs you’re excited about?

Tanis: I was very happy to have two projects included on Knit & Crochet Now! Season 5. One of them was an Interlocking Crochet placemat. This month (January 2015) I have Irish Blossoms Baby Blanket in the current Crochet World magazine.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story with us, Tanis!

Crochet Book Reviews on the CGOA Blog

As my longtime readers know, I’m a volunteer book reviewer for the Crochet Guild of America. I recently had four crochet book reviews published on the CGOA blog. I’m sharing the links today, in case you are on the hunt for new books to add to your crochet collection!

This post contains affiliate links.

Crochet Stitch Dictionary

Crochet Stitch Dictionary: 200 Essential Stitches with Step-by-Step Photos by Sarah Hazell (link to book review)

Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs

The Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs by Kathryn White (link to book review)

Open Weave Fashions

Open Weave Fashions by Tammy Hildebrand (link to book review)

Beautiful Baby Boutique II

Beautiful Baby Boutique II by Rebecca Leigh (link to book review)

And, in other news, I decided to challenge myself to participate in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily this month.

NaBloPoMoI’ve done a few blog challenges in the past, including Blogtoberfest in 2011 and 2012, and a self-imposed challenge to blog daily during National Crochet Month in 2013, but I’ve never participated in NaBloPoMo before.

I’m looking forward to see what I share. I decided to be more spontaneous than planned about this challenge.

Are you participating in NaBloPoMo (as a blogger or a reader)? Let me know in the comments!

Blog tour book review: Fine Art of Crochet by Gwen Blakley Kinsler

This post contains affiliate links.

Today, I’m excited to participate in the blog tour for The Fine Art of Crochet: Innovative Works from 20 Contemporary Artists by Gwen Blakley Kinsler. I had the pleasure of meeting Gwen online in 2011 when I interviewed her as part of my blog series, Getting Started as a Local Needlecrafts Teacher, and have since learned more about her many contributions to the crochet community (including founding the Crochet Guild of America). Gwen’s latest book is another way of sharing her love and support of the crochet community.

Fine Art of Crochet

The Fine Art of Crochet is an exploration of crochet’s role in contemporary fiber art. Gwen opens the book with an introduction exploring the development of art crochet since the 1960s. The book then continues with profiles of twenty contemporary artists:

The profiles, typically 3-5 pages long, generally include a brief biography, large pictures of several representative works featuring crochet, and quotes from the artist. Quotes from the artists may discuss the creative process, the significance or interpretation of particular pieces, inspiration, and/or crochet as a medium.

The book ends with a reference list of articles, books, and websites on crochet art, freeform crochet, and crochet history, as well as a note about Gwen and some pictures of her art crochet.

In The Fine Art of Crochet, Gwen does a great job of sharing her excitement about crochet in all forms along with insights about some of today’s most innovative crochet artists. The background information and quotes from the artists are delightful.

On the other hand, the formatting is a bit challenging. Sometimes, due to the relative font size, it’s difficult to distinguish clearly between caption and narrative text. Additionally, some of the text could have used another round of editing to help smooth out the transitions between the artists’ quotes, historical information, and Gwen’s analysis. While it’s great to have a more affordable book, a hardcover option would have been wonderful for those of us who are looking for the ultimate crochet art coffee table book.

Overall, I would highly recommend Gwen’s book. It’s the only book of it’s kind currently on the market, and the enthusiasm Gwen and the artists share for crochet is infectious. It’s wonderful to see all the possibilities of crochet that many of us who typically create functional pieces may want to explore, too.

Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review.  My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.