Happy Clappy Crochet

Celebrating Crochet with a Positive Spin

5 Years On – Stitches Midwest

Five years ago this month, I started a bit of a rant on a Ravelry group that ended up bringing about some change. That rant had to to with the lack of crochet classes being available at Stitches Midwest in 2011. I won’t go into the whole story here, but if you are interested, you can follow this link to learn more.

I was able to take a crochet class at Stitches Midwest in 2011 – it was offered as a one-hour market session. I know that doesn’t seem like much, but when you account for planning logistics, it was a pretty quick response to offer any kind of crochet class just 4 months after the initial topic had started. Since 2011, there have been a minimum of 10 (true) crochet and crochet-friendly (classes for both knitters and crocheters) offered at each session of Stitches Midwest. For August 2016, there are 13 crochet and crochet friendly classes being offered.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, it is an anniversary of sorts. I had the opportunity to talk with Tammy Burke when she was guest hosting the Yarn Thing Podcast with Marly Bird about a month ago. My call comes in at the 24:18 mark. During the call, I encourage crocheters to take a class this year. I’m quite passionate about it. This anniversary had me thinking about that call, and I decided to check how much I’ve practiced what I preached.

I logged into the XRX website and checked how many classes I’ve taken since 2011. So far, the total stands at 19 – one 1-hour market class, seventeen 3-hour classes, and one 6-hour class. My total will grow by the end of this year, with another crochet class that will be taken at Stitches Midwest in August as well as 15 hours of classes at Camp Stitches in November.

So, 5 years on, and I owe some thanks. First to Benjamin Levisay of XRX for not only asking for feedback on improving crochet outreach for Stitches events, but actually following through on many of the suggestions. Second, I want to thank the other posters in the Ravelry thread where the conversation started who took the time to give reasoned and constructive feedback to Benjamin. We helped start a big change that is still going, and I thank you all for that. I’d like to thank the teachers who have offered crochet classes over the past 5 years. I know that the classes may not have been as full as you may have liked, but it meant the world to me to be able to take classes from the likes of Kristin Omdahl, Myra Wood, Edie Eckman, Marly Bird, Jenny King, and Marty Miller. I’d like to thank the teachers who adapted knitting classes so that they were crochet friendly as well – Laura Bryant has done much of this over the past 5 years. I’d like to thank the sponsors and vendors who have helped to make the event more crochet friendly, offering crochet tools and books in their booths, as well as showcasing crocheted items in their booths and in the fashion shows.

Finally, I want to thank the crocheters themselves who have attended the Stitches events over the past 5 years. You’ve taken classes with me, enjoyed the PJ party, and showed off your amazing handiwork during the Saturday Student Banquet. Our attendance numbers are growing, and we are even starting to fill classes to the point that they are sold out. This post wouldn’t be possible without your support of taking crochet classes when they are offered and attending national shows. I thank you deeply, and I hope to see many of you in Schaumburg in August. For those of you on the fence, there is still time to sign up for classes. Check out the list and see if something strikes your fancy. Come to the Student Banquet and show the room the wonderful things you make with your hook. I really do hope to see you in August!

 

Please Note: Neither Benjamin or anyone associated with XRX had any idea I was going to post this. I am not being paid by XRX to promote Stitches events. I just realized today, during a conversation with a friend, that I had been taking crochet classes at national events for 5 years, and that is what prompted this post.

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Pulling Into The Station

Welcome Riders of the Crochetville Express! This is stop # 38 of the tour and I am happy to have you here.

Since this is my second year on the blog tour, I wanted to do something special to celebrate being a crochet designer. That not only meant designing something awesome, but also finding the perfect yarn. Luckily, I know a gal who does a great job with hand-dyed yarns.

I contacted my friend Julie, of Happy-Go-Lucky Yarns, and we got together one Saturday afternoon and created this.

HGL Glittery in the colorway Gaia ©Happy-Go-Lucky Yarns; Used with Permission

HGL Glittery in the colorway Gaia
©Happy-Go-Lucky Yarns; Used with Permission

Isn’t it beautiful!!! We picked a fingering weight base with some silver metallic in it, and it adds the perfect amount of sparkle! I knew I wanted the colors to transition from greens to blues, and that I would need two skeins of yarn to create the shawl design idea I had in my head. We had a lot of fun that afternoon and I absolutely adore the yarn colorway we created.

So now I had the perfect yarn; I just needed to come up with the perfect pattern. Using a technique I learned from a class I took with Myra Wood, I started with a partial motif and worked from there. Originally, the shawl was going to be all one lace pattern, but after talking with friends, I decided to change things up and go with a couple different stitch patterns, each separated by a band of solid stitching. It took several sessions of stitch and rip, but I found a rhythm that worked with the color changes within the yarn. After several weeks, the Terra shawl was born.

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

©Laura Krzak

I’m just thrilled with how this shawl turned out and I’m very excited to share it all with you. And in honor of National Crochet Month and my 2nd year on the blog tour, you will be able to get the shawl for $2.00 off the published price. Just enter the Promo Code DCDHGL2016 after you add the pattern to your Ravelry cart and you are good to go! Coupon code is only available until March 20th, so make sure to act quickly!

 

I wouldn’t be part of the blog tour as a designer if it wasn’t for Cascade Yarns. They have really invested in offering free crochet patterns on their website, and I am honored to design crochet patterns for them. To celebrate that partnership, I am offering THREE contests for NatCroMo!

Contest #1 – You will win one skein of Cascade Yarns – Roslyn in the 04-Orange colorway, as well as a signed copy of the Ginger Snap Scarf pattern.

Contest #2 – You will win two skeins of Cascade Yarns – Avalon Multis in the 314-Blue & Green colorway, as well as a signed copy of the Esme Tunisian Scarf pattern.

Contest #3 – You will win four skeins of Cascade Yarns – North Shore in the #11-Coral colorway, as well as a signed copy of the Friendship Shawl pattern.

Contests are open to EVERYONE – worldwide! Yes, I will ship winning yarn internationally!

HOW TO WIN:

Comment on this blog post with your name and country, and let me know which contest you want to enter. Please only enter one so everyone has equal odds.

Contest #1 needs to have all comments entered by March 19th. Winner chosen by March 21st.

Contest #2 needs to have all comments entered by March 26th. Winner chosen by March 28th.

Contest #3 needs to have all comments entered by March 31st. Winner chosen by April 3rd.

Winners will be contacted by email so I can get shipping information. If a winner doesn’t contact me back within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

If you have any questions, please comment below and I’ll get back to you.

I hope you enjoyed your stop! Now get back on that train and check out all the other wonderful designers, yarn stores and yarn companies that are part of the tour!

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