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Having a Crochet Party and No One is Coming!

Monday, April 25, 2011
I spent untold hours last week reading and replying to a thread over at the Crochet Liberation Front on "Disappointment in Stitches Midwest". Sponsored by Knitter's Magazine, the consumer show took on the moniker of "Stitches" years ago, presumably to be all-inclusive and to draw in all sorts of needle workers to spend their money on the show floor and in classes.

The original complaint in the thread was that the Stitches Show does not offer very many crochet classes, if any, here at their midwest venue. Throughout the thread (thousands of posts)there were developments. Crocheters starrted suggesting what they would like to take, teachers were disappointed that classes they proposed were not accepted and not filled; the director of the Stitches show joined in the discussion and told us all his woes of trying to include crochet and not having a profitable response. He said at one point his goal is to figure out the crocheters so he could meet our needs. Bottom line, there will be a meet-up with this director on the last day of the show to walk the show floor and TOGETHER gather some ideas of where to go next.

Some called it "going round and round". Others called it an "unprotected" environment where crocheter's insecurieties are measured against knitters in this knit-centric show. I call it a sincere attempt, YET AGAIN, to come to terms with the differences in crocheters and knitters and to try and bridge the gap by teaching respect ofor crochet and crocheters is a win-win for everyone.

If you a re a crocheter who has paid money for classes or does not want to do that, check here and join in the thread at CLF::
As someone who has been teaching crochet since 1982, I have tried many marketing techniques and have offered crochet in every venue imaginable! Here's just a few: park districts, continuing ed in school districts (14 years), Michaels stores, weaving conference, crochet/knit conference, local yarn shops, doll convention, the National Needlework Trade Association, STITCHES, (at least 6 times).

I have taught every thing from beginning crochet (2 week session, 8 week session, 12 weeks session) to tunisian, hairpin, block-a-week,bead-crochet,free-form, flatwork bead-crochet,Irish, modular, cables, edgings, etc. etc. I am a Craft Yarn Council of America Certified teacher with 40 years of teaching experience!!Ouch, that's a lot!

I have often wrested with the concept of what and how to teach. I don't consider handing a pattern to the student to follow as teaching, unless it is purely an exercise in how to read patterns. I include pattern reading in every class I teach. Over the years, I have found that it is the tips and tricks that crocheters need the most. They come to class with experience making blankets and scarves, but they don't know the finer points of good tchnique, holding the hook properly, counting, finishing, working in the beginning chain, tensionand most of all fiber content and quality. They need a lot of help to have a finished project that looks good.

Crocheters are a unique bunch, apparently. They have worked in isolation for so long having been snubbed by the yarn shops, that they have learned a lot on their own. Therefore, for many, they see no reason to go out into the fiber world and pay money to learn what they don't know. They are content to just repeat what thev've always done, repeating bad habits and bad technique. In the above mentioned thread about Stitches, it was my wish to hear from the crocheters themselves. I would love to know what they are thinking, what they are interested in and what they want to learn.

I am growing weary of offering racking my brain as to what to teach, making the class models and offering my enthusiasm, patience and knowlege, but having no one ( or just a few) sign up for classes. I find that the few that do sign up for classes are amazed at what they don't know, and thrilled to learn little simple techniques theat make their crochet life so much easier.

Here is what I am currently offering at my Crochet Parties at my local yarn store through June. Will you RSVP and tell me what you think?
Beginning Crochet Coin Purse

Intermediate Crochet Square-A-Week

Intro to Bead Crochet

AmigurumiStash Class

Tunisian Crochet Purse


Breanne said…
I am trying to find the store you work at because I would like to come and check it out. Your classes interest me. I have met you before at the Crocheters of the Lakes guild meeting long time ago where you taught us how to free form crochet. I'm not sure why I cannot find the yarn shop in the yellowpages!
I look forward to seeing you at my LYS, Breanne for crochet classes or just to Fuzz-Along!
Fuzzy Wuzzy yarns
218 W. Campbell St.
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Laura said…
I'd be interested in both the bead crochet and the tunisian class, as they would both be new skills for me to learn.
I look forward to seeing you in one of my classes at Fuzzy Wuzzy Yarns, Laura!
Kara said…
Thought I'd chime in on this post (sorry I'm a little late) I'm one of those people who taught myself to crochet. I did learn the basic chain stitch from Mom when I was little but that was all the teaching I have ever received. My LYS does have crochet classes but they are beginners and I'm (way) past that stage. I think what I would be looking for is something a little on the edgy side or maybe an advanced designer course. It is sad that a lot of LYS's and shows are geared toward knitting. I have been "looked down upon" at a show because I'm a crocheter. That's why I'm so avid about bringing awareness to this art. Crochet is a wonderful medium that you can do amazing things with. That's what we need to make people aware of. It all comes down to acceptance of a different fiber art basically. I for one think you doing a great job of that Gwen!
Anonymous said…
I so agree with Kara! I too love crochet, and feel the frustration when I look for crochet books or magazines and mostly find knitting! Knitting is really pretty, I can see that...but there is sooo many pretty, fun, cool, things to make with crochet, and it is so much easier to learn and correct mistakes than when you knit. I feel that crochet is under rated! I love it BETTER than knitting!!

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