Monday, April 25, 2011

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

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Back in the Rat Race!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
It didn't take us long to fall back into our old ways and jump onto the rat-race wagon! Our first priority as we touched onto the mother soil was to see kids and, of course, Chloe Marie! Our first evening was spent with younger daughter, Bethany. She showed us around her workplace and new apt. and tool us to dinner at Spacca Napolitano. It was wonderful

Bright and early the next day we headed to MI to see the rest of the family. I think we were so in awe of Chloe and pretty tired on top of it, that I didn't even think to take pictures. Finally, on Monday, Nicole pointed out that I had taken none (highly unusal for me)!

She walks; she talks; she can say "Hi, Gigi" (Grandma Gwen). She calls Gramps Gigi too! (Grandpa Gramps) It works! She loves her books and here she is:
Nicole and Chloe

Four days after we arrived home, I was back at my local yarn shop (LYS) teaching beginning crochet. I had a great group and we finished their 2 sessions last week. Now, I move on to Intermediate crochet. I will just roll through the months with these two classes picking up crocheters as we go. It should be very satisfying to be birthing crocheters into the world every week!

We had friend Larry over for dinner and caught up with him. He did such a nice job caring for our plants while we were gone. they look very happy and healthy. It won't be long before they can go out on the deck for their summer respite.

It was wonderful to have Deb and Mike here over the weekend on the occasion of their daughter, Erin's, baby shower. We enjoyed a fabulous Sat. with a leisurely lunch at a new restaurant (for us), Cooper's Hawk, and a stroll through a sunny shopping center. Our weather transition has been great. Sat. it reached 90 and during lunch, it was very reminiscent of Ajijic.

Someone asked how it feels to be back, and truthfully, sometimes it feels like we weren't even gone for three months. We have jumped back in with both feet and 'm still pretty disorganized, but little by little we will settle back in. Putting off cooking a little longer, we will use a Christmas gift card tonight and go to Wildfire!

The chapter newsletter is done; Talking crochet is pretty much under control. There's no food in the fridge, but hey, in good time.