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Preserving Crochet History

Tuesday April 24, 2012 I've been super busy since I last blogged in early April and my thoughts and fingers have been swirling all over the place so much that I couldn't focus on just one topic. Today is the day it came together: looking at history as a learning tool to be inspired and to not repeat things which perhaps were mistakes, but to keep moving forward.

Much of my energy has been focused at Cro-Kween Designs on Ravelry. We finished a CAL (Crochet-Along) on April 20: Go Green, Kween. Particpants used repuposed materials to create something interesting or at the very least, used green colors of yarn. My moderators of the group chose one winner which made them smile when they looked at her/his project. BizzieLizzie from Scotland is quietly creative and always comes through with something amazing. She was the hands-down winner with this:
and her prize from the Kween was a Cro-Kween Designs pattern of her choice. She chose Himalaya Series: Himalaya Tank
Himalaya Tank Top
Also, over at Cro-Kween Designs we are preparing to start our newest CAL: The Kween's Cabo CAL. I will lead a tutorial, step-by-step for participants to not only make their own cabochon but to embellish it as a brooch, as well. This is a sample and each particpant will choose their own graphic to start with.
Cabochon Pin by Gwen
A great group of creative participants have joined in and we are all looking forward to getting started on May 1 after a brief "rest" during April. Yeah, right; like our hands and hooks ever take a break! What does all of this have to do with history, you ask?

Throughout history, crocheters have had excellent skills and have not asked for or expected fame and fortune. They crocheted out of necessity and for enjoyment and passed down excellent technical skills to their ancestors. We, who look at vintage/historic patterns are the recipients of these past skills and are inspired by them. I find the same thing on Ravelry and at CGOA: there are humble crocheters in our world who don't expect recognition or fame. They purely enjoy their craft and get satifaction from creating whether they are recognized or not.

I've spent the last few weeks taking a trip down memory lane and looking back at the history of Juried Art Exhibits which have been a unique and important contribution of CGOA to not only members but the public at large. I will be presenting the Founder's Award ($100.00) to one winner who entered the CGOA Design Contest at the Chain Link Crochet Conference June 27 in Manchester, NH. The winner of this award will be the one work that best exemplifies the spirit of CGOA. While I am making the brief presentation, I will have a slide show running behind me with highlights from ten years of fantastic and fascinating crochet art from past juried exhibits. I'm very excited to be able to present a glimpse of the wonderful art we've seen at conferences yet again! Can't reveal anything yet, but so excited to have the old slides from years' past digitized. If you have never attended a Chain Link Crochet Conference. My presentation is just the tip of the iceberg of the crochet nirvana that takes place this summer!

A member of my CGOA local chapter has entrusted me to find a home for her crochet book collection with crocheters who really will appreciate them. I picked up many, many boxes last week and thanks to my daughter, Bethany, we got them all loaded in one trip from the city of Chicago. I dare say she collected these books over a period of 40 years or so and it is quite a gem of a collection!

There's lots of history here that will be preserved in part in our chapter library and in part in the cozy confines of crocheters who are chapter members. There is history of how design and designers have evolved; there is vintage historic patterns and there is hours and hours of crocheting happiness! I've been organizing my bead stash and bringing it back from total chaos!

Along the way I took another trip down memory lane to Kate Coburn. She was my bead-crochet mentor back in 1994. Like so many people, extreme creativity has most likely lead her to new adventures and she has rarely been heard from since. I've had her books for all these years and greatly admired her. I have also preserved the 6 tubes of seed beads she once gave me just waiting for that day when I would make one of her gorgeous jewelry pieces. That day has come and I have completed the "Brocade Flat Band"

It is on the blocking board now. This necklace pattern has three parts and is from Kate's book, Tubes II.

I strung up the beads for the second flat cuff today and my fingers are itching to start bead-crocheting. If anyone knows of Kate's whereabouts, please let me know. I want to tell her I've reached back in history and am finally making her necklace that I've admired all these years!


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