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Book Review: Crochet Saved My Life

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 Do you spend time in online crochet communities? Is spending too much time lurking or surfing the Net your weakness? I disagree with those who insinuate that spending time on Facebook means one has “no life.” Sometimes a stand-out person comes along in an online version of a cocktail party and the sharing of our interests/passions and knowledge creates a sort of click that resonates with the heart. Kathryn Vercillo is that "click" for me. I can’t remember where or how we “met", but I do remember that in December 2011 she honored me with her “Awesome Crochet Blog Award” for Free-form Crochet on her blog, Crochet Concupiscence. What’s not to like about Kathryn for doing that for me? Seriously though, I feel as though by virtue of our interests and our spirit of needing to shout crochet from the rooftops, we are friends even though we have never met face to face. When I did the following interview with Kathryn by phone, she was working on her latest book, Recently I interviewed Kathryn by phone in attempt to get to know her even better! At the time, she was working on her latest book, Crochet Saved My Life,

and I have also included a review of the book. I've just learned how to create tabs here on the blog, so look for the review under the "Book Reviews" tab.

GBK: Where and with whom do you live? KV: I live in San Francisco, my favorite city in the world. Originally from Tucson I fell in love with San Francisco on my first visit. The creative energy of the city, the passion people have for living a smart, artistic life, the acceptance of different life choice and the celebration of the DIY/entrepreneurial spirit showed me immediately where I wanted to be. I’ve spent most of my adult life living alone; there are pros and cons to that.

GBK: What got you so passionate about crochet? KV: Crochet came into my life at a time when I needed it most. I hit a really low point a few years back after struggling with lifelong depression yet not knowing what it was most of the time. I didn’t think I would ever again get interested in anything, but I kept trying new things like hula hoop dancing, indoor rock climbing, drawing, business classes, but nothing captured my interest. Slowly things started to change when I picked up a crochet hook; I felt motivated and inspired again.

GBK: How did you become such an expert blogger? KV: I have an Associate Degree in Youth Social Work and a Bachelors Degree in Public Agency Service, but I had been doing online writing for years when I started seeing lots of opportunities for blogging jobs become available. I looked into it and have been blogging ever since for both large and small businesses in addition to running many small personal blogs of my own. I had the opportunity to work with great people who taught me the business end of blogging. I started my blog, Crochet Concupiscence in 2011 to have a blog project that I could be really passionate about and it’s grown and grown from there.

GBK: Where did you learn that big word, “concupiscence”? KV: Nice question. The one I usually get is “how do you pronounce that?” At heart, I’m a writer and I’m a little bit in love with cool words. I don’t consider myself someone who needs to use big words all of the time, but every once in awhile, the perfect big word slides into mind and makes perfect sense. I wanted a blog name that was a little cheeky and reflected a silly passion for the craft that also demonstrated the intelligence I intended to put into the writing.

GBK: Where do you find the time to do the research? KV: I definitely devote a lot of time to the site both in terms of research and writing. I keep to a fairly strict schedule and blog about the same things on the same days and that helps me focus my research energies in the right areas at any given time. It helps that I really enjoy doing the research on this topic so a lot of times I’ll read stuff for this site as a nice break from the writing jobs I do for other people. It feels like a treat even though it’s technically work. That’s the reason that anyone who starts a blog/site/business should make sure it’s on a topic that they truly enjoy! I use Google reader to subscribe to the feeds of other blogs and follow about 300 that cover crochet in some way in addition to a few other blogs that aren’t related to crochet but interest me in their coverage of art, design, fashion and what’s happening in San Francisco.

GBK: How many followers do you have and how do you get them? KV: I have about 400 blog followers who subscribe to get my feed updates, and I have about 250 followers who get my monthly crochet newsletter. The site itself gets about 80,000 page views per month. I haven’t done a whole lot to promote the blog to get followers, but I do comment frequently on other people’s blogs because I enjoy that and I know many people have found me that way. I’m also active on Pinterest, Twitter and G+. And I have indie yarn sellers sponsor my newsletter by offering discounts to subscribers so that’s one promotional tool I’ve used to get people to sign up for the newsletter. In the months to come I do intend to devote some more time to promoting the blog but I want to make sure that I don’t do that at the expense of sacrificing good content!

GBK: What are your thoughts about being a CGOA member? KV: I think that the CGOA seems like a great organization that offers tons of terrific resources to members and I’ve just renewed my membership for the second year One of the things I love about crochet is that there’s a great community built up around this craft. The crocheters I’ve met in person and online are generous, creative people with positive spirits and interesting lives. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with others who love this craft and I think CGOA offers opportunities for this kind of connection.

GBK: Am I missing anything? What more do you want to share? KV: There are a few key areas of crochet that really interest me: health benefits; organizations that offer people in third world countries the opportunity to use it to support themselves; all aspects of crochet art; and gender-specific aspects. The many intellectual and social aspects of crochet really fascinate me and that’s partly why I blog about it. In the end, of course, the pleasure of sitting down with a smooth hook and a luxurious skein of yarn and feeling the tactile joy of the act while creating something new out of my own mind is what I love most about crochet.


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