Monday, November 25, 2013

Museum of Contemporary Art: Crochet!

Monday, November 25, 2013
First off, Happy Anniversary to the love of my life, Alan Kinsler!

A pictorial essay on our trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, recently. The photos pretty much tell it all!

After a pleasant but chilly trip on the El to downtown, we stopped for hot chocolate first!
Hershey's, Ghiradelli's??
Ghiradelli's, Hershey's???
We opted for Hershey's because we'd been to Ghiradelli's before. Delish!

Dutes Miller crocheting with Coats pink "Pound of Love"
He throws the yarn and does a "made up" single crochet
Dutes told me that he and his partner Stan Shellabarger learned to crochet just for this project, but that they only know the one stitch they are using. Note: Red Heart "Pound of Love" under the chair.

Close up of Dutes crocheting
A very congenial couple, Dutes also told me that they started this project ten years ago as a symbol of their connection, their relationship. When they started with the foundation chain, they literally sat knee to knee and we both crocheting on opposite sides of the chain. As it grew, they were able to crochet simultaneously. The choice of the color pink symbolizes "skin" and the intestine-like tube symbolizes their corporal connection also. They have been together for 17 years.

Stan Shellabarger on the other end of the 80-foot crocheted tube
I walked to the other end to speak to Stan. he's got the hang of single crochet; unlike Dutes who adds an extra chain in-between finishing his sc! No worries; it's art....? He works consistently and he's creating a tube.
Stan Shellabarger crocheting single crochet
Stan told me that they have many satisfying conversations with viewers. "Crocheting is so familiar and it evokes memories that people want to share." The couple crochets about two feet of tube during each performance. I asked Stan if he ever had wrist problems and he told me had once been a carpenter. "This work is a piece of cake compared to some of the rough and heavy work I've done with my hands in the past," he explained.

Viewers amazed by this "performance"


Untitled (Pink Tube): view from one story up
Sometimes the couple sits close together and other times they sit far apart, as shown here. Stan told me that they have even sat in separate rooms with the tube streaming between them. In many places along the tube, it looks faded due to the use of different dye lots in the yarn.

Obviously, these two have minimal interest in learning more of the finer details of crochet or they would have done so by now. They have been crocheting the same stitch (single crochet) for ten years,  periodically exhibiting their "performance" and growing this pink tube! Does an artist have to have a passion or the skills for the technique they are using in order for it to be art?

Does the fact that the tube is now huge and that they have lugged it to various public venues make this art?



We encountered a bonus that day at the museum: Andy Warhol and Alexander Calder both has exhibits on view!!

Alexander Calder
Calder Mobiles


We encountered this sculpture upon leaving the museum:





Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guest Blogger: Vashti Braha - The Birth of a Yarn

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Birth of a New Yarn 
by Vashti Braha 

Vashti Braha and Emmy: "Alpaca Love"
Please welcome today's guest Blogger, my friend Vashti, by following her fantastic blog! Vashti and I met years and years ago at Stitches Midwest Pheasant Run, St. Charles, IL, for those of you who remember back that far! As I recall, Vashti had just joined CGOA and came bouncing up to the CGOA booth that I was running with Nancy Brown, former CGOA President. She later served on the CGOA board as Vice President.

To know Vashti is to love her. Anyone who already follows her blog knows that she has the keen mind of a scientific researcher! It's just that her research delves into crochet and yarn! Vashti also has a giving spirit and is willing to share what she knows with anyone. 

I’ve been taking a fresh look at yarn lately: yarn as a modern-day product. This is partly due to getting my own first yarn ready to launch at my site, and partly to my research for a crochet class I taught last month at CGOA’s Chain Link conference in Concord, North Carolina. For the Beauty of Antique Love Knots” class I focused a magnifying glass on the years 1891  to 1914, the earliest years of Love Knot crochet (Solomon’s Knots, Lover’s Knot) for which I could find English-language materials. 

These years which overlap solidly with La Belle Époque in France and the Gilded Age in the US. During this time, several self-publishing crochet designers in the US and England thrilled an avidly crocheting public with a stream of virtuosic pattern booklets. 

Anna Wuerfel Brown: Love Knot
The Knot Stitch (as the Love Knot was known back then) was often combined with other fancy stitch textures such as Roll Stitches  (a.k.a. Bullions) and Hairpin Lace. 

A few decades leading up to this time period provide an interesting backdrop: during the 1840‘s-50‘s, the mercerization of cotton was invented (1844). New Egyptian cotton strains  were being developed and compared during the rest of the 19th century. Crochet was already a popular pastime. The Irish Famine happened during this time, and Queen Victoria promoted a gift of Irish crochet lace on the world stage. Eléanor Riego de la Branchardiere won the Gold Medal at the Great Exhibition for a crocheted child’s dress (1851). The first synthetic dye was produced in 1856.


In 1884, DMC hired Thérèse de Dillmont (born 1846). Her Encyclopedia of Needlework  was first published two years later, in 1886. I love this book and refer to it often. Weldon’s Practical Needlework was published from 1886-1893. 


Madame Riego de la Branchardiere died in 1887, and Thérèse de Dillmont in 1890. (I wonder why neither of these influential crochet authors mentioned the Knot Stitch. Perhaps it was unknown to crocheters until 1891.) Meanwhile in America, two women’s suffrage groups, one led by Susan B. Anthony, the other by Lucy Stone, united their efforts (1889).

While crocheters were making fancy new Knot Stitch boudoir caps, towel trims, and tasseled bags, the times were changing rapidly. The first marketable “artificial silk” (rayon) was invented in 1905, and new rayon crochet threads, with patterns using them, became available seemingly overnight. Cotton mills during this time weathered volatile production peaks and rapid expansion, along with grave humanitarian issues. It was in 1912 that the Titanic sank. Queen Victoria (a crocheter) had died in 1901 and the Victorian Age became the Edwardian Age - until the first intimation of World War I in 1914 brought this age to an abrupt end. 

I’m working with an American mill to create a yarn that couldn’t have existed before 1905. I’m calling it Lotus. Not only is the cotton blended with rayon, it is perfectly smooth and fairly thin, even though it’s made of twelve plies. There are virtually zero knots in the huge 2-lb. cones. All of this is to say that I can’t imagine hand spinning such a yarn! I see it as squarely a product of the Gilded Age (minus the child labor and cramped conditions).

Everything about producing yarn on a large scale is tricky. Really tricky. I take it for granted because I’ve been crocheting with different yarns and threads for so long that I’m used to how string behaves. When I teach non-crocheters how to handle yarn - winding, packaging, etc. - I have to also sober them up about the nature of string. They tend to underestimate how wily it is, and how close to chaos it can come!
Lotus Tassel Snips

Lotus, packaged

When I behold a ball of yarn, I see the glories of the Industrial Age in it. The preferences of Victorian crocheters and knitters helped to shape the ideal yarn ball. Look at how cute and inviting it is: how its strands are wound so neatly and uniformly, how soft and plump it is, how its colors sing. It promises to be fresh and pristine on the inside and to give a few hours of peaceful enjoyment. I used to take this for granted too, but it’s no accident. I named my new yarn "Lotus" because of the way that I think of how luminous the yarn makes the crochet stitch textures look.

Lotus
Shortly after receiving my first shipment of yarn from the mill, I woke up from a dream about friendly multicolored little kittens that greeted me at the front door and walked into the house with me.  They tumbled around on things, exploring, then grew drowsy and all fell asleep in a heap on a chair. I marveled at this dreamy dream and then realized it was about yarn!

Lotus Yarn Kittens


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Evolution of the Word “Curate”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I read with great interest recently, “Choose Your Art Wisely – The Curation Issue.”  featured in the Chicago Tribune “Arts & Entertainment” section. All the articles in the section were curation-related and several grabbed my attention. It got me thinking about my experience with the word "curate," and I reminisce here about the history of my passion for curating or promoting crochet art.

I am the author of The Fine Art of Crochet, an art book that captures a moment in time from 1915 to the present and documents the use of crochet as a medium of artistic expression. If thought of as a crochet art exhibit of modern times, then I am the curator of the exhibit within the pages of my book. The book, and its colorful art and amazing beauty, is a long-held dream and the brief history that follows will shed some light on why. I hope you will purchase the book as a treat to yourself this holiday season!

At the time I didn’t realize I was “curating,” but over a 10-year period in which I was intimately involved with many crochet art exhibits as a volunteer for the Crochet Guild of America, I was, indeed, doing just that! Working together with other knowledgeable folks, I juried submissions, chose the art for exhibition based on a theme or a concept, and took part in hanging the exhibits as well.

I learned to crochet in the 1970s and it was a time when crochet was neither overly popular nor mainstream. I truly believe that the designers of that time were gifted artists yet they were not given the respect they deserved. Because many crocheters, me included, were in the closet, there was not a huge demand for patterns. I was craving classy crochet patterns from I could learn from. I was always on the look-out for interesting and artistic crochet and because there were very few crochet magazines, I had to search elsewhere. Here and there, I would find examples of crochet art in magazines I subscribed to such as Threads, Fiberarts and American Craft magazines; it was truly a thrill when a stunning full color feature of crochet would come along! I clipped those articles and have saved them to this day!

In 1993, while I was planning the first-ever national crochet conference held in Chicago,"Ancient Roots, New Beginnings."  I strongly believed that crochet art should and would be an essential part of the package.  In my eyes, it was an incredible way to educate not only crocheters, but the public at large, about the beauty and versatility of crochet. It was during the process of setting up the first-ever crochet art exhibit at the conference that I began to learn what curating was all about. Many thanks go to Susan Lutz Kenyon who assisted me with that first exhibit. It was a wonderful success due to the hard work of many!  

Calls for Entry were sent out to crocheters who creativity and artistic bent on crochet I greatly admired. I gleaned my knowledge of these people from books in my collection; I didn’t know them but admired them from afar. I also invited artists who I had read about in the art magazines mentioned and placed calls for entry in them.  There were not many crochet magazines at the time.

The exhibitors were chosen from slides submitted of the artists’ work; it was before the digital age! They paid a small fee to enter and their work was chosen on the basis of the quality of their slides. Slides views of artwork had to be precise and bad photography generally eliminated their chances of being accepted. The artists were also responsible for providing any special props necessary to display their work as well as  postage to return their works post-exhibit.
Ellen Moon: Jacket
Chunghie Lee
The response I received that first year was gratifying. Crochet-only exhibits were unheard of at that time and crochet artists were receptive to showing their work in a venue such as the Crochet Guild annual conferences where they would be greatly appreciated by passionate crocheters, as well as the general public. Even though the exhibit hung during just the conference weekend, it was well worth the time and effort to pull together such an outstanding example of crochet art.

These exhibits were held in the conference hotels and they continued until 2003. We had insurance for the works of art which was very costly but essential; and a cadre of volunteers stood by as “docents” to ensure that the art was not handled and that it was safe overnight.  

In addition to the annual conference exhibits, I also curated two major crochet art exhibits for the Crochet Guild. “Chain Reaction” was co-sponsored by the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) and the now defunct Textile Arts Centre in Chicago. Juried with Arline Fisch it was a "juried and invitational traveling exhibition of contemporary crochet that challenged traditional expectation."
Exhibit catalog: art of Norma Minkowitz:
Fish by Fisch: silver wire crochet by Arline Fisch
Tracy Krumm: Shroud with Tong
Carol Ventura: Harvest
Norma Minkowitz: Final Resting Place
Karen Searle: Image & Reality

“The Rhythm of Crochet”

was sponsored by the CGOA as part of its tenth anniversary celebration and was partially funded by the Bead Society of Greater Chicago and Solutia.” Juried with Eileen Troxel and Carol Ventura, this invitational traveling exhibition of contemporary crochet departed from pre-conceived notions.
Sonya Clark: Dendrite
Todd Paschall: Marilyn Monroe I
Carol Ventura: He Said, She Said Too
 I've included some tidbits that informed me below.

Naomi Beckwith, Art Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago: “We’re in a moment when performance and conceptual art has become a vibrant genre for contemporary art museums. How do you say ‘something happened, now it’s gone in the context of a museum?’ As a curator of this, you’re a midwife: It’s coming into the world no matter what. It needs a safe place. So my relationship with the art doesn’t stop with exhibition. It’s my job to know this work or artist for the length of our careers. It’s about the meaning of ’curate’ to shepherd, to be constantly responsible for something.1

I remember going to WalMart and having an anxiety attack. ‘Why are there 62 brushes to choose from?’ Curating is like a better word for ‘I have to make informed decisions.’”1

Christopher Borrelli: “On one hand, there’s the persistent, traditional art world definition : ‘A curator provides context, connoisseurship. A curator chooses, but not only chooses. Curating is more than a reflection of a person’s interests. It is scholarship, framing ideas, telling stories, showing the edge that exists between the thing curated and the rest of us.

One of the roles of the professional curator is the obsessive, rigorous arranging of materials to tell a story. Some call that Facebook. I have a Netflix queue, which I maintain, nurture, cull and arrange just so. Therefore, I curate movies.

Mary Ann Jacob, professor, School of the Art Institute, Chicago: ‘What I love about everyone using this word is that a decade ago I doubt many people even knew what curation was about.”2

Lisa Graziose Corrin, director of the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University when asked “What is Curation?: Depends who you ask, because it has changed so much..Over 25 years, I’ve watched it move away from being just about an individual who served as a connoisseur, a kind of guardian of a quality. But today you are as likely to find trained artists as curators as you are to dind trained art historians. Actually, once artists got into curating, then people began thinking about how anytime you make carefully honed choices, you’re curating.

Q: Is There a difference between curating and simply choosing?: Choosing objects, thoughtfully assembling them, usually accompanying them with some sort of interpretation that make the ideas transparent to a visitor to the museum – that is also curating. But curators are not just decision-makers. It is also storytelling. It’s also about sharing what you know with a wider public, taking complicated information and being civic-minded about it.” 3

Chicago Tribune, October 6, 2013. “Choose Your Art Wisely: The Curation Issue.
1-Borelli, Christopher. “Young and In Demand,” p. 3
2-Borelli, Christopher. “I, Curator,” p. 2

3-Borelli, Christopher. “Q: What is Curation Now?,” p. 4.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: Crochet Stitch Dictionary by Sarah Hazell

Monday, November 18, 2013
Crochet Stitch Dictionary
By Sarah Hazell


Every crocheter, whether experienced or just learning, needs a good stitch dictionary in their  crochet library. This latest offering by Interweave, Crochet Stitch Dictionary, is a smart choice.
The visual references that are both colorful and clear result from author Sarah Hazell’s many years of experience as a teacher and designer. The step-by-step photos and charts help crocheters learn how to perfect each stitch. Offering 200 stitches with written, charted and photographed instructions, Crochet Stitch Dictionary is broken down into ten color-coded sections.

The thorough beginning section is sure to make a great crocheter out of anyone wanting to learn for the first time. The illustrations could not be clearer and Sarah offers the basics on hook sizes, reading charts, and how to crochet both flat and in the round. Included in the final section are techniques such as joining motifs, weaving in ends and blocking, all so important for great results!

In between, the 200 essential stitches are organized to allow the crocheter to easily find the stitch they seek at-a-glance by using the table of contents designed in “candy-box” sampler-style. Luxurious color on every page makes it is so easy to find and learn stitches using the color-coding. Stitches covered in the ten sections include Basic Stitches; Fans & Shells; Spikes; Mesh, Filet & Trellis; Crossed & Interlocking Stitches; and Decorative Stitches.


Crochet Stitch Dictionary is a resource intended to inspire as well as to extend crocheters’ skills. Even though you may already have a stitch dictionary, you can’t go wrong adding this book to your collection! Available from Interweave, Crochet Stitch Dictionary: 200 EssentialStitches with Step-by-Step Photos, includes 192 pages for the retail price of $16.98. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review: How to Make 100 Crochet Appliques' by Deb Burger

Monday November 11, 2013

How to Make 100 Crochet Appliques’
Patterns for Fun, flora, Fauna and Icon Patches
By Deborah Burger


According to Deb Burger, she lives in a “whimsical” world where she shares inspiration from many media. You’ll find finished artwork, plans, recipes and patterns: all products of her imagination and delight in living. She is active in the online community, Ravelry, as Cerdeb and blogs at Dragonfly Cottage Design. 

That same whimsy is certainly evident throughout her new book, Crochet Appliques’. With her patterns, she shows how to make 100 crochet patches arranged in sections, including:
·         Celebrate!
·         On the Farm
·         Sea and Shore
·         Le Jardin
·         Into the Wild

Deb asks her readers, “Why leave something plain when you can add a finishing touch to make it personal and meaningful?” Inside, you’ll find 150 color photos of crocheted appliques  skillfully photographed, and written instructions accompanied by stitch diagrams.

The book is hardcover with a “wire-o” binding that makes it very convenient to use table-side or on your lap as you crochet. All the examples in the book are crocheted in either Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece or Cotton Fine using an F (3.75 mm hook). Helpful tips are included in the Technical Support section and there is a guide for the use of symbol crochet as well.

I know you will find the same delight that I did when you use this book as a handy reference that inspires you to add fabulous and fun crocheted touches to most anything that crosses your path!

Available at Creative Publishing.  Crochet Appliques' retails for $24.99.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Guest Blogger: Deb Burger-Yarn Bombing Realized

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Deb Burger lives in a whimsical world with her artist husband, Don, and blogs about many artistic media. She is cerdeb on Ravelry where she has catalogued 452 projects! Deb and I are cyber-friends; we have never met. I am privileged to meet special people from time to time in my cyber communities and sometimes I "click" with a person who shares common passions. Such is the case with Deb and I. She is the author of Crochet 101 and her latest book is Crochet Appliques  which I will be reviewing next week. Stay tuned and for now, enjoy Deb’s essay about her unique yarn- bombing experience. 

Yarn-Bombing Realized
By Deb Burger 

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” That quote is often used, as Shakespeare intended, to signify the difference between what we call something and what it really is.  Yarn-bombing is the common term attached to the practice of decorating public or private property, usually outdoors, with crocheted and knitted patchworks.  Needless to say, the practice has not been without controversy! It is either viewed as artistic expression that should remain unfettered and appreciated by those who see it; or its a public nuisance, like other forms of graffiti, that signify disregard for private and public property.

Recently, my textile friends and I had the opportunity to circumvent the controversy, and decorate several areas in our town, Jonesborough, Tennessee, with the work of our hands.  We gained permission, and the enthusiastic support, of the “powers that be,” by making intentional use of semantics.  When I first proposed the idea to my knitter friend who directs the towns Historic Preservation non-profit, I purposely didn’t use the term, “yarn-bombing” but rather, pitched the idea of creating a “temporary installation artwork, which would showcase traditional fiber arts in a collaborative way.”  Intrigued at first, she got really excited after I educated her a bit by showing her websites that featured museums and art galleries that have previously featured yarn-bombing as public art. Hooking my way up the chain of command, our artistic effort was deemed ideal for the Visitors’ Center.  A lovely park with trees, swings and footbridges that lend themselves to decoration, it is the first place many tourists see.

Our idea blossomed and we were asked to decorate on a regular basis by changing, adding and removing motifs periodically! Even though it was more than my group had bargained for, one of my basic rules is “never turn down permission.” Final approval came from the collaboration of a powerful coalition that suggested we “think bigger.” “Why not also decorate Main Street,” they said.  I would have been overwhelmed at this point if it had not been for the soon-to-be regional gathering of fiber enthusiasts that was coming to town.

We had time to send out the word to all registered participants in the Knotty Ladies Fiber Getaway Weekend. It would give them the opportunity to participate and experiment with free-form crochet or knitting while at the same time leaving a “gift” to the host community. 

Jonesborough, Tennessee
Responses ranged from cautious to wildly enthusiastic. Final preparation included letting the local newspaper know what was about to happen.  In this town, if the official newspaper photographer is taking pictures of an event, everyone understands immediately that it’s a “cool thing” and not a crime! The publisher was committed to covering our event and even asked me to write an article to accompany the photos.


At  the gathering, I set up a table with a wide selection of yarn, prepared to play the Freeform Game—a way for people to experiment and learn a freeform approach to their crochet or knitting.  A huge bin of yarns was donated by a Yarntiques, a local yarn shop.

The Free-Form Game
Supplies: two dice cups each with a pair of dice, pencils, tape, blank paper
Rules of the game: 
  • Make a list of 6 stitch or as complex as they can enjoy, and number them from 1 to 6.
  • Choose 6 yarns from your stash, or from the donated yarns, and cut a snippet of each to attach to their paper and number the yarns from 1-6
  • Sit down in a small group.  Each player in turn rolls 1 diethe number that comes up directs all the players as to which of their chosen yarns they will use for this turn.  Everyone chains or casts on a reasonable number (10-25) of stitches. The player then rolls 1 die again: this time the number relates to the stitch pattern that each player will use.  Finally, both dice are rolled together, the numbers added, and the total directs the number of rows or repeats each player will crochet or knit.
  • When everyone accomplishes this task, the dice cup is passed to the next player. 
  • Another variation of the game has not only the dice, but the works in progress, passed among the participants.


Throughout the weekend, small groups and individuals played the Freeform Game, and dropped their completed motifs pieces into the donation basket.  Others had brought squares from afghans they knew they’d never complete, swatches from past projects, and other “bits and pieces” to contribute.  By Sunday afternoon, we were ready to head downtown to install the collaborative fiber art. 



We decorated two benches and a public trash receptacle in front of the Courthouse in the center of Main Street. 


Many people stopped to ask what we were doing, to watch us work.  The comments were overwhelmingly positive, due to, I believe, the combination of the photographer busy taking pictures and the positive and friendly responses of the installing artists. To the FAQ, “What in the world are you doing?” we always answered that we were installing a temporary display of fiber art as a seasonal decoration.  Smiles broke out, and all but one of the viewers walked away saying positive things.
Hard at work

Stunning results!

A few days later, we completed the installation by decorating one of the swings in the Visitors’ Center park.


The newspaper carried color photographs and my article explaining the artwork in context of the 55 tourists we had brought to town for the weekend—all of whom had eaten in the local restaurants and shopped in the independent businesses on Main St.  In a town that lives on tourism, that dynamic almost ensures that whatever odd thing we were doing gained approval from the public!


We left the Courthouse decorations in place for two weeks, and quietly took them down as soon as rain and wind had begun to make them sag a little. 

Sadly, removing our work
The swing- cozy in the park stayed up for 10 days, but lost a portion on the first cold night.  Apparently someone had been spending the night in the park, and was cold.  He or she cut the “afghan” from the back of the swing seat, wrapped up in it for the night, and carefully folded it back on the swing seat in the morning.  We decided we could not begrudge that, since the art piece had been titled “Invitation to Sit A-Spell.”  Preparations are currently underway to decorate the town again for the winter holidays, and then to periodically continue our “gift of whimsy, color, and beauty” in the downtown area.




Diplomacy, gaining a coalition of support, commitment to group process and collaboration, and the fact that “yarn-bombing” called “installation fiber art” feels just as fun, opened the door for us to showcase our crochet and knitting in the center of the life of our community. 

Deb and one of her Knotty Ladies

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vogue Knitting Live, Chicago 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013
I spent this past weekend at Vogue Knitting Live, Chicago in the luxurious Palmer House Hilton in the "loop." The promoters of VKL generously gave artists the opportunity to exhibit in the "artists' gallery" and I took advantage in order to promote my new book, The Fine Art of Crochet, and to exhibit some of my art.

In this often knit-centric conference, crochet was more visible this year. They have been gradually introducing more and more crochet over the last couple of years. This year there were crochet classses, many products and books for crocheters and the ever-present Crochet Guild of America, ably represented by the 3 Chicago land chapters. I was very pleased to be able to show the beauty and versatility of crochet with my display to so many knitters who were in awe of the "delicate stitches and interesting art."

I was very pleased with all the contacts I made, the books I sold and the many crocheters I was able to speak to from all over the country.

My booth in the gallery
The Queen came along and drew a lot of attention!
Some of my art I brought to show
Stefanie from Handmade by Stefanie has already posted a photo of my art on her blog
Although there were only 4 artists in the gallery (which is real sad), 50% of us were crocheters!


Ashley V. Blalock

I was very busy most of the time and didn't get much of a chance to shop. Here are two things I did buy:
I'm old fashioned and still believe in writing notes to friends!
book by Nikki Epstein 




Nikki Epstein book signing: Crochet for Dolls


Dolls from Nikki's book.

Vicki Howell was teaching crochet at the Yarnspirations booth and MaggieKnits was offering a wonderful kit for a Tunisian crochet shawl and matching purse at the Bagsmith booth.