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Guest Blogger: Loren ~ Ravelry Moderator Extraordinaire!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Today it is my honor to feature my wonderful Ravelry Moderator, Loren. March is the anniversary month for my Ravelry Group Croc-Kween Designs and later today we'll be celebrating by going into the chat room to continue to enjoy each other's company. Please join us at 4:00 PM EST. Since Loren has been such a constant supporter in my group since the beginning and is an experienced moderator, I thought it would be interesting to get her perspective on volunteer job:

"I am one of the moderators for Cro-Kween Designs group on Ravelry.  I get to play “Jester” to our beloved Kween, Gwen Blakly Kinsler, and keep the “Courtesans” (group members) entertained!

I love Ravelry, where I am known as twisted1. I get to meet people from all over the world who share my interests; and I am so inspired by the limitless creativity running throughout this crochet & knit community. I like being able to catalog my projects, and I am happy to have a place where I can learn new things, teach others and see how other stitchers interpret patterns. I am an “idea” person and this role of moderator provides a creative outlet for me.

When I first joined Ravelry in 2008, I looked up designer Lisa Gentry whose work I had admired on TV. She “friended” me and invited me to join her group, Hook and Needle Designs. It was near my birthday, and the group started a “happy birthday” thread for me, a newbie. Amazed and touched, I was also hooked!

Currently, I moderate three groups: Cro-Kween Designs, International Freeform Forum, and laughing purple designs group. I met Gwen in another group during a freeform CAL (crochet-a-long) four years ago. She was starting her own group, and I was invited by Darlene a/k/a Hummywinger, who moderates the Lisa Gentry fan group. I admired Gwen’s creativity and humor, and her commitment to teaching others and spreading the joys of crochet wherever she goes. She has a love for the unconventional, as do I. We also share a mutual adoration for freeform, vintage crochet and beads! I thought Cro-Kween Designs would be a fun place to hang out.

It was during our first CAL that the idea for the “Court” came into being, with each participant taking a Courtly role. It was during that year-long CAL that I became moderator when I took the reins from the previous volunteer who had to drop out.

I am a total CAL addict and one of my duties is to come up with novel ideas for CALs. I seem to have a gift for thinking up clever titles, or so Gwen has told me! For example, “Crown Jewels” dealt with beading, “Child’s Play” was interpreting a child’s drawing in crochet. 

Child's Play by Loren
We have also done CALs revolving around specific themes, such as vacation memories, recycling, and hearts.  Hearts are big in the Court. Next to crochet, Crochetkween is the Kween of Hearts!

My favorite CAL was “Somewhere Beneath the Sea”. It was different because not only did we have dfads (designer-for-a-day), but we made it a guessing game. Each dfad had to choose a sea creature, then post up to 3 clues about the creature. Once a participant guessed what it was, the instructions to make the creature were given. The completed projects were just stunning!

Somewhere Beneath the Sea by Loren
We have a lot of variety in the Court. We have done tutorials on techniques such as beading and hairpin lace. We encourage members to post photos or links to crochet spotted in the “real world”. We discuss yarn-bombing, books we like, and provide a place for members to ask questions. We don’t usually discuss cooking and the weather, we are too wrapped up in yarn for that! I love it when we have a really good CAL going, with lots of chatting and participation. I truly believe that creativity cannot exist in a vacuum.

As moderator, I try to be positive, non-judgmental and encouraging; a helpful attitude is key. Whether someone wants advice on a color choice, gets stuck on a pattern, needs help with photo posting or navigating the site, they know they can ask and I will provide an answer or find someone who can. A moderator keeps the conversations going, and thinks of ways to keep the group active. A moderator should have the ability to work well with others…it seems rather obvious. Lead by example and inspire others.

A sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either! I’m not out to be the “police,” although part of the duties are to step in if things get heated, which thankfully doesn’t occur in my groups. Humor is a good way to deflect issues. Written communication is different than spoken communication. It is interpreted without inflection and body language; so sometimes it’s hard to understand what a writer really means in a post. Things can be taken the wrong way. I read the posts to make sure the person is communicating clearly. If not, I might reply, “Do you mean…” to clarify things before someone gets confused or takes offense. I also get things back on track when people get off topic; moderators are guilty of this, too.

For the past five years, I ran an after school crochet program for ages 8-12, and I recently taught a finger crochet class at my local library. Kids bring so much enthusiasm and that’s what I enjoy (most) about teaching them. I was so impressed with the students who went above and beyond what was taught in class allowing me to create more than a few yarn addicts!

If I had to choose a favorite technique, it would be freeform crochet. I adore the method, but the stars must be aligned, so to speak. One doesn’t always have the freeform muse.

Ka' anapali Beach by Loren
Luckily for me I always have multiple projects going at once. Typically I have at least one knitting project and one “car project” that is easy and portable. Being bi-stitchual helps keep repetitive stress injuries to a minimum. I am fortunate that the “Court” offers so much variety; there is always something going on. I do hope you will join me along with the Kween and her creative Courtesans. We’ll lower the drawbridge for you!" 

Comments

Jude said…
Great article by a great moderator.
Janet Rehfeldt said…
Thank you for a very enjoyable post.
Akua Lezli Hope said…
Wonderful to "hear" a bit of you!
Gywnna said…
Thank you, Gwen, for having Loren as your guest blogger. Her hard work is evident in the forums she moderates; they are happy, fun, and creative forums to take part in. Congratulations on 4 years of hosting your forum (has it really been that long?!). I hope you both enjoy another 4, and more.

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