Eventful Crochet Year and New Opportunities

This is always the time of year that I take stock of what the last year has brought. Honestly, it helps me realize that I am not just spinning my wheels, I really am doing things!


For example, this year I have taught 53 classes at my local yarn store (not including private lessons), I have taught 16 classes at 5 different national events. Four classes at DFW Fiber Fest in April (find me there this year teaching the CGOA Masters Day), four classes at the Jimmy Beans Wool annual retreat in June, two classes for the Northern Illinois Chapter of CGOA in May, five classes at the Crochet Guild of America annual Chainlink Conference, and a class for a unique on-line conference, Stitch Markers Live.

This is part of the contributing factors of my 10 trips in 26 weeks that really kept me on my toes. Some were business networking, some were educational, and some were teaching. But all were really enjoyable.


I also started day long crochet retreats. Celebrating my first event at a local winery; getting a tour, enjoying learning about wine and crocheting, a grat day was had by all. I have the second event is already on the calendar for the end of January this time at a chocolate shop. Find information to join me here.

Crochet with Linda at the Winery, August 2019


I didn’t just sit back when it came to designing. I only had 8 designs in freelance publications, but I created 15 designs, 4 for sale in my pattern line, the rest are either free patterns on my website or available for purchase in kits with various retailers.


I also started an afghan block pattern line to encourage people to learn a crochet stitch and help a national non-profit, Warm Up America. Warm Up America utilizes volunteers to put these blocks together and donate afghans to those in need. I have created 7 blocks this year, and continue to strive to create a new block design every few weeks.


Another large event for me, was actually pulling it together and creating a monthly newsletter. I highlight what has been happening in the month prior and what I am excited about in the month to come. This has really helped me to stay focused and reflective. If you haven’t already, sign up to receive it here.


Then in the midst of all this teaching and creating, I have continued to lead the Crochet Guild of America, as its President. That means monthly Board meetings, and keeping volunteers moving forward with various initiatives and undertakings. Working with 6 other Board members to help spread the word of crochet, preserve its heritage, and encourage more learning.

Home Life

I have juggled this with scheduled power outages to prevent forest fires. With the busy calendars of my two kids, be it sports, band or 4H there is never a dull moment. In addition I have juggled all the running of a household as my husband has had to work increasingly demanding work hours. I know that this is nothing new for women, but it is worth remembering that it takes time and has value.

The Decade

I was considering taking a look at where life has taken me in the last 10 years, but really a decade ago to now, is almost not recognizable. I made new friends, I lost people I care about. I was working in the field of Social Work for the older adults. My children were just starting school, my husband had human being work hours, and I was not in a position to even imagine that I would be self-employed in working in crochet. It is like a completely different world, and leaves me really wondering where the next ten years will take me.

A Knitters Give Away!

ScannedImageYes, knitting. It is not my forte, however I do have some knitting items to share with you from the Marly Bird Designer Dinner, as this dinner is for all kinds of fiber designers not just crocheters. (If you want to read about my relationship to knitting, I share it here.)


Clover and Knitter’s Pride needles, Purrfectly Catchy Designs stitch markers, Red Heart and Brown Sheep Yarns.

Since I am not a knitter I am not able to give a thorough review of the needles, but I can pass along what others have told me. First I have heard nothing but good things about the Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina FC 24” circular needles (US 5/3.75mm, 24”/60cm). I have heard that they are smooth to use and that the joins at almost seamless. I know that this helps them move the loops along well and helps speed up your knitting. Others have commented that the tips are sharp, I know that this helps you pick up the new loops. So overall I have sounds like these are worth checking out.

The Bamboo Needles from Clover are another that I have heard good things about. The needles are US8/5mm, 9”/23cm, and feel great in the hand (or so I have been told). I also understand that they give very consistent work and that many find them reliable.

I will admit that stitch markers are something that I know almost less about then needles. Don’t get me wrong, when I crochet I occasionally use stitch markers, usually working in the round and marking the beginning of the round. But to be honest, I usually just use a safety pin of a string of yarn. In crochet we have to make sure that the stitch markers are removable or instead they become beads. However almost every knitter I know has a wide assortment of styles of stitch markers, some are just basic rings, but others are almost like jewelry. The Purrfectly Catchy Designs by Chappy are stitch markers that qualify as the latter. Beautiful beads adorn twists of colored metal wire to create a marker that I could imagine as earrings.

Now at least yarn I have a little knowledge about. Red Heart shared a skein of Sparkle Soft in the goody bag from the dinner, and I must say if feels nice in the hand. The metallic thread twisted in it is not evenly plied, meaning that it is not evenly spaced in its appearance on this medium weight yarn, creating a more random and natural spacing for the shine. I could easily see this worked up as a nice accessory; a hat, a scarf, maybe even gloves.

Brown Sheep Company is another yarn company with the lasting of longevity, and they are sharing a skein of Lambs Pride Super Wash Sport. This light weight 100% wool yarn has an even hand, and is definitely a go-to yarn for consistency and reliability. I can easily see this yarn worked up as a sweater, gloves, and maybe even some home accessories.

I would love to know your thoughts on knitting needles and yarn (yes, even learning more about knitting, I believe will help my crocheting, even if it is not a skill I have mastered).

If you would like to enjoy these 5 items yourself, please leave a comment about your knitting thoughts on this post by the end Wednesday, July 21, 2015. One lucky comment will be chosen at random the following day, and announced via my Facebook page and Twitter.

Creativity- We all have it

ScannedImageI was sitting with a group of ladies the other day, and we were talking about work and kids, the normal things women seem to talk about, when someone made a comment that made my mind wonder. My friend stated that she was not creative. She is an educated woman, which does social work- case management, of families with children and issues of mental health concerns. A pretty daunting undertaking that needs a unique skill set to accomplish successfully, as she does.

She felt she lacked creativity because she doesn’t paint, or craft, or really do other things that highlight a preschool very well. I gave her a sideways look, and stated, “But, you are so creative with you approach to every family you encounter”.  This took her back a little.

Why is it that we so narrowly define what we can and cannot do? To only believe that creativity stems from the ability to craft well, really I feel, underscores our abilities. Just because we have strengths in other areas doesn’t make us any less creative in our endeavors. The way someone approaches cooking a meal can be very creative, the way another person engages a 10 year old to discover the joy of reading does not lack a creative component, or a researcher’s ability to find an answer to a problem plaguing society has to have a way of thinking outside the box.Paintbrush with Blue Paint

So maybe I am being a little nitpicky about the definition of “creative”, but I find too often, even in myself, we compliment others by setting limits on ourselves. “I could never do that”, is not a friendly phrase, really. I know I have used it myself, but when I hear my kids say it, it makes me shake my head. I correct them and let them know that the words they tell themselves are powerful, if you say you cannot do something, you never will. I tell them that if they tell themselves something is too hard, it always will be. So why as adults do we not listen to what we tell our children. We never want anyone to narrowly define what they are capable of, but we do it to ourselves.

Maybe I am more sensitive to this “creative” comment due to my current work undertaking. I have many people tell me that they could never come up with any ideas for things to crochet, that it is amazing that I can find some many different things to design. I understand their thoughts on this, before I began doing it, I thought it was amazing that someone could design more then 1 or 2 things ever. But if you look at it a little differently, if you give me a box of peaches and have to eat them all in a week (yes, this does happen in my rural life, after a week a case of peaches  don’t look nearly as appetizing), you get a little creative in what to do with them. Peach cobbler, peach pie, grilled peaches, peach salad, peaches in everyone’s lunch, peach jam, peaches and cream, peach bread, peach salsa, canned peaches, frozen peaches and dried peaches. Everyone gets a little creative with how to make the most out of what they have; same is true for my designs. I take it as a challenge to pick up a skein of yarn and find as many possible outcomes for its use. But now the harvest is pears…I am going to have to get a little creative with pears now.

MC900436905Creativity is in each of us, we just express it differently. Remember that next time you see the incredible work of someone, which is expressing their creativity in a different manner then yours. They are probably in awe of what you can do.