The Other San Diego Con: CGOA Crochet Conference

In the aftermath of the titanic Comic-Con, San Diego is bracing for a gathering of a completely different nature. The Crochet Guild of America 2015 Conference arrives at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego next week, running July 22 through 25, with nary a zombie, Wookie or superhero in sight, but plenty of geeks to be sure, brandishing not lightsabers but crochet hooks (although you might spot a sonic screwdriver or two if you look hard enough). We’re there for the yarn, the classes, the special events and the camaraderie; on all counts I am planning to participate.

For the first time ever, Vashti Braha (the boss) and I will be exhibiting at the Knit & Crochet Show, the open-to-the-public market that runs concurrently with CGOA-Con. Come to booth number 109 and experience DesigningVashti Lotus yarn (previously available only on-line), plus limited edition Treat yarn, for purchase in skeins or packaged in ready-to-go kits with special edition kit patterns. Right next door in booth number 111, Tulip Company (Etimo cushion grip hooks!) returns to the market, with the latest in exceptional crocheting and knitting tools and accessories.

Throughout the show, Vashti and I and our DesigningVashti booth slaves… uh, volunteers… Linda Dean and Kristin Lynn, and the Tulip Company team of Kazue and Kang will be in the house to chat, answer your questions, give demonstrations of crochet techniques and, yes, hand over the yarn, tools and kits. I’m especially pleased to invite women of all sizes and body types to my fitting lab, an opportunity to see, handle and try on garment samples of my independent designs, patterns available exclusively at DesigningVashti.com. Brand new this season is DJC: Lotus Lattice, a seamless crochet top in 13 sizes, all of which will be on display.
LotusLatticeStack

Also at the Knit & Crochet Show (market admission required), you can be in the audience for our 20-minute demonstrations on the market stage. I’ll be demystifying Top-down Seamless Construction featuring the Lotus Lattice on Friday, 24 July at 11:00 am; Vashti will delve into her Fresh Twist on the Friendship Bracelet, Saturday, 25 July at 12:30.

For registered CGOA Conference attendees, if your language is geek-speak, then join Vashti … with me sort of hovering and backing her up… for the session Get Your Geek On, Wednesday 9:00 to noon (ticket required). Keep your eyes on the prize as the 2015 Design Competition winners are announced during the Excellence in Crochet event, Friday evening. And once again I will be producing the CGOA Fashion Show (emceed by Ellen Gormley, editor of Crochet! Magazine and my chocolate cake buddy) following our wrap-up dinner on Saturday night (ticket required), where I hope to drag all my friends onto the runway to strut the latest crochet fashions.

So … CGOA attendees and San Diego area visitors alike … I hope to see you there to share the excitement and crochet joy. In case you haven’t guessed, I’ll be the one with the sonic screwdriver!

Launching My Crochet for WEBS: The Designer in Residence Experience

Logo DiRWEBS, America’s Yarn Store. WEBS, my Yarn Store. They opened wide their doors and their hearts to me and I stumbled in. Kid in a candy store, only I emerge not with a face smeared with chocolate and pockets crammed with Jelly Babies, but with an entire catalog of WEBS Valley Yarns to feed my crochet design engine. I can only assume/hope that Kathy Elkins and Sara Delaney (WEBS owner and marketing coordinator, respectively) know what they’re doing, inviting me to serve as their crochet designer-in-residence for 2015. Although they are majorly supportive of crochet, appreciative of my work, and tell me anything goes, I fully understand that this means anything within reason.

Spoiled for yarn choice and reeling from the responsibility, I have no idea what this year’s six designs will bring, except for #1, obviously, because it is launching right now. New this season to the Valley Yarns Superwash family, Superwash Bulky lends itself perfectly to a super-exploded lace stole with a shawl collar.

Shawl Collar Stole back Shawl Collar Stole front

I forget who first described it as meltingly soft. Anyone who has wrapped this baby around the shoulders does not want to take it off. Truth be told, I enjoyed the lush softness of the piece while I was creating the sample; this from a crocheter who has allergies, among them wool. Thick yarn, big hook, zero finishing, quick work, nearly instant gratification. The pattern is available as a printed copy or digital download here. Sara has already blogged about the launch, the program and leaked my answers to a few designer questions on the WEBS blog here.

What comes next depends mostly on how the yarns speak to me. I will definitely be playing with two Valley yarns I have come to know and love: Goshen, my go-to non-wool worsted weight favorite, and Charlemont, a sock weight beauty.

Doris Chan DiR FebruaryIf you have any thoughts about how I should fill in those question marks, I’d enjoy hearing about them and might even pay attention. Visit the Valley Yarns pages at WEBS to peruse the materials I have at my disposal, and let me know if there’s something specific (within reason!) you’d like to see in crochet design by leaving a reply to this blog. And please follow here as my year-long Designer in Residence adventure unfolds.

Introducing DJC Lotus Wings: A Set of Crochet Pretties

Lotus P Wing

Lotus P Wing

May I tempt you with these three projects created for DesigningVashti Lotus yarn, gathered into one collection, DJC: Lotus Wings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One can’t quite call these little beauties shawls; each using just two balls of Lotus, they’re not designed for full coverage. Besides, in this stunning, drapey, luminous fiber they will not keep you warm as you might want from a full-sized shawl.

Think of these pieces as accessories, wardrobe accents, like generous scarves or really big jewelry. As such they have three excellent attributes:

— Quick to finish (actually requiring little to no literal finishing),
— Shaped to stay on the shoulders, and
— Make you feel special (in the most wonderful way).

Oh, there is another brilliant thing about Lotus Wings. They make exceptional gifts if you can bear to part with them.

Will you be adding a Wing or two to your crochet marathon this season? :-)

Crochet Design Competition: And the winners are….

CGOA 2014 Design Competition Winner List

With each year’s Design Competition, we are reminded of the crochet love and the depth of talent that abounds and abides in the membership of the Guild. The brilliant designs in this year’s field of entries made me gasp, laugh, cry (in a good way) and quite a few made me enormously envious… like, why couldn’t I have designed that envious. But most of all, working with these entries makes me feel proud to be a crocheter.

I’d like to introduce this year’s judges, who had the impossible task of choosing tonight’s winners:

Jenny King, Susan Lowman, Karen Manthey

Thanks to our magnificent sponsors, we have a gang of cash prizes. Please let them know we appreciate their generous support:

Gwen Blakley Kinsler

Boye, and the Crochet Dude

Cari Clement

Creative Yarn Source

Designing Vashti

Interweave

Mainly Crochet

Red Heart

Tulip Company

WEBS, America’s Yarn Store

Category: Fashion, sponsored by Interweave Crochet

Honorable Mention: “Seashell Dress”; designed by Linda Jefferies

Seashell Dress, designed by Linda Jefferies

Seashell Dress, designed by Linda Jefferies

Honorable Mention: “The Claudia Sweater”; designed by Susan Walsh

Claudia Sweater, designed by Susan Walsh

Claudia Sweater, designed by Susan Walsh

Third Prize $100: “Purple Majestic Vest”; designed by Maxine Pike

Purple Majestic Vest, designed by Maxine Pike

Purple Majestic Vest, designed by Maxine Pike

Second Prize $200: “Fantasy Skirt”; designed by Kathryn White

Fantasy Skirt, designed by Kathryn White

Fantasy Skirt, designed by Kathryn White

First Prize $300: “Peach Stack”; designed by Annette Hynes

Peach Stack, designed by Annette Hynes

Peach Stack, designed by Annette Hynes

 

Category: Accessories, sponsored by WEBS, Americas Yarn Store

Honorable Mention: “Reversible Rabbits”; designed by Hazel Furst

Reversible Rabbits Scarf, designed by Hazel Furst

Reversible Rabbits Scarf, designed by Hazel Furst

Honorable Mention: “Waterfall Collar Necklace”; designed by Jessie Rayot

Waterfall Collar, designed by Jessie Rayot

Waterfall Collar, designed by Jessie Rayot

Honorable Mention: “Riviera Shawlette”; designed by Kathryn White

Riviera Shawlette, designed by Kathryn White

Riviera Shawlette, designed by Kathryn White

Third Prize $100: “Pearls”; designed by Jean DeMouy

Pearls, designed by Jean DeMouy

Pearls, designed by Jean DeMouy

Second Prize $200: “Crimson Fiesta Shawl”; designed by Theresa Kehrer

Crimson Fiesta, designed by Theresa Kehrer

Crimson Fiesta, designed by Theresa Kehrer

First Prize $300: “Fall Leaves Wrap”; designed by Jessie Rayot

Fall Leaves Wrap, designed by Jessie Rayot

Fall Leaves Wrap, designed by Jessie Rayot

 

Category: Afghans and Home Decor, sponsored by Red Heart

Honorable Mention: “Summer Breeze”; designed by Rena Watson

Summer Breeze, designed by Rena Watson

Summer Breeze, designed by Rena Watson

Third Prize $100: “A Soldier’s Christmas”; designed by Deborah Bagley

A Soldier's Christmas, designed by Deborah Bagley

A Soldier’s Christmas, designed by Deborah Bagley

Second Prize $200: “Around the World and Back”; designed by Annette Hynes

Designed by Annette Hynes

Designed by Annette Hynes

First Prize $300: “Star Bright Cot Blanket”; designed by Joan Peate

Star Bright, designed by Joan Peate

Star Bright, designed by Joan Peate

 

Category: Thread Crochet, sponsored by Boye and the Crochet Dude

Third Prize $100: “Flutter”; designed by Rose Ramirez

Flutter, designed by Rose Ramirez

Flutter, designed by Rose Ramirez

Second Prize $200: “Pretty Pathways Doily”; designed by Joyce Geisler

Pretty Pathways, designed by Joyce Geisler

Pretty Pathways, designed by Joyce Geisler

First Prize $300: “Secret Garden”; designed by Kathryn White

Secret Garden, designed by Kathryn White

Secret Garden, designed by Kathryn White

Category: Artistic Expression, sponsored by Tulip Company, makers of exceptional tools including Etimo cushion grip crochet hooks

Third Prize $100: “The Deadly Dragon”; designed by Rachel Schuster

The Deadly Dragon, designed by Rachel Schuster

The Deadly Dragon, designed by Rachel Schuster

Second Prize $200: “Steampunk Amigurumi Soiree”; designed by Donna Childs

Steampunk Amigurumi Soiree, designed by Donna Childs

Steampunk Amigurumi Soiree, designed by Donna Childs

First Prize $300: “Backyard Visitors”; designed by Sachiko Adams

Backyard Visitors, designed by Sachiko Adams

Backyard Visitors, designed by Sachiko Adams

Special Award for Technical Merit, sponsored by Designing Vashti, the online crochet pattern boutique.

Technical Merit Award goes to Jennifer Ryan, designer of Celtic Coral Charm and Feileacan Shawl

Celtic Coral Charm, designed by Jennifer Ryan

Celtic Coral Charm, designed by Jennifer Ryan

Feileacan Shawl, designed by Jennifer Ryan

Feileacan Shawl, designed by Jennifer Ryan

Anniversary Award $100, sponsored by Gwen Blakley Kinsler

“Backyard Visitors”; Sachiko Adams

Peoples’ Choice Award $100, sponsored by Cari Clement

“Chrysler Art Deco Jewelry Set”; designed by Shari White

Chrysler Art Deco Set, designed by Shari White

Chrysler Art Deco Set, designed by Shari White

$1000 Grand Prize, sponsored by Creative Yarn Source and Mainly Crochet

“Nicky’s Caribbean Adventure”; designed by Dot Drake

Nicky's Caribbean Adventure, designed by Dot Drake

Nicky’s Caribbean Adventure, designed by Dot Drake