Friday, July 20, 2007

CGOA Chain Link conference

I was thrilled when I heard that Chain Link was going to be in Manchester, NH this summer as I'm less than 40 minutes away! With the kids summer schedules and my dh's job demands, I wasn't able to go everyday, but I enjoyed every minute I was there. (With this years experience under my belt though, I'm already making plans to be able to go every day next year!)

I have so much to say I can't even think straight. I arrived on Friday afternoon with time to spare to browse the market place before my 2pm class. When I checked in at registration they informed me that I was among the lucky fiber enthusiasts to get a goody bag from Coats & Clark with 6 skeins of yarn. TLC Sparlke Soft ~ Mint, Moda Dea Washable Wool ~ Aqua, Red Heart Hula ~ Lemon Fizz, Red Heart Easy Tweed ~ Blue, Moda Dea Fashionista ~ Olive, and Red Heart Tweedle Dee ~ Fireside. I didn't take a group picture, just individuals, because of ravelry....ah, ravelry (that's another post to come). Of course, I only have one skein of each... I guess I need to go buy a book with one skein patterns.

At the market place, the vendors had an amazing amount of fiber everywhere you looked. Similar to many other crocheters, I was a bit disappointed by the scarcity of crochet supplies, books, pattern leaflets and crochet samples. I was looking more for pattern booklets than for yarn (due to the warehouse sales in my recent past). I was hoping to see some of the yarn companies bring their crochet booklets the LYS don't usually carry. Like the ones online at Tahki, NY Yarns, Nashua, and Rowan. I really wanted to thumb through them, but I couldn't find them. Knitting was omnipresent at the market. The attendees were largely crocheters and I'm afraid we ended up with a bit of a catch-22. Many crocheters were so angry about the lack of materials that they spoke with their wallets by not purchasing anything. Some vendors felt their belief that crocheters won't buy good yarn was proven at the show and have vowed not to return next year. The WEBS blog tells the story of their disappointment with sales. One vendor I really enjoyed was The Elegant Ewe, a shop located a little more than a hour from me in Concord, NH. They had brought their entire collection of crochet books (after all this was the National Crochet conference!). I didn't spend much time in their booth as it was packed and I figured I can always make a day trip to their shop! I did however buy the Doris Chan's book Amazing Lace from them. (Doris was on hand signing books when I was there and while she was signing mine she told me she has a new book of crocheted tops coming out in September called, Everyday Crochet . The preview looks wonderful. Before heading to class I stopped by the Creative Partners booth and introduced myself to Jean Leinhauser & Rita Weiss. They, too, were signing books and since I already owned what they were selling one said, "Well too bad you didn't bring them with you". Little did they know I was going home nightly so sure enough, I returned the next day with my books for them to sign.

Finally I headed for my Friday class, "Crochet Lite" with Karen Klemp (Almost Amy Designs). It was a cool class discussing what some of us at Yahoo CAL do all the time - reworking patterns for thinner yarns. She showed a cabled sweater from Glorious Crocheted Sweaters made in a worsted weight yarn and then another one this time made in a fingering weight yarn.... wow! Karen recommends going to thinner yarns with as big a hook as possible (while maintaining stitch definition) to increase drape. The results she showed were absolutely stunning. I was reminded of the Art of Crochet online seminar on Yarn: gauge, drape & substitutions from this past Spring.

After another spin through the marketplace, I attended the CGOA annual meeting. It was fun to see the "bigwigs" of CGOA and I won a door prize! Omega thread. I'm a yarnie not a threadie...I'm stumped. Any suggestions?

On Saturday, I took an all day class "Customizing Existing Patterns" with Lily Chin. It was a lot like her book Couture Crochet which I own, but it went a bit further with examples and explanations on each idea. Another participant said it was like the class filled in the missing pages at the end of each chapter, answering all the questions you had while reading. Lily is a hoot, truly making class entertaining and enjoyable as well as educational. She emphasizes crocheting to your shape, not the standard sizes provided in a pattern. Now, of course, I have to crochet only for the kids until I lose 20 lbs. Then, I'll take those measurements and crochet for myself!

Before I left I made one last tour through the market place. My stash is huge because of the JCA & Westminster warehouse sales but I wanted to support the show and I was looking for something that just struck me. Finally I found the shop, Just Our Yarns, whose yarns grabbed my attention. I spent the final 15 minutes, as the closing announcements rang out, choosing from the gorgeous selection and left with this beautiful 525yd skein of 5/2 100% Tencel yarn called Aziza.

OK, long enough post. Someday I'll have to tell you guys about Ravelry. Have you been there yet? Go. Run. Ask for an invite. When it comes you'll be in fiber heaven.


Deneen said...

Has crochet patterns with the Omega. I made the Exchange Bag from the Happy Hooker book with it.

It's terrific for bags!

Mary Sarah said...

Yep, Deneen is right. The Omega nylon is great for purses. I've made several and have had lots of compliments. Enjoy! Thanks for the conference news. I haven't gone to any yet and love hearing about them. BTW, love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Use thread for edging table cloth, skirt/dress hems, etc... I made a top out of thread size 10, and it's very elegant. Have you seen a new book from Leisure Arts? It's called "Elegant 2-Piece Sets in Thread Crochet". Check it out, some beautiful designs in there.