Soooo, some of you know that I do stuff with yarn. You know, the crochet and jewelry thing. Of course, I was geeked when Renaissance Austin of Raghouse International (<<—-You must shop here if you love unique fashions) introduced me to the lovely, eclectic, supermom and leader of the yarn and crochet movement, Laurie Wheeler of Crochet Liberation Front. Love at first tweet, yes. A friendship was born. Here’s how:
Me: Hi Laurie *salutes*, it’s great to speak with you about Crochet Liberation Front. Tell us what exactly is Crochet Liberation Front and the passion behind it.
She: The Crochet Liberation Front started as a joke. I used to hand spin art yarns to sell at fiber events and shows and people would put down crochet in the oddest of ways. I’m a long time activist and it really got under my
skin, I couldn’t believe that people (and industry insiders) would classify people by the craft they did. It seemed ridiculous. So one night I created the CLF to show how silly people were being. In my minds eye, I pictured
a hoard of crocheters of all color, gender, creed, nationality and socio-economic status banded together, hooks raised in solidarity. That was 2007, I didn’t expect anyone to join with me but members started rolling in from day one. In 2009 we started the Annual Crochet Awards (aka “The Flamies” Named after our Flaming Hook of Justice) and began to give the popular masses a chance to tell the industry whom they prefered as designers, authors, and which brands we feel are most “Crochet Friendly.” That’s when things started to get serious, and really I had to consider what we are and what to do with this “joke.”
In the last year things have changed from railing against an industry that decided we were “low class” and “cheap” to working to empower crocheters to liberate themselves and their creative spirit. So many crochet designers and sellers devalue their work. They give their patterns and their products away for free or underpriced. They do this because they don’t realise that what they do has value. I’ve begun writing the CLF News with professional tips and hints that range from advice on using materials to how to photograph your work for publication. Plus we’re moving into offering on-line technical education regarding crochet techniques, material use and coming in January professional development. That’s the real liberation. I got tired of complaining and asking for equality, as a woman I know better. You can’t ask for it, you have to be equal in your mind and in your actions.
I say “we” but in all reality it’s just me running the show. There are many active voices and I encourage people to make the changes and be the change they want in our world. I am the web mistress, blogger, social media campaign manager and general rabble rouser.
Me: Awesome. How long have you been a fan of crotchet? How did you learn to crochet?
She: I’ve crocheted all of my life. My great grand mother, Lydia, taught me to crochet when I was maybe five or six years old. I don’t remember learning, I just remember the hook feeling large in my hand. Crochet is part of my family heritage. It was never something women did because they had to, it was part of their leisure time and a way of expressing their creativity.
Me: I see you tweet about different weights and textures of yarn. Do you have any favorite brands I should try?
She: I am not a fan of recommending brands and giving companies free advertising. I think we do a lot of harm to ourselves online by promoting products for companies for free. Currently, I am not sponsored by any yarn companies so I’m not going to give freebies out for them! LOL What I will say is that weights and fibers, combined with hook design are the core of stitch creation. You can’t apply the same grip and tension to every skein of yarn and expect the same results. I will add that you want to always do a test swatch of your yarn and stitch pattern before you start a piece, it will save you time, money, and frustration in the end.
Me: Are there any books or publications that you’d recommend beginning or long-time crocheters check out?
She: I think every crocheter needs to own at least one “Stitch Dictionary”, my personal favorite is Harmony Guide to Crochet, VOL I by James Walters and Silvia Cosh. I also recommend Edie Eckman’s Crochet Answer Book and Beyond the Square. For garments I would look to Karen Whooley, Mary Beth Temple, Doris Chan, Vashti Braha and Robyn Chachula for books and patterns. Beginners to Expert crocheters will enjoy watching Knit and Crochet Now on PBS, my friend Candy Jensen produces the show and it’s quality stuff! I urge all crocheters to join Ravelry.com and to read blogs there is a wealth of information on line.
Me: Have you or will you try Yarn Bombing? Please say yes!! lol I want to so badly.
She: LOL I am amazed by the impact Yarn Bombing has had on our society in the past few years. I haven’t yarn bombed, I’m busy bombing my body with cool wearable art. I am considering bombing my garden gnomes this winter, and maybe my son’s room. Seriously, I live in a rural area there’s not a lot to bomb and I don’t want to interfere with local wild life.
Me: Are there any new things we can look out for from you or Crochet Liberation front?
She: Oh YES you can! I’m currently working on CLF 3.0 (The name will change but that’s on the QT until launch) will will be a membership based value packed site for crochet and craft lovers! There will be resources for bloggers, sellers, makers, designers from access to webinars and style sheet templates (for pattern writers). I’m using my 20 years of sales and marketing experience to develop content that will help liberate our crafting micro businesses to the next level. I’m super excited about it. In the mean time we have our Crochet @ Cama 2011 Experience (Registration is open until Sept 30), and we’re beginning to gear up for the 4th Annual Crochet Awards nomination process with voting for Flamie Awards in Spring of 2012.
Me: Do you have any tips you would like to share with newbies?
She: The biggest piece of advice I can give is this: You’re learning a new skill. You cannot expect to be as good as someone who has crocheted every single day for 30 years. It takes time and practice and knowledge. Sometimes I think people assume that having a uterus and ovaries is all that matters in crafting, that somehow you’re not a sufficient female if you struggle learning a craft. Newsflash: It doesn’t require any reproductive organs at all to be a good crocheter. Children, men, women all over the world crochet, but if you want to be good you have to practice. Be gentle with yourself and be proud of what you do, that’s how you liberate yourself.
HOOK ON! LIVE LONG!
Gotta love Laurie! She makes me want to #OccupyJoannesandMichaels and loot all their stock of yarn and hooks. That would be illegal though so we’ll stick to joining the Crochet Liberation Front and doing things peacefully. : )
Check her and CLF out on web at: