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Here’s the long and the short of my crochet journey so far:
Mom taught me to knit and crochet. I ‘remembered’ how to kit while yarn doodling with a circular double-ended crochet hook. Sometimes I cross over to the dark side to make a scarf…but my first love is crochet! My crochet journey has been off and on since I learned; went back to it after Mom passed and I found her stash. I was off and running again, and haven’t slowed down much since.
One day in June 2000, I sat in amazement of all the crochet-related stuff you could find online: groups and forums, freebies and resourceful websites. The awesome talent and giving spirits of the hookers who came before me were inspiration for the birth of Von’s Crochet Cyberspace. I started the group in an effort to organize some of the info people seemed to be looking for repeatedly, and anything I thought was helpful. It grew to over 500 members, for which I’m thankful and grateful. The new iteration is Vonne’s Crochet & Beading at Yahoo! Groups; membership is required, but it’s free to join.
In 2001, I joined the New York City Crochet Guild, which was created because there was no formal group in the city…imagine that! It was a busy year for me…I co-managed another online group called Crochet Paradise, as well as conducting monthly charity drives at my group, some of which included Hats 4 the Homeless, Warming Families, Binky Patrol, Project Linus and The Ships Project. I also began designing; yet another direction to wander off into… The following year with the NYCCG, I served as First Vice President, co-managed the Yahoo! group and wrote an occasional yarn store review for the newsletter. They also participated in their first Knit-Out & Crochet Too event in Union Square Park; I taught at the crochet tent and wore a fellow member’s garment in my modeling debut! I also joined the Crochet Guild of America, a perk of which is a subscription to Crochet! magazine.
In 2003, I left the NYCCG to focus more on teaching, designing and publishing. In celebration of National Crochet Week in March, I made an in-store appearance at The Yarn Tree, where I taught and demonstrated various methods of crochet, which later aired on a local cable channel (and is also available on DVD). I wrote several articles published in Chain Link (the CGOA’s newsletter ) as an insert of Crochet! for members. This was also the first year I attended a Chain Link Conference, where I got to meet Gwen Blakley Kinsler, founder of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA), and others who were as crazy for crochet as I am…even a few men, like the late William Elmore.
I taught again at the Knit-Out event; by this time, I was certified as a teacher through the Craft Yarn Council of America. Several of my fellow NYCCG’ers were part of the first class conducted at the Fashion Institute of Technology by Arnetta Kenney. Later that year, I assisted in her Crochet for Pleasure class. I also had my first real interview during a yarn sale at Seaport Yarn. The next year was even busier. I taught everywhere I could: the Brooklyn Public Library, Police Athletic League, Knit-A-Way, back at The Yarn Tree and another Knit-Out event. I wrote more articles for the Chain Link neswletter, and to further my crochet education, had the opportunity to be mentored by the CGOA as an Associate Professional. I even got a chance to model my own garment at the Conference fashion show!
I rejoined the NYCCG in 2005. In celebration of National Crochet Month, with the help of fellow NYCCG’ers, I hosted classes and demonstrations on Saturdays in March, which also aired on a local cable channel (yes, also available on DVD) at Knit-A-Way; also taught and hosted a Meetup for crocheters. At this year’s Chain Link Conference, I debuted my first published pattern; the garment was live and on display at the vendor’s market booth. I taught once again at the Knit-Out event and later that year had the pleasure of substituting for Arnetta during another one of her Crochet for Pleasure classes.
In 2006, other opportunities came along: sold a design to Caron Yarns, which was displayed at the CHA and TNNA trade shows; began selling my crochet and beaded items at Habana Outpost’s Open Air Market, introduced to me and encouraged by eco-friendly designer Lopeti Etu, who is also a former crochet student. I attended Chain Link again, primarily for Professional Day. I was a spectator at this year’s Knit-Out event (which turned out to be the last one); hanging out at the NYCCG tent and helping with the Caps for the Capital effort. The guild and ‘friends’ contributed well over 3,000 preemie hats, of which I made over 100. In addition, as networking has its benefits, I taught for DC37 and at Gumbo, both of which were by referral from fellow crocheters. 2007 shaped up to be just as busy, going back to teach for DC37 and back at Gumbo; that was just the beginning…
In 2008, I spent more time designing than teaching; even managed to squeeze in some beading, too! In 2009, I was on my way back to DC37 for another teaching session. Unfortunately, as my class proposal was not accepted, I didn’t go to Chain Link, but there was always the next year!!! Stay tuned for the rest of the story…