Going to CGOA, Part 1

I’m going to CGOA!!!  This will be the first in a series of posts about my preparation and journey to the annual convention.

I’m so excited about this.  I’m going to attend the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) convention in July!  This is fantastic.  I can’t wait to be surrounded by people who are completely like me!  Well, maybe not completely but people who also love crochet.

From my time when I was in our local chapter of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America (EGA), I learned how joyous it is to be in a group with similar hobby interests.  You really start to see that you all have very similar traits.  Of course, no one is exactly alike, and there are differences.  But, in general, among the embroiderers, there is a love for and attention to detail.  Who else would be attracted to something where the final image is made of hundreds if not millions of tiny stitches?

Sound similar to crochet?  Yes!  In both crochet and embroidery there are times when we might make a mistake on a single stitch and we are SO MAD about it.  For some pieces, this can mean a fundamental error in math for the entire piece.  For others, it is something that we can completely leave in place and it’s not going to affect the overall piece.  One of my EGA friends said she uses the “back of a horse” test.  That is, “if you can still tell what it’s supposed to be while riding on the back of a horse, then it’s fine!”  As she told this story, she held up a hoop of her current WIP and moved it around in a circle to show us across the room.

In crochet, we have many pieces like this.  It doesn’t matter if your dc turned into a hdc for one stitch in one single row when you get the entire blanket finished.  No one else will ever see it.  If it’s going to agonize you and you’ll never be able to see the blanket without seeing the error, go ahead and rip it out.  But, accepting these little errors as adding beauty and uniqueness to our pieces does help us grow and it’s likely that NO ONE will ever notice it!

Now, there are other pieces where a misplaced stitch, or a forgotten stitch can dramatically change the pattern down the road.  My first counted thread piece in embroidery was like this.  Our EGA chapter was having a workshop to stitch a piece that started with star stitches placed so that they created a diamond.  6 stars to each side of the diamond and the corner stitches were different from the side stitches.  I made it all the way around the diamond and my beginning and end points did NOT match!  Ugh!  Where was my mistake?  All the way back at the 3rd star!  I had to pull out 21 stars (each star was made of 8 separate stitches) plus the corner stitches.

Second time around I missed again.  This time my error was at one of the corner stitches.  Third time, I finally made it!  This taught me a profound lesson:

It’s OK to make mistakes, pull it out, and do it again.  Everyone makes mistakes.

I used to be so hard on myself.  I didn’t make mistakes in stitching.  I know how to follow the chart, I count and recount, I don’t make mistakes.  But, while I was in the room with about a dozen other women, many of whom had been doing this type of embroidery for many more years than I had, others had to pull out stitches, too.  Every now and then you’d here a “UGH!” or a big sigh, or a “Dangit!” or worse and everyone would lament with the stitcher.  The whole room would start saying things like, “Aw man!” “It’s ok,” “You’ll get it,” “Let me help you.”

We are ALL hard on ourselves when it comes to our trade.  That’s what crochet is for many of us.  It can be a hobby, a passion, a form of therapy and relaxation, a side hustle, a major source of income.  However you crochet, I’m willing to guess that you want to do it right.  I’d be super surprised if, when finding a mistake, you say, “Yay!  Goodie!  I get to pull out all my hard work and do it again!”  🙂  If you do, God bless you.

Back in that room of embroiderers, they completely understood how upset I was with myself, they would acknowledge it with me, and then support me through it.  They didn’t say “you can’t get mad!” They would allow it but gently support me through the inevitable internal thoughts of “I suck” that they knew might be happening.

I look forward to be surrounded by crocheters to see how the similar traits fall out.  I know there are very many different kinds of crocheters.  There are thread crocheters who revel in the detail and intricacies.  There are garment makers.  There are amigurumi makers, blankets, accessories.  Some who love charts and diagrams, others who hate them.  Some who love patterns, others don’t.  Some like it all, and others are very specific in what they choose to stitch.  Some prefer wool while others can’t stand it.  Some prefer indie dyers and others are perfectly happy with or can only afford big box stores.

I have other friends in my life, natural moms, oily moms, Catholic moms, non-moms.  There are some who stitch, but not a lot.  There is a bond like no other when you find people who understand the joy and contentment and sometimes angst we can get with a hook in our hands.  I look forward to soaking it all up in July!

Are you going, too?  Will I see you there?  Leave a comment to let me know and tell me if you have found any special hobby-friendships.

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