When thinking about judges for the Crochet Summer Crochet Something Contest (CSCSC), I wanted to choose people from the industry that we work in most (yarn/knitting), but who also had a little crochet spark. Some of our judges are crochet newbies, and some are leading the charge in bringing crochet to the wider knitting audience. They all have a crochet story to share, and we’re excited to share their stories with you!
Sara Dudek, Interweave Crochet
Sara Dudek spends her days enjoying good coffee, the Colorado mountains, and lots of fun yarn things. She has been knitting and crocheting for more than twenty years and is the editor of Interweave Crochet magazine.
“I have 3 great loves in my life: crochet, modern dance, and my fiancé Steve. Last year, Steve surprised me with tickets to see my favorite dance company in Chicago. Little did he know, the Giant Crochet Pineapple (designed by crochet artist Gina Rose Gallina) was going to be in Chicago at the exact same time! We planned our first day in Chicago around seeing the pineapple, and it did not disappoint! If only every trip included Steve, a fantastic modern dance show, and giant piece of crocheted fruit.”
Meghan Fernandes, PomPom Quarterly
Meghan is a former American transplant to London, where she lived for a decade. Now back in her native land, she is at the helm of Pom Pom in North America. While in London she wrote her MA dissertation on knitting in 20th century women's literature and worked for a publisher, a gallery, and a knitting shop, leaving her with a random but particular set of skills that could really only lead to running a knitting magazine. Her favorite things about running Pom Pom include photo shoots, testing out the cocktail recipes, and getting yarn in the mail.
“I learned to crochet in India, while visiting my grandmother. I spent almost a month there and was already an avid knitter, but was dying to crochet. My grandmother's hands were too arthritic for her to show me, so she sent me to her next door neighbor Jane (whose family were also close friends of my family back in Virginia). I am left-handed, which concerned Jane very much, but there in the heat, with lizards scurrying about on the walls, I learned with cotton crochet thread and haven't looked back. I love how rhythmic crochet is. I am a thrower when I knit, so crochet feels so very quick and meditative. I also love how modular crochet can be - it's so much easier for me to visualise how shapes can be made in crochet in contrast to knitting.”
Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner, Mason-Dixon Knitting
In 2003, Ann and Kay started a blog, Mason-Dixon Knitting. As daily, obsessed knitters, they “met” on the Internet and thought it would be fun to share their profound and awesome knitting thoughts with the entire world. Before long, they found themselves amid a warm, friendly, and smart community of knitters. It was all virtual—they didn’t meet in person until 2004, after signing a contract for their first knitting book, Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters’ Guide. Recently, they hunkered down to turn Mason-Dixon Knitting into the site they have always craved: a delicious daily read for every knitter. You can find them online at masondixonknitting.com.
True Confession: Ann and Kay don’t crochet! But, you know what, that is the beauty of Crochet Summer. You play along, you get inspired, and you appreciate the beauty of crochet. Everyone has a crochet story to tell, and Ann and Kay are no exception.
“I have great love of crochet, especially granny squares. Our friend Liz Kaplan is a great crocheter so I've occasionally arranged a swap with her, or just wheedled my way to crochet."
Courtney Kelley, Kelbourne Woolens
Courtney (hi!) is one of the owners of Kelbourne Woolens, whose fine blog you are reading right now. She has a background in fine art with a focus in fiber, but for the last 10 years has been slinging yarn and designing knitwear (and sometimes crochet) alongside Kate Osborn. She lives in Philadelphia with her partner and four children.
"My grandma was a crocheter, and she made really lovely little doilies and decorations, never garments. I remember asking her to teach me to crochet years ago, maybe in high school or college, but I didn’t get it and she wasn’t able to really explain it well. Years later I got myself a book and determinedly taught myself how. I went on to crochet lots and lots of doilies and some silly filet crochet table runners! I don’t crochet as often as I’d like, but I love the process and how intuitive it is (once you get the hang of it, that is). One of my favorite things I ever crocheted was a giant pineapple doily using Rowan Big Wool from about 15 years ago. I used a basic doily pattern from a random old book, and and an S hook to get a couch throw sized doily. It's still one of my favorite things!"
Kate Osborn, Kelbourne Woolens
Kate is the other owner of Kelbourne Woolens. She moved to Philadelphia in 2006 to attend grad school, and after some twists and turns along the way, founded Kelbourne with Courtney, finished graduate school with a Master's Degree in textile design with a concentration in Jacquard weavings, got married, had two kids, and moved to the 'burbs. She spends her (limited) free time sewing, gardening, or taking her old dogs for walks in the State Park behind their house.
"I learned how to crochet when working at Rosie's Yarn Cellar with Courtney, but it didn't really stick. Over the last few years - mostly thanks to Crochet Summer! - I have been doing it a lot more. My Life's Work currently includes a crochet blanket out of Koigu mini skeins we used to sell by the ounce at the yarn shop. It began as a Babette, but when I picked it back up a bit ago, I realized all the counting and sorting and organizing of the squares stressed me out, so I'm just working on making as many 6 round squares as I can until I run out of yarn.
My goal for this summer is to crochet myself a summer sweater in the new Kelbourne Woolens yarn coming out tomorrow!"