Friday, September 21, 2012

Cro-Fun at The Big E

Wednesday was such a fun, fun day!  I joined up with nine of my fellow CGOA Chapter members and headed up to West Springfield, MA, to attend the Eastern States Exposition -- better known as "The Big E."  Our mission was to spend the day demonstrating various types of crochet in the New England Center building.  We have, for the past 10 years, gone to The Big E to promote Crochet on what is known as "Connecticut Day."

After setting up our booth, with both personal and charitable projects on display, time just seemed to speed up.  I met such wonderful people and had so much fun doing demonstrations on Tunisian crochet and the Amazing Needle/Knooking techniques.

Irene and I take 1st and 2nd Place in first heat of
"Crochet It In a Minute" contest at The Big E.

I also got to partake in the first-ever (that I know of) speed crochet contest held at The Big E that they called "Crochet it in a Minute."  They allowed us to use crochet hooks that we're comfortable with, so I chose one that I recently purchased from a friend who is destashing a bit -- I never used the hook prior to the contest, and yes, I did threaten the poor little hook that it would be "kindling" if it didn't do me right ... I was kidding, naturally.  I'd never willingly hurt one of my precious crochet hooks!!   ...   In the first heat, HHCC'er Irene and I came in 1st and 2nd, respectfully.  In the second heat Chava and Grace grabbed 1st and 2nd place.  If we were placed in order of speed, then I stand at an "Honorable Mention," coming in 4th.  In the knit version of the contest, our Fluffy came in 2nd Place. :)

I also got to check out all the entries our members had entered for judging: as a collective we won several blue ribbons, 2nd and honorable mentions.  I won 2 blue and 1 red for my pieces.  There were some amazing-jaw-dropping entries this year, including a beautiful red fillet duster and a "Big E" theme tapestry! 

And then came the dancing -- on stage! -- with the Connecticut Line Dancers!  Even with my two left feet, I had such a fantastic time!
Fluff had the moves, and even with my two left feet, she talked me
through the steps of one of the Connecticut Line Dancers dances.

Oh, and I can't forget the fudge.  Yessssss, fudge.  Cranberry fudge from the Massachusetts building.  Mmmmmmm.  :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Don't Discount the Discounts!

Who doesn't like to save money? Me! Ha, I'm kidding! I'm known for finding great deals, especially when it comes to crochet!

First, I utilize my CGOA Discounts whenever I can. Recently I bought some 90 crochet hooks through -- they will be utilized for a future workshop my Chapter will be having. Not only were the hooks on sale, but I also used my CGOA discount, saving an additional 15% off my order. ... and I was really happy to discover that my CGOA discount also works for the AnniesAttic online classes! To see the list -- and learn how to activate the discounts, go to the CGOA's webpage, and under the Membership tab, log into the "Members Only" section; you'll find the instructions there.

Second, I went to the website and signed up for their VIP program. They mail you a little card, you bring it into the store with your CGOA membership card, and for the rest of the year you get an additional 10% off your purchases. This is an unadvertised perk of being a CGOA member!

Third, it pays to open your mouth and inquire. At a recent trip to Webs (yarn shop in Northamption, MA), one of our Chapter members asked if they give CGOAers a discount on purchases. The answer was yes ... 10% -- but not to be combined with any other discounts they offer.

Fourth, I utilize I use it to connect to various online stores I shop at. By using their links I save a little for my kids education (if you don't have kids, then you can save for grandchildren/nieces/nephews...) anywhere from 3% up to 10% (sometimes more. Thus far I've saved over $600 towards my kids education!)  Often times I find additional savings offers, like free shipping, or extra percentages off my purchases. The other day, when  Andrea was looking to buy a dress form from Joanns online store, she Tweeted that she was on the fence about paying so much for the shipping. I told her about Upromise; she signed up and found a free shipping code to use! Upromise has links to CafePress, Amazon, M&J Trimmings ... I think its worth looking into.

Today I went to Upromise, connected to CafePress and ordered a "I love Yarn Day" tote -- in the kiwi color. By going through Upromise I saved 8% (towards my kids college), and after using the code GR8FALL at CafePress, I saved $3.90 off my order (coupon expires today). The cool part is that my order also helped benefit the Warm Up America program. More info about the CYCA/Warm Up America program here:

Happy Savings!

Did you notice I didn't link to a single site?  That's my way of saying I have no affiliation with any of the discounters mentioned, other than being a proud member of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). 

Monday, September 3, 2012

60/60 leads to taking a crochet class

playing with Tunisian Cables while crocheting a scarf
for the 2012 60/60 Challenge
One of the things I love about the annual 60/60 Challenge is in learning a new crochet stitch or technique while also working on a scarf for donation.  What would it be for this year?

Fortunately for me Kim Guzman posted the answer on Facebook:  she posted about a blog post she had written about her Tunisian Cables & Lace class being offered on!  I watched the preview and decided to sign up.  Since I am a CGOA member I plugged in my 'members discount' code and got 15% off the class.  (sweet!!)

This would be my first experience in taking an online class -- I really didn't know what to expect.  Boy, I was in for a treat!  I loved it!!  I plan on taking more online classes in the future.

While at the moment I am not using the pattern Kim provided with the class, I am having fun with the cable stitch (I omitted the lace part and beefed up the number of stitches required for the cabling).  And, I'm using up a bit of yarn stash too -- because we all know The Big E is coming up, and that means a trip to Webs!  (Whoot!)

So lets see: I get to take a class utilizing my CGOA membership, I get to learn something new, I get to use up some stash -- and then later replenish it -- all while hand-crocheting a simple scarf that will benefit my local community.  Priceless!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

9th Annual "60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge"

September 1st, 2012:  This is the official date that kicks off the NINTH Annual “60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge that originated here on my blog as a personal challenge (30 Scarves in 30 Days) and then grew into the heart-warming charitable drive that it is today!  And you're invited to participate!  :)

How the Challenge works:
Participating in the 2012 "60 Scarves in 60 Days Challenge"?
Save this badge and then upload it to your blog, or use as an
avatar to help promote the good you're crafting for your
local community!
  1. Crochet, knit, or weave a scarf (or more) for charity. You can use a pattern (give credit to the designer if that’s what the pattern calls for!), learn a new stitch, or create your own pattern. The scarf MUST be made by hand!
  2. Pledge it for a local charity near YOU; there is no need to ship! Check with your local homeless shelters, Salvation Armys, religious institutions, and schools to find a home for your scarf/scarves.
  3. To have your scarf count towards the goal, tell us about it on our Ravelry group here, or post about it on your blog and give us the link by leaving a comment on this blog post below.
  4. The scarf/scarves must be created by hand between September 1st and November 30th, 2012, midnight, eastern time, to count. (Yes, we know this is really 90 days, but we’re keeping the name of 60 days)
  5. Any skill level, age and gender can participate! Spread the word!
  6. If you have a website or blog, feel free to save the our badge shown on the right to your own computer and display it proudly!  There is even a CafePress shop where you can order pins & such!
This Challenge is a great stash buster AND does YOUR local community good!  :)