- The Board proposed dues of $24 per calendar year, prorated to begin with the April meeting. The membership approved. A fair number of March attendees have already paid for the full year. A huge thanks for that! We now have our rent covered with a few bucks to spare.
- Cathy’s efforts with our Ravelry presence are paying off; more people are learning about our group through Ravelry.
- March is both National Crochet Month and National Craft Month - so if you see any local discounts, be sure to update the Raverly posting to let others know.
- A membership form was distributed. Some of the information on it updates last year’s membership survey, as we continue to gauge what topics most interest our members.
- Carla spoke to us about community service projects and has found opportunities on the local, national, and international level. The local opportunity is the local Harriet Tubman Center, which always needs hats, scarves and mittens during the colder weather months. Carla has volunteered to drop-off any of our donations for the three selected projects - watch for any upcoming blog post with details.
After our lively business discussion, Maxine started off our meeting series on garment construction by teaching us about shaping garment pieces. One of the main differences between sewing garments and crocheting garments is that in crocheting (and knitting too), we are making the fabric and shaping the pattern piece at the same time - in sewing, the fabric is already made for us.
For a class exercise, everyone then worked on some swatches (in dc) that showed how placement of decreases and increases (spaced throughout the row vs. "stacked" to one end of the row) affected the final shape of the swatch.
The next topic was gauge and Maxine challenged us to master gauge rather than letting it master us and gave us these guidelines:
- Swatches really need to be larger than the traditional 4" by 4" square (at least 5" x 5") so that you can measure in the middle of the swatch instead of all the way to the edges. (Edge stitches can be tighter or looser so if you measure over them, the results can be distorted.)
- For accurate results you need to block and finish your swatch the same way that you will be blocking and finishing your garment.
- It is rare for two crocheters to have the exact same gauge, so the most important questions to ask are: "What will the finished size of my piece be if I make it in this gauge?" and "Will I be happy with the size?" Rather than the more traditional: "Does my gauge exactly match that the designer's gauge?" To help answer this new question, everyone worked through an exercise where we were provided the number of stitches and rows in a finished piece but had to calculate the finished size (in inches) of the piece based on a sample swatch. It was a different way of looking at gauge - but very intriguing idea to everyone.
In addition to the class, we held our first "Beginner's Corner" this month. We are beginning to reach out to newer crocheters who are developing their skills and in need of help. We will develop a simple basic skills test (that is, crocheting a swatch) and a simple knowledge test to assess what the new crocheter knows about the craft. This will make it easier to for mentors and teachers to build on what the crocheter already knows. Sometimes it is hard to diagnose project problems when we haven’t a good idea of where a person is coming from. If you are an experienced crocheter who doesn’t mind sitting out the class portion of a few meetings, think about volunteering for this service. Keep in mind that we might not have newer crocheters at every meeting.