Carla has been with the group since the early days and helps out the group in many ways - she coordinates our charity crochet efforts and teaches or assists at meetings whenever needed. One of our roving reporters caught up with her at the last meetup at Bruegger's Southtown (minutes from her home in Bloomington) and gave her a chance to talk about herself.
Carla, how and when did you learn to crochet?
I learned to crochet many years ago, when I was about 13 or 14. My sister and I used to babysit for a neighbor lady who knew how to crochet and she agreed to teach us. Our family cared for foster babies at that time and I wanted to learn how to make booties for the babies so that's the first thing she taught me. My sister learned to do granny squares first and then I learned that skill from her.
Are there other crafts you enjoy?
I sew quite a bit - that's my main other craft. I have dabbled a little bit with painting and drawing.
How do you organize your stash of crochet yarn and supplies?
Are you supposed to organize it? I sorta know where things are and put similar things in their own box - crochet thread in one box, cotton yarn in another - but I don't categorize and organize as much as I've heard some other people talk about. I like that sense of adventure when I look for things in my craft room!
What do you do with the items you make?
I give away a lot of the items I make - often in gift packages with other items that I make. For example, when I'm invited to a bridal shower I usually make a package that includes a set of dish towels that I machine embroider with the four seasons, a hand towel that I machine embroider with the wedding date, a crocheted scrubbie, and a crocheted dishcloth made using the double-ended technique.
I also crochet for my family members, especially my kids, even though they are now grown! One of my kids actually has a "Mom Can Make This" board in Pinterest where she keeps pictures of things she would like me to make. (This knight's helmet with the movable visor is an example of a project that Carla made for her son using only a Pinterest picture as a guide.)
How long have you been a member of Crochet Twin Cities?
I've been a member of CTC from the very beginning. I had joined CGOA (Crochet Guild of America) after learning about it from one of the crochet magazines and was therefore one of the people contacted for the first meeting at 3 Kittens Needle Arts shop. I was an hour late to the first meeting (that was before GPS) but I am so glad I stepped outside my comfort zone and came!
What's your favorite thing about being a member of CTC?
I love being a member of CTC! I call it "free therapy" because the friendship and support of the group is amazing. The learning is equally important to me - I always learn something new at every meeting, things I use all the time in projects.
What benefits do you receive from crocheting?
Crocheting is very relaxing to me - I like to crochet at night in my favorite chair. I like to make things and crochet is very creative to me. When I make something it gives me a sense of accomplishment plus I like knowing that I've helped someone else when I make something for them.
Do you follow a pattern, create your own pattern, freeform crochet or a combination?
I follow patterns and then vary them. The first time through I will do exactly what the pattern says but then after I've done that, I will make my own variation. For example, I once did a hat that used post stitches to make cables on the brim. I didn't really like the way it turned out so next time I decided to make the brim from Tunisian stitches.
I do prefer written patterns over charts because that's what I learned first - but I am learning to read charts too and sometimes they do help make the written instructions clearer.
What’s your favorite technique?
All of them! I don't have a favorite technique - I love learning new things about crochet. I'm repeating myself but that's one of things I like best about CTC, even as long as I've crocheted, I am always learning something new about crochet at our meetings.
What crochet challenge would you like to master next?
I'm very interested in the CGOA Crochet Masters Program - and would like to enroll in it as some point. (We'll be talking about the Masters Program as a group at the June meeting this year.) The other challenge I would like to take on is learning all I can about Tunisian - I do some Tunisian now, but would like to learn more - like how to do Tunisian in the round and how to shape with Tunisian stitches. In fact, my dream project at the moment is making a Tunisian sweater.
Carla, your willingness to help others and enthusiasm for learning new things is amazing. We're so glad you stepped outside your comfort zone and came to that first meeting - and that you keep coming back year after year!