Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Notes From the Summer Crochet Guild Conference: Thank you Lily Chin, Mary Beth Temple and Myra Wood

The Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) hosted a Professional Day in New Hampshire and I made the good decision to attend. I was hesitant since I do not consider myself a professional knitter or crocheter (I crocheted when I was younger but have not done so lately) but I'm so glad I did not let this self-imposed definition stop me. The conference was designed to inform crafters about publishing options; the writer in me could not resist. The conference delivered on its promise and then some.

I attended the panel discussion moderated by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss titled, "The Dollars and Sense of Being a Published Author." That session made my writer's heart glad. Ms. Leinhauser and Ms. Weiss gave great advice on everything from developing an idea to marketing, sales, and self-publishing. They also gave out an invaluable handout: a survey of craft publishers.

After the panel discussion, attendees chose three small discussion groups to attend. I attended groups led by Lily Chin, Mary Beth Temple, and Myra Wood. Excellent groups! Lily Chin is simply amazing. She gave the best advice about promoting a business. I cannot say enough good things about Ms. Chin. She is dynamic and inspiring. Mary Beth Temple gave helpful advice when she spoke to her group about the skills needed to submit manuscripts and market a published book. Myra Wood gave a dynamic and eye-opening presentation on self-publishing. Check out her site to see some of her beautiful designs: www.myrawood.com.

Now, you might be saying, "I'm a solitary knitter." "Gas is expensive." "Traveling is expensive, I'd rather buy cashmere." All true enough. Yet I highly recommend going to a conference. In fact, I'm officially declaring it part of the wabi sabi way of life. There's beauty in what we don't know; there's always something new to learn -- a new skill to perfect, a new technique to practice. One of the things I absolutely love about knitting and the needle arts is that there's always something new on the horizon. Always a new skill to have fun with.

Back to my original thoughts about the conference: I was hesitant about going to the conference because I wasn't a "good enough" crafter. But no one threw me out for not knowing enough. I found acceptance and heard story after story of folks who learned as they went along, improved their skills, turned a knack with needle and yarn into a thriving design business.

My teacher (see Dedication post) always encourages her students, "You can do it. Sure. Try it." And right she is. Be bold. Learn something new. Besides your LYS, guilds and groups are fun ways to add to your repertoire and to pass on your skills. Yes, fun! Try it. You'll be glad you did.

Keep knitting! Keep learning!


Hayley said...

That sounds like a lot of fun...I love to crochet but I would really like to learn how to knit.

Wabi Sabi Knitter said...

Hi Hayley,

It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend a trip to a TKGA or CGOA event!

The Wabi Sabi Knitter would be honored to show you some knitting basics.

Anonymous said...

such great advice for us all regardless of our craft. Wonderfully told and openly accepted.