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A-Glamping We Will Go: 5th Annual National Crochet Month Blog Tour
Want to Chat about the Tour?
Part of the fun of glamping is the daily round-up around the campfire, chatting and stitching with friends. We hope you’ll join us in our NatCroMo Facebook group, where we’ll be sharing daily camping recipes, campfire songs about crochet, and so much more! We’d also love to hear about your favorite things you’ve discovered on the tour and see photos of your current crochet projects. You’re invited to join us daily for virtual cocktails/appetizers and dinner. (We’ll be sharing links to some fabulous recipes!)
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Karen C.K. Ballard, Crochet Artist and Writer
I first learned rudimentary crochet stitches, without knowing their names, from my great aunt, when I was 7 years old, and taught myself to read patterns when I was 20. Since then I had a full career as a computer software designer and manager. After retiring, I joined CGOA, became a regular newsletter contributor, earned a Master of Advanced Stitches & Techniques, won a first prize in the 2012 CGOA Design Contest, and a contributor to various collaborative crochet art contests.
Do you crochet in public? If so, when and where?
Before retiring I did so often. Now mostly while waiting in doctor’s offices.
Do you have a special place at home where you crochet? Tell us about it.
Mostly in my living room easy chair.
Share the story of your favorite thing you’ve ever crocheted or designed.
Probably my Heritage Heart. I took a couple of freeform crochet classes from Prudence Mapstone at my first CGOA Conference in Greensboro, NC and became enamored with the technique. At a used book store, I picked up a book by Prudence about her first collaborative project and wrote to her telling her how much I would have loved to have participate in that project. She invited me to participate in her Hearts and Flowers show, for which I produced my Heritage Heart. The basis of the piece is a heart, similar to those I saw in Germany, where I lived during part of my teen years, but my version of the heart is distorted. In its elongated tail, I “planted” flowers, all symbolic of my heritage.
Tell us about any other fiber-related hobbies you enjoy.
I have tried many: spinning, weaving, bead weaving, tatting, needle-lace, knitting, embroidery, quilting, sewing…and although enjoying them all, I enjoy seed-beading and thread-crochet most.
How do you decide what to name your patterns?
Usually based on whatever inspired me to make the pattern.
Tell us about your most popular pattern.
I am very different than most of the designers on the blog tour and am mostly known by my written articles on needlework history and perhaps by my patterns that I either update instructions for, or are inspired by historic ones. Although as alluded to above I have made numerous designs for collaborative pieces, but I haven’t written patterns for them. Perhaps my most popular pattern was the updated Flora Klickmann Butterly I wrote for PieceWork Magazine and shown on its cover in 2011.
Tell us about your favorite camping location.
I am not much of a camper. We used to go camping to be close to rock-hunting and archaeological digs, but not so much now.
[Editor’s Note: Karen is sponsoring not only today’s Crochetville NatCroMo Daily Giveaway, but also five other giveaways during this tour. Her vintage crochet publications have been popular giveaways; thank you, Karen!]
Karen’s Crochet Art:
If you’re not familiar with my work already, I’d like to share three of my works of crochet art with you.
1. Stream and Waterfall – (Crochet Art, Not for Sale)
Karen’s contribution to the University of Sheffield’s UK Hyperbolic Forest collaborative project.
For over two months, Karen worked on her 9-foot stream and waterfall for UK’s Hyperbolic Forest Project. Karen says, “The purpose of the Forest is to demonstrate the abundance of hyperbolic forms in nature (as best demonstrated by types of fungus, especially shelf-fungi on the sides of trees). My stream does not really include hyperbolics (the simplest way I can define it, in crochet, it is a piece that increases at an even rate over multiple rows), except maybe in the splashes beneath the waterfall. (The first few rock splashes could qualify as hyperbolic, but I quickly discovered that the rock splashes looked much more realistic if they were irregular, the more irregular the better!). However, the artists involved in this project liked the idea of a stream to add a touch of realism to their forest. By the way, the greenery up the sides of the mini-waterfall, look much more green under artificial light.” (Source: Karen C.K. Ballard via Facebook)
To the right of the stream can be seen pine cones by Rita Cavallaro, a log with lichen by Nichola Denton, and some orange peel fungus by Kerry Rose nestled in the background to the right (these are pure hyperbolic). (Source: Kerry Rose via Facebook – Crochet UK Hyperbolic Forest Group, and Karen C.K. Ballard via Facebook)
2. Squirrel – (Crochet Art, Not for Sale)
Karen’s contribution to Prudence Mapstone’s yarn bombing for the Jumpers & Jazz Festival collaborative project.
Prudence Mapstone installed her Jumpers & Jazz trees in Warwick, Queensland, Australia in July 2016. Karen says she was honored that her squirrel was positioned high on a palm tree to oversee all the proceedings. Karen says, “It was fun to participate in this in to see what Prudence has done to bring all our scrumbles together into a fabulous 3-part art installation!” (Source: Karen C.K. Ballard via Facebook here and here)
3. Tribute to Peter Max – (Crochet Art, Not for Sale)
Karen’s contribution to Prudence Mapstone’s 50 Years of Flower Power collaborative project.
Karen calls this Peter Max‘s Universe, A Tribute in Crochet and she says, “It is my composition of crocheted elements from his various paintings.” Measures about 17″x15″. (Source: Karen C.K. Ballard via Facebook).
Find Karen Online:
Additional Blog Tour Information: