March 31: A Tour through Crochet Country

You’ve arrived at A Tour Through Crochet Country! During March 2013, Crochetville is hosting a daily designer blog tour in celebration of National Crochet Month. Each day, we visit the blogs of one or two crochet designers, who share something with us — a free crochet pattern or tutorial, a peek into their studio or a-day-in-the-life, a coupon code, or something else special. Join us each day for a new surprise!

On our 31st day of A Tour through Crochet Country, we’re visiting Karen K. C. Ballard and Gwen Blakley-Kinsler.

[button link=””]Today’s Stop 1: Visit Karen K. C. Ballard[/button]

Karen Ballard completed the Master’s of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques program after she retired in 2006. She currently volunteers as a junior reviewer of Master’s portfolios. Karen has also taught crochet classes and sold several designs.

Her love of historic needlework has led Karen to write articles on textile history and tools for various publications as well as to research and deliver a presentation on WWI and WWI Workbasket campaigns. She collects and exhibits textile production/embellishment tools, books, ephemera, and notions.

You will find a very special giveaway on Karen’s website today. She’s offering a give-a-way of antique/vintage crochet tools: hooks, booklets, and crocheted wristlet thread holders. So be sure to go over there and enter!

At the Greensboro, NC Chain Link conference in 2011, Karen took freeform classes from Prudence Mapstone. The techniques learned in this class inspired Karen to design the NC Necklace shown below, which took first prize in the Small wonders category of the 2012 CGOA Design Contest.

NC Necklace--National Crochet Month
NC Necklace


[button link=””]Today’s Stop 2: Visit Gwen Blakley-Kinsler[/button]

If you’re a member of the Crochet Guild of America, you probably know that Gwen is the illustrious founder of our organization. It is thanks to her vision and inspiration that CGOA is here today to promote the art of crochet. Gwen has also served as president of CGOA and been granted Lifetime Membership status in recognition of her tireless efforts on behalf of CGOA. Please check out Gwen’s blog today as she has written a fabulous article on the history of CGOA—a fascinating look at the organization through the years.

I had the opportunity to stay as a guest at Gwen’s home when I attended Stitches West in 2011. I was able to see first-hand her design studio and a number of historical hooks, tools, accessories, books, and crocheted items she has on display in her home. I could have parked myself in her crochet library and stayed quite happily for a week or two, reading through her wonderful collection.

If you’re not a member of CGOA, you may still recognize Gwen as editor of the “Talking Crochet” e-newsletter published by Annie’s.

Gwen’s newest book, The Fine Art of Crochet: Innovative Works from 20 Contemporary Artists, is scheduled for release in June 2013. If you’re interested in learning more about crochet as art before the book is published, check out Gwen’s blog for a number of informative articles.

Gwen is well-known for her love of beads. I love the colors she selected for this beaded bracelet.

Bead Crochet Bangle Bracelet
Bead Crochet Bangle Bracelet
Available on Ravelry

The purples and golds in this gorgeous pin remind me of the colors in CGOA’s logo.

Designer Cabochon Pin
Designer Cabochon Pin
Available on Ravelry


It’s Been Fun!

I hope you enjoyed today’s stops visiting with Karen and Gwen.

I can’t believe we’re at the end of A Tour through Crochet Country and National Crochet Month. Thank you for celebrating with us and for visiting the websites of our participating designers and professionals. We appreciate that you took time out of your busy schedules to visit with all of us.

We have had a blast organizing the tour for you this year. We plan to do it again next year, and we hope you’ll all come back and join us again!

Don’t forget to let us know about any contributions you’ve made to Project Night Night so we can tally up all contributions made in the name of A Tour through Crochet Country.

Remember Project Night Night & CGOA

Project Night NightWe would love your support for our blog tour charity, Project Night Night, which donates comforting nighttime packages to homeless children. You can help by making and sending new crocheted blankets (50” x 60” or smaller) and/or making a financial donation. If you contribute, won’t you please use our form to help us keep a blog-tour tally?

Crochet Guild of America (CGOA)Our blog tour is also promoting another non-profit, the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). All designers participating in the tour are Professional or Associate Professional members of the CGOA. If you’re not a member yet, there are so many reasons to join!

Our Little Giveaway: Autographed Pattern Postcard

Each day of A Tour Through Crochet Country, we’ll be giving away two promo postcards, one to each of two winners. These are only available at our 2013 consumer show booths, and will be autographed by both of us, Amy Shelton and Donna Hulka, co-owners of Crochetville! The postcard includes Amy Shelton’s exclusive X Marks the Spot scarf pattern.

To enter, please leave a comment below answering this question: Have you enjoyed A Tour through Crochet Country? Do you plan on joining us again next year? Do you have any suggestions for us?

The fine print: Must be 13 or older to enter. Entries must be received by 12:00 midnight Pacific time on the date of this post. Winners will be selected by random drawing and notified by email the following day. Void where prohibited by law.

All photos used with permission or under the Fair Use Exclusion of US copyright law.

2 thoughts on “March 31: A Tour through Crochet Country”

  1. I loved your TOUR THROUGH CROCHET COUNTRY and am looking forward to next year! It has inspired me to try some of my own designs(unfortunately I have had an eye problem the whole month and I have not been able to crochet AT ALL , so your tour kept me crocheting in my mind!

  2. The tour through crochet country has been great. I have learned so much from it. I will definitely be joining you again next year. Thank you for the tour!


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