NatCroMo 2016, March 31: Karen C. K. Ballard

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The Crochet Express National Crochet Month Blog Tour


Welcome to Crochetville’s fourth annual National Crochet Month (NatCroMo) blog tour, taking place each day of March 2016. Join us as we take a virtual tour on our passenger steam train, The Crochet Express, visiting crochet designers, crochet-friendly local yarn stores, and yarn companies, and offer some fun giveaways.

Today’s Posts: Karen C. K. Ballard | Jennifer Hansen | Lisa Naskrent | Unraveled YarnDenise Interchangeable Knitting & Crochet | Daily Giveaway

Want to Chat about the Tour?

Part of the fun of taking a passenger steam train trip is talking with your fellow passengers. This year, we’re providing two locations where our passengers can get to know each other. We’d 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

Karen C. K. Ballard | Crochet Designer

Crochetville is very proud to have designer Karen C.K. Ballard with us today as one of the featured designers on our 2016 Designer Blog Tour in honor of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo). If you’d like to know even more about Karen, check out our post from last year’s blog tour.


About Karen:

Karen C.K. Ballard has been interested in textile arts since early childhood when her aunt taught her to crochet. Since then she has taken numerous classes in textile arts, beading, color theory, art, glass, textile history, textile preservation, and instructor training. She has been fortunate to learn from many notable/published bead and textile artists including Chinese, German, Irish, Australian, and Cherokee teachers.

Karen is a professional member of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA), earned CGOA’s Master’s of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques, and served as a reviewer of CGOA Master’s applications. She has designed/created beaded crochet jewelry for commission to Caron International yarn trade show; created historically accurate textile items (including clothing, tents, and flags) for living history programs; designed/sewn theatrical costumes; taught crochet classes (using her own designs and developing her own classroom materials); sold designs to magazines; participated in freeform crochet exhibitions; and won first prize in the Small Wonders category of CGOA’s 2012 Crochet Design Contest for her “NC Necklace.”

NC Necklace | Karen K. C. Ballard

Additionally, she collects textile production/embellishment tools, books, ephemera, and notions; has exhibited her textile tools; has researched and presented talks on WWI and WWII Workbasket Campaigns; and has been publishing articles on textile history and tools for various publications. Although Karen dabbles in numerous textile techniques, her first loves are thread crochet and seed-beading.

Tell us about your favorite travel destination.

That is difficult; I have loved so many places I have visited, but at this point in time, if pressed to choose, Isle of Wight (IOW), UK ranks very, very high. I tend to love Islands because they often cram a lot into small places. IOW is touted as “England in microcosm” and is full of museums, crafts-sellers, Roman sites, and places to collect fossils. I also especially love Orkney, Nova Scotia, and many destinations in North Carolina.

Tell us about a “dream” travel location that you’d like to visit one day.

Oh dear, another difficult question; there are so many places that I want to visit. Both Irelands are extemely high on the list. I would love to visit the crochet collections in the museums, to see the Devil’s Causeway, and take a class from Maire Treanor. Prudence Mapstone informs me that she also has this on her bucket list, so my dream would be to go at the same time she goes. Also on my list are Denver, CO (rock-hunting, museums, and classes from master-beader Heidi Kummli), Australia, Peru, Alaska, Greenland, & Scandinavia.

Do you visit yarn stores when traveling? If so, tell us about one of your favorite finds.

Of course I visit yarn stores, as well as bead stores!…In Germany I bought an inexpensive carved hook with laminated dyed wood. In Nordlingen Germany I lusted over a shop called something like Woolle Lust (love the name) but we were there in the evening, the store was closed, and it was too dark for a picture. In hindsight, I wish I had tried to photograph it anyway!

Packing: Tell us about any crochet clothing or accessories you pack when traveling. Do you have any really cool packing tips to share?

No cool packing trips but a somewhat interesting story. I traveled to Europe in early Oct 2001. Crochet hooks were questionable at the time—no one found the plastic one tucked in my bra.

Tell us about any crochet projects you take with you when traveling: How many projects do you take? How do you decide which ones to take?

I tend to take too many crochet & beading project projects with me. I try to take at least what I am currently working on–unless it is too complex, and at least one simple project that doesn’t require a lot of thought. The easy project usually receives most of my down-time.

Do you have any stories or anything else travel-related that you’d like to share with our blog tour readers?

Avoid haunted laundromats….


Visit Karen’s Site: NatCroMo Specials

I will offer 3 to 5 antique/vintage publications to randomly selected people who respond to me through Facebook or to my blog post for free to those living in the U.S and for the cost of postage for those living elsewhere. I will also provide a free pattern for a Virginia dogwood brooch.


Virginia Dogwood Brooch

I am working on a submission to the International Free Form Fiberarts Guild Annual Challenge. This year’s theme is flora & fauna of your locality. I am designing a dogwood (the state flower of Virginia) to serve dual duty: as part of my challenge submission and as a free pattern for NatCroMo.


Find Karen Online:


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