Guest Blog Post Written by Janice Ogata, Founder of The Pasadena Crochet Meet Up
I believe my love of fiber arts started at a very young age, and it has only grown over the years. My great-grandmother was a crocheter, and I remember being 5 years old and admiring all of her granny square afghans. In addition both my Mom and Aunt crochet. I have been exposed to some sort of needle art for many years. It wasn’t until later in life that my hobby became my obsession.
About 10 years ago I happened upon a quaint little store called, “Needle in a Haystack.” One of the teachers, Evelyn Van Orden, was the founder of “Jewel City Knitters,” a knitting guild that meets in Glendale, CA. “Jewel City Knitters” does a lot of knitting and crocheting for various charities, such as the Christ Child Society, Operation Gratitude, and Project Linus.
It was through “Jewel City Knitters” I was introduced to “Knots of Love,” an organization founded by Christine Fabiani. Christine started making caps for her sons, but soon had an over abundance of caps and wondered what to do with them. A friend of hers, who was a cancer survivor remarked on how nice it would have been to have a chemo cap while she was undergoing treatment, and in 2007 “Knots of Love” was born.
“Knots of Love” relies on volunteers to knit and crochet caps that are mailed out to children’s cancer centers, VA cancer centers, oncology offices, and hospitals all over the United States. One our favorite yarns to use is Red Heart Soft. To date we have given away over 152,000 caps. For more information please visit, www.knotsoflove.org
In 2008 I founded “The Pasadena Crochet Meet Up,” where like- minded people share their tips and techniques in a fun, friendly environment. This year, we have been asked to participate in 2 art exhibits and 2 yarn bombings (a type of graffiti art which uses yarn instead of paint.) “The Pasadena Crochet Meet Up” has made items for the Crocheted Coral Reef, an exhibit which was at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. The exhibit was important because it told the story of the damage to our coral reefs. In addition to using yarn, we crocheted with plastic grocery bags, and VHS tapes, to simulate an oil spill and what happens to coral when it dies.
At this point “The Pasadena Crochet Meet Up” was becoming well known and in 2012 we were invited to knit and crochet for an art exhibit curated by Ellen Schinderman. We used brightly colored yarn to help her with a yarn bombing that was to be on the front doors, fences and signs around the gallery.
I am currently a member of Yarn Bombing Los Angeles and we have been asked to cover the front of an entire museum completely with granny squares. Over 4,000 squares were sent in from all 50 states as well as from 23 different countries. The project is called “CAFAM Granny Squared,” which is a public art installation on Museum Row in Los Angeles. The exhibit will open on May 25, 2013 and be up for approximately 6 weeks. It will be exciting to see this museum covered with RED HEART yarn!!!
Beyond these larger projects I’m also a member of “Burbank Fiber Fiends” founded by Kristie Mach, “Yarnville” founded by Vergik Hacopian, and “Knerdy Knitters” founded by Tammy Takahashi. What we all have in common is our love of fiber arts and each group contributes hats to “Knots of Love.”
For over 10 years now I have been knitting and crocheting and meeting various men and women who share my passion for yarn. The reason I belong to 7 different groups is because each group has something unique to offer. Fiber art has given me the opportunity to grow and teach others. I believe through knitting and crocheting we all have the power to brighten someone’s day!
If you are interested in joining one of the groups I mentioned above, please feel free to email me for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org