Do you want to be legitimately recognized as a crochet master? I just recently signed up for the Crochet Masters Program through the Crochet Guild of America to become a “CGOA MASTER OF ADVANCED CROCHET STITCHES AND TECHNIQUES.” If you choose the downloadable version you can get started right away. It guides you though 48 small swatches that range from 2 rows to a 4X4 square, and they’ve got a few questions in each section that test your understanding of what you’re doing. If you’ve been crocheting for a substantial amount of time, get ready to become a master!
This isn’t a free program, but it’s a lower rate if you join as a member first and then buy it at the member price. The total for both comes to less than just the program without the membership.
You can practice the swatches on any yarn you have, but for turning in your work you’ll need roughly two 7-ounce skeins of 100% acrylic, worsted weight (group 4) yarn in a light color. Beyond that you’ll need a big binder and some page protector sleeves to hold your swatches in order. I got those in a pack of 100 for a great deal on Amazon.com.
I’ll give you a yarn tip to get started. A lot of people say they like the Red Heart Super Saver yarn for cost and stitch definition. I’m a little pickier. I like my yarn to stay clean after it’s been handled or reworked and not go all fuzzy on me. Kendra (my so-far silent partner) and I went on a yarn-fondling expedition recently and I settled on Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn. It was the only one that made the program’s gauge swatch properly and I love, love, love the stitch definition and the clean sheen on it. The downside is that buying it online is costly. It runs $3.99 per skein in the stores, and they always have a “40% off one item” coupon to use too. In my opinion, the shipping fees are astronomical compared to the cost of the yarn. Buy it at the store.
Did you catch that other tip? It will make more sense when you enroll but start with the gauge swatch. They give you instructions to make a particular sized square in a particular stitch and it’s not mindlessly easy. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever worked a proper gauge swatch so it was a tiny challenge. Ok, it took 18 tries. But I did it! It’s up to you to match the yarn and the hook and work that golden loop to make it happen. Whatever makes that swatch, go buy 2 more skeins and use that for your portfolio. I’d love to give you more hints but I don’t think the Crochet Guild would like that very much! I’ll see about getting Kendra to work up a few swatches to compare Super Saver and I Love This Yarn at least.