Yarn competition by Carrollton-based group reels in crafty contestants
A competition is underway for those who love a good yarn. Called The Great Yarn Challenge, it's a virtual competition centered on fiber, open to anyone who wants to compete, whether you've mastered a complicated Fair Isle sweater or are just dropping your first stitch.
The competition is hosted by the Craft Yarn Council, a nonprofit based in Carrollton, and runs through March 25. Participants compete for the chance to win prizes and recognition of their fiber skills. It's a two-month long campaign that began February 1.
"The Great Yarn Challenge is centered around inspiring yarn crafters to take their skills to the next level," says Craft Yarn Council executive director Jenny Bessonette in a statement. "Our goal is to inspire fiber artists to create their most original projects and use yarn in ways they never have before."
There are six challenges, with a new theme every week:
- Spruce Up Your Space
- Babies & Fur Babies
- Yarn in the Wild
- Just Wear It
- Stitch Your State, where crafters will create 7" by 9" blanket sections that represent their home state
- Stitch It Forward, which focuses on teaching a yarn craft to someone else
Each theme begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, and they do giveaways every week. We're currently in week 4, "Just Wear It."
The final deadline is March 20. They'll choose winners for each theme, and from that pool of winners, one will emerge as the top fiber crafter of them all.
The challenges have drawn your everyday crocheter as well as famous yarn artists such as Maurice Greene, an MMA fighter known as "The Crochet Boss," who is taking part as a representative for Lion Brand Yarn; and crochet prodigy Jonah Larson, a regular on The Drew Barrymore Show who's representing yarn company Yarnspirations.
The Craft Yarn Council was incorporated in 1981, and is a nonprofit trade association representing manufacturers and distributors of yarns used in knitting, crocheting and other crafts, tool and accessory manufacturers, publishers of magazines and books, and industry consultants.
Their mission is to foster a community of yarn crafters by stimulating current knitters and crocheters, and inspiring new yarn crafters, says spokesperson Sarah Guenther-Moore.
"Our members are companies in the yarn industry who sell yarn and tools to do these crafts," Guenther-Moore says. "The main mission is to promote yarn crafts like knitting and crocheting, but we're also trying to ensure that these crafts don't die but continue to live on through future generations."
There has definitely been a renewed interest in knitting and crocheting in recent years, one that, like so many home projects, surged during the pandemic.
"Even before the pandemic, people have been coming back to crafts, for a lot of reasons," she says. "You can make our own custom clothes that fit your body exactly, and it's part of the sustainably-driven 'slow fashion' movement."
There are also health benefits. "These crafts are meditative and can help with stress, anxiety, and depression," she says. "It's also fun and creative to explore the fibers and colors."
This is only the first time they've done the Great Yarn Challenge, but they're enjoying a big response, with close to 700 submissions from across North America.
"Since it was the first time, we weren't sure what kind of response, so we limited entrants to the U.S. and Canada where most of our member are based, but we've received a lot of interest from around the world," she says.