Crochet Designer Interview: Susan Carlson

Crochet Designer Interview: Susan Carlson with Felted Button

One of the many great things about the Indie Gift-A-Long is discovering new (to me) designers.  I took one look at Susan’s designer page, Felted Button, and I knew I had to feature her on my blog.  Her use of color is phenomenal.  Let’s learn more about Susan.

Star Fruit Blanket or Rug by Susan Carlson

Star Fruit Blanket or Rug crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Hi! Susan Carlson of Felted Button here. I’m a former science teacher turned full-time crochet designer. I feel extraordinarily grateful that I can do this crochet gig every day! It’s such a blast!

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn?

I first learned to crochet from my grandmother who came for a short visit when I was 9. She was making granny squares and taught me to make one. I thought it was fun, but got really distracted with other things for many years until I discovered some lovely blogs and decided to pick up the hook again. It’s been about 11 years now.

Toddle Tee Pee crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Toddler Tee Pee crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?

I have been designing now for just over 4 years. When I first began crocheting I tried lots of different patterns and techniques to build my skill base. But eventually I had so many crocheted items around that my house was overflowing. (You can only give so many hats, scarves and bags to friends and family, right?) So I opened an Etsy store to sell off my extras. Surprisingly they began to sell. But the stress of shipping, meeting customer deadlines, etc., made the whole process stressful for me. I had already begun to create my own designs and realized that with my technical writing skills, teaching and experience with so many patterns, I could write up my own! So Felted Button officially began then.

Why knitting/crochet? What is it that interests you? What do you enjoy most about the craft?

Hands down the best part of designing is seeing something that began as an idea in my head translated through my hook and hands, through a pattern, to someone else’s head, hook and hands! It’s magical, I tell ya! Playing with yarn, color and textures also gives me a thrill. Regarding the benefits of crochet’s calming effect on my head and heart—well, it’s just the ticket. I have a very noisy brain and through crochet am able to focus and quiet my brain. It’s very cathartic to me.

Gifted Blanket crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Gifted Blanket crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

What other crafts do you enjoy? or is there another craft you would like to learn?

I am very much a beginning knitter and would love to become more skilled at it! It does such wonderful things, that honestly crochet doesn’t do nearly as well. But I’m having a tough time balancing my business, busy family and other life obligations to squeeze it in. I will, though! I will!

What influences your style?

I have always been crazy for color. Always. Rainbow bedding as a child, a desire for purple shag carpeting as a kid (you now know how old I am, huh?), bright and bold flowers for my wedding. I just love color. My house looks like a crazy person lives here. If you use all of the colors, nothing has to match, right?

What inspires you and/or your designs?

I find inspiration from nature, photographs, quilts, graphic images, ceramics, yarn, color…

Abacus Blanket crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Abacus Blanket crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

What is your favorite design of yours, why?

It is hard to pick my favorite from over 100 designs, but I am really pleased with my Abacus Blanket. I like the options it has for color, its texture and that the “mock” bullion is so much easier and quicker than a regular bullion. Plus, it is clean.  I like clean designs.

What pattern/design are you most proud of, why?

This would have to be my Monet’s Garden Throw. I started with 10 disparately colored balls of yarn and challenged myself to make them look beautiful together. I think I pulled it off and am really tickled about how it all came together.

What are your favorite stitches?

It is hard to pick a favorite since they all have a place, depending on the design, and I don’t want to leave any out. But if I had to pick one, it would be the hdc (US). It’s so nice and tidy from the back and front, good height so things grow quickly, but leaves no gaps. I like it.

Monet's Garden Throw, crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

Monet’s Garden Throw, crochet pattern by Susan Carlson

What is/are your favorite crochet tool(s) or notion(s)?

My Clover Amour hooks. And buttons, of course.

Where can we find you?

Website: http://www.feltedbutton.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/feltedbutton

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/susan-carlson

Instagram: @FeltedButton

Thank you Susan!!!  Your bright, fun colors are truly an extension of your personality.  🙂

Would you like to learn more about other crochet designers?  Check out this link and be sure to follow CrochetByDarleenHopkins.com!

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Crochet Designer Interview: Akua Lezli Hope

Akua Lezli Hope with Akua Designs

I first met Akua when she interviewed me during the 2013 Gift-A-Long.  It was then that I realized I had long admired one of her designs, the Daisy Hat, and decided to make one as part of my 2013 Stash Bust for Charity Challenge.  Her designs are so unique and so creative.  She is an artist who designs from the heart and someone I would very much like to sit down with and share a cup of coffee.

sunrays-shrug-shawl-by-akua-lezli-hope-photo-by-knit-picks

Sun Rays Shrug/Shawl by Akua Lezli Hope photo by Knit Picks

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn?
I’ve been crocheting over 50 years. My mother taught me, though she said she didn’t remember doing that, which underscores for me the importance of the person to person transmission. Her forté was knitting and sewing. She was a brilliant seamstress and tailor. Having her show me the basics launched me for a lifetime of exploration.

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?
Informally, it was just something you did to get what you thought about or wanted into being. When I began as a young person, there were few books and no patterns for hats I and my friends wanted, so I just made them up. So that mindset was a precursor to formally undertaking designing – that is, creating something and then writing down the process in such a way that others may replicate it. Encoding my process for sharing is relatively recent, just 9 years.

Why knitting/crochet? What is it that interests you?  What do you enjoy most about the craft?
I used to crochet on the way to work, standing on the subway train , briefcase hanging off one arm, leaning against the door or arm wrapped around the pole — with one hook I could do it. It felt like freedom to create as I commuted, so it was self-reinforcing. A poet, I love the poetry of transmutation, transfiguring a line into a statement, a protection, a garment, a volume, a vessel, ornament, adornment. I love fiber from plant to thread, from animal to yarn and immediacy of creating that crocheting so generously offers, is healing and fulfilling.

dasiy-hat-by-akua-lexli-hope-photo-by-tangled-online-magazine

Daisy Hat by Akua Lezli Hope photo by Tangled Online Magazine

What other crafts do you enjoy? or is there another craft you would like to learn?
I enjoy weaving, sculpting, hand paper-making, glass casting, flame working, and wire working. I occasionally work in polymer clay and shrink plastic. I like making earrings and am proud of my mixed media ones — glass and fiber, wire, etc. I love but can’t afford precious metal clay –I would love to do more in that. Metal-smithing, torch work is so compelling – I would like to do more of that, too. I would also like to learn about resin.

What influences your style?
My experiences, science fiction, the cold, indigenous design.

What inspires you and/or your designs?
Indigenous peoples, science fiction and the 4 seasons ( actually more like 3 here- cold, very cold, warm) that require different garb.

I used to live in NY, yes, it is COLD!

What challenges do you face when designing and how do you overcome them?
Patience with the process —I am usually swift in making, but find the challenge in doing it again and describing what I did. The way  I think about creating an effect, or even in telling how to create an effect, is often at odds with how others describe it and do it. I am ever in search of the shortest way to achieve an effect. Testing and self-publishing eases that pain – there is no need to argue with a publication that has a ham handed way of describing a decrease or insists on loading a pattern with impenetrable jargon.

leaf-bagette-by-akua-lezli-hope

Leaf Bagette by Akua Lezli Hope photo by Knit Picks

What is your favorite design of yours, why?
Now that I’m up to about 140, that’s too hard. I’ve published 116 and I have a long list of designs that are done and may even have been out in the world in shows or competitions, but haven’t been tested.

What is your favorite project of yours, why?
It’s hard to choose among the hundreds, though I have a special affection for the sweaters I’ve designed. I’ve been unable to find testers for them, but I have great affection for them.

What pattern/design are you most proud of, why?
My sweaters, because they were so hard to write up, hard to grade and making them more than once was a long process, but alas, they remain unpublished until I can find testers.

How many WIPs do you currently have and do you think you will ever finish all of them?
I’ve lost count. I’ve come across a baby hat and sweater for a baby that is now 27. There’s finishing and there’s finishing, though …. to explain a bit, I work in freeform and so have bags of motifs and scrumbles on the way to becoming artworks or garments. There’s my 10 foot or so floral freeform door curtain that has pulled in a bit and so needs more motifs.

flying-dragon-bookmarks-by-akua-lezli-hope

Flying Dragon Bookmarks by Akua Lezli Hope

What was the last thing you crocheted/knit for yourself?
I was taken by skulls early this fall and so made a couple and then designed one and made some more. Then I made some black cats and pumpkins for window decor. Although I’m not sure if decor is what you mean by for yourself.

What are your favorite stitches?
I like standing stitches, these have liberated crocheting for my appliqué/figure motifs, where I also delight in using extended single crochets. Earlier this year, I became enamored of tape lace and so explored stitch combinations that made quick lengths of braid. I adore cables and figure out how to do them in the round (Chemung hats) as well as in my sweater. Catherine’s Wheel and variations remains an enduring favorite. Then there’s this Russian/Ukranian rising falling form that increases and gathers/decreases across each row to create mountains and valleys…

What is/are your favorite crochet tool(s) or notion(s)?
My hooks, my hooks – hook anatomy is a subject I’ve thought and written about and researched. So my bullion hooks are beloved as are a particular Bates afghan hook that has an inline head. A Rav friend sent me some small- gauge inline head afghan hooks from Europe, so I could make e the tiny tunisian leaves and shells I designed this year. I now have hooks for particular yarn types as well as gauges. I use my Etimos for general work, but when I’m wrestling with piping and making rugs, I turn to my wood Century hooks. Sadly there are hook heads that are perfection but they may be on shafts that are too short for me as in Collage.

freeform-crochet-by-akua-lezli-hope

Freeform Crochet by Akua Lezlie Hope

How long have you been a member of the International FreeForm FiberArts Guild? What drew you to it and how has it inspired you as a designer?
I’m not sure how long, but at least 12 years. I was drawn to the Guild because I love freeform. I began doing dimensional crochet in the 90’s and found the books of James Walters and Sylvia Cosh. By this time, I was no longer in an urban area, and have been online since the late 80s, I was always in search of, or in touch with any creators I could find online. The Annual Challenge has always been a personal rallying point, to begin and complete a freeform project, be it art wear or art work. From the freeform explorations, directed by a topic have come many pattern ideas. This year’s Challenge, native flora and fauna, inspired me to design buffalo, deer, squirrels, several different birds, moose, and trees.

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?
Writing poetry — my collection, THEM GONE, is due out this year; making paper — I’ve been exploring figured/shaped paper and layering using my vacuum table, watching anime, singing and dreaming.

Where can we find you?
Blog: zencrochet.blogspot.com
Website: www.akualezlihope.com
Etsy: www.etsy.com/people/akuadesigns
Raverly: www.ravelry.com/designers/akua-lezli-hope-akuadesigns

Thank you so much Akua! I LOVE your freeform representation of native flora and fauna.  I lived in the same area of NY and you have truly captured the beauty of Western NY.

Would you like to learn more about other crochet designers?  Check out this link and be sure to follow CrochetByDarleenHopkins.com!

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Crocheted toy from child's drawing.

Designer Interview: Martina Gromova

Martina Gromová with Kid’s Creations

When I first saw Martina’s crocheted toys, I actually squealed with delight.  They are adorable.  She takes a child’s drawing and turns it into a toy.  Adorable.  So sweet and so special.  I immediately contacted Martina and asked her if I could interview her.  I was delighted she said yes.  It turns out she is as sweet as the kids’ drawings. Crocheted toy from child's art.Please, tell us about yourself.

08 09I am married and I am  mother of four wonderful children.   I live in the most beautiful city in Slovakia, Bojnice (I have to add some photos, because it′s really stunning)  I work as a professional soldier in the armed forces of the Slovak Republic. I love my job, but I miss that creative activities.  Therefore, in my spare time, but especially during evenings and nights, I’m turning into a creative person with a high addiction on crochet. I love to crochet and I feel nervous when I  am not holding a crochet hook. I love to crochet while watching TV, listening to the radio while traveling, during my lunch-breaks and also while breast-feeding.

Crocheted toy from child's drawing.How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn?

I started to crochet 7 years ago, when my twins were born. I wanted to use the time in addition to breastfeeding, and at the same time to make something nice for my kids. I knew how to knit since childhood. Maybe I tried to crochet as a child, but I do not remember it now. Mama led us (me and my twin sister) to handicrafts. I can cope with sewing, embroidery, macramé but also with cooking and baking, and I am open to other techniques and skills.Crocheted toy from child's art.How long have you been converting children’s art to adorable dolls and what led you to this business?

I have started with crocheted toys from drawings and photos just last year. It came as request from my son who wished for his birthday only one thing and that was toy from his drawing. It was a figure of  “Boxie” as he named him. I enjoyed this work very much and, of course, the same request came from the rest of my children. It was so funny to crochet these toys from drawings and based on this, I decided that this is the right work that I enjoy and that fulfills me.

Crocheted toy from child's art.If someone wanted to order a toy, what is the process?

I have a Facebook fun page named “From Drawing to toy”  and also I have a second fun page named “el.key handmade”. The second one is for other crocheted items I am making – clothing, toys, accessories, crocheted jewelry.

If somebody is interested in converting a drawing into a toy, he only needs to contact me via personal message on Facebook page “From Drawing to toy” or via email: elkey.handmade@gmail.com

I have no problem with international shipping, it depends on customer whether the postage isn′t too expensive. But I think the postage is ok (for example from Europe to USA 5-10 euro).

I′ve already sent some items all over the world, and there was no problem.

The price depends on “difficulty of drawing” and required size of toy. Just send me the photo of drawing or any photo you would like me to crochet and I will answer  you back with price offer.Crocheted toy from child's art.Why crochet? What is it that interests you?  What do you enjoy most about the craft?

I love crochet for its form-ability, usage, also for the use of math when creating patterns. For its compactness, you don′t have need anything, just one tool – crochet hook and one skein of yarn. And also nearly no mess remains. You can use any material and crochet around things. In event you are shipwreck on the island, crochet can help you in many cases, you are able to crochet various baskets, clothes, shoes …

What other crafts do you enjoy? or is there another craft you would like to learn?

From other crafts I like also knitting, sewing, baking. But in crochet craft there is freeform crochet I have already tried, but would like to learn much more. I’d like to make more crocheted art instead of common crocheted items. I would like to try convert some famous paintings into crochet…but it´s just the plan, what I need the most is the TIME.

Crocheted toy from child's art.What challenges do you face when converting the drawings and how do you overcome them?

The best challenges for me are the drawings from the littlest ones. These are so cute, but sometimes you have problem to understand what child wanted to draw. Because of that parents usually attach remarks about drawings.

What is your favorite drawing to doll, why?

My favourite one is “Person in shoes with little whale friend”. This drawing drew Caleb 4 year old from Arizona. It´s my favourite because of its cuteness and the challenge itself – how to deal with this drawing. It was just in black and white. But I am proud of every one toy from drawing.

I am the most proud on toy from drawing that I mentioned before (Person in shoes with whale friend). But in case of crocheting from photo I am the most proud on crocheted accordion for my son and purple car from photo.  The accordion pattern is available in Slovak, contact Martina if interested in English 🙂

Crochet toy from children's art.

Person in shoes with little whale friend.

Crocheted accordian from photo.

Crocheted car from a photo

What other types of crochet do you do?  How many WIPs do you currently have and do you think you will ever finish all of them?

I was crocheting almost everything but because of lack of time I limited my crocheting to crocheted toys from drawings and photos and any special crocheting instead of common crochet. I’d like to improve myself and need to try other techniques of crocheting and that is not possible while crocheting same items and items following patterns.

I don’t like to have many WIPs. I don´t like to start new crochet thing unless I didn’t finish previous WIP. But sometimes it’s impossible and I have the most of 2 WIPs.

What was the last thing you crocheted for yourself?

The last thing I crocheted personally for me was this summer top and some necklaces.

Crocheted necklace pattern, Roses in Bloom by Martina Gromova.

Roses in Bloom, pattern by Martina Gromova

el.key handmade crochet

Martina’s summer top. Adapted from Slovak chart (center panel) and free handed design. Gorgeous!

What are your favorite stitches?

My favourite stitch is single crochet for its use in amigurumi. But I like bobble stitch, popcorn stitch and also crocodile stitch.

What is your favorite crochet tool or notion?

My favourite crochet tool is crochet hook, I need new one every time. I have a little case with approximately 100 hooks in various sizes.

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?

When I am not crocheting I usually spend time with my kids and family. And there is a lot of work around the house, like cooking, washing, tidying up and so on.

Where can we find you?

I don’t have a website but planning to have in future. At this time I have only two Facebook pages, first for crocheted toys from kid’s drawings https://facebook.com/fromdrawingtotoy/ and second for other crocheted items and my own patterns https://facebook.com/elkeyhandmade-796329807074848/

You can also find Martina on Ravelry as El.key Crochet.

Thank you so much, Martina!  Love, love, LOVE these toys from drawings. I can’t wait to see what else you make 🙂

#familyfun tic-tac-toe game board crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins #CbyDH

 

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Crochet Designer Interview, Janet Brani

Janet Brani with OneLoopShy

Side Strips copyright OneLoopShy Designs

Side Stripes
copyright OneLoopShy Designs

I met Janet last year when I won one her patterns during the 2014 Gift-A-Long.  I choose Ends Well to make as one of my 2015 Stash Bust Challenge hats. I like that fact that there were no ends to work in. I really dislike weaving in ends.  This was my first time making something with slip stitch crochet and the hat is adorable.

Let’s learn a little bit about Janet.

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn? 

I learned to crochet when I was 8. My grandmother taught me, and used to “frog” all my work and wind it right back up into a ball so I could try again! I learned years later that my grandmother was left-handed, which might explain why I hold my hook and tension my yarn a little differently than the norm.

Artifice Slouch (Tunisian) copyright OneLoopShy Designs

Artifice Slouch (Tunisian)
copyright OneLoopShy Designs

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?

I have been designing around 5 years, with the first patterns being ones I created for teaching when I worked at a yarn shop. I submitted a couple of designs to magazines after meeting with editors at CGOA convention, and it has just grown from there.

Why knitting/crochet? What is it that interests you? What do you enjoy most about the craft?

I know how to knit, but always reach for a hook first. Crochet comes naturally to me and knitting is a struggle that usually ends with dropped stitches! When I worked at a yarn shop, I enjoyed a friendly rivalry with my knitting co-workers, which most often revolved around how much faster I could make something!

Countervail copyright OneLoopShy Designs

Countervail
copyright OneLoopShy Designs

What is your favorite design of yours, why? 

My “Messenger Bag” that was featured in the 2014 issue of Vogue Crochet. I love felting crochet and I had this image in my head of making an animal print. It is one of the few times that the finished project actually ended up exactly as I imagined!

How many WIPs do you currently have and do you think you will ever finish all of them?

I may have as many as 15-20 WIPs, and I know I will never finish them. Once I lay something aside, I tend to lose interest in it and, truth be told, quite often can’t remember what it actually is!

Spoiler Alert copyright OneLoopShy Designs

Spoiler Alert
copyright OneLoopShy Designs

What are your favorite stitches?

I love slip stitch crochet, and intend to do more designs with it in the new year. I also love linked stitches and have been using them a lot to produce a fabric that is more “knit like”. My newest hat pattern, Alexin, uses both slip stitch and linked stitches.

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?

Yarn shopping!

Thank you Janet!  You can find OneLoopShy on Facebook and on Ravelry.

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Crochet designer interview: Betty Fay Wallace

Crochet Designer Interview, Betty Fay Wallace

Snowbaby crochet pattern by Betty Fay Wallace

Snow Baby Cocoon and Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

I had the pleasure to interview Betty Fay Wallace for this week’s designer interview.  I discovered her last year during the 2014 Gift-A-Long when I made one of her beautiful hats, the La Villa Lace Brim Slouch hat, as part of my 2014 Stash Bust Challenge.  And this year she was one of my assigned designers for my part of the GAL pinning.  (The last two years I have been on the Pinterest team helping to create beautiful boards of the GAL featured patterns.)  Her designs are beautiful and lacy making those of us without a little girl to crochet for very, very jealous!

Let’s get know Betty!

I am retired with two grown children, a grown granddaughter (and an any-minute-now great-granddaughter) and two young grandchildren, and my sweet dog Jake.  I have also been blessed with a large extended family and many friends.

Lucy Lane Sweater by Betty Fay Wallace

Lucy Lane Sweater
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

How long have you been crocheting and how did you first learn?

At least a hundred years…sometimes I exaggerate.  I just saw a Facebook post that said “I thought it would take longer to get this old”!  Anyway, my grandmother and aunts taught me to crochet and knit at a very young age.  And that was many years ago.

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?

After I retired, I decided to enjoy my hobbies of knitting and crochet.  Soon the house, dogs and grandkids were all covered in my projects!  So I decided to sell some of my items on Etsy.  I couldn’t imagine anyone actually buying them but it wasn’t long until I could not keep up with the orders.  The aches and pains – not to mention pounds – soon added up. So I decided to write-up my patterns.  It’s a perfect solution.  I get to play with my hooks, needles and yarn but at a more leisurely pace and still occasionally get in a little exercise.

Seaside Cottage Cocoon/Snuggle Sack and Hat by Betty Fay Wallace

Seaside Cottage Snuggle Sack and Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

What is your favorite crochet tool?

My favorite tool is the Wood Yarn/Thread Holder handmade by willysman on Etsy.  It is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and the most useful item I possess.  I had tried every yarn holder and gimmick I could find but had not found anything that worked very well for me.  These are pricey and I hesitated before spending this much.  But I am so glad I did.  The yarn flows smoothly and effortlessly without tangling.

It is such a well made and beautiful item that I know it will be one of the things I pass on to my granddaughters as one of my treasures.  He makes them in a variety of woods.  The price is determined by the wood used.  I also purchased the “thingy” – a separate attachment that keeps the yarn centered.  I haven’t tried it without that piece so I’m not sure it is absolutely necessary.

I am not affiliated with him in any way.  I just love this gadget so much I tell everyone about it.

Nacogdoches Night Scarf by Betty Fay Wallace

Nacogdoches Night Scarf
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

What other crafts do you enjoy?

I love to sew, garden, play with grandkids, reading – anything fun and not too strenuous.

What challenges do you face when designing and how do you overcome them?

Designing is easy!  Putting it down on paper in that foreign language of crochet, formatting a word document, photographing and editing pictures, and keeping up with all the computer knowledge necessary to accomplish all of this is the hard part.  Makes my head hurt!  I also try to include charts with all my patterns.  I can work from a chart much easier than written instructions.  But creating the crochet charts is also a very time-consuming, brain fogging procedure.  But I love the challenge.

I make use of every online resource available, such as, Craft Yarn Council, all the forums on Ravelry, the pattern testers on Ravelry and other Ravelry designers.  The testers and other designers are always so generous with their help and support.  It is a fantastic community!

What was the last thing you crocheted/knit for yourself?

I just finished a beautiful shawl – Rosewater by Janina Kallio. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Duffay/rosewater

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?

Knitting

La Ville Slouch Hat by Betty Fay Wallace

La Ville Lace Brim Slouch Hat
copyright Betty Fay Wallace

Where can we find you?

I didn’t really plan any of this so I didn’t coordinate the names of my sites very well.  I can be found on Ravelry, Craftsy, and Etsy.  Annie’s Catalog also carries some of my patterns.

My names include Betty Fay Wallace Designs, Maison de Terre Handmade Gifts and Cielo’sCloset.

And on Facebook.

Thank you!
I LOVE the Nacogdoches Night Scarf, above, and I asked Betty about the name.  She said it was designed for her granddaughter’s homecoming football game at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas.  And the Lucy Lane sweater is named for her soon-to-arrive great granddaughter!  How sweet!!

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Crochet Designer Interview, Julie of ACCROchet

Sorbet shawl pattern by ACCROchet

Sorbet Shawl
copyright ACCROchet

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long (GAL) is upon us again.  Not only does the GAL give designers the opportunity to work alongside other crocheters/knitters but it has also become a fantastic way to get to know some of these awesome people.  I was excited to find crochet designer, Julie as a participant in this year’s 2015 GAL.  Her vibrant personality flows through to her designs as they are not only fun and youthful but also beautiful and modern.

Julie, please share a little of your background.

My name is Julie, and I design crochet patterns under the alias ACCROchet (a play on words, in French, combining addicted & crochet). I am nearly 40 years old, a mom & stepmom to 2 very different teenagers, and engaged to The Man of my dreams. We live in a suburb on the North Shore of Montreal.

I work in Communications & Advertising full-time, but my evenings & weekends are devoted to crochet, crochet design, teaching crochet, inspiring others to crochet, etc. My patterns are published in both English and French. Initially, ACCROchet was born to offer options to French-only crocheters, but as it grew, I decided to translate them to English as well.

Melo Hat crochet pattern by ACCROchet

Melo Hat
copyright ACCROchet

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?

I officially got started after being invited to a fiber festival in my province (festivaltwist.org). I was going there mostly to sell finished crochet items, but had 3 patterns written and brought them on a whim.

So many people bought them, and asked for more, that a knitting friend and I vowed to design 1 new pattern every month until the next event. And we did.

Turns out this is a good thing, because I don’t like making the same thing twice, which is a prerequisite of selling finished items!

Why crochet? What is it that interests you? What do you enjoy most about the craft?

Initially it was a way to keep busy on maternity leave, in the evenings. I have anxiety & crochet lets me channel the energy more positively.

I think I fell in love with crochet because it is/was an underdog. I guess it makes me feel good to see people change their minds about the craft when they see what we do with it now!

Quatre 4 in 1 cowl crochet pattern by ACCROchet

Quatre 4 in 1 Cowl
copyright ACCROchet

What other crafts do you enjoy? or is there another craft you would like to learn?

I love Tunisian crochet, and count it as a separate craft. I’m starting to think about maybe perhaps trying to knit.

What influences your style?

I try really hard to create items that beginners* will be able to crochet without too much of a headache, but that crocheters with more experience won’t be bored by. I think my designs are distinctively modern, crisp and classic all at once.

*I’m not convinced I believe in beginner/expert. I mostly believe in mindless crochet/involved crochet. But the range remains the same.

What was the last thing you crocheted/knit for yourself?

This hat, https://www.pinterest.com/pin/131730357828620382/ by Mama in a Stitch. It’s super simple. I love it.

Workman's sock crochet pattern by ACCROchet

Workman’s Sock
copyright ACCROchet

What are your favorite stitches?

I have an unhealthy attraction to the half-double crochet stitch. It tends to show up often in my designs.
I also really like working in the back loop only.

What is/are your favorite crochet tool(s) or notion(s)?

My Furls Fiberarts Candy Shop hooks. I bought them in spurts, splurging until I had the entire rainbow. I love them.

Twisted Cowl, tunisian crochet pattern by ACCROchet

Twisted Cowl, Tunisian Crochet
copyright ACCROchet

When you aren’t crocheting, what are you doing?

When what?

(HA! HA!, I can totally relate!) Where can we find you?

Facebook: facebook.com/accrochet
Ravelry: ravelry.com/designers/accrochet
Website: accrochet.com

Thank you!
I’ve really enjoyed meeting Julie aka ACCROchet. I’m making a Melo Hat as part of my Stash Bust Challenge, and part of the GAL of course!  Check back for the finished photo. 

Glacier

 

Gift-A-Long Designer, Sarah Jane Jackson

Sarah Jane Jackson, Crochet Designer

Frostberry Hat crochet pattern by Sarah Jane

The Frostberry Hat Crochet Pattern by Sarah Jane

I’ve not had the opportunity to meet Sarah in person (I’m in Georgia, USA she’s in Queensland, Australia) but  was first introduced to her when I tested The Acacia Cloche pattern of hers in 2011.  She was so sweet and friendly during the test that I was more than excited when I had an opportunity to get to know her a little bit better through an online designer forum.  In the last year, I’ve made two more of her patterns, The Winter Tracks Hat and The Frostberry Hat.  Her designs are beautiful and stylish and always current with today’s trends.  And of course, exquisitely modeled on her lovely children.

Let’s get to know a little more about Sarah.

The biggest thing about me I guess is that we have 8 children! 7 of them at home, the kids at home range in age from 23 down to 4 and 5 of them are boys (which always leaves me short of models!). It’s busy but housework seems to have become more optional as I get older, leaving me enough time to crochet ;). My youngest starts school next year and I am hoping to turn designing into a decent part time job…..we will see how that goes!

How long have you been designing and what led you to design?

Evening Delight Shawl by Sarah Jane

When I first learned to crochet I only knew chain, so I used to design things made with chains and find a way to link them together. I didn’t learn to read patterns until I was about 20 so I have always designed. A few years ago I came across a little ad on a website looking for sample knitters/crocheters and designers, I sent off an email and haven’t looked back since…..I stumbled across Ravelry about 6 months later and that was a match made in heaven, I couldn’t believe that there was actually somewhere I could sell my own designs!

Why crochet? What is it that interests you?  What do you enjoy most about the craft?

I have crocheted as long as I can remember with a few breaks for other types of craft. I always come back to crochet because I love the portability and convenience, Also the sheer creativity in being able to take a piece of string and a hook then being able to turn it into something beautiful, it thrills me every time!

What inspires you and/or your designs?

Steam Punk Corset Crochet Pattern by Sarah JaneJust about anything, colour, fashion and yarn I think would be the top 3. I am often inspired by a stitch pattern I love and want to find a way to use and I often want to create a certain ‘look’ with what I am making. My steampunk collection was the result of chasing a type of style or ‘look’.

How many WIPs do you currently have and do you think you will ever finish all of them?

Hmmmm I am not counting my wip’s…I might give myself a heart attack.  I am sure I have more than I actually remember! I always have at least 3 things on the go at a time and there are a few that are in time out or hibernation. I am pretty ruthless though, if I get bored with them or decide I won’t finish then I rip them out.  I am often ripping something out if I am not happy with it. The ladies in my craft group have been known to almost cry when I start ripping something that is almost completed (this happens more often than I like to admit).

What was the last thing you crocheted for yourself?

Winter Tracks crochet hat pattern by Sarah Jane

Unfortunately here in Brisbane most of my style of crochet is not really wearable although I try and wear at least some of my hats. I haven’t finished anything specifically for myself yet but I am in the (very slow) process of making myself a summer top. I’m not quite sure I will ever get it finished though as the colour isn’t thrilling me at the moment.

Thanks Sarah!  I anxiously await some more of  your designs.

The hat at above is Sarah’s Winter Tracks Hat.  It is the second time I made this hat.  I accidentally left the brim off this one but it still looks fantastic anyway.  See below for links to where you can find Sarah and her designs.

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/sarah-jane
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sjack44/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahjaneDesignscrochet
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/Sarahsshoppe

 

Whispers Crochet Shawl Pattern