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!!

Shells of Love-001

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

Gift-A-Long Designer, Denise Balvanz

Denise Balvanz, Knitting Designer

Reindeer hat crochet pattern by Denise BalvanzI had the pleasure to interview Denise for my second post in the Designer Interview Series.  Most of her designs are knit although she does have the cutest little crochet reindeer hat I have ever seen.  Seriously, do they get any cuter than this? Denise is also participating in the Gift-A-Long this year and has hand-picked a couple of her favorite designs that would make great gift ideas for the holiday season.  I am in awe of her colorwork and a huge fan of the Roses Christmas Stockings series, see photo below.  With great pleasure, I’d like to introduce Denise Balvanz!

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Amaliya Knit Pattern Set includes caplet, hat, mittens and fingerless mitts.

Amaliya Knit Pattern Set includes caplet, hat, mittens and fingerless mitts. Modeled by one of Denise’s beautiful daughters.

Most people who meet me remember first that we have 8 children! Most of them are grown now but we still have 7th and 12th graders that we are homeschooling. I have sewn and knit a lot of clothes for growing children! Over the past 10 years I have taught at my LYS, spent 3+ years working with a small US-based Norwegian yarn distributor where I packed orders, set up a retail website, helped proofread/tech-edit the patterns she was translating and ran the business when she was out of the country, and most recently, spent more time designing patterns and knitting for fun!

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

My love of fiber crafts started when I was quite young, maybe 6 or 7 years old. I remember a friend of my mom’s helping me learn to knit when we were on vacation. My grandmother was a knitter and crocheter too but mostly I am self-taught.

What other crafts do you enjoy?

If it involves fiber I have probably given it a try; embroidery, counted cross stitch, needlepoint, macramé (hey, it was the 70’s). My biggest loves though are knitting, crocheting and sewing.

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

I have a bent toward entrepreneurism. I was a custom dressmaker/alterationist for 25 years as my children were growing. Then about 10 years ago, I walked into the LYS and was asked if I would like to teach some classes. Some of my designs were patterns for the classes I taught at there.

I have never been good at following a pattern without making at least a few changes to it. My first designs for my own use came about because of that. Except for the stranded patterns that I generally chart first, I design a lot of things on the needles as I knit. My knitting friends are always amazed at that. I have the ability to “see” the knitting in my head as I knit and even as I read a pattern.

What inspires you and/or your designs?

Endless Roses Christmas Stocking knitting pattern set by Denise BalvanzI love clean, classic styles; cables and textures; and the 2-color Norwegian designs. Working with a Norwegian yarn line and visiting Norway in 2010 were highlights of my designing career. I am hoping to use more of the ideas from the Norwegian traditions in my future designs.

Thank you so much Denise!  You can find out more about Denise and her beautiful patterns at the following links:

Ravelry — DeniseInIowa,
http://www.ravelry.com/designers/denise-balvanz
Website — http://denisesneedleworks.com
Blog — http://denisesneedleworks.blogspot.com/
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/DenisesNeedleworks
Pinterest — http://www.pinterest.com/DeniseInIowa/

Shawls B2G1

Gift-A-Long Designer, Cynthia Levy

Cynthia Levy, Knitting Designer

Twisted Maze Socks, knit pattern by Cynthia Levy http://www.ravelry.com/people/redtigerOne of the great things about the Gift-A-Long on Ravelry is the opportunity to get to know other designers.  Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Cynthia Levy, a knitting designer.  Many of Cynthia designs incorporate amazing and lovely cabling.  She has published a number of beautiful knit sock patterns as well as some quick-to-knit designs that would be perfect for the holidays that are fast approaching.   After you get to know her a little bit better, check out her gift suggestions and get stitching!

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

I’ve been knitting ever since I was a pre-teen figure skater.  I considered it essential to have a sweater and mittens to coordinate with every skating outfit and the best way to collect them was to make them myself.  The first thing I actually remember knitting was a fair isle yoke sweater to match a skating skirt.  My mother was used to my habit of jumping right into a complex project, instead of ever starting a new hobby with something simple, so she agreeably purchased the yarn and delegated any necessary assistance to my grandmother.

What is your favorite design of yours, why?

Snow Flurry Mittens Knit Pattern by Cynthia Levy (Redtiger)

Snow Flurry Mittens by Cynthia Levy (Redtiger)

One of my favorite original designs is Snow Flurry Mittens.  I live in the Canadian sub-arctic and -40C is normal winter weather.  Anything warm and cozy is bound to be well loved by me.  The pattern was a bit of a challenge to get just right so I’m quite proud of it.  The snowflake pattern is worked with the mitten held inside-out, so that the pattern stitch can be easily accomplished in the round, and a variety of needle sizes are used to accommodate the gauges of the various stitches.

 What is your favorite project of yours, why?

I absolutely adore Julia Farwell Clay’s Bartok Tunic pattern published in Interweave Knits Spring 2013.  I fell in love with the pattern the second I saw it.  I made my tunic in the yarn and colors specified in the magazine, but shortened the length and narrowed the sleeves.  It’s the most comfortable sweater ever and garners compliments everywhere.

 What are your favorite knit tools or notions?

stitch markers https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/caliopesfibreI have a real weakness for double-pointed sock needles.  My current favorites are Knitters Pride Karbonz and Kollage square needles.  And I have recently become a fan of pretty stitch markers.  I recently acquired some stitch markers from Caliope’s Fibre that make me happy whenever I look at them.

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

If I’m not knitting or designing, I’m probably toiling away at my more than full-time day job.  But if I’m not working or knitting, I certainly won’t be idle.  My husband is a private pilot so our summers are dedicated to enjoying our little Cessna floatplane.  My other activities include pottery, quilting, weaving, tole painting and stained glass, as well as fishing, camping, hiking, gardening, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. Too many interests, too little time!

 Where can we find you?

Eye of the Helix Sock Pattern by Cynthia LevyThe best place to find me is on Ravelry as redtiger.  I spend way too much time gazing at all the great patterns and yarn displayed there.  My original designs are available through my shops on Ravelry, Craftsy and Patternfish.  I’m also on Twitter as Redtigerdesigns.

 

Thank you Cynthia!  Your designs are beautiful and inspiring.  I’m a huge fan of your gorgeous cabling.  Keep warm (-40C !!!) and happy stitching!