Designer Interview: Irina Mulyavko

Amigurumi Crochet Designer, Irina Mulyavko

When you see the designs by Irina Mulyavko, you can’t help but smile. They are not just cute, they are delightful, charming and every other cute synonym in the English language. Let’s learn more about the designer behind some of the most adorable amigurumi crochet patterns available.

Amigurumi Cat in Sweater by Irina Mulyavko

Please, tell us a little about yourself and your designs.

My name is Irina. I live in Barnaul – this is a small beautiful city in Russia. I have an engineer education. I am a big fan of handmade! I always waited for the weekend to do my favorite thing – to sew and crochet. And today I am a former engineer and I am engaged in the creation of crochet designs. And I’m really happy! I can be found on Ravelry and on Instagram @crochetgift_shop

How long have you been crocheting?

My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was a little girl. Grandma taught me simple stitches. I liked it a lot! Later I learned to crochet on my own using the book. The first thing I crocheted was clothes for a small doll (I kept these doll clothes as a keepsake and maybe in the future I will show this project on Ravelry – called “my first work”). I continued to learn how to crochet. I crocheted lace doily, clothes and much more. 

Christmas Tree Ornament by Irina Mulyavko

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

Since childhood, I did not like to crochet according to the pattern. And the design came up on their own. Unofficially, I have been designing for many years. And officially the first design appeared in 2016. It was a Christmas snowflake. The Christmas theme dragged me on and I decided to continue to create templates. 

Why crochet? What is it that interests you?

It so happened that crocheting is very easy and interesting for me. I have nothing against knitting needles. But I do not own knitting needles. A few years ago I was asked why only the hook and do not own knitting needles? I said that I would start to study knitting needles when I ran out of ideas for crocheting. I want to realize everything! Ideas still haven’t ended! And I continue to work crochet. 

Amigurumi Giraffe by Irina Mulyavko

Do you enjoy other crafts or hobbies? or is there one that you would like to learn?

Yes, I like to sew. I love the world of fashion. For more than 20 years I have been making clothes and something for home. Perhaps in the future I would learn the trapunto technique. I am also interested in weaving. 

Cute Amigurumi Cactus by Irina Mulyavko

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

I rarely have multiple WIPs. I do not like unfinished WIP. But sometimes this happens due to the lack of the required amount of yarn. Then I have several WIPs in my work. 

What was the last thing you crocheted for yourself?

The last thing I did for myself was a dress with a full skirt. I dreamed about this! Design developed independently. Hooray! In my wardrobe addition! 

Amigurumi Bear in Sweater by Irina Mulyavko

What is your favorite design of yours and why?

I can’t single out just one design. I love amigurumi. But I was always scared that it was necessary to sew a lot of parts of amigurumi. I decided to develop amigurumi, where there is little to sew parts. The first to appear was a bear in a sweater. I liked him and I made some more animals. I love them all!

When you do not crochet, what do you do?

I love nature! I like to walk through the woods – for mushrooms or just like that.I like to go to the philharmonic to a concert of classical music.I love coloring books. I fell in love with Johanna Basford magical colorful book The Mysterious Garden.

Where can we find you?

On Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/irina-mulyavko
On Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/crochetgiftsshop/
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crochetgift_shop/

Thank you, Irina. You designs are beyond cute and are sure to bring happiness to crocheters around the globe. I love them all!!!

Meet Crochet Designer Rachy Newin

Crochet Designer Rachy Newin.

Chances are if you’ve recently seen a beautiful, lacy crocheted shawl, it is one of Rachy’s. Racy is also participating in the 2019 Indie Designer Gift-A-Along and has graciously agreed to be interviewed. So…let’s get to know Rachy Newin!

Please tell a little bit about yourself and your designs.

I love crochet and I love hand-dyed yarn and my patterns are designed to pair the two together perfectly. I focus on higher end yarns and love playing around with colors and texture and lace. Lately, I’ve also been super into beads – they’re fun and deceptively easy, and I love the way it sparkles!

Sugar Plum Shawl by Rachy Newin

How long have you been crocheting?

I’ve been on Ravelry since December 2013, so I’ve probably been crocheting since about November 2013! I’ve been crafting in various ways for my whole life, but only taught myself to crochet as an adult.

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

My first ever pattern was a super quick freebie I posted five years ago. I freehanded it and people asked for the pattern, so I wrote it out and popped it up on Ravelry. A few months later, I started getting more involved with creating my own patterns. I walked into a LYS for the first time and fell in love, but couldn’t find any patterns that would work with their yarns the way I wanted them to – so I set out to design the patterns I wanted to make.

How did you first learn to crochet?  

Libraries and YouTube! First step was hitting up the library for every book I could find on crochet and yarn. But it’s hard to follow the steps from books alone, so I spent a lot of time sitting in front of YouTube videos and watching how my hands should move.

Starlight Shawl by Rachy Newin

Do you have any other crafts or hobbies? or is there one you would like to learn?

Does collecting yarn count as a separate hobby? I’d love to learn all the crafts – especially spinning and yarn dyeing – but I don’t have the time or space in my house to learn it all.

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

I refuse to count all my WIPs all at once, I’m not sure I want to face that reality, but I usually have five to seven WIPs with me at any given time. I would love to theoretically finish them all one day, but with the way I keep getting distracted by new projects, I doubt that’ll ever happened.

Keep Breathing Cowl by Rachy Newin

What was the last thing you crocheted for yourself?

Most of my design samples are for me! There’s a very short list of people I’m willing to craft for as I only crochet for people who appreciate the time and effort. I’d rather keep the gorgeous lace shawl for me than give it to someone who won’t love it.

What is your favorite stitch?

Half-double crochet! It’s solid enough to be cozy and warm, but has enough flexibility to give the project good drape. I use hdc a *lot*.

What pattern/design are you most proud of? Why?

It’s so impossible to pick just one! Maybe the Bumps in the Road Shawl, I’m really pleased with how the technical aspects of the pattern work out. It’s a super wearable shape and the body features a modified stitch that’s fully reversible and delightfully textured. The pattern is also designed so that you don’t have to cut the yarn – there’s no ends to weave in, except for the start and end of each skein. Plus, the math is set up so you can work any number of rows in the body and add the edging at any point. I absolutely love the finished look of the shawl, but I’m especially proud of the behind-the-scenes technical bits that make it really fun to work up.

Bonfire Shawl by Rachy Newin

 What is your favorite crochet tool or notion?

Bobby pins! They’re the perfect stitch marker. Cheap, easy to slide on and off, and you can pick them up anywhere in case of emergency.

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

I’m pretty low key. If I’m not crocheting, I’m probably hanging out with the dog, playing games on my phone, or deep in a book. My ideal afternoon is a dog on my lap, a soothing mindless project to work on, and a hardcover book so I can read while I crochet.

Where can we find you?

Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/rachy-newin
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/rachynewindesigns
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachynewindesigns/

Thanks Rachy! Your designs are beautiful!!!





Designer Interview: Fiona Langtry

One of my favorite parts of the Indie Design Gift-a-Long is the opportunity to find new designers. Today I have the honor of introducing you to crochet designer, Fiona “Fi” Langtry.

Please tell a little bit about yourself and your designs.

I’m a crochet designer of ladies’ garments and accessories from Australia. Trevor and I have been married for almost 31 years and we live in a small town called Yass with our two teenagers.

I love to design and make gloves, scarves and beanies, along with ponchos and capes. My style is boho-shic – relaxed fit, comfortable and often colorful.  I love working with chunky, unusual and/or hand-dyed yarns.  No fiber or yarn scares me – I simply grab a big hook (9 or 10mm are often in my hand!)

Orchid Vest by Fiona Langtry

How long have you been crocheting/knitting?

I was a knitter.  I learned when I was around 10 and never stopped.  I would have said I was an intermediate level; I could make fairly intricate lacework, do color work and cables… but I was SLOW.

I became a crocheter. When I was in my 40s, a friend needed help making lots of brooches.  I discovered how fast crochet was, and I’ve never looked back!

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

I published my first design in May 2014.  The EasyFit Beanie was a “happy accident” that I decided to write down for others to make too.  I had already been a tester for others, and therefore knew some of the process, so I gave my own patterns a go.  I now have over 60 patterns published and another 5 in various stages of the design / testing process.

Traverse my Heart by Fiona Langtry

What is your design process?

Many times, I will hold the end of a ball of yarn in my fingers and start crocheting with little-to-no plan in place.  I may plan a hat, or some gloves or a poncho, but sometimes that will be the extent of the plan.  Often the yarn will drive the textures I choose to incorporate. 

I will usually make notes on my tablet while I create, then do the actual pattern writing on my computer.

Once a pattern is at a “certain stage”, I will send an email to my testing pool and request expressions of interest. 

The testing stage can take a few weeks to a few months, depending on the size and complexity of the pattern in question.  Once my testers are happy, I send the pattern to my tech editor and publish on Ravelry and my Website.  Most patterns also end up in my Etsy shop and on LoveCrafts. 

Shell Mitts by Fiona Langtry

Do you have any other crafts or hobbies? or is there one you would like to learn?

When my teenagers “leave home”, I plan on learning how to spin.  I am deliberately NOT learning until then, because I feel like it will become an all-consuming hobby and for the moment I don’t have time for anything else J

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

I designed the Senorita Shawl using 3 balls of yarn I picked up at Lincraft (an Aussie chain store for crafters).  It wasn’t intentionally for me, but this shawl/scarf became my wardrobe staple this past winter – a scarf under coats, and a shawl when the coat wasn’t required.  I love it!

 What are your favorite stitches?

I love using “cheat” stitches – I discovered “foundation” stitch and fell in love with it (no more working into chains, YAY!), and then I discovered Chainless Starting stitches – again, no more chains!  Most of my patterns include one, if not both of these amazing alternatives to traditional methods… I have customers who thank me for introducing these stitches to them, some after 30 years of crocheting!

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

My proudest accomplishment is the Desert Dreams Poncho – it was a “barely there” idea for nearly 18 months, and then, when I was recuperating from minor surgery in July 2018, I sat and finally worked it out.  I ran a CAL group on Facebook for my testers and we had a lot of fun getting this pattern to the final release in December 2018.  It has been my most popular pattern across all platforms in 2019 and those who complete it are really proud of the final results!

Desert Dreams Poncho by Fiona Langtry

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

I love love love my Clover Amour hooks – I have 2 full sets, and they’re the only way I can complete the number of projects I make each year. 

There is a screw-top magnetic needle case that means I’m never searching for a needle to complete a project – I store all sizes in it, from giant eye needles for super chunky yarn, through to the needle I use for tiny buttons.

And… my snippers – they travel with me almost everywhere – and they’re safe because they have a lid to keep the blades from stabbing anything!

Where can we find you?
Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/stores/reve-design-co/
Website – get a free pattern: https://revedesignco.com/free-gift
IG: https://instagram.com/revedesignco

Thank you Fi! I agree, you should be proud of the Desert Dreams Poncho. It is AMAZING!

On your mark, get set, GIFT-A-LONG!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is BAAAACCKKK! #GAL2019 #giftalong2019

I’m super excited to announce I’m participating in the Indie Gift-a-Long again this year (year 7!!) so….What is a Gift-a-Long.? I believe it is best stated from source, the Indie Design Gift-a-Long group on Ravelry, so…

What is the Indie Design Gift-A-Long?
It’s prepping for the holidays as only fiber folks can, with special deals from hundreds of indie designers!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 5 week long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by almost 300 independent designers. From November 26th at 8pm (US-EST) through December 1st at 11:59 pm (US-EST) these indie designers will be discounting between 10 – 20 of their patterns by 25% for this event.

There are eight KAL/CALs to participate in, prizes of all sorts given out, games, and generally a lot of fun! The Gift-A-Long KAL/CALs will run from November 26th at 8pm US EST through – December 31, 2019 at 11:59pm US EST. All patterns by the participating designers are eligible for the KAL/CALs and projects made from all not-free patterns by the participating designers are eligible to win prizes. Please note that all prize winners must be group members to be eligible to win a prize.

Join in the fun, discover new designers and patterns and win lots of prizes. It’s FREE, you just need to join Ravelry, free, and then join the Indie Design Gift-a-Long group, also free. It’s that simple. See you there!!

New Pattern Alert! Cute as a Button Baby Blanket

Cute as a Button Baby Blanket crochet pattern now available!

Cute as a Button Baby Blanket crochet patternCrochet pattern for a baby blanket Cute as a ButtonThe Cute as Button Baby Blanket crochet pattern is now available! The pattern is easy and written for worsted weight yarn.  I used Knit Picks Mighty Stitch for the sample.  Pattern includes full written instructions, charts and a tutorial for sewing on the buttons.

You can find out more about the pattern here: Cute as a Button Baby Blanket

This pattern is included in my Buy 2, Get a 3rd for FREE sale! No coupon needed, Ravelry will automatically deduct the lowest priced pattern from your purchase.

Happy Crocheting!

Christmas-Tree-Pillows-crochet-pattern-by-Darleen-Hopkins-1

Crocheting can renew the spirit and calm the mind.

Yarn and crocheting with cat on porch to calm the mind and renew the spirit.

Crocheting can renew the spirit and calm the mind.

It is late summer and in the southeast and that means thunderstorms with threats of severe storms and tornadoes. More often than not, the threat is just that, a threat and we only have a mild storm with a brilliant show of lightening high in the sky. I look forward to rainy days and often find myself sitting on my screened-in-porch during these thunderstorms. I turn on my twinkle lights*, put my feet up, crochet and listen.

I relish the sound of the rolling thunder in the distance and when the rain comes, the sound as it falls through the trees. My cat joins me on the loveseat, curls up next to me after receiving her mandatory three minutes of petting, and falls fast asleep surely dreaming of the yarn just out of her reach. The sounds of her purring and the rain, combined with my silent counting, calm me and quiet my mind. All the stresses of the week fade away and I lose myself in the repetition of the stitches.

It is in these peaceful and meditative moments that I am able re-center myself and restore my energy for the busy weeks ahead. Like the trees and all the natural beauty that surrounds us, I, too, am renewed by the rain.

Before I know it the rain begins to subside and the summer bugs and birds return to their songs. I’ll hear the muted television from inside where my husband is on the couch most likely sleeping through a televised sporting event. And I’ll hear an occasional laugh as one of my sons plays video games online with a friend, and the chink of weights while the other son is working out. Now I am not just renewed but full of love and thankfulness for my amazing family.

I have spent many weekends on my porch crocheting and working on new designs. It is the one place where I sit and am able to concentrate on my projects without the distractions of dishes in the sink or paperwork next to my computer. Many of those weekends have been spent listening to not just the sounds of the rain but the neighborhood as well; grass being mowed in the distance, an occasional dog barking and the abundance of wildlife with buzzing cicadas, birds singing their mating songs, squirrels chattering and leaping through the trees, and the deer rummaging for food while crunching the leaves beneath their hooves.

I am so very thankful for these peaceful moments in my life. It is precious time to reflect and time when I can stitch my designs with love and happiness in my heart.

Happy Crocheting,
Darleen

*If you keep clear holiday lights up year round they are called twinkle lights.

Crochet pattern for a fruit fly trap

The Prettiest Fly Catcher EVER!

Crochet pattern for a fruit fly trap

Crochet a Fruit Fly Death Trap

Every summer we have an issue with fruit flies. As soon as the weather turns warm POOF they appear. And this summer was no different. Most years they aren’t too bad but for some reason they were worse this year. I did some research online and found a few do-it-yourself options for fruit fly control. One that stood out was to make your own trap with apple cider vinegar. The site suggested pouring apple cider vinegar in a bowl and adding a few pieces of fruit. It then said to cover the top with saran and poke a couple of holes in it. The idea was that the vinegar and fruit would attract the flies, they would enter via the holes and then get stuck. Well, this worked for a few days and it seemed like the flies were going away. Then we started seeing more and more and more flies. What the heck? So I looked at my “trap” and realized I WAS BREEDING FRUIT FLIES! The buggers had laid eggs on the fruit and enough had figured out how to get out of the “trap”. So much for that idea. At this point the amount of fruit flies in my kitchen was so bad that I broke down and purchased fly ribbon. You know the stuff. Flies are attracted to the icky sticky goo on the ribbon, get stuck to it and die. Tacky, both literally and figuratively. But desperate times call for desperate measures and I hung a couple strips up in the kitchen. Within 24 hours they were full. Thankfully I was able to get rid of most of the flies but the sight of those nasty strips was beyond GROSS. So I had to come up with a better solution. And back to the inter-webs I went. This time I found a site that suggested a similar method but omitted the fruit (duh) and added a couple drops of dish soap to the apple cider vinegar. I tried this method and it worked! This time the buggers drowned, sorry little guys, and most certainly were not breeding. Yippee! But it was still ugly to look at. Not near as bad as the fly strips, but still, ugly. This is where crochet comes to the rescue.

The Zinnia Votive is a pattern for a sleeve that covers a small jelly jar. I pulled mine off the shelf, replaced the votive inside with apple cider vinegar, added a couple drops of dish soap, covered the top with saran, secured with a rubber band, poked a couple holes in the top and now I have a the prettiest fruit fly death trap that has ever existed. 🙂

Fruit flies enter this pretty trap and never, ever leave.

I keep my Zinnia Fruit Fly Death Trap on my kitchen counter, just behind my bananas. Every couple of days I check it and sure enough, there are fruit fly corpses floating in it. I change the solution inside weekly because dead flies are gross. And I put in just enough solution to catch the files but isn’t visible above the bottom band. If you find yourself with one too many fruit flies in your home, you may want to give this pretty trap a try.

Happy Crocheting,
Darleen