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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The Potholders Have Arrived!

YIPPEE!  They arrived!  The packaged didn’t even make it to the house before I ripped it opened.  And they are gorgeous!  In May I posted about a crochet potholder swap  (Post 1 and Post 2) and I’m super excited to share with you the three beautiful potholders I received in the swap.  I can’t wait for the next one 🙂

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The round purple/teal was crocheted by Sybil. The pattern is called Disc Disc.

The lavender and white was crocheted by Linda. The pattern is Vintage Climbing Trellis Hexagon.

The dusty red and indigo was crocheted by Linda. The pattern is an Ornamental African Flower Potholder!

hotpads

Crocheted shorts pattern – OMG I found one!

A while back I posted about men in crocheted pants.  That post has become quite a hit-obviously, who wouldn’t want to see men in crocheted pants!  I get a lot of emails asking where to get the patterns.  And I have always had to respond “Sorry, I don’t know.”  Until now.

crocheted shorts by eco-create

Pattern and photo by Kirstie Adamson with EcoCreate. Photo used with permission.

These amazing crocheted shorts can now be made with the awesome pattern by Kirstie Adamson.   I haven’t tried the pattern…yet.  I’m envisioning a pair of capris in blues and greens.  I have the perfect yarn.  I just need to find the time, and the guts, to go for it.   If you decide to make a pair of these shorts, please let me know.  I’d love to see them!!!  The link for the pattern is here: Crochet Shorts Pattern by Kirstie Adamson.  While you are there, check out the website and blog for some great upcycling ideas and tips.

crochet patterns for men

crocheted scarf pattern, del mar, by Darleen Hopkins

New Pattern Alert! del mar Scarf, crochet

I’m super excited to share the latest #CbyDH  pattern! The del mar Scarf. The crochet pattern is pretty easy.  There is one tricky part where one motif ends and another begins (all worked in one piece, seamlessly!) but the scarf is charted so if you get a little confused, you can always refer to the chart.  After you make a couple motifs you won’t even need the pattern, it is that easy!

Did you know? del mar is Spanish for “from the sea” or “of the sea”.

Pattern information can be found here: The del mar Scarf

And, like all my patterns, the del mar Scarf is included in the Crochet by Darleen Hopkins Buy 2 Patterns, Get a 3rd for FREE! sale on Ravelry. No coupon needed.

Black Raspberry Shawl Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Crochet Potholder Swap!

Potholder swap 1 WEB

First completed potholder for the swap!

I’ve always loved potholder patterns.  There are so many cute, silly and fun patterns available.   I have a lot of crocheted potholders.  They were my first crochet projects.   It was a great way to perfect my tension.  But because they were so simple, they are plain and not at all exciting and are showing some wear.  I’ve had them for about 10 years now.    So when I heard about a potholder swap, I was super excited.

I’ve never participated in any swaps before and have always been curious about them.   I’ve learned that you make the item then mail it along with return postage to whomever the organizer of the swap may be.  She (or he) sorts them all and mails you an item made by another person.  For this swap we are each making three potholders of the same pattern.  The colors can vary but the pattern is to be consistent.  Then, we will receive back three potholders made by three different people!  I think it will be awesome to see the work of others.

I had a heck of a time deciding on which pattern to use.  I was tempted to go whimsical.  Many of my bib patterns could easily be converted to potholders and I was really leaning toward making three pigs (three little pigs, get it?)  But then I saw this Granny Stitch Potholder pattern by Recycle Cindy.  I thought it was adorable and genius in its simplicity.   And I’m really into grannies lately as I’m working on three different pattern designs that incorporate granny squares.  So, the combination of this cute potholder pattern with my quest to work from stash and I quickly became hooked (sorry, no pun intended).

So far I’ve completed one potholder.  Each one is using up a lot of scraps, which is great but results in a ton of ends to weave in.  My goal is to get them in the mail this weekend.  I have a lot of weaving and crocheting to do to in order to finish!

Are you interested in participating?  Check out the Ravelry group here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/2016-potholder-swap

hotpadsHot Pads-Peppermint Pals, Snowman and Gingerbread Man

Crochet Pattrn for Kitty Cat Throw Blanket

The story behind the Baby Kitty, Patchwork Throw Blanket Crochet Pattern

The Baby Kitty Blanket

BabyKitty Halloween

Josh, dressed as a kitty for Halloween. He’s showing me his tail with his right hand and you can see Baby in his left.

Some people are dog people, some are cat people.  I’m a cat person.  I’ve had a cat for most of my life so it wasn’t much of a surprise that my youngest son, Josh, loved kitties too.  When he was about three years old, my mother bought him a beanie type stuffed kitty.   The kitty was named “Baby” and Josh carried her around everywhere.  At night I had to wrap Baby in a blue cotton blanket.  She had to be wrapped really tight, rolled up in the middle with just her head popping out.   Baby went on many adventures and very quickly became one of many stuffed kitties that had to be in bed at night with Josh.  But Baby was always his favorite and always the one to be wrapped up extra special.   Like all sweet little boys, Josh has grown and is turning into an amazing young man (14 just last month!) and the kitties have been replaced with things like an iPad and XBox.

Baby Kitty throw blanket crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsA few years ago I was working on a new method for a blanket design, Made with Love, Patchwork Heart Baby Blanket.   When I was drawing it out, Josh watched me.  After a few minutes he said I should make a kitty blanket.  He said I should make it like the heart blanket, but a kitty.  It took me a while but I did design that kitty blanket.  Josh helped me a lot.  He worked with me on the preliminary drawings.  He helped me pick the right colors for both the kitty, blacks and grays of course, just like Baby, and the background, blue of course! And he helped me arrange the squares to avoid the placement of identical colors next to each other.  The child is a puzzle whiz and his help was greatly appreciated!  The naming of the pattern was easy, Baby Kitty.

This blanket has so many memories stitched into it.  Not only the precious memories of Josh’s suggestion and help, but I made most of the squares while on a family road trip.  It was a wonderful family adventure of which the blanket serves as a souvenir.  This blanket will be treasured forever, as will Baby, with her matted fur and scratched up eyes.  She is a sweet reminder of the past and of the sweet little boy who loved her.

In celebration of National Crochet Month and Crochetville’s Blog Tour, I’m giving away 5 copies of this pattern.  Find out more on how you can win a digital copy on my Facebook Page.

PatchworkKitty-001

 

New Pattern Alert-Peek-a-Boo Lion Baby Blanket

March-In Like a Lion

I remember, in either 1st or 2nd grade, an elementary teacher of mine having a huge calendar in her room.  Each month had a saying but the only one I really remember was March-In like a lion, out like a lamb.  I remember thinking it was really weird-how could a lion turn into a lamb??? and what does that have to do with March???  For whatever reason this saying stuck with me for many, many (many…) years.  So when it came time to publish my latest design, I thought the perfect day would March 1!  I’m pleased to announce that March 2016 is indeed, coming in like a lion.  A Peek-a-Boo Lion to be exact.

The Peek-a-Boo Lion Baby Blanket is now available!  Enjoy!!  and enjoy the rest of March!

And of course, is included in my Buy 2 Patterns, get a 3rd for FREE offer! No coupon needed and offered on my Ravelry site.  Shown below in Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice yarn.

Lion Baby Blanket crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins. Peek-a-Boo Lion #CbyDH

Shells of Love-001

Confessions of a Crochet Addict

You know you are addicted to crochet when…

KissyFishFace (1000x1000) …you are 2 stitches into a 100 stitch row and it is time to leave and you say, “I just have to finish this row first”.

…you keep a project bag in your car for the “just in case I have to wait five minutes to crochet while waiting for ______ to finish”.   (Fill in the blank with any child’s sporting or school event.)

…you find stitch markers in your slippers.

…you buy a new camera just so you can take better photos of your projects.

…you buy a smartphone just so you can take quick photos of your projects.

…instead of counting sheep, you count stitches.

…you don’t mind arriving early to work to secure a parking spot because you are happy to sit in your car and crochet for a few minutes.

…you recall your vacations by which project you made while traveling.  “Oh I remember that trip.  That was when I made….”

…you are more excited for a “snow/ice day” than your kids.

…when packing for vacation you pack your yarn first.

…you find stitch markers in every room of your house.

…you post more photos of yarn and your projects than pictures of your kids.

…road trip = more crochet time (oh, and family time too!).

…you compare how much something costs to skeins of yarn. (It’s how much?  Gosh that’s like five skeins of yarn!)

…your idea of a good date night involves a yarn store and coupons.

…your idea of an exciting Friday night is blocking a shawl.

…you have daily UFO sightings at your house.

…your teenage son actually knows the difference between knitting and crocheting.

…you find stitch markers in the dryer.

…you are having a panic attack because you can’t find your *favorite* G hook.

…you tell your son, “Sorry, your homework has to wait.  I need the computer for this pattern.”

…you’ve used the phrase “yarn diet”.

…you have more throw blankets than couches, loveseats and chairs combined.

…new car shopping involves checking for enough *leg AND crochet bag* room.

…you find crochet hooks under your couch.

…you find yarn under your couch.

…you find stitch markers under your couch.

…you have crocheted by candlelight.

…you get excited when your husband says “road trip” before you even know where he wants to visit.

…you take a vacation day to catch up on things at the house and the number one item on your list is to finish your current crochet project.

…your cat totally ignores the balls of yarn splayed across the floor, “Been there, done that-Meow!”

…you store yarn in your bathtub.

…you find stitch markers at work.

…you are annoyed when you DON’T have to wait at the doctor’s office.

…you have a room dedicated to just yarn and crochet.

…you think it is totally normal to ask someone his or her head circumference.

…you find pieces of yarn in your purse and your coat pockets.

…you find stitch markers in your purse and your coat pockets.

…you suffer from APDS* and AYDS*.

*APDS-Acquired Pattern Disorder Syndrome.  The inability to stop purchasing patterns, resulting in a collection of patterns that far exceeds your life expectancy.

*AYPS-Acquired Yarn Disorder Syndrome.  When you’ve acquired so much yarn you will never, ever use it all in 3 lifetimes.

…you find you can relate to all of the above!

We adopted our cat from a shelter so we don’t know a lot about her parents.  She does have some Manx in her as she does not have a tail.  So…. you might be addicted to crochet when your son asks you to crochet a tail for your cat and you pause a moment thinking over the possibility of this project.
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Relax! And enjoy your healthy addiction to crochet. Now go create something extraordinary.

EyeballPillow900

Stash Bust Update, Mid-December 2015

Final Count for 2015 Stash Bust Challenge??

Melo hat by ACCROchet

I finished what will likely be my last charitable project for 2015, the Melo Hat by ACCROchet.  It’s a super cute hat.  I had to adjust the pattern a little as my yarn was much thinner than the suggested yarn.  I ended up adding an additional pattern repeat and working a lot of extras rows.  It’s super slouchy with a removable pom-pom.  I hope a young teen will enjoy it.  I’m super happy I was able to complete this during the Gift-A-Long on Ravelry.  There is a slim chance I’ll have time to finish another hat before 2016 starts.  But if not, I’m pleased with the results to date!

The hat weighs over 4.25 ounces.

Total hats made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 12

Total bears made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 6

Total blankets made in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 2

Total weight of yarn used in the 2015 Stash Bust Challenge to date: 5 pounds, 5 ounces!
Spiffy

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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