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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Hot pad crochet pattern. Christmas candy, gingerbread man and snowman

Summer 2015 Wrap Up

Better late than never…

Wow, you know you are a little behind in posting blogs when you find one from -3 MONTHS AGO-that was never finalized and posted.  Well, here it is, a little late and a little out of season.  I’ll try to be a little more timely with the next one!!

August 2, 2015
It seems so odd to me to be thinking that summer is almost over on August 2, but it is; summer vacation anyway.  I’ve lived in Georgia 18 years now and I still haven’t gotten used to kids starting school in early August.  But we have open house tomorrow and the first day of school starts on Thursday.  My oldest has already started his high school marching band practices (Nov. 1 UPDATE: one football game left in the season) and I’ve had my youngest “training” for middle school cross-country all summer.  The first meet is just 3 weeks from tomorrow! (Nov. 1 UPDATE: He has completed his cross-country season and won the Coach’s award for being a good example and having a positive attitude! So proud of him!) Our summer has been busy with a nice family vacation, some friends over for sleepover parties, a camp here and there, getting wisdom teeth removed for one child and the other getting braces, and teaching the oldest to drive (wow!).  With all this, I did manage to squeeze in a little crochet time.

Hot pad crochet pattern. Christmas candy, gingerbread man and snowmanOwl crochet pattern amigurumi by Darleen Hopkins

In May the Peppermint Pals Hot Pad set was released and I was very excited to complete my charity lapghan for donation to the local nursing home in May as well.

Shawl-Moxie Crochet PatternShells of Love crochet baby blanket

June was a little quiet while I worked on a hat for Halos of Hope but July was BUSY! The Owl Always Love You amigurumi pattern was released in July as was my 4th shawl, Moxie. In addition, the Shells of Love baby blanket pattern was updated. Phew! July was a busy, busy month.

Yesterday, August 1, I posted a holiday stocking pattern for testing and hope to have it available by September 1. (Nov. 1 UPDATE: It is now available! It is hard to think of Christmas when the summer bugs are still singing but the holidays will be here in just a few short months.

The two months of no school and my adjusted work schedule have been nice but I am looking forward to the routines that the school year brings us.  I’m always sad when the summer bugs (the singing ones, not the biting ones) go away.  I love listening to them while I crochet on my back porch.

Enough Snow Already

 Seriously? More snowy yuckiness?

Crochet Flapper Hat by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/waiting-for-spring-flapper-hat-with-roseI had just stepped out of the shower when I received the call that my boys’ school had a two-hour delay, what?  Thor (is that the name of the latest winter storm?) was only supposed to bring us some nighttime lows.  Shortly after that call, I received a text that my job, the local university, had a one hour delay.  Universities aren’t so quick to close or delay, so I figured that warranted a look outside and sure enough, there was snow on the ground.  It was only a dusting and I can’t really complain as I know other southern areas got a lot of snow and northern areas will receive even more, but still, enough is enough!

Spring will be here in TWO WEEKS! so in celebration of warmer days ahead, I’m offering my Waiting for Spring, Flapper Hat at 50% off for the next week.  Use coupon code EnoughSnow2015 at checkout, Ravelry purchases only, expires 3/15/2015 midnight EST.  This is an awesome hat for young ladies in sizes to fit American Girl doll/preemie to small teen/preteen (approx. 12.25-20.5″ head circumference).  Crochet yours in aran/heavy worsted cotton for warmer days ahead or acrylic or wool for the colder days that continue to linger.

Why delay school with only a dusting?  Georgia isn’t equipped to handle snow or ice.  Our best winter mess removal tool is the sun.  See this post for more info on the lack of snow preparedness in Georgia.

Whispers, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/whispers-shawl-shawlette-or-scarf

Cubed Hat Crochet Pattern by Darleen Hopkins

Snow in Georgia and Warm Crocheted Hats

Bentley and Glacier Crochet Hat Paterns

Bentley and Glacier, Crocheted Hats for Young Men

Old Man Winter is Back in Georgia

This winter has been unreal.  The northeastern US has really been hit with insane amounts of snow.  Up until about 2 weeks ago, I thought the southeast was going to escape the wrath of the multiple winter storms.  Nope, no way.  Mother Nature wasn’t going to let The South get off easy.  We were hit with an ice storm on 2/16 and as a result, we went without power for 4 very long days.  Temperatures sunk to single digits during the time we had no heat and no water.  (This is something I learned the hard way.  When you have well water, once the power goes out, so does all water!) Although we had a generator to keep the freezer going, a few lights, an occasional TV show and the microwave to heat up hot chocolate, we were still pretty cold.  There’s just so much space heaters can do.  But we survived and we were lucky to have no damage to our water pipes.
Bentley Crochet Hat Pattern
Then more snow came on 2/23 and once again on 2/25.  Thankfully, we didn’t lose our power with the arrival of the last storm.  This last batch of snow brought us about 3 inches.  I used to live in upstate New York and up there 3 inches is nothing.  But here in Georgia we don’t have snow plows and only a couple salt trucks for the entire county.  Three inches of snow cripples all transportation.  In fact, my boys have only been to school one day in the last two weeks and I’m sure they will have another snow day tomorrow.  Temperatures are reaching into the 40s today and the sun is shining brightly.  Lots of the snowy mess is melting but what remains will freeze again tonight.  But before the sun melted it all away, my boys, my husband and myself got out and enjoyed this rarely seen winter wonderland.  And to keep them warm, I thought it would be fun for each of them to wear a different hat.  They modeled and I snapped pictures-Enjoy.Glacier Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen HopkinsCubed Hat Crochet Pattern by Darleen HopkinsBentley Crochet Hat Pattern by Darleen HopkinsGlacier Crochet Hat Pattern

Glacier, Cubed and Bentley Crocheted Hat Patterns

Glacier, Cubed and Bentley Crocheted Hats

 

Stitches South, Always a Pleasure

Stitches South and Halos of Hope

A few weeks ago I volunteered to help Pam with Halos of Hope and the booth at Stitches South (Stitches) in Atlanta.  For those not familiar with a Stitches event, it is an event put on by Knitting Universe; basically a yarnie convention.  There are classes for knitters and crocheters, a fashion show and a market where you can buy yarn (surprise!) but lots of other vendors are there too; local yarn shops will get booths, manufacturers of various knit and/or crochet related gadgets, local guilds, yarn companies and many more.  Halos of Hope had a booth to promote the charity, sell fundraising patterns and collect hats.  Last year Pam put out a call to help man the booth so she could take a break or two and I eagerly offered.  When she asked again this year, I was the first to raise my hand.

This is me donating hats I made.

This is me donating hats I made.

I absolutely love experiencing the stories of those who stop by.  Although many are happy, some are sad.  Those who told stories of loved ones who lost the battle to cancer made my heart weep. But being able to talk of their loved one, if only to a stranger and for a few minutes, helps them heal and allows their memory to live on.  One woman came by and told how her husband was recently diagnosed.  Pam instantly pulled out the big bin of donated hats and found some manly ones for him.

I love the stories of the survivors who stop by and the nurses who work in centers where the patients receive donated hats.  And I love when others come by with hats they made, whatever their motivation to knit, crochet or sew for Halos of Hope may be, they come with lovingly handmade hats to bring hope to others who need it most.

This year the Halos booth was located across from the Cascade Yarn booth.  I recently had the pleasure to work with Cascade Yarn’s Avalon when I designed the Picture Perfect Baby Blanket or Throw.  It is a lovely super-soft cotton yarn.  Pam introduced me Shannon Dunbabin with Cascade Yarn-a very nice woman who could knit without looking at her work-an accomplishment I hope to achieve one day with my crocheting.

Cascade YarnsThe event took place just south of Atlanta which is about an hour and a half drive from where I live.  So I made a day of it and spent a little bit of time enjoying the market before and after my shift was done.  After I strolled around the market and returned to the booth to collect my things, I found a bag full of yarn samples Shannon had given Pam to share with me!  How sweet! and when I walked over to thank her, she gave me another beautiful hank of yarn!  WOW!

I’ve already started working with the red Avalon yarn. Can you guess what I’m making?  I’ll give you a hint-it has to do with Halos of Hope’s current campaign,the Kanine Kap Kampaign and has something to do with a dog who is red (obviously) and big. : )

Stash Bust Update, March 2014, on Safari with Halos of Hope and Stitches South

I’m always so excited to hear when Halos of Hope has a new collection campaign. Mainly because they are awesome and do awesome work but also because it gives me some direction on what type of hat to make.  Sometimes I’ll have a ball of yarn sitting in my basket begging for me to make a hat with it but I’ll have no idea what design or pattern to use.  Then, along comes Halos of Hope with a new themed collection and BINGO, the light bulb comes on (and I don’t even need my Thinking Cap!) and I know exactly what to do with that yarn.  That is what happened with both some brown yarn and this crazy Pomp-A-Doodle yarn I had purchased.

Zombie Monkey Hat crochet pattern by Darleen Hopkins http://www.ravelry.com/projects/DarleenHopkins/zombie-sock-monkey-attacks-hat-with-or-without-earflaps-2

Halos of Hope’s latest themed collection is ‘On Safari’ for Atlanta area children’s hospitals.  Basically, they are requesting any type of themed hat that can be found on safari or at the zoo.  They are collecting the hats and plan to distribute them while in town for Stitches South in April.  If you remember, last year they went ‘Under the Sea’.  So with this in mind, I peered into my yarn bin and that super soft, dark brown yarn I had no idea what to do with yelled out at me-MONKEY!  but not just any monkey, ZOMBIE MONKEY!! He’s a cute little guy with mismatched zombie button eyes.  I hope he brings a smile to a brave young man (or lady).

Lion Hat for Halos of Hope, used Zombie Monkey pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zombie-sock-monkey-attacks-hat-with-or-without-earflapsThe second ball of yarn to call to me was this crazy Pomp-A-Doodle yarn.  I thought it would make a pretty good lion.  I had to get a little creative with this one.  Click on the photo to bring you to the project notes-you won’t believe what pattern I used!

Striped Stocking Hat from Candy Corn crochet pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/candy-corn-earflap-hat-stocking-cap

My last hat to share was actually started in …2012… and I finished it up in February during the Winter Olympics (Ravellenic Games on Ravelry).  This is another hat where I got creative with the pattern as I used the Candy Corn Stocking Cap for this one.  I’m real please with it and it too will be donated to Halos of Hope when they are in town next month.  The three hats come in at 9 ounces.

Total hats made in 2014 challenge to date: 6

Total weight of the hats made in the 2014 challenge to date: 1 pound 1.25 ounces

Pattern Testing for Hope

Thank You Amazing Pattern Testers!

Whenever I’m ready to release a new pattern, I always tech edit and pattern test it.  There’s a great group on Ravelry where individuals volunteer to test patterns, for free.  They work through it and let me know if anything is confusing and could be worded better.  Or if stitch counts are wrong, if I missed a “ch 1 and turn” or even typos.  I usually ask my testers to list final yarn usage so I know if my amounts listed are accurate.  It’s a great group and everyone wins.  The testers get a lot of free patterns and the designers get a lot of free help from the very people who use the patterns.

When I was ready to test my Kissy! Kissy! Fish Face Hat, I tried something different.  With the help and blessing of the group’s moderator, Chris, I made an unusual request of the test that the tested hat be crocheted in chemo friendly yarn and then mailed to me to be donated to Halos of Hope for their Under the Sea Campaign for Atlanta area hospitals.  I wasn’t sure what to expect-postage is expensive and a lot of people don’t have the extra $$ for postage, but boy did this great group of ladies step up to the challenge.  I had 16 volunteers in a short period of time.  From the 16, I received 26 hats for donation!   What a great, giving group!

Kissy Fish Crochet Pattern by Darleen HopkinsCrochet Pattern Kissy Fish by Darleen HopkinsKissy Kissy Fish Face Crochet Pattern by Darleen HopkinsFish Hat crochet pattern by Darleen HopkinsHats for Halos of Hope

Check out these amazing fish!  I included the 3 that I’ve made so far.  I’ve got a couple more fishy hats I plan to finish up this week (Stash Busting for Hope!).  Once they are done, I’ll be packing up all 31 hats to send to those brave young fighters.

Find out more about Halo’s Under the Sea Campaign.  It’s not too late to make a hat and get it in the mail to them.  I’m offering a 50% off coupon on my Ravelry site for the Kissy! Kissy! Fish Face Hat pattern.  Use coupon code “HOHFishFace” to save $2.25 on the pattern, then, apply the savings to your postage.  You’ll be so glad you did. : )

Coupon code expires 3/15/2013 midnight EST

Enjoy!

Buy 2 Get 1 Free on Ravelry, Crochet by Darleen Hopkins