Every Monday during National Crochet Month 2013, I’ll be interviewing crocheters. Today’s interview is with Lindsey Stephens, a crochet designer and blogger.
I can’t remember how exactly I first came across Lindsey Stephens’ Poetry in Yarn blog, but I do know it’s been a staple in my Google Reader for quite a while. Lindsey’s blog, unlike many crochet blogs that I follow, is primarily text based. Lindsey is still able to capture my (relatively short) attention with her posts, and I hope you’ll check her out if she’s a new-to-you blogger. Lindsey is also a crochet designer and can be found online on her website, on Ravelry (as Leebah and on her designer page), on Facebook, on Twitter, and on YouTube.
All pictures in this post are used with Lindsey’s permission and link back to the pattern page on Ravelry.
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Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first get started crocheting?
Lindsey: I had tried to teach myself to knit, and it was a huge failure. I couldn’t handle all those loops (although really it had more to do with trying to learn with a fuzzy boucle). Anyway, my step-niece was visiting me and she was crocheting- she never had more than 3 loops on the hook at a time. I was like “I gotta try this!”
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Lindsey: You know, I don’t think any one thing inspired me. I just like to mess around with stuff and see what I can do. Just kind of “I wonder what would happen if I try this…” And then I discovered that other people were interested in what I was making.
UC: You have a mix of self-published designs and designs published by yarn companies, magazines, and book publishers. Do you have a preference for self-publishing or traditional publishing? What motivates you to seek one form of publishing over another?
Lindsey: Each method of publishing has its own merits. I like self-publishing because I get to work with so many other facets of the production process like layout and editing. Getting to work one on one with a technical editor is a great learning experience for anyone interested in designing. It’s also great to be able to have an idea and run with it- no approval or submissions needed.
“Traditional” publishing is a trade off. You can’t always keep rights to your designs, but you may get slightly more publicity depending on the company, as well as more money up front. (Up front is a relative term. I just received a check in the mail for a design I did for a publisher 17 months ago.) A self-published pattern might make me more money in the long run, but the funds only come in one purchase at a time.
UC: Your Poetry in Yarn blog is one of the few crafty blogs I read regularly that doesn’t rely heavily on visuals, and yet you have such interesting content all the time! How did you get started blogging and how do you keep it fresh? Why did you decide to primarily use text-based, rather than photo-heavy, blogging?
Lindsey: I’ve been involved in public speaking through debate, acting, and my work as a teacher for years. I am a talker. It just seemed natural to me to “talk” to people by posting on a blog. And also, I’m lazy. I can easily type out a post while lying in bed. For photos I would actually have to get up. (UC comment: You make excellent points, Lindsey. I will try to remember them on the mornings when I’m leaving my apartment early to take pictures of projects for my blog before work!)
UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?
Lindsey: *Looking down at my bookshelf*
The The Crochet Answer Book by Edie Eckman was HUGE for me when I was first learning to crochet. Couture Crochet Workshop by Lily Chin opened my eyes for looking at how to increase and decrease in more complex pattern stitches. Cool Stuff : Teach Me to Crochet is the book that I used when I was learning how to crochet.
UC: You’re both a Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) and The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) member. What do you see as benefits of membership for aspiring crochet designers?
Lindsey: A CGOA membership can be beneficial regardless of whether or not you aspire to designing. You get a magazine as part of your membership as well as discounts with various companies. You also get discounts at the Knit and Crochet Shows. If you are interested in designing, CGOA has a mentoring program that can help.
On the other hand, TNNA is purely a professional organization. That’s not to say we don’t have fun at trade shows, but we really go there to work. At a typical trade show I’m meeting with yarn companies, publishers, and other designers to discuss possible business opportunities.
UC: Since it is NatCroMo, can you share a favorite crochet memory with us?
Lindsey: My grandmother made lots and lots of crochet flower bookmarks that she would give away. She tried to show me how to make them once. First she showed me how to chain stitch, and I got the hang of that fairly quckly. Then she said, “watch this.” Well, the yarn moved and the hooked moved and all the sudden there was a flower on the end. She didn’t use terms like “double crochet” or anything like that. She just did it.
UC: What are your favorite websites for crochet-related content and community?
Lindsey: Hmm… I really enjoy Ravelry, but I find it slightly more knitting centered. Crochetville was the first crochet website I got hooked on. It’s great for crochet-centric information and groups. And I love the Crochet Liberation Front.
Thanks, Lindsey, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us! Just a reminder that Lindsey’s blog, Poetry in Yarn, is one of tomorrow’s stops on Crochetville’s mega blog tour, A Tour Through Crochet Country.