Today, I’m pleased to interview crochet designer, Cristina Mershon. Cristina is originally from Galicia, Spain, and she currently lives in Oklahoma. Although she has only been publishing her designs since 2011, she has been quite prolific. You can find Cristina on Ravelry as CristinaMershon or through her designer page.
Each photo is linked to the pattern page on Ravelry.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to crochet?
Cristina: It seems like avid crocheters have similar beginnings: mom or grandma taught them around 8 years old, and my story is no different. I loved seeing my mom knitting and crocheting beautiful things. Knitting used to be my favorite thing to do when I was younger back in Galicia, but with time crochet became my obsession. My mom and her friends only crocheted with white thread that they bought in big skeins from a factory in Portugal, and they would only do household items. Knitting was for wearing, and crochet for the home.
When I first come to the United States, I was shocked at the new world of crochet in front of me. I could do anything and everything with yarn and a hook!
I am graphic designer during the day, working on book covers, web layouts, logos and all kinds of promotional materials, trying to make my clients happy with the use of color and fun shapes. But at night, when I am home, after spending time with my hubby and 4 little kids, it’s my time to create crochet items with a modern twist.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Cristina: A lot of my inspiration comes from knitting. I love the seamless flow of the knitted fabric, and the intricate detail of the lace. So when I stared designing, I wanted to accomplish a knitting look using a crochet hook. One of my first published works was a series of shawls, but not your old school grandma ones. I wanted to do modern style shawls for everyday use, for the office, or to take your kids to school. In fact, I wear them all the time, and they make any everyday outfit into a sophisticated look.
Designing helps me create what I really want and I cannot find. I love creating super easy to make items, nothing complicated, easy shapes, simple stitches… all combined to created something really special.
UC: You have many great designs for children as well as lovely accessories for women. What appeals to you about crocheting wearables?
Cristina: I reconnected to crochet when I first got pregnant with my first baby. Something in me (crazy hormones!!) pushed me to make things all the time, a nesting instinct that wouldn’t go away. So that’s when I began to crochet baby items. I started with lacy edges for receiving blankets and it just went off from there.
I got pregnant again with my second (they are only 1 year apart!), so I made everything from jackets, to blankets, to towel edges, and booties… and then baby number 3 and number 4 came along… then my collection of baby hats and jackets was so big, that my friends asked to me sell some to them.
Then, I went to a baby boutique and the owner asked where did I buy my baby’s hats… so I started to sell those too. All of that while working full time in the advertising agency. Those were a few crazy years!
And one day I realized that I never did anything for me, so I started designing shawls and shrugs, and anything that would inspire me to use basic shapes, like circles, squares, rectangles, and hexagons, to create one of a kind items. A great example of that was my first work for Vogue Crochet, where they asked me to design two different projects. It was an amazing experience.
UC: How did you make the shift from designing finished objects to designing patterns?
Cristina: I am always going to be very thankful to Cascade Yarns and Crochet Today! They gave me my first opportunity to create crochet patterns. I didn’t even know I could do that, or that anybody would ever like them. I knew how to crochet visually, but I didn’t have any idea of how to follow a pattern. Everything I did before then was by looking at a existing finished piece or graphic pattern.
I remember working on my first design ever for Cascade Yarns, the Alpine Shawl, and trying to figure out how to write a pattern. It was very very hard! After that pattern was published and liked by hundreds of people within a few weeks, I started getting requests for designs. I couldn’t believe that a hobby like mine could translate into a little career, but how exiting.
UC: In 2012, you published your first booklet, Exquisite Crochet Shawls. Tell us about what that was like and what the design process was like for those shawls.
Cristina: When I got the opportunity to create the shawls for Annie’s, Exquisite Crochet Shawls, I was delighted. Every shawl in that book is inspired by my country of Spain. I am from the Northwest region of Galicia, a very magical place where knitting and crochet were not just a hobby a few years back, but the only way to create wearables and items for the home. My mom used to get the whole fleece from her own sheep, wash it, card it, rove it, spin it and wind it all by herself.
So the Alborada Shawl (meaning ”dawn”) has the purple tones of the sun coming up in the morning, with beautiful pineapple lace motifs. The green Celtic Nature Shawl was inspired by the round markings by the Celts found in ancient stones; the blue Galician Sea Shawl shows the ripples and waves of the wild Atlantic ocean; the Volvoreta Stole (meaning “butterfly”) is light and airy; and the Art Deco Shawl is a mix of structured and freeform crochet, if that even exists.
UC: Last year, your design also graced the cover of Crochet Noro. Tell us about that experience.
Cristina: The cover of Crochet Noro: 30 Dazzling Designs was a huge surprise. I never though the shawl would make to the cover since all of these incredible crocheters were a part of it.
One day I stumbled onto the book on Amazon.com before it was published, and I thought that the shawl looked very familiar. When I realized it was my own design, that was a great feeling. The same thing happened with my first cover of Crochet Today!: I couldn’t believe my first ever magazine project would make it to the cover.
Vogue was very unexpected, to the point that when I got the email to be a part of it, I though it was a joke. I felt so blessed.
UC: How does your background influence your design process?
Cristina: My art and design background definitely influence my crochet design. I want to push the envelope with every design. Right now, I am working on a series of crochet wearable patterns that I will be selling on my own through Ravelry. I think it’s time to work on patterns where I get create what I really want to wear, maybe pushing the envelope a little bit.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Cristina!
The next interview in the series will be posted on September 23 with Monica Rodriguez Fuertes/Hand Made Awards.
Tags: alborada shawl, alpine shawl, amazon, annie's, art deco shawl, art major: color wheel cowl and beret, buttoned cowl, cascade yarns, celtic nature shawl, cristina mershon, Crochet Noro: 30 Dazzling Designs, crochet today, design, exquisite crochet shawls, galicia, galician sea shawl, grace shrug, hispanic heritage month 2013, inside crochet, interview, interweave crochet, melania dress, oklahoma, soho publishing, spain, st. tropez tunic, vogue crochet, volovoreta stole
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