Category Archives: Needlecrafts

Interview with Adriana Hernandez (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

I’m excited to continue the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by interviewing Adriana Hernandez from AdriPrints. Adriana is a Cuban-American (mostly) knitting and font designer who lives in Germany. Adriana can be found online on the AdriPrints Press blog: Adri Makes a Thing or TwoRavelry, Twitter as @adriprints, and Facebook. All images are copyright Adriana Hernandez unless otherwise noted, and are used with permission. Click on the pattern image to link to the Ravelry design page.

This post contains affiliate links.

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?

Adriana: My maternal grandmother taught me to crochet when I was four or five years old. First I learned to finger-crochet, and then later I was given one of those silver metal crochet hooks to try it out.  I was a kid who loved handicrafts so I was given fun stuff like bead looms, origami paper, doll-making supplies, and latch-hook rug kits for my birthday.

Knitting, though, came much, much later.  I learned at three different times and it finally stuck on the third go.  The first was an ex-boyfriend, and I picked up the steps really quickly, but dropped it when we broke up. Second was my aunt who taught me on a visit to the west coast. Tia H carded, spun, and knit from her angora bunnies.  What an inspiration!  And finally, one of my house-mates in grad school took the time to sharpen my skills and taught me to purl.  She also gave me yarn and needles.  What an enabler!  Thanks, Ona!

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

Columbia Camisole by Adriana Hernandez.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Adriana: I’ve been involved in the design world for a long time in one form or another.  I originally studied Set Design for Theatre in university and Industrial Design in grad school.  But, I really connected these skills with knitting when I found myself changing almost every pattern I knit to better suit my tastes… Then I figured I might be onto something.  Picking apart the math and writing style of each pattern I encountered taught me a bit about the conventions of the industry, and the rest is history.

UC: All but one of your published designs are for knitting. What do you enjoy about knit designing?

Adriana: I was just talking to someone about this.  I really like the process.  I’m such a process oriented person that I love the analog aspect of it all… schematic + words and numbers + yarn = garment or accessory.  I love that!  The difficulty with crochet design is that I see it as a free-form textile, so it’s hard for me to reign it in in the form of a design.  I find knitting easier to tame with language, symbols, and schematics.

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

The Afternoon Beanie by Adriana Hernandez.

UC: You’re also an illustrator and designer, and the creator of one of the few inexpensive crochet symbol fonts, StitchinCrochet. What led you to create this font? Who is the ideal user?

Adriana: Necessity is what led me to create the font.  There wasn’t anything I liked out there when I started designing.  And to be honest, I thought I’d be designing more for crochet, but then knitting took over my life.  So, when I was looking at symbol fonts, I realized there were plenty of knitting fonts that were functional, but a huge gap in crochet.  So, I made one.  I should mention I had already been dabbling in novelty fonts by that point.  The ideal user for StitchinCrochet is someone looking for a library of glyphs to play with their vector imaging software (Illustrator or Inkscape).  That’s not to say people have found lots of other fun ways to use it.  I love seeing what people do with my fonts.

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

Hopi Mittens by Adriana Hernandez.

UC: On a related note, many indie crochet and knitting businesses, including designers, bloggers, and makers, struggle with issues related to graphic design. Do you have any recommended resources for graphic design to share with them?

Adriana: Although I do graphic design, I won’t say that’s my strongest skill.  I would recommend subscribing to high-design blogs that feature writers (who also design) who are obsessed with graphic design (like Graphic Exchange) or typography (like Typophile).  There are people who are already curating the design world for you.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, thankfully.  Also, there are great online courses on lynda.com and tutsplus.com on basic design skills and conventional uses of type.  That is one thing that makes me cringe instantly when I buy or download an indie pattern… bad typography choices.  Know your audience, and be kind to them.  The end knitter (usually) does not have time to squint through overly elaborate script or teensy weensy type.

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

Amaranth Shawl by Adriana Hernandez.

UC: Like me, you’re Cuban-American, but you’re currently living in Germany. What was the yarn crafts scene like when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Germany?

Adriana: I don’t think there was a yarn crafts scene in my circle of friends.  Maybe there was a bit of a general crafts scene, but that’s a stretch.  I remember getting into trouble for selling those lanyard keychains as well as those knotted bracelets made with embroidery floss.  Heheh.  In High School, I know we grunge fans were not afraid to cut up a t-shirt or two.  Safety pins seemed to be the accessory of choice, but I guess an actual yarn crafts scene in my age group was non-existent growing up in Miami.  Only my abuelas (grandmas) and my tia-abuelas (my great aunts) were into it, and so I was, too.  I loved sewing, crocheting, and getting into what they were into. I hung out with my older relatives a lot since we all lived in the same neighborhood.

Germany is as different as can be from where I grew up.  People that are my age had knitting in school.  It was a discreet lesson taught to them by a teacher.  So you’ll find people who love it, and others who hate it because of the associations.  When I got to Munich 6 years ago, people would gawk at our SnB when they’d see us knitting through the window of whatever cafe we were at.  Some even stopping to photograph us.  Now, it doesn’t happen so much.  I think crafts are no longer associated with Omas (grandmas) and the elderly.  I think it’s pretty mainstream here, and there are so many knitting groups to choose from as a result!

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

Easy Lace Loop & Cowl by Adriana Hernandez.

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Adriana: Other from my love of bright colors, I’m not sure how much my cultural background has affected my crafting.  Perhaps, it’s too deeply ingrained in my psyche for me to be able to pick out its influences?!  Hahah!

Easy Textured Knits

UC: What are your favorite knitting and crochet books in your collection?

Adriana: The book that’s always out when I’m designing is Shirley Paden’s Knitwear Design Workshop.  I think I cried with happiness when I read through that book.  It was everything I was looking for as a beginning designer.  I actually read it cover-to-cover even though it’s a reference text.

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

Amaranth Headband by Adriana Hernandez.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Adriana: I love Crafty Gemini, who is also from Miami, and for anyone wanting to learn to crochet, she’s doing a series on her blog.  For knit-spiration, I look to the runways and to the history books.  One of my fave sites for historical inspiration is The Dreamstress, and her Monday “rate the dress” series.  Super fun!

Interview with knitting designer Adriana Hernandez/AdriPrints on Underground Crafter

Alhambra Hat by Adriana Hernandez.

UC: What’s next for you?

I hesitate to talk about upcoming projects in any definite way because being a new mom is kicking my butt!  I’m getting used to the ever-changing variable that is my baby boy.  So, I’ve got plans, but he laughs at them. :D  I’d like to revisit all the patterns whose rights have reverted to me and refine them.  We shall see if I get to it this year.  More likely, I’ll put out a new font or maybe I’ll get to work on submissions to publications.  Judging from this past week, though, it’s a toss-up on whether I can manage the concentration required to work on a pattern with a lot of grading involved. Wish me luck!

Good luck, Adriana! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and share your story!

Interview with Andres Nevarez (Hispanic Heritage Month Series)

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

I’m excited to kick off my 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month series with an interview with Andres Nevarez, also known as Crafty Andy. Andy is a crochet and knitting designer and blogger. He can be found online on his Crafty Andy website and blog, Pinterest, Facebook, on Twitter as @Crafty_Andy, Flickr, and Ravelry (as CraftyAndy and on his designer page). Andy also has some great videos on YouTube, and his Tapestry crochet work was featured on Carol Ventura‘s Tapestry Crochet blog here. (I previously interviewed Carol here.)

All images are copyright Andy Nevarez unless otherwise noted, and are used with permission. Click on the photos to visit that pattern’s page on Ravelry.

This post contains affiliate links.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Andy Nevarez’s Enconium, A Lace Scarf knitting pattern.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?

Andy: I honestly don’t remember when I learned to crochet, but I picked it up around the year 2000 or so. I had some help from a friend that knew how to crochet well. I did a lot of pot holders and wash cloths, then graduated to afghans.

I learned to knit around 1988, when I was on bed rest for about a month. I asked a friend to take me to Woolworth’s to get a book and some needles. I taught myself to knit, and believe it or not, my first project was a sweater.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Andy’s Capello Di Lana crochet pattern.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Andy: The inspiration to start designing came from the fact that I love hats. My love for hats sent me into a search for men’s hats and I did not like anything that I saw that was crochet. The crochet hats that I found on the internet were very interesting, from Kufis, toques, beanies to fancy kippahs. I wanted something stylish, unique and challenging and that is how I got into designing Tapestry crochet hats.

There were a lot of knitted hat patterns, but I was only focusing on making crochet hats at the time. I started crocheting hats and decided to go into Tapestry crochet. At the time, I did not know it was called that. I was bored with just one color and decided to play with two colors in hats. Almost everyone that knows me knows me by my hats. Carol Ventura was the first Tapestry Crocheter that I was inspired by. These are some of my Tapestry crochet designs.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Andy’s Heracles Lace Scarf knitting pattern.

UC: You have roughly an equal amount of crochet and knitting patterns. Is that something you have done intentionally or just a happy accident?

Andy: More intentionally than accident. I have so many ideas for hats in my head, either in knit or crochet. Whenever I am looking at yarn, the first thoughts that cross my mind are how can I make a hat out of these skeins, what shape will it take? The same goes with lace scarves for men. What kind of lace pattern can I make with this yarn that I want to wear.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Pythagoras Cap, a crochet design by Andy Nevarez.

UC: You talk about living with AIDS and being a longterm HIV survivor on your blog. What kind of reaction have you received in the yarn crafts community about your status, as well as your fundraising efforts for Project Open Hand?

Andy: My status as HIV/AIDS person does not come up, unless I see it fit to come into the picture. I guess the biggest surprise is the fact that I have an AIDS diagnosis and I “look normal” or “healthy,” whatever that means. I do not complain about things unless it is to my doctor, which is the person I need to complain to or rather than complain, let him know what is up with my body, my aches and pains. I am not a complainer. I make the best out of everything in my life and being HIV/AIDS is just a piece of the 1001 pieces puzzle that is Andy.

My Project Open Hand efforts have not raised lots of money yet. My friend Kyle Kunnecke mentioned that he was making a hat called Cause and would ‘t it be nice if there was a crochet version. Well, what a great opportunity for me to give back and take a colorwork challenge. I am hoping my hat pattern will outlive me for hundreds of years or until there is a cure.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Ribbons, a crochet hat design by Andy Nevarez.

UC: What was the yarn crafts scene like in your community in Puerto Rico when you were growing up?

Andy: Well, people – men, women and children – that craft with yarn are artisans or apprentices. There are different levels of craftsmanship and techniques.   Everyone likes to see people make things by hand. People are always curious about how things are made.

UC: How does it compare to the current scene in San Francisco?

Andy: I have had a mostly positive experience with my crafts. A lot of people look down at crochet, believe it or not. I consider myself to be the Tapestry Crochet Ambassador and nobody puts down my work. Most people that see one of my hats think that they are knit, not that it matters. San Francisco makes me feel like an Artisan. I make hats that are wearable art, sculptures made out of yarn, a mosaic of color to make the mind wander.

UC: If you’re still in touch with crafters on the island, do you know anything about the current yarn crafts scene there?

Andy: The times that I have knit or crochet in public on the Island, I get so many people that come to take a closer look at what I am doing. They ask me questions and admire my work, and they talk to me with a silent kind of respect. People actually acknowledge the fact that I am Artisan. People in San Francisco are very kind as well. They are not really surprised that I am a man that crafts, they are more surprised that a lot of my pieces are crochet.

The one thing I know about the craft scene on the Island is mundillo. This is a craft of handmade bobbin lace and is mostly done by women. I have never seen a man making mundillo.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Thermopylae Scarf, a crochet pattern by Andy Nevarez.

UC; Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Andy: Of course it does. There are some [Hispanic] artisans that have inspired me and I still get inspiration from: Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo.

I like to think outside the box, I like to be daring, creative and make people think about the beauty that can be created. These artists had to think outside the box. Part of me likes earth tones, but there is that part of me that likes bright contrasting colors, orange and blue, teal and fuchsia.

UC: What are your favorite knitting and crochet books in your collection?

Andy: Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears, Barbara G. Walker‘s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns book collection, and More Tapestry Crochet by Carol Ventura.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Andy: I visit Tapestry Crochet, Men Who Knit, TECHKnitting, and Ravelry. I get a lot of inspiration from what surrounds me as well. Even though my first language is Spanish, I have no idea how to crochet or knit in Spanish yet.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Andy’s Tempo Crochet Caps, published by Skacel. (Image (c) Skacel.)

UC: What’s next for Crafty Andy?

Andy: I want to share my love of crafts with other people. I am an introvert of sorts, yet my desire to connect with people is bigger than my introversion. I live life to the fullest and live without regrets. There are plenty of pattern ideas for hats and scarves in my head, waiting to come out and see the light. I can say there will be more knitted lace scarves and stoles from me. There will be more Tapestry crochet hats and knitted hats.

I have been featured at the Malabrigo website  and I have a pattern published by Skacel. Is there a book in my future? Probably so, but the way that it will probably happen is that I will start writing and will not stop until it’s done. It will be in spurts, which is kind of a contradiction to what I just said, but that is my kind of energy. I work when I am inspired, and in the meantime I collect data.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Andy, and for sharing your designs and artistry with us!

Free Pattern: El Guaba

El Guaba, free wrap pattern by Underground Crafter with U.S. pattern abbreviations

Earlier this year, I was invited by the yarn dyer, Stitchjones, to create a one-skein project for her Yarnageddon 2014 Yarn Club. (She’s currently taking sign up for her 2015 club here.) I didn’t have any project idea in mind until the yarn arrived. The yarn is a stunning and vibrant semi-solid red, and my picture doesn’t do it justice. Sharon (a.k.a. Stitchjones) included a note saying that the yarn club (and therefore, pattern) theme was “Real Life Wild Women.”

Stitchjones yarn featured in free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

This post contains affiliate links.

I immediately knew I had to make something inspired by Celia Cruz, who was known as the Queen of Latin Music and La Guarachera de Cuba. I have countless childhood memories of hearing Celia’s music in the background while visiting my paternal grandparents. I even listen to her songs in my iPod to this day. In addition to her music, Celia was a fashion icon, known for her wild stage costumes, hair, and neckware. (If you’re not that familiar with Celia, you may want to check out my Celia Cruz Pinterest board to see what I mean, or watch this 3-1/2 minute bio on YouTube.)

Celia Cruz Pinterest board inspiring free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Just a small preview of my Celia Cruz Pinterest board.

One of my favorite Celia Cruz songs is “El Guaba” from her 1986 album, La Candela. You can check out a live performance of “El Guaba” from the PBS special, Celia Cruz & Friends: A Night of Salsa, recorded in 1998 when Celia was 73(!) on YouTube here.

So, what exactly is El Guaba? Well, it’s a whip spider. And that’s when the inspiration for the pattern hit me. I combined octagons (because there’s one side for each spider leg) to create a simple wrap to wear over any outfit to add a bit of Celia glam to your day. Many of us are not necessarily going to dye our hair blue or wear a dress that looks like a piano, but nonetheless, there are moments when we’d still like to be in the spotlight! I’m sharing the pattern here free on my blog to kick off my celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month 2014. I’ll be continuing my annual series, interviewing Hispanic crochet and knitting designers, bloggers, and makers. I hope you enjoy the pattern and the series!

El Guaba Crochet Pattern

By Underground Crafter

02-easy 50US terms 50 4-medium 50Crochet a quick wrap using octagonal motifs, an homage to the titular whip spider in Celia Cruz’s “El Guaba.”

Finished Size: Fits bust size (after blocking): XS (28-30”/71-76 cm), [S/M (32-38”/81-96.5 cm), L/XL (40- 46”/101.5-117 cm), 2X (48-50”/122-127), 3X (52-54”/132-137), 4X (56-58”/142-147 cm), and 5X (60-62”/152-158)]. Pictured sample is 2X.

Materials:

  • Stitchjones Big Sky Bulky (100% Montana Targhee wool, 4.75 oz/138 g/220 yds/201 m) – 1, [1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2] skein(s) Power Reds, or approximately 200 – 360 yards (183 – 329 m) in any medium weight yarn.
  • I-9/5.5 mm crochet hooks, or any size needed to obtain correct gauge.
  • Yarn needle.

  • Gauge: 1 motif = 5” (13 cm) before blocking. For best fit, check your gauge.

El Guaba, free crochet pattern from Underground Crafter with U.S. pattern abbreviations.

Abbreviations Used in This Pattern:

  • BLO – back loop only
  • ch – chain
  • dc – double crochet
  • ea – each
  • hdc – half double crochet
  • rep – repeat
  • Rnd(s) – Round(s)
  • RS – right (front) side
  • sc – single crochet
  • sk – skip
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • sp – space
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • tr – treble crochet
  • yo – yarn over
  • *+ Rep the instructions following the asterisk and/or plus sign as indicated

Pattern Instructions:

Center Octagon – Make 1

  • Ch 4, join to first st with sl st to form ring.
  • Rnd 1: (RS) Ch 3 (counts as dc, here and throughout), 15 dc in ring, join with sl st to BLO of top of first ch 3. (16 sts)
  • Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 scBLO in same st and in ea st around, join with sl st to first sc. (32 sts)
  • Rnd 3: Ch 7 (counts as dc + ch-4 sp), sk 3 sts, *dc in next st, ch 4, sk 3 sts; rep from * around, join with sl st to third ch of first ch 7. (8 sts + 8 ch-4 sp)
  • Rnd 4: Sl st in next ch-4 sp, *(2 sc, dc, ch 2, dc, 2 sc) in ch-4 sp; rep from * around, join with sl st to BLO of first sc. (64 sts)
  • Rnd 5: Ch 3, dcBLO in next st, hdcBLO in next st, *(sc, ch 2, sc) in ch-2 sp, hdcBLO in next st,** dcBLO in next 4 sts, hdcBLO in next st; rep from * around, ending last rep at **, dcBLO in next 2 sts, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. Fasten off. (64 sts + 8 ch-2 sp)
El Guaba, free crochet pattern from Underground Crafter with U.S. pattern abbreviations.

First Octagon (left) and Joining Octagon (right) before blocking.

Joining Octagon – Make 3 [4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

  • Rep through Rnd 2 as for Center Octagon.
  • Rnd 3: Ch 3, dc in next 3 sts, *ch 2,** dc in next 4 sts; rep from * around, ending last rep at **, join with sl st to BLO of top of first ch 3. (32 sts + 8 ch-2 sp)
  • Rnd 4: Ch 1, scBLO in same st and in next 3 sts, *(dc, ch 2, dc) in ch-2 sp,** scBLO in next 4 sts; rep from * around, ending last rep at**, join with BLO to top of first sc. (48 sts + 8 ch-2 sp)
  • Rnd 5: Ch 3, dcBLO in next 3 sts, hdcBLO in next st, *(sc, ch 2, sc) in ch-2 sp, hdcBLO in next st, dcBLO in next 4 sts, hdcBLO in next st; rep from * 5 more times, (sc, ch 1, join to RS of previous octagon with sc through ch-2 sp, sc) in ch-2 sp, hdcBLO in next st, dcBLO in next 4 sts, hdcBLO in next st, (sc, join with sc through next ch-2 sp of previous octagon, ch 1, sc) in ch-2 sp, hdcBLO in next st, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. Fasten off. (64 sts + 8 ch-2 sp)

El Guaba, free crochet pattern from Underground Crafter with U.S. pattern abbreviations.

Final Octagon – Make 1

  • Rep through Rnd 4 as for Joining Octagon.
  • Rnd 5: Ch 3, dcBLO in next 3 sts, hdcBLO in next st, +(sc, ch 1, join to RS of previous octagon with sc through ch-2 sp, sc) in ch-2 sp, hdcBLO in next st, dcBLO in next 4 sts, hdcBLO in next st, (sc, join with sc through next ch-2 sp of previous octagon, ch 1, sc) in ch-2 sp, hdcBLO in next st, *(sc, ch 2, sc) in ch-2 sp, hdcBLO in next st, dcBLO in ea of next 4 sts, hdcBLO in next st; rep from * 3 more times, rep from + to * once, join with sl st to top of first ch 3. Fasten off. (64 sts + 8 ch-2 sp)

Top Edging

  • Rnd 1: With RS facing and starting at 2nd (3rd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 5th, 5th) octagon from Center Octagon, join with sl st to st before first ch-2 sp on flat edge, ch 1, sc in same st, *sl st in ch-2 sp, sl stBLO in next 8 sts, sl st in next ch-2 sp, sc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 st, hdc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 st, dc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 sts, yo twice, insert hook in next st, +yo and draw up a loop, (yo and draw through 2 loops) twice,++ yo twice, insert hook in second st after next ch-2 sp on next octagon, rep from + to ++, yo and draw through 3 loops, ch 1, sk 1 st, dc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 st, hdc in next st, ch 1, sk 1 st,** sc in next st, rep from * around, ending last rep at **, join with sl st to BLO of top of first sc.
  • Rnd 2: Ch 2 (counts as hdc), *scBLO in ea of next 10 sts, hdcBLO in next st, dcBLO in ea of next 11 sts,** hdcBLO in next st; rep from * around, ending last rep at **, join with sl st to top of ch 2. Fasten off.

Finishing

  • Weave in ends with yarn needle. Spray or wet block. 

If you like this pattern, show it some love on Ravelry here.

© 2014 by Marie Segares (Underground Crafter). This pattern is for personal use only. You may use it to make unlimited items for yourself, for charity, or to give as gifts. You may sell items you personally make by hand from this pattern. Do not violate Marie’s copyright by distributing this pattern or the photos in any form, including but not limited to scanning, photocopying, emailing, or posting on a website or internet discussion group. If you want to share the pattern, point your friends to this link: http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2014/09/15/free-pattern-el-guaba/. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

Hispanic Heritage Month Interview Series

2014 Hispanic Heritage Month interview series with crocheters and knitters on Underground Crafter

I’m really excited to announce the kick off of my third annual Hispanic Heritage Month interview series with crocheters and knitters! You can read more about my inspiration for starting the series in 2012 here, or check out my roundups for 2012 here and for 2013 here with links to all the interviews.

I’ll be talking with some great crocheters and knitters here on the blog for the next month. You can see the interview schedule below.

  • Tuesday, September 16: Andy Nevarez
  • Thursday, September 18: Adriana Hernandez
  • Tuesday, September 23: Melissa Martinez
  • Wednesday, September 24: Andrea Sanchez
  • Thursday, September 25: Victor Noel Lopez
  • Tuesday, September 30: Trelly Hernandez
  • Wednesday, October 1: Leticia Jimenez
  • Thursday, October 2: Bianca Perez
  • Tuesday, October 7:  Joji Locatelli
  • Wednesday, October 8:  Adriana Aguirre
  • Thursday, October 9: Rosalia Fauste
  • Monday, October 13: Sol Maldonado
  • Tuesday, October 14: Susana from Creaciones Susana
  • Wednesday, October 15: Fabi Woerner

Most of the interviews were conducted in English but a few were translated from Spanish. In some cases, I have made edits to grammar and style to make the interviews more readable in English.

And, though it seems early, I’m always planning ahead for the next Hispanic Heritage Month interview series! Let me know if you have a favorite Hispanic or Latino/a crochet or knitting designer, teacher, maker, or blogger you’d like me to feature in the comments. Enjoy!

Review: Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet on Craftsy

Dora Ohrenstein's Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet Craftsy class reviewed by Underground Crafter

This post contains affiliate links. Although I’m a Craftsy affiliate, and I earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) when you click through the links I share to Craftsy and make a purchase, I paid to take this course and, as always, the review is based entirely on my honest opinions.

This must be Tunisian crochet week on my blog! (Check out my mini interview with Sharon Silverman about her new book, Tunisian Crochet for Baby, here.)

I recently completed Dora Ohrenstein’s Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet class on Craftsy. In the past, I’ve interviewed Dora on my blog here and shared reviews of two of her books, Custom Crocheted Sweaters (review here) and The New Tunisian Crochet (review here). She let me know back in May when the class was first available, but I didn’t have time to sit down and watch it until recently.

The class includes 7 lessons:

Lesson 1: Tunisian Basics (29:32 minutes) provides a refresher of two basic Tunisian crochet stitches (Tunisian knit and Tunisian simple stitches), increasing, decreasing, counting rows, starting a base row, the standard return pass, and the slip stitch bind off. I enjoyed learning more about Dora’s method for decreasing, and actually incorporated the technique into one of my own designs.

The video in this section alternates between close ups and more conversational views of Dora talking.

Dora Ohrenstein's Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet Craftsy class reviewed by Underground Crafter

Dora providing a refresher of basic Tunisian crochet stitches.

Lesson 2: Tunisian Tools (13:43 minutes) includes an overview of different yarns and hooks for Tunisian crochet. Dora emphasizes choosing tools for the best drape. She also talks about gauge and provides some tips for getting the right gauge in this section.

Lesson 3: Measuring for a Perfect Fit (23:12 minutes) applies to any type of handmade garment measuring.

Dora Ohrenstein's Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet Craftsy class reviewed by Underground Crafter

Dora demonstrating proper measurement techniques.

Dora shows the correct way to take measurements from a body, her dress form Claudette, and existing garments. This section is very helpful, especially for those of us that haven’t had a lot of experience with doing measurements and want to create the great fit. You can see Dora wearing the vest project for this class in the picture above. You can buy a kit for the vest here, and the pattern is only available through the class.

Lesson 4: Adjusting the Pattern (23:04 minutes) is a detailed walk through of the pattern. The video in this section usually focuses on the pattern itself, with relevant areas highlighted or enlarged while Dora talks about that component. While this is obviously specifically about the vest pattern, Dora shares a lot of information about fitting, pattern alternations, and understanding schematics that could apply to any pattern you may work with in the future.

Dora Ohrenstein's Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet Craftsy class reviewed by Underground Crafter

In Lesson 5: Custom-Fit Calculations: Bust & Shoulder (35:53 minutes) and Lesson 6: Custom Fit Considerations: Waist & Hip (18:40 minutes), Dora goes into further detail about how to customize the pattern to fit your body (or the body of someone you are gifting or selling the finished project to). In these section, she talks about ease, measurements, how to adjust increases, decreases, and stitch counts, and (don’t be afraid, Americans) provides a review of the math necessary. She shows her math equations on screen (as well as the times she counts on her fingers) so that even those who are uncomfortable with math should be able to use these lessons to alter the pattern.

Dora Ohrenstein's Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet Craftsy class reviewed by Underground Crafter

In Lesson 7: Finishing Details (35:02), Dora goes over everything required to make your finished vest look “professional” – blocking, seaming, edging, cleaning, and so on.

At $29.99 with just under 3 hours of video, this class is a great value. In addition to the video lessons, the vest pattern, and some additional handouts, you have the opportunity to interact with fellow students and ask Dora questions. Unlike a face-to-face class, you can return to the videos again and again over time.

Although the class is focused on the vest pattern, Dora shares a lot of general information about gauge, fitting, measurements, altering patterns, and finishing that can apply to any project. She has a very calm voice and shares her sense of humor with the class on several occasions.

The only changes I’d like to see in the class are consistent with what I would like to see changed in Craftsy classes in general. I wish they would edit the videos into shorter segments, or break them up with music or visuals more often. Yes, of course, I can pause at any time, but as someone with an increasingly short video attention span (thanks a lot, YouTube!), I found the segments pretty long for watching straight through. I also wish there was more variety in the actual filming. The class basically alternates between watching Dora behind a desk, over the shoulder close ups (of her hands, the pattern being annotated, etc.) and Dora standing to take measurements. I wish there was more variety in backgrounds and use of illustrations or animation. These aren’t deal breakers – as I said, it is consistent with the way Craftsy classes are filmed. They tend to look like public television craft shows filmed on a static set, rather than funky videos you might find elsewhere online.

Overall, I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to go beyond the basics in Tunisian crochet; crocheters who struggle with (or fear) custom fitting, measurements, and the math behind alterations; and fans of Dora’s work who haven’t had a chance to take a class with her. You can sign up for Custom-Fit Tunisian Crochet (with Dora Ohrenstein) here!