I’m continuing my Hispanic Heritage Month series today with an interview with Mexican-American crochet amigurumi designer, Adriana Aguirre. Adriana has been publishing her designs for just over a year.
Adriana can be found online on Ravelry (as AdrialysHC, in the Adrialys Designs group, and on her designer page), on her YouTube channel, in her Etsy shop, on her blog, and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. All photos are copyright Adriana Aguirre and are used with permission. Click on the photo to link to the Ravelry pattern page.
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Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?
Adriana: I learned from my mother who had been taught by her mother. She started knitting and crocheting in her 20s and I used to see her doing it all the time when I was little. I was about 5 years old when I first learned to crochet chains. After that I lost interest until I was about 10 or 11. She taught me how to do both around the same time. I mostly knit in my teenage years. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I started crocheting again.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Adriana: When I started making stuffed animals using patterns from other designers I learned a lot about the shapes. The more I made the more I started thinking of the ways I could make other animals with the basic shapes I was learning. One day I just started brainstorming on how to make my own elephant. I used the knowledge of the shapes I had learned and after some trial and error I designed my first pattern.
UC: You design crocheted softies. What do you enjoy about this type of project?
Adriana: I love animals. I’ve collected stuffed animals since I was little. When I found amigurumi, I loved the idea of making my own. I enjoy how quick they are to make and they are just adorable.
UC: Your current designs are all self-published. What do you see as the challenges and advantages of self-publishing?
Adriana: The advantage of self-publishing is definitely the freedom to make whatever I want. I get to pick what I want to make next and I can work on it as long as I want without any deadlines. A challenge, especially for designers just starting out, is that you have to promote them yourself.
UC: You have about 20 YouTube tutorials that you’ve published within the last year. What led you to create these? What tips do you have for designers who are nervous about video?
Adriana: I’ve learned a lot from watching tutorial videos on YouTube. For a lot of people it’s just easier to see how to do something rather than having to read a paragraph on how to do it. It also makes for a shorter e-mail. If someone asks me how to do something I can just send them the link to the video and everyone so far seems to like them. My tips would be to write down notes, make sure your hands are not in the way, and do a couple practice videos. Most of the time the video that ends up on YouTube is not the first one I film.
UC: You’re parents are Mexican, but you were born and raised in the US. What was the yarn crafts scene like when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in North Carolina?
Adriana: Growing up the only person I was around who crocheted and knitted was my mom. Some of my aunts know how but they don’t do it very often. My grandmother on my mom’s side is always crocheting but she lives in Mexico I didn’t get to see her often.
Now there is a lot of interest for anything handmade. They have a First Friday Indie Market every first Friday of the month for crafters in my hometown. I recently started selling there and a lot of people come to this event. All the farmers markets around the area have craft fairs once or twice a year. We only have one yarn store but they offer classes for all types of yarn crafts. They even have days where you can just show up and work on your projects with other knitters and crocheters.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Adriana: Most people I know crochet home decor items and clothing. They also like to embroider and cross stitch. I like learning all types of crafts so I think my cultural background does influence my overall crafting. When it comes to designing not so much, I’m the only person in my family who crochets toys.
Now on Craftsy: Crocheting in the Round: Mix & Match Hats (with Stacey Trock)
UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?
Adriana: I mostly prefer stitch dictionaries both for knitting and crochet. I love making baby items and use the stitches I find in these books to make my items unique. One of my favorite crochet books is Crocheted Softies by Stacey Trock. I recommend it to anyone interested in making crocheted stuffed animals. (UC comment: I interviewed Stacey and reviewed the book here.)
UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Adriana: I don’t really follow many blogs. I like Fresh Stitches who is an amigurumi designer. (UC comment: Me, too! Stacey’s blog is one of my favorite crochet resources.) I started making amigurumi from her patterns and she always has helpful tips and interesting things to share on her blog. I really like Pinterest for inspiration. I usually find interesting blog posts through Pinterest, too.
UC: Do you have any upcoming projects to share?
Adriana: I’m working on new patterns all the time. I like to publish at least one new pattern a month. It’s hard to say what animal is next because I’m never working on just one project at a time. I think I’ll probably expand on my Safari animals next.
I opened up an Etsy shop in 2012 where I sell my finished items, but this year I started selling locally. I’m always working on new things to make and sell. Right now I sell mostly toys but what to expand into other things like scarves and accessories for the holidays.
Thanks for stopping by, Adriana! Best wishes for expanding your craft sales this holiday season!