Tag Archives: blogger

Interview with Lindsey Stephens of Poetry in Yarn

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.

 

Lindsey Stephens.
Lindsey Stephens.

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!”

Though Lindsey is primarily a crochet designer, she does have some knit patterns like the Learn It, Love It, Knit It Lace Scarf.
Though Lindsey is primarily a crochet designer, she does have some knit patterns like the Learn It, Love It, Knit It Lace Scarf.

 

 

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.

 

One of Lindsey's designs from Crochet 1-2-3, the Chanukah Candle Pillow.  (c) Valu-Publishing.
One of Lindsey’s designs from Crochet 1-2-3, the Chanukah Candle Pillow. (c) Valu-Publishing.

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!)

 

Blackberry Blanket, from Lindsey's self-published e-book, At the Bakery.
Blackberry Blanket, from Lindsey’s self-published e-book, At the Bakery.

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. 

 

Aureate Vest, (c) Susan Pittard, published in Curvy Girl Crochet.
Aureate Vest, (c) Susan Pittard, published in Curvy Girl 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.

 

Baby Bobbles Blanket from Leisure Arts #5267, Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection, Book 3.  (c) Universal Yarn.
Baby Bobbles Blanket from Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection, Book 3. (c) Universal Yarn.

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.

Sharing the crochet blog love

Confession time: I never read blogs until I started blogging.  I would occasionally Google something and find a blog post that answered my question, but that was about it.  I never subscribed or returned or remembered which blog I had read.  The main barrier for me was my (irrational) fear of blog readers – the descriptions always seemed overwhelming, and with no place to organize the blogs I was interested in, I couldn’t really keep track of any.  (I eventually started using Google Reader, which is much less overwhelming than it seemed to me when I read about it!)

This is my second year participating in Blogtoberfest, and I want to spread the blog love today by sharing five crochet blogs I started following this year.  For me, this was easier than trying to pick from the larger group of blogs I’ve been following since last year :).  These aren’t necessarily blogs that are participating in Blogtoberfest, by the way.  If you’d like to check out any of the 300+ blogs that are participating, stop by I Saw You Dancing.

alottastitches

This blog is written by Linda74, who is a prolific ripple crocheter.  Although I only learned about this blog a few weeks ago, I actually dove into the archives and found some really cool posts!  Linda74 does a lot of charity crochet, and common posting topics are finished objects, yarn hauls, and information about upcycled crafts.

Some of my favorite posts:

Lanas & Hilos

I’m a big fan of this bilingual blog.  (I even interviewed Ana as part of my Hispanic Heritage Month series.)  Ana is participating in the motif challenge along with Barbara from Made in K-Town, and you can find her finished motifs here.

Crochet Boulevard

And speaking of Made in K-Town (which I’ve been following since last year), Crochet Boulevard is my new favorite crochet link party.  I always find awesome new blogs there.  Unlike many of the other blogs I follow, Barbara seems to have a very international following.  You can find bloggers from all of the world posting on her link parties.  The current theme is Free Topic, so why not stop by and link up one of your favorite projects?

Stitch Story

I’m not quite sure how I originally came across Shelby Allaho‘s blog, but her designs are wonderful and I love how she shares her inspiration for different projects.  Some of my recent favorite posts are her reveal of the Natalie Cowl design and A Dozen Ways to Wear the Ruffles Scarf.  (I’m sort of styling challenged, so I love when people show me how to wear things!)

Crochet Nirvana

Robin is one of the bloggers who joined in the Year of Projects this year.  She is a librarian and often shares research in her posts, which I find really interesting.  She also really engages her readers with posts and questions.  Some of my recent favorite posts are Robin’s tips for stiffening crochet lace and her explorations of the granny square.

 

If you aren’t already following these blogs, I recommend that you check them out!

Have you found any new (or new-to-you) crochet blogs recently?

 

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and  CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2012 Interview Series Roundup

Today is the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month and also the end of my interview series.  Here’s a recap in case you missed some of the interviews.  All photos are used with permission.  (Click on the photos to link to the interview.)

Angele Lumiere

Spanish crochet designer and bilingual (Spanish/French) blogger at Le flux de la creativite

Vanessa Laven

Cuban-American (mostly knitting) blogger at Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts

 Juanita Quinones

Puerto Rican crochet tech editor, known as BoricuaCrochet on Ravelry

Ana Contreras

Guatemalan crochet and knitting designer and bilingual (Spanish/English) blogger at Lanas & Hilos

Paola Navarro

Argentine crochet designer, also known as Delicious Crochet

Sara Palacios

Argentine crochet designer, also known as Arrorro en Colores/Colorful Lullabies

Nuria Pastor

Spanish ex-pat crochet and knitting designer and bilingual (Spanish/English) blogger at Bezencilla

Charles Voth

Colombian ex-pat crochet and knitting designer and tech editor, also known as StitchStud

Maru Minetto

Peruvian crochet designer and bilingual (Spanish/English) blogger at Marumin Crochet

Thanks to everyone who shared an interview, especially since my requests were made at the eleventh hour.  I learned a lot about crocheting and knitting in Latin American and Europe, as well as about how these different needle artists view the impact of their culture on their own work.  I shared my own inspiration for this series here.

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2012 Interview Series: Maru Minetto from Marumin Crochet

This post is part of my 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month interview series.

Today is the last interview in my Hispanic Heritage Month 2012 series.  (For those who don’t know, Hispanic Heritage Month starts on September 15 and ends on October 15.)  I’m happy to interview Maru Minetto, the Peruvian blogger and crochet designer behind Marumin Crochet.  Maru can also be found on Ravelry as marumin and on her designer page.

Maru Minetto.

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

Maru: My grandma did the most beautiful crochet work.  She taught me the basics as a teenager, but I wasn’t any good at it.  I had difficulty holding the crochet correctly and ended up  very frustrated with my uneven results.  I tried it again several years later, before the birth of my son… I bought a few magazines and started crocheting with much better results, so I started to crochet for gifts and charities.

 

UC: You seem to enjoy making projects for babies and children.  What is it about these types of projects that you love?

Maru: I went back to crocheting because I wanted my children to have crocheted items like the ones my grandma used to make for us, (not that I could really do more than bibs and blankets), but that was what drew me back to crocheting.  Caps, booties and sweaters soon followed.

Baby projects are finished up fast, and don’t take up a lot of material.  Babies and children are a great inspiration and they can wear anything from vintage classic to colorful  modern edge items and always look cute.

Even when my kids are all grown up now, there’s always need for baby items for gift giving and especially to be donated to hospitals and children in need and I find it very rewarding to be able to give something done with my own hands.

 

Maru Minetto's White Baby Bolero pattern.

 

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Maru: I think basically the need to experiment, create and have fun.  I started by following patterns written by other designers (and I still do crochet items by other designers), but sometimes I have a specific idea and no pattern to follow, so I simply start crocheting and creating a pattern of my own.

 

UC: Tell us about the crochet scene in Peru.

Maru: As you may know, Perú is well known for its fine Alpaca wool and the excellent craftmanship of our native people.  (UC comment: This is definitely true.  I work with Galler Yarns, and they import several luscious Peruvian alpaca yarns!)  In native communities they learn to spin, knit and/or crochet as children. Several years ago it was also common for schools to teach the basics of knitting and crochet.

There is no rivalry between knitting and crochet that I know of, but knitting is more widely spread as it is almost always related to clothing items as opposed to crochet that is viewed more as a decorative labor (tablecloths, doilies, dishcloths, afghans, etc).

Also, people seem to find it easier to knit than to crochet and it is way easier to find information and patterns  related to knitting than to crochet.

Maru Minetto's My Lavender Sachet pattern.

 

UC: Your blog is bilingual.  Tell us about your decision to blog in both English and Spanish.  What do you see as the benefits and the challenges of writing a bilingual blog?

Maru: I decided upon a bilingual blog as a means to reach more people, and make it easier for my followers.  I find that built in translators do not do a good job and the “translations” are almost always “confusing” to say the least.  Crochet has its very own “language” and common dictionaries/translators do not have the correct equivalents for crocheting terms.

Blogging in two languages just takes up a little more time.

 

Maru Minetto's Cute Baby Sweater pattern.

UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English crochet blogs or websites to share?

Maru: There are several blogs I follow.  There are lots and lots of creative and caring people in the crochet community who love to share their knowledge of crochet.

But my all time favorite crochet blogs  are in Portuguese:

Thanks so much for stopping by Maru, and sharing your thoughts and links with us!

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2012 Interview Series: Nuria Pastor a.k.a. Bezencilla

This post is part of my 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month interview series.

Today, I’m interviewing crochet designer and blogger Nuria Pastor, also known as Bezencilla around the web.  Nuria is currently living in the Netherlands but she is originally from Madrid.  You can find Nuria online as Bezencilla on Ravelry, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy, and Flickr, as well as on her website, blog, and Ravelry designer page.  All images are used with her permission.  Nuria has been kind enough to offer a discount in her Ravelry shop for my readers, so continue on for details!

Nuria Pastor, also known as Bezencilla.

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

Nuria: When I was a kid my aunt, Paqui, taught me how to make the “little sticks” – that’s the name she uses for double crochet. She used to sit on her sofa and crochet white tablecloths and beautiful bedspreads for hours and hours.

 

Nuria's Yellow Submarine Baby Boots, available on Etsy.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Nuria: A few years ago, during some sleepless nights, I started crocheting little flowers, cases, coasters… any kind of small projects just to relax myself a little bit. By that time some friends and family were expecting babies, and then I started crocheting baby boots and socks with cotton and a 2mm hook! But it was too conventional, classic, boring and a lot of work.  All that lead me to design my own projects inspired by animals and toys, that the parents-to-be would love, like the Yellow Submarine Booties, inspired by a couple of friends that love The Beatles.

 

Nuria's Yellow Submarine Baby Boots pattern is available on Ravelry.

 

UC: Tell us about your heritage and the crochet scene in the Netherlands, where you currently live.

Nuria: I grow up very close to my aunt, she has been crocheting since I remember.  It was very nice and amusing looking at her making enormous pieces of fabric from a little strand of yarn.

 

I’m originally from Madrid, learnt English at school and a few years ago moved to Ireland to study.  I love their heritage and culture. Then a couple of years back moved to the Netherlands. Currently I’m learning Dutch, and I know it will take me a while. But I belong to this group of crafters, Stitch ‘n Bitch De Pijp.  Most of them are Dutch and they are kindly helping me out with the language. Also, I guess the craft scene here is bigger than in Spain, so I’m very happy with it.

Actually, since I joined this group I’m becoming a knitter more than a crocheter.  I’m learning a lot and improving my design skills day by day. It’s really encouraging for me. Sharing knowledge, experience, doubts… is absolutely wonderful.

 

Nuria's knitted baby boots with handles. (Pattern forthcoming.)

UC: You are multi-craftual. What is your favorite “go to” craft these days?

Nuria: Knitting, definitely.

 

UC: Tell us about your blog. Why did you decide on blogging in English and Spanish?

Nuria: I love sharing my experiences and creations with everybody; English language is critical for that. Of course, it’s challenging but very important when you are living abroad.

 

Nuria's Dog Hat. (Pattern forthcoming.)

UC: Do you have any tips for aspiring bloggers?

Nuria: Yes, enjoy what you do and be proud of your work; the rest will come slowly, so be patient too ;).

 

UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet or craft blogs to share?

Nuria: Yes, La Maison Bijoux and Madrid Knits!, in Spanish.  In English, I love the Cast-On and Electric Sheep podcasts, which are very useful and inspiring to me.

 

Nuria's Luisa Dancing Booties. (Pattern forthcoming.)

UC: What’s next for Bezencilla?

Nuria: I’m planning on releasing a few patterns soon: my new Luisa Dancing Booties, an alien and a dog hat, and my first knitting design of two baby booties with handles, rainy boots style.

Thanks for stopping by, Nuria, and sharing your enthusiasm with us!  And, for sharing a 15% discount in your Ravelry shop from now until Sunday, October 14, 2012 using coupon code under15.

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

Hookin’ Up Project, Day 3: Crochet with Tamara

I’m very excited to be part of the Hookin’ Up project organized by Kathryn at Crochet Concupiscence.  Today I’m interviewing Tamara Gonzales from the Crochet with Tamara blog.

Tamara inspecting a bootie. (Quality control is important stuff!)

UC: How did you learn to crochet?

Tamara: I learned from my Grandma, who taught me to make chains when I was about 10 years of age and I learned to read patterns by myself from old 1940s leaflets when I was about 16.

(UC comment: I also learned from my grandmother, at about 9 years old, and am a self-taught pattern reader!)

UC: How did you get started blogging?

Tamara: I first started blogging when I was voted in as President of my local chapter of the CGOA, KS (Kiss) My Stitch.  The officers and I were looking for a way to get the word out about our local chapter and we decided to start a blog.  (UC comment: The blog started on June 18, 2007.) One of our members created the blog and I had just purchased a digital camera and started taking pictures of the members’ show and share pieces.  So I taught myself how to get on the blog and started posting pictures and writing a little bit about what we did at our meetings.

Then in 2008, I was helping my sister at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, where she was a vendor showing off her new line of fabric.  Plus I was teaching crochet during the Festival.  I know it doesn’t sound right at a quilt show, but they asked and of course I couldn’t say no to spreading the love of crochet to quilters or whoever wanted to learn.

Anyway, Susan Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief of Leisure Arts, just happened to see some of my crochet pieces in my sister’s booth and liked what she saw.  She contacted me after the show and asked if I would be interested in blogging for their brand new website devoted to crochet.  Apparently, they had read all of my blog entries from KS My Stitch and liked what they saw there too.  So for a year and a half, I was the voice of crochet on Crochet Soiree.  Tamara’s Take was the name of the blog.  After the year and a half, Leisure Arts decided to combine all of their websites under one and no longer needed my services, so the rest is history.  (UC comment: While the Crochet Soiree website is no longer available, you can still check out the YouTube channel.) I created my own blog on WordPress in July, 2010, and have been blogging there ever since.  (UC comment: You can check out Tamara’s first post on her own blog here.)

UC: Do you have any tips for a newbie blogger?

Tamara: I’m not sure if I’m qualified to give any tips for a successful blog, since I’m still in the learning process (UC comment: ! What does this mean for the rest of us who have been blogging for less than four years?!?!) but I would encourage anyone who wants to start a blog to go for it.  But just make sure you keep up with it and keep it updated.  I have blogged on Blogger and I still post photos on ksmystitch.blogspot.com.  I am now set up with my own blog on WordPress.com and I really like all the cool features.

UC: You have some great photos on your blog.  (I particularly love the Candy Kaleidoscope.) Please share some of your tips for photo success.

Tamara: I’m just an amateur photographer and I’m still learning with this, too.  I would recommend trying different background colors to see which one works best with whatever you are trying to take a picture of.  Sometimes, I even have to switch the settings and try with the flash or without the flash, inside or outside.  My favorite setting right now is the close-up setting.  Then I take the camera to the computer and download the photos to see if they look ok.  If not, it’s back to the drawing board and changing out the background.

Here is Tamara, wearing her Candy Kaleidoscope. She says the photos of this great piece "don't even show the true colors... you really have to see it in person."

UC: Where do you find your inspiration?

Tamara: I find my inspiration from vintage crochet books (’30s and ’40s), magazines, Anthropologie catalogs, clothing ads, other people’s projects, flowers, and I’ve even been inspired by a floor tile, or just my imagination :).

You can see some of Tamara's floral inspiration on this project.

 

UC: What are your favorite projects to make?

Tamara: I like making doilies, hats, or pretty much anything that strikes my fancy at the time.  Right now I’m in love with making the little kimono sweater I found on CrochetMe.  I have changed it up some and made the sweater not wrap, no sleeves, a tab front, short sleeves, etc.  I have such a hard time leaving things the way they are written.

Does this photo make you look regretfully at your own WIPs?

(UC comment: You can find Susanne Visch‘s Baby Kimono Wrap here.  Tamara’s modifications are not available at this time :)!)

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

Tamara: There are really so many that it’s really hard to choose just a few, but here goes.

A selection of Tamara's lace stitch guides.

My Japanese crochet doily and lace books, Magic Crochet magazines, and A Living Mystery: The International Art and History of Crochet by Annie Potter.  Maybe I should mention the Crochet Prayer Shawls book that one of my patterns is featured in, too.  I really adore all my vintage books that have been handed down from my Grandma and I cherish the ones that have her name (Vada) on them.

More of Tamara's great collection of magazines and guides.

Thanks, Tamara, for stopping by for an interview!

If you haven’t yet visited Crochet with Tamara, head over and check it out.  There are several great things about this blog.  Tamara updates it several times a week.  She also actively engages her readers in conversation.  There are many comments and responses on most posts.  And, she has lots of great crochet projects going all the time!  Tamara is a very prolific crocheter, so you get to see a range of projects including her own designs and modifications from existing patterns. Actually, my favorite thing about the blog is the pictures.  Tamara has many images in each post. Crochet with Tamara isn’t exclusively about crochet though – Tamara includes some info about her personal life as well.  (But not too much info!  In other words, she strikes a balance.)  So stop by and check out Crochet with Tamara if you aren’t already a steady reader.

There are 28 more days in the Hookin’ Up! project, so check out this link to visit the other featured blogs.