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.

This post contains affiliate links

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.

International Crochet Day 2012, Part 5: Official Guide to Super Awesome Gift Giving giveaway

This post contains affiliate links.

I’ve been a reader of the Crochet Liberation Front blog and newsletter for quite a while, and last year I won my very own copy of The Official Guide to Super Awesome Gift Giving: (Or how to survive to the holidays without going insane) by Laurie Wheeler (also known as the Fearless Leader of the Crochet Liberation Front).  Reading through it really inspired me to rethink who is on my list of crochet-worthy people, and to plan my holiday crafting in advance this year.  (And to pledge to avoid holiday-induced insanity.)

As part of my celebration of International Crochet Day, I’d like to pass along this book to someone else before the madness of the holiday season goes into full swing.  Hopefully, this book can help someone else make peace with their creative urges as well as the preferences and interests of those on their gift list.



I’ll be giving away gently used copy of The Official Guide to Super Awesome Gift Giving: (Or how to survive to the holidays without going insane).  This giveaway is open to all readers on the planet Earth.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, September 19, 2012.

Holiday Stashdown Challenge – Week 1

Welcome to Week 1 of the Holiday Stashdown Challenge!  (For more details, read this post.)  This week is all about making “the list.”

Over time, my philosophy about handmade gifts has changed a lot.  I used to make gifts for everyone in my family and most of my female friends each year.  And then I heard about the concept of someone being “crochet-worthy” or “knit-worthy,” and now I’m looking at my gift making in a different way.

I’ll share a story that will help illustrate my point.  I usually make baby blankets for my friends when they are expecting.  I love handmade baby stuff from my own childhood and a blanket makes for a very personal and unique gift.  When MC’s friend was expecting his second child, I was all excited about making an awesome blanket for the baby-to-be.  But before I went yarn shopping, MC reminded me that I hadn’t really received a thank you for the blanket given to the first child, and that he hadn’t really seen it in use or on display.  He asked me why I wanted to spend all that time making something for someone who wouldn’t appreciate it.  I had to admit that even though I love making baby blankets, I would rather make them for people who want them, or even for charity, than for people who don’t appreciate my handiwork.  (Not to mention all the money I saved on buying yarn to coordinate with their decor!)

I also had the pleasure of winning a copy of The Official Guide to Super Awesome Gift Giving: (Or how to survive to the holidays without going insane) by Laurie A. Wheeler (also known as the Fearless Leader of the Crochet Liberation Front) last winter, and it was definitely an eye-opener!  Laurie gives some great tips about how to identify the best handmade gift projects for those on your list, and also advises you to feel comfortable about taking people off your handmade list if they don’t appreciate your gifts.

And, finally, if you need some moral support for editing or shortening your list, don’t hesitate to stop by the Selfish Knitters & Crocheters group on Ravelry.  Their tagline is “No more knitting/crocheting for people who don’t vote for your sainthood as a result.”  ‘Nuff said.

Ok, so on to my list.  I don’t think I have any family or friends reading my blog today, but if this describes you, here is your last chance to avert your eyes!

The List (or, it’s official now and there are 21 people on it!)

  • Mom
  • Dad
  • Dad’s partner
  • Sister
  • MC, my special guy
  • JP, my friend and former colleague
  • CG, my BFF from high school, who is an artist and very fashion-forward
  • OB and JS, two of my friends who are also my crafting buddies
  • JM, another BFF from high school, who is tougher to make something for since he’s more of a minimalist
  • RP and CA, my two colleagues and work buddies for the last four years
  • My great aunt and uncle
  • My cat, Mom’s dog, and Dad’s cat (that makes 21 people and 3 animals!)
  • My grandparents
  • My aunt and uncle (Dad’s brother and sister)
  • My two cousins (aunt’s sons)
  • My little cousin (my cousin’s son who will be 4 years old this fall)
  • My cousin’s wife (mom of little cousin)
  • My cousin (uncle’s daughter)

Now before you freak out, let it be known that the folks in my Dad’s family (the last six bullet points/nine people) will probably receive something really small, like a Christmas stocking or washcloth.  And, I’ve already finished a hat for my Dad and started a hat for JP.

A hat for my dad, finished back in March.
A hat for my friend, JP, started at the beginning of May.

But yeah, that’s still a lot of people…

I’m looking forward to seeing your lists!

(Note: I scheduled this post because I’m traveling, and since it is my first time using InLinkz, if it doesn’t work, just add your link in the comments section.  My comments are moderated so if this is your first time commenting, I will be checking in throughout the day to approve comments.)

Prompt for the next post on Tuesday, May 22 (If you need some inspiration): Let’s take a stroll through our yarn stash, to see if there are any suitable yarns in there for gift-giving.  Don’t worry about matching these up to projects or people yet.  Are there yarns you like enough to work with but are willing to part with as gift projects?  If you don’t have a large (or suitable) stash, where do you think you will be doing your yarn shopping?  Tell us all about the glorious yarns!