Tag Archives: cuba

Interview with Bianca Perez (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

I’m continuing my Hispanic Heritage Month series today with an interview with Bianca Perez, a Cuban-American knitting designer. Bianca’s love of lace shawls is clearly apparent from her designs! She can be found online on Ravelry as biancap43 or on her designer page. All images are copyright Bianca Perez and are used with permission. Click the picture to be brought to the Ravelry pattern page.

This post contains affiliate links.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Bianca Perez.

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

Bianca: Crochet was my first love. My Mom taught me the basics for both knit & crochet along with embroidery, cross-stitch and sewing. Had to quit crochet due to tunnel carpel syndrome and switched to knitting. Learning to knit was mostly self-taught from books, internet and YouTube; but one of my first “go-to” sites at first was KnittingHelp.com.

UC: What inspired you to start designing? 

Bianca: Basically the unhappiness or frustration with not being able to find a pattern that looked exactly as I was envisioning in my mind.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Tellurium, a shawl design for intermediate to advanced knitters.

UC: To date, all of your published designs are for knit shawls. What do you enjoy about these projects? 

Bianca: Even though I’m physical located in South Florida – it’s very cold at work due to the A/C.  Sweaters are too bulky and found myself wearing assorted store-bought pashmina shawls.  Soon put my needles to good use – many of the shawls I have designed are for personal use.  It is fun to imagine certain shawl shapes and combine them with different edges, colors and yarns.

Custom Shapes For Your Cards at Zazzle
UC: Your patterns are all self-published. What do you see as the challenges and advantages of self-publishing?

Bianca: Only publish through Ravelry and have not tried other means; mostly due to the convenience afforded by the Ravelry website.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Xelas, a bottom up knit shawl pattern.

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

Bianca: Grew up in South Florida and there were many yarn stores in the area at the time. There was a particular store called Yarns Galore (unfortunately no longer around) that used to have a knitting & crochet teacher who spoke Spanish and that’s where my Mom would take her lessons and I would come along.  Now there are only a couple of stores left.  I do try to sponsor them; but there is no denying that buying yarn through the internet is more cost effective and comfortable for me.  Mostly due to the distance, traffic and hours of operations.  I can only visit on the weekends due to my full time job.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

GradCeleb, a rectangular shawl designed for beginning lace knitters.

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

Bianca: Only in the sense that I see the beauty and advantages of both knitting and crochet as being equally versatile & beautiful.  Whereas some of my friends do only one or the other, and think of each of these in terms of them being in competition with each other.

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

Bianca:

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Minette, a rectangular knit shawl.

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

Bianca: Besides Ravelry, I also look at Deramores, DROPS, Knit Picks, Verena, and Pinterest, of course.

UC: What’s your favorite design?

Bianca: I am especially proud of my Seagrape pattern.  The reason is that after working several traditional shawls (working the body and then separately attaching the border); it seemed to me that the same could be accomplished in a different manner.  That’s when the Seagrape pattern came to be.  It is worked all in one piece from bottom to top, but it includes the body and borders, mimicking the look of a traditional shawl pattern.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Seagrape, a rectangular shawl with a knitted on border.

UC: What are you working on now?

Bianca: I am presently working on expanding my original designs to include baby clothes.  Mostly Layettes that would be easily  completed by beginners – at least that is my goal.

Thanks for visiting, Bianca! We look forward to seeing the beginner series of patterns!

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. 😀  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!

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!

Add to Ravelry

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. 

Add to Ravelry

© 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!