Tag Archives: design

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.

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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 Trelly Hernandez (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with Galician knitting designer Trelly Hernandez on Underground Crafter blog

Today, I’m continuing my Hispanic Heritage Month series with an interview with Galician knitting designer, Trelly Hernandez. Trelly turned to knitting design earlier this year when she had to close her patchwork (quilting) shop and stop sewing for medical reasons. Trelly can be found online on her blog, El Rincon de Trelly (Trelly’s Corner), on Ravelry (as trelly and on her designer page), on Instagram, and on Facebook. Trelly’s answers were actually translated from Spanish to English, but I’ve done my best to keep true to Trelly’s intent and tone throughout.

All images are used with permission and are copyright Trelly Hernandez unless otherwise noted. Click on the picture to be brought to the Ravelry designer page.

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Interview with Galician knitting designer Trelly Hernandez on Underground Crafter blog

Bretema Hat knitting pattern.

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

Trelly: My first contact with knitting was in my patchwork (quilting) store. I brought the first yarns to sell from Malabrigo and Noro, and some friends and I were together one day, and there had “my first knitting class”’ with Marta and Tania. In a way, they were the ones who convinced me to enter into the world of knitting.

Interview with Galician knitting designer Trelly Hernandez on Underground Crafter blog

Rande Hat knitting pattern.

UC: Your Ravelry profile mentions that you began designing after closing your patchwork shop. Tell us more about your choice to enter knitwear design.

Trelly: I had to close up my patchwork store after a health problem. I have arthritis in both hands and feel a lot of pain when cutting fabrics and sewing. But I found out I had no problem knitting for long periods of time, which also made me relax, helping me to overcome some problems I had in my life. When I considered the benefits that knitting had for me, I began to cope with the possibility of continuing with design, but with knitting needles instead of sewing needles.

Learn to Knit Original Toe-Up Socks on Craftsy!

UC: Your current designs are all self-published. Do you plan to continue self-publishing only, or will you also submit designs to other publishers?

Trelly: Well, I have been designing only for a couple of months now and I have not been thinking about that. But I prefer to wait and see what comes next, because a lot of things could happen!

Interview with Galician knitting designer Trelly Hernandez on Underground Crafter blog

Rande Socks knitting pattern.

UC: You blog in Spanish, by your knit designs are all available in both English and Spanish. What do you see as the challenges and advantages to publishing in two languages?

Trelly: I write my blog in Spanish, but in Instagram I write almost anything in English because most of my 1,200 followers are not from Spain. I believe that in the US, knitting is diverse. In Spain, until now knitting was a thing for the elderly. Now there is a trend for younger people, too – even young boys, I love this so much! That is why I like to design in both languages. I just don’t want to miss the chance of being known in my own country but I also don’t like to limit myself if I can do it in English, too.

Interview with Galician knitting designer Trelly Hernandez on Underground Crafter blog

Xacobeo Hat knitting pattern.

UC: You live in Galicia, Spain. Is that also where you grew up? What was the yarn crafts scene like when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Galicia?

Trelly: I was born in Germany, but I grew up in Ourense (Galicia), Vigo (Galicia), and now I’m married and living in La Coruña (Galicia). Hahahaha, Galicia is big! I grew up surrounded by needles, yarn, and crochet hooks, because both, my grandmother and my mom always knit and crocheted. All my cousins and brothers wore the jackets and jerseys they made for us which were given to other members of the family when we grew up. In those days, I didn’t have an interest in knitting. I can even say I hated knitting because then there were no yarn winders and yarn swifts, so my mother was always forcing me to have my arms raised while she winded the yarn she wanted for her 4 sons…and look at me now!!! My grandmother died some months ago, and my mother is still knitting for her grandsons. She’s surprised and proud of the work I now make. Who would have known?

Interview with Galician knitting designer Trelly Hernandez on Underground Crafter blog

Brown Sugar Shawl knitting pattern.

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

Trelly: My mother does cross stitch, crochet, knitting, and I think she made it easier for me to decide and change my profession with no doubts in my mind. I have the genes for this type of work, I swear it! LOL

Recently, I published my new collection of accessories, which I decided to name using Galician names. I love my language. It is rich in beautiful words and I have decided to pay tribute to my land and my roots.

Interview with Galician knitting designer Trelly Hernandez on Underground Crafter blog

Ledicia Hat knitting pattern.

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

Trelly: Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits helped me lose the fear of socks. I like them, but I never thought about knitting socks and even less about designing them. This week I published in Ravelry my first sock design, which I called Rande Socks (in English and Spanish, of course) and now I’m working in an e-book with 5 patterns of thick socks with Malabrigo Rios. Each pattern will have two versions: normal socks and high socks, which are my favorites!

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

Trelly: Ufffff, I visit many websites/blogs about patchwork (quilting). I’m still not too deep with knitting, but through Instagram (@trelly7), I follow people that knit and make many other things.

Thanks so much for joining us, Trelly, and good luck with your knitting design career!

Interview with Victor Noël Lopez (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Today’s Hispanic Heritage Month series interview is with Victor Noël López, an emerging crochet designer and prolific charity crafter. Victor is known as hookdude on Ravelry and blogs at Project La Paz (Project Peace). You can find his (mostly free) crochet patterns on his Ravelry designer page. All photos are copyright Victor Noël Lopez unless otherwise noted and are used with permission. You can click on the pattern images to link to the Ravelry pattern pages.

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Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Victor Noël Lopez

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

Victor Noël: I’m a self-taught crocheter/knitter. Four years ago (after my retirement), I picked up the DVD I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting and just followed along. About a year ago, I decided to try knitting and I taught myself by watching some YouTube tutorials. The rest, like the saying goes, is history.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Victor Noël: Probably my obsession for detailed work. The actual sitting down and designing a pattern just happened. I always liked to read and decipher crochet symbols in patterns. To me, it was like putting a puzzle together. One day, I started drawing a crochet symbol pattern for a woman’s hat. It just took off from there. My interest in color is another motivating factor. I would like to see more color choices in fabric items for men.   I’m working on coming up with more designs for the male customer and for the woman who is shopping for a man.

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Color His World Scarf, a free crochet pattern.

UC: You do a lot of crafting for charity. Can you share your motivation for starting Project La Paz? How do you set your charity goals and identify locations to donate?

Victor Noël: I live in the greater metropolitan area of San Antonio, Texas. A couple of years ago, I crocheted scarves for Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages (that include scarves and hats) to our troops stationed overseas. After my involvement with O.G., I began looking for local organizations in my immediate area that could benefit from donations of scarves and hats. I chose a local children’s shelter to which I donated many crocheted hats for the children. It was a very moving experience for me and that provided the impetus for Project La Paz.

Obviously, I can’t work with all the charities where I live due to it being a large metropolitan area, so I carefully research the charities before I make my decision to make my charitable donations. Because I am a one-man operation, I have to limit my choices. At present, I am working with two local organizations. In addition to working with the charities, I also volunteer at a local hospital.

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Crochet Ribbed Winter Scarf, a free crochet pattern.

UC: You mention on your Ravelry profile that when you joined, you thought you were the only guy who could knit and crochet. What has it been like meeting other men in the knitting and crocheting community?

Victor Noël: I was welcomed to Ravelry with open arms by both women and men alike. Had I known what Ravelry was and what it offered, I would have joined this community four years ago. I have met many talented male and female fabric artists here as well. It’s just incredible to see literally thousands of other men like myself who crochet and knit. I thought I was the oddball, and I never imagined that there were so many other guys. It’s very inspiring to see so much diversified talent. I have embraced this community with an open mind to learning and creating. When you stop to think about it, that’s what it’s all about … you learn so that you can create.

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

The Fair Isle Motif Crochet Hat will be Victor Noël’s next pattern, scheduled for release in October.

UC: You’re a first generation Mexican-American. What was the yarn crafts scene like in your community when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Texas?

Victor Noël: I grew up in South Texas along the Mexican-US border in a predominantly Hispanic community of under 100,000, minute when you compare it to the city where I live now. From what I can remember, the yarn crafts activities were left exclusively to women crafters. Fortunately, all of that has changed. Through Ravelry, I have discovered that many crochet/knit groups and guilds can be found in larger metropolitan areas of Texas. I know that there’s a yarn craft group in my hometown that meets on a weekly basis at the public library, and, there’s one male Hispanic who attends the sessions. He just happens to be a high school friend of mine who became interested in crochet after he retired. I’m hopeful that in the future, more men in Texas will show an interest in this craft.

Dover Books

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

Victor Noël: Having been raised in a predominantly Hispanic culture that strongly delineated male and female roles has definitely influenced my crafting activities. For example, I will not crochet or knit in public. I prefer to do my yarn craft work at home. Many of my friends, both male and female, know that I crochet and knit, and though, they were surprised at the revelation, they have applauded all of my efforts in learning the craft. It’s not that I feel embarrassed because of what I create with yarn, but I feel that our society today is still not ready to embrace men making the “cross-over” into yarn crafting. That may not hold true for cities like New York and Chicago, but that’s just my opinion. The yarn artistry field is still dominated by many talented women, but, hopefully, that will change in the future as more men begin to share their art with the public.

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Crocheted Afghan in V Stitch, a free pattern.

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

Victor Noël: The book that I always keep close for reference is The Big Book of Crochet Stitches by the two leading legends in crafting, Rita Weiss and Jean Leinhauser.  I like that it’s divided into stitch categories and is an easy reference.

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

Victor Noël: The Spanish language Tejiendo Peru is one that I always check out. Even though I speak Spanish, whenever I come across a pattern in Spanish, I always check out this website because it has some helpful crochet and knitting terms both in Spanish/English. The website also has some fantastic tutorials in Spanish via YouTube.

UC: What are your upcoming charity plans?

Victor Noël: My plans at the present are to continue working with the two local charities and provide them with hats and scarves for the colder months. That alone takes up about 70% of my crafting activities. Because I feel that I have been blessed in many ways, I want to give a small part of myself back to the community. It gives me much personal satisfaction knowing that I can bring some warmth to a person by means of a knit hat or crocheted scarf. I have also found that both crocheting and knitting are very therapeutic.

Thank you for sharing your story, Victor Noël. Your charity work is truly inspiring!

Interview with Andrea Sanchez (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

HMM Andrea Sanchez

As part of my Hispanic Heritage Month series, I’m excited to share an interview today with Andrea Sanchez, the (mostly) knitting designer behind Andrea Sanchez Knits. In addition to her self-published patterns, Andrea’s work has been published by Holla Knits, Interweave Knits, Petite Purls, and Interweave Crochet.

Andrea is also a blogger whose work can be found on her own blog, Life on Laffer, as well as on the Craftsy blog. You can also find Andrea online on Ravelry (as peatmoss83 or on her designer page), on Facebook, on Instagram, and as @andrea_knits on Twitter. All images are used with Andrea’s permission. Click the pattern images to be brought to the Ravelry pattern page.

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Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Andrea Sanchez, in her Adult Tide Pools knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

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

Andrea: My mom taught me to crochet first. I was about 19 and in college. We were having a lazy winter Saturday and I asked her to teach me to crochet because I had decided I wanted to make my own blanket. She made me promise that If she bought the yarn I’d actually start and finish the blanket. I’ve always had a kind of will o’ the wisp attitude towards learning new crafty things. But I learned and finished that afghan. It turned out to be about a queen size and I still use it every year. The following winter she tried to teach me to knit (with worsted weight yarn on long, metal needles, size US10.5!) and that lasted all of about half an hour. I was really frustrated and gave up.

I moved to Ohio in 2007 and in 2009 I was working for a woman who crocheted. She introduced me to Interweave Crochet magazine. I was looking though it one day and found an ad for Ravelry. I joined up and was amazed at all the crochet and knit projects. I joined a swap and my swap partner sent me a pattern for a bulky knit scarf and 2 skeins of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande. I was so excited to have my own knit scarf I ran out that same night and bought the correct sized needles (bamboo this time) and spent the rest of the night watching YouTube videos and trying to work the first two inches of that scarf but finally figured it out. A week later I had my first scarf and I never looked back!

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Beech Street Vest knitting pattern. Image (c) Holla Knits.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Andrea: Before my son was born I started looking for some sweater patterns to make. I found that there just isn’t a big selection of sweater patterns that are more modern for little boys. I had an idea of what i wanted to knit for him and just couldn’t find the pattern. I realized that I had knit a lot of sweaters and I knew how the construction of one worked so I did a swatch and decided to give it a try. I submitted the idea to Petite Purls, it was accepted and that was the Navajo Pullover. After that, every time I had an idea of a sweater for him I just gave the idea a try on my own and that’s how I got started.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Adult Navajo Pullover knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

UC: You primarily design knit projects, with an emphasis on clothing for children and women. What do you enjoy about this type of project?

Andrea: I am very much a product knitter, meaning I’m in it for the finished products. Plenty of times I have started a sweater already knowing where I plan on wearing it or what I want to wear it with. With designing, I have found myself making things that I want to wear right away. I also really enjoy making sweaters for my son. Knowing my knitting is keeping him warm that makes me feel happy. After the successful design of the first Christmas sweater (Little Fisher Pullover) I told my husband that I would make our son a sweater for Christmas forever. So far he’s only had two Christmas’s to knit for, but I love that this is going to become our tradition. I’m already in the planning and swatching phase of the Christmas Sweater 2014.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Pugsley knitting pattern. Image (c) Andrea Sanchez.

I also tend to design mostly sweaters, because I’m a sweater knitter at heart. I love socks and accessories, but there’s something about seeing all the pieces of a sweater come together and be wearable that just gives me a lot of satisfaction.

UC: In addition to writing your own blog, Life on Laffer, you’re also a blogger for Craftsy. What tips do you have for new and emerging bloggers?

Andrea: Just write about what you enjoy. I started blogging a few months after I started knitting. I was so excited to be learning and making new projects that I wanted to share it with everyone! I try to share my real knitting life because I think that makes me (as a blogger) more relatable, instead of just sharing all my perfect finished pieces. Obviously, I share finished objects, but also the time my dog chewed the toe off my first pair of handknit socks, and when I had to rip and reknit the body of a sweater twice because I chose the wrong size. I didn’t want people to read my blog and think my life was so perfect and I crank out all these knitted things. In reality my kitchen and laundry is often neglected so I can knit instead, and occasionally there are dogs getting tangled in yarn and projects.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Sardines knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like in your community when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Ohio?

Andrea: I am Mexican on my mother’s side. Her father immigrated to California, where I grew up, when he was 16. My father’s family is from Spain and they came to California many generations ago, back during Spanish mission days before California received statehood.

My grandmothers on all sides crocheted while I was growing up (lots of doilies!) but it was never the thing. My mother learned to crochet at school and I don’t remember any of my cousins doing it. I also wasn’t very into to crocheting when I loved there. Other than my starter blanket, I made one other blanket and that was it. In Ohio, I found that “making” made me feel more Midwestern! I joined a Stitch ‘n Bitch group right away and have found a really vibrant group of crafters. I have a good friend who is a true maker, from food to household items, to much more. I love being a part of this group of so many talented women. Our town also hosts many craft fairs and has some great locally handmade shops.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Midwinter Cardigan knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

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

Andrea: As an adult I’ve felt that I kind of missed out on having a strong Hispanic culture. My family is very assimilated to mainstream American culture so I feel like I have to make my own culture resurgence. Learning to cook was one of the things that has helped me feel a connection to my heritage. I grew up eating excellent Mexican food but never really learned to cook on my own. I taught myself to make tamales and now that’s something that I do every winter. I want my son to have a good connection to his cultural heritage and I feel like that’s going to come from my own connection to it.

Interview with Andrea Sanchez, knitting designer and blogger, on Underground Crafter

Mustill knitting pattern. Image (c) Marianne Barta.

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

Andrea: My favorite would have to be Knitting Without Tears. It was one of the first books I received as a new knitter and the one that I have referred to most frequently. That Elizabeth Zimmermann sure knew her stuff!

Heirloom Baby Knits

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

Andrea: I have quite a few blogs in my blog roll that I visit as often as I can but I have been really into knitting podcasts lately. My new favorite is Curious Handmade. She is also a designer and has small children so I often feel like I can relate. I’m also a regular listener of The Knitmore Girls, The Doubleknit Podcast, and Knitting Pipeline. (UC comment: I love podcasts, too, and they let me crochet and knit while listening. And, I’ve recently launched my own podcast, the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show.)

UC: Do you have any upcoming projects to share?

I have a few new patterns that will be released with various companies this fall, as well as some set for late spring publication. It’s amazing how far in advance one can work when designing knitwear! I am also working on a knitwear book which makes me immensely proud, excited, and terrified all at the same time. It’s quite an undertaking and still has quite a way to go before being published.

Thank you for stopping by, Andrea, and best wishes for success with your book project!

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!