I’m continuing my Hispanic Heritage Month series today with an interview with fellow New Yorker and Etsy seller, Letty Giron. Letty is a Guatemalan-American crocheter and maker sells her creations as Simply Baby by Letty. Letty can also be found on Instagram as SimplyBabyByLetty.
All images are copyright Letty Giron and are used with permission. Click on the image to be brought to the listing in Letty’s Etsy shop.
This post contains affiliate links.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?
Letty: As a young girl, I always saw my mother with a crochet hook in hand doing little dresses and sweaters for babies in pastel colors and I remember thinking that they looked like cotton candy, because she used to hang them in a line. They were beautiful and she made them all herself after going to craft classes.
Then, as a teenager, my older sister taught me the basic stitches. As my mother had so many magazines, all of them about doilies and tablecloths, I started to read them and learned more about stitches, and I started to follow the instructions. So in the beginning I only learned how to make doilies. Not major items. But that’s how I began and slowly it grew from there.
UC: What inspired you to open an Etsy shop?
Letty: I’ve always made baby clothes for friends and family who are expecting and sometimes they would ask me to make something for their friends. Also, I’ve been working with children for four years and it helped me learn the different sizes of babies as they grow. Someone suggested that I open an Etsy shop and just see if these little things I make might be of interest to other people. Although I’ve only just started, I’ve already had some success and I imagine more is to come.
UC: Your shop focuses on crochet for baby. What do you enjoy about baby projects?
Letty: I really do enjoy all kind of projects for babies, but I’m more focused on sweaters, hats, and dresses that I combine with fabric, because I love prints – specifically floral, animals, and galaxy print – but really all kinds in general.
UC: What was the yarn craft scene like in your community when you where growing up?
Letty: I grew up in a small town outside of the city in Guatemala, and as a child I can remember my maternal grandma baking all kind of bread and cakes and different kind of food. She really enjoyed her kitchen.
Since she used a lot of eggs for her baking, I remember when she broke the eggs she did it very carefully, breaking them only on one side because she used to decorate the shells with so many different colors and fill them up with confetti. Then all the kids in our neighborhood used them for a celebration that we call Carnaval and also for Easter time which in Spanish we call Semana Santa. It was a great activity for the children to be involved in the creative process of decorating them.
We didn’t have so much yarn around in my family before my mother began her crochet classes, though my maternal grandma often sewed shirts for all the boys in the family.
UC: How does that compare with the current scene in your neighborhood in New York?
Letty: When I came to New York at age 21, I knew very little English. I was interested in continuing my crochet skills but could not find any magazines in Spanish so I started to buy in English and with a dictionary in hand I could read and translate all the abbreviation into Spanish and that is how I managed to continue doing it. Similarly, in the beginning I did not know where to find yarn. Now it is possible and easy to find stores with many magazines, yarn brands, fibers, and some of them even offer courses for sewing, crochet, and knitting.
Additionally, the internet makes the whole community much wider and easier to find. Today the scope and reach of crafters is truly global – I have followers on Instagram from all over and we share our projects and tips.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so how?
Letty: Yes, as when I was young I had an aunt who had a sewing machine, a very old machine. I used to sit on her chair and pretend to sew. But mostly I think I was influence by my maternal grandma, she really had very good hands – baking all kinds of goods, sewing by hand, and also embroidering. And of course, by my mom and my sister. As crafting and working with one’s hands was such a large part of my heritage, I have continued that relationship with physical objects. We didn’t buy new things and continuously throw them away – we made our treasured items, put our time and effort into them, so they were special and unique. It meant that we took care of them as they have a history. Family is so important to me and my community so we also pass on objects that were important to one family member – we cherish these things as reminders of them – so we like to make things that will last.
As time passed by I have learn to crochet so many things, like scarf, hats, for adult and young ones. Then I started to crochet blankets, sweater, hats, booties, to give as a gift. By now I can crochet all kind of items and I don’t have to follow a magazine but design it myself.
Knitting I know very little, but what I most love and enjoy is doing crochet and work with fabric. All handmade, special items.
UC: What are your favorite crochet books and magazines in your collection?
- Magazines: Crochet Today, Crochet World, Annie’s Attic Crochet, Magic Crochet
- 24-Hour Crochet Projects
- Candy Babies: Cute Crochet For Wee Ones
- Easy to Crochet Cute Clothes For Kids
- Candy Blankies: Cuddly Crochet for Babies & Toddlers
UC: Are there any Spanish or English language crafty website/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Letty: I mostly like to check Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, and I also like to watch the cooking channels, particularly the baking shows – the colors and the softness of the confectionary items seem so much like a pile of soft yarn.
UC: What are you working on now?
Letty: I’m currently working on adding new items to my Etsy shop and experimenting with different shapes – I’ve done a lot of narrow sleeves for the baby sweaters but I’d like to try some variations. I’m also adding new receiving blankets as these are great baby shower gifts. All of my items are customizable, so someone could add a special fabric, color or print to the back of any of the blankets.
Thank you for sharing your time, Letty! Good luck with your Etsy shop!