On Fridays, I share a link blast on Twitter and Facebook to get you excited about crocheting all weekend! Keeping with the #FlashbackFriday meme, I’m sharing patterns were first released at least 12 months ago.
Here’s an archive of this week’s crochet mitts pattern picks! There are 20+ free crochet patterns included.
All patterns and tutorials are free unless otherwise noted. All photos are copyright the respective designers and used with permission.
I’m finally back on track with my posts for (Inter)National Crochet Month, and today I’m sharing an interview with one of my favorite crochet (and knitting!) bloggers and designers, Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux. Back in January, I was honored to be interviewed by Jennifer on her blog, and of course when NatCroMo came around, I wanted to share her story with you all.
Jennifer can be found online at Fiber Flux, as well as on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Ravelry (as iheartfiber and on her designer page), Twitter, and YouTube. I’m also including a roundup of my favorite free crochet patterns from Fiber Flux (as well as one free knitting pattern thrown in for good measure!). All images are used with permission and are copyright Jennifer Dickerson/Fiber Flux.
Thanks so much, Marie, for having me here on your awesome site! I have a lot of admiration for you as a crafter and business person and am honored to be here today.
Thank YOU so much for stopping by, Jennifer!
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?
Jennifer: I taught myself to knit years before I learned to crochet. Being a member of Ravelry, I often would come across gorgeous examples of crochet. I wanted to learn for quite some time and a lovely (and very patient) aunt of mine who is a very experienced and talented crocheter taught me the very basic stitches. She is known in our family as the “afghan queen” and was the perfect teacher. After that I was quite taken with the craft and have had the crochet bug ever since!
Jennifer: It is really amazing all of the things you can do with some yarn. My very first pattern, Lightning Fast NICU and Preemie Hats, was created because I wanted to make a large donation of little hats to a local hospital. As a mother, I love the idea of wrapping the tiniest babies in something lovingly handmade.
From there, I began making other things inspired by the people around me and from that came a scarf for a loved one, a hospice shawl, and lots more. I still design each of my patterns with someone in mind as I am creating them.
UC: Although you have a lot of variety in your patterns, you definitely have quite a few cowls and scarves. What do you enjoy about designing neckwarmers?
Jennifer: I am somewhat of a scarf and cowl fanatic. From early fall to mid spring, I honestly wear one every single day! I have very heavy ones for the coldest of days and lighter ones for the house and when it warms up a bit (hopefully that will be soon!). One of my blog friends even dubbed me the scarf queen at one time! When I get together with friends and family, I will often send them home with a scarf around their neck too. I love to wrap those I care about with a warm wooly neck hug.
UC: You have tons of videos available on YouTube. How’d you get started filming videos and they’re numbered in episodes. What’s your approach to sharing videos with your fans?
Jennifer: Actually I make videos entirely because of my readers. They have been asking me for years (yes, years!) to make videos of my projects. I launched my YouTube channel in the fall of 2013 and have had a great time exploring this fun way of sharing information. I have the most awesome readers and they have been very supportive and appreciative of my new endeavor. I often accompany a video along with my written patterns, so that people can refer to it if they get stuck or need additional information.
UC: In addition to crochet, you also share knitting and embroidery patterns and tips on your blog. As a multi-craftual lady, how do you divide your time between these different crafts? Do you have a favorite?
Jennifer: Percentage-wise I definitely have more crochet patterns and videos, but I definitely find joy doing both. Crochet and knitting are so similar in many ways, but just different enough, so when I feel stuck or need to take a break from one craft, I will often switch and pick up a pair of needles or vice versa.
I am thankful for both of them because it often will help me “reset” my creative button from time to time. I will always knit and I will always crochet. They are both such a big part of my life!
UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?
Jennifer: I suppose many crafty people can relate to this, but I really do find inspiration everywhere…colors of produce at the farmer’s market, the high fashion runway, the local yarn shop, the way a particular fabric drapes over a shoulder, the juxtaposition of texture. My background in art certainly helps me make creative decisions too…prior to being part of the yarn world, I was a painter, making large abstract paintings and showing them in local galleries. This training in classical art making with regards to color theory, composition, perspective, etc. most definitely influences me as a designer too.
UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?
Jennifer: I am a bit of a book collector…I have piles and piles of them and enjoy flipping through them often. I love Sarah London‘s use of color and pretty much anything from Linda Permann.
Laurinda Reddig‘s latest book (that I had the pleasure to review recently) has been an exciting read too. My stitch dictionaries get a lot of milage are are jam packed with post-it notes, full of things scribbled in the margins, and most of the corners are folded in to mark a spot. (UC comment: I’ve previously reviewed Sarah’s book here and Laurinda’s books here and here.)
UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Jennifer: To get a big picture view of what is going on in the craft word at any given time, I am a frequent visitor of Ravelry and craftgawker. I just love to peruse the beautiful handiwork and see the collective beauty of so much talent! I am so grateful to have made friends with lots of other bloggy stitchers who inspire me not only with their talents, but their wisdom and business savvy as well…I find myself hopping onto their blogs regularly too.
The book opens with a stunning image of a stack of red crocheted items, and then shares a thumbnail of each of the designs in the table of contents. Not surprisingly, the book then launches into a series of notes, forewords, and prefaces (by the director of the Heart Truth, Deborah Norville, Vanna White, and Laura Zander), each of which discusses women’s heart health.
The next section of the book, Projects and Profiles, includes 30 patterns. Each pattern includes a designer profile. In many of these, the designer shares their own story related to heart health. Most patterns also include a health tip from the designer, such as their favorite heart healthy foods or exercise. Most patterns, especially the wearables, include multiple views of the project. The exceptions are the two wraps, neither of which is shown on a model, and the smaller projects, like the mitts, which just include one picture. The garment patterns also include schematics (in red, naturally). All patterns are written in U.S. crochet abbreviations, and five patterns also include international stitch symbols.
The next section, Heart-Healthy Living, includes a variety of information about heart health, such as self test, exercise recommendations, tips for staying motivated about healthy lifestyle changes, and nine recipes.
The Crochet Know-How section shares the standard “back of book” information like a glossary of abbreviations, hook sizes, yarn weights, and a US to UK abbreviation conversion chart. It also includes short photo tutorials of the basic crochet stitches (chain, single, slip stitch, half double, and double crochet) and the adjustable ring for crocheting in the round. The book ends with a bonus pattern, a list of yarn suppliers, and an index.
Throughout the book, images of mountains of red yarn, piles of red crocheted fabric, and models in red garments are presented against mostly white backgrounds. The contrast creates a really beautiful effect and you just want to keep flipping through the book. The layout is particularly helpful in the Heart-Healthy Living section because it contains a lot of text. The contrasting colors and the images break up the wall of text and keep the book visually interesting.
Overall, the book includes 31 patterns.
Women’s top (cardigans, tunics, shrugs, pullover, etc.): 9
Although this book has a stunning layout and a great collection of patterns by many of today’s most popular designers, there are a few things I wish were done differently. I would have liked to see the wraps on models, particularly since they can be challenging to style. I think many crocheters would want to see more patterns with international stitch symbols. Most of the garment patterns are in 3-4 sizes and some crocheters will be looking for more. The Heart-Healthy Living chapter is a bit lost at the end – putting it up front would have made everyone look through it and would probably have a greater impact on awareness. I wish there was more information about how much of the proceeds were going to The Heart Truth. (Is it a percentage? A fixed amount per book? Is there a maximum donation? etc.)
This is a surprisingly affordable collection of patterns, particularly since there are so many garments. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars for a crocheter who likes pattern collections and who enjoys crocheting projects for women.
Full disclosure: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. Although I accept free books for review, I do not accept additional compensation from the publisher, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions. This also post contains affiliate links. You can read my affiliate and review disclosures here.