Back in March, I had the opportunity to travel to Long Beach, California for the #WeAllGrow Summit by Latina Bloggers Connect. I had a great few days away and in today’s post, I’ll be sharing pictures from my travels!
When I got to Long Beach, apparently the weather was unusually cloudy. It was still quite a bit warmer than New York City — and beautiful! — so I wasn’t upset.
The conference featured several “room drops” by sponsors. It was always fun to get back to my room in the afternoon and find some goodies waiting.
On Friday morning, I was part of a panel on podcasting with Bricia and Paulina from the Super Mamas podcast and Marianna from the Bilingual Avenue podcast. I stopped by the Dove booth for a little makeover on the way.
After the panel, I visited several other sponsor booths.
One of the highlights was a stop at the Neutrogena booth, where I had the chance to speak to a dermotologist. She recommended a complete change to my skin care routine and gave me several products to try.
Since I’ve been home, I’ve gotten some great feedback on my skin, so I guess it’s working!
I should also mention that I didn’t suffer from hunger at this event. The ladies who put #WeAllGrow together know how to feed you! The meals were fabulous but I also enjoyed the snacks, like the smoothies at the AVEENO booth.
I also picked up some great body lotion at the AVEENO booth. I starting using it right away and forgot to take pictures, though.
#WeAllGrow wasn’t all just eating and getting free stuff, of course. I also went to some great workshops, like Next-Level Pinning with Enid from Pinterest and Media Kits 101 with Lina from Everywhere Society.
I also had the chance to meet up with the team from TurboTax, which just happens to be the software I’ve used for my personal and business taxes since I launched Underground Crafter back in 2008. I even won a YOU Party kit, which gave me 50% off on tax software for me and four friends.
Since most of my friends had already done their taxes by the time I got home, I reached out to some of my blogger buddies for a virtual tax party.
(I also shared the codes with my dad. But, like me, he wasn’t quite in a party mood at tax time!)
All of this was fun, but the highlight of the trip actually happened away from the conference. Carolyn from The Purple Poncho happens to live in the area, and she picked me up from the hotel for a night out in Long Beach.
I’m sharing the fourth interview in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month series with Olivia Silva from Pitusas y Petetes. Olivia is a Galician crochet designer. I’ll also be including a roundup of my 5 favorite free crochet patterns from Olivia’s collection!
Olivia can be found online on her website and blog, as well as on Etsy (where she sells patterns, purse frames, and yarn), Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Ravelry. All images are used with permission and are copyright Pitusas y Petetes. Please note this interview was translated from Spanish to English.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?
Olivia: During my childhood, I remember my mother was always teaching me the things she learned to do, specially crocheting, knitting and sewing.
I come from a modest family and I only had one doll to play with, so I made her clothes. I would make her pretty dresses with fabric and would knit and crochet her sweaters and hats… She was the prettiest and best dressed in the world. 😉
From there, I grew fond of any type of craft as I grew up. I’m a self-educated person and I’m in constant learning, and I have been adapting my knowledge and experience to contemporary designs.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Olivia: It never occurred to me to make my own designs, I always took designs from the web, blogs, magazines… and, I would have millions of ideas in my head, until one day I started creating my own designs. By starting from the same base and modifying specific stitches, you can create a variety of original designs… You just have to be a Little creative and visualize what you want to do before doing it, aside from knowing many stitches.
I recommend to every person that starts doing crochet that they shouldn’t settle for the basic stitches, that they dare to experiment and create with more elaborate stitches. More possibilities will arise and from a simple design, they will be able to make something amazing.
UC: Although you have variety in your patterns, you definitely have a lot of coin purse patterns. What do you enjoy about designing coin purses?
Olivia: I started crafting simple purses and I would only change the color or the clasp. Little by little, I started combining new stitches, from simple ones to more elaborate ones, trying types of threads, and doing pretty decorations… From my notes, I went on to do my own graphics and I thought it would be a good idea to share my designs with others since there were no original designs in the internet. That’s how my presence on Etsy started. That’s where you can find the patterns. I also share some free designs on the blog, which I invite you to visit.
I feel very proud knowing that in some part of the world, someone is making a purse with one of my patterns.
UC: Do you plan to add knitting patterns in the future?
Olivia: Although I’m more focused in crochet, I really like knitting. For now, I haven’t got the time to make my own designs but, little by little I hope to be able to get more into this task and share it with my followers.
Right now I am immersed in my own amigurumi designs. It is one of my passions. Since I made the first one, it has been impossible for me to stop. I also translate patterns from other languages… I just love challenges. (*^^*)
UC: Most of your patterns are available in English and Spanish. What do you see as the benefits of writing bilingual patterns?
Olivia: I think it is amazing, I am Spanish and my level of English is kind of bad but it is not necessary to dominate it to be able to understand the explanations and graphics in another language.
Symbols are the same in both languages and abbreviations are very simple to understand, so it hasn’t been difficult for me to translate my patterns to English and, at the same time, other patterns from English to Spanish. And it has been a wise move since I have been able to reach the entire world thanks to this language. Otherwise it would’ve been impossible.
UC: Where do you find your creative inspiration?
Olivia: Inspiration is anywhere: old magazines, the streets, nature, even in dreams, yes! When I sleep I come up with a lot of things. 😉
Also pn blogs, Pinterest, and pn social networks there is a lot of inspiration, and in my favorite app, Instagram, where I have been able to find people that make amazing works.
UC: What was the crochet scene like in Galicia when you were growing up? How does that compare to the yarn crafts scene in Galicia today? Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Olivia: In the past, crochet was very simple. Housewives and grandmothers did it, and basically they made rugs, blankets, curtains, towel stitches, cloths, etc… it was all very basic for daily life use in any household.
Some time ago, they stopped doing this craft since it was seen as something from the past, it was related to traditions of village people, and it was even despised. Because of that, many young generations haven’t been lucky to learn this beautiful craft from their mothers or grandmothers.
Recently, it has been coming back into fashion. It’s even well looked upon that you know how to do these crafts, there are groups who share experiences, there are blogs and web pages about this topic, there is a great variety of products for crochet, and it grows more and more every day.
It is also true that thanks to technology many young people have become interested in learning crochet, and today you can find people crocheting in any geographical place… it’s amazing and it makes me very happy.
UC: Which is your favorite book in your crochet collection?
Olivia: I have to confess I don’t have a specific book about crochet. I know there are many good books about it, but I’ve already confirmed that there are others which are very bad and hard to understand (specially for beginners) and of very bad taste (with horrible designs I would never make myself).
However, I am a big crocheting magazine consumer; I have a great collection of both Spanish and Portuguese magazines.
For people who want to start in this world of crochet, this is a good way to start. They can learn to form the basics to more elaborate stitches, patterns are usually well explained, and also the price of the magazines is very affordable.
UC: Are there any Spanish- or English- language crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Olivia: There are very good and creative blogs in Spanish but I usually look over to foreign blogs, in any language, from Americans to Russians. There is much activity in this world. For that I really like to use Pinterest. From a photo, I start to look for information about it, where it comes from, whose is it, if it has a blog… and if the place seems interesting, I stay and become a faithful follower.
Another interesting site is Ravelry. It has all types of projects and you can interact with people that have your same interests. Etsy is also a great source of inspiration. There are amazing designers, and it’s also a great to collaborate with your designers so they continue to make great things. That’s one of my guilty pleasures every now and then. Instead of buying me two coffees, I buy a pattern and make a designer happy.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Olivia, and sharing your work with us! What’s your favorite pattern by Olivia? You can find the her designs on Etsy.
Crojo is a term many crocheters use to describe the combination of crochet skills and enthusiasm with mojo, an intangible, magic power that includes creative inspiration.
Whether you always experience a little dip in your crochet enthusiasm as the weather gets warmer, or a difficult project is making crochet seem like a chore, or life stressors have you thinking that picking up a hook is too challenging, I’m sharing 6 ways to bring back your crojo.
Most crocheters have favorite “go-to” projects. For some, these are “mindless” projects like a favorite pattern, a freeform project, or anything that can be done while watching streaming shows on Amazon Prime. Other crocheters prefer challenging projects that expand their skills and make them feel accomplished.
When your crojo is lost, try picking up your favorite type of project.
2) Look for inspiration online
Sometimes, you just hit a wall creatively with crochet. Looking at all the possibilities can be very inspiring!
Some of my favorite sources of crochet inspiration are…
Learning something new may be just the thing you need to fall back in love with crochet!
5) Participate in a crochet-a-long
Sometimes crocheting with other people – whether face-to-face or virtually – can be so fun that it gets you excited all over again. Ravelry’s KAL Fanatics group is a great way to find out about online crochet- and knit-a-longs. You can also search Pinterest for “crochet-a-long YEAR” to find current CALs. (Here’s the 2015 search results.) Check with your local crochet guild or local yarn shop to find out about CALs in your local community.
6) Just take a break
Sometimes, a short break is really all that’s needed to bring your crojo back. If you’ve tried everything else and you just aren’t feeling the crochet love, take some time away from crochet. When you aren’t looking for it, your crojo will probably sneak up right behind you!