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Interview with Katy from KT and the Squid

Interview with crochet designer Katy from KT and the Squid

I’m sharing another post as part of my series interviewing crochet designers for (Inter)National Crochet Month! Today, I’m interviewing Katy, the crochet designer behind KT and the Squid. Katy has over 6,900 sales in her Etsy shop, where she started out selling custom crochet hats and where she now sells digital patterns.

This post contains affiliate links.

Katy can be found online on the KT and the Squid website, and on Etsy, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, RavelryTwitter, and YouTube. All images are copyright KT and the Squid and are used with permission.

Interview with crochet designer Katy from KT and the Squid on Underground Crafter

Katy from KT and the Squid.

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

Katy: I taught myself to crochet with one of those generic instructional books in high school. My grandmother crocheted (even after she lost her sight), but she passed before she could teach me, so I like to think it’s in my genes.

Woodland Hooded Vest, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Woodland Hooded Vest, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: What inspired you to start designing? 

Katy: Designing was always just a fun thing for me and I didn’t realize I was doing it until years later. When I taught myself to crochet, I never really followed many patterns or if I did, I always tweaked. Not because there was anything wrong with them but I always found myself asking, “Well, what if I do this instead…” I ended up with a LOT of hats that would never fit a human head but it was the process of creating something that really intrigued me. Years later, I discovered I could share my designs with people and actually make a living doing it what fueled my fire even more.

Spiky Man Blanket, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Spiky Man Blanket, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: Although you have a lot of variety in your patterns, you have recently been focusing on garments more regularly. What do you enjoy about designing garments?

Katy: Back in 2009 when I really started to get into crochet I experimented with garments. I then started an Etsy shop where I became known for my finished hats. I enjoyed making the hats but they became a distraction from what I really wanted to do which was clothing. Last year, I decided to stop selling finished hats and took on designing full time and I’m loving it.

It’s hard to pinpoint (or put into words) what it is I enjoy about designing garments. It’s funny because not too long ago they intimidated me. In my mind it was like a huge puzzle. All the increases and decreases, going around shoulders and arms and making neck openings… it was scary! But today I really enjoy putting that puzzle together. I loved puzzles as a kid, lol.

Katy modeling her My Favorite Crochet Pullover pattern.

Katy modeling her My Favorite Crochet Pullover pattern.

UC: On your site, you share the links to makers who sell your finished items. Can you tell us how you started these partnerships?

Katy: The KT and the Squid Makers are a group of ladies that test my patterns for me. I get a lot of people asking me to make items from my patterns for them. It not something I have the time (or desire) to do so rather than just sending them on their way, I like to have a list of ladies I can send them to that are familiar with my patterns.

Lily Tunic, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Lily Tunic, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: All of your patterns are self-published. What do you enjoy about self-publishing? What do you see as the challenges?

Katy: It’s funny you ask this now because it’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently. I have only self-published up until now so I have nothing to compare it to, but there are benefits that I see. Just to name a few, I can get my designs out to my customers fairly quickly and I retain the rights to my patterns… I’m sure a challenge would be getting my work out there for everyone to see but with sites like Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy it’s made it easier. Very recently I have started communicating with some publishers so we’ll see where that takes me.

Kayla Sweater, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Kayla Sweater, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

Katy: I get a massive amount of inspiration from fashion trends I see in stores. I could spend HOURS shopping, looking at clothes (or anything) and not buy a thing. With three little kiddos I can’t always get out to go shopping, so I might browses like Pinterest online.

Chunky Crunchy Newsboy Hat, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Chunky Crunchy Newsboy Hat, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: How would you describe your style?

Katy: I’d say my style is simple and practical. When I’m designing I want all the elements to come together neatly for pattern writing purposes but I also want my designs to be practical so you can actually wear them when you’re done. I also love little details. Things like little buttons, simple trims…things that put a design just over the edge but not too over the top.

Braided Section Infinity Scarf, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Braided Section Infinity Scarf, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?

Katy: I love Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula(UC comment: You can check out my review of the book here.)

UC: Do you have any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Katy: I really don’t visit too many sites regularly. I do spend a lot of time in Facebook groups. If I’m looking for inspiration online I’m more likely to visit a fashion site than a crochet/ crafty site…Like I said before I like to browse Pinterest. I usually do a general fashion search just to see what trends are out there.

Bancroft Top, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

Bancroft Top, crochet pattern by KT and the Squid.

UC: How are you celebrating NatCroMo this year?

Katy: I decided this year I will finally make (or at least start) an afghan for myself. I’ve made one for everyone in my family so I need one now.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Katy! An afghan for yourself sounds like a very worthy project for NatCroMo!

10 Ways to Spread the Love of Crochet during NatCroMo!

Are you ready to have a great month celebrating crochet? I know I am!

March is (Inter)National Crochet Month, and I’m thrilled to share my love of crochet with pretty much anyone who is willing to listen! I’m also excited to kick off Crochetville’s 2015 NatCroMo Designer Blog Tour! Visit Crochetville here to see the daily schedule of blog stops, learn more about the featured charity, Halos of Hope, and find out more about the daily giveaways.

I’ll be sharing my own special gift for readers at the end of this post, so read on for details!

10 Ways to Spread the Love of Crochet During National Crochet Month on Underground Crafter

I love celebrating (Inter)National Crochet Month every March, and I know a lot of other crocheters feel the same way. Here’s a list of 10 ways you can spread the love of crochet during March (and all year round).

This post contains affiliate links.

Share, share, share!

There’s plenty of eye candy on display during NatCroMo so it’s easy to share! Set up a special Pinterest board, share links on your preferred social media platforms, or create roundups of your favorites on your blog.

I have over 30 crochet boards on Pinterest, including this one you may enjoy!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Pattern Roundups on Pinterest.

Show appreciation

Do you have a favorite crochet blogger, designer, author, or teacher? What about a crochet-friendly local yarn shop (LYS) or yarn company? Is there a crochet book, hook, or magazine that you love? Show your appreciation by commenting or reaching out on social media, making recommendations to your friends, or writing reviews.

Start a crochet circle in your community

March is the perfect time to start a local crochet circle. Crochet circles are great ways to meet people and have fun together while crocheting.

I’ll be sharing my tips for starting a crochet circle on the blog on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (I was going to share my tips tomorrow, but I’m hosting a giveaway instead, HINT HINT.)

Share your skills

Teach a friend to crochet or host a lunchtime class at work; volunteer to teach children, seniors, or hospital patients; or ask to lead a stitch demonstration at your next crochet guild meeting. You’ll have fun sharing your love of crochet and you may inspire someone else to pick up the hook!

Make a gift

Crochet an unexpected gift for a loved one. To keep the experience stress free, make it a surprise and choose a project you’ll enjoy making!

Wear your own crochet

If you gift more crochet projects than you keep, make something extra special for yourself and be sure to wear it to display your crochet pride!

Donate to charity

Contribute to a local or national charity by donating yarn or hooks, or crocheting blankets, chemo caps, or other items for distribution. Crochetville’s featured NatCroMo charity, Halos of Hope, lists their donation guidelines for chemo caps here. You can find other organizations that accept crochet donations through…

Always check with the charity to make sure the information is up-to-date before delivering a project.

Crochet in public

Take your hook outdoors and crochet on public transportation, in the library, at a coffeehouse, or wherever people spend time outdoors in your community. Be prepared to chat with strangers about what you’re working on, and don’t be shy about explaining that knitting is the one with two needles.

Learn something new

With all the excitement surrounding crochet this month, it’s a great time to learn something new. Pick up a new stitch, learn a new technique, or even try out a new project to keep up your enthusiasm for crochet.

Geek out on crochet gear

Visit Café Press or Zazzle and add a crochet t-shirt, bag, bumper sticker, mug, or other conversation starter to your collection!

Some of my favorite crochet-themed shops are:

What other suggestions do you have for spreading the love of crochet during NatCroMo?

I’ll be celebrating NatCroMo all month long on the Underground Crafter with great giveaways, interviews with crochet designers, and more! To start the month off right, I’m sharing a coupon code with my readers:

Use coupon code natcromo15 to download one free crochet pattern or ebook of your choice from my Ravelry shop through Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.

Enjoy!

NaBloPoMo BlogHer 2015-03

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through March, 2015.

February, 2015 Crochet Specialty of the Month: Tapestry Crochet

Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.

Underground Crafter Crochet Specialty of the Month Tapestry February 2015

This post contains affiliate links.

Although I grew up seeing tapestry crochet projects (bags, especially) on the streets of New York, my first introduction to tapestry crochet patterns was through Carol Ventura.

Purrfect Kitties Go Round in Tapestry Crochet by Carol Ventura, from Leisure Arts' Afghans for All Reasons and All Seasons.

Purrfect Kitties Go Round in Tapestry Crochet, pattern by Carol Ventura, from Leisure Arts’ Afghans for All Reasons and All Seasons.

I was lucky enough to interview Dr. Ventura in 2012 as part of a series of posts I did about Crochet Master Class. If you are interested in learning more about tapestry crochet, check out her books, Tapestry Crochet, More Tapestry Crochet, and Bead & Felted Tapestry Crochet. This past fall, I also interviewed Andres Nevarez, another crochet designer who specializes in tapestry crochet.

Tempo Crochet Caps, tapestry crochet pattern by Andres Nevarez, published by Skacel. (Image (c) Skacel.)

Tempo Crochet Caps, tapestry crochet pattern by Andres Nevarez, published by Skacel. (Image (c) Skacel.)

So, what is tapestry crochet anyway?

Tapestry crochet is a method of using multiple colors in the same row by working over the unused color yarn rather than carrying or “floating” it. Because you are working over the unused color(s), you don’t have to weave in a lot of ends when you finish your project. At the same time, working over the colors can create a firmer fabric, so tapestry crochet makes great bags, bowls, and other projects that need to hold their shape.

What’s special about tapestry crochet?

Tapestry crochet uses basic crochet stitches (typically, single crochet) so it’s suitable for beginners. You can create stunning multi-color motifs using graphed/charted designs, and in many cases you don’t need to be able to read pattern abbreviations.

To see more examples, check out my growing Tapestry Crochet Pinterest board!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Tapestry Crochet on Pinterest.

Free Tapestry Crochet Tutorials for Beginners Roundup

  • If you’d like to try tapestry crochet for the first time, I recommend starting with Carol Ventura’s website, Tapestry Crochet. Dr. Ventura has several videos and free patterns available that are perfect for tapestry crochet beginners. You can also find special tapestry crochet graph paper that will help you create your own designs!
  • Amy Solovay shared a photo tutorial on About.com. She included a free beginner checkerboard pattern.
  • Tamara Kelly has a video tutorial that explains the basics of tapestry crochet. The video demonstrates how to make a tapestry crochet project in the round or flat.
  • Kristin Omdahl has a video tutorial on the Red Heart Yarn YouTube channel that shows the difference between tapestry crochet and changing colors with floats. The patterns she works on in the tutorial are Sunset Throw and Desert Pillows, both by Marianne Forrestal .

I hope you enjoyed this post! I’ll be back later this month to share more tapestry crochet fun!

Have you tried tapestry crochet? If not, do you plan to try it now?

Tuesday PIN-spiration Link Party Week 36

 This week, I’m thrilled to join Amy from The Stitchin’ Mommy and Rhondda from Oombawka Design for the Tuesday PIN-spiration Link Party! Read on for more details.

Tuesday PIN-spiration Link Party Week 36Welcome to the Tuesday PIN-spiration link party! Make sure to stop by and pin the projects that you love the most and check out the Tuesday PIN-spiration Pinterest Board!

Continue reading

National Hat Day – Roundup of 10 free crochet patterns for women!

National Hat Day, roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns by Underground Crafter

You didn’t think I’d forget the ladies, did you? After sharing my roundup of 7 free crochet patterns for men in celebration of National Hat Day, I took the time to pull together a roundup of some of my favorite free crochet hat patterns for women. I hope you are enjoying National Hat Day in style by wearing your own crochet creations or with hook in hand!

This post contains affiliate links.

Sea Breeze Summer Slouch by Lorene Haythorn Eppolite at Cre8tion Crochet: This beautiful hat is made with a reclaimed silk yarn, and Lorene has designed a matching Sea Breeze Summer Cowl (also free). Though it’s not summer where I am, perhaps it is where you are – or maybe you just want to get an early start on a lovely accessory.

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Sea Breeze Summer Slouch by Lorene Haythorn Eppolite. Image (c) Lorene Haythorn Eppolite/Crea8tion Crochet.

Riptide Slouch Hat by Candy from Meladora’s Creations: Candy includes a written pattern along with right-handed and left-handed video tutorials, and progress photos to help you crochet this comfy slouchy.

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Riptide Slouch Hat by Meladora’s Creations. Image (c) Meladora’s Creations.

Yarn Stash Busting Hat by Sara Sach at Posh Pooch Designs: If you’re like most crocheters, you have a ton of oddballs leftover from bigger projects. Why not put them to good use and crochet this hat?

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Yarn Stash Busting Hat by Sara Sach. Image (c) Sara Sach/Posh Pooch Designs.

Amazing Grace Blissful Beanie by Elena Hunt at Beatrice Ryan Designs: This hat pattern includes instructions for both solid and striped versions. Elena wrote this pattern as part of a series raising awareness of breast cancer in memory of her friend. She invites you to make an extra hat to donate to anyone suffering from or recovering from cancer.

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Amazing Grace Blissful Beanie by Beatrice Ryan Designs. Image (c) Beatrice Ryan Designs.

Sandy Slouch Hat by Rebecca Langford at Little Monkeys Crochet: You can pair this awesome slouchy hat with the Eggnog Cowl, a free, matching cowl pattern.

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Sandy Slouch Hat by Rebecca Langford. Image (c) Little Monkeys Crochet.

Mystic Beanie by Kathy Lashley at ELK Studio: Kathy shares the pattern for a solid version of this hat, along with notes for changing it to a striped version. She also has several pictures showing variations that will really get your creative energy flowing.

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Mystic Beanie by Kathy Lashley. Image (c) Kathy Lashley/ELK Studio.

Curtis Visor by Clare Sullivan at BobWilson123: This is super femme version of a visor would be great for an active lady. In addition to the video tutorial, you can also download a print version of the pattern here.

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Curtis Visor by Clare Sullivan. Image (c) Clare Sullivan/BobWilson123.

Slouchy Beanie by Kristin Omdahl on Styled by Kristin: This beanie is a one-skein project made with a sport weight yarn. Kristin includes an all crochet option as well as a variation with a knit brim in the pattern.

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Slouchy Beanie by Kristin Omdahl. Image (c) Kristin Omdahl.

Miss Nancy Not Knit Hat by Debi Dearest on Dearest Debi: This mock knit hat can be made as a slouchy (or shorter, to keep it a one-skein project) using bulky yarn. Debi links to a video tutorial for a special stitch technique.

Roundup of 10 free crochet hat patterns for women on Underground Crafter blog

Miss Nancy Not Knit Hat by Dearest Debi. Image (c) Debi Dearest.

And last, but definitely not least, is the Chevrons and Stripes Slouchy Hat by me. (Add it to your Ravelry favorites or queue here.) This is another great stashbuster. The sample is in three colors, but you can use more or less depending on the scraps you have on hand. The clusters form chevrons, which is my favorite part of the design.

Chevrons and Stripes Slouchy Hat, free crochet pattern by Underground Crafter

Chevrons and Stripes Slouchy Hat by Marie Segares/Underground Crafter.

If you enjoyed this roundup, you may like my Crochet Accessories for Women board on Pinterest!