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Interview with crochet designer, Olivia Silva, and free crochet pattern roundup

Interview with Olivia Silva from Pitusas y Petetes and #crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter | #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHMI’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!

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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.

Little Lucas, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish with detailed progress photos by Pitusas y Petetes.

Little Lucas, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish with detailed progress photos by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

Social CrochetingUC: 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.

Manta de Apego (Security Blanket), free crochet pattern in Spanish by Pitusas y Petetes.

Manta de Apego (Security Blanket), free crochet pattern in Spanish by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

ILC October 2015 squareUC: 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. (*^^*)

Basic Coin Purse, free crochet pattern in Spanish with international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

Basic Coin Purse, free crochet pattern in Spanish with international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

Vintage Coin Purse, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish with international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

Vintage Coin Purse, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish with international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

Crochet Bracelet, free crochet pattern in Spanish with photo tutorial and international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

Crochet Bracelet, free crochet pattern in Spanish with photo tutorial and international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 6 ways to restore your lost #crojo

6 ways to restore your lost #crojo (crochet mojo) - #Crochet #TipsTuesday by @ucrafter

Have you ever lost your crojo?

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.

This post contains affiliate links.

1) Choose a “comfort” project

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…

If you’re more of a book person, browse Amazon’s regularly updated list of crochet bestsellers. You might be introduced to an interesting crochet trend!

Seeing all of these pretty images can get me excited all over again, or start me thinking about great color combinations I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise!

3) Mix things up!

Sometimes you just get stuck in a rut. Shaking up your crochet world can be just the thing that you need to find your crojo again.

  • If you always crochet for other people, try being a “selfish crocheter” on for size. Make a project just for you!
  • Or, if you always crochet for yourself, try making a gift for a crochet-worthy friend or a project to donate to charity.

You may find that crocheting a few rows outside of your comfort zone is just what you need to inspire you to return to your favorite type of crochet!

4) Pick up a new crochet technique

Maybe you’ve mastered so much with crochet that it has become repetitive and boring. In that case, learning a new technique can be exciting!

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!

What are your tips for restoring your crojo?

Mini interview with Tammy Hildebrand

Hairpin Lace, the Crochet Speciality of the Month for May, 2015 on Underground Crafter
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.

As part of this month’s focus on hairpin lace, I’m sharing a mini interview today with Tammy Hildebrand from Hot Lava Crochet. Tammy is a crochet designer, author, teacher, and blogger. She’s also the current Vice President of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA)

This post contains affiliate links.

You can find Tammy online at the Hot Lava Crochet blog, and on Craftsy, Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter.  (By the way, May 18 just happens to be Tammy’s birthday, so don’t forget to wish her Happy Birthday on social media!) After reclaiming her health 22 months ago using a nutritional cleanse program after 7 years of illness,Tammy is also a health and wellness coach. You can find her health and wellness Facebook page here

I had the pleasure of interviewing Tammy before here as part of her blog tour for Crochet Wraps Every Which Way, and you can find more details about her background there. Today, we’re all focused on hairpin lace, one of Tammy’s favorite techniques. All images are used with permission and are copyright Tammy Hildebrand unless otherwise noted.

Tammy Hildebrand, wearing her Celebration 2015 Hat, a free crochet pattern.

Tammy Hildebrand, wearing her Celebration 2015 Hat, a free crochet pattern.

Underground Crafter (UC): You have several designs featuring the hairpin lace technique. How did you first learn about hairpin lace? 

Tammy: A number of years ago I attended a Stitches West show to work in the CGOA booth. Jennifer Hansen (Stitch Diva) was giving a demonstration of hairpin lace on the show floor. She is such an amazing teacher and made it so easy that I picked it right up and loved it immediately. 

3 hairpin lace designs from Tammy's book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. Left: Irish Jig. Top right: You Are My Sunshine. Bottom right: Shimmering Pearls Wrap.

3 hairpin lace designs from Tammy’s book, Crochet Wraps Every Which Way. Left: Irish Jig. Top right: You Are My Sunshine. Bottom right: Shimmering Pearls Wrap.

UC: What do you enjoy about designing with hairpin lace? 

Tammy: I love how quickly it works up and it is very methodical and relaxing. Plus the end result is beautiful!

Hairpin Lace Vest, free crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand. Image (c) Red Heart Yarn.

Hairpin Lace Vest, free crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand. Image (c) Red Heart Yarn.

UC: Do you have a preferred loom or other specialty tools for hairpin lace? 

Tammy: I do! Jennifer sells a handcrafted Walnut frame on her site that is the best loom I’ve ever used. It adjusts to more sizes than the typical metal and plastic looms and it is much sturdier. 

Abstract Treasures Shawl, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

Abstract Treasures Shawl, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

UC: Are there any crochet websites or blogs that you frequent for inspiration or community?

Tammy: Well, obviously Stitch Diva! Ha, Ha. I also love to search for inspiration on Pinterest.

Amelia Broomstick Lace Long Vest, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

Amelia Broomstick Lace Long Vest, crochet pattern by Tammy Hildebrand for sale on Craftsy.

UC: Do you have any new or upcoming projects you’d like to share?

Tammy: I will have a design in the upcoming issue of Interweave Crochet that I am rather proud of. It is unlike anything I have ever done before and it was a bit challenging but very rewarding!

Tammy, thank you for sharing your love of hairpin lace with us! We’re looking forward to seeing that upcoming pattern!

If you love these patterns, you may enjoy my Crochet Lace Board on Pinterest.

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Lace on Pinterest.