Tag Archives: ravelry

Interview with Susana from Creaciones Susana (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

I’m excited to share an interview with emerging Chilean knitting designer, Susana from Creaciones Susana. Susana is also a maker who sells her finished knit projects in her Etsy shop. You can find Susana online on her (Spanish-language) blogFacebook, FlickrPinterest, Ravelry (as CreacioneSusana, in the Creaciones Susana group, or on her designer page), and Twitter. All images are copyright Susana and are used with permission. Click on the design images to link to the Ravelry pattern pages.

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Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Susana from Creaciones Susana.

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

Susana: Initially, I learned to knit crochet with my grandmother. I was about 7 or 8 years old. I remember I started with a circle in various colors, which she surprising transformed into a small bag. At 13 years old, I started to knit with two needles. My first great work was a sock for my younger brother when he was born, it had a nice yellow color and was too big.

UC: What inspired you to start selling your projects on Etsy?

Susana: I always liked to design clothes. I designed for my sisters and friends when I was young. Esty is a great platform to sell your work, allowing you to reach many countries. Also, I thought they understood the process of handmade creation and crafting, and that encouraged me to participate. When I started Etsy didn’t work in Spanish, and I can proudly say that I was part of the many artisans who urged that great change. (UC comment: You can read about Etsy in Spanish! here.)

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Wishes Shawlette, a knitting pattern available in Spanish.

UC: What led you to start designing knitting patterns for sale? Do you think you will eventually sell crochet patterns, too?

Susana: I have always knitted my designs. My first pattern for sale I made about two years ago. I concentrated on the shawls, which are my favorites. I try to make easy, simple language, making something different on the design, in general employing the techniques looking for elegant and feminine results. I like to knit seamless, start up or down, with short-rows, shining colors and contrasts.

Expand Your Knitting Skills

About crochet designs, I have some patterns, but I need a crochet tool to make the stitch patterns. I hope to sell it very soon.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Whisper Shawl, a knit pattern available in English and Spanish.

UC: Some of your patterns are available in both English and Spanish. Why did you decide on a bilingual format and what are some of the challenges and benefits of being a bilingual designer?

Susana: It was interesting this aspect. I started in English because it is a more accessible market. The knitters love to find new designs on the internet. Often they have read and used patterns more than the Latin-Americans knitters. In this moment, I have some bilingual patterns; I hope to have them available next month for sale.

One of the challenges is, the language in the patterns and instructions when I use English. The symbols and names are very different in Spanish. And one of the benefits is, my English patterns have more views and sales.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Cuello Hojas de Primavera, a knit pattern in Spanish.

UC: Tell us about your cultural background. What was the yarn crafts scene like in Chile when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene?

Susana: The crafting world started with grandmothers. They trained their daughters and granddaughters. At that time, nobody was thinking about design. In my case, when I was a teenager, I designed and sold informally in a small environment, however, it was exceptional.

Actually, the handmade world is very important and appreciated. It is considered like an ancestral art and interesting commercial activity. There is much exchange between English trends and fashion influences in the general public and lovers of handmade through internet tools.

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Blue Deep Shawl knitting pattern.

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Susana: It has influenced me very little. My style is a combination of techniques, several forms and materials for knitting that are very different to the textile scene in Chile.

UC: What are your favorite crochet or knitting books in your collection?

Susana: I do not have favorite books; I used few in my self-education. I have used electronic information, magazines, tips and techniques shared friend knitters. The favorite books that I have are really recent; these are two examples:

Interview with Creaciones Susana, Chilean knitting designer, on Underground Crafter blog

Chaqueta Carmencita, a knit pattern available in Spanish.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Susana: I visit daily several pages that I love so much:

Spanish:

English:

Dover Books

UC: What are you working on now?

Susana: In this moment, I’m working on new patterns for the spring and summer season (in the Southern Hemisphere). I’m focused on natural elements, soft color, and new textures for my designs. Also I’m teaching new and expert knitters.

Thank you for stopping by, Susana!

Interview with Bianca Perez (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

I’m continuing my Hispanic Heritage Month series today with an interview with Bianca Perez, a Cuban-American knitting designer. Bianca’s love of lace shawls is clearly apparent from her designs! She can be found online on Ravelry as biancap43 or on her designer page. All images are copyright Bianca Perez and are used with permission. Click the picture to be brought to the Ravelry pattern page.

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Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Bianca Perez.

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

Bianca: Crochet was my first love. My Mom taught me the basics for both knit & crochet along with embroidery, cross-stitch and sewing. Had to quit crochet due to tunnel carpel syndrome and switched to knitting. Learning to knit was mostly self-taught from books, internet and YouTube; but one of my first “go-to” sites at first was KnittingHelp.com.

UC: What inspired you to start designing? 

Bianca: Basically the unhappiness or frustration with not being able to find a pattern that looked exactly as I was envisioning in my mind.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Tellurium, a shawl design for intermediate to advanced knitters.

UC: To date, all of your published designs are for knit shawls. What do you enjoy about these projects? 

Bianca: Even though I’m physical located in South Florida – it’s very cold at work due to the A/C.  Sweaters are too bulky and found myself wearing assorted store-bought pashmina shawls.  Soon put my needles to good use – many of the shawls I have designed are for personal use.  It is fun to imagine certain shawl shapes and combine them with different edges, colors and yarns.

Custom Shapes For Your Cards at Zazzle
UC: Your patterns are all self-published. What do you see as the challenges and advantages of self-publishing?

Bianca: Only publish through Ravelry and have not tried other means; mostly due to the convenience afforded by the Ravelry website.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Xelas, a bottom up knit shawl pattern.

UC: Like me, you’re Cuban-American. What was the yarn crafts scene like when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Florida? 

Bianca: Grew up in South Florida and there were many yarn stores in the area at the time. There was a particular store called Yarns Galore (unfortunately no longer around) that used to have a knitting & crochet teacher who spoke Spanish and that’s where my Mom would take her lessons and I would come along.  Now there are only a couple of stores left.  I do try to sponsor them; but there is no denying that buying yarn through the internet is more cost effective and comfortable for me.  Mostly due to the distance, traffic and hours of operations.  I can only visit on the weekends due to my full time job.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

GradCeleb, a rectangular shawl designed for beginning lace knitters.

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how? 

Bianca: Only in the sense that I see the beauty and advantages of both knitting and crochet as being equally versatile & beautiful.  Whereas some of my friends do only one or the other, and think of each of these in terms of them being in competition with each other.

UC: What are your favorite knitting books in your collection? 

Bianca:

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Minette, a rectangular knit shawl.

UC: Are there any Spanish-or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community? 

Bianca: Besides Ravelry, I also look at Deramores, DROPS, Knit Picks, Verena, and Pinterest, of course.

UC: What’s your favorite design?

Bianca: I am especially proud of my Seagrape pattern.  The reason is that after working several traditional shawls (working the body and then separately attaching the border); it seemed to me that the same could be accomplished in a different manner.  That’s when the Seagrape pattern came to be.  It is worked all in one piece from bottom to top, but it includes the body and borders, mimicking the look of a traditional shawl pattern.

Interview with shawl knitting designer Bianca Perez on Underground Crafter blog

Seagrape, a rectangular shawl with a knitted on border.

UC: What are you working on now?

Bianca: I am presently working on expanding my original designs to include baby clothes.  Mostly Layettes that would be easily  completed by beginners – at least that is my goal.

Thanks for visiting, Bianca! We look forward to seeing the beginner series of patterns!

Interview with Victor Noël Lopez (Hispanic Heritage Month series)

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Today’s Hispanic Heritage Month series interview is with Victor Noël López, an emerging crochet designer and prolific charity crafter. Victor is known as hookdude on Ravelry and blogs at Project La Paz (Project Peace). You can find his (mostly free) crochet patterns on his Ravelry designer page. All photos are copyright Victor Noël Lopez unless otherwise noted and are used with permission. You can click on the pattern images to link to the Ravelry pattern pages.

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Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Victor Noël Lopez

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

Victor Noël: I’m a self-taught crocheter/knitter. Four years ago (after my retirement), I picked up the DVD I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting and just followed along. About a year ago, I decided to try knitting and I taught myself by watching some YouTube tutorials. The rest, like the saying goes, is history.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Victor Noël: Probably my obsession for detailed work. The actual sitting down and designing a pattern just happened. I always liked to read and decipher crochet symbols in patterns. To me, it was like putting a puzzle together. One day, I started drawing a crochet symbol pattern for a woman’s hat. It just took off from there. My interest in color is another motivating factor. I would like to see more color choices in fabric items for men.   I’m working on coming up with more designs for the male customer and for the woman who is shopping for a man.

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Color His World Scarf, a free crochet pattern.

UC: You do a lot of crafting for charity. Can you share your motivation for starting Project La Paz? How do you set your charity goals and identify locations to donate?

Victor Noël: I live in the greater metropolitan area of San Antonio, Texas. A couple of years ago, I crocheted scarves for Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages (that include scarves and hats) to our troops stationed overseas. After my involvement with O.G., I began looking for local organizations in my immediate area that could benefit from donations of scarves and hats. I chose a local children’s shelter to which I donated many crocheted hats for the children. It was a very moving experience for me and that provided the impetus for Project La Paz.

Obviously, I can’t work with all the charities where I live due to it being a large metropolitan area, so I carefully research the charities before I make my decision to make my charitable donations. Because I am a one-man operation, I have to limit my choices. At present, I am working with two local organizations. In addition to working with the charities, I also volunteer at a local hospital.

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Crochet Ribbed Winter Scarf, a free crochet pattern.

UC: You mention on your Ravelry profile that when you joined, you thought you were the only guy who could knit and crochet. What has it been like meeting other men in the knitting and crocheting community?

Victor Noël: I was welcomed to Ravelry with open arms by both women and men alike. Had I known what Ravelry was and what it offered, I would have joined this community four years ago. I have met many talented male and female fabric artists here as well. It’s just incredible to see literally thousands of other men like myself who crochet and knit. I thought I was the oddball, and I never imagined that there were so many other guys. It’s very inspiring to see so much diversified talent. I have embraced this community with an open mind to learning and creating. When you stop to think about it, that’s what it’s all about … you learn so that you can create.

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

The Fair Isle Motif Crochet Hat will be Victor Noël’s next pattern, scheduled for release in October.

UC: You’re a first generation Mexican-American. What was the yarn crafts scene like in your community when you were growing up? How does that compare with the current scene in Texas?

Victor Noël: I grew up in South Texas along the Mexican-US border in a predominantly Hispanic community of under 100,000, minute when you compare it to the city where I live now. From what I can remember, the yarn crafts activities were left exclusively to women crafters. Fortunately, all of that has changed. Through Ravelry, I have discovered that many crochet/knit groups and guilds can be found in larger metropolitan areas of Texas. I know that there’s a yarn craft group in my hometown that meets on a weekly basis at the public library, and, there’s one male Hispanic who attends the sessions. He just happens to be a high school friend of mine who became interested in crochet after he retired. I’m hopeful that in the future, more men in Texas will show an interest in this craft.

Dover Books

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Victor Noël: Having been raised in a predominantly Hispanic culture that strongly delineated male and female roles has definitely influenced my crafting activities. For example, I will not crochet or knit in public. I prefer to do my yarn craft work at home. Many of my friends, both male and female, know that I crochet and knit, and though, they were surprised at the revelation, they have applauded all of my efforts in learning the craft. It’s not that I feel embarrassed because of what I create with yarn, but I feel that our society today is still not ready to embrace men making the “cross-over” into yarn crafting. That may not hold true for cities like New York and Chicago, but that’s just my opinion. The yarn artistry field is still dominated by many talented women, but, hopefully, that will change in the future as more men begin to share their art with the public.

Interview with VIctor Noel Lopez, crochet designer/charity crafter on Underground Crafter blog

Crocheted Afghan in V Stitch, a free pattern.

UC: What are your favorite knitting and crochet books in your collection?

Victor Noël: The book that I always keep close for reference is The Big Book of Crochet Stitches by the two leading legends in crafting, Rita Weiss and Jean Leinhauser.  I like that it’s divided into stitch categories and is an easy reference.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Victor Noël: The Spanish language Tejiendo Peru is one that I always check out. Even though I speak Spanish, whenever I come across a pattern in Spanish, I always check out this website because it has some helpful crochet and knitting terms both in Spanish/English. The website also has some fantastic tutorials in Spanish via YouTube.

UC: What are your upcoming charity plans?

Victor Noël: My plans at the present are to continue working with the two local charities and provide them with hats and scarves for the colder months. That alone takes up about 70% of my crafting activities. Because I feel that I have been blessed in many ways, I want to give a small part of myself back to the community. It gives me much personal satisfaction knowing that I can bring some warmth to a person by means of a knit hat or crocheted scarf. I have also found that both crocheting and knitting are very therapeutic.

Thank you for sharing your story, Victor Noël. Your charity work is truly inspiring!

Interview with Andres Nevarez (Hispanic Heritage Month Series)

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

I’m excited to kick off my 2014 Hispanic Heritage Month series with an interview with Andres Nevarez, also known as Crafty Andy. Andy is a crochet and knitting designer and blogger. He can be found online on his Crafty Andy website and blog, Pinterest, Facebook, on Twitter as @Crafty_Andy, Flickr, and Ravelry (as CraftyAndy and on his designer page). Andy also has some great videos on YouTube, and his Tapestry crochet work was featured on Carol Ventura‘s Tapestry Crochet blog here. (I previously interviewed Carol here.)

All images are copyright Andy Nevarez unless otherwise noted, and are used with permission. Click on the photos to visit that pattern’s page on Ravelry.

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Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Andy Nevarez’s Enconium, A Lace Scarf knitting pattern.

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

Andy: I honestly don’t remember when I learned to crochet, but I picked it up around the year 2000 or so. I had some help from a friend that knew how to crochet well. I did a lot of pot holders and wash cloths, then graduated to afghans.

I learned to knit around 1988, when I was on bed rest for about a month. I asked a friend to take me to Woolworth’s to get a book and some needles. I taught myself to knit, and believe it or not, my first project was a sweater.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Andy’s Capello Di Lana crochet pattern.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Andy: The inspiration to start designing came from the fact that I love hats. My love for hats sent me into a search for men’s hats and I did not like anything that I saw that was crochet. The crochet hats that I found on the internet were very interesting, from Kufis, toques, beanies to fancy kippahs. I wanted something stylish, unique and challenging and that is how I got into designing Tapestry crochet hats.

There were a lot of knitted hat patterns, but I was only focusing on making crochet hats at the time. I started crocheting hats and decided to go into Tapestry crochet. At the time, I did not know it was called that. I was bored with just one color and decided to play with two colors in hats. Almost everyone that knows me knows me by my hats. Carol Ventura was the first Tapestry Crocheter that I was inspired by. These are some of my Tapestry crochet designs.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Andy’s Heracles Lace Scarf knitting pattern.

UC: You have roughly an equal amount of crochet and knitting patterns. Is that something you have done intentionally or just a happy accident?

Andy: More intentionally than accident. I have so many ideas for hats in my head, either in knit or crochet. Whenever I am looking at yarn, the first thoughts that cross my mind are how can I make a hat out of these skeins, what shape will it take? The same goes with lace scarves for men. What kind of lace pattern can I make with this yarn that I want to wear.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Pythagoras Cap, a crochet design by Andy Nevarez.

UC: You talk about living with AIDS and being a longterm HIV survivor on your blog. What kind of reaction have you received in the yarn crafts community about your status, as well as your fundraising efforts for Project Open Hand?

Andy: My status as HIV/AIDS person does not come up, unless I see it fit to come into the picture. I guess the biggest surprise is the fact that I have an AIDS diagnosis and I “look normal” or “healthy,” whatever that means. I do not complain about things unless it is to my doctor, which is the person I need to complain to or rather than complain, let him know what is up with my body, my aches and pains. I am not a complainer. I make the best out of everything in my life and being HIV/AIDS is just a piece of the 1001 pieces puzzle that is Andy.

My Project Open Hand efforts have not raised lots of money yet. My friend Kyle Kunnecke mentioned that he was making a hat called Cause and would ‘t it be nice if there was a crochet version. Well, what a great opportunity for me to give back and take a colorwork challenge. I am hoping my hat pattern will outlive me for hundreds of years or until there is a cure.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Ribbons, a crochet hat design by Andy Nevarez.

UC: What was the yarn crafts scene like in your community in Puerto Rico when you were growing up?

Andy: Well, people – men, women and children – that craft with yarn are artisans or apprentices. There are different levels of craftsmanship and techniques.   Everyone likes to see people make things by hand. People are always curious about how things are made.

UC: How does it compare to the current scene in San Francisco?

Andy: I have had a mostly positive experience with my crafts. A lot of people look down at crochet, believe it or not. I consider myself to be the Tapestry Crochet Ambassador and nobody puts down my work. Most people that see one of my hats think that they are knit, not that it matters. San Francisco makes me feel like an Artisan. I make hats that are wearable art, sculptures made out of yarn, a mosaic of color to make the mind wander.

UC: If you’re still in touch with crafters on the island, do you know anything about the current yarn crafts scene there?

Andy: The times that I have knit or crochet in public on the Island, I get so many people that come to take a closer look at what I am doing. They ask me questions and admire my work, and they talk to me with a silent kind of respect. People actually acknowledge the fact that I am Artisan. People in San Francisco are very kind as well. They are not really surprised that I am a man that crafts, they are more surprised that a lot of my pieces are crochet.

The one thing I know about the craft scene on the Island is mundillo. This is a craft of handmade bobbin lace and is mostly done by women. I have never seen a man making mundillo.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Thermopylae Scarf, a crochet pattern by Andy Nevarez.

UC; Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Andy: Of course it does. There are some [Hispanic] artisans that have inspired me and I still get inspiration from: Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo.

I like to think outside the box, I like to be daring, creative and make people think about the beauty that can be created. These artists had to think outside the box. Part of me likes earth tones, but there is that part of me that likes bright contrasting colors, orange and blue, teal and fuchsia.

UC: What are your favorite knitting and crochet books in your collection?

Andy: Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears, Barbara G. Walker‘s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns book collection, and More Tapestry Crochet by Carol Ventura.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Andy: I visit Tapestry Crochet, Men Who Knit, TECHKnitting, and Ravelry. I get a lot of inspiration from what surrounds me as well. Even though my first language is Spanish, I have no idea how to crochet or knit in Spanish yet.

Interview with crochet/knit blogger/designer Andy Nevarez on Underground Crafter

Andy’s Tempo Crochet Caps, published by Skacel. (Image (c) Skacel.)

UC: What’s next for Crafty Andy?

Andy: I want to share my love of crafts with other people. I am an introvert of sorts, yet my desire to connect with people is bigger than my introversion. I live life to the fullest and live without regrets. There are plenty of pattern ideas for hats and scarves in my head, waiting to come out and see the light. I can say there will be more knitted lace scarves and stoles from me. There will be more Tapestry crochet hats and knitted hats.

I have been featured at the Malabrigo website  and I have a pattern published by Skacel. Is there a book in my future? Probably so, but the way that it will probably happen is that I will start writing and will not stop until it’s done. It will be in spurts, which is kind of a contradiction to what I just said, but that is my kind of energy. I work when I am inspired, and in the meantime I collect data.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Andy, and for sharing your designs and artistry with us!

Interview with crochet designer, Julie Yeager

Today, I’m happy to share an interview with crochet designer, Julie Yeager. Though we’ve never met in real life, Julie and I share a love of crocheting squares and blankets, and of participating in crochet related swaps. (And, I learned from the interview that we also both grew up shopping for yarn at Woolworth’s in New York City!)

Julie can be found online on Ravelry (as JulieAnny, on her designer page, in the Julie Yeager Designs group), Facebook, and Etsy. Julie also founded and co-moderates the Vanna’s Choice Fan Club group on Ravelry, where you can exchange squares and share pictures of your Vanna’s Choice creations. All photos are copyright Julie Yeager and are used with permission.

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Julie Yeager

Julie Yeager.

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

Julie: I’m honored to talk to the readers of Underground Crafter, Marie.  Thanks for having me. (UC comment: Thanks so much, Julie! It’s great to have you stop by.) I’ve been knitting and crocheting since I was about 8; learned from my Irish mom. I would buy sparkly crochet thread at Woolworth’s in the Bronx, NY and crochet clothes for my Barbies. I also made my share of granny square tote bags. I didn’t do much crafting in my 20s, maybe an occasional baby blanket, but then when I became a stay at home mom I got back into knitting and machine knitting for my daughter. When I discovered Ravelry I got into crocheting afghan squares and blankets and I haven’t stopped.

Stained Glass Afghan Square

Stained Glass Afghan Square, available as a 12″ block pattern.

UC: What inspired you to start designing? 

Julie: I’ve always changed patterns to my taste and would put together the yoke from one sweater with the sleeves from another so I guess I’ve been “designing” a little for years.
I joined some afghan square swap groups on Ravelry and perfected my technique using the patterns of many great designers. Interweave Crochet magazine and the Crochet Me website sponsored a contest in which readers could submit afghan square patterns and the winners would become part of a published pattern called the Chain Reaction Afghan Project. I just picked up my hook and started playing around and submitted a few designs. Three of my designs were chosen and appeared in Interweave Crochet in 2010 – 2011. It was very exciting and the start of my designing career. With Ravelry, I had a great tool to share my work.

Hexaghan

The Hexaghan, including 6 different hexagon designs joined together into one 61 hexagon blanket.

UC: You primarily design crocheted squares. What is it about square motifs that you enjoy designing? 

Julie: I love designing 12-inch squares in aran weight yarn and I have an obsession with Vanna’s Choice. I like the modern look of large scale stitching and I feel like a sculptor with my hook in hand. Fitting my idea into a 12-inch square and getting it to square is very satisfying. My squares are small enough to design and crochet quickly, and I enjoy writing a clear pattern that is easy to follow. I also like an unfussy and repetitive design; as a pattern-user I do not like to have to constantly refer to the instructions and I want my customers to enjoy themselves. Also, there are no fitting problems with blankets.

Catalina Afghan Square

Catalina Afghan Square, a free pattern available in both 9″ and 12″ sizes.

UC: Most of your patterns are self-published. What do you see as the advantages and challenges of self-publishing? 

Julie: With Ravelry and Paypal and a head full of ideas, it is easy and stress-free to work this business around my life. I have a full-time job as a Registered Nurse and am raising a 16-year-old, so I can write and publish patterns around my schedule. Although I would love to have my patterns in magazines and books, for now I find this a great outlet for my creativity and am very happy with how it’s going. It is not for everyone; you have to be a jack-of-all-trades and competent with designing, writing, proof-reading, and know your way around the internet. No editors or publicists on my staff, haha.

Tangled Web Afghan Block

Tangled Web Afghan Block, a 12″ square design.

UC: You’ve hosted several Mystery Crochet-a-Longs. What do you enjoy about using this format to release your patterns? Do you have any tips for designers who want to dip their toes into the MCAL waters? 

Julie: Mystery Crochet-a-Longs are a fun way to draw interest to my patterns. I am lucky to have a base of fans who trust me and are willing to blindly follow where I go! I can only do it about once a year because designing, crocheting, and writing and proofreading a pattern for a whole blanket is very time-consuming! I need a compelling idea to keep my interest through the work! My fans seem to enjoy it and it keeps them interested in my new work. It also brings new fans. I’ve kept the Mystery’ghan free for participants and then later I put the pattern up for sale. The finished projects become a marketing tool. I’m always a little nervous hoping that people will like it after they’ve invested their time and money into a “Mystery.” My only advice is that you have your pattern fully tested before you start.

Garden State Afghan

Garden State Afghan, which Julie originally offered in June, 2013 as a MCAL design, includes eight 4″ squares, four 8″ squares, and two 12″ square patterns.

UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?

Julie: When I first started swapping afghan squares, Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans was my favorite. I also worked my way through a few other square reference books, like 101 Crochet Squares by Jean Leinhauser. I love Edie Eckman’s Around the Corner Crochet Borders for finishing after I have a pile of squares to join! I sometimes use The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden for stitch inspiration. I try to invent my own stitches these days!

Sun Catcher Afghan Square

 

Sun Catcher Afghan Square, a 12″ block.

UC: Are there any crafty websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Julie: I am a Ravelry addict and check in there several times a day. I like to check the Hot Right Now pattern list and I also check in with my group to see if anyone has any questions or if anyone has posted an awesome photo. :)

In Treble Afghan Square

In Treble Afghan Square, a 12″ block.

UC: What projects do you have coming up this year?

Julie: I am currently working on the pattern for my next Mystery-Ghan and hope to have that ready for a June 2014 start. Stay tuned to my Ravelry board for information on that. Clues will be given out over a six-week period and you will have a complete afghan finished!

Thanks again for stopping by, Julie, and I wish you and your fans the best for a fun summer Mystery-Ghan!