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Interview with Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux

Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

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.

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Jennifer can be found online at Fiber Flux, as well as on FacebookGoogle+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.

Jennifer says,

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!

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Jennifer Dickerson.

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!

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Alpine View Wrap, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: What inspired you to start designing? 

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.

I Like Crochet April 2015 banner

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.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Raspberry Sorbet Button Cowl, a free knitting pattern on Fiber Flux.

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.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Pumpkins on a Fence Scarf, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

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.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Philomena Shawlette, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

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.

Celebrate National Craft Month

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!

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Ocean Air Scarf, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

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.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Crochet Class Cowl, a free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

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.)

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Cherries in Bloom Infinity Scarf, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

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.

Free pattern roundup & Interview with crochet & knitting designer & blogger Jennifer Dickerson from Fiber Flux on Underground Crafter

Renaissance Button Wrap, free crochet pattern on Fiber Flux.

UC: How are you celebrating NatCroMo this year?

Jennifer: My crochet hook is pretty much an extension of my hand, I will most likely be doing what I already do on a daily basis…crochet, crochet, and more crochet!

Thanks again for stopping by, Jennifer! I’m looking forward to oodles more videos on your YouTube channel.

And, if you like neckwarmers as much as Jennifer and I do, you may want to check out my Crochet Neckwarmers Pinterest board!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet Neckwarmers on Pinterest.

Interview with crochet designer, Kim from Lakeside Loops

Underground Crafter Crochet Specialty of the Month Tapestry February 2015

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.

Today, I’m sharing an interview with Kim from Lakeside Loops. Kim is an emerging crochet designer who specializes in tapestry crochet, so I thought she would be the perfect interview to finish out this month’s series.

This post contains affiliate links.

You can find Kim online on the Lakeside Loops website, and on Craftsy, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, and Ravelry (as LakesideLoops and on her designer page). Images are copyright Lakeside Loops and used with permission.

Interview with Lakeside Loops, crochet designer, on Underground Crafter
Kim from Lakeside Loops.

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

Kim: My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was about 10 years old.  I hadn’t crocheted for a many years when I suddenly found myself on bed rest while pregnant with my first daughter and needed something to keep me busy.  I found my grandmothers old hooks and my husband bought me some yarn . . Three baby blankets later, I was ‘hooked’ again.

Cooper Chevron Cowl, crochet pattern by Lakeside Loops for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

Cooper Chevron Cowl, tapestry crochet pattern for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Kim: I have always created my own crochet patterns, but it wasn’t until I was home caring for our two wonderful daughters full time that I had the motivation to finally try and sell my designs.  My family inspires me to not only create pieces but to try and earn from those designs.

I was very nervous to launch my first pattern (what if no one was interested, what if I made a mistake, etc.), but a few months and 350+ combined Etsy & Ravelry sales later, I love what I’m doing.  It’s become my passion and I feel so blessed to be providing for my family in a small way from this.

Dylan Deer Silhouette by Lakeside Loops, tapestry crochet pattern for sale on Ravelry and Etsy

Dylan Deer Silhouette, tapestry crochet pattern for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

UC: Many of your patterns use the tapestry crochet technique. How were you introduced to tapestry crochet, and what do you enjoy about designing with it?

Kim: My grandmother taught me how to change colors when crocheting.  I am inspired by knit designs that have silhouettes/patterns in them.  My first tapestry crochet piece was the Dylan Deer Silhouette Hat; I must have tried 20 or more versions of that pattern before I got the silhouette just right (or right to me anyway) and it was so satisfying.

Crochet Hats and Wraps for Baby

Tapestry crochet opens up a whole new world of design for me . . Suddenly it’s not just about shape but also pattern (chevron, polka dots, silhouettes, etc.).

Carter Cable Cowl, crochet pattern by Lakeside Loops for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

Carter Cable Crochet Cowl pattern for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

UC: What are your favorite projects to design?

Kim: Obviously I love designing pieces for my girls.  They get so excited when I make them a new hat or scarf.  I’m also really inspired by knit pieces . . . I love trying to make crochet pieces that typically would only be possible to create with knitting needles (cables, silhouettes, etc).

Camdyn Cable Cowl, crochet pattern by Lakeside Loops for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

Camdyn Cable Cowl, crochet pattern for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

UC: In a little over 9 months, your Etsy shop has had more than 250 sales. What tips for success can you share for designers considering opening an Etsy shop?

Kim: I am so very grateful for the sales I’ve had so far.  I did a lot or research before listing my first pattern and the best tip I found was to use high quality pictures that really showcase your work from various angles.  Social media has also played a huge role in my success so far. I have been fortunate enough to make a lot of friends on Instagram (@LakesideLoops has 2500+ followers), and I’m working on connecting on Facebook and other social media channels as well.  Having friends/followers means that when I post a new pattern I can get the word out to potential buyers right away . . I don’t have to wait for them to stumble upon my design on Etsy.  I am also grateful for the wonderful reviews, reposts, and kind shares Lakeside Loops has had.  It obviously helps build confidence for potential buyers when they see others have liked my crochet patterns.

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

Kim:  I’m ashamed to say I only own one crochet book: Itty Bitty Animals by Sheila Leslie. It has designs for small stuffed animals.  My girls have a whole collection of little creatures now.  I do enjoy buying patterns from other designers on Etsy, though.

Aspen Animal Leg Warmers/Boot Cuffs, crochet pattern by Lakeside Loops for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

Aspen Animal Leg Warmers/Boot Cuffs, tapestry crochet pattern for sale on Ravelry and Etsy.

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

Kim: Instagram is a favorite of mine, I follow a lot of wonderful artists and up and coming shops that inspire me.  Etsy and Ravelry have also been great places to connect with other designers and crocheters.

UC: What are your plans for future designs? 

Kim: I will have crochet patterns for more leg warmers, scarfs, head warmers, and mittens listed very soon.  I am also planning crochet patterns for modern household and children’s pieces (like pillows, ottomans, place-mats, and rugs) for Spring.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story, Kim!

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!