Today, I’m sharing an interview with Celia Diaz, an emerging Spanish crochet designer, also known as Abejitas.
All photos are used with permission and are copyright Abejitas. Click on the pictures to link to the pattern pages.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to crochet?
Celia: When I was a teenager, a friend from high school taught me the basic stitches. Then I bought some magazines and I was learning some more stitches and different ways to combine them to create lace. When my grandmother and my aunts knew about it, they gave me an amazing used book with lots of stitches (around 200) and I began to crochet “by inspiration,” not necessary following an actual pattern.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Celia: I have been designing all the time since I learned to crochet, but I hadn’t realized at that moment. I enjoy creating my own projects. It’s a challenge every time I take the hook and let my hands work out what is on my mind.
But I had never thought about my way of doing it until last year. I went to a knitting and crochet meeting and I showed a new hat (Anna hat) and everybody there fell in love with it. I was really shocked! They all asked me about how I did it and I decided to write the pattern so they all could make their own Anna hat. The feedback was terrific and I decided to write the patterns of my designs from then on.
UC: All of your patterns are self-published. What do you enjoy about self-publishing? What are some of the challenges?
Celia: I hadn’t thought about publishing until a few months ago. And I hadn’t thought about how to do it. I just write a pattern and release it. What I love most is the instantaneous feedback and the direct interaction with other crocheters.
UC: All of your patterns are available in English and Spanish. What do you see as the benefits of offering your patterns in two languages, and what are some of the difficulties?
Celia: I wrote my first pattern in Spanish and there were many people who asked for an English version. I translated that one and all the new patterns since then. Patterns available in two languages are easier to share than if it is written only in Spanish.
It’s not always easy for me to write in English because it is not my first language and there are words and expressions that I don’t know and I can’t use it properly. This is an additional reason to test my patterns in some groups (like Abejitas). By testing it, I can be sure that the instructions are clear and that the English expressions are right.
I’m adding pictures to the patterns to make them easier to understand, regardless of language. I’m also starting to record videos so I’m really excited about the results!
UC: You live in Seville, Spain. Is that also where you grew up? What was the yarn crafts scene like when you were growing up? How does it compare to the yarn crafts scene in Seville today?
Celia: I grew up and live in Seville. Crafts were just for a few people and they all were made at home. I liked all kind of crafts since I was a child. I think I’m influenced by my mother, who sewed my dresses when I was younger. And I can remember my paternal grandma sewing, too, and knitting with my aunts for all the children on the family.
When I began crocheting, my brothers used to laugh and tell me I looked like a grandma because of my hobbies. Now you can see people of all ages doing these kinds of crafts everywhere: on the bus, in cafes or in the streets. And from time to time you’re asked to be photographed.
Since crafts and DIY are trendy, young people are picking up needles and hooks, too. A year ago, the first urban knitting took place in Seville. I was astonished seeing so many people there, knitting and crocheting together, having a really great time.
Until few years ago, there were just some yarn shops in Seville, without much variety of yarn brands. Lately, it is possible to find new fibers, and many craft shops are opening. Some of them are offering courses and kits for many kinds of crafts.
The Internet is making it easier to find different brands and materials, offering a huge variety of yarns and tools you couldn’t find here.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Celia: I liked all kind of crafts since I was a child. I think I’m influenced by my maternal grandpa and my paternal grandma. He was a very handy and careful craft worker and she had wonderful hands for everything (from the kitchen to embroidery).
And, as I said, I’ve always seen my mother sewing above all, but knitting, too. She taught me the first knitting stitches and I sewed some purses and knitted very little blankets for my dolls. I didn’t feel like doing anything else – I would have needed more time to make something I could use.
When I learned to crochet I discovered that I could make little projects. I could start and finish a whole project in just one day! Then I started crocheting to customize my t-shirts and I joked with my mother to become partners: she sewed and I adorned. We haven’t done it yet but we still have time. Later, I crocheted gifts for friends and their babies. I made my first hat and a granny poncho for Marta, my niece, when she was three.
UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet, knitting, or craft blogs to share?
Celia: I have been subscribed to no8das since many years ago and now I’m one of them. This is the blog of a very kind group of knitters and crocheters in Seville.
I like Pinterest very much. I take a look every day to see what’s trendy.
Some others blogs I usually read:
Thanks so much for stopping by, Celia!