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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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.
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.
Bianca: Only publish through Ravelry and have not tried other means; mostly due to the convenience afforded by the Ravelry website.
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.
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?
- Knitting Lace by Barbara Abbey
- Lace from the Attic: A Victorian Notebook of Knitted Lace Patterns by Nancie Wiseman
- Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman
- Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker (all three)
UC: Are there any Spanish-or English-language crafty websites/blogs you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
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.
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!