I’m sharing the third interview in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month series with Alessandra Hayden from Just Be Happy Crochet. Alessandra is a Brazilian-American crochet designer and Design Wars challenger. I’ll also be including a roundup of my 5 favorite crochet patterns from Alessandra’s collection!
(Side note: While Brazilians are not technically included in the “Hispanic” grouping, they are Latinos. Since I actually identify myself as Latina, I decided I would include Alessandra in the series.)
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Alessandra can be found online on her website and the Just Be Happy Life blog, as well as on Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter. All images are used with permission and are copyright Just Be Happy Crochet.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?
Alessandra: My mom passed away when I was 8 years old, so I started hanging out at my grandma’s house a lot. My grandma loved to craft, she was amazing at it.
Since I was there a lot, we needed to be busy, so she taught me to crochet.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Alessandra: After I moved to the US and started crocheting again, I realized I didnt know how to read written patterns, only graphs. I didn’t even know the name of the stitches in English, only Portuguese. So I started designing my own things and had a lot of people ask me where the patterns were from, so that’s when I decided to start writing.
UC: Although you have a lot of variety in your patterns, you definitely have a lot of hats. What do you enjoy about designing hats?
Alessandra: I like wearing them and I like that a hat is a project that I can get done in one day, I enjoy the instant gratification!
UC: You’ve been a Design Wars Challenger. Tell us about that experience, and your favorite design to come from a challenge.
Alessandra: Design Wars is awesome! It forces me to get out of my comfort zone with yarn weights and sometimes even colors that I wouldn’t particularly have thought about using before. I love all my Design Wars creations, but I am very fond of my stool covers. I ended up selling the rights of the stool patterns to Crochet World magazine. (UC comment: You can find the Farm Animals Stools on Ravelry here: Pig, Chick, and Cow.)
Alessandra: I am random, sometimes from nature, a LOT of times from my kids, other times out of necessity like my All Purpose Robe, for example.
UC: You are from Marilla in Sao Paulo, Brazil. What was the crochet scene like in Brazil when you were growing up?
Alessandra: Crochet thread and DK weight acrylic yarn, that is what I grew up with. Brazil is tropical, so lots of garments made out of cotton thread and housewares, too. Oh, let me add something very important: colorful!
UC: How does that compare to the crochet/yarn crafts scene in Washington state today? If you’re still in touch with people in Brazil, how has the crochet scene there changed?
Alessandra: I think cotton thread and garments are on top still, however, I see a lot awesome bags, but I think the world since the internet came along is making everything kinda uniform. I see a lot of the same trends going on.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Alessandra: I think so, I still love the colorful and cheery influence I have from Brazil.
UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?
Alessandra: Right now, Crochet for Christmas by Salena Baca. There are some very amazing designs in this book and I am proud to say I have 4 of my own original designs there, too! (UC comment: If you’d like a copy of this book, be sure to check out this giveaway before September 30, 2015!)
UC: Are there any crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Alessandra: Oh goodness, I love reading crochet/craft blogs! Here are some I love: