I’m sharing the fourth interview in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month series with Olivia Silva from Pitusas y Petetes. Olivia is a Galician crochet designer. I’ll also be including a roundup of my 5 favorite free crochet patterns from Olivia’s collection!
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Olivia can be found online on her website and blog, as well as on Etsy (where she sells patterns, purse frames, and yarn), Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Ravelry. All images are used with permission and are copyright Pitusas y Petetes. Please note this interview was translated from Spanish to English.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet and knit?
Olivia: During my childhood, I remember my mother was always teaching me the things she learned to do, specially crocheting, knitting and sewing.
I come from a modest family and I only had one doll to play with, so I made her clothes. I would make her pretty dresses with fabric and would knit and crochet her sweaters and hats… She was the prettiest and best dressed in the world. 😉
From there, I grew fond of any type of craft as I grew up. I’m a self-educated person and I’m in constant learning, and I have been adapting my knowledge and experience to contemporary designs.
Olivia: It never occurred to me to make my own designs, I always took designs from the web, blogs, magazines… and, I would have millions of ideas in my head, until one day I started creating my own designs. By starting from the same base and modifying specific stitches, you can create a variety of original designs… You just have to be a Little creative and visualize what you want to do before doing it, aside from knowing many stitches.
I recommend to every person that starts doing crochet that they shouldn’t settle for the basic stitches, that they dare to experiment and create with more elaborate stitches. More possibilities will arise and from a simple design, they will be able to make something amazing.
UC: Although you have variety in your patterns, you definitely have a lot of coin purse patterns. What do you enjoy about designing coin purses?
Olivia: I started crafting simple purses and I would only change the color or the clasp. Little by little, I started combining new stitches, from simple ones to more elaborate ones, trying types of threads, and doing pretty decorations… From my notes, I went on to do my own graphics and I thought it would be a good idea to share my designs with others since there were no original designs in the internet. That’s how my presence on Etsy started. That’s where you can find the patterns. I also share some free designs on the blog, which I invite you to visit.
I feel very proud knowing that in some part of the world, someone is making a purse with one of my patterns.
Olivia: Although I’m more focused in crochet, I really like knitting. For now, I haven’t got the time to make my own designs but, little by little I hope to be able to get more into this task and share it with my followers.
Right now I am immersed in my own amigurumi designs. It is one of my passions. Since I made the first one, it has been impossible for me to stop. I also translate patterns from other languages… I just love challenges. (*^^*)
UC: Most of your patterns are available in English and Spanish. What do you see as the benefits of writing bilingual patterns?
Olivia: I think it is amazing, I am Spanish and my level of English is kind of bad but it is not necessary to dominate it to be able to understand the explanations and graphics in another language.
Symbols are the same in both languages and abbreviations are very simple to understand, so it hasn’t been difficult for me to translate my patterns to English and, at the same time, other patterns from English to Spanish. And it has been a wise move since I have been able to reach the entire world thanks to this language. Otherwise it would’ve been impossible.
Olivia: Inspiration is anywhere: old magazines, the streets, nature, even in dreams, yes! When I sleep I come up with a lot of things. 😉
Also pn blogs, Pinterest, and pn social networks there is a lot of inspiration, and in my favorite app, Instagram, where I have been able to find people that make amazing works.
UC: What was the crochet scene like in Galicia when you were growing up? How does that compare to the yarn crafts scene in Galicia today? Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?
Olivia: In the past, crochet was very simple. Housewives and grandmothers did it, and basically they made rugs, blankets, curtains, towel stitches, cloths, etc… it was all very basic for daily life use in any household.
Some time ago, they stopped doing this craft since it was seen as something from the past, it was related to traditions of village people, and it was even despised. Because of that, many young generations haven’t been lucky to learn this beautiful craft from their mothers or grandmothers.
Recently, it has been coming back into fashion. It’s even well looked upon that you know how to do these crafts, there are groups who share experiences, there are blogs and web pages about this topic, there is a great variety of products for crochet, and it grows more and more every day.
It is also true that thanks to technology many young people have become interested in learning crochet, and today you can find people crocheting in any geographical place… it’s amazing and it makes me very happy.
UC: Which is your favorite book in your crochet collection?
Olivia: I have to confess I don’t have a specific book about crochet. I know there are many good books about it, but I’ve already confirmed that there are others which are very bad and hard to understand (specially for beginners) and of very bad taste (with horrible designs I would never make myself).
However, I am a big crocheting magazine consumer; I have a great collection of both Spanish and Portuguese magazines.
For people who want to start in this world of crochet, this is a good way to start. They can learn to form the basics to more elaborate stitches, patterns are usually well explained, and also the price of the magazines is very affordable.
UC: Are there any Spanish- or English- language crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Olivia: There are very good and creative blogs in Spanish but I usually look over to foreign blogs, in any language, from Americans to Russians. There is much activity in this world. For that I really like to use Pinterest. From a photo, I start to look for information about it, where it comes from, whose is it, if it has a blog… and if the place seems interesting, I stay and become a faithful follower.
Another interesting site is Ravelry. It has all types of projects and you can interact with people that have your same interests. Etsy is also a great source of inspiration. There are amazing designers, and it’s also a great to collaborate with your designers so they continue to make great things. That’s one of my guilty pleasures every now and then. Instead of buying me two coffees, I buy a pattern and make a designer happy.