Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Interview Series Roundup

Today is the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month and also the end of this year’s interview series.  Here’s a recap in case you missed some of the interviews.  All photos are used with permission.  (Click on the photos to link to the interviews.)

 

Karla Sandoval

Karla Sandoval, the Mexican crochet designer behind Cute Little Crafts.

Marisa Munoz al-abrigo

Marisa Munoz, the Spanish knitwear designer behind al abrigo.

Cristina Mershon

Cristina Mershon, a Galician expat crochet designer.

Monica Rodriguez Fuertes

Monica Rodriguez Fuertes, the Spanish crochet, knitting, and sewing designer and co-owner of Hand Made Awards.

Daniela Montelongo

Daniela Montelongo, the Mexican crafter behind Pompon’s Party.

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Ruth Garcia-Alcantud, the Spanish expat knitting designer, teacher, and tech editor, also known as rock+purl.

Diana Rivera

Diana Rivera, the Puerto Rican/Colombian-American fiber artist behind Arte y Poemas.

Teresa Alvarez

Spanish crochet designer, Teresa Alvarez.

Cirilia Rose Harpa

Cirilia Rose, a Mexican/Irish/Italian-American knitting designer, author, and creative director, also known as bricoleur knits.

Paula Prado

Paula Prado, the Chilean yarnie behind De Origen Chile.

Celia Abejitas

Celia Diaz, the Spanish crochet designer behind Abejitas.

I’d like to extend my thanks to each of these twelve talented women.  It is very difficult to find time for extra activities when running a small business, so I really appreciate your responsiveness!  You can find links to the 9 yarn crafters I interviewed for the 2012 series here.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Interview Series: Celia Diaz from Abejitas

Today, I’m sharing an interview with Celia Diaz, an emerging Spanish crochet designer, also known as Abejitas.

You can find Celia online at her website, Abejitas, and on Facebook, TwitterPinterestGoogle+, and YouTube.  She’s also on Ravelry (as abejitasorg, on her designer page, and in the Abejitas group).

All photos are used with permission and are copyright Abejitas.  Click on the pictures to link to the pattern pages.

Celia Abejitas
Celia Diaz.

 

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.

Gorro Anna/Anna Hat.
Gorro Anna/Anna Hat.

 

 

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.

Helical.
Helical.

 

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.

Elephant amigurumi.
Elephant amigurumi.

 

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!

Rosette earrings.
Rosette earrings.

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.

Butterfly earrings.
Butterfly earrings.

 

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.

Gilb socks.
Gilb socks.

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.

Everilda.
Everilda.

 

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!  

Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Interview Series: Paula Prado from De Origen Chile

Today, I’m interviewing Paula Prado, a multi-talented Chilean yarnie.

Paula can be found online in her Etsy shop, De Origen Chile, her website, and on Flickr.  All photos are copyright De Origen Chile.  Click on photos to link to the product pages on Etsy.

Paula Prado.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to spin, knit, and dye?

Paula: I learned how to dye – tie dye really – when I was 12 years old. Then, after school I took a Natural Dyes class that my dad was going to take but couldn’t because of work, and I loved it.  After a while, I got a job dyeing for a a store that sells cross stitch and wool yarn.  My dad taught me all about dyeing with colorants and creating colors. I had already opened the store by then, and asked my grandmother to teach me how to knit. I used to knit these long skinny scarves, but I didn’t know how to cast on so she would do that for me :).

Berries, a 1-ply handspun Merino art yarn.

The spinning part came out of frustration, As I was no expert knitter, I wanted interesting textures so the knits were simple but original because of these awesome yarns I had in my mind, and I couldn’t get anyone to make them.  Spinners, especially countryside ladies here in Chile, are so traditional, so then I understood I was almost offending them.  I made a drop spindle with a knitting needle and a weight I took from a knitting machine, and taught myself how to spin thin and thick yarn, using wool tops. I fell in love with spinning.  Then, I started developing art yarns, and bought some books, I couldn’t find anybody in Chile spinning these yarns.  So I spent a lot of time on my wheel, creating textures than I can apply to my production.  And I even had the opportunity to travel to other cities to teach these techniques to traditional spinners and even give a workshop to teachers of Textile Design at a university in Santiago. There is no doubt that spinning is what I enjoy the most about textiles.

I also hand felt, like two weeks of the year.  It’s so fun. I try to always have some felted pieces at the store, and Merino scarves, cowls, and shawls.

Love It, a hand dyed DK weight wool yarn.

 

UC: What inspired you to open De Origen Chile on Etsy? Do you sell elsewhere, too?

Paula: I was inspired by the idea of giving value to handmade, which is hard in Chile.  We are just learning to do that as a country.  Lots of people think because you handmade your items, they have to bargain.

On Esty you see how people really give value to their work and give positive feedback or advices so you can improve.  I sell at my workshop in La Ligua and a few stores carry our yarns and knitting tools across the country. I also sell at different yarn and crafts events.

 

Big Handmade Tunisian Hook.

 

UC: In addition to yarn, you also sell knitting needles and crochet hooks. Do you carve those yourself or do you work with another artisan?

Paula: Every tool in the shop Is made at the workshop by Osvaldo (my boyfriend and now business partner).  He also makes spinning wheels and looms, and any knitting and spinning related tool our clients ask for.

Hand spun and hand dyed thick and thin Corriedale yarn.

UC: You’re coming to Chicago for Vogue Knitting Live in November. Tell us a bit about what you’ll be selling and why you decided to be a vendor at this venue.

Paula: I am spinning a limited edition art yarn, mixing natural fibers (Corriedale, Mohair, Merino, linen, and silk), hand dyed linen, viscose and wool yarns, and the giant knitting and crochet tools that go from 6 mm to 40 mm.

I’ve been going as a vendor to yarn events in Santiago and getting really good results.  The biggest one is organized by a knitting magazine, Tejidos Paula. I thought since I was selling on Etsy, and some of the clients want to really touch and squeeze the yarns, it would be a great idea to travel to an event organized by a major knitting magazine and meet those clients so they can see the quality of the products, then come back and develop new lines based on the experience.

 

A 2-ply Merino yarn.

 

UC: You were born and raised in Chile. What was the yarn crafting scene like when you were younger? Has it changed much over the years?

Paula: It has changed a lot! I always saw my grandmother knit and my mom crochet.  People in La Ligua used to finish a lot of the sweaters using crochet. But knitting in general was an old women thing. Since 2003, lots of young people started knitting and crocheting.  Men, kids, and women would meet to knit at cafes.  There are stores only selling yarns now, and it’s growing :).

 

Extreme Crochet Hook.

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Paula: I think that working with natural fibers is the way my background has influenced my work from the beginning. I can’t think of working with other materials, they don’t talk to me. I don’t feel like spinning a bunch of nylon, for example, but I am obsessed with wool or alpaca or mohair or cotton.  And then I can see my grandmother’s knit sweaters, my mom’s crochet cotton curtains, and my dad talking about natural fibers.

 

A 2-ply bulky Merino yarn.
A 2-ply bulky Merino yarn.

 

UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet, knitting, or craft blogs to share?

Paula:

Here in Chile, I love:

  • Camila Larsen’s blog, Corriendo con Tijeras.  It’s really fun.  It has tutorials and teaches some classes I hope I can have the time to go to soon!
  • Debbie’s blog, Daiverdei. She crochets really cool amigurumis.
  • Patricia from Pupol spins art yarns and hopefully she will travel with me in November to Chicago for Vogue Knitting Live.

I also read some fiber artists’s blogs, like the felter Andrea Graham, and the wooldancer blog.  She is such an inspirational artist.

But nowadays, I spend a lot of time on Tumblr and Facebook.  I’m more of a visual person :).

 

Thank you so much for stopping by, Paula, and I wish you the best at Vogue Knitting Chicago!

 

The last interview in this year’s series will be posted on October 15 with Celia Diaz/Abejitas.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Interview Series: Cirilia Rose

This post contains affiliate links.

Today’s Hispanic Heritage Month interview is with Cirilia Rose, a Mexican-American (and Italian/Irish-American) knitting designer, author, and creative director.  Cirilia’s work has been published in magazines including Interweave Knitstwist collective, and Vogue Knitting, as well as books such as The Knitter’s Book of Socks, November Knits, and Weekend Hats, and by several yarn companies.

Cirilia can be found online on her blog, as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  She is also on Ravelry (as ciriliarose and on her designer page).  All pictures are used with her permission.  Click on the pictures to link to the pattern pages.
Cirilia Rose, wearing her Harpa scarf pattern. Photo (c) WestKnits.
Cirilia Rose, wearing her Harpa scarf pattern. Photo (c) WestKnits.
 
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to knit?
Cirilia: I definitely learned to crochet first, maybe from my grandmother, Maria Barelas, but I can’t really remember learning. I moved onto knitting when my nana, Irene Rose taught me. I cemented those skills with the Vogue Knitting encyclopedia and later, Stitch ‘n Bitch, so Margery Winter and Debbie Stoller played a part as well.
I’m still learning, though! I’ve never met a knitter who feels like they’ve conquered the craft, and I have met some pretty accomplished knitters. That is what I love about the most about knitting.
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Cirilia: I have probably been designing since the moment I was aware of clothing, to be honest! As a young girl, I was always fascinated with costumes and textiles. I would collage and sew and devour every book and magazine I could get my hands onto. The very first sweater I designed was an attempt at a Kurt Cobain style cardigan, knit in black acrylic yarn on straight aluminum needles. Never finished it…
Dolores Camisa. Photo (c) Hill Country Weavers.
Dolores Camisa. Photo (c) Hill Country Weavers.
UC: What is your cultural background?  How important were the yarn crafts in your childhood?
Cirilia: I am Mexican-American on my mother’s side and Italian-Irish on my father’s side. I was born in San Antonio, Texas but, apart from a few years there as a child and a recent visit to Austin, I haven’t spent much time there. The Italian, Boston based part of my background has dominated most of my life.
Now that I am getting older and living on the West Coast, I am exploring the Mexican side of myself. I’ve moved around quite a bit and speak German, but no Spanish at all. I am also quite obsessed with Nordic culture and trying to learn Icelandic. Romance languages and I just don’t get along, I’m afraid!
Sagrada Familia Cardigan, published in Knitting Architecture. Photo (c) Joe Hancock/Interweave.
Sagrada Familia Cardigan, published in Knitting Architecture. Photo (c) Joe Hancock/Interweave.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your knitting? If so, how?
Cirilia: Perhaps. I find myself seeking out artifacts and places that will help connect me to my Mexican heritage. Mexico has an incredible textile tradition and Frida Kahlo persists in being a compelling example of that. I love her irreverence and overt femininity. I sometimes channel that when I’m styling or modeling, or if I just need a boost of badass confidence in my daily life.
 

I love the sisters behind Rodarte, and they happen to be Mexican, Italian and Irish just like me. I feel a kinship with their cinema and nature obsessed process, and the way they favor artistry and history over trends. They’re true bricoleurs, which is something I strive to be. I love following the crossover success of Mexican filmmakers Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, and Alejandro González Iñárritu. All of these artists and creators share a certain elemental darkness, but also a reverence for quotidian beauty. This is something that reverberates in the Italian and Irish parts of me too, and in the adopted Nordic cultures I study. When I’m in a forest or at a museum, gazing at a tree or a simple folk costume, I feel like I’m in church.

I’ve only referenced my background in my work a handful of times, with my Sarape Shopper, Dolores Camisa, and Sagrada Familia Cardigan, but I can see using more Mexican inspiration in the future, especially if I have a chance to visit one day. I’m a bit obsessed with Oaxaca and the practice of dyeing with purpura pansa, snails that release purple ink.

 

Sarape Shopper, published by Berroco. Photo (c) Berroco.
Sarape Shopper, published by Berroco. Photo (c) Berroco.
UC: You’ve held a lot of roles in the yarn industry, including designer, author, and Creative Director at Skacel Collection. What advice do you have for aspiring or emerging yarn industry professionals?
Cirilia: People keep asking me where I see the industry heading and it’s a very difficult question to answer, because for most of my time in the industry, sales have been sluggish. Knitting does tend to have peaks and valleys and we’re all waiting for another peak, so I would just say, try to stay positive, and humble. Know your knitting history, and figure out what your contemporaries are doing well now. Try to stay connected to your passion for the field. I will sometimes feel disillusioned with the industry, but then I see something incredible that makes my fingers itchy to knit, and I’m in love with it all over again.
UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language knitting or craft blogs to share?
Cirilia:  I confess I am a bit more into Instagram these days! I really enjoy Beatrice Valenzuela‘s feed. I have a bit of a leather obsession, and she designs gorgeous shoes that are made in Mexico City. I also love Meghan Fernandes‘ magazine, Pom Pom Quarterly.   She’s not a knitter, but there are few people I admire more than Nina Garcia.

Thanks so much for taking time from your schedule for this interview, Cirilia.  I wish you great success with your upcoming book! 

The next interview in the series will be posted on October 13 with Paula Prado/De Origen Chile.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Interview Series: Teresa Alvarez

Today’s Hispanic Heritage Month interview is with Teresa Alvarez, a Spanish crochet designer.  Teresa primarily self-publishes and last year had her first designs published in magazines.

Teresa can be found online on Ravelry (as teresacompras and on her designer page) and on Twitter.  All pictures are used with her permission and are copyright Teresa Alvarez unless otherwise noted.  Click on the pictures of the designs to link to the pattern pages.

Teresa Alvarez.
Teresa Alvarez.

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

Teresa: I suppose this is a classic answer: I was taught to crochet by my mum. I’d been watching my mum knitting jumpers for my sister and myself for several years and I was intrigued by how to transform a skein of yarn into something so different. Now, let’s relate this to the summer I learnt to crochet…

I’ve always lived in cities where you have all sorts of shops and amenities, but when I was a child, my family used to spend a month in a small (really small) village in Castille. Imagine for a 10 year old girl spending 30 days without friends, playing all day with her younger sister, running out of books and comics and no bike! Let’s say it was exciting to learn how the cereal crop was harvested or looking for ant’s nests, but … there was something missing for me. So, one afternoon we went walking to the neighboring village (even smaller than the one we were holidaying!) to visit one of my mother’s aunts, and there I saw a scene I will never forget: all the old ladies were sitting on chairs outside their houses chatting and knitting … no!!! they were not knitting, they were crocheting!!!

I was intrigued and I said: I want to learn, who can teach me, please? And that’s how it began. My mother taught me the basic stitches: single crochet, double crochet and a new world opened for me. The remaining weeks were spent crocheting dresses for my dolls and for my sister’s dolls and for my aunts’ dolls. In fact, my aunts have kept the dolls with the dresses and when I visit them, they show them to me.

Polka Dot Funky Bear.
Polka Dot Funky Bear.
Then, I stopped crocheting. At the age of 15, I decided I wanted to knit, so I spent the summer knitting, then, guess? I stopped until 11 years ago, when I was pregnant with my son: I decided I wanted a blanket, a very colorful blanket…so I picked up my needles again…and I didn’t finish the blanket before he was born. Two years later, my daughter was born and then I decided that I was going to crochet again. Why? Well, I wanted to make toys for them and bags for me…and a crochet hook is safer than a knitting needle (at least that is what I think!).
The only thing that saddens me is that my mum hasn’t seen what I’m doing now, because she passed away 8 years ago. I would like to let her know, that I would never forget what she taught me. Now that my girl is learning the basic stitches, I feel like I’m continuing with something beautiful, something that bonds generations and people from all ages. I’ve tried out with my boy, but he prefers football (soccer!).
Dotty, the Ladybug full of surprises.
Dotty, the Ladybug full of surprises.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Teresa: My way into the designing world is curious.  I’ve been up in Ravelry for some time. I uploaded my finished projects and I was delighted when someone favorited any of them. One day, I received a message from one guy working at Inside Crochet, asking if they could show one of the finished pieces in the reader’s section.  Of course, I agreed.

When I saw the photo in the printed magazine, I was so delighted that I said to myself: ‘Tere, you have ideas, write them down, upload them to Ravelry and see what happens.’

In my own way, I’m a creative person. I don’t paint or make sculptures, but I’m a computer engineer, I’m used to ‘creating’ programs to solve problems and to writing papers about computers and routers (‘boring stuff’). I think that writing down a pattern is more fun than writing about the Internet.

The next step was to send patterns to magazines. When Inside Crochet accepted the Vintage Granny Clutch, I was jumping like crazy! But it was even better when the Abracadabra Bag was accepted for publication. Call it the luck of the novice! But it was very gratifying.

Vintage Granny Clutch, published in Inside Crochet. Photo (c) All Craft Media.
Vintage Granny Clutch, published in Inside Crochet. Photo (c) All Craft Media.

UC: Most of your patterns are for toys and bags. What appeals to you about crocheting these items?

Teresa: When I re‐entered the world of crochet, my son was almost 3 years old, and his sister was a few months old (a chubby baby!!!). I bought Ana Paula Rimoli’s book of amigurumi and a grey elephant was born. After several toys, I gained enough confidence to make a dress for my daughter, and many projects later I felt it was time to write my own patterns.

It seemed logical to go for toys and bags: the toys had two avid children waiting for them,whereas the bags had a bagaholic wanting to wear them(myself!!!!). Moreover, I usually crochet while my children are doing their homework, so I need something that is not very complex because my abilities of multitasking are quite limited: going through multiplications, sums, orthography, and the water cycle is not very compatible with designing a dress. Moreover, if they see me crocheting a toy, I can blackmail them: finish the homework and then the doll/monster/fish… will be yours!

Abracadabra Bag, published in Interweave Crochet. Photo (c) Interweave Crochet.
Abracadabra Bag, published in Interweave Crochet. Photo (c) Interweave Crochet.
Most of the bags I design were made for me, although my sister usually ‘borrows’ them and I end up without them, which is a good incentive to design a new one. You know! A woman cannot have enough bags!
A flower toy called Rosita.
A flower toy called Rosita.

UC: Most of your current patterns are self-published. What do you enjoy about being a self-published designer? What are some of the challenges?

Teresa: Designing is a hobby for me.  My day job is at the University and I love it. I teach/lecture future Engineers, and research about congestion in Internet.  Although secretly I would like to be a full time designer, I’m not. Truly, I do not know if I should say I’m a designer…I see my patterns as a way of tidying up the ideas I have in my head.

Self‐publishing is faster and I can publish all the weird ideas I have. Some designs are better than others. I wouldn’t even dare to send one of my monsters to amagazine, but I like them and I like to share them. So, when Ravelers send me messages telling me they like this or that toy, it’s rewarding.

My self‐published patterns are free. I think I will go on like this, self‐publishing, and from time to time, publishing in a magazine. However, I have to reckon that a book full of my toys would be a dream come true!

Tunisian Cat Amigurumi.
Tunisian Cat Amigurumi.

UC: You’re originally from Gijon but now you live in Valladolid, Spain.  What was the yarn crafts scene like in Gijon when you were younger?  How does it compare to the current scene in Valladolid? 

Gijon and Valladolid are two middle size cities: there are around 300,000 inhabitants in Gijon and 400,000 in Valladolid. They are 240 km apart. The first is in the coast and the other almost in the center of Spain.  I was raised in Gijon. Thirty years ago, there were quite a few yarn shops in the city. Knitting was more fashionable than crochet. Crochet was made by grannies. The pieces were usually bedspreads and tablecloths in white using a very fine thread. No fantasy there!

However, my mum made some crocheted clothes for my dolls. Knitting was a different matter: scarves, pullovers, coats, jackets,… Maybe, times were different and knitting garments was at the same time fun and a necessity.  Slowly, yarn shops closed. Only those where the owners had a very good knowledge of knitting and crochet resisted the passage of time.  Nevertheless, the variety of yarns decreased. Now, I lived in Valladolid. My mother-in-law has told me that the scene was the same as in Gijon.

Sara the Lovely Security Blanket.
Sara the Lovely Security Blanket.

UC: What about in 2013?

Teresa: I can say that both cities have evolved in the same way. There is a new interest for crochet and for knitting. Maybe, the newcomer is crochet: there is the possibility of attending courses of amigurumi, fabric yarn (trapillo in Spanish), and there are more varieties of yarns, but British and American shops (at least online) have more things to offer.

I think that this new interest has grown exponentially during the last two years.  The first time I used the word amigurumi, no one understood whatI wassaying. If we talk about hairpin crochet or Tunisian crochet, the same story… And, if we talk about tools: soft grip hooks, Tunisian hooks, it was like asking for an impossible mission. Now, some Clover hooks can be bought locally.

Five years ago, if I wanted a good selection of yarns or tools, I had to go online. Now, I can find more things locally. Even, I can buy online in Asturias (Gijon’s county) top‐end yarn brands. The same applies to Valladolid.  We are talking about two medium‐sized cities, they are not Madrid or Barcelona. But I can say we have great expectations!

Smiling Sun.
Smiling Sun.
UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?  
Teresa: I think that I’m not a typical Spaniard, let me explain this: Although I’ve lived most of my life in Spain, I’ve spent several short periods living in the UK after finishing my degree. These stays have broadened my mind. So, when I began to crochet again and I couldn’t find what I was looking for in Spanish, I turned to the Internet and Amazon, and searched for patterns and books in English. Funnily enough, I learnt the term Tunisian crochet in English and then found the translation into Spanish: ganchillo con horquilla.  I am more familiar with crochet terms in English (American and British) than in Spanish. A shame!
Scrap Soft Toy.
Scrap Soft Toy.
UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet or craft blogs to share?
Teresa: I do not follow many blogs. I rather prefer to look for designers or patterns in Ravelry.  I really like Amo el Amigurumi, Fresh Stitches (a.k.a. Stacey Trock), and Las Teje y Maneje.
I also visit their pages, follow on Ravelry and buy their books: Ana Paula Rimoli, Stacey Trock, Dora Ohrenstein, Doris Chan, Kristin Omdahl, and Robyn Chachula. Each of them is different: Paula’s designs are beautiful in their simplicity. Stacey’s toys are unique with the blo sc stitch. And what can be said of those dresses without seams by Doris. The designs of Dora, Kristin and Robyn are impressive!  I cannot decide!!!!!

Thanks so much for stopping by Teresa!  (And yes, I do think you can call yourself a designer!)

 

The next interview in the series will be posted on October 10 with Cirilia Rose.