Interview with crochet designer, Silvia Insaurralde, and free crochet pattern roundup

Interview with #crochet designer, Silvia Insaurralde from Curupisa, and free crochet pattern #roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHMI’m sharing the eighth and final interview in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month series with Silvia Insaurralde, the Argentinian crochet designer and blogger from Curupisa. I’ll also be including a roundup of my 5 favorite free crochet patterns from Silvia’s collection!

This post contains affiliate links.

Silvia can be found online on her website and blog, as well as on Facebook, Ravelry, and Twitter. She can also be found on Lopaitema, a collaborative (non-crafty) blog she shares with her husband. All images are used with permission and are copyright Silvia Insaurralde.

Interview with #crochet designer, Silvia Insaurralde from Curupisa, and free crochet pattern #roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Silvia Insaurralde.

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

Silvia: I got into crochet and knitting through different ways.

My mum taught me how to crochet, I guess it was when I was about ten. I still remember vividly holding between my hands a number 2 ½ hook and some light pink mohair. It was a really some leftover yarn from a work she made to sell.

Knitting came to me a couple of years later, when my grandma Irma (my dad’s mum) taught me how to cast on, how to knit, how to purl. I don’t have a specific memory of that moment, except for the fact that she was knitting a scarf for my dad.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Silvia: I’m a maker. I like the feeling that comes after I finish something that has my own mark. At first, when learning how to crochet or to knit, I made stuff by following other people’s patterns. After a while, I realized I was able to do some reverse engineering (I didn’t know there was such a thing until some time ago) and then I come up with the idea that maybe I was also able to create my own pieces, rather than following other people’s instructions.

But it wasn’t until quite recently that I started writing my own patterns. At first, I didn’t take notes of the progress of my stuff. All that came along with keeping a blog.

Alert Bib, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish by Silvia Insaurralde.
Alert Bib, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish by Silvia Insaurralde.

UC: Although you knit and crochet, you only have one knitting pattern. What do you prefer about designing for crochet?

Silvia: I realy am more into crochet than knitting – I cannot explain why, though, just like it better. Maybe it has to do with the beauty of the movement of the hands while crochetting, or with the fact that it requires a smaller and more comfortable tool.

Yet, I think there are pieces that look better when they are knit, such as men’s clothing.

UC: Your designs are entirely self-published. What do you enjoy about the self-publishing process?

Silvia: I thought of publishing patterns to sell, but I need more time and better tools to do so. Then there’s the fact that self publishing allows me to do what I want when I want it.

Yarns on Sale – Hundreds of yarns to choose from at Hancock Fabrics!

UC: Most of your patterns are available in both English and Spanish. What do you see as the challenges and benefits of writing bilingual patterns?

Silvia: I started doing so because I realized that I could reach a wider range of readers. But it became harder work, also. I’m not realy a professional pattern writer nor a crochet or knitting teacher, so what I do is mostly trial and error. What I realy enjoy about it all is seeing that I get readers from all around the world.

Daisy Pincushion, free crochet pattern by Silvia Insaurralde in English and Spanish.
Daisy Pincushion, free crochet pattern by Silvia Insaurralde in English and Spanish.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

Silvia: Most of the inspiration comes from the needs of my family or myself. What I make and think I could share turns into the patterns I publish.

UC: What was the crochet and knitting scene like in Argentina when you were growing up?

Silvia: When growing up, I was not aware of such scene. Both activities had to do more with domestic and feminine life. That’s how it all came to me. I just remember that the ladies lent each other the magazines and books or taught each other to knit or crochet. We used to do stuff mainly by following patterns from books or magazines, but they where mostly translations from what was published abroad. All of that during the afternoons, when they gathered to have mate (a typical drink from my region).

The other possibility came with TV programmes. I remember one in particular, called Utilísima, that grew to become a whole channel. It recently was shut.

Ladybugs and Leaves, free crochet booties pattern by Silvia Insaurralde in English and Spanish.
Ladybugs and Leaves, free crochet booties pattern by Silvia Insaurralde in English and Spanish.

UC: How does that compare to the yarn crafts scene in Argentina today?

Silvia: The craft scene is quite active, and not so uniform. You will find that in larger cities it is also very influenced by trends that come from other places, I mean that it is not so different from what you’ll find in other countries. Then it changes a bit when you explore places that are far from the metropolian areas. Stuff has a different character as it mixes the native heritage with the Hispanic one.

ILC October 2015 squareUC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Silvia: My other source of inspiration comes from stuff that is a part of my own culture – such as the Pampa Cuff – or from my professional background – I’m a teacher and take inspiration from the books I read or stuff I do research about.

Pampa Cuff, free crochet pattern by Silvia Insaurralde in English and Spanish.
Pampa Cuff, free crochet pattern by Silvia Insaurralde in English and Spanish.

UC: What are your favorite crochet and knitting books in your collection?

Silvia: I own a collection that my father bought when I was a pre-teen, called Labores, along with some old magazines. Those are my treasures.

I don’t realy like the magazines that are published here nowadays, so I don’t buy them. I prefer to look for stuff on blogs or virtual communities.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crochet/knitting/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Silvia: I’m a big fan of Alice Merlino, a.k.a. Futuregirl. I once posted a comment on her blog about the fact that I find her a very inspirational person. I was lucky she answered and we communicated through different means. Then, I regularly access Ravelry, which provides a lot of inspiration, as well.

There are other sites that I find inspirational. Mostly the ones that are linked on my blog.

Maricastaña, free crochet pattern by Silvia Insaurralde in English and Spanish.
Maricastaña, free crochet pattern by Silvia Insaurralde in English and Spanish.

UC: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Silvia: I just would like to finish by insisting on the fact that I consider myself a maker – and maybe an artist. I also try to rescue some kind of heritage that comes not only from my ancestors. I like to recollect the beauty that came to me through what the women from my family showed me. I’m not realy a domestic person and try not to follow the rules when it has to do with being a woman in a conservative society. I’d like to consider myself some kind of rebel on that. But those women played a great part on what I came to be as a crafter and as a person.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Silvia, and for sharing your work with us!

What’s your favorite pattern by Curupisa? You can find a full listing of her designs on Ravelry.

Interview with crochet designer, Juan Lopez, and crochet pattern roundup

Interview with #crochet designer, Juan Lopez/Los Hice Yo, and crochet pattern #roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHMI’m sharing the seventh interview in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month series with Juan Lopez, the emerging Spanish crochet designer and maker from Los Hice Yo. I’ll also be including a roundup of my 4 favorite crochet patterns from Juan’s collection!

This post contains affiliate links.

Juan can be found online on his website and blog, as well as on DaWanda, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Ravelry, and Twitter. All images are used with permission and are copyright Juan Lopez.

Interview with #crochet designer, Juan Lopez/Los Hice Yo, and crochet pattern #roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Funny Daisy, crochet pattern by Juan Lopez in English and Spanish.

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

Juan: Since I was a child, I’ve seen my grandmother crocheting. My mom crochets and knits as well, but I wasn’t interested inn that until I left my hometown and moved away to study at university. Being there, I needed to find a really original present for a birthday, and surfing on the internet, I found something called amigurumi. That awoke my interest, so I went to a yarn shop and purchased worsted weight yarn and a crochet hook, and I started from there.

Years later, I went into the knitting world. My mother, as I’ve said before, knits a lot (and she’s very talented), so I never needed to knit anything for myself (she always did). But I’m really enthusiastic about exploring new techniques, textures, and materials, so I started knitting as well in order to experiment with the resources that I could find around me.

When I got interested on this kind of hand craft, I started asking my mum how to make few things, but now she and my aunties are the ones asking me.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Juan: I’m not really different from any other crafter: I needed to create things that weren’t created yet, so I started experimenting on my own. Every single person who creates anything, designer or not, owns that kind of curiosity. My mind learns by understanding the process of doing anything, so with crocheting (and knitting), designing was a natural step when I couldn’t find a resource for something I had in mind. Most people just follow patterns, but I think that’s just because they don’t feel confident about taking that next step.

728x90OctoberBannerUC: What do you enjoy about designing amigurumi?

Juan: If you have a creative mind, you enjoy experimenting with shapes, textures, and colors. Being able to create something from a single thread, by using very simple tools, makes me feel great! I’m sure you all have heard about how to create your own amigurumi: you find an idea, draw it, start crocheting (undo your crochet many times), make a thousand photos for instagram during the whole process, and finally, your idea becomes something real.

What I really enjoy the most about designing is the whole process of reaching your target. When you start working on your project and watch how it grows, you feel you are doing it right. Even when I need to undo something that is not accurate, I don’t feel mad about that: it’s the best way of reaching a successful target.

Interview with #crochet designer, Juan Lopez/Los Hice Yo, and crochet pattern #roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Funny Cupcake, free crochet pattern by Juan Lopez in English and Spanish.

UC: Some of your patterns are available in both English and Spanish. What do you see as the challenges and benefits of writing bilingual patterns?

UC: To be honest, when I started crocheting, most of the interesting resources where in English (or other languages). That’s why the knowledge I got wasn’t in my native language. Being part of the international community, and sharing my work, made me write my patterns in English, but I also wanted to contribute as a resource in my own language, so that’s why my patterns are also in Spanish. The most challenging part was adapting the patterns to the way people use the patterns in each language, but most of the crucial information could be clarified by attaching photographs of the process, so the instructions are easy to follow. Writing bilingual patterns helps to reach much more people, and inspiring other people is what every designer dreams about.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

Juan: Nowadays, information finds you wherever you are. We are 24/7 connected to using a window to the universe through the internet, an inescapable resource. Websites such as Pinterest, Ravelry, etc., are an endless source of inspiration. But I also got inspired by what I see while I travel, what I imagine while I read or what I dream about while I sleep. Inspiration will always find you if you don’t give up trying to find it.

CraftsyUC: What was the crochet and knitting scene like in Spain when you were growing up?

Juan: Knitting and crochet has always been a women thing. Making clothes with yarn, knitted or crocheted, was a cheap resource to get clothes. During my lifetime, knitwear been well seen and frowned upon many times. Crochet was relegated to the leisure of grannies, so they created authentic pieces of art very poorly regarded by contemporary decoration standards. Something flashy I remember is that most of those handmade items were really expensive. Because of new fashion and decoration trends, knitted and crocheted works nearly disappeared from the scene until last few years, when the designers started to include these kind of works in their collections. During that interval, a really huge knowledge has been lost. My grandmother crocheted, my mother knits and crochets, and so do I. I like to believe I keep alive part of that cultural legacy by doing what I do.

Interview with #crochet designer, Juan Lopez/Los Hice Yo, and crochet pattern #roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Royal Tulips, crochet pattern by Juan Lopez in English and Spanish.

UC: How does that compare to the yarn crafts scene in Andalucia today?

Juan: Nowadays everyone crafts! You can search  social networks and find millions of crafters everywhere. The same thing happens here in Andalucia. To avoid the massive production of many items, people have started looking for handmade ones. But that reborn interest contrasts a lot with what people prefer to pay for many of those handmade items.

The growing interest of these arts made the suppliers increase the different materials available in their catalogs, and having access to many new materials makes it easier for everyone interested in “becoming a crafter.” That’s why there is an growing amount of new websites related to the craft world.

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

Juan: Of course it does!! And I am really proud of that. When I was a child, I used to visit my grandmother when I went to play outside after school, and during the summer time she was always crocheting at the side of the main door of her house, at the street. That was quite common those days, and many of the yarn movements of today are inspired by those women who live their lives without any kind of complaining. I’m sure that growing up with that kind of spirit made me be a happy guy who is not worried about crocheting or knitting in public. About my designs, every single experience of my life is involved in the way I am now. When I created Royal Tulips, for example, it was for a very close friend who was moving to work in The Netherlands, and after that I designed the proper pattern to sell. I’m that kind of designer who likes to fulfill every single moment with a nice detail.

UC: What is your favorite crochet or knitting book in your collection?

Juan: Wow!! That’s a trap question, for sure! It’s hard to choose just one. Smelling a new book is one of those tiny pleasures I love of life. About crocheting, I have special affection for the Amigurumi Collection Japanese books. They taught me the main points for crocheting amigurumi, and you don’t even notice they are written in Japanese, because they are really clear. I bought some of the books when I traveled to Japan at a very amazing building full of any kind of craft item you could imagine. About knitting, I own many books as well, but I love the stitch guides: I find them so inspiring. At the moment, the one I use the most is Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary, but I’m waiting for the release of another one with nearly all the known stitches!

Interview with #crochet designer, Juan Lopez/Los Hice Yo, and crochet pattern #roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Funny Christmas Tree, crochet pattern by Juan Lopez in English and Spanish.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crochet/knitting/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Juan: As I said before, I use Pinterest and Ravelry as an inspiration resource a lot. One of the advantages of these kind of websites is you can find many different people there, so it’s easy to get inspired by them without even noticing. Two of my closest friends here in Spain are El Duende de los Hilos and BertoRulez.

UC: Have you noticed any changes in the digital world?

Juan: It has really changed a lot! I started long ago, as I started crocheting, and it was really difficult to find any resources. Nowadays, everything you can imagine is a couple of clicks away. And there are really talented people using the internet, so it became an immeasurable giant, marvelous to get lost in!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Juan, and for sharing your work with us!

What’s your favorite pattern by Los Hice Yo? You can find a full listing of his designs on Ravelry.

Interview with crochet designer, Ana Silva, and crochet pattern roundup

Interview with #crochet designer, Ana Silva, and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHMI’m sharing the sixth interview in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month series with Ana Silva from Children Pictures Creations. Ana is a Dominican-American crochet designer and photographer. I’ll also be including a roundup of my 5 favorite crochet patterns from her collection!

This post contains affiliate links.

Ana can be found online on her website and blog, as well as on Craftsy, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter. All images are used with permission and are copyright Ana Silva.

Interview with #crochet designer, Ana Silva, and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Ana Silva.

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

Ana: I went to the Dominican Republic in ’94 and my cousin tried to teach me. I was somewhat interested but it wasn’t until ’02 that I began to be really interested. I started collecting patterns and books. Back then, YouTube wasn’t around or as popular, so it was pretty hard learning from books. I got discouraged and stopped altogether for about 18 months. But my persistent nature wouldn’t let me quit so I picked it up again and haven’t stopped since.

300x250bOctoberBannerUC: What inspired you to start designing?

Ana: It’s pretty funny because I never had any interest in designing. I would just gather the free patterns that I liked and would make them. Then one day, I was watching the new Strawberry Shortcake cartoons and decided to make the hats and leg warmers based on them. I figured it couldn’t be too hard. Boy was I wrong! Writing those patterns was a nightmare. I knew what I wanted to say but it was hard to write it well enough for others to understand it. Eventually after many days of testing, the patterns were released and were quite successful.

Interview with #crochet designer, Ana Silva, and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Pumpkin Pixie Set, crochet pattern by Ana Silva.

UC: Your designs are entirely self-published. What do you enjoy about the self-publishing process?

Ana: I think the freedom of it. You go at your own pace and don’t have to be pressured to write patterns by a certain time frame.

UC: You’re also a wedding and portrait photographer. Without giving away all of your secrets (smile), can you share some tips for crocheters who want to take great pictures of their projects?
Ana: It’s all about the light! You don’t have to have a live model, though it really helps because people are better with visuals. But if you don’t have a model, at least make sure that you take the pictures with a lot of light so the details show.

Interview with #crochet designer, Ana Silva, and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
The Awesome Slouchy Hat, crochet pattern by Ana Silva.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

Ana: Anywhere. I’m constantly thinking and designing in my head. If I were to write everything that comes to my mind, I’ll be writing forever, lol. When I watch TV, I think about how I can make whatever I’m watching into a pattern. My husband says that’s all I think about. And he’s sort of right, ha ha.

Yarns on Sale – Hundreds of yarns to choose from at Hancock Fabrics!

UC: You were born in the Dominican Republic. Were you also raised there? What was the crochet and yarn crafts scene like in your community when you were growing up?

Ana: I lived there till I was 12 years old. I didn’t know about crochet much other than the beautiful tablecloth we had at home. I always found it fascinating but never questioned how it was made. Then I came to the U.S. and never saw that kind of work, so I forgot about it.

Interview with #crochet designer, Ana Silva, and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Garland Sun Hat, crochet pattern by Ana Silva.

UC: How does that compare to the crochet/yarn crafts scene in Philadelphia today?

Ana: Though I can’t really compare, Philadelphia has a lot of yarn shops. When I go to the city, I always pass by and wish I could buy them all! Of course, I have to curb myself or hubby would kill me.

Interview with #crochet designer, Ana Silva, and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Bunches of Hearts, crochet pattern by Ana Silva.

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

Ana: Not really. I had just gotten pregnant and just wanted to make something for my baby. I remember those little baby outfits when I was little and found them so adorable. So I wanted to make cute stuff for my baby girl.

Interview with #crochet designer, Ana Silva, and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Baby It’s Cold Outside, crochet pattern by Ana Silva.

UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?

Ana: Wow, my favorite one? I’d say it’s the 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans. So many different stitches and colors.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Ana: Believe it or not, I have never read a Spanish pattern :/ Shameful, I know. I always look up English patterns only. AllFreeCrochet is my all-time favorite website.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Ana, and for sharing your work with us!

What’s your favorite pattern by Children Picture Creations? You can find a full listing of her designs on Ravelry.

Interview with crochet designer, Maria Isabel, and free crochet pattern roundup

Interview with #crochet designer, Maria Isabel from Chabe Patterns and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHMI’m sharing the fifth interview in this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month series with Maria Isabel from Chabe Patterns (formerly ChabeGS). Maria Isabel is a Mexican crochet designer. I’ll also be including a roundup of my 5 favorite free crochet patterns from her collection!

This post contains affiliate links.

Maria can be found online on her website and blog, as well as on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Twitter. All images are used with permission and are copyright Chabe Patterns.

Interview with #crochet designer, Maria Isabel from Chabe Patterns and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHMUnderground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?

Maria Isabel: I learned as a young girl, around 13-14 years old, I don’t remember exactly. My mom loves crafts and she always shared that joy with my sister and I, so before crocheting I took painting, ceramics and fabric doll making lessons among others. I saw her knitting or crocheting since being little but I guess my hands were not prepared, I just couldn’t get the hang of it. So, as a teenager when I finally learned it was a big accomplishment for me.

Mille Colori Cowl, free crochet pattern by Maria Isabel, in English, Spanish, and with photo tutorial.
Mille Colori Cowl, free crochet pattern by Maria Isabel, in English, Spanish, and with photo tutorial.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Maria Isabel: As I took crochet and knitting more seriously, I started buying books and magazines and realized there were people around the world that actually worked as knit/crochet designers. I had made some designs of my own and shared with family or friends but never had published or done it as a more formal occupation. The possibility of becoming one of those designers and sharing my ideas with more people inspired me to take this craft to the next level.

ILC October 2015 squareUC: Although you have a lot of variety in your patterns, you definitely have a lot of bags. What do you enjoy about designing bags?

Maria Isabel: I love bags, they are so useful and fashionable at the same time. I see them as a great canvas for simple crochet stitches and experimenting with different materials and techniques. I also like they can be more flexible in terms of sizing because it’s not an actual garment that requires a very specific fitting.

Bracelet with Chain, free crochet pattern with photo tutorial in English and Spanish by Maria Isabel.
Bracelet with Chain, free crochet pattern with photo tutorial in English and Spanish by Maria Isabel.

UC: Your designs are entirely self-published. What do you enjoy about the self-publishing process?

Maria Isabel: The fact that I can showcase my work without waiting for anyone to do it for me is great. I enjoy having direct contact with customers and followers and I constantly learn about digital platforms so it also keeps me busy and updated. 

CraftsyUC: All of your patterns are available in both English and Spanish. What do you see as the challenges and benefits of writing bilingual patterns?

Maria Isabel: The main benefit is that I can reach a wider audience. I can speak my own language with people form Latin America and Spain but also reach people from Russia, Indonesia, Italy,  Australia, UK, USA, etc. The main challenge is to communicate as clear as possible in both languages, choosing the right words for an instruction, even when I’m writing in Spanish can take some time.

Flower Necklace, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish by Maria Isabel. Including a photo tutorial for assembly.
Flower Necklace, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish by Maria Isabel. Including a photo tutorial for assembly.

UC: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

Maria Isabel: I think nature, people and fashion are my three main sources. For example, my Leaves Backpack was inspired by autumn colors and a friend with two small kids. Once I saw her using a pretty and feminine bag that let her two hands free to hold her children. I thought it would be nice to design one in crochet.
UC: What was the crochet scene like in Mexico when you were growing up?

Maria Isabel: Well, I think it was a bit more traditionalist than today. What I mean is that it was very common to see mothers or grandmothers crocheting but not too many young people, it was somewhat seen as an activity for elders.

Flower Necklace 2, free crochet pattern in English, Spanish, and stitch symbols by Maria Isabel.
Flower Necklace 2, free crochet pattern in English, Spanish, and stitch symbols by Maria Isabel.

UC: How does that compare to the crochet/yarn crafts scene in Mexico today?

Maria Isabel: It has been evolving, I would say mainly because it has been a worldwide trend to bring these crafts to the scene again and make them available and fun for young people as well. I think the real value of crafting has been spread and we can now see more crochet/knit stores, publications, big events and yarn brands in my country.

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

Maria Isabel: Sure it does, for example, the designs in which I crochet wrapping thick cords were inspired by the wide basket weaving tradition in Mexico. They are so beautiful and colorful. I had always loved them and the technique just seemed so interesting so when I discovered tapestry crochet I found the perfect way to connect my designs to that influence. 

Chain Necklace, free crochet pattern and photo tutorial in English and Spanish by Maria Isabel.
Chain Necklace, free crochet pattern and photo tutorial in English and Spanish by Maria Isabel.

UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection?

Maria Isabel: It’s actually a collection of 10 books my grandma gave me and my mom. It’s a complete craft encyclopedia so there’s full chapters for crochet, knitting, weaving, sewing. It’s from 1979 and it is so full of beautiful projects and tutorials, also a bit of history of each craft.

UC: Are there any Spanish- or English-language crochet/crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?

Interview with #crochet designer, Maria Isabel from Chabe Patterns and crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHM
Dino Backpack, crochet pattern by Maria Isabel, in English and Spanish. For sale on Ravelry.

UC: Tell us about your latest projects.

Maria Isabel: I recently releasing a series of patterns for kids’ backpacks. It’s the first time I’m designing patterns for children and so far it has been so fun and exciting. I still stay within the bags idea but with a more playful approach to colors and shapes. The backpacks display the animal’s texture/print in the main body and include the head to use as a decorative and fun lid. So far, I have released the Giraffe Backpack, the Hippo Backpack, the Dino Backpack, and the Pig Backpack patterns.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Maria Isabel, and sharing your work with us! What’s your favorite pattern by Chabe Patterns? You can find a full listing of her designs on Ravelry.

Interview with crochet designer, Olivia Silva, and free crochet pattern roundup

Interview with Olivia Silva from Pitusas y Petetes and #crochet pattern roundup on Underground Crafter | #HispanicHeritageMonth #HHMI’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!

This post contains affiliate links.

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.

Little Lucas, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish with detailed progress photos by Pitusas y Petetes.
Little Lucas, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish with detailed progress photos by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

Social CrochetingUC: What inspired you to start designing?

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.

Manta de Apego (Security Blanket), free crochet pattern in Spanish by Pitusas y Petetes.
Manta de Apego (Security Blanket), free crochet pattern in Spanish by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

ILC October 2015 squareUC: Do you plan to add knitting patterns in the future?

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. (*^^*)

Basic Coin Purse, free crochet pattern in Spanish with international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.
Basic Coin Purse, free crochet pattern in Spanish with international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

UC: Where do you find your creative inspiration?

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.

Vintage Coin Purse, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish with international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.
Vintage Coin Purse, free crochet pattern in English and Spanish with international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

Crochet Bracelet, free crochet pattern in Spanish with photo tutorial and international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.
Crochet Bracelet, free crochet pattern in Spanish with photo tutorial and international stitch symbols by Pitusas y Petetes.

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.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by, Olivia, and sharing your work with us! What’s your favorite pattern by Olivia? You can find the her designs on Etsy.