I'm so glad you're here! Today I have a special treat: a Q & A session with a legend in the crochet and fiber community - Tammy Hildebrand! I know - I know it's very exciting!! Tammy is tremendously talented and her vibrant personality shines through in everything that she does - and she is one busy lady! Earlier this year I had the opportunity to review another book of her designs, Crochet Wraps: Every Which Way. It was one of my most popular giveaways ever! With her latest book she has created designs for babies. Inspired by her granddaughter this collection for girls and boys has adorable outfits for every occasion. If you love crocheting for the wee ones you need to check out this book!
I've never done an author interview, and I wasn't sure what to ask. A few rough drafts later I came up with these questions. Tammy promptly and graciously found time in her busy schedule to share her insightful and sincere answers. Without further ado - here's what she had to say:
I learned to crochet from my second grade teacher, Mrs. Crooks. She put out an invitation to the whole class that anyone interested in learning to crochet could stay after school. I was the only one that stayed. I can clearly remember sitting at her big wooden desk working on a floppy, purple "hippie" hat which I still have somewhere. After I first became published, I hunted down Mrs. Crooks to thank her. We are now friends on Facebook and she is one of my biggest fans! I crocheted a little all through the years and really stepped it up when I was pregnant with my first child 23 years ago. About 2 years later I became a contract crocheter. After doing that for about 2 months, I realized I could design professionally myself and I have been ever since.
How did you make the transition from following a pattern to creating your own design and writing your own patterns? What is the first thing you designed?
I have never really worked from patterns much. I've always liked doing my own thing. That is pretty much everything in my life, not just crochet. My very first published design was a little granny square soap on a rope published by Crochet World. I don't remember what my first actual design was as I was always making up something.
You have 5 published books (3 in 2004!). Once you decide on a collection what inspires your pattern ideas?
I find inspiration in absolutely everything I look at. It can be the world around me - trees, flowers, cars driving down the road, whatever! I see design ideas in tiles, wallpaper, curtains, just everything I look at I interpret in crochet. It is truly my gift from God and it comes very easy to me. It is what I was meant to do.
How long does it take for you to put together a new pattern - from the vision to something someone else can make?
Obviously, every design is going to be a bit different but typically it is a pretty quick process or I lose interest. I have a few works in progress laying around that I know I might just as well throw away since I won't usually revisit them once I've been distracted by something else.
The new book is for babies, but it looks like most of your previous patterns are for big people. Do you have a preference on what and who you design for?
Absolutely big people! Ha! The baby book was completely a labor of love inspired by my granddaughter Willow. I thoroughly enjoyed doing it but my comfort zone is in ladies garments and afghans.
What is your favorite pattern in the new collection and why?
I really like the September cheerleader and football player. My models were so cute wearing them and my dad was a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He would have love this!
What advice do you have for a crochet (or knit) enthusiast looking to make the transition to designer?
Experiment, explore, read, take classes, learn absolutely everything you can about techniques, stitches, pattern writing, sizing, etc. Step way out of your comfort zone to find growth. CGOA (the Crochet Guild of America) has a wonderful 2 year mentoring program which is free of charge with guild membership. You must already be working in a professional capacity (be designing, have a website or blog, etc.). You will be placed with an established professional member to help you learn the ropes.
You've accomplished so much! You've published books and patterns in numerous magazine, you are present on Ravelry, FaceBook and other social media, plus you are currently the vice-president of the CGOA - WOW! Congratulations! What do you have in store for 2015?
I am not much of a planner and like to just go with the flow so your guess is as good as mine for what's in store next year!
And one last question. What do you do for fun when you're not crocheting?
Right at the moment my husband and I are restoring a 100-year old home. I have learned to plaster, sand, paint, strip and I have discovered that I absolutely love doing this! I also enjoy brick carving, painting, gardening and anything crafty. My other latest love is Zumba! I took my first class about 3 months ago and I am totally addicted! I aim to go 5 days a week when my schedule permits.
Thank you so much Tammy for sharing your insight, advice and passion! Good Luck with the new book - and all your adventures!
Enter now for your chance to win this terrific prize package.
A copy of Crochet for Baby All Year, handcrafted stitch markers from Nirvana Designs,
a US size J crochet hook, a pair of stork scissors - and a little extra surprise gift!
The contest is open to everyone - (hooray international visitors!)
On Facebook visit Hot Lava Crochet. On Ravelry check out her designs at Tammystreasures. To keep up on the latest in the world of professional crochet visit the CGOA.
Thank you so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me.
Until next time friends,
Be Blessed and Stitch & Read with Love!