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:
Tell us about learning to crochet. How old were you and who taught you? Have you been at it ever since?
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!
It's Giveaway Time!
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!)
I hope that you enjoyed the Q & A with Tammy as much as I did. If you'd like to learn more about Tammy and her many activities here are a few links:
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!
Join the Love Affair with Yarn!
Guest Post by Author and Yarn Enthusiast Betty Hectman
A lot of people are going to be celebrating I Love Yarn Day on October 11. According to the Craft Yarn Council there are over 50 million people of all ages who knit, crochet or otherwise work with yarn. And it’s no wonder. It’s not just the destination of getting a scarf or sweater; the journey is full of benefits. Knitting and crocheting are great anxiety busters, offer something productive to do while waiting and can be a social outlet when done with a group. Want to Join in?
It’s great if you have a friend or family member to teach you, but if not, there are other options. Check out your local yarn store. According to Lisa Garcia of the Close Knit Circle yarn shop in Tarzana California, for a nominal fee they will teach someone to knit or crochet. In addition with a yarn purchase comes the invitation to hang out at the group table in the store and get help on a project. Some of the craft stores like Michael’s or Jo-Ann’s offer group lessons. Try your local community college. Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California offers yarn craft classes as part of their extension program. *Your local library is another spot to check out. Many have groups that welcome sharing their skill and experience with new members.
If you’re more of a do it yourselfer, it is possible to learn on your own. There are numerous books on the market, but Betty Hechtman, author of two yarn related mysteries series suggests doing what she did and trying a kids’ kit. “I found that the instructions were broken down into easy to follow steps with lots of illustrations. And if the instructions would work for a ten-year-old, I figured they would work for me. I learned how to crochet granny squares with a kit meant for kids and it changed my life.”
Don’t defeat yourself by choosing something too complicated for a first project. Also, it is best to stick with easy to work with yarn like basic worsted weight. A scarf is a great project to start with using either this free knitting pattern or this free crochet pattern. Both use only the most basic techniques.
The Beauty of Handmade
Every knit or crocheted item has its own story. The experience of picking the yarn, making the project and what was going on in your life are all woven into the stitches. Remember that what makes handmade items special is they look like real hands made them. That means there might be a wiggly stitch here and there, but just look at it as part of the tale.
About Betty Hechtman
Betty Hechtman is the author of “Yarn to Go,” the first book in the Berkley Prime Crime Yarn Retreat mystery series, as well as the author of the best-selling Berkley Prime Crime Crochet mystery series. The eighth book, “For Better or Worsted,” comes out in November. She has also written newspaper and magazine pieces, short stories and screenplays as well as a children’s culinary mystery. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree and has been active in handicrafts since she was a small child. Hechtman divides her time between Los Angeles and Chicago.
I hope you enjoyed Betty's post! I couldn't agree with her more. In fact, I learned how to crochet by checking out children's books from our library. And when I needed more help I turned to our resident experts - The Knit Wits, who have been meeting on Wednesdays at the library for years! The comment following the * is mine. I had to mention the library, not just because I work there, but because they're such a great resource in so many communities
Thanks 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!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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