I have a special guest here today at Just Add Glitter and Stir. I "met" this awesome gal through Ravelry and quite honestly, have been (not in the illegal way) stalking her ever since. She's an amazing crocheter and someone that I really look up to when it comes to the hooks. She's a North Carolina girl like me, she's the reason I bought a portable washer for felting and if she suggests a book or pattern I will probably end up getting it. Yes, I am a total fangirl.
She was nice enough to let me interview her so let's get to it! Please help me welcome Leslie from Crochetbug!
|The Crochetbug herself, Leslie|
Tell us a little bit about yourself
At this point in my life, I am a stay-at-home person, and I enjoy it thoroughly. Most of my adult life when I have worked it has been either as temp in an office or as an adjunct teaching introductory composition to college freshman who would rather be doing something else. Suffice it to say that my work outside the home has never been how I define myself.
I have three children whose ages range from 29 to 14, and they have managed to keep me pretty busy over the past three decades. My husband takes care of all of the technical things related to my blog, and is very supportive of my crochet. I have an MFA in fiction writing from Warren Wilson College, but for the most part, I'd rather crochet.
|The African Flower Soccer Ball, made to mark the 2010 World Cup.|
Why did you start crocheting? How did you learn?
I can't isolate the moment that it happened, but at some point, shortly before the birth of my third child, I decided that I absolutely had to learn how to crochet. I'm not really sure why I felt so compelled, but I did, and a fabric store was giving away "free" hooks one morning, and I made sure I got there in time to get one.
Before I got "bitten" as I think of it, I had met someone in Omaha who had taught herself thread crochet using a book, and initially, I tried to teach myself. My efforts at self teaching did not work out as I had hoped, but after my third child was born, he was given a gift that was crocheted; I prevailed upon the woman who made it, Edith Proctor, to teach me.
What do you like best about crocheting?
Really, I like all of it. I like the texture, I like the portability of it, I like the colors you can use, the shapes you can make. I like it that I am only bounded by my imagination and the time available.
|The bag is made using the African Flower motif and is based on the Mamy bag by Cecile Franconie|
What are your favorite things to crochet? Do you have any favorite colors that you always reach for when starting a new project?
Looking at the stuff in my house, I would have to say, I enjoy really big projects that has some kind of intricacy to them. I particularly seem to be drawn to large projects that require lots of piecing. While some people find piecing tedious, I like the way a large project comes together, almost like a puzzle.
I also like making totes and bags of just about any kind as they can be used to house at least some fraction of my vast stores of yarn.
As for yarn colors, I tend to go for a rainbow of brights, just this side of neon, but I try to incorporate as many colors as I can into my work.
|Leslie's "Pixelghan", a 41x41 afghan made up of individually crocheted little squares|
Are there any crocheters or pattern designers that inspire you?
There are lots of wonderful crochet designers, but my absolute favorite is Anne Halliday. I first came across her work when I bought the book "Decorating with Crochet," at a used bookstore. The book is definitely one that I consider for my desert island picks, which is a game I play in which I try to figure out which three crochet books I would take with me if I were to find myself exiled to an island that had unlimited yarn and crochet tools (as well as chocolate and coffee), but nothing else.
Do you have a favorite crochet tool or yarn that you just can't live without?
I would have to pick the Clover bent-tipped yarn needles. They have transformed my crochet. I first bought them when I was working on a project composed of 41x41 1.75" squares. There was a lot of joining to be done and 3,362 ends to be woven in. I kept misplacing my yarn needles. I finally bought a set of the Clover needles because they came in a chibi, and I was hoping that the little plastic container would save me from losing so many needles.
I don't know that it was the container, but I stopped losing the needles, I think I kept better track of the needles because of their superior performance. I don't know what it is that makes them so wonderful (they seem to be made of aluminum and are much lighter than any other metal yarn needles I have used), but they were, for me, life changing as I no longer shied away from weaving in ends.
|Tons of ends to weave in!|
What would be your advice to someone interested in learning to crochet?
Crochet is a journey, not a destination, and you can't expect your work to be exactly the way you want it when you first start. Crochet is much easier to master if you are able to adopt a mindset that every stitch is an opportunity to learn instead of judging yourself for not getting it the way you think it should be on the first try.
My next piece of advice would be to persevere. You will eventually get to where you want to go, you just might not get there the way you expected to.
|Leslie's vanilla textured square afghan|
The internet has provided new ways for crocheters all over the world to connect. Has the online crochet community influenced you or your crochet in any way?
It sure has. When I first started to crochet, I lived in a very isolated and rural community, and the internet made me aware of a lot of the things that could be done with crochet that I hadn't yet tried.
There used to be a website called seafour (or maybe sea4), and it was, at the time, the most complete list of links to free patterns available on the web. Sadly, the woman who created it died while scuba diving as the result of a blood clot that formed while she had been flying to her scuba diving destination. She was amazing, and I think she probably is one of the reasons that crafters have taken to the internet as she opened so many doors with her work.
|Close up of vanilla textured square afghan|
If you could only crochet one thing/pattern for the rest of your life, what would that be?
If just one pattern, I would probably have to go with grannies as you can make them in a variety of shapes, and they can be used to make coats, scarves, hats, blankets, skirts, slippers, bags, belts, placemats, doggy beds, rugs. So if I did find myself on that fantasy desert island without having had a chance to grab my three books, I could still get started on crocheting myself all the gear of life -- maybe even a yurt.
Thank you so much for the interview, Leslie! Make sure to leave some love for Leslie in the comments and go check out her blog, Crochetbug.com.