This fall, we'll bring you interviews with Knitcircus designers to see what they're up to with their designs, books and other exciting projects.Watch for the beginning of the Fall Return to Knitting giveaway series for a week following the Fall launch.
To get the Fall fun started early, here's the first in the series:
Crochet Designer Linda Permann!
Check out a sneak peek of her design in the Fall Knitcircus, coming out on Wednesday!
First, what inspired you to do a baby crochet book, Little Crochet? Lifelong love of the tiny?
There were a few reasons—first and foremost, my sister had a baby boy right around the time I started thinking about what my second book would be. There isn't a lot of cute crochet stuff for boys, and there aren't many modern crochet books for babies, either. I work at my LYS, and a lot of people either return to or start crocheting because of a new baby, so I knew the market was there. I wanted to make classic patterns that would look fresh for a long time, and show people how great crochet can look when you use natural fibers. I also think baby garments are a great teaching vehicle, and I'm always interested in helping people grow their skills. Babies don't have body issues, it's fun to make things for them, and if you can learn a bit about construction methods while you're at it, all the better!
As well as a book author, Linda's one of the teachers on new video class and craft community site Craftsy. Crochet and knitting, sewing and painting classes, are offered; Donna Druchunas debuted a very popular sock class recently. Linda spills the beans about this new site and how it works.
So tell us about this Craftsy class video thing. How does that work?
Craftsy is an online learning site that produces classes on different types of crafts. Each consists of a few things: a series of video lessons (about 10-12, depending on the class), course materials, and a discussion forum. When taking my class, students can watch the videos and ask me questions as they have them, and get a direct answer from me—usually within 24 hours. The questions pop up below the video as the student watches it, so they can also see if someone else had the same question, or chime in if they can answer someone else's question. The platform makes it easy to upload photos, and it's pretty cool because students have uploaded a photo of a piece gone awry and I can take a good look at it and diagnose where they made a mistake. I even had one student photograph her swatch with the gauge check laid on top of it so that I could double check her stitch count.
I think it's a great opportunity for those who don't have a LYS, or need to watch things over and over again to learn. The videos and editing are all professionally done, so it's a lot better than sifting through a bunch of videos on youtube. Plus, the class doesn't expire. So if you still have a question three months from now, you can log back in and ask me.
Which classes do you have on there?
For now, I have two classes. One is called Crafty Crochet Embellishments and it's an easy overview of crochet for newer crocheters and those who want to combine crochet with sewing and readymade objects. As the title implies, all of the projects are quick embellishments including a trimmed pillowcase, crochet-edged fleece blanket, flower brooch, earrings and an embellished cardigan. I think it's a fun one for knitters to try—because flowers and trimmings are SO easy to crochet– and I tried to keep the projects easy and take away most of what I find are the "trouble" spots for newer crocheters.
The other is Beyond Rectangles and this one is designed for advanced beginner/intermediate crocheters who want to move past scarves and blankets and have a go at shaped garments. The project is a baby cardigan, which is great for learning because it's a small, achievable scale but still contains all of the relevant details you need to learn for adult garments, like shaping, seaming, blocking, and finishing. I really love that the Craftsy team was dedicated to showing each step, we didn't skip through things like blocking or weaving in ends—it's all there, in case you've ever wondered how to do it.
How is Craftsy interesting and not just like watching a regular Netflix video?
The interactive potential is what makes it stand out—that you can watch and ask questions and get advice from a professional (me!). We also really aimed to make it feel like a class, so I don't just go over the pattern, but I sprinkle tips, tricks, and even stories along the way. Several students have told me they feel like they are stitching with an old friend as they learn. I think there might even be some embarrassing stories in there, if you are looking for dirt. *Cough* I may have mentioned making a dog sweater for my mom's Chihuahua at some point in one of the lessons.
You do grown-up patterns, too; what’s your fave you’ve done so far and/or the most popular?
I do a lot of accessories and have been doing more and more garments too.
My favorite and by far the most popular adult garment I've designed is Peanut Butter. One person actually wrote a note in their ravelry queue that said something like "First sweater that was able to overcome being crocheted." I'll take that as a compliment.
What’s next for you?
I don't know yet! I'm doing a lot of work for magazines and have an e-book in the work for next year. I'd love to do more crochet books, I just need to get around to writing the proposals. I've also been trying to do more teaching on a national level this year, but I really love working in small groups with students at my LYS.
Where can people find you online and in person?
Well, I'm doing a lot of personal traveling this summer and not as much crochet travel. But, check out the Lindamade blog for updates; I hope to be sharing upcoming classes soon. And if any LYS owners are reading who want me to come teach the ways of crochet to their shoppers, feel free to get in touch.
Photos from Little Crochet by Heather Weston.
Peanut Butter Photo by Brittany Tyler.