But first, check out the dresses ...
I think they came out so nice and I am very pleased. The design of the dresses and the ease of the patterns is what really makes crocheting wonderful. So I thought I would pay tribute to the designer and post the dresses along with an interview with the master mind behind CrochetGarden.com, Lisa Naskrent.
Here we go...
1. When did you learn how to crochet and who taught you?
My grandmother taught me a few basic stitches when I was about 9 years old.
2. What were some of your ” beginner” projects?
My grandmother did not teach me to pattern read, but showed me how to make a little corsage. I also made many afghans using plain sc or dc stitches. Years later when I taught myself to pattern read, I made mostly afghans.
3. How do you think they looked then and how would they look to you now?
I actually still have one of the afghans I made. It is green and pink - and the ends are still not tied in. Back then, I thought it was a masterpiece. And today, I still think it is, a masterpiece from my beginning days :)
4. When did you start designing? What was the first thing you designed?
I was always designing. Even when my grandmother taught me basic stitches- I was making up my own stitches and little patterns of sorts. Sometimes I would hide from my grandmother- because she did not approve :) She wanted me to practice practice practice the basic stitches!
I was always a little inventor - not just in crochet- everything from projects at school, to making little devices and such for things around the house. Even in the elementary school- I did not want to read stories! I wanted to make my own. So I would spend time during recess in a corner of the playground writing stories and plays. When I was 13, a teacher sent one of my stories in to a literary magazine, and they published it.
5. What inspired you to start creating your own patterns?
The catalyst at the time when the Crochet Garden started was the failure to find exactly what I wanted to make my daughter. To this day I am very picky, and have a specific vision of what I want.
6. How/why was Crochet Garden started?
When I made a few things for my daughter, I posted a few patterns on the Internet. I think one of them was a cabled hat as well. I posted them on the Crochet About forums, and later on Crochetville. The response was incredible. People asked for more. The turning point was an email I received from a lady very upset. She said I should be selling these patterns - not giving them away for free. She told me my patterns were too good, and that I was “taking money” away from other designers. Whether it was true or not was irrelevant, it was a eureka moment for me.
I never thought of myself as running a business. I am very scatterbrained, disorganized…. I also majored in Computer Science and Biology and minored in Math (though I loved English and the Arts just as much). I thought business people were like my father- extremely organized, files, tabs… Everything I am not in that department :) I do not think my room was ever neat and tidy.
But I figured, why not? How bad can it be?
My desk is a whirlwind of papers, wall decor is post-its, and the phone is always wrapped around my chair, sometimes the printers too… Crochet hooks often fall from where I do not know, and for some reason, yarn balls like to mingle with the phone cord too much. I am often entangled in my own chaotic disarray. I have so many notes, I forget they are there. Ideas are rampant - kind of like the sheep jumping over the fence, only they all come over all at once? So I have notebooks and notebook of ideas, and sketches.. Thank goodness for spiral bound!
My system is definitely not of the norm, but somehow, it works!
Interestingly enough, my title on my testing forum is the “Absent Minded Designer.”
7. Did you ever think the demand for your creations would be at the height that it is? Why or why not?
I did not. I think because I never saw myself as a designer. I wanted to write books, design computer programs, develop research studies in biology- I had so many interests- and none of them consisted of crochet! :)
At the time, I did not even know the proper names of stitches. I remember when developing some early patterns, testers pointing out to me- hey isn’t this stitch a Ldc (long double crochet)? I said I don’t know.. I just made up a name for the stitch! hah.
So having a business that solely supports myself and my 2 children was definitely not a vision at that time. My early patterns were so long, so wordy… I really had no business sense. I had no idea of the difference between a sku and a skunk.
But like everything I have ever done in life (oh my poor parents what I put them through)- I dive in head first and go for the ride!
8. Who are your favorite designers?
I do not really have any hands down favorites. There are so many brilliant designers, that I admire so many, and each for different reasons.
9. When creating a new pattern what are some of the things you take into consideration?
This is a question that can be answered on numerous levels. Within those levels many layers- at least when I begin a design. First I consider what size ( if a garment ), ease, construction (always top down for garments), etc. While writing the pattern, I try to design in such a way that minimizes the length of the pattern. Long “chaotic” patterns can seem so daunting (whether they are or are not).
I also use a yarn that will complement the project being designed. I use a lot of cotton for infant wear. I also rarely, if ever will use handwash yarns for children. For shawls, the m ore I work with lace, the more I learn about properties of different fibers, and what may work with a certain lace pattern or work differently.
10. When writing a new pattern do you ACTUALLY make all the various sizes or is there some math equation you use to come with the sizes and stitch counts?
Oh there is a lot of math!!! Though I do have many volunteer testers (http://www.crochetgarden.com/forum) that test different sizes as well. I use an Excel spreadsheet for every design. It helps me double check math for stitch counts, repeats, etc. It is basically my visual calculator all laid out.
I also use a lot of math (from school days). I have used the Pythagorean theorem, some calculus and trigonometry. It is a big mix. Often fibers behave differently from one another… so it is a mix of math and finesse. I do a lot of swatching as well.
11. Do you have any advice for budding designers in the crochet world?
You need to believe. Do not think, oh, I do not know Excel, I can’t design crochet. Do not think, oh, I am not a math person so I cannot even begin to design. This is just my quirky way of doing some things. I have no idea if the way I do things is like anyone else - as I really had no mentor when building my business. I had no one to guide me how to write a pattern, how to design a pattern, how run a business from home and build it up. I had no guidance when I sent in my first pattern for publication to Interweave. I just did it and winged it. Thank goodness Kim Werker at the time took a chance on me! Hopefully I am not driving Marcy Smith too batty!
I took baby steps. Sometimes I made big oopsies! But what I do works for me, and I was able to buy a little house for myself and my children to live in. I still use coupons; we rarely go out to eat. But I am at home with my darlings, and doing something I absolutely love love love!
I never thought I would be doing this. Not because I did not believe in myself- only because it never crossed my mind until one day I received an angry email :) And then I thought, I’m going to do it! I look back and I think - wow 6 years ago, I did not even know the proper names of stitches. So if you know at least that- you are off to a better start than I was!
You have to have the passion. You need to possess a drive and motivation within. You have to believe.
If anyone has any questions, or wants some help - ask away!
Okay, now the moment you have been waiting for...
Here is what you have to do...
- Leave a comment below telling me at least 1 of the patterns you would purchase with your gift certificate.
- Your comment MUST have an EMAIL ADDRESS
- Only ONE entry per person.
- If you forget something and need to leave a second comment, go back and DELETE your first comment.
- Open to anyone with a computer.