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National Crochet Month:
Lori Carlson, Shrone Designs
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Lori Carlson with us today, March 12th, as one of the featured designers on our 2015 Designer Blog Tour in honor of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo).
Three Truths and a Lie:
Take a guess as to which of the following statements isn’t true. We’ll let you know which statement is “The Lie” somewhere in this post, so keep reading to learn the truth!
- I learned how to play the cello in school and have been a member of a small community orchestra as a mediocre cellist.
- Mustard and pickles are my favorite condiments.
- As a teenager I had jet black dyed hair and wore primarily black clothes.
- My husband and I got married on Leap Day 2004.
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Lori’s designs with you.
Lori loves to crochet with thread. She is currently focusing on translating mehndi, or henna tatoo art, into crochet. She says, “eventually I’d like to create more designs using the tapestry overlay technique I developed in my first design, Split Infinitive.” This design is a stunning, colorful doily that won second prize in the category Artistic Expressions (sponsored by Leisure Arts) in the CGOA 2011 Design Competiton. It was later published as Split Infinitive Pillow in Crochet! magazine, Summer 2013.
Learning to Crochet
Lori recalls, “I was taught to crochet around age 8 by my mother who learned to crochet from her grandmother. While my mother taught me the stitches, she didn’t teach me to read a pattern. It wasn’t until 1995 that I rediscovered crochet as a way to recuperate from surgery and I taught myself how to read patterns.” After that, the first project Lori completed was baby blanket made with a variegated fuzzy yarn.
Starting to Design
Lori shares what started her on the road to becoming a designer. “It was a comment that someone had made about the doilies I would make, stating that they looked like mandalas. That resonated with me and I thought it would be possible to create a colorful, highly textured mandala. The result was my first design, Split Infinitive, which was awarded 2nd Place in the Artistic Expressions category of the 2011 CGOA Design Competition. From that point I began exploring folk art and found myself drawn to mehndi, or henna tattoo art. I’ve been in the process of translating mehndi designs into crochet for the past two years along with finding other sources of inspiration to create my designs.”
Her Design Process and Inspiration
Lori shares, “It starts with seeing how a particular design could be translated into crochet, which is the easy part. From there it’s a matter of finding the right stitch combination which seldom happens quickly. I joke that designing for me is essentially frogging and a stubborn persistence to ‘crack the code’ or ‘find the solution’.”
“In addition to mehndi,” Lori says, “I’ve been inspired by chemistry as many molecules contain geometric shapes and symmetry. Traditional Asian Indian bridal and gold jewelry has also served as my sources of inspiration, along with traditional Asian Indian folk art rangoli and kolam. I also am drawn to the shapes and symmetry found in traditional Arabic and Egyptian folk art.”
“In addition to crochet designing, my husband and I are amateur butterfly gardeners,” Lori tells us. “We are slowly but surely transforming our yard into gardens that contain both butterfly host and nectaring plants. Currently we have butterfly host plants for five butterfly species that we raise and release, with our primary focus being on helping to assist the Monarch butterfly population. Through our association as volunteers at Duke Gardens and the Durham Museum of Life and Science, we provide education and demonstrations of how to cultivate butterfly-friendly gardens and raise butterflies.”
Lori also has a new hobby, growing cotton. She says, “I don’t spin, and I have no plans to learn how. However, I enjoy gardening and the challenges it presents and since I live in a climate in which cotton can be grown, I’ve been exploring how to cultivate it.”
Some of Lori’s Favorites:
Favorite Crochet Reference Books: “I regard the issues of Magic Crochet and Decorative Crochet as being great references as they contained many wonderful thread crochet patterns. I learned many textural and advanced crochet stitches through Patricia Kristoffersen’s doily designs, so I regard them as another reference.”
Favorite Yarn: “I’m all about The Thread! My favorite thread size is 20 because it’s refined enough to convey a delicate look, yet still substantial to construct crochet jewelry.”
Favorite Thing to Crochet: “I like projects that provide a challenge and hold my interest and have a lot going on, yet aren’t an incredibly large project. Crochet jewelry and accessories can meet these requirements.”
Favorite Designers: “I first met Kathryn White just as she was getting started as a designer. We both resided in Washington state and lived within reasonable driving distance from one another. In connecting with her it planted a seed in my mind that being a designer is something very possible, yet at the time my focus was on graduate school and then relocating to North Carolina. We reconnected in 2011 at the Greensboro, North Carolina CGOA Conference, and by then I was ready to concentrate on designing. She became my official mentor the following year.”
Predictions for the Next Big Trend in Crochet:
Lori replies, “Why, thread crochet, of course (along with my designs)!”
Advice for New Crocheters:
- “Keep at it.”
- “Challenge yourself and develop your skills.”
- “Once you get comfortable with executing patterns, don’t hesitate to adapt and interpret them to suit your needs or preferences.”
- “Value your work and the work of others.”
Advice for New Designers:
“Designing at first seems impossible and daunting,” Lori shares, “that only those who possess arcane knowledge of crochet can be a designer. The more I design the more I’ve come to think that designing is primarily about having persistence and discipline, possessing a modicum of artistic vision, and lastly being able to apply the knowledge of crochet you’ve acquired to carry out your vision.”
“I think it’s also been incredibly helpful to me to get to know other designers, and if possible to find people who live near you who also have an interest in being a crochet professional. If financially possible, attend at least one CGOA conference to meet with people in the industry as well as fellow crocheters.”
Visit Lori’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Lori’s blog post today! Even we don’t know what it is, so it’s a big secret!
Find Lori Online:
Ravelry Designer Page: ravelry.com/designers/lori-m-carlson
Ravelry Profile: ravelry.com/people/TheShrone (must be logged in to view profile)
Crochetville Profile: crochetville.com/community/user/133-the-shrone (must be logged in to view profile
Well, Lori’s interview didn’t give any clues, so you are surely wondering about getting married on leap day, playing the cello, and wearing the color black. Well, all that’s true. And here’s something else you’ll need to know if you have Lori over for a backyard barbeque: she does not really care for mustard and pickles!