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National Crochet Month:
Laura Krzak, December’s Child Designs
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Laura Krzak of December’s Child Designs with us today, March 13, 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 try to let you know which statement is “The Lie” somewhere in this post. If we just can’t work it in, we’ll post the truth at the bottom of the post!
- Laura is a natural redhead with the baby pictures to prove it!
- She has worked as a resident assistant, ice cream scooper and cake decorator at Baskin-Robbins, retail at Lane Bryant and The Limited, taught high school English for 8 years, and has worked off and on for the family business since she was 15.
- Laura lost out on winning a roller disco award when she was 7 years old because her costume didn’t have enough sequins.
- Laura got to clutch Donny Osmond’s hand a couple years ago when she attended a Christmas concert he and Marie performed in Chicago, fulfilling an almost-30-year-old dream.
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Laura’s designs with you.
Getting Off to a Good Start
Laura’s grandmother taught her to crochet when she as 9 or 10 years old. She remembers sitting at her grandmother’s kitchen table and learning to make the chain stitch, the double crochet stitch, and a shell with 5 double crochet stitches. When her grandmother died, Laura inherited her kitchen table, which holds all sorts of special memories for her.
Laura’s first crochet project is an eternal WIP (work-in-progress). She started to make a blanket to cover her dorm room ed in college. She never finished it and it is in storage somewhere. Her first finished projects were scarves she made for her mother and sisters when she started crocheting again in her early 30s.
A Design Career Is Begun
Laura says, “I think all crocheters end up designing something: We have the perfect yarn but can’t find the perfect pattern, so we make up our own. Designing professionally, for me, didn’t become an actuality until 2013, when I was contacted by Shannon Dunbabin of Cascade Yarns. I had met Shannon in 2011 at STITCHES Midwest, and we kept in casual contact. She reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in designing crochet patterns for Cascade Yarns. I said yes, and that has led to a lovely relationship with Cascade Yarns. I have designed 14 crochet patterns for them over the past two years, and I look forward to working with them in the future. In addition, working with Cascade has given me the push I needed to step out into indie design, and in 2015 I will start self-publishing patterns under the name December’s Child Designs.”
Laura says, “I’m a big fan of the smaller weight yarns: lace and fingering weight yarn set the design gears in motion. I also find that, much like Robyn Chachula, who is a big designer inspiration for me, I’m drawn to motifs and what kinds of fabrics and shapes you can get by connecting them. I currently have several designs in the works that will incorporate motifs and I look forward to publishing them this year.”
Sources of Inspiration
Laura says, “Most of the time, the yarn itself “speaks” to me. Yarn lovers constantly joke about waiting for the yarn to tell you what it wants to be. However, this does happen. I’ve picked up that skein of yarn and a couple of design ideas have flashed across my brain, giving birth to a possible new item. Color has a big impact on how I design with yarn as well, and will influence what the finished project looks like. On the occasions when ideas don’t come as quickly, I turn to my stitch dictionaries and start seeing what stitch patterns work with the yarn, and then make swatches of the ones that do work. From there I design based on the swatch that was created.”
Her Greatest Crochet Accompishment
“My greatest crochet accomplishment was two-fold. It took me 2 years to design and stitch a silk lace shawl with beaded panel, and I modeled the shawl at the Student Fashion Show at STITCHES Midwest in 2013. When I got back to my table, Marly Bird asked to look at the shawl, and after examining it, she looked at me and said, “You know you are meant to be a designer, right?” A couple minutes after that, I won one of three Editor’s Choice prizes for the shawl. I was both humbled and overjoyed by those two moments, and they have inspired me to do what I do,” says Laura.
Predictions for the Next Big Crochet Trend
“I hope we will see an uptick in stylish garments and accessories for plus-sized people. A start has been made (Mary Beth Temples’s Curvy Girl Crochet comes to mind), but I hope more will be possible in the future.”
The Wider World of Fiber Arts
Laura has done counted cross-stitch since she was 13 years old. Over the past six months, she’s been learning how to knit.
About Her Design Process:
Pretty much all of my designs start with yarn and hook in hand, with several stitch dictionaries around me. I will stitch and frog and stitch and frog, making notes of each trial, until I hit upon what works. As I physically crochet the item, I’ll write down what I’m doing, and those notes become the basis for the pattern.
Advice for New Designers:
As I’m really new to the crochet business myself, the best advice I can offer is do some research about starting a craft business, especially if you are hoping to make a profit from what you create. There are books and classes (both online and in person) which give you the guidance to start your journey. Research as much as you can; you can never have too much knowledge about starting a business. Having a plan for when you start out should keep you from trying to play catch-up when problems occur.
Fun Story from the Crochet Industry:
The first time I took classes at a national crochet event was at the Fall Knit and Crochet Show in Greensboro, NC in 2011. Not only was I adopted that weekend by the amazing ladies of the NYC Crochet Guild, but I got to boogie down on the dance floor with Margaret Hubert while Doris Chan worked her DJ magic. The memory still brings a smile to my face.
Some of Laura’s Favorites:
- Favorite Crochet Book: The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden and Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia by Robyn Chachula
- Designers: Laura says, “I feel very lucky in that many of my favorite designers have become friends. Karen Whooley, Mary Beth Temple, Marly Bird and Kristin Omdahl have all been extremely helpful, friendly, and willing to answer questions and offer guidance to me as a new designer, and true friendships have sprung from that interaction. I’ve also had the joy to meet in person many crochet designers who have inspired me over the years – Vashti Rama, Doris Chan, Lily Chin, Dora Ohrenstein, Amy Shelton, Charles Voth, Laurinda Reddig, Shari White, Jenny King, Myra Wood, and Edie Eckman, just to name a few. All of these designers are my role models and they inspire me to be the best designer I can.”
- Favorite Hook: Boye and Tulip Etimo are her favorites, but she also enjoys the square-handled hooks from Kollage Yarns. She says, “Their new style hook with the super-pointy head is fabulous.”
- Favorite Yarn: Silk or silk-blend lace weight
- Favorite Thing to Crochet: Shawls: Her own designs and those of others as well
Visit Laura’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Laura’s blog post today! Visitors to her blog will get a special coupon code to get the newly-released What’s Behind the Ivy Cowl pattern (shown above) for FREE in her Ravelry store!
Laura is also having a special giveaway drawing. Everyone who posts a comment on her blog posts from March 13-31, 2015, will be entered into a drawing. One lucky winner will be selected to receive three skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash, in the colors of their choice, so they will be able to make the What’s Behind the Ivy Cowl. How fabulous is that!
Ravelry: xnedra2 (must be logged in to see profile)
Happy Clappy Crochet Blog: http://happyclappycrochet.com
Ravelry Designer Page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/laura-krzak
Laura was NOT in a roller disco competition when she was 7 years old.
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