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National Crochet Month:
Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten with us today, March 15, 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!
- Andrea collects hornets’ nests so she can repurpose them as art.
- A garment Andrea crocheted is on loan to the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum and Center.
- Andrea has an 18-year-old cockatiel named Mendelssohn.
- She uses crochet and yarn to make fly ties for fly fishing.
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Andrea’s designs with you.
Child’s Turtle Hat, available for $3.00 on Etsy
This adorable hat has just a little bit of whimsy and a whole lot of fun! Depending on your color choices, it could be turtles or ladybugs or any number of things. There is a lot here to amuse the crafter, since the ‘turtle’ shapes are appliqued on afterwards and the eyes sewn on.
Three Crochet Dishcloths, available for $5.00 on Etsy
These dish cloths only take one ball of cotton yarn each and work up quickly. The great textures will get those dishes clean and look great in your kitchen at the same time!
Andrea has been crocheting for the past 15 years. One day in 2000, she mentioned to her co-worker Eileen that she had missed the opportunity to learn to crochet from her grandmother and that she’d always wanted to give it a try. Eileen also wanted to learn. She remembered hearing that another co-worker, Jean Miller, knew how to crochet and suggested they ask Jean to teach them. A plan for lunchtime lessons ensued.
Jean sent Andrea and Eileen off to purchase worsted weight yarn and size G hooks. In her excitement, Andrea sent out what Jean later jokingly named the “all points bulletin,” inviting half the division to the lunchtime crochet sessions. About 10 people showed up at the first meeting. Everyone joked about how crochet was supposed to be relaxing, as they all desperately tried to force the hook through ridiculously tight chains. Most students ended up with triangular scarves as they kept dropping stitches at the ends of rows. Andrea was able to successfully complete a single crochet scarf with added fringe as a result of these lessons.
Andrea always has someone in mind as she’s developing a new design. The first pattern she had published, Celia’s Scarf, was made in memory of her mother-in-law who had passed away from breast cancer. This design was included in the book Think Pink: Crochet for the Cure.
One of Andrea’s pieces, entitled Trout Jacket, is on display at the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum and Center in Livingston Manor, NY.
In addition to her crochet work, Andrea enjoys spinning and needle felting. She is currently learning more about weaving and wet felting. Andrea encourages everyone to explore as many different fiber arts as possible. She says, “You’ll be able to combine them into your projects to make something truly unique!”
About Her Design Process:
I rarely used a pattern exactly as it was provided. More often I would look at the photo, maybe follow a few rows and then improvise. I just found it to be much more fun that way! I also enjoy writing articles about crochet and yarn spinning.
I always keep a notebook on hand. Sometimes ideas just hit me! It could be a project idea, or an experiment with a stitch pattern.
Fun Story from the Crochet Industry:
I absolutely loved the one time I had the opportunity to go to the CGOA event in New Hampshire and meeting all the wonderful people I had “met” online!
Some of Andrea’s Favorites:
- Favorite Crochet Reference Books: Donna Kooler’s Encyclopedia of Crochet, The Crocheter’s Companion by Nancy Brown, The Crochet Workbook by Sylvia Cosh and James Walters, Freeform Knitting and Crochet by Jenny Dowde
- Favorite Designers: Myra Wood, Prudence Mapstone, Margaret Hubert, Jennifer Hansen, Edie Eckman, Sylvia Cosh & James Walters, Jenny Dowde
- Favorite Hooks: Andrea loves unique handmade hooks and also enjoys Brittany hooks.
- Favorite Yarn: Handspun
- Favorite Thing to Crochet: Accessories as well as anything for my friends and family
Predictions for the Next Big Crochet Trend:
I think alternative fibers (bamboo, hemp, pineapple silk, and even paper!) will continue to intrigue fiber artists. Recycling/Upcyclcing different materials will also become more interesting to the masses, such as using cassette/VHS tape and sari silk.
Visit Andrea’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Andrea’s blog post today! She’ll be writing a review of a crochet book and then giving the book away to a lucky winner!
Find Andrea Online:
Ravelry: alvb (must be logged in to view profile)
Ravelry Designer Page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/andrea-lyn-van-benschoten
Although it sounds exciting, Andrea does not collect collect hornets’ nests and re-purpose them as art. You’re disappointed, I know, dear readers!