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National Crochet Month:
Carolyn Carleton, Living Skies Crochet
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Carolyn Carleton with us today, March 16th, as one of the featured designers on our 2015 Designer Blog Tour in honor of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo). Carolyn is an Associate Professional member of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA).
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 am 42 years old.
- I want to live on a tropical island.
- In my 20’s I was a fashion model.
- I am a national award-winning author.
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Carolyn’s designs with you.
Gwendolyn Cowl, available on Ravelry for $5.00 CAD
Vivian Cowl, available on Ravelry for $5.00 CAD
“This pattern can be made with or without the fringe, it is a light weight fashion trend that can be made with a variety of yarn and looks spectacular!”
Carolyn’s designs are trendy with an old-style flair, according to one of her Facebook fans. Carolyn agrees wholeheartedly. About crochet and her design style, she says, “I love the twisting of the loops into beautiful flowing pieces.” She says her secret to beautiful designs is using big hooks.
Carolyn is living the dream. She left her office day job in communications to be home with her daughters and design full-time. She says, “There is nothing better.”
Carolyn learned to crochet about 12 years ago from a teen girl who was in her Bible study group. Carolyn shares with us, “Each week she would bring crocheting to work on during the study and I so wanted to learn. So one week she taught us all! It was incredible with all of our hands busy, we were able to have great conversations and learn a lot. I am still friends with the girls today.”
Carolyn’s first project was a scarf that she says, “I could be blackmailed with today.” She continues, “It was wide and then thin and had many holes. But everyone has to start somewhere. I still can’t believe that I gave it as a gift to someone. I want to break into their home and steal it and replace it with a new one!”
On Becoming a Designer
Carolyn started to design because she was rewriting practically every pattern that she was using. So she stopped using patterns, and says, “If I saw something that I liked, I would make my own with a Carolyn twist.”
The first pattern Carolyn designed was the Gwendolyn Cowl, which she says, “was so well received that it was all the encouragement I needed to keep designing.”
On Creating a Design
Carolyn usually starts with a drawing or writing down a description of her idea. After that, she says, “I then search Etsy, Ravelry and Pinterest to see if my idea has already been done. Then I type everything in line by line so that it is easy to record and make changes.” She likes to type her patterns from the beginning because, she says, “I still have patterns that I wrote out by hand and I can’t decipher them because I made so many changes.”
Carolyn has two tween daughters that are full of helpful ideas. Her husband has also started to give her ideas from time to time. You will see one of his ideas in an upcoming Father’s Day issue of a crochet magazine. Carolyn also lives in Saskatchewan where it is cold 8 months of the year, so, she says, “I create what I would like to wear or have in my home.”
Carolyn was taught to knit by her grandmother. She will soon be adding knit versions of her current crochet designs to her shops. Carolyn also enjoys nature photography; she has taken many beautiful photos in her province of Saskatchewan in Canada.
Don’t Miss Out!
Want to be in-the-know and get great freebies? Sign up for Carolyn’s free pattern-of-the-month club email. She says, “I send out a free pattern to everyone once a month before it is released on Ravelry.” Go her blog to sign up!
Predictions for the Next Big Crochet Trend:
On trends, Carolyn says, “Hand-made is the trend and I can only see it grow from here.” She adds, “I believe that vintage stitches are the trend: lace, granny squares and basket weave. Oh, be still my heart, I love them all!”
Advice for new crocheters:
“Take a class,” Carolyn recommends. “I teach crochet classes regularly and they are full of people who have tried to learn via the internet. If you can’t figure it out, don’t give up. Take a class and then you have support from some who can see what you may be doing wrong and help you learn correctly. In five weeks my students can fully read patterns, know all the beginning stitches and can even adapt patterns to different yarns and hook sizes.”
Carolyn also says, “Once you get the rhythm of the crochet stitches and you will be able to create the most beautiful pieces that evolve from one strand of yarn. It’s a beautiful craft.”
Advice for new designers:
Carolyn says, “With my education in communications and marketing I recognized that a lot people were searching for help in this area so I wrote a blog post, How to Make Money Crocheting, which has gone viral on Pinterest and sends tens of thousands of people to my blog each month. I also receive numerous emails everyday asking for more help or suggestions.”
“I left my office job in communications but it is still something that I enjoy so now I am teaching webinars. Seeing people succeed in this industry is something that I am passionate about.”
Some of Carolyn’s Favorites:
Favorite Hooks: Carolyn’s hook style is big. She says, “I have found through the years my hands are getting really sore so I try to find hooks that have larger handles and glide nicely.”
Favorite Yarn: Carolyn likes bulky yarns and she loves yarns that have an aran-tweed look. She says, “I love the vintage, rustic look.”
Favorite Thing to Crochet: “I love to crochet anything that will keep me warm. Saskatchewan is beautiful but it is cold!”
Favorite Designer: “The first designer that I heard about was Vickie Howell. I didn’t even realize that you could be a ‘designer’ in the fiber arts. I have always wanted to be a cool and funky designer like Vickie!”
Visit Carolyn’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Carolyn’s blog post today! She will be offering a coupon code (good March 16- 20 ONLY) to get her Hazel Cowl pattern for free on Ravelry. Check out her blog post to get the code!
Find Carolyn Online:
Ravelry Designer Page: ravelry.com/designers/living-skies-crochet
Ravelry Profile: ravelry.com/people/carolyncarleton (must be logged in to view profile)
The truth is that Carolyn enjoys living in Saskatchewan, and she does not want to live on a tropical island.