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National Crochet Month:
Bonnie Barker, Bonnie Bay Crochet
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Bonnie Barker of Bonnie Bay Crochet with us today, March 17, 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!
- Bonnie loves to play guitar, flute, and penny whistles, just not all at the same time!
- She loves crocheted cables.
- Bonnie has 5 children.
- She loves to knit as much as she loves to crochet!
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Bonnie’s designs with you.
“This wrap works up quickly and can possibly be completed in a weekend, or surely within a week. All of these stitches have free instructional videos (for both right and left-handers) on the Bonnie Bay Crochet Youtube channel, as well as on Bonnie Barker’s website at BonnieBayCrochet.com.”
“This set of pillows was specifically designed to match the afghans in Bonnie Barker’s “Aran Afghans” leaflet (published by Leisure Arts). Whether you need a pillow to match an afghan, or just need a set of pillows to enhance your home, this e-book is for you! Each pattern is accompanied by a stitch guide for that specific pattern, plus links to a free instructional video should you have need. Each pillow can be completed in a weekend or less, and make wonderful holiday gifts!”
Getting Off to a Good Start
Believe it or not, Bonnie has been crocheting for the past 45 years! She learned her first stitches from her next-door neighbor Clare Cox. Her best friend’s mother, Carolyn Stone, taught her how to read patterns. Bonnie’s first project was a continuous granny square that grew up to become a bedspread. She started the project when she was seven and finished it two years later when she was nine. Made in colors of yellow and green, Bonnie was able to buy only one skein at a time, so the colors changed throughout the afghan as she had to use different dye lots. Her tension also changed a lot as her skills developed over the years, making this afghan truly one-of-a-kind!
A Design Career Is Begun
Bonnie says, “I was encouraged by receiving a call from a stranger who had seen my work at the county fair. She lived several states away and wanted to know where to buy the pattern. That spurred me on to look into publication. I contacted the only publication company I was familiar with at the time, Leisure Arts, and to my delight they said ‘YES!'”
Most of Bonnie’s design feature some sort of crocheted cabling or texture. Bonnie says, “I have always loved the look of knitted cables, but just don’t enjoy the journey using knitting needles to get there. While I deeply respect knitters and their beautiful work, I personally enjoy crocheting so, so much more and love to imitate knitting with my style of crochet stitches.”
Bonnie enjoys using stitches that are not necessarily in very common use in her designs, although they are based on the most fundamental stitches that all crocheters know. While some of her stitches may look intimidating, they are really much easier than they look. “Being a teacher at heart, I have most of these stitches available on my Bonnie Bay Crochet Youtube channel as well as on my website for free – for both lefties and righties,” says Bonnie.
Sources of Inspiration
Bonnie says, “I get inspiration from many different places, but mostly from creation all around us – all of which was created by THE Master Designer. I believe with all my heart that HE puts this strong desire to create in all of us.”
“My first book, Contemporary Celtic Crochet. I never dreamed that I would be able to do this!” says Bonnie.
The Wider World of Fiber Arts
Bonnie says she can sew, but only if absolutely necessary. She says, “That seam ripper and I spend too much time together when I sew! I love my crochet hook too much to pick up much else right now.”
Advice for New Designers:
You may need to give a lot of people the opportunity to say “no” to your designs before you hear that “yes!” Be persistent, develop your skills, and try not to get too discouraged. Prepare to grow in patience as you learn to wait. To borrow from an old cliche, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Fun Story from the Crochet Industry:
While at a CGOA conference a few years ago, I had the honor of meeting and chatting with Margaret Hubert. She told me the story of presenting a crocheted bikini as a design! You can read that story here.
- Favorite Crochet Books: Annie Ough’s Leisure Arts leaflets from the late 70s and early 80s
- Designers: A very incomplete list: Jennifer E Ryan, Carlotta Craig, Kate Steinke, Susan Lowman, Randy Cavaliere, Michele Maks, Barbara Van Elsen, Doris Chan, and Margaret Hubert
- Favorite Hook: Susan Bates aluminum hooks. Period.
- Favorite Yarn: Bonnie says: That would be like asking me which of my children is my favorite! And I would have to reply, “I love them all!”
- Favorite Thing to Crochet: Just about anything!
Visit Bonnie’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Bonnie’s blog post today! She will be giving away a copy of her new book, Contemporary Celtic Crochet, to a lucky winner. You’ll find all the details on how to enter in Bonnie’s blog post.
Find Bonnie Online:
Crochetville: BonnieBay (must be logged in to see profile)
Ravelry: BonnieBay (must be logged in to see profile)
Bonnie Bay Crochet Website: http://bonniebaycrochet.squarespace.com/
Bonnie Bay Crochet Blog: http://bonniebaycrochet.squarespace.com/blog/
Ravelry Designer Page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/bonnie-barker
Bonnie does not enjoy knitting herself at all, although she does enjoy the look of knitting that others have done!
Additional Blog Tour Information: