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National Crochet Month:
Abbey Swanson, The Firefly Hook
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Abbey Swanson with us today, March 18th, as one of the featured designers on our 2015 Designer Blog Tour in honor of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo).
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Abbey’s designs with you.
Textured Beanie with Peony, pattern available on Esty for $5.50
Super Bulky Beanie, pattern available on Etsy for $4.50
Learning to Crochet
Abbey’s mom taught her to crochet when she was eight. Her first crochet project was a blanket, and she says it was a disaster. Abbey remembers, “It very quickly turned into a trapezoid and I cried. I remember my mom working on the ends of the rows as I watched in amazement as it began to be even again.”
Becoming a Designer
Abbey remembers, “I started making hats of all kinds for people and selling items I designed at craft fairs. Since everything I made was a design I created and memorized, I realized that if I learned how to write patterns I could be a designer! I am one blessed girl: two of my very dear friends are on my team. They edit my patterns, photograph my designs, and do my PDF layouts (computers make me cry). I couldn’t do this without them! (Special shout out to Monika and Abigail.)”
Abbey tells us, “I teach crochet classes at our local yarn shop, the Dancing Sheep Yarn & Fiber, here in Casper, WY. I think most people are surprised how easy my designs are to crochet. They may look tricky, but when they take my class they can see how simple the construction is. My favorite and most popular class is our Super Bulky Beanie. First time crocheters leave with a hat on their head 2 hours into our 3 hour workshop. It’s incredibly rewarding for them (and for me as their instructor!).”
When asked to share a funny story, Abbey admits, “I could tell you about the first time I taught a beginner lefty… and didn’t realize she was a lefty until halfway through the class. Poor thing. But I’ll leave it at that. (Just know I learned my lesson!)”
Abbey also teaches beginner drop spindle classes at Dancing Sheep Yarn & Fiber. She says, “I love spinning my yarn. It makes a great gift for anyone who loves yarn (and it’s the perfect gift for someone with a giant stash: they won’t have anything like it!).”
Abbey is inspired to create designs for her students. She says, “I love designing lovely pieces that will give them the confidence to keep building their skills. I also love working up collections. We just finished one that’s all inspired by my new home state: Wyoming.”
About her design process, Abbey shares with us, “I would like to say I execute my designs exactly as they are planned… but that’s not true. I have a plan, I choose the yarn and hook but sometimes I just have to ‘go with it’. I may need a different yarn/hook combo to achieve the drape I need, or the yarn might be all wrong. There’s a lot of experimenting. It’s also important to me that my designs for beginners are truly simple to work up but still look elegant.”
Advice for New Crocheters:
“If videos haven’t done the trick, take a class,” Abbey recommends. “Just one class with an instructor sitting next to you giving you immediate feedback will seriously give you the confidence you need to keep growing in your skills on your own. I always say to my students, ‘Just keep swimming.’ Meaning: keep working, you’re doing great!”
Advice for New Designers:
“Don’t give up and don’t stress out!” Abbey advises. “Start small and keep working at it. Make goals that you can achieve, then once you achieve them, make bigger goals.”
Next Big Trend in Crochet
Abbey believes that crocheting doesn’t have to look old-fashioned. She says, “[Crochet] can accomplish what knitting has accomplished in fashion. Pick great yarn and work up a fashion-forward design!”
Some of Abbey’s Favorites:
Favorite Hooks: Addi
Favorite Yarn: “Malabrigo Arroyo, hands down.”
Favorite Thing to Crochet: “Right now: big, dramatic cowls.”
Visit Abbey’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Abbey’s blog post today! She will be giving away one free pattern PDF for one week (March 18 – 25).
Find Abbey Online:
Ravelry Designer Page: ravelry.com/designers/the-firefly-hook
Ravelry Profile: ravelry.com/people/thefireflyhook (must be logged in to view profile)