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National Crochet Month:
Maria Bittner, Pattern Paradise
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Maria Bittner with us today, March 19th, 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 Maria’s designs with you.
Three Truths and a Lie:
- I love to paint palm trees.
- I love to race cars.
- I’ve gone skydiving.
- I’ve walked through a volcano.
Maria has been crocheting for 45 years. She learned by watching her mother’s friend and then reading books to look at different stitches and techniques. Her first project was a doily. Maria says it was “very roughly made but I had a great sense of pride about it.” She adds, “I then moved on to afghans and scarves.”
Becoming a Designer
Maria tells us, “I’ve been designing since I started crocheting but just not calling it that. I never used patterns other than to look at the pictures for inspiration. Finally a couple of years ago people started asking me to write the patterns and that’s what I did! The business grew from there.”
Maria says, “I think my use of color and textured stitches and my experience with garment construction make my designs functional and pretty, with a nod to the classics. I love taking something that is old (like an A-line jumper) and making it new and fresh with today’s sensibilities in mind.” Maria designs a variety of items for the home as well as for adults and children, with a special affinity for baby items. She loves to challenge herself with different projects, and she particularly enjoys using textured stitches.
Maria’s design process is different from project to project. She says, “Sometimes I start with a finished project idea and then work backwards to find the right yarn and or stitch sequence; sometimes it starts with a color inspiration from nature, sometimes from a request by a family member or friend. Once I have the concept, I develop it in my head and then into yarn. I write the pattern as I work the design and then refine at the end. Once the pattern is ready for testing, I send it off to the testers and await their comments to see if I need further refinements.”
About her business, Maria says, “It gives me such a sense of accomplishment and pride to share my designs. I love that I inspire readers to take my designs and use their imagination to modify them for their own use.”
Maria’s inspiration for designs “really comes from everywhere,” she says. Her crochet designs are inspired by nature, magazines, fashion shows, watching people at the mall, and more. She shares, “The biggest problem I have is ‘turning it off’! My mind is so full of ideas and inspiration that I get frustrated there are not enough hours in a day to translate them all.”
Maria also knits and sews, and has embroidered in the past.
Advice for New Crocheters:
Maria recommends, “Master the basics! Really learn the terms, and how to form the basic stitches. Once you do that, add a little bit of patience and determination and you have the tools to tackle any pattern!”
Advice for New Designers:
“My advice is to love what you do,” says Maria. “Express your vision through your work. If designing patterns, start with a template that will help to keep you organized and not miss the important things, stick with standard crochet terms and abbreviations but express your own unique self through your patterns.”
Next Big Trend in Crochet
Maria thinks Tunisian crochet is underutilized and that it offers so many options to be explored. She says, “I love designers like Kim Guzman who help educate us in this art and write patterns for us to follow with excellent results.”
Some of Maria’s Favorites:
Favorite Books: “I love all the crochet stitch books that share different crochet stitch combinations to create beautiful textures.”
Favorite Hooks: “I love the Clover Amour line.”
Favorite Yarn: “I love sport and DK weight yarns, particularly in natural fibers. I think these yarns are fine enough to adapt to elegant wearables without being tedious like thread weights.”
Favorite Thing to Crochet: “My favorite thing to crochet is all things baby, but I have a soft spot for baby girl’s dresses and accessories.”
Favorite Designers: “I love the elegant designs of Mon Petit Violon and cuteness of Two Girls Patterns. I am in awe of Moogly and Oombawka Designs and all they do to educate the community via their blogs. And I love the unique style and look of designers like Charmed By Ewe.”
Visit Maria’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Maria’s blog post today! She is offering the following:
- A free tutorial for beaded purse handles
- 50% off a purse pattern (which you can use with the beaded handles!)
- An Ott lite giveaway
Find Maria Online:
Ravelry Designer Page: ravelry.com/designers/maria-bittner
Ravelry Profile: ravelry.com/people/PatternParadise (must be logged in to view profile)
The truth is that while Maria does love to paint palm trees and race cars and has indeed walked through a volcano, she has never gone skydiving.