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National Crochet Month:
Kathy Lashley, ELK Studio
Crochetville is very proud to have designer Kathy Lashley with us today, March 25th, as one of the featured designers on our 2015 Designer Blog Tour in honor of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo). Kathy is a member of The Crochet Guild of America (CGOA).
If you’re not familiar with her work already, we’d like to share two of Kathy’s designs with you.
Three Truths and a Lie:
- Kathy graduated from Auburn University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management at the age of 43.
- Kathy has one grandchild.
- Kathy has seven grandchildren with another one on the way.
- The ELK in her business name stands for initials and not the animal that lives in the forest.
Learning to Crochet
Kathy has been crocheting for 33 years. She remembers, “I had an ‘enrichment’ class when I was in the 7th grade where Mrs. Johnston taught me how to crochet a granny square. I ran into her the other day and hadn’t seen her since I was 12. I told her about my crochet business and that she was the inspiration behind it all since she was the one who taught me. It was a wonderful reunion. She is still crocheting too.”
Kathy says, “My first real project to speak of was a baby blanket that I made at the age of 18. It was a simple V-Stitch blanket, using Red Heart in pink and white.”
Becoming a Designer
Kathy shares with us, “I had always loved to crochet but never had time to dedicate to it like I needed because I was raising children and working as a sonographer full-time. My children are now grown, and I’m only working part-time which leaves me a lot of time to crochet. I really started getting serious about the designing part in 2012. It was more fun than I had imagined to take a skein of yarn and sit down to create something of my very own. There was a lot of pride in that for me and when other people started noticing and wanted my creations….I was hooked (pun intended).”
Creating a Design
Kathy says, “I will go to my local yarn shop and see all the beautiful colors and types of yarn to choose from and just buy what I think is pretty and will fit my style of crochet. If I see a beautiful cotton yarn, I know that I’ll probably design a shawl or maybe a hat that would be great for chemo patients. A great wool hat would also be perfect to keep the hubby warm in the winter too!”
She continues, “Once I get home, I just start playing with the yarn trying out different stitches because some projects require great stitch definition, so I try to pay attention to the small details. I will write out my design as I go most of the time but there are times that I’ll finish the entire project and have to reverse engineer to write it out.”
Kathy says her heart and soul goes into every project. She aspires to create elegant pieces that are practical and easy to crochet. She says, “My tag line for ELK Studio is ‘Look Elegant, Feel Elegant,’ so that’s what I try to do every time I design something. I want a woman to crochet my shawls or summer beach hats and feel beautiful when she’s wearing it. I want her to have a sense of elegance and to just look in the mirror and smile.”
Kathy also designs functional hats for men. She says, “My husband loves to wear my crochet hats and he’s definitely what I would call a man’s man, so I try to use stitches and colors that fit him and all the other men out there too!”
Kathy loves using textured stitches in her hat designs, and she says, “I try hard to come up with something that is eye-catching to my fans yet easy once they sit down and try to actually crochet the project. On a few of my projects, I’ve been able to show 3 to 4 different looks by just changing the color scheme of one pattern!”
For design inspiration, Kathy looks to magazines, fashion shows, and just browsing accessories and clothing at the shopping mall. But sometimes she just sits down and starts crocheting an surprises herself at some of the pieces she creates.
Kathy also believes having a solid fan base is a big accomplishment. She says, “I recognize so many of the people that comment on my Facebook page or blog,” and that is important to her. She continues, “I love the interaction and wouldn’t be where I am without them!”
Advice for New Crocheters:
“Don’t give up,” Kathy encourages. “Learning how to hold your hook and the tension of your yarn that’s comfortable to you is key. The simple stitches will come but what will make you happy is when an entire row of double crochet stitches all look the same in size and shape.
Advice for New Designers:
Kathy recommends developing your brand by finding your own niche and sticking with it. She says, “I love adult accessories and that’s what makes me happy when I’m crocheting.” So that’s what she designs.
Kathy also advises that if you’ve never designed, study how patterns are written. She says, “Join a group of other up and coming pattern designers or maybe even form your own to have someone that can provide feedback and guidance.”
In addition, Kathy advises, “Realize that starting a crochet business isn’t just about crochet. You need to have some business savvy about yourself and learn how to work social media and how each type of social media can draw in different crowds. What are the successful businesses doing? You don’t have to necessarily mimic everything they do but they are successful for some reason right?”
Next Big Trend in Crochet
Kathy says staying on top of trends can be like forecasting the stock market; it can be hard to know at times. But she suggests, “I think elegance is finding it’s way back into crochet in clothing, wraps, shawls and scarves. Fun, cute and quick is certainly there. but I’m finding that even the larger more tedious projects are popular!”
Some of Kathy’s Favorites:
Favorite Books: “I have several but probably my favorite is The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs by Linda Schapper.”
Favorite Hooks: Clover Soft Touch
Favorite Yarn: “I have certain yarns for certain projects. I love using Red Heart Soft for my beanies, Sinfonia for my summer hats, Malabrigo merino wool for my winter shawls and Cascade Ultra Pima cotton for my summer shawls. I am trying out the Berroco Captiva yarn for a summer hat and loving the look so far!”
Favorite Thing to Crochet: “Definitely adult accessories but really love designing a triangular shawl. It doesn’t seem so monotonous and just looks beautiful when it’s finished.”
Favorite Designers: “I admire Kim Guzman with her expertise and knowledge in the crochet industry. I truly believe she makes a true difference and is willing to help even the beginner.”
“Tamara from Moogly is incredible and her work ethic is admirable.”
“Elena from Beatrice Ryan Designs has a wonderful passion for cancer patients and has done incredible work with her Amazing Grace line.”
“I work with Lorene from Cre8tion Crochet on a small project called Crochet Business Chat Live where we talk with anyone that’s interested in growing their hobby into a business. Lorene has great advice and isn’t afraid to give her honest opinion.”
Visit Kathy’s Blog: NatCroMo FREEBIE Sneak Peek
You will definitely want to visit Kathy’s blog post today!
- She will be offering a free beanie that she designed using Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton.
- She will also offer the Wrapped in Warmth Shawl at a 50% discount using a code.
Find Kathy Online:
Ravelry Designer Page: ravelry.com/designers/kathy-lashley
Ravelry Profile: ravelry.com/people/klashley (must be logged in to view profile)
The truth is that Kathy does not have just one grandchild, but seven with another one on the way.