NatCroMo 2015, March 29: Donna Hulka

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National Crochet Month:

Welcome to Crochetville’s third annual Designer Blog Tour, taking place all throughout March 2015 in celebration of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo). Each day on our blog, you will find 1) in-depth profile posts for two crochet designers, with a link to their blogs so you can see what specials (free patterns, discount coupon codes, tutorials, etc.) they may be offering for NatCroMo, 2) a daily giveaway post with entries open from 8:00 AM CST to 8:00 AM CST the following day, and 3) during the last week of the month, daily posts from a Crochet Guild of America board member. Join us each day for a new surprise!

Today’s Posts: Amy Shelton, Crochetville | Donna Hulka, Crochetville Marcy Smith, CGOA Board of Directors | Daily Giveaway | Halos of Hope Hat Collection | Complete Designer Schedule

Donna Hulka, Crochetville

Today I’m writing about myself, yours truly, Donna Hulka, on Crochetville’s 2015 Designer Blog Tour in honor of National Crochet Month (NatCroMo). I’ve been a member of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) since 2004 and a professional member since 2010.

Photo of Donna Hulka
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Donna Hulka, Crochetville Co-Owner
Photo by Michael Sellick

This photo was taken at the Red Heart / Crochetville booth at the Knit and Crochet Show 2013. I’m wearing the Best in Hoodie Vest crocheted with Red Heart Boutique Changes (now discontinued) in colorways Jade and Amethyst. You can see more photos of it on my Ravelry project page for it.

My Designs:

If you’re not familiar with my work already, I’d like to share two of my designs with you.

Photo of Easy Beauty Chain Scarf
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Easy Beauty Chain Scarf, FREE crochet pattern available on Ravelry

 

Photo of Gentle Waves Coin Purse
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Gentle Waves Coin Purse, originally published in Crochet! Magazine, now available on e-Patterns Central for $1.99

 

About Me:

Crochet Beginnings

When I was eight years old, my now sister-in-law taught me to crochet. I remember a lot of early projects, like arm rest covers, a wallet, a poncho, and a pillow that ended up being a holder for yarn-label patterns. But I’m not sure which was my actual first. Not too long ago, my sister-in-law gave me some of my old projects she’d saved what a trip down memory lane! I plan on photographing them some time.

Becoming a Designer

Back in 2004, there was no online gathering place for crocheters, no online community. There weren’t any crochet bloggers. No Ravelry. No Etsy. No Craftsy. Facebook had just been started and was for college kids. As a matter of fact, Facebook, Crochetville, and Crochet me were all founded in February 2004.

I feel lucky to have been one of the people buzzing around online when all this was happening, that is, when crocheters started finding each other online. Knitters were already entrenched in knitting blogs, but not so for crocheters. With the advent of the first online crochet magazine, Crochet me, the brainchild of Kim Werker (now owned by Interweave), I realized, “Hey, I make up stuff all the time when I crochet. I could write it down. I could write patterns!”

My first patterns were published in Crochet me, and that’s how a book publisher found me online. He was looking for patterns for an upcoming book and I was so excited!

Design Inspiration

Even though I don’t design very often, I think I constantly collect ideas from my surroundings  whether it’s nature or tiles or art or the shape of everyday objects. I really enjoy brainstorming design ideas based on a theme (say, a dinner party, or quick gifts, or beachy summer accessories).

Greatest Crochet Accomplishment

I hope I have a lot more accomplishments ahead of me, but so far I’m really proud of building and growing Crochetville with Amy. Even though Crochetville is my adopted project, I was there to see it born, and took it on as my own not long afterwards. It wouldn’t have been possible without the people who’ve helped me along the way, especially Amy, who is my friend and business partner and a crazy go-getter.

By the way, Happy Birthday to Amy today!

 Other Crafts

I spent a lot of time doing small cross-stitch projects in the late 1980s. I taught myself to knit using onine videos but I don’t care for it much.

 

Advice for New Crocheters:

Learning anything new that requires physical and mental coordination takes effort and repetition. To do something fluidly, you need to develop your muscle memory for that task. It doesn’t happen overnight, nor after one class. Be patient with yourself. Give yourself time to get good at it.

One of my favorite stories about learning to crochet is from Franklin Habit. While traveling in Greece, he stumbled upon “the most exquisite pictoral laces” he’d ever seen. It was filet crochet. Once he realized it was crochet, he figured he’d master it in about a week. Here’s what really happened:

“After two hours, my total output was a slipknot, a kinky snarl of sweaty yarn, and thoroughly shattered nerves. When you are an experienced lace knitter who has been inclined to smirk at your hook-wielding comrades, it is extremely humbling to discover that you are unable to produce twenty reasonably even chain stitches without popping a blood vessel.” (Source: Filet of Soul: One Man’s Journey into Crochet by Franklin Habit, Interweave Crochet, Fall 2009.)

 Advice for New Designers:

Encourage yourself. Always be professional. Meet deadlines. Proofread. Measure. Keep good notes. Know your stuff  if you don’t, then do research until you do. Don’t take rejections to heart — but use them as constructive criticism.

Some of My Favorites:

Favorite Hooks: My #1 favorite hook is a handmade size K chophook by Jimbo! Other than that one hook, my favorite is Tulip Etimo. I learned on inline hooks (like Susan Bates) and later switched to tapered hooks (like Boye). I never thought I’d like hooks with a thick, soft grip, but after getting a size H Tulip Etimo as a goodie at a CGOA Dinner & Fashion show, I was hooked! (Pun intended.) After being a lifelong pencil hold (and a quite fast one at that), I switched to the knife hold (and Tulip Etimo) and never looked back.

Favorite Yarn: For garments: anything DK weight with great drape. For home decor: wire, jute twine, and other non-yarn.

Favorite Thing to Crochet: Stylish home decor.

 

Find Me Online:

Crochetville Profile: crochetville.com/community/user/1-donna

Ravelry Designer Page: ravelry.com/designers/donna-hulka

Ravelry Profile: ravelry.com/people/yarntomato  (must be logged in to view profile)

Website: crochetville.com

Blog: crochetville.com

Facebook: facebook.com/Crochetville

Facebook Group  A Daily Dose of Fiber: facebook.com/groups/Crochetville

Facebook Group 2016  National Crochet Month: facebook.com/groups/nationalcrochetmonth

Twitter: twitter.com/crochetville

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/crochetville/

 

Additional Blog Tour Information:

Credits: Icons via icons8.com and iconsmind.com.
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78 thoughts on “NatCroMo 2015, March 29: Donna Hulka”

  1. I might have to look into changing my pencil hold too. I try it but get back to pencil mode. I know it would be faster and better if I switch to knife. You have encouraged me that there is still a chance I can change. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Annette, I hope changing to the knife hold works out for you! I’d love to hear how it goes.

      I changed because I started to worry that my wrist moved so extremely with the pencil hold that I might get carpal tunnel. I also thought I might be able to crochet more quickly with less fatigue, especially since I’m not getting any younger! 🙂 I found that using a completely new type of hook made the switch almost easy. Without my old hooks, I seemed to be more able to focus on the new skill. Also, with thick, soft-grip hooks, I found it difficult to crochet using the pencil hold because that hold made the hooks seem bulky.

      Reply
  2. Another blog tour post that has given me the opportunity to get to know a designer I already love to follow. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Thanks for sharing your story. And a BIG Thank You to both you and Amy for the blog tour and all of the hard work y’all put into Crochetville to make it all work! 🙂

    Reply
  4. I love your chain scarf and the yarn you used to make it for this article. Looks easy enough that I may try to make it as well 🙂

    Reply
  5. Thanks for this great crocheting community. I have learned a lot, and I also don’t feel like a second-class citizen when I walk into a yarn shop anymore. I think crochet is becoming more accepted, even by other knitters!

    Reply
  6. Short but sweet profile. I am new to crochetville, but not crochet. It’s really great to get to know the staff on a more intimate level! I miss your three truths and a lie, Donna!

    Reply
    • Heather, thank you! I’m sorry about not having three truths and a lie! The blog tour got unexpectedly big on us this year and there’s been so much to do (between the blog, comments, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.), I couldn’t think of anything because I’m exhausted. 🙂

      Reply
  7. It was so great of your sister-in-law to keep your first projects! I moved about 1400 miles eight years ago, and don’t have any of the projects from my first year of crocheting. Aw, well – I still remember how difficult it was to make them!

    Reply
  8. Donna was eight years old when her now sister-in-law taught me to crochet. I like your Easy Beauty Chain Scarf. Looks like a great road trip scarf.

    Reply
  9. Since I live near Amy I feel I know her very well so it was very nice to learn more about you. I don’t always have a lot of time to check the blog.

    Reply

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