A Day in the Life of a Designer

Designer Linda Dean has 3 wonderful patterns in the October 2016 issue of Crochet World. Today we interview Linda to learn how she became a crochet designer and what a typical day looks like for her.

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CW: When did you learn to crochet?

Linda: I actually taught myself from a book when I was about 10 years old. I received a stack of books from a family friend and among them was a book, “Step-by-Step Crochet” by Golden Press printed in 1972. Since I had access to a crochet hook and some yarn I decided to give it a try, and spent that summer crocheting clothes for my Barbie doll and some scarves which I actually still have. I eventually convinced my mom that I could make an afghan, so I picked out a chevron-style pattern and some yarn and undertook my first large project. I had difficulty getting my edges straight at the beginning as I kept increasing the stitches, so it has a scalloped edging along the sides to hide the mistake. It is still a well-loved and favorite afghan at my parents’ home.

Astral Flowers Throw Design by Linda Dean Crochet World October 2016

Astral Flowers Throw
Design by Linda Dean
Crochet World
October 2016

CW: Do you do any other crafts?

Linda: I have, but nothing as consistent as crochet. Everything else comes and goes, such as photography, really basic quilting, repurposing things, charcoal drawing, spinning yarn, and stain glass. Since I have been restoring my 100 year old home over the last decade, I consider that a craft project in itself!

CW: How did you become a designer? What was the first design you sold?

Linda: I actually feel it was a luck of fate that I became a professional designer. I was  designing for years, but never really identified myself as such. My journey began as a “stick your neck out trip”. In 2007 my dad was running for local office and I would accompany him to campaign events as my mom was ill and waiting for a transplant. During one of these fundraising events I won a drop spindle lesson from a local woman, Jean Franklin, who encouraged me to join her local Fiber Guild. It was my first experience with a guild, and I was hooked, and greatly inspired. So when I learned of the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) I was eager to see what it had to offer. I jumped right in by completing the Masters of Advanced Stitches and Techniques Program, and in the summer of 2011 I was invited to attend the annual conference to be recognized at the banquet dinner for my accomplishments. With encouragement from my family and a few close friends I decided to go and see what it was all about.

I arrived in Minneapolis and took part in everything that I could. I took my first crochet class ever and I met many wonderful people. One evening while sitting in the hotel lobby, I got a jump start on my new career. I was playing with a stitch technique I was attempting to figure out, when the lady across from me asked what I was doing. After showing her what I was working on, she said that I should take it to the “Designer Meet & Greet”. I explained I had a class and then realized that the woman I was speaking to was my instructor for that class, Margaret Hubert. Margaret told me I was to leave her class early, and she made sure I did too! At the Meet & Greet I sold my very first design; Backed Broomstick Lace, to Carol Alexander, which was published in the spring 2012 issue of Crochet! magazine. The rest as they say is history.

Braided-Edge Cardigan Design by Linda Dean Crochet World October 2016

Braided-Edge Cardigan
Design by Linda Dean
Crochet World
October 2016

CW: What does a typical day look like for you?

Linda: I wish there was a “typical” day, but it is easier to explain a typical week!

Now that my two kids have returned back to school, junior high and elementary, there is a bit more structure with everyday essentially beginning after getting them out the door and off to school. I then go through emails and prioritize for the day. Anything that needs a fresh mind or some concentration gets completed in the morning, things like; pattern writing, reviewing or pattern grading (sizing). Then, other items are juggled around depending upon the time available, what deadlines are approaching, and what has to be done to keep my household running.

I spend time each week, writing blog posts (www.lindadeancrochet.com), swatching, sketching, teaching weekly at my local yarn store and sometimes across the country, putting together new workshops, social media outreach, development of my own pattern line, and duties with various volunteer commitments. I volunteer several hours a week for the Crochet Guild of America reviewing portfolios for the Master’s program, coordinating writing of a new Master’s Program, as well as serving on the Board of Directors. I also volunteer with my kid’s 4H club teaching sewing, and my local Fiber Arts Guild currently planning a yearlong calendar of workshops and programs.

CW: What is your favorite part of being a designer?

Linda: My favorite part of being a designer is probably learning something completely new. Just when I think that I have figured something out, I discover a new way to do it. I get to be creative, and not just with yarn and hook. I spend creative time building new relationships with companies and finding ways to expand my business, looking for new avenues to reach people and share my ideas. I enjoy the challenge of taking something that may have been done before and making it completely new. I guess the simplest way to put it is, my favorite part of being a designer is the adventure.

Wine Country Throw Design by Linda Dean Crochet World October 2016

Wine Country Throw
Design by Linda Dean
Crochet World
October 2016

CW: What do you dread or hate doing? Or do you love it all?

Linda: There is not anything that I really dislike, but that does not mean that I always want to do everything. Some days I may feel like swatching and other days it can feel like a chore. Fortunately by adjusting my work throughout the week I am usually able to get everything done and not hate doing any of it.

CW: What advice would you give to someone that wants to try their hand at designing for publications?

Linda: I think the best advice I can offer is to view yourself as a business. By that I mean remember to act professionally, communicate by asking questions when you need clarification, meet your deadlines, and take pride in your work. Put your best self forward, and then remember that not every design will make the cut for publication. It does not mean that it is a poor design, it just means that it was not the right design for this collection at this time. You need to find your niche, and not take the rejection personally.

CW: Thanks Linda for giving us a glimpse into the life of a crochet designer!

Want to crochet one of Linda’s designs featured here or see all the wonderful patterns in the October 2016 issue? Get a digital copy here or purchase the magazine at your favorite craft store or Wal-Mart.

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Get A Sneak Peak at October 2016!

The digital version of the October 2016 issue of Crochet World is ready and we thought we would give you a sneak peek of just a few of the great projects you’ll find in this issue.

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The cover features designer Kenneth Cormier’s  Mr. Turkey Wreath. This dapper guy is sure to welcome guests to your home in style!

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For more fall decorating, the Pumpkin Lantern by Joyce Geisler crocheted in size 10 thread is the perfect addition to any festive table.

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We think you’ll enjoy the unusual technique Rena V. Stevens used for her Fall Marigold Throw. The flower “motifs” are worked in a continuous strip separated by rows of green to create the leaves. The strips are then crocheted together to create this stunning throw.

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Our Designer Spotlight features a quick-to-make purse that is not only fun to crochet, but one you’ll enjoy using this fall too. The Chain Reaction Purse by NTmaglia is crocheted in worsted and chunky weight yarns, so you may find yourself crocheting more than one!

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And last but not least, who can resist our Patchwork Pony? Last in the patchwork animal series, his winning smile will warm your heart. Make one for your favorite little one.

There are 16 additional projects in this issue, so go grab your crochet hook and get stitching! Purchase the digital version here or pick up a copy at your favorite yarn shop, craft store or Wal-Mart on August 30.

Happy Crocheting!

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August 2016 Designer Spotlight: Scrolling Scallops Shawl

Here’s a final look at the August 2016 issue of Crochet World before I reveal the new October 2016 issue next week!

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Rena V. Stevens’ Scrolling Scallops Shawl was featured in the Designer Spotlight and was a favorite with our readers.

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Rena says, “I was born in the Netherlands (a long time ago), where I lived until I was nine years old. In those days, girls stayed in school on Wednesday afternoons to learn needlework, while the boys got to go out and play! I loved it, though, and “designed” tons of crocheted and knitted doll clothes as a child, and then went on to design my own sweaters as a teenager. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that it dawned on me that maybe I could sell my designs, and sold the very first project I submitted—a crocheted afghan. I’ve been selling my designs ever since. Shawls, scarves and afghans are my favorite projects to design and crochet, because they provide an almost limitless “canvas” for design and tend to be more timeless than trendy garments.”

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We asked Rena to share a few tips with us on crocheting her beautiful shawl. Rena says, “Worked in vertical strips, the intricate-looking “circles” are actually easily memorized curved rows worked back and forth in mile-a-minute fashion, adding length quickly as you go. The triangle shape of the shawl is achieved by simply making each succeeding strip shorter than the one before, starting from the center back and working out toward each end. The two halves of the triangle are worked exactly the same; the second half is flipped to be a mirror image of the first half before joining the two halves. For joining the strips in each half as you go, markers are the key to making the instructions easy to follow. I recommend the removable kind, such as the ones that close like safety pins. For a more casual shawl, try varying strip colors or use a kaleidoscope of colors in a scrappy style. I would not use variegated or print yarns, however; the scrolling details of the pattern would be lost in the busyness.”

If you would like to crochet Rena’s Scrolling Scallops Shawl, you can order a copy of the August 2016 issue of Crochet World here.

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A Fond Farewell

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It is with much excitement – and a bit of sadness – that I write this last post for the blog.  The crochet industry has been a huge part of my life for almost 30 years and has blessed me with opportunities beyond my wildest expectations.

I truly enjoyed my many years as a crochet designer, and feel so fortunate to have had many publishing successes. I am forever grateful to the yarn companies and publishers who helped make this designer’s dreams come true!

As an editor, it has been a joy and privilege for me to meet and work with many incredibly talented crochet artists. To see so many wonderfully creative, aspiring designers develop and grow into major contributors to the crochet industry has been an awe-inspiring experience. Showcasing their amazing talents in the diverse variety of projects we’ve shared with you in the pages of Crochet World and Crochet! magazines over the years has been a true pleasure for me and, I hope, has provided many, many hours of crochet enjoyment for you.

Now it will soon be time for me to take off my “editor” hat and replace it with my “Grandma” hat. I’m looking forward to spending many fun times with my young grandson, Tyler, as well as exploring other exciting adventures that come my way.

The new editor of Crochet World will be Jackie Daugherty, who has been our stellar managing editor for almost two years. Jackie has an extensive background in the crochet and yarn industries and her vast knowledge is an invaluable asset for Crochet World. I know under her leadership this premier magazine will retain its place as a leader in the crochet publishing world.

I wish you all the very best and a future filled with the joy of crochet!

With warm regards,

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The Granny: It’s More Than Just a Square, Part 6

Our final pattern in the granny motif series is the diamond. Now, while it’s true that some crochet patterns simply create a diamond design by joining squares “on point,” often a truer diamond shape is needed to create the desired effect in a design. This can be achieved by making two triangle motifs and joining them together to create a diamond, as does our pattern included here.

Depending on the arrangement of colors in your motif, you can create all kinds of interesting patterns, such as pillows or afghans, for example, when these granny diamonds are joined together in off-setting rows. Or, with a choice of fun, trendy yarns, you can join these diamond granny motifs end-to-end and make a cool, funky scarf. Add a sassy tassel to each end for extra pizzazz!

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Diamond Granny Motif

Materials: Medium (worsted) weight yarn: small amounts of various colors as desired, crochet hook size G/6/4mm or size needed for gauge, yarn needle

Gauge: Row 1 of triangle motif measures 1½ inches in length.

Make 2 small triangle motifs, as follows:

Row 1: With first color, ch 5, sk 4 chs, in last ch work (3 dc, ch 1, dc), fasten off.

Row 2: Attach next color in beg ch-4 sp, ch 4 (counts as dc and ch-1), 3 dc in same sp, ch 1, (3 dc, ch 1, dc) in next ch-1 sp, fasten off.

Row 3: Attach next color in beg ch-4 sp, ch 4, 3 dc in same sp, ch 1, 3 dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, (3 dc, ch 1, dc) in last ch-1 sp, fasten off.

Row 4: Attach next color in beg ch-4 sp, ch 4, 3 dc in same sp, ch 1, [3 dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1]  across to last ch-1 sp, (3 dc, ch 1, dc) in last ch-1 sp, fasten off.

Rep Row 4 for desired size.

Sew triangles together at center.

Optional: For a finished edge, work a simple single crochet border around the entire diamond, increasing the number of stitches equally at each corner as needed to keep corners flat.

We hope you enjoyed this series on different-shaped Granny motifs. We would love the see what you create with these not-so-square grannies!

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