Talking Crochet Updates
Views & How-tos
Chatting With Susan Lowman
Susan Lowman is a very talented teacher and designer. Her Dragon Ship is truly a piece of artwork! I have enjoyed watching her career blossom and am always impressed with her new interpretations of old, but new to me, techniques. If you love learning and enjoy fun and inspiring twists, Susan is a designer you will really want to follow!
Brenda: When did you learn to crochet?
Susan: My best friend, Cheryl, taught me to crochet in high school, back in the 1970s. She later became my sister-in-law when I married her brother! My mom taught me to knit when I was young, but I didn't enjoy it that much. When I learned to crochet, I took to it like a duck to water, and I enjoyed crocheting lots of projects, especially doilies!
Brenda: How did you become a designer, teacher and author?
Susan: I started designing crochet patterns in the early 1990s, when my children were little. It wasn't until the late '90s, after moving to Arizona and meeting two crochet designers in my little town (Nanette Seale and Lucille LaFlamme), that I sold my first crochet pattern to Annie's. Lucille encouraged me to attend a craft-designers conference in Phoenix in 2001, which I did. It was there that I learned about the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). I joined CGOA the next year and started selling my crochet designs to book and magazine publishers on a regular basis.
I started technical-editing crochet patterns in 2004 for Rita Weiss and Jean Leinhauser, and in 2006, for Crochet Today magazine. For anyone who may not know, technical editors find and fix errors or omissions in crochet patterns before the patterns are published.
In 2005, I took the plunge into teaching crochet when I taught my first local beginning crochet class. In 2009, I started teaching crochet classes at the CGOA conference. I'll be teaching five crochet classes at this year's CGOA conference in Chicago (Itasca, Ill., to be precise) in July. To learn more about the CGOA conference, check out the CGOA website.
Susan: Crocheting with thread should be done with a somewhat tight tension. That's pretty much the opposite of crocheting with yarn, in which you want your stitches to be looser, not tight, especially with crocheted garments that need to have drape. One of the most important things to remember when changing from using yarn to using crochet thread is to practice with the crochet thread for a while -- an hour or two should do -- so your tension can adjust to the smaller hook and thread. Once your tension has had time to adjust, then you're ready to start your thread crochet project. Also, you don't have to jump right into making size 10 or 20 crochet thread projects. You can use size 3 or 5 crochet thread at first, then switch to size 10 or 20 thread after your tension has tightened up.
Brenda: What are your favorite designs that you've had published?
Susan: Some of my favorite designs that I've self-published are my Stained Glass Snowflake Scarf, Mosaic Scarf and One-Skein Cowls -- Unforgettable Ripple Cowl, Unforgettable Checkerboard Cowl, Unforgettable Trefoil Cowl and Unforgettable Waves Cowl. These patterns are available on my website, www.TheCrochetArchitect.com, as well as in my Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy shops.
I've really enjoyed designing a lot of wiggly crochet projects too! Many of those were published by Annie's in Crochet World magazine. I also have some of my self-published wiggly crochet patterns on my website, www.TheCrochetArchitect.com, as well as in my Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy shops.
The most challenging design I've ever done is my Dragon Ship that was inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie. I had to find online photos of the ship as it was being built (before the movie had come out) to get as much detail as I could to put into my crochet version of the ship. That pattern was published by Annie's and is still available online.
Brenda: What inspires your designing the most?
Susan: My designing is inspired by many different things. Sometimes I'm inspired by a certain color of yarn. Other times I'm inspired by some shapes, especially geometric shapes. And I'm often inspired by learning a new crochet technique! I love designing different things and experimenting to see what I can come up with. And I love designing with pretty colors!
Brenda: What are your designing plans for the future?
Susan: Lots of crochet and knit patterns for babies! I'm a new grandma (since June 2016) of an adorable granddaughter! I'm having so much fun crocheting and knitting for her! And I'm designing lots of baby patterns, which are so much fun!
My mom passed away last year before my granddaughter was born. My mom started a crochet baby blanket for my granddaughter a month before she passed away. Soon after she died, I found the partially crocheted blanket at her house. I finished it for my granddaughter and gave it to my son and daughter-in-law. It was made from my mom's favorite baby blanket pattern, which was made in seven strips that had to be sewn together. There were 19 motifs in each strip, each made with a different color of yarn. That made for a whole lot of ends to weave in on that blanket!
Shortly after finishing that baby blanket, I decided to design a crochet baby blanket similar to the one my mom liked so much, but not worked in strips. My "Mom's Favorite Baby Blanket" pattern is worked in rows and has 1/7 as many ends to weave in! This pattern will be available to purchase very soon on my website and in my Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy stores, after my pattern testers are done crocheting it.
If you are lucky enough to attend this year's CGOA conference be sure to sign up for one of Susan's classes! She's a fantastic teacher and a lovely person -- it's an opportunity you won't want to miss!