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Chatting With Kathy Lashley

Kathy Lashley has two wonderful classes now available on Annie's website. I know her lefties class is one that has been often requested. As for the other class, in my opinion you can never have too many shawls! I thought it would be fun to meet the talented woman behind the designs.

Brenda: Who taught you to crochet?

Kathy: Most people I've met are taught by someone in their family. I don't have the same story. When I was in junior high school, we had the opportunity to take enrichment classes. There were several classes from which to choose, but I decided to try crochet. Mrs. Johnston taught us the basics of creating a chain, then we moved along to learning the single crochet and double crochet stitches. Once we had mastered those stitches, she taught us how to crochet a granny square. It was really a lot of fun and mind-blowing to me at the age of 12 (and it still is today!) that I could take "string" and turn it into a blanket, hat or whatever I could dream up.

Brenda: I really wish more schools offered that. I know math would have been much easier for me if it had been offered. Please tell us how your designing career began.

Kathy: I published my first pattern in December 2012. It was a pair of boot cuffs, which were very popular at the time. It was around that same time that I started blogging on my ELK Studio Handcrafted Crochet Designs website. All my patterns can also be found on Ravelry.

Since I had been crocheting for so long, it always seemed normal to follow the patterns I found in books or leaflets. As I was crocheting one day, I decided that I would try to create something on my own using what I had learned over the years about patterns. It was so much fun to start designing using my own new ideas, and the creativity really started to spark.

It was a real honor when I was asked to film my first video class with Annie's, titled Learn to Crochet for Lefties along with a recent class called Easy Crocheted Shawls.

Designing crochet patterns has been an incredibly rewarding experience. It's amazing to be able to connect with some of the greatest people in the industry along with meeting people just like myself who have a true passion for crochet.

Brenda: What inspires you most when you're designing?

Kathy: There is nothing like getting a brand-new skein of yarn, grabbing my hook and sitting down in my favorite spot to start playing around with the yarn. You know what I'm talking about because you probably feel the same way when you start playing with yarn!

One of the items I've become known for designing is "guy beanies." Most of the inspiration in designing those beanies comes from my husband. When he puts the hats on and wears them all the time, I can't tell you how amazing it makes me feel inside. Emory likes to be in the woods, so it is important to me that I design something that keeps him warm. That's how I came up with beanies that are double-layered. Grabbing a nice merino wool yarn and coupling it with double-layered stitches gives me inspiration to keep designing beautiful beanies along with other designs that my family will adore.

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Brenda: Do you have any favorite fibers you like to work with?

Kathy: I can't really say that I have a favorite fiber of yarn. Certain yarns really do help me bring out the beauty of the design. I love using a nice, soft merino wool for a beanie. Even a lightweight merino makes a shawl that's warm and functional because the wool holds in the heat. You can also use cotton yarn to make some beautiful summer hats and with some great summer shawls. It's the perfect fiber to keep the chill off, yet it's lightweight enough so it won't be too hot to wear during the summer months.

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Brenda: What is your favorite season to design for?

Kathy: As a designer, my peak season starts around September and lasts until February. Itís always an exciting time to design patterns while everyone is getting ready to give their crochet projects as Christmas presents or just wanting to make something to keep their family warm.

I must admit that while I love the winter season, designing during the spring and summer months are equally as fun for me because it's a time where I can design summer hats and shawls for my fan base. The shawls are always a big hit because, even though it may be warm outside, the temperature inside a work environment or church can be chilly.

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I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Kathy! Don't forget to check out her Ravelry store and her online Annie's classes.

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