Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Designer FAQs - Hitting the Hot Crochet Topics

Meet the Designers:

Tamara Kelly is the owner/designer at Moogly. Tamara is a mommy first and designer second; in fact her blog originally started off as a mommy blog but after deciding that just wasn't for her she launched head first into the crazy world of designing crochet and knitting patterns! Below you'll find several of my favorite freebie crochet patterns by Moogly! 
  1. All Mine Crochet Slouch Hat
  2. Fairy Tale Poncho
  3. Paw Print Applique 

Katie Bekhazi is the talented designer behind Katie's Crochet Goodies. After teaching herself to crochet in 2010, this lady just couldn't stop! Her current dream is to publish her very own pattern book. Until she reaches that goal she will continue to blog, crochet, teach, coupon and craft it up!

1.  Football Hat Pattern                         
2.  How to Make Yarn Pom-Poms        

BreeAnna Laub is the woman behind String With Style. She considers herself to be rather entertaining to those around her as well as kind, sweet and an overall wonderful person to be with. She enjoys making people happy! A fan of the Disney hit movie Frozen, BreeAnna compares herself to the character Anna. Loving life is far from all this country mama does. She is also talented in crochet and my, what a talent she has! 
  1. Owl Dish Srubbie 
  2. Bobble Car Seat Blanket 
  3. Little Man Bow & Neck Tie Combo

Amanda Evanson runs MNE Crafts and has only been involved in the designing world, actively, for about 3 months. That short time frame hasn't stopped her from throwing out some unique, creative and fun patterns! Her first love and passion will always be her family but that doesn't mean crochet takes a back seat! You'll often find this designer working up something new for her children and using them to model her creations. 

2.  The Emy's Beanie            
3.  Eccentric Beanie              


Lorene Eppolite is the talented designer behind Cre8tion Crochet. She is constantly releasing new patterns, both paid and free, as well as sharing hot finds! She is a wife, a mother (with another on the way) and all around fun person to associate with. She shares some interesting things about herself on her website such as her favorite holiday (Halloween), the meaning behind her logos (lost loved ones), and her favorite animal (horses). Check out some of Lorene's free crochet patterns below! 
  1. Large Roses 
  2. "Zola" Stacked Shell Cowl
  3. Garbage Pail Cover

Sedruola Maruska runs Yarn Obsession! She is all about mixing yarn and style. Crochet is far from all this busy lady does. She is a work at home mom, a coach and an author! She holds a deep love for New York City which is where she grew up. Being raised in America never took her appreciation for this country away as she is also a first generation Haitian-American. Her father moved them constantly as he pursued his dreams in a country he made his own. (Talk about an inspiring story!)

1.  Fingerless Gloves     

Celina Lane runs Simply Collectible Crochet. Her talent is only surpassed by her incredibly giving heart. If you haven't checked out her From the Heart series, it is a must read! This woman is dedicated to giving as much love as she can and in the most gentle way possible. Her creations are as delightful and fun as she is!

  1. Striped Stash Buster Blanket
  2. Broomstitck Lace Baby Blanket
  3. Baby Bunny Amigurumi

Heidi Yates is the designer at Snappy Tots. She is incredibly giving running a Beanies for Bravery on her page (it ended on 4/15/14 but keep an eye out for next year!) which involves making and giving beanies to Soldiers. A note she has on her page from a soldier says: "I know from experience, that there is a lot of soldiers over here that are yet to receive a single package from anyone. I handed out 100 beanies and for some, that was the only Christmas present they got over here. So it really does mean the world to us over here - Nicolas Fowler" - I think that says it all about this wonderful woman. 
1.  Free Flower Pattern       
2.  Popsicle Pocket Bag      

Now that we've met the designers... let's get to the questions!!! (Not all questions are answered by every designer.) 

About me:

What got you into designing? What do you most enjoy about designing?

- I kind of just stumbled into designing. Originally, I was selling finished items and would reverse engineer items that people wanted. As time progressed I started using my own creativity to come up with items. A lady already in the designing community introduced me to other designers and from there I haven't stopped and this has become a full time job for me. It allows me to be as creative as I want and I love that. 

- I've always designed my own patterns, since I taught myself how to crochet without ever using patterns. I thought this was the norm. It wasn't until about two years ago that I realized the plethora of crochet patterns available and decided to start making mine available. 

- As soon as I started crocheting, I started making up my own patterns. of course, I didn't write them down - nor would I have known how to if I wanted to! But, after years of crocheting other people's patterns, and making up my own, I decided it would be fun to share the ones I'd come up with. Cue needing to make an income and realizing this would be an ideal way... et viola! What I most enjoy is the freedom to be creative on my own terms, and knowing that I can help support my family while doing so! 

- I started designing because customers would request an item that I wasn't familiar with and hadn't tried yet. I would get to experiment and I love that feeling: the pride I feel after creating something out of nothing. 

- I was working on a skirt for my 18 month old and realized it was way to big! I double checked my gauge and finally decided that the pattern must have been off and started adjusting the pattern so that it would fit her. In the process I decided I didn't like it as much as I thought and if I could adjust the size I could probably write something I liked better, so I did. I enjoy the freedom; I really love starting with a blank slate and making the yarn do exactly what I want it to so that it comes out the way I see it in my head. 

- I started designing because I wanted to take my creativity to another level. I wanted to create my own designs and start selling patterns. The thing I enjoy most about designing is that the sky is the limit. If I'm willing to figure out what I need to do to make a style work, I can design almost anything! 

- I actually started crocheting to keep me from going insane staying home with a toddler. Once I found out how much I enjoyed the math and problem solving of design, I was able to transfer my need for design and engineering to crochet.

- I first started designing knit patterns for my students. They liked items I was creating for sale and wanted to make them too. I made the change to crochet when my hands could no longer knit as much. I love designing all types of things. Growing up in a very creative home, we always were doing some kind of craft. It is fun bringing thoughts to life and seeing others enjoy them too.

What is something about designing that you wish you'd known when you first started out? 

- The rules! Blogging is a rather complicated system of morals, ethics and the law. What might be legal is not always ethical or moral. One one side of the fence I had people telling me that changing a stitch or two would make a pattern my own (nice to believe but completely false) and on the other side I was learning that even reverse engineering, while legal, isn't ethical. Once I had these "rules" down I was grateful though because it allowed me to know how to protect myself on the legal side as well as teach me the different ethics involved in crochet designing. 

- That you can make a living doing it... though it didn't take me too long to figure out. 

- To write things down as I made them, rather then trying to remember what I'd done afterwards. So many potential patterns lost! 

- I am just starting out with writing and sharing my patterns, so I am still learning on this topic. I do think it is important to do it right from the beginning so I am working on adding gauge and yarn amounts to my patterns. 

- I wish I had known the time I would be dedicating to it. Designing is fun and I make notes while I go but then you need to take pictures and edit them, get the patterns tested, then there is marketing and networking involved. It is a big process. 

- That I could do it on my timetable and my own terms. When I first started out I thought I had to be published in a magazine and be on their agenda, I don't. I select the times I can and want to be on their agenda, otherwise I'm on my own schedule.

- How to determine gauge properly. 

- I wish I'd realized how important it is to watermark every photo. Those are great business cards. I also wish I had started all of my pattern names with "snappy" to make them easier for people to find in files.

How do you find time to design and be a wife, mother, housekeeper and cook? 

- I don't actually have an answer for this. Up until a little over a month ago I was doing all of the above AND going to school full time. I finally decided to take a break from school so I could focus on the designing and see where I go with it and I've not regretted that decision at all! I have one degree under my belt and still have thoughts about returning to school but with a lighter load. For now, though, I'm just going to focus on my family, my designing and myself. 

- I find it to be very hard. I always feel like something is getting the short end of the stick, unfortunately it is usually my marriage and/or my house. Things are very disorganized most of the time. I have said that once I start earning a certain amount I will hire a cleaning service and a chef, lol. I've since reached that goal but am a control freak and really don't want anyone else in my house. Now if I can hire someone to do the grocery  shopping and laundry, I'd be happy. 

- I juggle, and don't do all of these jobs as well as I could because there is so much to do every day. But I do my best and hope that everyone appreciates my work in all areas. :) 

- I cook a lot in bulk. I make sure that I stay on top of the little things every day, dishes, vacuuming high traffic areas and keeping the kids on top of their toys. Then I clean a bathroom a day till they're all clean and then mop the kitchen and vacuum the rest of the house on Thursday and Friday. I have a schedule for laundry and I do a little every day. Most of my cleaning happens while kids are awake and they just follow me around and "help" and then I crochet during nap time and bedtime. 

- Now that I'm devoting more time to designing I find that late at night or early in the morning are the best times for me to focus on my designing. With all the other things going on in life, I get to distracted if too much is happening around me. Sometimes I find weekend time but its mostly late at night and in the morning!

- Is there time for those things? Kidding. I follow an extremely specific routine. Since we home school, we have to make sure things are done on time and we have family breaks which we consider days off.

Where do you get your inspiration? 

- I get inspiration from everything. I like to look at the "real" thing and do what I can to replicate it. like the lion design I just released. I had so many photos of real lions up it wasn't even funny. My final version isn't an exact replica but those photos helped a lot none the less. 

- EVERYWHERE! TV shows, regular fashion, nature. Everywhere I look I am inspired to make something. 

- Mostly from friends and family. They all know I crochet so they will give me challenges of themes, colors, and characters that they would like created. It is so much fun! 

- EVERYWHERE!!! It could be a runway model, a commercial, a certain type of yarn I spot in the store... everywhere! 

Everywhere! Fashion is fluid and that's what I love! I can see something sewn and say, hey, that would look amazing in crochet and determine how to get it done. Or something knit and say I can translate that to crochet. Designs are everywhere if you're willing to see and translate them.

- Most of my inspiration is from my personal history or things my family finds amusing.

- I have always been an observer. I love taking in nature and watching people. A lot of my colors come from flowers. Bright and cheery colors make me happy so that is what I use most. I also get a lot of suggestions from family and friends.


What is gauge and why does it need to be checked first? 

- Gauge is what you use to obtain the size you need. People don't crochet the same. We all have our own tension, a way to hold our hook, a favorite sized hook, etc. With gauge, we can figure out how to adjust our own personal ways of doing things so we get the right size consistently. I was once following a patter and forgot to match the hook size/check the gauge. What should have been a 3-6 month fit my three year old! 

- Gauge is measuring how many stitches are in a specific area. It is especially important for garments/wearables. Every designer/crocheter has a different tension. Just because I get a certain gauge with a specific yarn or hook doesn't mean that everyone will. It puts everyone on an even playing field so that your garment will end up the same size as the designer meant it to be. 

- Gauge is the tension with which you crochet. If you are making a clothing garment or an item that needs to be a particular size, you will want to check your gauge before you begin to make sure that your tension matches the designer's. This way, when you're finished, your item will match the measurements you were going for.

What general advice do you have regarding following the gauge of a pattern? 

- I think the best advice I have is that it is important to realize that you have to meet the designer's gauge, not the other way around. They created the design and you crochet different from them so in order for the item to come out correctly, you have to make sure your gauge matches theirs. 

- I prefer to do my gauge swatches in pattern, which means that I measure my stitch and row count per 4 or 6" square INSIDE my finished garment. Gauge swatches will not be affected the same way and usually lie. But, the biggest thing is to make sure you check it. Being off by even 1/8 of an inch will add quite a bit to a finished garment. You must actually MEET gauge, dead on, for it to be accurate. You can't just be close. 

- It seems like a big pain, but it's much worse to make a garment and find out too late it won't fit. Make the swatch bigger then the size you're measuring and don't be afraid to play with how you hold the hook as well as what size hook you're using. Remember too, if you can get stitch gauge but now row gauge, you can often add or subtract rows to make up for it - the stitch gauge is most important in most patterns. 

- Always test gauge before you start and then a little ways into the pattern. Sometimes you can be nervous about getting your tension just right or rushed because you are excited to start a pattern. Once you get started, your gauge may change so it is always a good idea to double check once you start - this way you avoid frogging later.

- About gauge: If you want my adult hat pattern to make a hat that fits an adult, you'd better adjust to my gauge. ;)

Ads/Free Patterns: 

Why are there ads on your website? 

- I have ads on my site to support my hobby and eventually, help support my family. In today's world it is expensive to stay home and it is expensive to work (especially if you have kids, which I do). Nothing in life is actually free but by having ads on my site, instead of those USING the patterns paying, advertisers pay. Designing is a full time job, and like any other job, being paid for the work you do is nice! 

- Advertising on my site is how I get compensated for the time and effort I put into designing my "free" patterns. Without them, I couldn't afford to do this to the capacity at which I do. It also costs me money out of pocket to keep my blog running efficiently. I pay hosting fees, domain name fees, etc. I work 40-60 hours a week on my blog and free patterns. I do it because I love it and I enjoy being home with my children but if I weren't able to make a living designing, made possible by the ads on my site, than I would have to work outside of the home and would not be able to provide patterns to anyone. 

- I provide free patterns and tutorials for my audience to enjoy and share and this service takes a lot of time away from my family, home and activities. This is a way for me to be compensated for all of the work I do in providing free resources to my awesome fans. 

- Ads pay me for my work. There are A LOT of man power hours that go into designing a crochet pattern. You not only have to make one yourself to get pictures and write the pattern from, but then you must type it all up, take photos, edit them, respond to questions and comments, market and advertise your new pattern, etc. When taken together, it can take days or weeks to have a single pattern ready for release and then you have all the work afterwards to get the pattern out there where others will see it. Without ads, not only    would I not be able to offer patterns for free, but it may not even be worth my time to design them. There are days that I sleep for 3-4 hours because I am still trying to spend time with my family. Blogging and designing is a job. Without ads, I don't have a paycheck and I would be looking at other ways to spend my time that would bring in money to support my family. 

- Until I'm making the millions I want to make, I need to feed my family somehow. Ads allow me to have free patterns and information by paying for the time I put into creating my content. Otherwise, I'd be spending a whole lot of time to get nothing in return and have to find employment elsewhere, which in turn would reduce the amount of time I want to spend doing what I love. 

Why are some patterns free and not other? 

- My patterns vary in price from free to 5+ dollars depending on what is in the pattern. If there is something unique about the pattern that can't be found easily, I will often charge for it. With my latest pattern, I listed it free for a limited time but don't plan on keeping it free as it has a unique technique that decreases the amount of sewing needing to be done at the end. If something is unique, it tends to be worth more. The same is true in crochet. 

- Some patterns require much more time than others. Typically, my free patterns are one or two sizes only. Any pattern that needs extensive designing, testing or sizing will usually be a paid pattern. I also design paid patterns for those who want to get crochet patterns without having to deal with advertising. My paid patterns do not contain any ads at all since I am being compensated for them. 

- For me, there are a lot of reasons. For example: the amount of time that it took me to get that pattern ready, number of sizes available and the level of difficulty. 

- Some patterns are easy to whip up and therefore I feel can be free. Other patterns are more involved and require more of my creative time so I feel I should be able to get paid for the effort and the expense I put into creating the pattern. Materials and time are all worth something as well as the value that is placed on a completed item, or, in this case, pattern because of its cost.

- Some patterns, I just feel I need to get out in the world and they don't involve much time away from my family. Other patterns may have complete photo tutorials and require that I send my husband and my son away from home while I work them and edit.

I keep hearing that if I take a pattern and alter it a little that it is now my pattern, is this true? 

- This is as false as saying the sky has green polka dots! A more specific example I once heard someone say was that if you change just 10% of the pattern, it is yours. Think about the following scenario for a second: I take the Twilight Series and alter all of the names, locations, colors and descriptions (this would be roughly 10-20% of the book, perhaps more) and then I started saying it was mine and giving it away or selling it. What do you think would happen to me? The answer? I'd have the pants sued off of me and rightly so! 

- This couldn't be farther from the truth! Any time you start off using someone else's pattern, even if you change a couple of things, it still remains their pattern. Here is an article I wrote about it: http://www.cre8tioncrochet.com/2013/08/pattern-design-ethics-using-my-moral-compass/

- No, this is NOT true! You need to make up your own pattern from scratch. If you need to copy a pattern and then change it, you are taking the work of someone else and claiming it as your own. That's like me taking a photo captured by a famous photographer and adding a couple changes/editing it and then claiming it as my own. Not only is this not true but it is illegal. 

- I don't feel so. I was told this same thing when I started designing. I didn't feel right about taking someone elses' pattern and "making it mine". The idea wasn't mine, the work wasn't mine, it was all someone elses'. I have always felt that if a pattern is to be yours, it needs to come from within you. I wouldn't take my friend's iPod and stick a rose sticker on the back and say "it's different now so that makes it mine". That being said, similarities in patterns happen. We are all inspired by the world around us and sometims ideas are very cimilar. Just my opinion, and for me to sleep at night, I can't see how changing a couple stitches makes a pattern "yours".

- Please don't do that to my pattern.

Why do designers make such a big deal when other websites share their free patterns... they're free! 

- Designers make a big deal out of the illegal sharing of our patterns because it takes away our traffic. When a pattern is free and the designer uses ads to make their money, they rely heavily on traffic to their site.

- But we are getting paid, in the form of the advertising on our page. If someone goes to a different website to get a copy of our "free" patterns, then we are not making any revenue from the advertising. No one could actually afford to do this for free. Designing patterns is not easy. I try to make sure all of my patterns are accurate and easy to follow; it takes a lot of time and effort. There is also more involved than just writing a pattern down. We need to take and edit pictures, post the pattern, maintain our blog, social media, etc. There is a lot behind the scenes that goes unseen. If designers continue to be ripped off in this way, it won't be long before they just stop doing it. Pretty soon, the only opion will be paying them for their patterns directly as opposed to getting them for free and dealing with a few ads in exchange. 

- The patterns are free from that site only. If another site copies their pattern or shares it on their own sites it is taking views and fans away from the original creator. They may be free, but they are meant to be accessed only on that website. 

- Because if they were to share the link back to the pattern instead, then myself, the designer, would be making money off of the traffic that comes to my site. By them copy and pasting my design onto their page, the people that find it there are not going to spend time on my website or see any of the other designs that I have. 

- Well, that isn't entirely true. You see, when I place a free pattern on my site for you to use, I want you to return to my site, or a site that will link back to my site so that i can get traffic which will translate to better ads on my site. Now, if someone else takes my free pattern and places it on their site and that's where you find it, they are now getting paid for my work without having done the work. you will return to their site, even if they give me credit because, naturally, we do not want to hop all over the interent to find what we need. So, even though my pattern is free, it's still bringing me much needed revenue and awareness so when someone takes that away from my site, they are stealing my designs. 

How do you feel about the opinions "crochet should be free" or "people shouldn't make money off of crochet"? 

- I have a very personal reason for my opinion on this subject. Because of my physical limitations (brought about by breaking my back as a teenager) I cannot physically work a "regular" job. But, I can crochet and I can design and I can run a website. This means I CAN work and help my husband support our family without having to figure out the added costs of gas and child care. Rather then having to figure out how to get assistance because I can't work I can pay in tax dollars because I found a job I can do. 

- Honestly, I'm offended by it. I wrote an article on that too: http://www.cre8tioncrochet.com/doctors-should-work-free/
I put a countless amount of hours into my free pattern blog. If I didn't make a living from it, and believe me, it isn't a lot of money, then I would be doing something else. If designers didn't make crochet patterns than where would people get their patterns from? No one expects a crochet magazine to be free but many don't realize that the patterns in the magazines are designed by the same people who put out free and paid patterns on their own. They are paid directly by the magazine, who then turns around and sells the issue to you. 

- Crochet is something that takes a lot of time along with "trial and error" and those who put their time and effort into providing resources for others should not be looked down upon as something who has nothing better to do. They are helping those who need guidance. How is that any different then a teacher? :) 

- I worry that if too many people start to believe that, they may realize that they have chased away all of those willing to offer patterns for free (in exchange for ads on their site). All that would be left would be paid patterns on websites like Etsy and Ravelry. What a sad day that would be. Anyone that is going to be putting forth work into designing crochet patterns deserves to be paid for that work. 

- I think that no one gives away their talent for free all the time and the same is true of crochet. Why do you get paid for your job? Why does anyone get paid for their job? Because there should be a monetary value on our abilities, efforts and talents. To say that someone shouldn't get paid for their crochet is saying that you should ignore your talents, do it as you can and give it all for free and find a job. Sorry, I'm not going to fit into that very small box you've built around the idea of crochet. 

Most Asked Questions: 

- I am most asked about the magic circle/ring. I made a video so that I can just refer them there. 

- How to print my patterns & do I know of any pattern for... whatever it is they're looking for. 

- How I learned to crochet. Since I have mostly focused on providing my services in finished products I am expecting those questions to change now that I am focusing on designing and sharing free patterns. 

- How do you have time do to everything?! 

- The majority of emails I recieve are for help with other people's patterns. I am surprised at how many people feel they cannot contact the designer, or have tried without help. I have made it knonw that I will always try to help or find someone who can. I think customer service is the number one thing we need to focus on. People matter.

What is your favorite crochet term? 

- Hooker! It cracks me up every time. 

- Frogging. I say "rippit, rippit" the whole time I'm frogging. 

- WIP - work in progress - Because a hooker can never have to many WIPS. 

- Frogging! 

Frogging! - Fun to say... and do sometimes!

- Treble. It reminds me of the treble markers on Pitch Perfect and I start singing. 


  1. This is wonderful and thank you so much for including me! So many great comments and suggestions from some of my favorite designers.

  2. Great job Amanda! I love seeing all the answers and how similar we all think.

  3. This is amazing, you did a great job and I loved reading everyone's responses!

  4. how to get or even see the 'string with style' blog?? when I try it says her blog is 'by invite only' :((

    1. I believe that designer is no longer actively designing. I'm sorry.

  5. apparently 'string with style' does indeed have an active blog - if you click on her name above - you will see as I did that her blog is 'by invite only' - how does 1 get an invite??

    1. I'm not able to access her blog either. I believe this designer decided to take a break from designing and pursue other business opportunities. She didn't want to take down her blog in case she ever wanted to reopen it so she made it where no one could access it by making it invite only.