Today’s interview is with crochet designer Beth Graham. Beth is another local designer and friend of mine. Her patterns have been featured in several crochet design books, as well as through her independently released designs.
How did you get started designing?
After I began teaching crochet at my local yarn shop, Shall We Knit?, owner Karen Crouch suggested that I make up my own patterns to go with the classes. Although I wasn’t sure I could do it, I decided to give it a go, and discovered that I really enjoyed the challenge of communicating clearly in this format. A Useful Pot to Keep Things In, is an example of an early design I wrote to support my teaching.
What inspires your designs?
I design mostly for myself – as well as for my imaginary student. I like to learn new things and I have a goofy sense of humor. In fact, I’ll often come up with a silly word or phrase first, as with my Wedgie Blanket, and then play with ideas that fit the name.
What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I like texture, geometry, and simplicity. Specifically, I like patterns that look harder than they are, and I’m drawn to tailored forms that appeal to knitters just discovering crochet.
What is your favourite type of item to design?
I really love quick, one-skein projects – primarily pieces using fingering-weight yarn, which I find can soften crochet’s structured look and feel. I also love using up leftovers from previous projects, so many of my designs incorporate small amounts of scrap yarn.
What’s your “comfort crochet?”
A better question would be, “What’s your ‘comfort crafting’?” And that would be socks. There’s nothing better than making and wearing handknit socks. In fact, I must have about 30 pairs in my sock drawer right now!
One of the best things about knitting so many socks? I end up with lots of leftovers for my long-term Bandwagon Blanket project.
Which is your most under-appreciated design?
The Jenny June Scarf, adapted from a thread crochet bedspread motif in a book from the 1880s located via www.antiquepatternlibrary.org, is perhaps my least-appreciated design to date.
What’s the best thing about knitting/crocheting?
For me, the best things about knitting and crochet have been the people I’ve met and the chance to learn new things.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other crafters?
New crafters should strive to be fearless learners. It’s really hard to learn new skills, and as adult learners we often fall into “all or nothing” thinking: If I can’t learn something immediately, that means that I’m no good at it and that I’ll never be good at it.
Learning is hard work, and it’s a process. Be gentle and patient with yourself, and remember that all the mistakes you make now will turn you into a better crafter down the road!
View all of Beth’s patterns here. All photos, unless otherwise noted, are copyright Beth Graham and used by permission.
What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!
The number of crochet designers participating in Gift-A-Long this year has grown. For a listing of all crochet designers, please click here.