The first interview today is with fellow Canadian Julie of ACCROchet.com. In French, ACCRO means addict and Julie is a self-proclaimed crochet addict.
Who taught you to crochet/How did you learn to crochet?
I learned on my own, mostly, with the help of Heather, a friend of mine in the States. At the time, there was no Ravelry (GASP!), no Interweave Crochet. There was Crochet Me. And it was a quarterly (I think) online magazine. I remember waiting and waiting for it.
There were a few random sources of help on the web, and I managed to find books locally, and Heather coached me through email.
The rest was trial and error, like realizing you can’t just cut your yarn as close as possible to the stitch when you’re done.
Hah. Yes, that is a true story.
How did you get started designing?
I tell this story wrong when I’m asked, because I remember it differently from day to day.
I was invited to participate in a fiber festival a few years ago.
I now go every year, but that first year, on top of some of my crocheted items, I decided to bring the patterns for a hat, cowl, and fingerless mittens I’d written up. Super simple items for my crochet students.
Lo and behold, people asked me all weekend if I had more. They were excited to find designs in French. (I offer my patterns in French & English).
I had shared the booth with a knitting designer friend of mine, Stéphanie of À la maille suivante.
We vowed to design at least 1 pattern per month during the year before the next event! I haven’t stopped since.
What inspires your designs?
I apologize for the cheese, but literally everything. My entire online world is an endless feed of inspiration. I’m on Pinterest, Instagram, and I have a crazy collection of blogs in my RSS… ALL related to yarn, fiber, colour, design (knit and crochet).
Even in real life I can’t shop without accumulating mental (or cell phone) pictures of the items that I’d rather make than buy.
I’m pretty sure all of the gets into my head and colours what comes off the hook.
Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Hard to say. Sometimes a few designs are floating in my head and I go to The Stash to find something that would work with them.
Then I end up designing something completely different with the yarn I picked out.
I don’t know how to answer this!
What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I really like for my designs to be simple enough so that new crocheters don’t shy away from them, but also interesting enough so that those with more experience will want them on their hook.
What is your favourite type of item to design?
I seem to design a lot of cowls. I love to wear them, so I imagine that would explain that. I also design a lot of hats, and a good number of modern shawls.
The theme for that particular week was convertible cowls (that transform into a hat). I decided to go one step further and make the cowl not only convertible, but also reversible. I’m really proud of that design.
Do you have an aspirational crochet – a complicated/challenging design that you want to crochet “some day” when you feel ready?
I would love love love to design an intricate lace shawl, with lace weight yarn. I have options in The Stash, but I currently don’t think I have the concentration for it!
I’m thinking I might want to do it in Tunisian, too.
What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I’m releasing one, possibly 2 bag patterns at the end of the month & into January. One is a clutch, with beaded flowers. I can’t wait for it to be live! The other is a thought. I need to sit with it quickly and get it out there.
Your desert island yarn? (if you could only crochet with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
Anything by Julie Asselin. Her hand-dyed yarns are scrumptious, and she can do no wrong in terms of colour.
Which is your most under-appreciated design?
I’d say the Modern Hippie Blanket doesn’t get the love it deserves!
It’s a colour-block scheme but with no assembly. The colours are worked into each other as you go, not shapes to be assembled.
I really love it.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other crocheters?
Don’t think too hard about difficulty levels. With patience and the strength to frog your work when you spot a mistake, you can crochet anything.
Any crocheting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I want to release my patterns in collections of 2 or 3, rather than randomly. We’ll see how that goes; it’s usually hard for me to hold onto them once they’re ready to go.
If you could have dinner with one crochet designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Doris Chan. She was the very first designer I discovered, and she introduced me to her unique technique (no seaming!). She’s quirky, and involved with the crochet world. I can’t think of a reason why dinner with her wouldn’t be super interesting.
View all of Julie’s patterns here. All photos copyright ACCROchet except for Adstock shawl, which is copyright Karine Viau. All images used by permission.
You can find Julie on the following social media sites:
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