Friday, January 14, 2011

First place December challenge winner interviews

Over the coming week there will be interviews with all of the winners of the December challenges. Don’t forget to check back often to learn more about the crochet artists behind these wonderful creations.

To kick things off we have interviews with our first place winners, Julie Gazin of stitchesbyjulie4kids, Pamela Baker of MagdaleneKnits, and Melissa Shepard of honeybee69.

Julie and Pam tied for first in the Winter Wearable’s category and Julie also took first place in the New Year’s Gift category with her luxurious Barbie bed. Melissa Shepard was our first place winner in the decorations category.

Meet Julie Gazin

stitchesbyjulie4kids clip_image002

Where are you from?  I was born and raised in Wisconsin, one of 9 children.  The 2nd half of my life has been spent in Corpus Christi, TX.
Shop Name:  I have 3 shops,, and
Website:, Julies blog can also be found on her website
Twitter:  jmghope
Facebook Page: juliegazin
Favorite crochet hook? A G hook and a 00 hook
Favorite fiber to work with? Acrylic, cotton, and baby yarns
What was the inspiration for your winter wearable challenge item?  I wanted something lightweight that would be fashionable and still provide some warmth....going for a winter white theme.

clip_image004What was the inspiration for your New Year’s gift item? When I was a child, I received a Barbie doll from my God Mother with the one outfit she was wearing. My sweet God Mother sewed clothes for her and I didn't appreciate that as much as I should have. My best friend was an only daughter and she had all the store clothes, cars, houses and I longed for those things. Being in a large family, 1 of 9, that was never possible. When I saw this Barbie Bed in Annie's Attic patterns, I HAD TO HAVE IT! I finally got my fancy Barbie bed!
Do you look for any trends when deciding what to crochet, and do you have any favorite sources where you get your inspiration from?  I always try to follow trends.  I use magazines, catalogs and word of mouth from friends and neighbors.clip_image006
How long have you been crocheting and who taught you? I've been crocheting for 40 years!  My best friend my freshman yr. in high school taught me how to do a single crochet.  Then I saw lots of things at a home where I babysat, that the mother had crocheted & asked if she could show me more stitches.  She was a mother of 4 and said she just didn't have the time but gave me a magazine that showed lots of stitches with pictures and I taught myself the rest.  Reading patterns was the hardest...lots of tearing out, but that's how I learned.


How would you describe your own personal style and how is this reflected in your crochet designs?  I guess I would

say that my style is a tight, even stitch....and if it doesn't look right or I think I can make it better, I do.  I don't want to say 'perfection' but I do strive to do the very best I can.  I hope that that shows through. I am very particular and precise, so I do a lot of ripping out and redoing to get it right. Many times, I even change the pattern if I think my idea will work or look better.
Do you have a favorite handmade gift that you’ve either given or received?  So far, my best gift given is the recent top I made for my daughter, Maria.  I made an original item in green, with cotton, and had her try it on for size.  Then she told me the colors she would like and to change it up a bit on the top, which meant I had to come up with a new pattern for that part of the top....anyway, she got it and said she LOVED it & IT FIT!  Music to my ears. My daughter gave me a bag full of different yarns for Christmas…I think that was my favorite gift ever!

Meet Pamela Baker


Where are you from?  I grew up in Scarsdale NY – then moved to Hartsdale NY (1 mi away) when I got married – I am fortunate clip_image010enough to be only about 20 min outside NYC.

Shop Name:  I actually have two shops on Etsy – the one you are all familiar with: – which features my crocheted and knitted items; and – which feature OOAK Necklaces, bracelets, earrings of Swarovski Crystals, all created and designed by myself!

Blogs:  I actually have 2 blogs: – which features blogs of my everyday life. – a blog which features various topics from one of my other Teams’  “EtsyBloggers Team”.  I love our “Wordless Wednesday” features, which we post just a picture – “which says it all”!

"Authorized Contributor" for the Etsy Bloggers Team Blog – which each month I do a featured article on one of our Team’s shops.

Twitter:  I am signed onto Twitter but haven’t used it in so long that I don’t even remember my Twitter address!


Facebook Page:!/profile.php?id=1457676803

My YouTube Channel:

clip_image012Favorite crochet hook?   I always use “Susan Bates” hooks – I like the ones with the flat edge below the hook.

Favorite fiber to work with?   This is hard to answer because I made so many different items. I primarily use Bernat’s Babysoft Yarns for my baby items.  I love working with Cashmere and Chenille yarns.  They are so soft to work with and always seem to give the finished product such delicate and feminine look. My favorite yarns to work with are purchased from a shop here on Etsy:   - the minute I see one of their new yarns – I have already envisioned in my head what I wish to knit or crochet with it.

What was the inspiration for your challenge item?  This was a Cashmere yarn I purchased from clip_image014Weird and Twisted, and like I said – the minute I see a particular yarn  - I already know what I create.  Being it is such a soft and delicate yarn – I wanted to make something with an old fashioned look.

What type of crochet do you particularly enjoy?  For my scarf’s and neck warmers, I really do not know what the finished product will look like as I improvise as I go along.  I prefer to use old fashion stitches and then combine knitting and crocheting as I go along.  The children’s sweaters, shoes, etc., primarily call for simple stitches such as sc, hdc or dc.  I love making sweaters using fpdc – I love the effect of the finished product (which I am working on one right now!)

What does your shop name and logo symbolize?  I have long admired Mary Magdalene, also known as “The First Disciple”.  Her faith and strength of mind have always inspired me.  I think I have read every book written about her life and dedication to following Christ despite all odds for women at that time.I think you all have figured out by now that I love all things that are antique or Victorian – both shops have banners designed from Victorian pictures.  I think I was born 100 yrs too late!

clip_image016Do you have any goals for your crochet or Etsy shop that you would like to share with the team?  It is hard to have goals when you just enjoy what you are creating.  My goal is to continue to enjoy all that inspires me to create the various items in both my shops.

Has your style changed at all since you first started crochet designing?  When I started crocheting, I was about 14 yrs old – at that time the fashion was crocheted vests and berets, and granny square afghans, so I can definitely say that my style has completely changed as I learn new stitches and am able to make so many different items that many seem to enjoy.  I love when my daughter calls me up after I post something new only to suggest how cute that would be for Zachary, my little toddler grandson, or for herself!

Meet Melissa Shepard of

Where are you from?
Auburn, New York
Shop Name: Honeybee's Creations
Facebook Page:!/pages/Honeybees-Creations/82085483497
Favorite crochet hook? G hook
Favorite fiber to work with? Red Heart yarn

What was the inspiration for your challenge item? Seeing all the snow out in the cold and not wanting to be out there! So I made a snowman to build in the nice warn house.

clip_image022What was the first thing you made after learning to crochet? A blanket for my doll.

Do you do any other type of crafting or design? My second obsession is sewing! I have sewn many dresses for my girls. I have also cross stitched, scrapclip_image018booked, painted, and probably tried every other craft a time or two.

What, in your opinion is the best thing about crochet? How portable it is! I can bring a small project with me even to the doctors. I hate sitting and doing nothing.

What’s on your hook now? I have several projects going. A koala, a chemo cap, and some more amigurumi animals.


Check back in a couple days for interviews with our second and third place challenge winners.


The Strumpets Tentacle said...

Congratulations to the first place winners! Awesome interviews. I love learning about all of my team-mates.

Rebecca said...

Strumpets - you do the best interviews! I love your presentation and I agree... so much more fun to learn about teammates and what inspires them! Great blog write-up!

MagdaleneJewels said...

Thank you for all the hard work you did putting these interviews together.
It is always nice to learn that little something extra of our team mates.

Mamta said...

Congrats Pam, Julie and Melissa. Love, love, love the interview. Great guns Courtney! Keep it up.