Saturday, January 22, 2011

Final installment: December Winner Interviews

Meet Stephanie Thornton, second place winner in the Decorations category
Where are you from? England - Originally from almost right in the middle in the West Midlands, now living 2 miles from the coast in beautiful Cornwall in the South West tip.
Shop Name: My Etsy username is SixSkeins, but my shop is called loophole as it describes the knitting and crochet that I do - I wish I'd thought of loophole originally!
Website: Steph Thornton Crafts - is my personal website - now badly in need of redevelopment when I get around to it...
Blog: Six Skeins Under -
Twitter: - I just started dabbling in this recently - not really sure I'm getting it right yet!
Facebook Page:!/profile.php?id=1176484970 - again, not my strong point!
Favorite crochet hook? Any between size 2mm and 12mm, usually metal.

Favorite fiber to work with? Cotton for crochet but also merino with cashmere or silk blends.

What was the inspiration for your challenge item? Well I actually love taking the Christmas decorations down as the house feels much less cluttered and open. It's a time to have a good clean and bring some fresh items into the home, hence the riverbed mats. I love playing with colours and motifs in crochet, and I find it fascinating how the same colourway and shape looks completely different when reversed for the second mat.

clip_image004How did your interest in crochet first begin? My grandmother used to crochet all the time and my great-aunt knitted constantly. I learned to knit as a child but then wanted to learn crochet from my grandmother while I could. I eventually picked it up from her when I was in my early twenties; I found it awkward at first as it felt like the opposite of knitting! I'm glad I stuck with it as I find that knitting and crochet are usually better suited to different projects depending on the sturdiness or drape required.

Are there any books, movies, or CDs have been most inspiring to you? Not really any movies or CDs, but several books - I have a few of the Harmony stitch dictionary’s for both knitting and crochet, plus I love Nicky Epsteins's series of "On the Edge" books - fascinating!

How would you describe your own personal style and how is this reflected in your crochet designs? I'm not a big fan of vintage so I love to see crochet used in a contemporary way. Combining the huge variety of patterns with the amazing range of yarns we have nowadays is something I could spend every day doing! I love the crispness of the stitch definition you get when using cotton yarn, which I use for the hairbands, brooches, and coasters that I create. I have every single shade of Patons Cotton 4ply yarn that I can get hold of! I love to see new and original designs, and only sell items that I have designed and made myself.

clip_image006Do you have a favorite handmade gift that you’ve either given or received? Definitely - that would be my gorgeous crocheted garter handmade for me by a web friend many years ago and sent over from the USA to me here in England. I had no idea she was making it for me until I received it! I wore it on my wedding day and will always cherish it. There are pictures of it here:

What’s on your hook now? I've just finished my entry for the team's Valentine Challenge; I think next up will be some more of my Galaxy Brooches in spring colourways.

Meet Rebecca Goldsmith, 3rd place winner in the Winter Wearable’s category

Where are you from? Originally I am from Arizona. I moved to Virginia in 1994 when I joined the Air Force. I just recently moved to Honolulu Hawaii in November 2010 for a new job.
Shop Name: Desert Diamond Crochet but this I think is going to change just a touch for 2011. I am opening a second shop so I may just leave this shop name alone but we'll see. It will still be Desert Diamond just not sure Crochet, Shop, etc. Still playing with ideas! Will probably just leave it alone.
Website: I have one but I haven't played with it much. I want to eventually turn it into an e-commerce site but with all my customer orders, pretty much no time so my primary pages are my Etsy store, my Blog Page, and my Facebook Page
Twitter: I currently do not use Twitter. I have never even been to their website. Maybe something I should think about?
Facebook Page:

Favorite Crochet Hook: I would have to say my favorite hook is an "H" hook.

Favorite fiber to work with? This is a really tough question for me because outside of just the basic acrylic yarns... I have never really tried any other yarn types. Primarily this is because my customers would not pay the prices I would have to charge to use the more expensive yarns. This is all about to change though with the launch of my second store! Details coming soon but it is going to be an upscale boutique and I WILL start playing with some new yarns... so Playinhooky... Crochetgal... and anyone else that has really cool yarns.... Here I come ;-)

clip_image008What was the inspiration for your challenge item? I had a hard time coming up with something for this challenge. Christmas is so vast a holiday that just about anything can be made for it. I work VERY closely with Sandy Powers. She is one of my FAVORITE designers. She sends me LOTS of patterns to test for her and in December she sent me this one and I knew it would be a huge hit so I made one... immediately sold it on my Facebook Page and decided to use it for my challenge entry. It is super cute! Wish I would have gotten the pattern a month sooner but I am prepared for this adorable hat to be a huge hit next year!

What was the first thing you made after learning to crochet? I made a baby blanket as a baby shower gift for a co-worker. After that it was a stuffed animal.
Do you do any other type of crafting or design? I don't right now. I have a full time job so between that and playing with yarn in the evenings and on weekends I don't have much time for anything else. However, that being said... I am going to start learning Japanese with my sister and I am starting to dabble a bit in photography so I can take better product photos.

Do you have any advice for aspiring crochet designers? From a new crocheter perspective, don't let crochet frustrate you! There are so many different things you can do. If hats just aren't your thing, try baby blankets, or stuffed animals, or scarves... etc. Keep trying different things until you find that item that you just love to make and then run with it! For aspiring designers: write down everything you do with a design. Then ask for help if needed in putting the design in correct crochet terms. There are TONS of people here who can help you do that. Then... test it. Make sure your instructions are accurate and make sure you put a gauge in your pattern so others know how you came out with the measurements you did. Nothing worse than getting patternclip_image012s and no gauge is listed. Very frustrating!

What's your current obsession? Setting up my new boutique! I can't wait to launch it here in the next week or so. Very exciting and I hope that it will be a success. I am a bit nervous that it won't be but I think that is because I will be charging what items should be sold for and not what me as a consumer is willing to buy things for. One of the hardest things to do when setting up a shop is to NOT cater to yourself. Remember you are your own worst customer so as soon as you can separate that out I think the rest is cake. I have now crossed the bridge of needed to charge what I'm worth and not under charge and sell something for $50 that I spent 30 hours making. So... hence the launch of the boutique! Very excited! My average consumer friendly stuff will stay in this shop and the items that take 4 hours or more to make will be moved to the boutique and charged accordingly.


Meet Crochetgal, 3rd place winner in the Decorations category

Where are you from : Phoenix Arizona
Shop name:
Blog : - confessions of a yarnaholic
Favorite Crochet hook: Whatever works best for what I'm making. I enjoy using the hairpin technique, Broomstick, afghan hooks, double ended hooks and the standard crochet hooks.
imageFavorite fiber to work with: I don't really have a #1 favorite fiber, but the most unusual fiber I've ever worked with is yarn that was spun from sugar cane.

Inspiration for my challenge item: I wanted to try something different in stitch combinations so I started to experiment.

clip_image016How long have I been crocheting: I learned to crochet while in elementary school and am still going strong. My grandmother was my inspiration as I used to watch her work with very fine thread and make doilies. As a wedding gift she gave me a beautiful crocheted table cloth which I treasure to this day.

What is the best thing about crochet? Its versatility! If you put your mind to it, you can make just about anything with just about anything that can be drawn into a strand. I'm always learning.
I'm most proud of having some of my work be displayed in the Smithsonian Institute as part of the Coral Reef project.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Round 2 of December winner interviews

Meet Sheila Harden, from Kirkland, WA, 2nd place winner in the Winter Wearable's category

Shop name: "SheilaRHarden" (which was actually a mistake, but oh well)

Website: Etsy is my website, I do have a Facebook page, but don't do much there I think because of the different textures I work with my items are those which must be seen, felt, tried on.

Favorite fiber to work with: Don't have a favorite yarn - except I really DO like Prism "Stuff" wish it weren't so darned expensive.

What was the inspiration for your challenge item? There wasn't any particular inspiration for my item. A woman ordered in the touring scarf in Greens. I found "Amazing" yarn by Lion Brand and their green/brown combo just spoke to me. As a carry along I used Mary Maxim's mohair sparkle to add some, well, sparkle and then beaded along the entire outside. It's the additional details like that which add to my pieces.

Do you have any advice for aspiring crochet designers? Find your own niche and don't copy others. I'm still guilty of that when I see something which looks fun, but it never sells as well as those pieces which are truly "mine"

How do you promote your work? Etsy, and I have a local boutique displaying a few things.

Koi Pond, Blue, Orange, Cream, Lime Green Art Yarn Hat
Garden Party Flowered Cardigan, Junior size smallHow would you describe your own personal style and how is this reflected in your crochet designs? My own personal style is a little eclectic, fun, sparkly, beaded.... people say "it's so you!" so I must have something which stands out... and how could it NOT be reflected in what I create? I think the designs I've done so far this year with the flowers and beading are much more "me" than other things I've done in the past.

What is your favorite hand crafted item of all time? Of mine, it's either the touring scarf - which I'm really proud of, or a pink heirloom baby afghan I made a few years ago - it was sooo incredible - lacey, ruffly, satin ribbons....


Meet Viki Gogolak 2nd place winner in the Decorations category

Your name: Viki Gogolak

Where are you from? Hungary, Europe

Shop Name: CrocheTrend

Website (if you have one): (will be open soon)


Facebook Page:

Favorite crochet hook? Susan Bates Silvalume H8

Favorite fiber to work with? Cotton or wool blends.

What was the inspiration for your challenge item? Warmth of the holiday season.

How did your interest in crochet first begin? My mom used to have many knitting/crochet books and magazines, she made us pretty sweaters and hats. I don't know how it began, it just happened....

paulaWhich project or piece of work are you most proud of? A wedding dress made for an Etsy customer.
Baara Retro Hat Easy Crochet Pattern

Has your style changed at all since you first started crochet designing? No, I think it hasn't changed.

Please give a quick overview of your design process from the initial idea to the finished product. I search for ideas online (or in my dreams, it really happened) and keep my eyes open on the streets for hats!! Sometimes I like the shape of a hat or the color or just a little part of it. On the other day my husband and I were in the car on the roads of Budapest, I was on the phone with my sister, (who also loves to crochet) and I saw a lady with a cool purple knitted hat on. I quickly described it to my sister to make sure I wouldn’t forget it. I really liked the side of the hat, so I will grab my hook and try-rip-try-rip until I like it as much as the knitted purple hat....

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.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

December Challenge Winners!

Thank you to all the great entries for the December Challenge!  Here are the results for each category!  Great job everyone!

Category #1 - Winter Wearables

     1st place - tie

     2nd place

     3rd place

Category #2 - Decorations

     1st Place

     2nd Place

     3rd Place

Category #3 - New Year's Gifts

     1st Place

     2nd Place

     3rd Place

Saturday, January 1, 2011

December Challeng Entries for Voting

December Challenge Voting is now open!  Please note there are 3 categories this month!  Please vote for your favorite from each category!

CATEGORY #1 - Winter Wearables

CATEGORY #2 - Decorations

ATTENTION:  If you would like to vote for this item, please leave a comment as I cannot add this item to the poll without having everyone re-cast all their votes.

ATTENTION:  If you would like to vote for this item, please leave a comment as I cannot add this item to the poll without having everyone re-cast all their votes.

CATEGORY #3 - Gifts

#10 -