Today, I am tickled to bring you more fantastic baby crochet designs by my good friend, Linda Permann, in her newest book, Little Crochet. Linda is the same designer of the brilliant book, Crochet Adorned, and the hundreds of designs in Crochet Today and more magazines. Linda is a crafter of many talents and you can see it transposed in her crochet work. Her use of color and whimsy is perfect in all her work too.
This book is filled with Linda’s genius. She is a full-time teacher as well as a designer and it shows. Every
pattern has stitch diagrams and tips throughout to help you stay on track. It is quite brilliant, oh wait, did I say that already? Can you tell I love her?
But seriously, if you like how I write books I really think you will like this one too. Because really, can we ever have too many great crochet patterns? Nope, never. I am quite in love with the owl pillow in the book, and if I ever get a free minute it will definitely be on my hook.
I got to sit down with Linda and pick her brain a bit about the book and crochet. Here’s our chat:
RC: You know I adore crocheting for babies and do not need any reason to crochet like mad. But how about you? How did you come up with the concept for Little Crochet?
LP: I just thought it was high time for an updated book of baby designs. I work in my LYS and so many people come to the craft because they or someone they know are expecting a new baby. I think it's an exciting time and I wanted people to have more patterns to choose from (of course, your book didn't exist when I pitched mine!). I was similarly inspired by the birth of my nephew. I spent a lot of time with him in his first year and I love to make things for him—they're small, quick, and a great way to use up stash.
RC: What tips do you have for picking out yarns that are good for babies and kids?
LP: The main thing is to consider the parents and whether they will have time to hand wash, and then of course, to look for durable yarns. Acrylic and cotton blends will stand up to a lot of things, superwash wools are great too. I also love to use sock yarn for babies—I think the thinner yarns are so flattering on small bodies.
RC: Do you have any advice for what to make for a baby shower when you are unsure of the baby's gender?
LP: There are several sweater projects in the book that can go both ways, like the Boat Neck Sweater or the Striped Yoke Cardigan, especially if you do them in a gender neutral color. There are also some really cute toys—Stripe the Giraffe, Tegue's Jingle Ball and the Soft Owl Pillow, which will work for either. And if you're more utilitarian, moms can never have enough bibs and washcloths—there are patterns for those, too.
RC: Living in Texas, it can be amazingly hot. How do you stay motivated to design cold weather things when it is sweltering outside?
LP: You might notice that I don't do a lot of garment design! I try to think about lighter weight yarns and decorative pieces. It's funny, when I moved back to Texas [from Montana] I was worried about the fiber community, but it's so active here! There is so much to make, even if you're not making heavy sweaters—so I try to focus on accessories, décor, and lighter weight garments.
RC: Do you have any favorite projects for babies or kids living in warm weather climates like your own?
LP: The Tiny Tee Appliques are perfect for warmer climates, because you can sew them onto t-shirts, onesies or tanks. I also designed the Strawberry Patch Party Frock, which has a crocheted yoke and fabric bottom, with warm-weather kidlets in mind. Most of the sweaters are cardigans and vests—this makes it easy to layer in any climate. Believe it or not, the air conditioning can feel really cold here.
RC: What most inspired the projects for this book?
LP: Definitely my nephew, Tegue! –but also, my love of color, and my desire to challenge myself and my students. I thought it would be easy for me to break into garments on a small scale, and baby patterns are also great way to coax people out of the scarf/blanket comfort zone, because the projects are small and easy to rip out when you make a mistake. I do think about my teaching a lot when I write books, and try to think of the kinds of skills people will learn with each project. That probably makes me sound really boring, but, I just want people to keep advancing their skills and see what they can do with their pretty string.
RC: You have heard me say this before, but you know I adore your color combinations and fun style. Where do you find inspiration for all your crochet projects?
LP: Everywhere! I'm always reading blogs (on quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet, etc), looking at art, and fashion. I love bright colors, I live in a colorful city, and I get to go to work and pet pretty, colorful yarns at least once a week. I've never been afraid to use color (although I did have an all-black phase when I first started working), mostly I am just afraid that other people will think my colors are crazy. It's so nice to get such positive feedback on that.
RC: What made you get started as a crochet designer?
LP: Like a lot of people, I couldn't read patterns so I always winged my designs. When I got hired on at Soho Publishing, they told me they were starting a crochet magazine. Brett Bara asked me to do some designs for Crochet Today, and so I had to learn to read patterns—so that I could write them! I did that for a couple years, but then I wanted to get out of NYC. My friend suggested that I could write a book from anywhere—and that idea turned into Crochet Adorned. I just kept on crocheting after that, and have been trying to focus more—although I still have a big soft spot for sewing, as you'll see in some of the projects in the book.
RC: I know that you are super crafty, what is it about crochet that appeals to you?
LP: I like that all I need is a hook and string. I don't have to clear off a table or pre-cut any pieces. And if I screw up, I can pull it out. I'd get so anxious sewing for work—afraid that if I screwed up one cut the fabric would be ruined—there's none of that fear with crochet. Plus, it's so much fun to see all of the different textures you can create with just a handful of stitches. And the yarn, oh the yarn, it has a hold on me. I went into an art supply store with my boyfriend recently—and the smell of the oil paint just didn't do it for me anymore. The yarn has taken over.
RC: We know you write thoughtful adorable books, teach to lucky students in Texas, and design tons of crafty projects for a number of magazines; but what is coming next in the world of Lindamade?
LP: One thing I'm really excited about is the new online courses I'm teaching with Sympoz.com. They won't be out for at least a few more weeks, but I just recently filmed them and they were so much fun. What's cool about these classes is that they are interactive but on the students' schedule—so students can ask me questions and I'll answer them. They also have crazy high definition cameras that let you get closer than you'd feel comfortable doing if you were looking over my shoulder. I can't wait to see how those go, I get a lot of emails from people who don't have anyone local to teach them, so I think they will be helpful. Other than that, I'm just plugging along, waiting for the next big thing.
I know I am totally excited to see her new workshops! I want to thank Linda for the book and inspiration for more fun crochet. I have one copy of the book to give away, (because I am keeping one copy just for me!). To enter leave a comment or send me an email about your favorite thing to crochet. I will pick a winner at random next Sunday (April 24) and announce it on Monday.