"Cuddly Crochet" by Stacey Trock in the mail and I must say that it really lives up to it's name! Cute is definately the "watch-word" here. Those who know me are quite aware of my weakness for babies in animal-ear hats and this book does not disappoint in that area. The cover photo is just a beginning of the cute things to come.
Not only is the book full of cute it's just plain "FULL"...full of designs! Twenty to be exact with something cute for all of the babies and young children on your list. Not only do I LOVE the animal ear hats but I was drawn to "Pete the Plush Pickup Truck on page 70 and the "On the Road Pickup Bib" on page 73. There has been talk on certain threads on Ravelry that there aren't enough cute designs for boys. Well here are two for the boys (and girls) that are sure to please!!
What I really love about this adorable book is the wide range of blanket designs. Stacey didn't merely just re-work the same rectangular blanket in different colors. Instead she has designed several different styles of blanket including;a hooded blanket , striped panel blanket, spiral circular blanket, rectangular blanket and one construted out of medallions, each with an adorably cute animal worked into the design. While blankets are a must-have for babies, these variations keep it interesting and fresh and encourage the reader to make more than one blanket.
The book is laid out in an easy to use format with concise, simple instructions. Throughout the book, Stacey gives little tips for construction based upon her years of experience in crochet. I love these practical ideas and suggestions. These would really be helpful for the novice crocheter as well as those who have been at it a while longer.
Then there are the adorably cute photos of the finished items, many of which are actually modeled by babies and children, so one can see how an item looks on the intended target recipient aged child. My only problem with this book is which project to try first. I'm leaning towards the truck but we'll see. I'll definately be posting it here and on Ravelry. Don't just take my word for the cuteness of this book, check it out for yourself. Stacey gave me an extra copy to give away to some lucky reader. Details to follow after the interview.
Now as promised Stacey Trock is visiting on the veranda today and I got to ask her some questions regarding her designs.
Q: How long have you known how to crochet? How long have you been a designer?
I’ve been crocheting since I was about 6 years old… my mom taught me! I’ve crocheted pretty regularly through life, but only became a designer in 2008. I started designing amigurumi, and haven’t stopped since!
Q: When did you first become interested in designing toys and baby items?
Toys were the first things I started to design. I love the look of crocheted amigurumi, but I noticed that most of the patterns were for tiny amigurumi… not something that a kid could really play with. So, I started designing larger animals, and baby items were a natural extension of that.
Q: In a nutshell, what are the basic steps you go through in designing an item?
Most of the time, the design just comes to me! When I’m lucky, I just sit down and start crocheting and jot down the pattern as I go. Other times (when my ideas don’t come to me so quickly), I sit down and browse cartoons online, to see what types of animals look good in a characterized format. From there, I do sketches, and convert those sketches into a pattern.
Q: What inspires you to create and/or design?
I have a couple of different inspirations. Sometimes, I go to the Natural History museum and look at the animals, or look at photos online. This is when I really need to sketch, because not all animals look great in stuffed animal format. Other times, I see a sewn stuffed animal and think it would look great as a crocheted pattern. And sometimes, I look at all of the animals that I’ve designed and think, ‘hmm… I really need an animal that ….’ For example, this winter, I really played around with new body shapes. So, lots of inspiration!
Q: What is your favorite thing about designing?
Flexible work hours! I’m a really home-y person, and I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have the time to run to the farmer’s market or bake bread. A 9-5 job just doesn’t suit me very well.
Aside from my love of sitting on my sofa, crocheting and drinking iced tea as job perks… I really enjoy the reactions I get from my customers. It makes me really happy to think that I’ve made something that others enjoy.
Q: Where do you carry out your design work? Do you have a designated studio area?
Oh, I wish! My boyfriend and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment, so there isn’t much ‘studio space’. Besides, I love watching tv while I crochet, so I usually work in the living room. If I’m typing up a pattern or designing, I sit at my desk in the living room in quiet. But, if I’m crocheting a sample, I sit on the sofa!
Q: How many hours a day do you spend on your craft?
Some times are busier than others. In a non-busy time, I’ll work from 10-7, minus a couple hours in the middle for errands. Then, I’ll usually crochet or knit at night for a couple hours, sometimes for work… sometimes for me When it’s busy (such as in the middle of doing book edits, or right before Christmas time), I’ll work from 9-7, little breaks, and work at night… no personal knitting allowed! Now, not all of this ‘work time’ is for FreshStitches amigurumi… I also do other designs and some test crocheting/knitting, as well as blogging, which takes up a fair amount of time!
Q: What kind of crochet hook do you use? What do you like about this brand?
I use a Susan Bates aluminum hook. I think it’s pretty fast (as opposed to bamboo, which can create drag on the yarn if it’s not polished enough) and I like the shape of the hook.
Q: Can we look forward to seeing some Stacey Trock knitting designs in the future? Additional crochet design books?
I have some knitting designs already: visit www.freshstitches.com/wordpress and click on ‘knitting patterns’ under ‘my patterns’ at the top. I love doing knitting designs, but I think it will be a while before I have a full line of regular knitting patterns. For now, I just do a knitting design or two when the ideas strike me.
I’m hoping to do another crochet pattern book… focusing on sustainable yarns. Fingers crossed!
Win your own copy of Stacey's book along with some other goodies, which I will detail in tomorrow's post. To enter, simply make a comment here mentioning the book. The contest will run for a couple of weeks and the winner will be chosen by a random number generator. So get to commenting! Y'all are going to LOVE this book.
For more information on Stacey Trock's designs;
Stacey's amigurumi patterns
Stacey's amigurumi videos
To view more Martingale titles
To purchase a copy of Stacey's book
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