It’s time for April’s Designer Showcase! Once a month I have one of my favorite designers share a bit about themselves, and then I follow it up by sharing my 5 favorite free patterns that they’ve designed! This month I’m excited to share some things from the remarkable Andee Graves - the blogger and designer behind Mamas2hands!
Even if you haven't been to Andee's blog, I bet you've seen her patterns! She's designed for a variety of books, magazines, yarn companies, and more! Here's what she has to say:
Thanks Tamara for inviting me to be on Moogly!
I’ve always been an artsy crafty person and have loved teaching others. So my whole journey with crochet design and teaching crochet has been connected to that.
I grew up in Kansas in a large family and making stuff was just part of everyday life. My mother is an amazing knitter and seamstress. She taught me to crochet a simple chain when I was around 6 years old. As a mom myself now, I suspect she taught me as an act of desperation to get a few quiet moments to herself.
My older brother and I would have races to see who could crochet the neatest longest chain the fastest (everything is a contest when you have a big brother). We would use up an entire skein of yarn, then pull it out and go again. At Christmas we used the chains to decorate the tree.
Fast forward many years later. I was living in Colorado, newly married and working as a medical massage therapist. My husband and I had gotten a puppy as our wedding gift to each other. The puppy was a black lab and we had dark brown carpet. Yup, one night I tripped over the invisible puppy and torn the ligaments in my ankle. I was told to stay off my feet for 3 weeks.
I was getting pretty fidgety after laying around for a couple of days with only television and books to entertain me. I sent my beloved to the local craft store to get me some yarn and a crochet hook and I re-taught myself to crochet. Soon I was “hooked” again and months after my ankle was mended I was stillcrocheting.
It was around this time that I finally learnt to read crochet patterns. For the first 30 years I crocheted I had never followed a pattern. I’m dyslexic, so I often found the text pattern instructions to be frustrating and confusing. My maternal grandmother taught me to “read” crochet fabric and that was the way I created most of my projects when I was younger. It wasn’t until I saw my first stitch diagram that I had that “ah ha!” moment with crochet patterns, since the diagrams are just like reading the fabric except a lot more portable.
It was a natural progression from reading patterns to designing patterns for myself, then venturing into designing for magazines and yarn companies. I have a great time creating patterns that have interesting shaping or other intriguing elements. Crochet designing and teaching have given me the opportunity to marry all my various interests (art, fashion, writing, teaching, and math) into one business, which I am so grateful for.
I’ve been teaching crochet and healthy crafting classes locally and nationally the past 3 years. I love getting other folks excited about creating using hook and string. My next big projects are creating a series of teaching patterns that introduce new techniques and stitches that are used in the design and launching my YouTube channel this summer.
If you would like to take a class with me, I’ll be teaching 2 crochet classes and a healthy crafting class at the Scotts Bluff Fiber Arts Fair in Mitchell, Nebraska this September. I’ll also have some classes available at my local yarn shop (Longmont Yarn Shoppe in Longmont, Colorado) in the Fall.
Andee's designs are always lovely and on point - browsing her Ravelry page is like a greatest hits list! And she's a lovely person too, one I am privileged to call a friend. And while many of her patterns are found in print, there are some fab freebies available online as well!
5 Free Crochet Patterns by Andee Graves!
Click on the names of the patterns you like to go to their pattern pages!
- Little Wing Shawlette, on Crochet Uncut: "A quick lacy shawlette that can be worn around the shoulders or snuggled up around the neck as a cozy warm layer with a coat."
- Shaded Triangles Magic Scarf, on Red Heart: "These crochet triangles show off the shading of the yarn to your advantage. No one will know how easy it was to create the beautiful shaded effect."
- Spiral in a Heart, on Mamas2Hands: A sweet bit of crochet to tuck into the pocket of someone you love - or make two for a sachet!
- Day of the Dead Earrings, on Red Heart: "Whether you're observing the Day of the Dead or Halloween, the skulls on these earrings add just the right touch. The findings for constructing the earrings are as close as your local craft store."
- Glittery Beaded Cuff, on Mamas2Hands: Glam it up with this fab accessory!