Guess what? It's time for another Designer Spotlight! Hooray! This week's spotlight is all about Raechel of Crafty Mama Creations. Raechel is a talented and original designer who completely supports herself through crochet. Talk about amazing! She's quite prolific, so odds are good you may have seen at least one of her designs already. Either way, you definitely don't want to miss this interview; learn more about her, take a look at her lovely designs (some of which were literally dreamed up), and get some great advice.
How long have you been crocheting?
I have been crocheting on and off for 30 years. Mostly off from my teen years through about 4 years ago.
How did you learn to crochet?
My grandmother taught me to crochet so I’d sit quietly while she quilted and watched her Soaps.
What’s something you wish you had known when you’d first started crocheting?
I wish that my grandmother had taught me the terms, symbols, and charts of crocheting. She taught me the stitches but never how to read a pattern. I just played around with different stitch combinations until my project (usually Barbie Clothes) looked the way I wanted them too. But, I could never repeat those same outfits for my friends dolls because I didn’t know there was such as a thing as a pattern. When I picked up my hooks and yarn again I had to go to Google, YouTube, and Facebook to not only remember how to make the stitches but also so I knew how to recreate all of the amazing things I was seeing posted online.
What is your favorite thing about crocheting?
My favorite part of crocheting is fulfilling a custom design request from a kid. My son, my nieces, and my nephews have awesome imaginations and it is so much fun to bring their ideas to life. My pizza blanket design was created as a special birthday gift for my son who would eat pizza morning, noon, and night. My Paw Patrol inspired rescue pup series came from my nieces who love to play pretend. Many of my animal designs and the kids backpack designs were created at my nephews requests.
Is there a certain type of pattern you love to design the most? Why?
My favorite designs are the ones that no one else has created yet. My pizza blanket design was the first of its kind and although it’s been copied, mimicked by others, it has been an absolute labor of love for me. One size with pepperoni has turned into newborn through plus size adult with every topping imaginable. I have loved working with customers and my testers to meet everyone’s requests.
When you’re creating new designs, is there something that inspires you? What’s your muse?
Most of the time I dream up new designs. Literally. I keep a notebook next to my bed. I sketch out ideas, plan out possible colorways, write out notes on hook size and possible stitches. The rest of the time my muse is all of the kids around me.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of designing?
The most challenging aspect of designing is keeping everyone happy. I work very hard to create multiple sizes, make adaptations to the patterns, and whatever else is requested of me as quickly as possible. Time sometimes is not on my side as before patterns are released or new sizes are released because I put them through extensive testing first. For example, my backpack design took over 6 weeks before it was released because I wanted to make sure people were not going to waste their time on a pattern design that wouldn’t hold up well. The testers and I worked up the prototypes first as I created the pattern. Then we used different yarn brands to recreate them. We tested the finished backpacks themselves for durability in the wash, how much they could hold and still retain their shape, how much they wore with daily use. This meant switching up the design 5 times before I published the pattern.
I’m sure it’s impossible to pick just one, but is there one project that you’re particularly proud of?
My project I am the most proud of is my Sunflower Slouch. It was the first thing I created just for myself because I needed a cheer up after a beloved family member passed away. I went and bought all the yarn colors to go with my hair. That one design has lead to 13 more sunflower inspired designs and the upcoming publishing of my very first book “Sunflower Line Designs”.
What advice would you pass along to other crocheters?
Don’t give up. Rome wasn’t built overnight and you can’t be expected to learn every technique or stitch over night either. If you get stuck on something, don’t be afraid to ask for help either from the designer or from the crochet community. People who don’t know the time and love put into handmade things may never learn to appreciate them but don’t take it to heart. There are plenty of people out there who will love it. If you want to make crocheting your business… go for it! It takes A LOT of time, research, patience, and trial and error to become successful at it. There will be days you won’t think it is worth it or you’ll second guess yourself. Keep going. Ask questions in the FB groups. Ask for help from your favorite designers. We started off at the beginning the same as everyone else. But most of all you need to remember to have fun and enjoy it. Do not let your passion for creating become another meaningless job you have to do.
Thanks, Raechel, for sharing with us! I can't help but be impressed by her drive and dedication when I look at her work. And if that description of her pattern testing process doesn't impress you, then I don't know what will. If you want to see more of Raechel's work, you can find her on Facebook, Etsy, and Ravelry. Happy Hooking!
Thank you for stopping by to visit my own personal corner of the web! Feel free to take a look around and check out what I've been crafting, crocheting, or baking. Hopefully you'll find something to inspire your own creativity!