Friday, March 20, 2015

Behind the Design | 3 Boys & A Ball of Yarn

Designer Spotlight Series

Designer: Kate Wagstaff, crochet artist, Crafting Friends

When I had the idea to create "Behind the Design," designer spotlight series, I knew I wanted to use it to introduce you to some of my favorite artists. What I didn't realize was just how starstruck (and subsequently inspired) I would be. 

I mean...these are designers I would consider the equivalent of a "celebrity crush." I have followed their rise in the crochet community...waited with baited breath for their new pattern releases...and sat in awe of their talent as I studied their techniques and designs. 

Planning this new series of interviews and getting to know the amazing human beings "behind the design" has become one of my absolute favorite things.

So, grab yourself a warm cup of coffee, tea or (depending on what time of day it is) a relaxing glass of wine. Sit down, kick off your shoes and get comfy. 

First up, I'd like to introduce you to the delightful Kate Wagstaff from Crafting Friends

Kate is known for her beautiful afghans and precious infant clothes, but she also has a big selection of children's and teen/adult clothing patterns. Here are a few of my favorites! 

The Primrose Capelet pattern a fantastic and versatile crochet pattern. It is reversible and has 2 very different looks. Both are beautiful. With instructions for 8 different sizes, you will be able to make this cape for many family and friends. 

Mountain Lace Infinity Scarf. Are you wanting a long scarf that you can wrap around? Or a short and wide cowl? This is the perfect pattern for either. Worked in continuous rounds, you can make this as long or short, thin or wide as you prefer. There really is not a need to check a gauge on this pattern as it is worked to your desired length and width.

Diamond Burst Chevron Afghan. Get ready for Spring and brighten your day with this light weight afghan design!  The Diamond Burst Chevron Afghan crochet pattern is a wonderfully textured yet lacy blanket to add to any room.  With instructions to allowing you to make a small Photo Prop for your favorite photographer to use as a layering blanket or  infant / baby blankets for baby shower gifts clear up to throw size to use as an accessory in your guest bedroom or  large King size afghan to cover your bed, this is a great pattern to have.  This is easy to adjust to your preferred size and is quick to work up. 

Aren't Kate's design's beautiful! You can check out more of her patterns at her website, Crafting Friends Designs and her blog.  Now, let's chat with Kate for a bit...

Question 1) Signature Style - what sets your patterns apart

When I first started designing, it was for my girls and to prove to myself that I actually COULD crochet clothing.  There were not a lot of designers creating infant clothing at the time, so I felt that was a good place for me to share my talent and at the same time, make something that my girls could wear and enjoy.  

This past year, I have focused a lot on afghans.  They are sort of a passion for me and I absolutely don't want just the basic stitches used out of stitch books worked in a basic row. While I do have some simple afghan designs, I have been trying to push my design limits more by using some amazing textures and stitch patterns that are very unique and not already out there. 

Question 2) Favorite Yarn & hooks to use?  
A year ago, I would have told you that the F and G hooks were my go-to babies.  I used them for EVERYTHING. But more recently, I've been using H, I and J a LOT more than anything and that is where my comfort zone is at the moment.  For infant clothing, I use a lot of Caron Simply Soft and I Love This Cotton.  For Afghans, I have been using more Red Heart Soft and Red Heart With Love.  It really just depends on the project and the colors available.  

Question 3) Crochet tip or trick? 
My tip is to just be yourself.  When I learned how to crochet, the way I was shown felt really awkward and I just wasn't getting it.  I finally just picked up the hook how it felt best to me and off I went.  My grandma still laughs at me 30 yrs later that I crochet backwards  lol.  But it works! 

Question 4) Best biz tip for others?
Again, be yourself.  Don't try to copy what other designers are doing.  Be as unique as you can and enjoy what you do.  The crochet industry can be an amazing way to connect with others.

Question 5) What is most silly or fun about  you? 
The silliest thing that comes to mind at the moment is milk.  When I pour a glass of milk, I have to take a sip out of the cup and then fill it some more before I put the container back in the fridge.  I don't know why, but that's how it is! Haha

Question 6) Crochet hero/heroines? 
There are a few people that I really look up to in the crochet industry.  
-Kim Guzman is such a beautiful person inside and out and her talent is amazing.  She is so well known and yet she is so down to earth and personable and such a sweetheart.  We need more Kim's in this industry! 

-Another designer that I adore is Jen from Crochet by Jennifer.  I have come to know her well over the past year or 2 and it is just crazy how much we are alike in our personal lives.  She impresses me with her designs and the business she has built.  I love her style and she has pushed me to think outside the box on my designs also.

I think the list could go on for a while.  There are so many wonderful people I have come to know and consider my friends.  Each has their strengths and each has their weaknesses and it's great to be able to bounce ideas off of one another and have that support that you need when you're in a slump.

Question 7) What is inspiring you most? 
I don't turn to one thing for inspiration. Sometimes, it's a stitch that calls out to me and I just HAVE to make something with it.  Sometimes, a color of yarn speaks to me at the store and a picture of a design comes to mind and I just start working it.  It could be anything at any time and it's fun to see things come to life.

Question 8) Favorite non crochet craft/hobby - what do you do when you are not crocheting? 
Cooking or gardening.  I love to be out in the yarn planting flowers or veggies and mowing the lawn. It's such a rewarding feeling when you get to sit and relax and enjoy all the hard work you've put in.  My girls love to go pick peas and everything else in the veggie garden and I love watching them just enjoy the simple life like that.

Question 9) Tell us about your family. 
I have been married for 7 years now to a great guy and have 4 girls ages 19, 6, 5 and almost 2.  They are my life and I am thankful that I am able to stay home with them. 

Question 10) Would you show us a picture of your work space? 
This will be my work space for the next 6-7 months. The girls and I love being outside when the weather is nice! 

Question 11) May we see a picture of your yarn stash...or part of it? 
This is a picture of the yarn I have out right now and am playing with for about eight projects. Yes, I have a problem working on one project at a time!

Question 12 - Dare we ask for a sneak peak of an upcoming design?
This is going to be a really fun, unique pattern. I haven't seen anything else like it in concept or design. Any idea what it might be? Leave us your guess in the comments below.

Wow! Wasn't it fun getting to know Kate! We are ever so grateful for her time and willingness to share. You can find Crafting Friends at the following...

So tell us, what did you find most interesting about Kate? Which design is your favorite? What else do you wish you could ask her? Leave us your comments and feedback. We would love to hear what you think, including who you would like to read about next in the, "Behind the Design" Designer Spotlight series.

Until next time,
Love and best stitches,

1 comment:

  1. great interview! I love Kate's patterns. They are so unique and fun. I was looking at the picture with all the yarns and then suddenly realized there is a little girl in the picture. LOL. Congrats Kate for the great business you have created.