Darleen Hopkins, Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Darleen Hopkins, who is a crochet designer taking part in the Indie Design Gift A-Long.

Hello! Thank you so much for this opportunity.  I’m a crochet designer who designs a little bit of everything.  I believe life should be filled with laughter and love and my designs reflect that.  I’ve been married for going on 23 years now and have two boys/young men.  We live in beautiful north Georgia, US and can often be found hiking in the gorgeous nature that surrounds us.  We have been fortunate to have completed three cross-country road trips and have traveled, with the boys, to 49 states!  I’m not sure if I have actually crocheted in all those states, but it’s pretty close.   Now that the boys are growing up, my husband and I talk about traveling the US in an RV.  If we ever get one I’ll be sure to get one with plenty of room for yarn.    

Black Raspberry Shawl, Shawlette, Scarf by Darleen Hopkins
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Black Raspberry Shawl, Shawlette, Scarf
by Darleen Hopkins

How did you get into knitting/crochet and who taught you?

I initially learned to crochet when I was a child.  My sister taught me what she learned from lessons she took at the local library. I never did much then but retaught myself in 2005 using a booklet/hook kit.  It came back pretty quick.  In 2008 I taught myself to knit using online videos.  My dad had mentioned he tried to learn to knit in the 50s because he wanted a pair of knit argyle socks but wasn’t successful.  So I learned and made him a pair for his 80th birthday.  He just turned 90 and still wears them.  I haven’t knitted since as I have been too busy with crochet.

 Cute as a Button Baby Blanket © Darleen Hopkins
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Cute as a Button Baby Blanket © Darleen Hopkins

What made you want to start designing?

Once I started crocheting I immediately began to experiment with patterns.  I’d want to see what would happen if I tried a different stitch or technique.  Then I started crocheting silly hats for a group that collected them for children going through chemo treatments.  They were hats that I made up making whatever came to mind.  I received a lot of complements on those hats and realized others may want to make them as well.  So I wrote out the patterns.  Then a friend of mine was getting married and I designed a throw blanket as a wedding gift.  On a whim I submitted the design to a crochet magazine and it was accepted for publication.  There was no stopping me at that point and I’ve been designing and writing patterns ever since.

I crochet when I can and love the creative outlet design offers me. 

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zinnia-votive
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Zinnia Votive by Darleen Hopkins

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

I LOVE to design crochet patterns that are easy so that others may enjoy the craft as much as I do. It makes me so happy when crocheters send me or post online photos of projects made from my patterns.  Seeing completed projects made from my patterns is the best part of designing.   

What inspires you?

My family. When I look back at my design profile I see my family.  There are hats I designed for my boys to wear to silly hat day at school, hats designed specifically for my husband because he didn’t want anything tight on his head, blanket designs my mother suggested, designs I asked my kids to help with the math calculations, designs inspired by the extracurricular activities my kids participated in at school, family members as models, etc. I could go on and on.  I design for my family and my portfolio is a reflection of that.  
 
Christmas Elf Baby Bib by Darleen Hopkins
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Christmas Elf Baby Bib
by Darleen Hopkins

Are you a full-time or part-time designer and how does that fit into your life?

Part-time.  Family is always priority.  And then there’s my job and my husband’s business and my contributions to that, and the household chores and obligations….I crochet and design when I can fit it in.  

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

While I love designing all sorts of items, I really love designing baby blankets.  Who doesn’t love making things for babies?  We received some amazing handmade baby blankets as gifts when our boys were born so maybe that is why I love to design them so much.  And there’s so many options.  They can be simple or complex, sweet or silly, gender specific or gender neutral.  Lots of options.
 
Patchwork Baby Kitty Throw Blanket by Darleen Hopkins
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Patchwork Baby Kitty Throw Blanket by Darleen Hopkins

Do you have much time to make things for yourself or for gifting?

Very little.  It is just a few days before Christmas and I still have to make the very small stocking stuffers I plan to make for my boys!

If someone knitted or crocheted a gift item for you, what would you love the most?

A potholder!  I LOVE potholders!  And the sillier they are, the better.  Potholders are used everyday, they can be made with scraps, and you can never have too many.  I participated in a couple potholder swaps before and really enjoyed seeing what everyone came up with.   I hope to get back to the group in 2020. 
 
Owl Always Love You Amigurumi by Darleen Hopkins
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Owl Always Love You Amigurumi by Darleen Hopkins

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

In general, I love cotton and cotton blends.  Probably my favorite yarn is one that is, unfortunately, no longer available.  It was an organic, colorgrown cotton.  The yarn came in a variety of tans and greens, all of which were the natural color of the cotton.  I never knew cotton grew in colors other than white.  When I first started crocheting I made a huge log cabin style throw blanket, all in hdc, in this yarn. It took forever but is super soft and great to snuggle under.

What’s your favourite of your own designs and what do you love about it?

There are many designs that have stories behind them on how the came to be but I believe my favorite is the Patchwork Baby Kitty Blanket.  My youngest son suggested the design and was a significant helper in the design process.  I wrote a blog post about it. (link:  https://crochetbydarleenhopkins.com/2016/03/20/the-story-behind-the-baby-kitty-patchwork-throw-blanket-crochet-pattern/)
 
Peppermint Pals Hot Pad Set by Darleen Hopkins
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Peppermint Pals Hot Pad Set by Darleen Hopkins

 

Is there anything new you can tell us about or a recent design you’d like to chat about?

I wasn’t able to do much designing in 2019 but I did manage to publish a pattern that had been “in the queue” for some time. The Cute as a Button Baby Blanket (see above).  Aren’t all babies cute as a button?  And I’m working on a design for dog lovers.  It’ll be a blanket but that is all I can reveal at this time.  I hope to publish it in early 2020.  (link:  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cute-as-a-button-baby-blanket)

What’s your favourite colour?

I love blues and anything that goes with blues-greens, purples and berry colors.

Have you been a participating designer in the Indie Gift Along before and what do you love most about it?

I’ve participated in the Indie Gift Along every year since the beginning. I’d love to be more involved as time allows.  I love the camaraderie among the designers and the interaction with the participants.  The Indie Gift Along is great and I look forward to it every year.
 
Blue Rivers Hat by Darleen Hopkins
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Blue Rivers Hat by Darleen Hopkins

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

In general I’m really inspired by the first time participates-the ones who worked hard publishing patterns so they would have the minimum number of patterns available in order to participate.  It’s a great motivator as the event can be a lot of fun for all involved.  Another great thing about the Indie Gift Along is learning about other designers.  I’ve discovered some amazing, talented people every year.  One designer that really stood out to me this year is Irina Mulyavko.  Her amigurumi work is about the cutest I’ve ever seen. (link:https://www.ravelry.com/designers/irina-mulyavko)

How do people get in touch with you or see more of your work?

 

 

Christmas Tea Cozies 3 sizes, 4 characters, ebook

 

Aline Modular Cardigan ladies knitting pattern is released

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