Heddi Craft, Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Heddi Craft, tell us a little about yourself please Heddi.

Heddi is a knitwear designer in Santa Cruz, CA, where she lives with her husband and three teenagers.  She teaches knitting and crochet classes in the area and also enjoys weaving, spinning, and working with her reproduction hand-crank circular sock machine.  She has had patterns published in Knit Picks collections, in Knitty, Knotions, and I Like Knitting, and her self published patterns can be found on Ravelry, LoveCrafts, and PatternVine.

CSM Cookbook by Heddi Craft
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CSM Cookbook by Heddi Craft

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

I learned to crochet when I was six years old and was taught by my mom.  My first project was a scarf I made for my best friend at the time. It was longer than she was tall and was much wider on the end that I started with because I gradually lost stitches, but I was very proud of it!  I learned to knit the first time in college when I made an “ugly square” that was supposed to turn into a scarf. The person who taught me was a thrower (English style) and that’s how she taught me. When my kids were little, I came back to knitting due to peer pressure!  All the mamas were knitting for their babies and I wanted to join in! This time I learned to pick (continental style), which is much more like crochet, and picking up knitting was much easier that second time around!

What made you want to start designing?

After I started knitting, I discovered I really loved lace.  In 2014, I saw a class on Craftsy (now Bluprint) about lace shawl design and I purchased it.  It was amazing and I discovered I really enjoyed the process of designing. I love it all– I love swatching and finding out how yarns interact with pattern, I love the charting out of the design, I love testing the design in my sample, I even enjoy the writing up of the pattern and making it reproducible for other knitters.  Designing is a perfect combination of creativity and mathematical/logical thinking for me.

Heddi Craft's Beginner Shawl
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Heddi Craft’s Beginner Shawl

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

Swatching.  When you swatch, going between different pattern ideas and different yarns, it’s like doodling.  I keep notebooks full of swatches, because I sometimes go back to something that doesn’t work for one idea and use it for another project.  When I first started knitting, I didn’t really like swatching, but as a designer, I love it!

What inspires you?

I get my inspiration from a variety of sources.  Sometimes it’s a yarn that speaks to me, sometimes a stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary (I own a whole shelf full of them), sometimes it’s the shape of a garment I see when I’m standing in line somewhere, sometimes a particular color or texture in nature.  I keep a pad and pencil by my bed, and end up with little sketches scattered all over my night stand, because all those ideas seem to come together as I fall asleep or when I’m waking up.  

I’ve also been inspired to write some simple patterns for classes that I teach so that I can teach a specific skill through the pattern.  These often turn out to also be great gift patterns.

Tempo Cowl by Heddi Craft
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Tempo Cowl by Heddi Craft

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

I’m a part time designer.  Family is very important to me and I think to be a full time designer, I’d also need to do a lot of teaching and traveling to diversify my income enough to really make a go of it.  I just don’t want to spend that much time away from home and my kids. I’m a certified teacher so I also teach part time in a public school, which cuts into my designing time. 

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

I love designing lace shawls.  The shapes you can work with is infinite and I love the process of combining textures and creating new combinations.  I love how lace goes from looking like a crumpled hankie on the needles to being so elegant and graceful once it’s blocked.

River House Shawly by Heddi Craft
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River House Shawl by Heddi Craft

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

I take time to make things both for myself and for gifts.  I learn a lot by working with other designer’s patterns and seeing how they do various constructions and solve different design and pattern writing problems.  

 

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

A cardigan.  I’m really enjoying the open front cardigans I have made for myself and would love to have more.  They are such a versatile clothing item for our area where it can be cool in the morning, warm by afternoon, and back to chilly at night.

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I love Anzula yarns and Hazel Knits yarns for their colors and for their luxury feel, but I also really like working with Knit Picks yarns, which I think are great yarns for budget minded knitters who also want a lot of choices in a reasonable price range. 

All three companies have great people who love to knit and who support their customers well.

Marled Shrug by Heddi Craft
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Marled Shrug by Heddi Craft

 

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

That’s tough.  My favorite always seems to be the design I most recently finished, so right now I’m pretty excited about the Marled Shrug.  But if I had to pick a long term favorite, it might be my shawl called Roxanne. Roxanne was designed in honor of my midwife who was with me for the birth of all three of my children and who passed away in April of 2016. It was my tribute to her amazing life and to all she gave to the mothers in my area.  Every motif in that design has a special meaning and represents something about her or my relationship with her.

Roxanne Shawl by Heddi Craft
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Roxanne Shawl by Heddi Craft

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

I have a few projects being published next year in other publications that are still under wraps that I’d love to share but can’t just yet.  

One thing I’d like to mention is that I also have anebook of patterns for hand crank circular sock machines available on Ravelry.  I got into these amazing machines a few years ago. They’ve been around since the 1800’s and have changed very little, so they are a piece of history.  Hand crank sock machines work a bit like a flat bed knitting machine but the latch hook style needles are arranged on a cylinder so that you knit a tube.  You do some hand manipulation on the machine to knit the heels and toes and then finish the sock by hand much as you would a hand knit sock. I started making detailed checklist style patterns for myself for making different styles of socks and ended up publishing 12 of them in an ebook along with extensive information about how to calculate gauge, get the size sock you want from the machine, and so on.  It’s a fun niche in the knitting world that I’ve really enjoyed exploring!

Simple Baby Socks by Heddi Craft
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Simple Baby Socks by Heddi Craft

What’s your favourite colour?

Green for myself.  But I love all jewel tones and muted pastels in designing.

Coffee Cup Cozy by Heddi Craft
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Coffee Cup Cozy by Heddi Craft

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

This is my fourth year in the GAL and my third as a moderator.  I love this event because I think it’s a great way to promote all the wonderful work that indie designers produce and I love the atmosphere of the forums.  They are so supportive and encouraging!

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

Let’s see, there are several crochet designers that just do some amazing things with their crochet designs such as Natalia Kononova, Tatsiana Kupryianchyk, and Jennifer Percival.  I love Lisa Chemery’s baby sweaters because they are so clear and well laid out.  I love how AbbyeKnits works with texture on her designs.  And I’m always inspired by Kristen TenDyke’s seamless sweater designs.

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

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

Blog: http://www.thecraftstudio.com/heddicraftdesigns

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/heddicraftdesigns

Ravelry pattern store: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/heddi-craft

Instagram: http://instagram.com/heddicraft

 
 

 

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