A Crochet Confab with Vickie Howell

Today is the kick off to our 4 days dedicated to crochet! First up we have an interview with Vickie Howell, tomorrow look for a review and give away of Vickie’s new book Pop Goes Crochet, Wednesday there is a fun roundup of paper crochet and Thursday our I Love to Create column will be using crochet yarn for an enlightening project. So grab your hooks & yarn and fasten your seat belts it’s gonna be an action packed 4 day ride!

I probably don’t need to introduce Vickie Howell, but I forget she does not live 1 mile away from everyone like she does me. See not only have I worked with Vickie on Stylelicious, Austin Craft Mafia and Craft Out Loud, we are also friends. That being the case I know for a fact that all the crafting she does on TV and in books is the real deal and something she enjoys and does in her free time when the cameras are not rolling. As a matter of fact Vickie is who brought me back up to speed on my crochet skills. Read on to find out about Vickie’s new book Pop Goes Crochet, what her fascination is with pop culture and what she has on the horizon because if there is one thing I know it is that this girl can’t stay still long and always has something crafty up her sleeve and on the horizon.

What’s your fascination with popculture? All your books seem to spoof songs movies or celebs.

For me, popular culture is another way of recording history. The things people wear, the songs we sing, the catch phrases we use–all hold specific memories of certain times both personally and on a societal level. It’s also another way for us as human beings to connect. While we may not all be able to rattle off dates of political happenings or share the same interests in current events, it’s likely that two people can relate to the time when we rushed out to get the “Friends” haircut or how we feel whenever an old rock ballad replays on the radio.

If you had to choose between crochet or knitting which would it be?

What is this, Sophie’s Choice? C’mon, I can’t choose between my two babies. 😉

You are a prolific writer so I know there must be new books on the horizon tell us about it.

Yup, you guessed it! I have two more books coming out over the next year.

The first one is called “AwareKnits” and is co-written with my friend Adrienne Armstrong. It focuses on eco-conscious knit & crochet projects as well as tips & scoop on living (and stitching) a greener life. AwareKnits has a completely different aesthetic than anything I’ve ever done before–it’s clean, classic and believe it or not, totally pop-culture free. It turned out really beautiful, and I’m so excited for people to see it! It’s already available for pre-order on Amazon, but doesn’t hit shelves until October.

The 2nd book is a complete departure from my usual pattern-based books. Craft Corps is a collection of conversations with 30 of the craft community’s super stars (including: Amy Butler, Carol Duvall, Faythe Levine (Handmade Nation), Jay McCarroll (Project Runway) and of course, Ms. Jennifer Perkins) along with profiles of 65+ everyday crafters. We’re launching the accompanying website on May 1st, to begin the 1-year countdown until the book hits shelves in May 2010. The site will feature a crafter a week and amongst other exciting options, will also offer archives of crafter stories in genres ranging from knitting to woodworking. The goal of both Craft Corps the book and the website, is to promote community and elevate the value of craft, by telling one story at a time. Working on this project has truly enriched my life and I can’t wait to share it with all of my crafty peeps!

Give us a random piece of trivia about pop goes crochet.

This book was originally set to be called Catwalk Crochet, and focus solely on fashion. In the middle of development though, the manuscript changed editor hands. My new editor Valerie Shrader, saw how I’d named the projects and put together the book and suggested that the Pop Culture theme seemed apparent and thought we should go in that direction as well. Since I clearly loves me the POP, I was thrilled at her re-envisioning! The rest is history. 🙂

For people who are yarn illiterate do you recommend newbies start with crochet or knitting? You started me on crochet is that because it is easier?

I think it depends on what types of projects that particular person is interested in making. Some people find crochet easier than knitting because it involves one hook, instead of two needles. They’re both such completely different skill sets though, that knowing how to do one wouldn’t necessarily help you with the other. I taught you crochet first for two reasons: 1.) I was really just re-teaching you, because you’d made a few scarves in the past and 2.) You’ve refused to learn how to knit when I offered before–something about being too busy to learn another craft. WHATEVER! 😉

Your currently pregnant at this point how many items have you crocheted the baby?

Oh man, you’re totally calling me out! I’ve knitted her a few things but have only crocheted her one: a star blanket. Kids of professional stitchers unfortunately are a lot like the cobblers kids who don’t have any shoes. I am accepting crocheted donations for her, though. 😉

All your other books are knitting. Did you find writing a book with crochet projects harder or easier?

Hmmmm….maybe a bit harder. Crochet is wonderfully sculptural therefore lending itself beautifully to home decor and toy items. Since this book is all wearables though, finding a balance between fashion-forward garments that also didn’t require the delicateness of using only lace-weight yarns was more of a challenge than it would’ve been if the projects were knitted. It was a fun challenge though, and I think that we (myself along with the talented contributors) were able to find a nice range of projects that fit the bill of both, fun-to-make and realistic to wear projects.

Suggested Reading:
Trendy is as Trendy Does: Fabric Jewelry
Vickie Howell: Not Another Teen Knitting Book Review and Interview
I Love to Create: Not Your Grandmother’s Doilies – at Least Not for Long

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