I don't like to have my picture taken, but I love this picture of me with all of my children, their spouses and most of my grandchildren that was taken last Thanksgiving. It was the first time we had all been together in 5 years, and this picture will always be special to me!
Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
My mother taught me to crochet when I was expecting my first child almost 40 years ago. I began by making granny squares (which I still love) but soon moved onto thread crochet, my first love. In 1986, I sold my first design to Annie’s Attic, which was based in Big Sandy, Texas, just a few miles from where I lived. I continued to work as a free-lance designer for AA for several years, then went to work in their editorial department, where I learned to write crochet patterns for their books and magazines. In 1998, I became the in-house designer for Annie’s; talk about a dream job! If the company hadn't moved their design department to Indiana, I might still be there! I learned so much from my time at Annie’s, and I will always be grateful for the experience!
Why do you crochet?
Well, I have done it so long that it has become a part of who I am, I feel naked without a hook in my hand! It has supported me and my family for almost 30 years now, and I feel blessed to be able to make a living doing something I love. But, honestly, I just love it, and I would crochet every day even if I never made a dime from it.
I love thread crochet, and size 10 is my favorite to work with. I always use a size 7 Boye hook, and I prefer the older ones. I am always on the lookout for older hooks on Ebay, the new ones just don’t feel right. My favorite designers are Elizabeth Hiddleson and Esther Parnell Hewlett who did many designs for Lily in the 50’s. Esther isn’t as well-known as Elizabeth, but I think her designs are every bit as impressive.
What are you working on right now? What is your next project?
Right now I am working on a baby set called “Fairy Garden” which will include a blanket, booties and a cap. I also have a set of Christmas doilies going. I like to have a couple of different designs going at the same time so I can switch them up. And even though I am a threadie, I do quite a bit of yarn designs, too.
A few finished objects...
My newest design is a set of mini-doilies called “Dainty Little Doilies.” I tried to give a variety of shapes and styles, but wanted them to have a vintage feel. I love it when people think one of my designs is from the 40’s or 50’s!
Sometimes people ask me what the ‘hardest’ or most difficult item I ever designed was. Without a doubt, I would have to say that it is my ‘Swan Queen Centerpiece.” It is definitely for experienced crocheters, and I will probably never make another one, but I am glad that I made this one.
Several years ago one of my granddaughters asked me if I could make a fairy doily. I worked for several months to get one that I liked, and in the process, I kept coming up with ideas for similar doilies. These ideas turned into my “Lovely Ladies Doilies” series, and now I have not only fairies, but witches, angels, Victorian ladies and other characters. I plan to add fairy tale heroines to the series, the first will probably be Rapunzel.
Incredible! To really experience the extent of Elizabeth Ann's beautiful work, I recommend exploring further. I have a particular fondness for her Springtime Floral Doily. You can delight in Elizabeth Ann's work on her website, her blog, Etsy, and Facebook. Thank you for sharing your work and your stories with us, Ann!