Friday, February 28, 2014

Special Friday Focus: Lauren Schoener

Good morning fellow crochet lovers! The weekend is upon us. I had quite a productive week and am really proud of myself for it. I've been working on some new patterns, working on a few small side projects, and working on standardizing my patterns. It's true! Although I've always paid attention to detail, accuracy, and presentation with regard to my patterns, I am now in the process of conforming all of my patterns to a new template that should make them even better! If you've bought a pattern from me expect an update email in the coming weeks.

Designing can be challenging. It's a good thing I have talented people who are kind enough to lend a hand. Today's Friday Focus is a special feature on my secondary pattern tester Lauren Schoener and her brand CausticWear. As you'll recall, we already had my primary tester over for a chat, so I think it's time to hear about Lauren! As my secondary tester she chooses the patterns that appeal to her from my collection and works them up. She's my second defense against the dark arts mistakes and confusing bits in my patterns. In addition, she helps get me more exposure through social networking. Getting noticed as a beginning designer is difficult, so it's nice to have testers who can proudly show their FOs for others to see. Lauren is a hard worker and is good at identifying problematic issues in my patterns. While every designer strives to write perfect patterns, the truth is that we're all human and need a little help. I'm grateful that both Burgundy and Lauren are each willing to lend a helping hook. In gratitude, I'm happy to have Lauren here today to share her crochet experiences with us.

Raised in Michigan, moved to NYC in 2008 for grad school. My favorite color is purple. My favorite snack is popcorn. My favorite movie is The Royal Tenenbaums. My favorite type of yarn is superwash merino in any weight. In my spare time, I take Aerial Silks classes so I can join the circus (and no, that's not a joke).

I was taught to crochet by one of the RAs during my freshman year of college. I was 19 when I learned. At the time I didn't realize that she was teaching us only one stitch, and incorrectly at that. I made one relatively simple blanket or two and gave it up for a while. Years later, as I was trying to find a way to occupy my time/mind, I decided to pick up the hook again, but I couldn't even remember the double crochet stitch I had (sort of) learned. So when I was 27, I pretty much taught myself from scratch using Stitch 'n' Bitch Crochet and lots of YouTube videos. To this day, I learn new crochet skills best by Googling them.

I crochet because it relaxes me. Seeing the progress I've made throughout the day on whatever it is I'm working on gives me such a great sense of satisfaction. And thinking of new and different things to create, or different ways of doing something makes me feel accomplished. And when people's eyes light up when I present them with a handmade object as a gift or that they've commissioned from me gives me joy. Generally, crocheting improves my life in every possible way.

Future goals: to get my online store CausticWear up and running in a meaningful and fulfilling way. It's sort of lackluster right now because I've been mostly working on commissions and haven't really had time to focus on projects that *I* want to work on. You can look forward to seeing a lot of new pieces posted to my website for purchase in the near future. I also want to design more of my own original pieces, and, eventually, teach myself to knit more than just your basic straight lines.

Here is something that Lauren worked up independently. 


 This is a two-toned infinity cowl made with the Catherine's wheel stitch, that I call the "Wheel of Time" cowl, because I was starting to read that book series as I created this piece. And as they say, "The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills."  

Now, here are the pieces Lauren has crocheted as my pattern tester. 





I'm so thankful for all of the help Lauren has given me and the fun we've had collaborating. You can connect with Lauren and CausticWear through her website, Ravelry, and Facebook. So nice to have you join us today, Lauren!

If you or someone you know might like to be a secondary tester, please contact me via illuminatecrochet@gmail.com.

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