Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Focus: Marken aka The Hat and I

Let's do a little experiment. Don't worry, there won't be any hazardous materials involved! This is a thought experiment. You have to guess what I'm thinking. If you had to choose the most loved animal in pop culture today, what would it be? Cats are very loved, but their popularity is pretty enduring. Octopuses were popular for quite a while, but I feel like that trend is cooling off a bit. Foxes are pretty popular right now, but that's not the animal I'm thinking of.

Did you guess? I'm thinking of owls!

Owls have exploded everywhere and there seems to be no stopping them! I've seen tons of owl baby items, household items, clothing prints, jewelry, and more out in the world. The crochet world is just as mad about owls as ever. Searching for "owl" on Ravelry returns over a thousand crochet pattern results. I see owls popping up all of the time on r/crochet. I've even made some owls myself!

Today's featured designer is the Queen of the Owls. It's true! Let me explain. Marken has designed what I believe to be the best, most colorful, and most adorable owl patterns out there. One of her patterns has over 12,000 favorites on Ravelry. Doesn't that number explode your brain?! In addition to her amazing owls she also has tons of other bright, beautiful patterns that are really well done. I'm really excited to have her here with us today. Let's learn all about Marken of The Hat and I.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
It all began with an admiration of quilts and afghans.  For many years, I wished I could be so crafty and talented to make such lovely and useful things.  As luck would have it, one day, back in 1999, a gal at work brought in an afghan she made.  A co-worker and I were delighted to see such loveliness and asked if she would, pretty please, teach us how to crochet.  To our delight, she said yes!  Although she couldn't teach us how to read a pattern, she could show us how to make this one blanket of hers.  I bought a set of hooks plus a few skeins of Red Heart Super Saver, and I was ready.  The joy of finally learning this craft made me ridiculously HaPpY!  Many months later, I purchased a book to help me read patterns.  That was the icing on the cake.  And the crochet adventure continues....15 years into it, and still, much to do and much to learn.

Why do you crochet?
At this point, I don't think I can stop.  It's too much fun and there are too many things I still want to make.

Crochet Favorites
HOOKS:  Currently, I use the Clover Soft Touch hooks.  I love these, but have recently been eyeing their new (and more colorful) Amour set.  I might be splurging on those soon. 
YARN:  Oh My GOODness....it's difficult to choose a favorite yarn.  Usually, the project chooses the yarn.  Each project is unique and seems to want its own special yarn.  And, with so many choices available, it’s impossible to stick with one brand.  Still, I do have a few current favorites.  For self-striping yarn, Knit Picks Chroma is a dream to work with, and the color changes are divine.  I love it!  My go to cotton yarn is Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton, but I also use lots of Lily's Sugar'n Cream.  Acrylics seem to rule my stash, however.  They are incredibly affordable, and I enjoy keeping loads of colors on hand...just in case.  Vanna's Choice is probably my favorite.  All the colors are rich, warm, and blend nicely together.  Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn and Red Heart Soft are my other favorites.  Lots of shelf space is dedicated to those three brands.  For making smaller items, such as ornaments, I adore Lion Brand's bonbons in cotton.  Thankfully, those wee little skeins take up no space at all.  With each trip to the yarn/craft store, there seems to be ever more enticing choices....and the yarn stash grows bit by bit.
BOOKS:  I do love a good stitch book.  My favorite book to date is "The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet."  The photos are wonderful, and the patterns are easy to read and understand.

What are you working on right now?
I am hooking up a spring-themed blanket.  And, I decided to splurge on some new yarn for it, Cascade 220 Superwash wool.  I hesitated bringing in a new load of yarn but couldn't resist the delicious assortment of colors...had to give it go! 

A few finished objects...
Owl Obsession – This blanket was my first project using self-striping yarn (Knit Picks Chroma), and I love how it turned out.  I think the owls give the blanket a fun personality and the colors make the whole project happy. 


Floral Fantasy – My first “Yarn Art” project.  All those blooming flowers make for a dreamy garden.  This hangs in my little girl’s room now and offers a splash of color and a bit of cheerfulness there. 


Sweetheart Scarf – I love these linked hearts...it’s a scarf with a message.

  
So pretty! You can see all of Marken's other delightful patterns and more on Ravelry, Etsy, and Facebook. Thank you so much for joining us today, Marken. We're charmed! 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post - I had been admiring these projects for a long time and it is great to get an insight into the clever designer who created them.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Yes, I love selfishly choosing designers whose patterns I personally enjoy and then getting to learn all about them :p It's way more legit to say "Hey, would you mind being interviewed for my blog?" than it is to say "Omg, let me fangirl all over and ask you a bunch of questions!".

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