Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Focus: Liz McQueen

Some designers' pattern portfolios just astonish me. The creativity and dedication of the crochet community is amazing. I see picture after picture of unique objects, each born in someone's brain and somehow magically made up out of string. What an inspiration! Today's featured designer is the popular Liz McQueen, and she is a designer to follow. Her hat patterns are colorful and diverse. Almost a thousand people have hooked up her beloved Brain Waves Beanie. She is an amazing woman for so many reasons, of which crochet is only one. I wanted to learn more about this talented lady, and I'm pleased to be featuring her as today's Friday Focus.

That's me and my son, Declan, in front of the fence at our Kindergarten. In late May, 2012 we experienced a deep loss - my daughter Bryn passed away suddenly, just after her last day of Preschool. The following year on what would have been her 6th birthday, I organized a global yarn bomb in her honor. The flower garden you see on the fence is the result of crocheters from all over the world flooding me with flowers, stems, ladybugs, butterflies, and even a rainbow. It stands as a testament to the many lives touched by my amazing, sparkling Bryn.

Who taught you to crochet? How long have you been doing it?
My mom was my first teacher when I was very young, but I was more interested in riding bikes with my friends than I was in granny squares so it all fell out of head pretty quickly. My real passion for crochet took hold when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Bryn, in 2006. My sister-in-law taught me the basics over Thanksgiving and it took off from there. I haven't put down my hooks since. 

Why do you crochet?
It's a pretty simple answer - I love it! I've always been a little nerdy, so imagine my excitement when I found something that plays to my natural analytical tendencies (pattern repeats and even counts) while letting my right-brain play with color and design. Math and I are even on speaking terms now because of crochet, after a painful break-up in my teen years. I also have a hard time sitting still and crochet give me something to do with my hands - my husband laughs at me because he ends up having to explain things that I miss while we watch our favorite shows because I was keeping count.  

On a more serious note, I love the crochet community because of the support and love given to my family during a tragedy that no parent should ever have to go through. About a year and a half ago, my daughter Bryn passed away in my arms, a month after her 5th birthday. Family, friends, and complete strangers rallied behind us and continue to give us support; something I'll be eternally grateful for. We've received more than I could ever give back, but what touched my heart the most was the number of people who volunteered to help me yarn bomb the fence around the kindergarten Bryn would have attended. I've written more on my blog if you'd like to read more. 

Crochet Favorites
I'm definitely a worsted weight kind-of-girl so my main yarn is Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand. Although I try to get my hands on merino and alpaca as often as I can afford it. As for hooks, I've worked with my fair share. By far my favorite is my set of Tulip Etimo's. I tend to lose my hooks a lot, only to find them later stuck in my back pocket or in the scary crevices of my sofa. I've gone into a state of panic more than once over a misplaced Tulip, turning everything in my living room upside down. In fact, I have a backup of my "I" hook now because my daughter put the original in the trunk of her tricycle, only to be found after I got the replacement.

What are you working on right now?
With Christmas right around the corner (already, gah!) I'm focusing on balancing my order list with my other ongoing projects. It's Playin' Hooky Tee & Hoodie Week and I'm super excited about it. Every 3-4 months I hold a sale of tees & hoodies featuring my skull & cross hooks logo drawn using actual crochet stitches. This time I added new softstyle long-sleeve tees to my regular line of fitted & unfitted tees plus pullover and zippered hoodies. I can't wait to see the new tees! I'm also in the middle of re-testing and upgrading each of my patterns with all new tutorials and using my new pattern format. I'm in it for the long-haul! 

A few finished objects...
Offshore Beanie - This is probably my favorite new beanie. It's fun to work up and the entire look of the hat can be changed by using more of fewer colors.

Houndstooth Beanie - A classic and it's reversible! My latest upgraded design included a few new add-ons - Earflaps and a slouchy version!

Brain Waves Beanie - My free pattern. It's still one of my favorites and perfect for everyone.

Hats off to you, Liz! Her designs and more can be found on her website, Ravelry, Craftsy, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. It must feel good to know that your patterns keep others cozy and warm. Thank you very much for joining us today, Liz. 

Today's blog post is dedicated to Bryn.

1 comment:

  1. very nice blog post! Liz is such a nice person and fabulous designer, thanks for sharing a little more of her with us!


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