Heather Lodinsky is a knit & crochet designer, whose helpful hints and wise words should be familiar to regular visitors to the Lion Brand Notebook--she's been our knit-along (KAL) and crochet-along (CAL) host on projects ranging from the Cable Luxe Tunic to the Moderne Jacket to, most recently, the Saturday Morning Hoodie.
Her first book--150 Knit & Crochet Motifs--has just been released by Interweave, here in the US (along with several other countries; see below), and I'm excited to announce that Interweave has been nice enough to allow us to sample a few of her motif designs for our website, so be sure to check your Weekly Stitch newsletter subscription all throughout April for motif designs from Heather!
I sat down with Heather to talk about this fantastic book:
Can you tell us about 150 Knit & Crochet Motifs?
150 Knit and Crochet Motifs is a collection of both knit and crochet shapes that are worked in many different directions and at different skill levels. There are an equal number of both knitted and crocheted motifs to appeal to those who knit, crochet, or both! The book is organized by shapes-- whether they are circles, squares, diamonds, triangles, pentagons, hexagons, octagons, flower, leaves, hearts, snowflakes and other shapes to join as connectors. Working any of these motifs would be a great way to use yarn you have--and a super way to try a new technique without having to commit to a larger project. Of course if you love the motif, there are many ways to join them together to create so many items.
I also want to add that all of the 150 motifs in the book are worked in Lion Brand Wool-Ease which was a great yarn to use since it not only works well for blocking these motifs, but also is machine washable. The colors were amazing to work together!
What are some ways in which people can incorporate motifs into their knitting & crocheting?
I've included many suggestions and shown which motifs will work well with others in the book. There is also a section at the back of the book that shows diagrams explaining how the various shapes fit together as well as project ideas. The other day, I had a knitter say to me that she was going to make some of the motifs and sew them together to create fun scarves for her children! Of course, many of these shapes can work alone, as face cloths, hot pads, pockets, embellishments added on to larger projects or worked in thicker yarns to create pillows, or smaller to create ornaments. The possibilities are truly endless, but the book does give many suggestions and ideas about what you can do with these shapes. I hope this will be a great reference book for many knitters and crocheters!
There’s a fun story related to this blog about how the book came to be. Can you share it with us?
It is a very interesting story! I have been asked by Lion Brand a few times to host both KALs and CALs here on the blog. In July of 2009, Quarto Books (a book creating company in London) contacted Lion Brand to see if I would be interested in authoring a book of both knitted and crocheted motifs. That e-mail was passed on to me, and I was very interested! It all worked out and the book has been published by Interweave Press in the US and by Search Press in the UK. I also know that it is being translated into Dutch to be published in Holland! Who knew hosting the KALs and CALs would lead to a book--but it did!
Having led several knit- and crochet-alongs, as well as being a teacher, what are some of the most important lessons you like to impart to people?
I think the best thing to remember is to take your knitting or crocheting step-by-step and gradually work to more challenging projects. I know that avid knitters or crocheters love to "keep going", and I think it is important to have at least 2 projects going at the same time: one that you find more challenging and one or two that you can take along with you or work on until you can get help with the other. There is nothing worse than being stuck without a project to work on! Also, know that making mistakes is a part of the process. Although I have knit for 40 years, I still make mistakes all the time. I am the "Queen of knitting with the short end!" Enjoy your knitting or crocheting and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
How did you become a knit and crochet designer?
I always tell people a funny thing happened on the way to pursuing a PhD in International Communications! I was taught how to knit and sew by my Mom when I was about 7, but always remember working with fabric, yarn and needles. I did a lot of sewing growing up as a 4-H member and by working all those sewing patterns, I learned hands-on how different shapes work together to create a garment. I have always had a fiber-project with me, and when I went to college, I found there wasn’t any room for a sewing machine in my dorm--and that’s when the knitting needles went with me next to the books in my backpack! During my five years of graduate studies at the University of Maryland, I was offered a job at a local yarn shop, where I was often found looking for a new project. It was there I really expanded my knowledge of knitting as I had to help customers with their own projects. After my Masters degree, I moved back to Buffalo, NY and married my husband where we started a family. With the birth of our second daughter, and realizing I wanted to be at home with both of our daughters, I started to submit designs to various magazines. It took over a year, but finally my designs were accepted--that was over 16 years ago!
We always want to know: swatching--do you really do it?
Absolutely! As a designer, I am many times asked to create a design using a particular yarn. So, the first thing I always do is to make a swatch to see how a yarn works up. Many times a yarn looks much different knitted or crocheted than it appears as a ball or skein. I often say that I’m "playing" with the yarn instead of swatching – but the swatch does tell me everything I need to know about what I can do with it. I always have my student swatch as well, because it will tell them what size needle or hook to use, familiarize them with the stitch patterns used in their project and guarantee a project that will turn out the size they desire!
In your personal yarncrafting life, what are your favorite kinds of projects?
Well, since there is not a lot of time beyond my design work for personal projects, I like to work projects that I know I will find interesting to make and fairly fast. Many times, I may see an interesting design by another designer that I just want to try for myself. I love to work cables, lace, textures and easy color knitting (like slip-stitch knitting). Sometimes, my fingers are just itching to do some crochet and I usually will try a new technique to expand my knowledge about crochet. There is always something new to learn!