I had the pleasure to interview miss Edie Eckman author of The Crochet Answer Book, amongst other greats. I would have loved to do a phone interview, but didn’t have it organized, but luckily she was a good sport and answered my questions via email. Thanks Edie!
On to the interview…
As well as designing knitting and crochet for yarn companies and magazines, I self-publish patterns, and I teach workshops at guilds, shops and events all over the United States. I also do technical editing and write articles on fiber-related topics. I love to meet crocheters and knitters everywhere, so be sure to stop me and say hello if we are ever in the same place!
I’ve been crocheting off and on since I was about six, although I’ve only been doing it professionally for about 10 years.
A favorite stitch is really hard to choose; it just depends on what I’m working on at the time. I guess I’d have to say that variations of double crochet are my favorite. While I’m not a big fan of plain dc fabric, I love the many ways that you can manipulate double crochet to get great textural and color effects.
I almost hate to say what my favorite hooks are, as every crocheter feels very strongly that their favorite hook is best! So, having made that point, my favorite hook is the old-fashioned Susan Bates hook. My best ones are the “Quicksilver” brand, although any of the aluminum ones are fine. Recently I’ve been enjoying the Denise Needle hook set, which had crochet hooks that attached to long flexible cables. They are great for Tunisian crochet!
Yarn is easy: anything wool-based wins, hands-down, although I do like alpaca as well.
I was going through Beyond the Square and was very impressed with the thoughtfulness in the way the designs are presented in the book. Each colorway is listed by round and the written instructions, as well as the diagrams, are easy to follow. It’s refreshing that you provide both. What made you also include the special stitch descriptions along side the motif they’re introduced in?
Whenever possible, I like to include all the information a stitcher needs at the time he/she needs it. That means that I try to put special stitch definitions as close as possible to the instructions. However, sometimes space considerations or layout mean that they have to go elsewhere. Luckily, in my books we’ve managed to make it all work.
In BtS you include process challenges called “Stitch it!”. What was the thought behind including those challenges?
Whenever my hands are busy crocheting or knitting, my mind wanders off into “what-if” land. What if I did it that way instead of this way? What if I changed color or stitch here? The “Stitch-Its” are just the result of my wandering mind. Wow, that didn’t sound very profound, did it?
Don’t be afraid to play! Arm yourself with a few basic rules of thumb (like how many increases you need per round to get the motif to lie flat), and start experimenting. Even the experiments that don’t work will teach you something.
Almost everything I want to put a border on requires going around a 90-degree corner: afghans, scarves, cardigans. Almost all the edging patterns I found were just straight edges, leaving me to figure out how to make them go around the corner without a break in the pattern. Around the Corner Crochet Borders came from that frustration, and now I have a resource for the next 150 projects that need a unique border!
It just seemed to be a good way to present the information.
What do you do to prepare for crocheting?
I don’t do anything in particular to prepare to crochet. While I do have a favorite spot on my couch, with a good light at my shoulder, I don’t always crochet there. I’m happy to stitch just about anywhere!
My hands get sore something fierce while crocheting or knitting. What do you recommend to keep that from happening?
You should probably check with your doctor about any pain. (good advice) I take care of myself by taking frequent breaks, setting a timer to remind myself to get up about every 45-50 minutes. During my breaks I stretch, do a couple of household chores, or otherwise move around. While I’m crocheting, I make sure that I’m using good posture, with my back well supported, my feet firmly on the ground or on a footstool, and my shoulders and arms relaxed. I’ve been doing yoga for a couple of years, and because I now understand more about posture and relaxation, it has vastly improved the way I feel when I have to do a marathon stitching session.
I asked her to include all the places you can find her online. I recommend checking out her books and looking for the reviews I will be posting later this month.
I’m not hard to find online. Follow me on Twitter (edieeckman); like me on Facebook (Edie Eckman); friend me on Ravelry (edieeckman) and join the Edie Eckman Stitchers group; visit my website (www.edieeckman.com) to find out where I’ll be appearing next. Find my self-published patterns on Patternfish.
My books are available at all the usual retail outlets. I like to support independent bookstores and yarn shops whenever possible, but if you really want to order them online, Amazon.com and Edie Eckman profile on Amazon is a good bet.