About the Author & The Art of Designing

  I began to crochet in 1986. It took me almost a year to learn how to read a pattern but with the help of my loving Aunt Georgia, a very gifted crocheter, I finally learned. I should have started with a Leisure Arts pattern as they are really easy to read. My designing actually started by accident. On occasion I misread the directions and crocheted something very different from the original pattern but still ended up with something I liked. I decided to write down what I had done so I could make another one later. My first designs were written very crudely. But as time went on, I noticed patterns published by some companies were easier to follow than others and began to study what it was that made these patterns easy to follow and others impossible. I took a bit of everyone's style and put it together to create my own.

  A crochet pattern is just a map, but a very special map that has to be laid out very carefully, step by step, with lots of landmarks because it's usually a map of words. When I sit down to crochet another person's pattern, I feel as if I am alone in a completely darkened room and the pattern designer is trying to get me from one side of the room to the other without tripping over anything. You should never take it for granted that someone who is working your pattern knows what you are thinking. Start by writing down your basic design, and then translate it into a more polished form. Next, put it away for several weeks or months so you forget how to work it. When you do finally work it again it should feel as if you are seeing it for the first time. You will find many things that don't sound very clear. I repeat this process dozens of times before I have a finished pattern. Then I edit, edit, edit for several months. Self-publishing is wonderful but it is a lot of work. It's not hard but it can take a year or more to develop and publish a pattern or two, and longer if it's a book. That's why designers get upset when people ignore their copyright. In my case this is how I make my living and for the last few years it has been slow getting off the ground. It takes time to get established and build a profitable business. Supporting a crocheter whose work you admire enables the designer to continue designing.

  But I digress, back to telling you about writing a pattern. There is nothing more frustrating than a poorly written pattern. It's very important to gain a reputation for well-written and easy to follow instructions. I have spoken with store owners who tell me that some authors will come out with a fabulously written first book but slack off on the second and third. They have also told me that once an author comes out with a poorly written book, they will never order from that author again. Something to keep in mind.

  A couple of years ago a friend and very gifted bead designer, Donna Blomberg, suggested that I add beads to all my patterns, so in 1999 I learned to do bead crochet from Carol Perrenoud's video called "Bead Crochet." I found that it was great fun and decided to rewrite all my patterns. When I began, I used traditional methods but found that when I did not put a bead into every stitch, the backside of the stitches showed on what became the front side of the piece when the work was complete. This told me that traditional bead crochet was very limited and would not work for the patterns I had designed. I began to experiment and developed a library of new stitches, which can be found in my book "Victorian Purses and Amulet Bags in Bead Crochet." When you have the option to crochet beads into the front of a stitch you can transform almost any type of crochet into bead crochet. I have also found it is usually not possible to simply add beads to an ordinary crochet pattern. When beads are added, the stitches become bulkier and generally require the pattern to be altered to accommodate the extra bulk.

  My goal is to revive the Art of Crochet and to inspire many young people to learn this craft. I also hope to inspire other designers to follow their dreams and get their patterns published, and would especially encourage them to self-publish. I have now been designing since 1987. I feel complete when I design. It seems to come to me without trying. Crochet becomes more exciting and challenging to me all the time.

  The only difference between a designer and everyone else is that, a designer is willing to experiment. A published designer is one who is willing to write it down.

  I recently completed a new book called "Goddess of the Sea Crocheted Choker No.1." I have fallen in love with beads, antique buttons, cameos, and Vintage brass findings and always use them to embellish my bags, chokers, and head pieces. I guess I'm hooked. Is there a 12-step program for beaders? Even if there were, would anyone go to the meetings?

  We don't really want to be cured, now do we?

Ramona Lee
HB Publications


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Updated on Thursday, June 20th, 2013