Y’all know how much I love creating and designing patterns – but I also love working up items from other designers’ patterns, especially when they are well thought out and well written. I have had the pleasure of working with several fellow designers, and each week I am going to introduce you to them. I know you’ll love them as much as I do!
The first to be featured is Betty Lewis from Butterfly Dreams.
TBSB: Hi, Betty! Tell my readers a little about yourself.
Betty: I am a widow who enjoys spending quality time with family, friends, and my 3 kiddos! I am the proud mother of 3 – a daughter, 29; a son, 20, who is currently a Junior at Indiana University; a son, 7, who is currently a 2nd grader in the Life Skills program (he is special needs). We enjoy a ‘quiet’ lifestyle, vastly enjoy the outdoors, and love to have family friendly ‘competitions’ between myself and the two boys. Our greatest passion is doing for others, as is evidenced by the multiple charities that we regularly donate to.
TBSB: At what age did you learn to knit and/or crochet, and who taught you?
Betty: I learned to knit at the age of 3.5 and crochet at age 4. My Grandma taught me both.
TBSB: When did you start designing?
Betty: I have been designing crochet patterns since I was 7 years old! My Grandma always got a good chuckle at my ‘antics’. I would question absolutely everything about a pattern (why do it this way, wouldn’t this work better, if it were me…..); one day she told me to just design my own pattern. Although she said it in jest I took it literally. That was the day that my whole crochet world opened up!!! I have tons of designs that will never be published, but occasionally I do pull one of the designs and test/publish it. I started to write/design for publication 2 years ago. I still design some things that do not get published. Typically I will ‘sit’ on a new design anywhere from a couple weeks to several months before I will have it tested. Each design has to ‘wait’ for its ‘time’ before publication.
TBSB: What a treasure is must be to have spent that kind of special time with your grandmother – both learning the crafts and for your grandmother to nurture your creative spirit! What are your favorite things to design?
Betty: Everything, lol. I thoroughly enjoy designing all items! When I am inspired to create it truly does not matter what the item is.
TBSB: Where do you find your inspiration?
Betty: I find inspiration from many sources! However, I tend to publish designs that are inspired from my own personal experiences throughout life. This can come from a memory, special occasion, new experience or acquaintance, or just everyday life. My boys are very involved in my design process and are my biggest critics. The oldest is my sounding board for aesthetics, while the youngest loves to pick various stitches! We have basic stitches written on cards, we put them into a bowl, he will randomly pull 1 – 4 cards, it is then up to me to combine those stitches into a stitch pattern.
TBSB: I find that so endearing that your boys are such an integral part of your design process! I cannot wait until my granddaughters are old enough to contribute for me too!
TBSB: With regard to crochet hooks, are you on Team Bates or Team Boye?
Betty: Between the two, Boye!!!! I own all sizes in both with lots of duplicates (I’m always misplacing a hook), but I very seldom willingly pick up a Bates as I much prefer a tapered hook. My absolute favorite hooks are my Furls Odyssey hooks! They have great balance, are ergonomic, and above all feature the tapered hook design.
TBSB: What are your favorite knitting needles?
Betty: Although I am very proficient at knitting, I don’t knit much these days. When I do knit, I much prefer bamboo needles over all others. I do not have a ‘favorite’ brand of needles though.
TBSB: What is your favorite yarn weight/brand to work with?
Betty: I love yarn of all varieties and weights and enjoy working with a variety!! I am a bit biased when it comes to creating for personal use or orders and will typically default to my own line of fibers. (Shelley here – I gotta interject! Betty’s fibers are GAWGEOUS! Check them out on her Facebook group dedicated to fibers) However, when designing for publication I try to use yarns that are readily available and economical to most. I have a tendency to lean towards Vanna’s Choice, Deborah Norville’s line, and Michael’s Loops and Threads line for this. I also absolutely love the cake yarns of all varieties.
TBSB: Is there a stitch or technique you would like to learn?
Betty: I have not found a stitch that I couldn’t work (yet, lol). However, I am very intrigued with Broomstick Lace!! Sadly, this stitch/technique more often than not defeats me. I find myself periodically going back to it and searching for a way that will allow me to repeatedly create it with uniform tension!
TBSB: What is your favorite tool in your yarny toolbox?
Betty: I have a tiny little awl that I use to ‘lift’ stitches when sewing on appliques (or facial/body parts). The awl allows me to get into the stitch and pick up only one strand to sew onto. This creates a clean backside with the added bonus of absolutely no indention on the front side.
TBSB: What is your most popular pattern?
Betty: Singled Out Messy Bun/Ponytail/Closed Beanie (click here to view the pattern on Ravelry)
TBSB: Where can readers go to see your work?
Betty: My patters are featured in my Ravelry shop (click here to check out Betty’s designs). I also have a community group on Facebook called Butterfly Dreams Crochet & Crafts and a group dedicated to my hand-dyed fibers – it’s called Butterfly Dreams Fibers.
I have to say that Betty is one of the most creative designers I’ve worked with, and I am impressed by her adventurous spirit and drive to incorporate multi media into her work.
I am a sucker for almost anything owl, and Betty’s Whooty Owl Snuggle Sack is definitely on my ever growing list of items I must make!
Be sure to check out Betty’s Ravelry store and her Facebook groups… And tell her I sent you!