Designer Interview & Review Series featuring Jocelyn Sass
I have a few new things planned for 2015, and one of them is a monthly designer interview and review. Each month I will feature one industry designer and ask some questions, then I will actually make something from one of their patterns and do a review of it.
I asked Jocelyn from Jocelyn Designs & Too Cute Crochet to be my January designer. Jocelyn has become a good friend in the past couple years and I was looking forward to getting to know more about her crochet journey. (Read to the bottom of the interview to see my review of one of her patterns.)
K (Me): How did you get started designing?
J: Many years ago, I was a knitter who fell in love with crochet and actually crocheted every free moment I had. Eventually, I started dramatically changing the patterns I was crocheting from, to improve the design. When I started doing that quite often, I realized that maybe I could start creating my own!
K: Do you remember the first pattern you ever designed?
J: The first actual pattern I designed was a set of Cabbage Patch Doll clothes for my daughters. I sold the set to TD Creations and was on my way!
K: Where do you get your design inspiration from?
J: My inspiration can come from many places, but I love browsing through fashion magazines and home décor magazines. Necessity (such as warm scarves for Winter) is also a great inspiration!
K: How long between when you first have an idea to the finished pattern being released?
J: When designing crochet patterns for magazine or book publication, guidelines and deadlines are given for you to follow, so you always know how long you have to complete the process. When I self-publish a design, though, the process can vary greatly! Some of the designs that I have in my Etsy shops literally took only a week or two to complete the whole process before they were ready for release. It all depends on my design ‘mojo’ and how quickly I want to see the finished crocheted item and put it up for sale. Seasons of the year can make a big difference in how quickly a design gets to completion and is ready for sale. I will put a design through the process quickly if it is a Christmas design, for instance, because I know there is a limited time that the pattern will be purchased for that year. On the other hand, I have quite a few designs in my office that I have finished crocheting and writing the pattern for, yet I still haven’t formatted the pattern or had them photographed!
K: Do you ever look at a pattern and wish you had been the one to design that?
J: LOL, I think all designers have probably done that at one time or another! We usually have so many ideas floating in our heads or sketched on paper, that there is not enough time to complete them all! So many times, as a designer, you see something that has been created in crochet that you planned and hoped to do! Sometimes, though, the items are so generic, that there is plenty of room for everyone! Each designer can bring their own unique style to the crochet design. One example would be a teddy bear. There are literally thousands of crochet designs for bears, and while some of them can be similar, most designers can put their own ‘mark’ on the design to make it look unique.
K: What makes your designs unique?
J: I would say that it is the simplicity of the design process itself. Most of the time, less is more. I love creating quick and easy designs! I have been told many times by editors and publishers that my designs have a simple, light-hearted style and that I have an eye for color.
K: Any advice to crocheters that want to keep their work fresh and exciting?
J: First and foremost, KNOW YOUR MARKET! Keep abreast of the trends NOT ONLY FOR FASHION, BUT FOR HOME DÉCOR AS WELL. Study home décor catalogs and look for innovative colors and designs. If you really want to know what is going to be the next ‘in thing’, buy a single issue (such as in Barnes and Noble) of a European fashion and/or home décor magazine or purchase a subscription to one. What is currently ‘in’ around Europe right now, will probably be what is sweeping America the following year. You should also regularly visit the color website, Pantone.com, to see which colors are in vogue and which are on the horizon for the future. The only problem with this, is that crochet and knitting designers are ‘limited’ to what color schemes yarn manufacturers are putting in their yarns that we buy in the stores. Yarn colors usually follow trends but are not always as up-to-date as some designers would like. Good yarn companies will try to be, though.
K: What is most important to you when choosing yarn for a design? Look? Feel? Weight?
J: I would say all three of those aspects play into the yarn that I choose for a design. Color is also a very important part of the process. After I have narrowed down the weight and feel of the yarn, if I have two or more similar yarns to choose from, color will always be the deciding factor.
K: Favorite part of designing?
J: My favorite part of designing is when I get the item to look exactly as I had originally envisioned it!
K: Least favorite part of the designing?
J: Most designers would say that it was writing the pattern, but I think for me it would be if and when I need to remake any aspect of the pattern to re-check it. Once I have figured out how I am going to execute a design, I don’t want to make it again! It is the actual challenge of the design process that I like the most. So when I have achieved this, I want to get on to the next design!
One thing I know about Jocelyn is that she tries to write her patterns in such a way that anyone can do it! I have a similar philosophy, so that was something that attracted me to her patterns right away. I have wanted to make many items from her shop for over a year, so it was hard to pick just one to review. I ended up choosing “The Boston” which is a chunky chevron infinity cowl. I chose this because it’s versatile, so I can either wear to church, or with a pair of jeans. Perfect!
The pattern called for #5 bulky, and Jocelyn used Bernat Softee Chunky for the one in the photo. This year, I put myself on a “stash only” yarn diet (I will be holding myself accountable in a monthly post), and I didn’t have that in my stash, so I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick (also #5). I grabbed the only 2 balls I had in my stash and ran out the door to take my girls to dance.
Note: Here are 5 Tips for Substituting Yarn.
The pattern was perfect!….and easy. I had the scarf done in less than 24 hrs. (and that was doing many other things during that time.) Perfect for that last minute gift! Or like me, you just want something new (and warm) to wear to church on Sunday.
Here was my only downfall….. (This has nothing to do with Jocelyn’s pattern!)
I didn’t check the weight, or the yardage, of the skeins I grabbed. The skeins were slightly smaller than the Bernat Softee that Jocelyn used. So I ran out before I had the right number of rows.
TIP: If you’re going to substitute the yarn called for, check the yardage on the yarn label and make sure you will have enough. Here are some Tips for Yarn Substitutions to make sure you’re going to have enough.
You will love Jocelyn’s patterns! Whether you’re picking something from her Too Cute Crochet shop or Jocelyn Designs, you will have no trouble with the pattern you choose.
For more info on Jocelyn, visit her at the links below:
Etsy – Jocelyn Designs (stylish accessories)
Etsy – Too Cute Crochet (patterns for baby, children, and photographers)
If you have any questions you’d like me to ask in upcoming interviews, leave a comment and let me know.
Other designers in this series: