Laura, also known as the kidney bean, is not only a crochet enthusiast, but a budding designer as well. Her Chromium Star blanket and Through Any Window baby blanket are fine examples of her designing abilities. She provides tutorials for these patterns along with other useful crochet tutorials she has created. There are also links to great resources on her site for those with an interest in learning crochet.
The sidebar on A Whole Load of Craft is a great resource in and of itself. There are crochet tutorial links from around the internet, online store links, and other crochet resources. Another interest is the Blogroll in her sidebar that is one of the longest list of crochet and craft blogs that I have seen!
Check out Laura's email interview for a personal take on her skills and her site:
How long have you been crocheting?
The summer I turned eighteen my older cousin Kristin was making Red Heart SS hats by the dozen. There was no pattern, but she knew how to crochet in the round and change colors. That day in the den of her parents' house, listening to Grease in the background, she showed me to chain and double crochet. I'm a leftie, so it took a little patience, but I did finally figure it out. That was about seven years ago and counting!
What's the project you're most proud of?
It sounds crazy, but it was my first single crochet scarf. In college, during the fall and winter months especially, I would make plain double crochet scarves for various friends. No border, color change or fringe of any kind, and always with Red Heart Super Saver.
One winter, my friend LeAnn asked me to make a scarf that was less 'holey'. Like I said, my cousin only had only taught me double crochet, so LeAnn introduced me to a crafty friend of hers who knew how to single crochet. After a million double crochet scarves, the single crochet scarf (in Bernat!) seemed to take forever, but I was proud when I finally finished it. That scarf really started me on a path to learning more about crochet.
The craft community. There are so many talented people out there who are funny, creative, generous, friendly and supportive. Just look at how many blogs and craft forums like Ravelry are allowing meaningful connections from people all over the globe. Part of the excitement of crocheting, for me, is becoming part of that.
What do you enjoy working on the most?
This changes all the time, but in-the-round crochet seems to hold my interest continually. I hate counting chains and stitches. Maybe it's all those plain double crochet scarves, but I prefer watching an in-the-round project grow. Also, I enjoy patterns like the round ripple where there's some concentration required in the beginning, but it's easily memorized and there's no exact amount of yarn needed.
What else are you interested in?
The first craft I learned well was cross stitch. My mom is very skilled in embroidery and she taught me to cross stitch on scrap linen in the sixth grade. When our family moved to NSW the following year, the Australian embroidery magazines she bought came with those little dollar cross stitch kits. My mom always gave me the kits and I slowly got better with keeping all the threads slanting the right way. Cross stitch was actually a great skill to learn before trying to knit or crochet. Tension is important, follow the directions and most of all, absolutely no knots! I still love to cross stitch, but crochet takes up a much greater portion of my craft time.
Other crafts I like are knitting, paper models, rug hooking, origami and beading. My high school art teacher would be disappointed, but I like paint-by-numbers, too. (He said paint-by-numbers had little artistic or creative value.) I'm slowly learning the fundamentals of photography and I also would like to take a class in book-making someday.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you?I'm a Guitar Hero fan. It started in a Best Buy when I was in my last quarter of college. They had a huge sixty inch screen in the store and those rocking game chairs. Customers would play eachother and the employees would compete on their breaks. I had a great time playing, but had no intention of actually buying the game. Then, as a college graduation present, my younger brother got me the PS2 and Guitar Hero I. Now I've got Guitar Hero II and I'm stuck on the expert level song Free Bird. If you're a gamer on Ravelry, join my 'You Rock! Guitar Hero Enthusiasts' group!
Thanks to Laura for all she offers and for participating!