Inside Crochet’s “Amigurumi Collection” magazine

Press and Publications of hookabee crochetThe makers of Inside Crochet magazine recently released a special “bookazine” edition : The Amigurumi Collection. They sent me a copy of the issue and I was happy to see photos of several of my hookabee patterns, as well as some select quotes by me from when they interviewed me earlier in the year. Have a look!

insidecrochetamigurumiissuehookabee

I recommend checking the magazine out and maybe even picking up a copy for yourself. This special issue includes 33 amigurumi patterns (wow!), a couple designer interviews, and several tutorials. It is packed full.

The pattern designs span a huge range, including multiple animals, dolls, and food, all from different designers. They are divided up into several different categories: Cute and Cuddly, Fairyland and Woodland magic, Seasonal Fun, and Toys with a Twist. I think my favourite pattern is the Rapunzel doll with her tower by Lynn Rowe. That tower is so neat!

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.

 Until next time,
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Megan Recommends

Megan Recommends blog series

In my “Megan Recommends” blog series I share with you things I have been loving lately, whether they be computer applications, movies, cooking tools, etc. In this instalment, I share with you some items that have been helping me calm my busy, often anxious, mind. If you need a little help with relaxing, maybe they will help you, too!

My big fancy day planner:

I tried using multiple different apps and calendars on my computer and phone to keep myself organized, plan my days, and get my ideas down, but I just wasn’t sticking with them and everything was just staying in my head. But, trying to keep all my plans and to-do lists in my head was not working so great either 😐

In comes a big and pretty planner! I went to Michael’s and purchased an actual paper planner (just like the good old days) and started using it to plan my weeks. My planner is a Happy Planner, which is a large line of planners with matching accessories (such as stickers, washi tape, and folders). I got my planner in July and it is for a year and a half (and are probably on sale now!), but you can also get ones that start in January and are for just a year. planner

The planners are pretty and functional on their own, so you don’t need all the ad-ons, but if they inspire you, then go for it! There are some folks out there that make absolutely beautiful planners – they really are works of art – but for me, just writing in the planner is enough of an investment. On Etsy you can find artists selling their own handmade planner accessories, such as stickers and bookmarks, so you can really make your planner unique. My friend Krystle of Heartsprinkle has started making some really adorable bee ones!

The Headspace app:

Headspace is a meditation app for your computer or phone. Now, don’t get scared away by the word “meditation”. This isn’t your stereotypical chanting, incense burning, cross-legged, gong banging meditation, but a down to earth, daily, mind calming practice for everyone.
headspace

I have always liked the idea of meditating and thought maybe it would help my anxious monkey mind, but could never get into the habit of practising it daily – plus I always felt a little awkward doing it. But Andy Puddicombe, the creator and voice behind Headspace, makes meditation accessible to anyone. You can watch him talk about it in his TED talk.

The app gives you 10 free guided meditations that are just 10 minutes long, the first stepping stones to getting into the habit and learning what meditation is all about. Then you can subscribe to gain access to a variety of different guided meditations with different themes and lengths.

The app has cute little cartoon characters that star in short videos that guide you along in understanding the concepts of meditation, making the concepts easier to grasp, understand, and actually implement. Plus, you can have the app send you reminders each day to practice, as well as follow and encourage other friends who are enjoying the app with you. I highly recommend at least giving it a try and testing out those first 10 free sessions for yourself.

My gym membership:

Growing up I danced several times a week at a dance studio. I did tap, jazz, ballet, and modern. I was super active for hours each week. Then I went to university and I continued to take dance classes, as well as gym classes such as step class and kick boxing. I remained really active. Then I finished school and didn’t have access to a gym anymore, and the cardio sort of ended. I didn’t have that outlet of energy, that break from being stationary, anymore. Walking a lot wasn’t enough, I needed to sweat and get my heart pumping again! So I joined the YMCA (a popular gym found throughout North America).

I don’t enjoy running around a track or on a treadmill, or even running around the woods. I like to do cardio that makes me think, that has choreography, that gives me no choice but to think about the exercise, otherwise I would get totally lost. When walking or running my mind wanders (even when listening to a podcast or audiobook). So when I go to the Y, I am always there for a class with an instructor. Classes such as step or Zumba (a dance fitness class) keep me so engaged I am more mindful of the activity and my brain gets a break from my usual thoughts. There are of course the many physical benefits of exercise, but I actually started going to the gym again because I noticed a change in my mental state when I wasn’t going. If you also struggle with an overly anxious body or mind, give the gym a try, especially the super fun dance classes – everyone looks silly doing them, but everyone is focused on themselves anyway, so let loose!

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.

Until next time,
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Designer Interview: Keke of Yarn Society

This is the last instalment of my interviews with designers that have been taking part in the 2016 Ami-Along! If you missed the previous interviews, learn more about: Melissa of Melissa’s Crochet Designs, Mevlinn of MevvSan, Justyna of Cute and Kaboodle, Alyssa of Monster’s Toy Box, and Chloe of Amination.

Today, I am happy to introduce to you Keke of Yarn Society! You can find her designs on Ravelry, Craftsy and Etsy. Hope you enjoy learning all about her and her design process.

Me: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Keke: My name is Katie, but everyone calls me Keke. I live in Chicago, recently married the love of my life, and am currently expecting my first child. I was a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse for over 10 years, and absolutely loved it, but was in desperate need of a creative outlet. After attending Pastry School and teaching myself how to crochet, I finally found my happy place. I now run a dessert website and am a crochet designer full-time.

Me: When did you start designing amigurumi and why?

Keke: I started to teach myself crochet, with the help of YouTube and Craftsy, during the long, cold, and snowy Chicago winter of 2013. After a friend showed me her amigurumi creations and I started learning it for myself, I was hooked. By spring of 2013 I tried my hand at creating my first amigurumi design – Chick-A-Dee.Keke_Chic

I loved the idea that I could create something that was unique and completely my own, and found enjoyment in the process of writing patterns. I love a good challenge, and can sometimes be a perfectionist, so let’s just say Chick-A-Dee was a true labor of love. I’ll never forget how nervous and excited I was when customers began to buy my first pattern – it was and still is one of the most rewarding feelings.

Me: How do you decide what to design next? What inspires you?

Keke: More often than not, I decide what to design on a whim. But, sometimes there’s an animal or doll floating around in my head that I can’t stop thinking about until I sketch out a rough idea of a design. I love exaggerated features, my favorite being big heads and small bodies, so I try to figure out how I can put my exaggerated spin on a design, but still make it cute… it definitely has to be cute!!! I’m ultimately inspired to push myself to design unique and creative patterns by other crocheters. There are so many talented designers out there that I admire and they ultimately inspire me to keep creating.

Keke_tiger

Me: What is your design process like? Do you sketch out your design first? 

Keke: Although I’m not an artist by any means, I do sketch out my ideas first. I first figure out my color scheme, and then draw a rough idea of what shape and size I’d like each part to be. My least favorite part of amigurumi is attaching pieces, so when I sketch, I try to figure out how to create a design with the least amount of crocheted pieces to attach. As I crochet I write out my directions in pencil and keep lots of erasers nearby – frequent changes are made throughout the process.

Me: I noticed you have more patterns for sale on Etsy than Ravelry. Did you first start selling on Etsy and then make the move to Ravelry? Which platform do you prefer?

Keke: Etsy was my first and only shop for quite some time. I was in my own little crochet bubble and hadn’t heard of Ravelry until a year and half into my crochet adventures. I eventually branched out to Craftsy and then finally stumbled upon Ravelry. I honestly was intimidated by Ravelry at first, and still sometimes am, but I’m starting to learn how to navigate the site better and get more involved.

I have found three of the most fabulous crocheters who have tested many of my patterns, and helped me navigate Ravelry better. Shout out to MixedKreations, Sammy-Cat, and Stitchee-Erika 🙂 I prefer Etsy at the moment, only because I feel confident in using it, but as I learn more about Ravelry and interact with others, I love the community and support I get from it. Keke_whale

Me: What is your favourite pattern that you have designed? Why?

Keke: I have to say that my favorite pattern is Chick-A-Dee, my very first creation. She holds a special place in my heart and always will 🙂 Creating Chick-A-Dee gave me the confidence as a designer to continue my path in crochet.

Me: What is your most popular pattern?

Keke: Domino The Dog is definitely my most popular pattern. I’m still sometimes shocked and pleased at how many other people love him as much as I do. It makes me happy that other crocheters like my patterns and are excited to create them as well.

Keke_Domino

Me: Which of your patterns have surprised you the most in terms of how popular they are?

Keke: The popularity of the Mini Dinos has really surprised me. Although I love everything mini, I tend to create amigurumi a bit on the larger side. I loved coming up with the Mini Dinos because it was a quick and fun pattern with many color options. At first, I was a bit nervous that attaching a bunch of small spikes would deter buyers, but it’s seemed to all work out 🙂
Keke_Dinos

Me: What is most challenging for you as a designer and creative business owner?

Keke: My challenges come mostly from within and the pressure I put on myself. I’m a perfectionist and am always trying to figure out how to make sure I have the perfect pattern, pictures, and videos for my customers. I don’t ever want anyone to feel like they wasted money on a pattern, thought it was too difficult to understand, or not well written. It’s also challenging to keep fresh ideas flowing. Creative ruts happen from time to time, but I just try to give myself time to get inspired instead of trying to force it.

Me: Any advice for those that are thinking about starting to design themselves?

Keke: Pick up that hook and yarn and just do it, you’ll be proud and happy that you did! Begin designing with basic shapes and experiment with eye, nose, and mouth placement. Figure out if you like the look of crocheting in the back loop only or through both loops. Decide if you like cartoon-like figures or more life-like designs. All of these things will ultimately help you find your unique style and come up with your first design.Keke_cat

Me: Do you have a tip for those just starting to learn to make amigurumi?

Keke: My tip for crocheters new to amigurumi is practice really does make perfect. We all have our own style and way of crocheting, so stick with it and find your unique style. Your first few amigurumis are going to be just as adorable as your 100th, because it’s all what you make of it. Best of luck on your crochet adventures!

Me: Where can people find out more about you?

Keke: You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yarnsociety/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/yarnsociety
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yarnsociety/
YouTube: http://bit.ly/1V7Ob6u

Feel free to download my free Blu The Bird pattern: http://yarnsociety.com/blu.html

Thank you Keke for sharing your story with us!

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.

Until next time,
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