Interview with Allison Harding

If you’ve joined our Crochet Along group (you haven’t?  Why not?), you may have seen Allison Harding posting some great hints & cheering all of us newbies on.  Allison is one of our Independent Designers and we are so happy to have her help out with the CAL – she is a wonderful and innovative designer, both for us and her own website.  I recently did an interview with her so we can all get to know her!

How long have you been crocheting?

I have been crocheting, knitting, and sewing for 40ish years. Not necessarily continuously or in that order…

Who taught you to crochet?
My mom taught me everything. She was always working on a project and often had the neighborhood kids over on Saturdays for “art classes”. Our house was full of books, art and UFO’s. My mom taught me to be fearless, to just jump in play. I learned the magic of the hobby shop and hardware store at a very early age.

What was your first project?

My first crochet project was a granny square vest made with the danger orange acrylic yarn left over from my first knit project. I subtlety combined this with peace-out purple, Aquarius aqua and avocado green. Yes, it was the sixties; I was 8 years old and hip to the scene!

What is your favorite fiber to work with?

I really love all fibers, even plasticky, old acrylics from the second-hand store. They all have their purpose. I enjoy every sense of fiber: stroking a silky alpaca, seeing an eye-candy colorway, hearing others ooh and ahh over a new yarn and telling everyone about it, even the smell of vinegary wet wool!

What inspired you to start designing?
I enjoy research and costume design so it was a natural for me turn playing with fabric into playing with yarn. Also I am a bit lazy and I make mistakes. These traits can often to new designs and techniques!
Is there anything in particular that inspires your designs?
I am inspired by so many things. It could be a movie I am watching, a color combination I saw, a song, a play that I am costuming, a book I’ve read, a video game or a favorite artist. My family and students inspire me with, “What if we could make…”

Who are some of your favorite designers?

Crochet designers I love are: Kim Guzman, Doris Chan and Robyn Chachula. If I have to choose one designer overall, it would be Elizabeth Zimmerman. Her philosophy really touches me because I think the same way. I love the right brain/left brain stimulus of needle arts. Fiber is therapy for me, so I don’t want it to be stressful but I do like a challenge; there is a big difference.

How long do your designs take to create from start to finish?

Sometimes I wake up with a design in my head and have to go make it right away (ok coffee first, but then right away). Sometimes I have an idea wandering around in my head for weeks and finally it hits me in the shower-Aha! that’s how I can do it! I often work out construction details in my head and then make a design pretty quickly.

The hard part is putting the hooks and needles down long enough to write! I have sketch books full of notes just waiting to be made into patterns. I love teaching and I try to pay close attention to how instructions are given to make my patterns as clear as possible. I agonize over best ways to explain each step and that can become a road block for me. I hope with time and practice, like most things in life, that this part of the process will become easier.

Thanks so much Allison!  Join Allison, me and lots of other KP staffers on our Crochet Along Group, check out Allison’s IDP designs, and Allison’s Ravelry page for more of her great designs!