Pam Daley is one of our most prolific IDP crochet designers – she has 5 so far in the program with several more on the way. And all are super cute! We enjoy getting the samples of her designs & ooing and ahing over them – oh and putting them the KP babies!
(that’s baby Ella, the newest member of the KP team, wearing Pam’s Sweet-Heart Hat)
SInce we are featuring crochet this month with our Crochet Along, it was only natural I do an interview with Pam! So here it is, and it’s inspiring for anyone wanting to learn a new craft. Enjoy!
How long have you been crocheting?
I think I was probably 9 or 10 when I learned to crochet; knitting came shortly after. So it’s been 45 years!
Who taught you to crochet?
My grandma taught me – the ‘crafty’ gene skipped my mom so even though I only saw my grandma infrequently, crocheting became something special for us to share whenever we did get to see each other. She passed away about 6 years ago and one of my regrets is that I didn’t start getting serious about designing in time for her to see what I’ve been able to do. I like to think she’d be proud of me.
(Pam’s grandmother with Pam)
What was your first project?
I honestly don’t remember the specific project, but it’s a safe bet that it was a potholder or a washcloth.
What is your favorite fiber to work with?
I really don’t think I could pick a hands down favorite. I absolutely love the new bamboo blends and soft cotton yarns; and the merino blends (especially the hand-painted sock yarns) are so much fun to work with. I very much appreciate the excuse KnitPicks has given me to be able to play with so many different types of yarn as I design my patterns.
What inspired you to start designing?
About 3 years ago I found myself battling cancer and while I was going through chemo I had very little physical strength or stamina. I had not spent much time crocheting in recent years (career, kids, life had gotten in the way!) but I pulled out my hooks and my yarn stash and began spending hours crocheting. It kept me busy, I felt like I was accomplishing something and it reminded me how much I loved the art.
A friend introduced me to Etsy.com shortly thereafter and I opened a shop selling my finished crocheted items. I loved making and selling the things I was creating, but my husband and I were working toward being able to live and travel full-time in an RV and I knew I would not have the space to carry the inventory necessary to maintain my shop as it was.
I had toyed with a couple of different ideas for an on-line business that I could run once we hit the road, but none inspired me. It finally dawned on me that I could easily combine my love of crochet and a digital on-line business by creating and selling my original patterns.
So now I have the best of both worlds – I still get to create and crochet plus I’m building a library of patterns for my business.
Is there anything in particular that inspires your designs?
I love babies. And since I prefer smaller crochet projects most of the time, the two just go together naturally. I have 2 grandsons (4 & 2 years old) and 1 granddaughter (9 months) who are probably my biggest inspiration these days.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
There are a few crochet designers on Etsy and Ravelry whom I admire for the sheer number of designs they have created, but I don’t really have a favorite designer as far as a certain style.
How long do your designs take to create from start to finish?
I have a spiral notebook that I keep close by; I use it to jot down or sketch out pattern ideas. Those ideas may stay there for months before I get back to them but once I start actively working on a pattern it’s usually complete in 2 weeks or so. Although there have been times when I have trouble translating the idea in my head to the yarn in my hand and I’ll put it away for awhile.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’d just like to encourage those of you out there (and you know who you are!) who crochet and knit but don’t think you could ever write patterns. Yes you can!! If you’ve been making things for a while I would bet that you’ve tweaked a design or changed something on a pattern you were following. Next time you do that, go ahead and write it down. When a pattern gives you pause as you try to figure it out, rewrite it to make sense to you. And then look up a new stitch design and write a simple dishcloth pattern using it. You may never show it to anyone else, but it’s a first step toward learning a new skill.
I don’t mean to over-simplify the process, and creating an entirely new pattern from scratch is a skill that takes time and practice – and is at times very frustrating. Just as learning to knit or crochet can be frustrating at times. But there is something almost ‘soul satisfying’ about being able to create a beautiful scarf, hat, or anything else from just a tangle of yarn and a stick with a hook on it. And when the pattern itself is something you made and can share with others, well, doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂