Meet Lena Skvagerson!

I could say, ‘Meet our new pattern designer!’ or ‘Meet our new Knit & Crochet Now Associate Producer!’ or I could say, ‘Meet our new Ravelry liaison’ and it would all be true!

Lena Skvagerson is a yarn industry expert who has joined as at Annie’s for many duties including all of the above!  She took the time to answer a few of my questions so we could all get to know her better.  You’ll love her answers, I know I did. She is both happily pleasant and super knowledgeable.

Ellen:  How long have you been knitting and crocheting?

Lena: I started doing both in kindergarten so that was about when I was 5-6 , which is like 45 years ago. (wow :/) My kindergarten teachers there taught me my very first finger knitting and how to crochet worms. Neither my mom or grand mom was crafty, but my best friend’s mom knitted the coolest sweaters for her in the 80’ies. That’s when I really started using my own skills since my Mom wasn’t going to make me any of those trendy mohair sweaters like the ones my friend (and Madonna) was wearing. Is knitting and crochet taught in the schools in Europe?

In school in Sweden everyone (boys and girls) gets sewing class for 2 hours every other week, from grade 1-9, that class includes both knitting and crochet.

Ellen: What inspires you to design?

Lena: No 1 inspiration is and have always been fashion. I love looking in fashion magazines, or go through fancy stores and look at everything that looks knitted or crochet, and then make my own version.

Ellen: What’s your favorite color?

Lena: Blue for anything for my house, neutrals to wear for myself like white, beige, brown and black that will work forever and always match with anything, and primary colors for kids.

Ellen: When you are designing do you like to listen to music or tv or have quiet?

Lena: Love to sit on the couch with TV on when knitting/crocheting and being creative, but when I am doing the match for the patterns, then it must be completely quite and no one around to even try talking to me.

Ellen: Do you remember the first item you ever designed or improvised?

Lena: Very first were little Barbie outfits, but do not remember any particular. First real sweater was a kid sweater for my new born girl cousin. It was bright pink in bulky brushed wool, and I embroidered flowers on it using purple and light blue. It was super scratchy and I have no clue if my aunt ever put it on her.

For 25 years I have worked for Drops design. Before Drops I did take a one year college program in pattern construction. I have had numerous designs published over the years in Scandinavian magazines. During my last years at Drops I created 300+ of their tutorial knit and crochet videos.

Ellen: Is there a special place on where readers can find YOUR designs?

Lena: If you search Annie’s Signature Collection you will get all patterns that will come. There are many in the pipeline, but so far just the Crocodile Trio

Ellen: (The Crocodile Trio is a knitted version of the popular crochet technique. But never fear! Lena has many crochet items coming soon!)

Thank you Lena!  I can’t believe we didn’t get a photo of us together when we taped the newest season of Knit & Crochet Now.


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Crochet! magazine on the road

I was honored to meet many new friends at the Knit & Crochet Show in Manchester, New Hampshire 2 weeks ago!  (Wow how time flies when you are traveling!) The conference was a huge hit with classes, meet-ups, the market, book signings, the fashion show and more! Here are some highlights!


KCS 2014 Kara   KCS 2014 ellen emcee KCS 2014 Doris  Top left, here I am with Creative Knitting Editor and the Editorial Director at Annie’s, Kara Gott-Warner. Top right, here I am emceeing the CGOA fashion show (Crochet Guild of America, check them out at Next to me, walking the runway, our model is wearing Darla Fanton’s Marta Shawlette from the Autumn 2014 issue of Crochet!

Below author and designer Doris Chan and I get our celebratory chocolate cake, as we always try to do when we are together. In two of the photos I’m wearing the Bruges Lace Tunic from my new Annie’s online class, Learn to Crochet Lace.

KCS 2014 ellen yarnbomb dog

I had to pose outside the hotel with this pampered pooch statue who was proudly wearing crochet for the event. Next summer the Knit & Crochet Show will be in San Diego!

Join me on my next post when I’ll be sharing about my experience this past week taping the next season of the Knit and Crochet Now tv show!

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Maura’s Tee designer, Tammy Hildebrand

KCS 2014 Tammy

Designer, author, Tammy Hildebrand created the Maura’s Tee for the Autumn 2014 issue of Crochet! She was kind enough to answer a few qustions about herself. Above is a photo of Tammy and me just this past weekend at the Knit & Crochet Show in Manchester, New Hampshire.


Ellen: Have you ever taught any family members to crochet?

Tammy: I taught my daughters to crochet when they were about 8 and 6 years old. They both did very well and   then never picked up a hook again! I have very high hopes of my granddaughter wanting to learn in a few years. She is only 18 months old but she has been fascinated with watching me and playing with yarn since she was born!

Ellen: Who in your life is your biggest fan/supporter?

Tammy: Without a doubt, my biggest fan is my husband George. He has been so supportive and tells everyone he meets about what I do.

Ellen: What is your favorite style of yarn? (smooth, novelty, chunky, animal fiber, multi-color or solid?…)

Tammy: Smooth Bamboo, Rayon type yarns in solid, bright colors.

Please visit Tammy’s Hot Lava Crochet Facebook page:


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Behind the Scenes at Crochet!

This is my first installment of ‘Behind the Scene at the Magazine’… read it to yourself in that nostalgic narrator voice of the soap operas where they told you what happened on the previous episode…

Last week at Crochet!

Assistant Editor Sara was feverishly assembling all the NEW projects that just arrived for the upcoming spring 2015 issue. YES… 2015.  (Can you believe we work that far ahead?) Ellen consulted with Kortney, Annie’s yarn buyer, about what customers are loving in the catalog. Executive Editor Carol, was working on a new surprise for Crochet World magazine readers!  Cover artist Nick, presented 4 possible cover options for the Winter 2014 issue. (I’m so excited!). Layout artist, Dustin, brought in his adorable Giggly Girl to model something sweet for Spring issue. I think I heard her say, “Can I keep it?”.

Join us on the next installment when you can overhear Ellen say, “Velcro is the arch-enemy of yarn.”

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Scavenger Hunt!

On Thursday’s post (7/17/14) I posted a photo of a yarn. Looking through Annie’s Yarn Catalog, can you find the Brand name and style name of the yarn?




Look what I found! An old photo of me crocheting from 2009. I was working on my first book. Here is Charlie on my lap, sweet kitty. See the stack of blankets in the background? I think we have like 14 that are in use in our house.



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Come see me!

The Crochet Guild of America is having their annual conference in conjunction with the Knit & Crochet Show in Manchester, New Hampshire and I’ll be there!

The Show/vendor floor, classes, banquet, fashion show, book signings and other special events take place next week July 23-27.  Get all the details HERE: Knit and Crochet Show.

I’ll be there signing books, talking to readers, looking at swatches, scoping what is trending, and in general having the best crochet-filled long weekend of the year.

I hope to see you there!

Here I am with designer, Darla Fanton, at the 2012 Knit and Crochet Show. My book, Learn Bruges Lace had just been released.



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Guessing Game

Would you like to play a guessing game with me?

The Annie’s staff overheard me saying this yesterday…


________ is the arch-enemy of yarn.

Berroco Folio yarn

What is it?  Guess in the comments!



Pearls & Oysters Throw

Pearls & Oysters Throw

By Cindy Adams, in the Autumn issue 2014 of Crochet

Pearls and Oysters Throw

Welcome Cindy Adams! She tells us about her process here:

My favorite hook size is probably an H. Sometimes I use smaller and larger, but not usually the steel hooks. I also like to use Tunisian hooks. 

I get inspiration at all times and places. I learned NOT to look at crochet books and magazines at bedtime, or I would be awake “designing” for hours! I also have ideas that just don’t work out like I expected. I know it is unusual, but swatching is one of my favorite things to do.

When my sons were elementary school age, they would always want to stop and buy yarn and a crochet hook when we were on family vacations. (They never wanted to take stuff from home.) I don’t think they ever crocheted outside of the car, but at least they showed an interest in learning.

I would have to say that my husband is my biggest supporter, He is very patient and understanding when I stop at a yarn store. And he doesn’t complain (too much) about my stash at home that has WAY outgrown my studio.

My favorite type if yarn is multi-colored!! After that, I like just about everything except mohair, due to allergies. For crochet I prefer smoother over highly textured because I can see the stitches better.

Thanks Cindy!

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Crochet for the sake of Crochet?

I have found that there are two moods of crochet… crochet focused on the final product and crochet enjoying the process without concern for the outcome.

Sometimes, I like to crochet simply for the sake of crocheting. Maybe a pretty ball of yarn has come to the surface of a stash bin and it just begs to be something. Freeform crochet without a plan, is the way to go!

Do you ever feel this way? What’s your go-to stitch when you just want to fiddle with crochet without a pattern or plan?

maura 2

Turn your creativity on it’s head and try crocheting without a plan!

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Marta Shawlette

Marta Shawlette

By Darla Fanton

Marta Shawlette

Darla is a long-time designer and teacher. If you attend the Knit & Crochet Show in Manchester, NH in July, stop by and say, ‘hello’ or take one of her inspiring classes. Darla writes:

I started designing in 1984.  My early designs were what I think of as classic crochet, but in 1997 my sister asked me to design a project for her using a double ended hook.  The day I picked up that hook I fell in love with long crochet hooks.  The result was The Needlecraft Shop’s popular Crochet on the Double(TM) program released in 2000. 

When the company needed somebody to teach the technique at Crochet Renaissance in 2001, I discovered another passion – teaching.  I thoroughly enjoy sharing my love of crochet with students at national conferences and at my local yarn store, the Knitting Bee, in Portland, OR.  

These days I spend my time designing projects featuring all aspects of crochet, from Broomstick Lace to Tunisian and everything in between for magazines, yarn companies, and my classes.

 My most recent book, 50 Tunisian Stitches, was published by Annie’s in 2013.  

50 Tunisian stitches cover

Thanks Darla!  You can see more of Darla’s designs on Ravelry:

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