Crochet to Go by Alicia Bergin (published by Chronicle Books) is a new crochet book that’s printed like a card deck. It comes in a box with 25 fold out pattern cards with projects you will no doubt drool over. I love this format because you can sort out right away which projects you will tackle first and take your working pattern with you in your tote bag. My first project I want to tackle is the cover shot of the Wrap Top which is a perfect spring crochet project. I’m also happy to say, it’s also this week’s CRAFT Pattern Podcast! Hurrah! You’ll also no doubt love the bevy of other projects that are packed in this box. I love the iPod Cozies. I can’t seem to get enough of them. (I have about 5 iPods which is crazy enough.) These cozies are cute with the musical note intarsia. Other favorites are the crochet necklace, cupcake pin cushion (pictured above along with Alicia herself), placemats, blanket, baby patterns, home accessories, and more. There’s also a good number of fun quick projects you can probably finish in a day or weekend. You’ll love the fresh new patterns and the versatility this Crochet to Go deck gives you.
I was delighted to get a chance to talk more with Alicia Bergin to find out more about her Crochet to Go Deck and get all her great crochet tips!
Nat: How did you first get interested in crochet and what other kinds of crafts do you do?
Alicia: I made my first crochet project as a gift for a pregnant friend. I bought a book with illustrations demonstrating how to make a foundation chain and single crochet, and got to work. It was a tiny, baby blue cardigan with snap closures and little yellow star buttons. I knew nothing about gauge and yarn weight, and ended up with a carefully constructed, doll-sized sweater. It never fit the baby, but gets use on a favorite teddy bear.
I loved the process of making it (as well as the fact that I could now say I was “working” while watching TV). I stuck with baby clothes for a number of years, only recently moving on to adult-sized garments.
Crochet is definitely my main craft, but I also enjoy sewing clothes and simple items for the house. I have a minor obsession with aprons. I like to “fix” things as well – painting walls, refinishing furniture, and general prepping and polishing. I am also fortunate to have a job at a graphic design firm (Method Inc), so I’m surrounded by creative people all day long. My mother, an accomplished quilt maker and all around crafter, deserves all the credit for my creative ability.
Nat: Tell me more about Crochet to Go and what was your process for designing/developing the patterns?
Alicia: Crochet to Go was a wonderful accident. After that initial baby sweater, I continued making gifts for friends, including several for people at Chronicle Books, where I worked for a number of years. I took a long break in 2005 to travel, and returned at the same time my editor, Carey Jones, was looking for an author for the deck. She gave me an opportunity I hadn’t even imagined was possible, based on those gifts she had seen.
Of course, there’s always a complication. I had planned having long, leisurely, unemployed days to crochet and casually job hunt. I received a job offer only hours (seriously – the same day!) after agreeing to write the patterns. To make my deadline, I outlined a work schedule – 1 project per week, 2 hours of crocheting per weekday, 4 hours per weekend day. It was intense, and I’m somewhat proud to say I can now crochet standing up on a bus. The initial list of projects I outlined with my editor actually changed very little over the development process.
Nat: What are some of your favorite patterns from Crochet to Go?
Alicia: That’s a tough one. I use the striped hat pattern constantly (I made it 6 or 7 times for Christmas presents). I love the Open-Weave Shawl and the purple wrap top shown on the cover – I actually kept that one for myself and wear it all the time. I’m really fond of the baby projects, and I just adore the photograph of the cupcake pincushion.
Nat: Can you share some crochet tips for our readers?
- Don’t be afraid to substitute yarns and colors: the finished project might not look like the picture in the pattern, but you’ll end up with a custom, personalized garment.
- Try different materials – fabric, metal, plastic, twine, etc. Crochet is very flexible.
- It may take awhile for your stitches to become even – it takes practice and hand strength to achieve a truly consistent result. Just keep trying, and eventually perfection is effortless.
Nat: What are you working on this spring and summer?
Alicia: I have a huge list of projects. Three friends are having babies this summer, so I’m making baby clothes first. I plan to make a felted wall hanging (which sounds horrible and very 1970s, but I think you’ll like the result). My mother recently gave me a stack of pattern books from 1910-1950, and there are a number of patterns in there I plan to try. You can follow my progress on my blog: http://crochettogo.blogspot.com/.