Welcome to the designer feature section of Crocheters Have More Fun! Each week will be featuring a different size inclusive indie designer! If you have additional questions for a specific designer please leave it in the comments.
Stephanie Erin is an experienced crochet and tunisian crochet pattern designer. She focuses on modern design elements that make knitters want to pick up a hook.
Size inclusivity is not an issue with Stephanie’s mathematical magic – as she creates unique designs that are flattering to every size and shape.
Stephanie strives to continue coming up with unique designs that are accessible to all levels of experience and provide makers with a finished item they’ll love.
- What is your name?
My name is Stephanie Erin.
- What is your designing/business name?
By Stephanie Erin
- Where can people find you?
- How long have you been in business? Have you always designed? Has it always been garments?
I started designing in November 2018. My first few designs were accessories, the Winter Waves Headband and the Aria Cowl. Shortly after I jumped into designing garments, starting my V is for Velvet Sweater in December of 2018. I released my first garment in January of 2019 and I have been hooked on garments since.
- What is the most challenging thing about designing for you?
Time management! There are a lot of different steps in designing and managing all of those steps can be really difficult.
- Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration for designs everywhere. It can be as simple as I like a stitch pattern so I want a sweater in it as was the case with the Chevron Cardi, or more complex like my Andraste where I was inspired by epaulets that knights wore in medieval times. I wanted to do a modern take of armour in a sweater version and that’s how my obsession with beads started.
- How long does it take you to get a design from an idea to a final pattern available to the public?
This varies wildly from project to project. Generally it is about 3-4 months from coming up with the initial idea, finding the perfect yarn, swatching, pattern writing, making the sweater, photography, testing, editing and finally release. Some projects I give testers a much longer period if I’ve used more complex techniques in the pattern, and some projects that are simpler will have shorter windows.
- Please describe your designing process.
I always start with a sketch. This can be a really rough pencil/pen version on lined paper to more recently I have started using my iPad and Apple Pencil to create a colour version of a sketch so I can easily change elements as the idea evolves. This also helps me share ideas with companies and indie dyers in a more professional format. Once I have the idea I work on finding the right yarn and then I start swatching. I always create my swatch, measure, block my swatch and then measure again. This really helps me to see how the stitch pattern behaves before and after blocking so that I can expect these differences while creating my garment, knowing that the stitches will change after blocking. Then I start doing some math. I generally start a new spreadsheet for every design and input gauge to come up with some rough stitch count goals for every section of the body. I then start working on the intricacies of the design, like the multiple needed for the stitch count.
Then once I know what my numbers look like I will start working on the actual garment. While making, I write down everything I do in a notebook, so when I go to write the actual pattern there is less revision involved. Generally I work the pattern up simultaneously to making it so that changes can easily be made.
Once the garment is done and blocked, I review the pattern, take some finished photos and call for testers!
- Which 3 of your designs are you most proud of and why?
I am incredibly proud of my Once Upon a Dream Dress, Andraste and Eliana.
The Once Upon a Dream Dress
I love the Once Upon a Dream Dress because I was able to grade it from child size 2 through to a 5X. It looked great on both children and women of all shapes, ages and sizes. I am very proud at how universally inclusive it is.
Andraste holds a special place in my heart because it was my first design to use beading. The whole design was very intentional and it’s still my best selling pattern.
Eliana is special to me because I used mohair alone in crochet, which I hadn’t seen done like that before and it used a complex intarsia technique through the yoke. I love introducing new concepts to other crocheter’s and seeing them gain new confidence and skills as they are making the pattern!
- What are your MUST HAVES in your final patterns?
For me different coloured sizing is huge. Especially in patterns that have lots of sizes (which is awesome!) but it can get really confusing to read through all those numbers. When it’s colour coded I find it a lot easier to follow.
- Who is a designing you admire and why?
I greatly admire Alexandra Tavel of Two of Wands. Her designs are unique and it is really easy to identify a piece as being designed by her. I love her style and how she chooses to present her patterns to the world. She’s also an incredibly nice person!
What is one random fact about you that most people probably don’t know?
A random fact about me is that I was an Irish Dancer growing up! I spent most of my childhood competing at a National and International level. We wore curly wigs and elaborate dresses to compete and I think that’s where my fascination with colour and shapes began.
What is one piece of advice you have for someone who is just starting out designing garments?
First of all, just start. There will be a million road blocks along the way and a million reasons to convince yourself you can’t and aren’t enough.
Once you get started the biggest piece of advice I can give is to use Craft Yarn Council standard measurements when developing sizing and grading. Even if you think it doesn’t look right, trust that those measurements are right and it will help with your overall fit! Also when starting to grade remember that just because bust size is increasing doesn’t mean that shoulders and neck size change that much. This is a very common mistake new designers make and then plus sizes end up with way to wide a neck or massive shoulders.
Lastly, reach out to other designers! If you’re struggling with something often another designer may have gone through something similar and is willing to share their experience or knowledge.
If you have any other questions for me you can comment below or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org!