I met Anastacia Zittel because she emailed me a link to her website and invited me to check out her crochet patterns. I'm always delighted to meet other crohet designers, and since I know that many of you are as well, I thought I would interview Anastacia and give us all a chance to get to know her better. I've posted the interview below; my questions to her appear in bold, and her answers follow.
Tell us a little about your crochet patterns: what sort of patterns do you make available? Is there a general price range you work within? Where can people find the patterns?
My price range for my patterns is between $3-$6. I try to be fair with my pricing – if it’s a simpler pattern that didn’t take me as long to develop, then I charge less. If it’s something more complicated (like my Anika vest, written for 6 sizes & has a schematic & a chart), then I charge a little more. Most of my patterns are $5.
How long have you been crocheting? What prompted you to get started with crochet? How did you learn to crochet?
I learned as a kid, as so many of us did. We moved when I was 14, & I wanted a new afghan for my new bedroom. Both of my parents know how to crochet, but neither were crafting (still aren’t). I begged them to make them an afghan & they wouldn’t, so I went out, bought yarn, dug out a crochet hook, & started one. No pattern, just straight dc. I crocheted until I ran out of yarn, picked up another color, & kept going.
Tell us about your first crochet project. How did it turn out?
Well, my gauge on the afghan tightened up as I went along; practice, you know, so you can imagine what this afghan looks like!
How did you decide to get into designing crochet patterns?
I always changed up patterns. I was never happy with the trim, or the gauge, or the yarn, or the size. I’ve always enjoyed simplier patterns that still look beautiful; something you can make while watching tv, chatting with a friend, etc.
What sets your crochet designs apart from everyone else's?
I think the fact that they are approachable for anyone to make. Recently someone saw my designs, someone who hadn’t crocheted in 30 years. She saw my stuff, got so excited about it, bought a couple of my patterns, & she’s now crocheting again. THAT’S exactly what I’m aiming for!
What's your greatest crochet accomplishment?
I recently crocheted an afghan & we raffled off tickets for my cousin’s Alzheimer’s Memory Walk in honor of her father/my uncle, & we raised over $500 in just over a month.
Who are your crochet heroes and / or heroines?
Elizabeth Zimmermann, though a knitting designer, is definitely my heroine! I mean, the woman knitted on the back of a motorcycle, used a knitting needle to fix a boat’s engine, had several PBS knitting shows, & is credited for bringing modern knitting alive. I love Michelle Kludas, Linda Permann, Vashti Braha etc for their timeless, classic, easy but beautiful designs.
Do you have any favorite yarns and / or yarn suppliers?
I love love love alpaca & other natural fibers, & I love knitpicks.com & elann.com for my yarn. I actually buy a lot of yarn from yard sales, too, which is why so many of my patterns are one skein wonders!
Do you have any favorite go-to stitches? I love crochet shells. There’s so many variations & you can do so much with this simple stitch.
Are there any emerging crochet trends that you find interesting these days?
I really don’t follow the trends; I try to design classic items that will stand the test of time.
Where do you think crochet design trends are heading next?
I think the 60’s are coming back, or maybe I just want to see all those bright colors come back!
What tips and advice would you give to brand new crocheters?
Take your time, don’t be afraid of your crocheting – it’s only yarn & you can’t “ruin it”. If it doesn’t come out like the pattern, then you can use it for something else! It’s a “design element”!
What advice would you give to crocheters who are thinking about designing their own patterns but haven't jumped in yet?
It’s a lot of work, a lot more than most people realize.
Find a group of people who like what you do & are supportive of your work, and let them test your designs. Listen to them, & incorporate their ideas to make your pattern better.
Get it tech edited – I know it’s hard to afford a good tech editor when you are starting out, & I didn’t get my first few patterns tech edited by a professional, either, but a lot of people on Ravelry will help you edit your pattern for free, so use their experience to help you. Don’t be afraid to rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Don’t release a pattern until you are really happy with it, because if you put something out there – even a free pattern – with mistakes, or badly written, people will remember that & it WILL come back to haunt you! Try to find a mentor to help answer your questions along the way.
Besides crochet, are there any other crafts you enjoy? How have these crafts influenced your crochet design, if at all?
knitting, embroidery, latch hooking, cross stitching, spinning, dying yarn & fiber, attempts at sewing… I think I’ve tried it all at one point or another. I can’t say my other crafting really influences my designing, but I am obsessed with quilts & I love to use that in my designs!
A Note From Amy, Your Crochet Guide: If you visit many of my crochet pages here on crochet.about.com, you'll find that links to Anastacia's patterns are incorporated into the pages. She has generously allowed About.com to use her images when linking to her patterns. I hope you will find the photos and links helpful when you are looking through our pages. For example, you can see several of Anastacia's scarves pictured here on this page.
If you'd like to find Anastacia online, there are several other places you can go to see more of her work.