Living Inspired: Drew Emborsky, aka The Crochet Dude

Posted by Autumn

Drew Emborsky is The Crochet Dude. He launched the wildly popular blog of the same name in 2005. He is the expert on the hit show Knit & Crochet Now! airing currently on PBS nationwide, and has been featured in national publications including BUST Magazine, Interweave Crochet, Knit.1, Knit 'n Style, Knit Simple, and Crochet Today!, as well as international newspapers such as The Sunday Telegraph (in London). His mother first taught him to crochet, and we're honored to bring you his Living Inspired interview just in time for Mother's Day. We've included pictures of some fun, fast projects too, in case you need a little inspiration for your Mother's Day gift!



Is it true you learned to crochet when you were five years old?

Yes! I’m the youngest of eight kids and each and every one of my siblings and also my parents did something crafty. In fact my dad, the ex-marine, crocheted wall-to-wall rag rugs for our farmhouse! I call him the original crochet dude. I remember seeing people knitting, woodworking, sewing, quilting, and of course crocheting! That winter we were snowed in for a few days and I was eager to pick up the hook (but I suspect Mom wanted me to just. Sit. Down!) So with a crochet hook and big ball of dark blue sparkly yarn I began to learn.

What was the first project you remember completing?

I was very lucky that Mom started me right out reading patterns because once I could do that I could make anything! That first year crocheting I made a set of potholders for Mother’s Day.



Coffee Cup Sleeve, from Drew's book, "Use Up That Yarn"





When did you start designing your own patterns?

There are some mixed memories for me on this. If you are asking when did I start to do my own designs without using another’s patterns, then I would say right around 10 years old. I did some funky shawl for Mom as a gift. I think I ended up pulling that one out later on for the yarn! If you are asking, when did I start designing professionally, that happened in 2006.

Do you have a favorite place in your home to crochet?

I take my office chair into the t.v. room and crochet while watching movies. I’ve found that it’s a great way to get two things done at the same time! I’m always behind on my movie watching so streaming them while I crochet is fun!

How did you get the name The Crochet Dude?

When I was working with the charity group HeartmadeBlessings.org the ladies there all started calling me The Crochet Dude. So in 2005 when I decided to start a blog about crocheting it just seemed like the most natural name to use, and it’s just sort of stuck with me.



Afghan from Drew's book "Hug It Out"





You’ve done a lot of work with charities. Why do you think the crafting community is so committed to giving back?

Crafters are givers, it just seems to be in our DNA. It’s such an amazing feeling to know that what you have created with some craft supplies can bring joy, happiness, and even comfort to someone who really needs it. It is the reason that I created my book Hug It Out (Leisure Arts 2011) – because the joy of crocheting for others is indescribable. In the book I give lots of different ways someone can crochet for charity such as comfortghans, prayer shawls, teddy bears, and chemo caps.

Do you have a favorite project of all time?

Yes I do. I created a king-sized bedspread that is inspired by the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the art nouveau designer from the last turn of the century, and it looks like a giant piece of stained glass. I keep saying that I need to write a pattern for it!



Teapot Cozy from Drew's Book, "Use Up That Yarn"





You’ve been featured in national magazines, have authored 7 books, and make regular appearances on television and radio. When do you find time for your own crocheting?

The only time I find to do any of my own crocheting is in the evenings after dinner, but that’s rare anymore! I wish I had more hours in the day!!

Do you have any other craft or artistic hobbies we might not know about?

I am an oil painter by trade. I was painting pet portraits professionally when I started to flirt with becoming a crochet designer. I also love to sew, cook, knit, decorate, and write ficition.

What advice would you give someone trying crochet for the first time?

Be patient with yourself and keep practicing. Use yarn that you LOVE, it’s so important! There is no happy ending to an unhappy journey!!



Faux fur trimmed coat. For Drew's book, "Crochet It Love It Wear It." This one doesn't count as easy, but it sure is amazing!"





CONTEST!



Like The Crochet Dude and OttLite on Facebook, then leave a comment below about how your mom has inspired you and you'll be entered to win a Get Started! kit from The Crochet Dude and an OttLite Folding Task Lamp! We'll announce the winner on Wednesday, May 9th. Good luck, and stay inspired!


40 Comments



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  • Carlos 5 years 168 days ago
    I taught myelsf how to crochet years ago, and getting the edges straight was the hardest thing for me...I just couldn't understand..ha! Now when I am stuck on a pattern, I go to Youtube and watch someone do it...it makes it so easy to have a visual. At the end of your 20 stitches...are you doing the "chain 1, turn, single crochet in second chain from hook"? I know it's confusing, but I'm guessing that is why the edges are taking on a life of their own. Keep at it...once you get the hang of it, it is so fun to make stuff! :)
  • Josee 5 years 168 days ago
    Love it Emily!! Keep up the good work!! And I can't wait to see your finished afahgn.I'm working on one now too, but it's much smaller than I thought it was (like 30 x 60) which is bad for cuddling, but good for speed!
  • Reo 5 years 168 days ago
    I learned when I was 7 by chikceng a book out of the library. Don't start with the smallest hooks, I began on an H hook with yarn. Make chains at first (just a string of chain stitches) until you get your tension consistant. Then you can work up to single crochet, then double, half double, and then treble. Don't start a project like a scarf right away until you know you can make consistant stitches, just make swatches and squares. When you're confident, then you can tackle a scarf which is easy, you just make rows over and over until it's as long as you want.
  • Kinan 5 years 169 days ago
    I don't remember what my first croechted item was.I feel sure my mom helped me and it was probably an afghan.The object I decided to finish making but was a complete flop was a scarf.I now crochet prayer blankets using only the granny square. I don't have my mom close by to help and that's the only thing I can remember how to make. One of these days I need to find some how-to videos online so I can crochet more items.
  • Lika 5 years 170 days ago
    Love your ripple stciehts. Your decreases are spot on. Perfect points. I was thinking just yesterday that I needed to get back started with my crocheting. And our weather turned cool enough today to shut all the windows. Fall weather has already arrived here in Michigan.
  • Marioma 5 years 170 days ago
    I have all different types of crehoct hooks. I find the crystal expressions hooks work best for me. I made handles out of sculpey oven back clay for my thin metal hooks though to make them easier to hold and work with.
  • Caleb 5 years 170 days ago
    I love the colors and its great that you are mkinag a round one to match. I admire your skill and style. We are supposed to have a cool front after it gets finished raining. It would be so nice to sit outside and have a picnic. I have been working on homework so crafts will have to wait awhile, so I will just enjoy yours.
  • Kimberly Schimmel 5 years 194 days ago
    Thank You!!!
  • Kathy Kempa 5 years 195 days ago
    My Mom, who is now in heaven, taught me to knit when I was six or seven. She taught me to crochet, to machine knit, and to embroider. She taught me how to live a happy life. I am still learning the things she taught me.
  • Kim Heslep 5 years 196 days ago
    My mom didn't teach me to crochet, I'm self taught, but she has always been my biggest cheerleader. I'm working an afghan right now for her in her favorite colors.
  • Autumn 5 years 196 days ago
    Thank goodness our winners are chosen by a random number generator...because we think all of you deserve to win! You all have amazing stories of love and inspiration, and we're honored that you shared these special stories with us.
    The winner of the Get Started Crocheting kit and OttLite Folding Task Lamp is Kimberly Schimmel. Congratulations!
  • Autumn 5 years 196 days ago
    Hi Kimberly! Congratulations! You are our winner of a Get Started Crocheting kit and an OttLite Folding Task Lamp! Please email your shipping address to community@ottlite.com.
  • Bobbi 5 years 196 days ago
    My Mom did quite a few crafts over the years, I remember going with her to oil painting classes in the evenings and reading while she painted. She was also handy with woodworking - she built me a dollhouse from scratch! When I was very young, she would crochet and knit, but her main love was sewing. She would sew her own clothes, our clothes, clothes for dolls.

    When I told her I was pregnant, one of her first questions was "are you planning to knit baby booties?" Well, no, but now that you mention it... and now it is six years later and I am an obsessive knitter. I dabble in crochet as well, but mostly knit. Her suggestion really seems to have led me to this hobby.
  • Maryann 5 years 196 days ago
    My mother inspired me to teach myself to knit and crochet. She's a righty, and I'm a lefty, so she gave me a book and told me to follow the instructions but use the opposite hands. She had confidence in me from the start, and I still love to knit and crochet!
  • LaDonna 5 years 196 days ago
    My mom instilled a love of creating in me very early in life. She was always doing something crafty, mostly crocheting and sewing. She always made sure that my sister & I had materials to make things. We made clothes for our Barbie dolls, we'd roll out huge pieces of butcher paper and draw, etc. She loved making things and loved showing others how to, as well. She and I spent many hours shopping at the craft store together - dreaming and planning.
  • Andrea 5 years 196 days ago
    My Nana used to crochet all the time. When I was born she had made me a huge teddy bear (it's about 3 feet tall) and it's one of my favorite possessions. She also taught me to crochet when I was in elementary school because I would drive her bonkers with my boredom. She always said that it's good to have something to do with your hands. She was right! I get most of my crocheting done during downtown when I'm not really thinking about it.
  • Carmen 5 years 196 days ago
    My mom was the one that taught me embroidery when I was little and crochet and knitting when I was grown up. She's inspired me to experiment and not be afraid to try new stitches and techniques.
  • Sherry Etheridge 5 years 197 days ago
    I have been my mom's caregiver for almost 8 or 9 years. She has Alzheimer's Disease and remembers me occasionally. It's difficult to talk about how she inspires me without sobbing. My heart aches for her because she is slowly disappearing and I don't want her to leave me. Mom is a kind and gentle person. She shared so much of herself with others. She taught me how to treat others the same way.

    Mom is in a nursing home now, I go 6 days a week and stay 6 to 8 hours a day with her. I crochet while I am there especially on days when she isn't able to walk but only sleep. I am in my 3rd year of caring for mom at this nursing home.
  • Grace Gardiner 5 years 197 days ago
    my mom was a sewer, my interest and inspiration for crocheting, knitting and tatting (although I still have not mastered this one) has to be credited to my grandmother, my mom's mom. In growing up, I was mesmerized w/ the beautiful items she created w/ just some "string". I wasn't fortunate to ever have gotten any thing she made, although I can still remember her and her art work!!!! I have those memories to treasure.
  • Leslee 5 years 197 days ago
    My mom is no longer with me physically, but the lessons I learned from her while she was alive are numerous. Cooking, sewing, crocheting, needlepoint, and other very useful things were a part of my every day growing up. Every time I make a crochet stitch, I think of her sitting there coaching me to keep trying, even if I have to rip out a stitch or rows...it was still going to look great! What would I do without my mom? Kind of hard to imagine if I had never had her at all!
  • Carol Martin 5 years 197 days ago
    My mother made the most gorgeous baby sets, afghans and sweaters. She taught me how to knit when I was 8 and now at 55 I'm still knitting. She inspired me with her perseverance. Despite all of her medical problems, she never complained and kept on fighting right up until the end. She gave me so much to be thankful for . So, on Sunday as I spend time with my daughter, I'll be thinking of my mother and saying "Thank you, Mom . I love you and Happy Mother's Day !!
  • Vicki Wishin 5 years 197 days ago
    My mom taught me to crochet when I was young. My mom made beautiful afghans, baby blankets, baby booties, sweaters. You name it she made it. I never thought I would crochet as well as my mother. I picked up my crochet hooks again a year or so ago and started with scarves and now am making baby blankets, booties, and hats for my first grandson who is due in August.
    My mom will be 82 this year and she just finished making slippers for my 26 year old son. Mom crotchets lap blankets for nursing homes and hats and scarves for the homeless.
    Mom tells me she will be around for a long time because she has to use up all that yarn in her stash.
    I hope when I am 82 I am still able to crochet as well as mom does.
  • Personna 5 years 197 days ago
    My mother was very excited when I learned to crochet. She can't crochet, but she encouraged me by asking me to make her things and having faith and confidence that I could in fact make what she'd asked for.
  • Kimberly Schimmel 5 years 197 days ago
    My Mom inspired me by working all day, yet still finding time to teach me to crochet and to sew. She let me experiment and screw up, then helped me fix my mistakes. I learned it was OK to make mistakes--just fix them and move on. She also taught me that a pattern is just a loose guideline--we are both inclined to design on the fly!
  • Andrea 5 years 197 days ago
    My mom first taught me how to knit and crochet. Now that it has become such a source of creativity and relaxation for me, I know I have her to thank.

    The most important thing she has taught me is to never give up on myself!
  • Deb S 5 years 197 days ago
    My Mom taught me at about 7 learn to knit 1st mirror image. She was a woman before her time. Miss her so much. So in her Honor I continue to make the round baby blanket that her such joy!
  • Karrie Smith 5 years 197 days ago
    I learned everything I know from my mom. She is the best mom anyone could ever hope for :)
  • Emily Furda 5 years 197 days ago
    My mom inspires me by how much she care for others. She'll stop to compliment someone she doesn't know or to thank someone for doing a good job. She teaches me to look for the good in people. She also helped me enjoy crafting. She doesn't craft at all she says she doesn't have the patience but she appreciates other's work. My earliest craft memories are making those loom potholders out of nylon loops. She taught me how to weave them on the look but my fingers were just too small to weave the ends to take it off the loom so she'd do it for me. She still has some of those potholders!
  • catladyzhillsfl 5 years 197 days ago
    My mother taught me how to crochet when I was ten years old. She laughed at the way I held the hook (like a shovel) but agrees that my technique makes for those tight stitches for arigurumi. Mom spends her spare time surfing the web looking for new patterns for me. She can no longer crochet herself but delights in every new creation I make. I still remember my first lesson ever with he (48 years ago)r when I made a scarf. Mom gave me a lifetime gift.
  • Kim Hynes 5 years 197 days ago
    I remember my Mom teaching me ( with amazing patience) to knit when I was around eight years old. I couple years later I taught her how to crochet ... And it's a good thing she taught me patience as well.
  • Cindy Hughes 5 years 197 days ago
    My mom taught me many wonderful things about how to be a good person. I lost her when I was a teenager and after almost twenty years, I'm still honored when people tell me how much I remind them of her. That's about the best thing anyone could ever say to me and it always reminds me of her caring ways and generosity towards others. My mom was a person who I definitely say "I want to be just like her."
  • Michelle 5 years 197 days ago
    My mom is not crafty, I got what I have from my grandmother. I did not know her well but she made a lot of different crafts! Mostly dolls and doll houses! I hope to someday be able to teach both my girls all that I know! They like to cross stitch and it's fun to shop with them for crafting fun!
  • Samantha 5 years 197 days ago
    My mom taught me the basics of crochet when I was younger by teaching me how to make granny squares. She sometimes makes granny square dishcloths so her hands don't get stiff from arthritis. She inspired me to keep crocheting -- I ended up making a giant granny square afghan. She always raised my sister and I to love crafts and now I can't stop crochting or knitting!
  • Jill Wright 5 years 197 days ago
    My Mom inspired me to use beads in both crochet and knitting. She's an avid beader, has a huge bead stash and ALWAYS has some bead stitching on the go...in fact she's making me a necklace and bracelet set right now in my own design!
  • Wendy Scott 5 years 197 days ago
    My grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet, she was always working on something. But I found out years later that I learned how to knit left handed, where did that come from? maybe from watching her from the front??? I do not knit much anymore because I can not hold onto the knitting needles very long. I buy those fat crochet hooks so I can hold them. My mother started crocheting animals/dolls for each grandchild for Christmas, she kept a log on what she gave to each child so she did not duplicate it the next year.
  • tami 5 years 197 days ago
    My mom has always been a strong woman, has worked most of her life and has inspired me to do or be whatever I wanted, and showed us that if we wanted it bad enough we could do......and that's how I became a wildland firefighter, because of a mom who believed in us!
  • Barbara Feldner 5 years 197 days ago
    My mother was a self taught crocher and she didnt make anything fancy but to me it was beautiful.... her doilies are some of my greatest possession.... she taught me to crochet with a home made hook and string... memories that can never be forgotten... she taught me a lot of things I use to make my life the way I like it....
  • Kay K 5 years 197 days ago
    My loving Mom taught me how to cross stitch when I was eight years old. I stitched the words Home Sweet Home. When I carefully completed those words in green embroidery floss my Mom and I picked out a frame to display it in. Today even after forty plus years, I have it proudly displayed in my office where I look at it often when I am working on my Kindergarten lesson plans for my students, and I remember the many talents my Mom shared with me.
  • Heather Beckham 5 years 197 days ago
    My Mother inspires me all the time. She teaches Algebra & Geometry and as the most senior faculty member became department head of her school. She works hard to inspire learning-even if it's not just mathematics. She inspired me to learn crocheting when I was little watching her learn from our next door neighbor, "Grandma K", a lady who smuggled herself and her four children out of Russia and to safety. She inspired me to look at people for who they are, not how they are on the outside.
  • Jerry Beavers 5 years 197 days ago
    I remember Mom making pineapple doillies. We had them all over the house & she also gave them to friends & family. They were really pretty--wish I had one of them. After I started crocheting, I found her doillie experience amazing because she could not read a pattern--she just looked at the pattern & whipped one up. I had this popcorn pattern that she just loved , but couldn't figure out how to make. I showed her how to make the stitch--I have one of her afgahns from this stitch.