(Photo courtesy of Craftsy.com)
Tamara Kelly, creator of the blog Moogly
, came to her passion in a roundabout way. After starting a parenting blog she deciding it wasn’t for her. She kept her site active though because she had a crochet pattern she’d written posted on the blog and didn’t want to lose it. A few years later Tamara decided to start a business where she created crochet work on commission but quickly discovered she really loved creating patterns and the website transformed from there.
Full of patterns, tutorials, giveaways and all around fun, Moogly is a place for people of all skill sets to learn about crocheting. We talked to Tamara about how she got started making crochet patterns, what she loves about designing patterns and her unusual bookends.
When did you start crocheting and what inspired you to begin?
I started in around late 2001/early 2002. I was in a new baby haze and had just had my oldest. I had always wanted to learn, and actually had tried before from a free pamphlet at the crafts store and made a disaster out of it. So my sister-in-law showed me how to get the single crochet stiches going and it just clicked. From there I continued to learn from books and pamphlets – I just needed someone to show me that first step.
How did you go from simple crocheting to designing crocheting patterns?
Ups and Downs Fingerless Mittens - pattern available on Mooglyblog.com
When I started in 2001, I wasn’t on the Internet much. I was a stay-at-home-mom on a budget and I wasn’t going out buying pattern books. So I always made up my own stuff. I had One Stitch Dictionary
, which was my prized possession and I would use that to help me create my own items.
Then when my youngest went to pre-school I wanted to do something so I thought I’d start selling my finished crocheted items. Of course by then sites like Ralvelry.com were around and everything else flowed from there.
How did you learn to write a pattern?
By following other people’s patterns. Lion Brand Yarn
's website was a big one for me. Red Heart Yarn
were two others that I would use to look at patterns. Basically for me it was reading other people’s patterns. Reading really well written patterns, and a few not so well written ones, helped me learn the language of crochet so I was able to turn around and write my own.
How long does it take you to design a pattern?
I put out a new pattern almost every week. So I only have about 3 or 4 days to work on any given project. I keep a list of ideas going because sometimes I can’t come up with anything and other times I’ll get all my ideas all at once. So I’m always referring back to my master list.
What makes a good crochet pattern?
Grapey Goodness Wine Cozy - pattern available on Mooglyblog.com
In my opinion, it should be easy to follow. There are some advanced patterns out there where I even have to sit down in a quiet room and figure it out. That isn’t to say those are bad patterns; they’re just complicated.
I also think that a good pattern should follow the pattern writing standards. Everyone does it a little different and there’s different language based on what country the pattern was written in, but the writer should follow the usual crochet language and the usual layout.
I think it’s a bonus if there’s a chart or a photo, which are a big help if the pattern is complicated.
Is there one thing you love about designing patterns?
One reason I like designing is because I’m always making something new. When I was crocheting and selling the finished item I was making the same thing over and over again.
Do you have a favorite item that you like to crochet?
Cowls and scarves are my hands down favorite thing. They’re easy to wear, almost everyone can find a style that’s flattering for their body type and there’s unlimited possibilities in such a basic thing. It’s really just a rectangle no matter if it’s an infinity scarf or if it has two ends. But within those bounds there’s such creativity and such variety that you can do.
What is your favorite thing about the art of crocheting?
Melting Snow Infinity Scarf - pattern available on Mooglyblog.com
There are so many different ways to crochet and they almost always use the same basic stitches. When I started and I finally got that single crochet stitch down, I was able to understand the form and how it all works. There are so many different things you can do once you learn that basic stitch. There are still things I don’t know how to do and I love that. I love that I can know as much as I do and I still have more things to learn. That’s what really excites me.
What’s the most unusual thing that you’ve crocheted?
Bookends shaped like an elephant with opposable trunks. Each bookend was half of an elephant. That’s probably one of the more fun things – and it’s still useful!
How does your OttLite help you when you’re crocheting?
OttLite is a HUGE help when I'm crocheting. Before I even begin, it helps me to see the true colors of the yarn – nothing is worse than thinking you've grabbed one color and the next day when you’re outside in the sun you realize it was something else.
I'm not yet 40 years old, but I already find myself having trouble with dark colored yarns, thin yarns, and detail work. Turning on the OttLite makes the stitches plain to see - and even black yarn is fun again!
If someone wants to start crocheting, what tips would you give to them?
I think learning in person is probably the easiest because you can get that angle and they can correct you if you are making mistakes.
If you don’t have someone who can teach you in person, go online to learn. There are tutorials on YouTube and Craftsy.com
– there’s lots of great videos out there.
Then just dive in and start crocheting. If you like what you’re making, whether you’re following someone’s pattern or not, just keep going and keep experimenting. Don’t worry about the rules or if this is the right way to do it. If you like what you’re making then I think you’re doing it right. There’s always exceptions to the rules and sometimes those exceptions turn out to be the better choice.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?
Unfortunately they’re all secret (laughs). I do have a few things happening soon hopefully. There’s always something exciting going on so stay tuned!
Sunshine Lattice Pillow - pattern available on Mooglyblog.com
Right now on my website I have the Crochet-Along
going on. We’re about half way through but it goes all year long so there’s plenty of time for anyone interested to catch up. Each crochet block only takes a few hours and there’s a new 12” square every two weeks.
Are your children into needle arts?
Not so much. They can finger crochet a little bit but they have a mom who’s willing to make them anything they ask for. They are great artists – two of them are fantastic sketchers and they’re definitely creative in their own ways.
Do you have any suggestions to someone who thinks they don’t have enough time to crochet?
One thing I love about crocheting is that I can do it while I’m doing something else. I’m doing it while I’m watching TV or I can bring a small project with me to a waiting room at the doctor’s office. Crochet is really, really portable. You don’t have a bunch of live stitches to worry about. All you need is the yarn, a hook and throw it in a bag!
To learn more about Tamara visit her website and be sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+. Tamara also teaches classes on Craftsy.com - click here for to see her classes and to receive a discount off of her Craftsy classes!