Meet Tatiana from Lilla Bjorn Crochet
Tatsiana from Lilla Björn Crochet:
Can you tell us about how you got started with crochet?
– First of all I would like to thank you for such a great opportunity to feature my crochet work in The Crochet Cafe. I do appreciate it a lot. I design crochet interior accessories. I am originally from Belarus but currently live and work in the Czech Republic. And regarding your question… hm… I can’t really remember when I first started to crochet and what my first crocheted project was. I was 5 or 6 years old. A very nice woman, Raisa, taught me to use yarn and hook in kindergarten. I remember she was very strict and she had red hair. This is how my crochet-knitting-yarn adventure began. I became really addicted to fiber crafts and have been crocheting for all my life!
Where does your crochet design inspiration come from?
– I think as for every designer it comes from everything. Sometimes I have a very clear idea of what I want to make, I can even draw a sketch before starting to crochet. But very often I can see something in a magazine, or in the street and an idea is already inside my head. For example while walking through the old town of Stockholm two months ago I saw a print with a very cute drawing of an owl in one of the shops windows. If it was not too late and the shop was still open, I would definitely buy that poster. But instead I took a picture and I am very strong in my wish to design an amigurumi owl. I just need to finish other projects first and then I will come back to this idea. Oh yes, I will! ☺
I am a huge fan of your mandalas and the colorwork in them. They are absolutely gorgeous. Do they have a special significance to you?
– Oh, thank you very much! Yes, I like to make mandalas. They can be used as a very powerful and at the same time very simple tool for meditation. Unfortunately I don’t practice meditation in its right sense but I like to color mandalas with the yarn. I think this also can be called a kind of meditative technique. While working on a mandala you choose certain colors which you feel are best for you at the moment. And stitch by stitch the mandala is growing in your hands. Crochet itself is known to be a good means of relaxation and reducing stress. But when you crochet mandalas this effect is even stronger: your fears disappear, your nerves are calming down. You feel better. At least I feel better when I design mandalas.
What is your favorite yarn to work with and why?
I can’t say I’ve tried many yarns in my life and I usually use what can be found in local stores. As I mainly work in overlay crochet technique pure cotton yarn works best for me. I feel happy if there are lots of shades to be chosen from and I like stiffer yarns, because they make an overlay image of a crocheted piece very vivid and clear. Overlay crochet was invented by a fantastic crochet artist and jewelry maker Melody McDuffee in early 2000’s. It has the roots in Aran crochet and cabling and it helps to create “mosaic effect” of changing the colors after every stitch while in fact you change the colors each round. This is amazing! When I first tried it, I totally fell in love with this technique and cannot stop using it till today.
In general I prefer natural fibers, like mix wool for example which is in my opinion a great choice for making pillows. And I am not very fond of acrylic or other artificial or synthetic yarns. Though I know that nowadays there are lots of modern acrylic yarns of a great quality available, I just haven’t tried them. Probably I am a little bit old fashioned…
What are your greatest crochet accomplishments?
– Right now the fact I am giving an interview about my crochet work is already a great accomplishment of mine! ☺ I used to work as a journalist in the past and took lots of interviews from other people, but I have never been interviewed myself. But to be serious, I think my best crochet accomplishment is that I started to create my own designs. It all started not so long ago, actually, only a year and half ago. And I am really amazed how many great people I’ve met (virtually) since then, and how many new friends I got, and that I got to know wonderful crochet designers. This is unbelievable!
Surprisingly my designs were several times nominated by The Crochet Awards as best for the year 2015. In the 3rd quarter 3 of my designs became winners. And these are: Dandelion Mandala Sunflower Pillowcase and Mint Coffee Mandala potholder
And this feels a little bit unreal to me. Last summer I had my very first personal mystery CAL (Crochet-A-Long) Circles of the Sun and surprisingly it was a big success… This CAL was aimed to introduce overlay crochet to people who have never heard about it before, and to teach them. All tutorials were published in a free access on my blog and they are still available.
But I cannot say these are only my own accomplishments. For example the CAL would never be possible without help and huge support from lots of people – my wonderful testes, Esther Dijkstra from It’s All In a Nutshell (www.itsallinanutshell.com) who made high quality videos, Dianne Baan from Haakdingen (www.haakdingen.nl) who translated tutorials into Dutch, and Kimberly Slifer (a creative mind behind Just A Girl And a Hook (www.justagirlandahook.com) and the leader of an Official CCC Social group on Facebook where my CAL was hosted. Everything what is happening in my crochet life today is an accomplishment of many, many people.
What are your most popular patterns?
Dandelion Mandala and Dandelion Border became very popular! When I was creating them I couldn’t even imagine they would be such a success.
Kaleidoscope Mandala Bag and Mint Coffee Mandala Potholder are also among favorites. These designs were nominated by The Crochet Awards in different categories. And Circles of the Sun Mystery CAL has become very popular, too. Every time I see pictures of newly finished pillows and blankets I feel very happy!
Do you have any other hobbies?
I can’t say I have some hobbies except for crochet… Well, I like to sing very much. I had been studying opera singing for many years. But it didn’t lead to some “professional” results and I decided to give up. I feel bad about this but at least my husband doesn’t need to listen to my singing all day long and everywhere – in the bathroom, in the kitchen…
How do you balance your work and home life?
Crochet has become my daily job recently. Now my son is 4 years old and he goes to kindergarten. And I stay at home and work on my designs and patterns during the day. So my life is more or less normal… Except for those crazy nights when I get a sudden idea and start to crochet late in the evening till the middle of the night, and the next morning I am tired to death and not able to get out of my bed. But I must, as I also have a wonderful dog. She is understanding in many ways and can agree with my extra-crochet experiments, but when she really needs to go out–everything should wait. I am a lucky woman as I am married to a great man who is supporting me in everything and even helping me with the technical side of crochet. He is a programmer (Yes! Lucky I am!), so he can take care of my blog if something goes wrong.
What do you do when you are not crocheting?
When I am not crocheting I am writing posts for my blog about crochet and creating crochet patterns. ☺ But if seriously, I am just an ordinary woman who takes care of an apartment, cooks, washes the dishes, plays with the kid, walks with the dog… There is nothing extraordinary about my life.
Anything else that you would like to share with us?
Today crochet is brought to a new level thanks to work of many super talented and creative designers. Now it’s not just something our mothers and grandmothers were doing. Crochet is trendy! It plays a significant role in modern design in different areas – interior, furniture, fashion, accessories . And it’s great, isn’t it?
Find Tatiana on Ravelry below and take a peak around her shop!
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