A Chat With The Crochet Dude

Drew Emborksy, a k a The Crochet Dude, has been a force in the crochet world for several years. He recently launched a line of Crochet Dude branded crochet products with Simplicity / Boye. He always has buckets of new patterns and books, including his latest. He is forever doing good things for people, like making a square for the Chain Reaction Afghan Project. And doggone it, people like him. He took time out from a recent road trip to give you all an update on his crochet world.

When you're not on the road, what's a typical day look like?

After I get the cats and fish fed, I head directly to my studio, which is at the back of my home. I try to get as much work done as I can before heading to the gym around lunchtime to work out. I've discovered that breaking up the day that way has made me so much more productive. I get back to the studio and work some more until dinnertime. Then I force myself to stop, walk away, do something "non work" related — and that's where cooking comes in. I enjoy trying new recipes, inventing my own and dirtying every pot and pan in the kitchen. It's such a great hobby.

Do you have a favorite recipe you can share?

Despite how fancy my menus may sound, I subscribe to the 'keep it simple' philosophy when it comes to cooking. So many times just one little key ingredient can take the everyday to an amazing level of flavor or presentation.  For example one of my favorite snacks is to take mini pretzels and dip them in melted chocolate (like from a chocolate candy bar), and lay them on wax paper to harden. So easy, right? But to take that to a crazy deelish level, mix a pinch or three of cayenne pepper in the chocolate before dipping the pretzels! Okay, now my mouth is watering just thinking about it!!

Do you use crocheted potholders?

Some of my first "designs" were the potholders that I crocheted for my mom for mother's day when I was 6 or 7 years old. Mom used them her entire life and when she passed away I was thrilled to get them to have in my own kitchen.

You sent your reply on an iPad! What's your favorite crochet-related way to use this toy, I mean, tool?

You mean besides The Crochet Dude app? LOL – well, I love to the play with Moodboards which is such a fantastic way to use photos to pull together creative ideas. I'm constantly looking for different ways to inspire my crochet designs and Moodboards is a lot of fun! I also use the Netflix app a lot when I'm traveling to stream movies, and I have to admit to a minor addiction to Words With Friends.

What's your favorite online medium for keeping in touch with people?

I love blogging and continue to maintain The Crochet Dude® blog, but I really love the instant interaction that I get with Twitter & Facebook.  Each is subtly different and attracts a diverse following so I find them all exciting.

You gave up coffee for Lent. How's that working out?

Well, first I have to admit that I'm not even Catholic so I'm not sure why I decided to participate in Lent this year. That being said it's working out well. I'm enjoying exploring all the different teas that are out there and learning about them.

Will you stick with a caffeine-free life after Easter?

The last time I stopped drinking coffee (about 6 years ago) it lasted until I traveled to Italy and was given a cup of the most amazing espresso. That's all it took to lure me back. I'm sure something similar will happen sometime this year.

Your work shows a lot of texture. Do you have a favorite stitch to create that texture?

I've been relying heavily on post stitches and every one of the projects in Crochet It Love It Wear It! (Leisure Arts 2010) utilizes the post stitch somewhere in the pattern. It not only adds that great texture but also creates wonderful drape too. Recently I've been doing a lot of experimentation with stitch combinations that juxtapose taller and shorter stitches for textural results. I love it when I can get the stitches to "disappear" and all that you see is the fabric of texture.

You're a Boye boy. What do you love about these hooks?

I've been using Boye hooks since I was a little boy, and in fact my mom AND my grandma used them too (Grandma only had one arm —I still can't figure out how she raised nine kids and crocheted to boot!). That being said I love the tapered throat of the hook because I find it doesn't snag or split the yarn as much. I also find the placement and size of the thumb-rest to be perfect; it seems I can crochet for hours and hours without getting fatigued because of it.

What crochet plans are you cooking up that you can talk about?

I just met with my editor over at Leisure Arts yesterday and we finalized the outline for my next full-length book, which will be women's fashion again, this time with a twist.  Also I will be appearing at Maker Faire in San Mateo this year, I have a New England tour planned for this summer that includes a stop at the Etsy headquarters in NYC. I'm in final pre-production and getting ready to tape a third season of Knit & Crochet Now (PBS). I have a few other cards up my sleeve that I'll be able to talk about more later on. For now, readers can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, sign up for my Newsletter on my website, and they can find my appearance schedule there as well.

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