Designer Q&A: Alessandra Hayden

Designer Alessandra Hayden has had a passion for crochet almost her entire life—especially for tapestry crochet. It was only natural she would write a book about it. In her new pattern collection, Modern Tapestry Crochet, she treats crocheters to a beautiful array of patterned projects for the home and wardrobe. We sat down for a quick Q&A about tapestry crochet, design, and getting creative with what you have.

Thanks for taking time for this little chat! Let’s start with something every crocheter can relate to: your life as a crocheter. What’s it like?

I am that lady that you will see pull out a ball of yarn and crochet hook from her bag in public. My kids are involved in a lot of activities, so I bring my projects along with me to swimming lessons, ukulele lessons, ballet, etc. I take whatever little time I can get! Other than that, I usually crochet in the evenings while watching a show on TV with my husband.

Filling spare moments with crochet is totally the way to go. So how did you get started with crochet design?

Back in high school, I remember seeing a cute crochet top at a store and I thought that it would be a great idea if I came up with my own garment designs—so I did. I ended up having to make the garments several times so my best friends could have their own versions, too! During college I took a break from crocheting, but picked it back up a couple of years after getting married. In 2008, I opened a little online shop where I was selling items I had crocheted, and I received a lot of inquiries about where my patterns came from, so I decided to dive into pattern writing.

That makes complete sense. But why tapestry crochet?

I know a lot of crocheters are knitters, but I am not and I have always loved the look of Fair Isle knitting. I love that with a simple stitch and basic yarn, shapes and colors are used to create amazing pieces. So I tried to recreate that in crochet and that is when I fell in love with tapestry crochet. I think if you love using colors, even if you are going with a classic black and white, you can create something out-of-the-ordinary using this technique.

Tapestry crochet certainly does pave the way to pattern and color in a unique way! I love the look of it, too. But creating a pattern from scratch and choosing the colors… I imagine that must be challenging sometimes. Where do you get your ideas?

Inspiration comes from a lot of different places to me. I have propensity to create pieces for kids since I have two little ones and my life pretty much revolves around them, but I have found inspiration in nature, mosaic tiles, etc.

What’s next for you? Any fun projects in the works?

Yes, there is always something fun in the works! I’ve been working on some home decor projects with summer in mind. Cactus and pineapples are on my radar!

Sounds super cute! Do you have any advice for readers looking for ways to fit more tapestry crochet into their lives?

Well, if you’re like me, sometimes you buy certain items of clothing because you think you can’t ‘t live without them, but when you get home they don’t go with anything you already have. What do I do? I make a hat, a scarf, or a cowl to tie it all together! Tapestry is a really good way to pick up two or more colors and make them work with what you have. And for anyone who is new to tapestry crochet, my suggestion is to never be afraid of trying a new technique. There is no harm in trying, and you never know if you love something if you don’t try it!

Learn more about Alessandra and check out her work at Modern Tapestry Crochet hits shelves July 19.

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