Vickie Howell Talks Crochetscene
Full disclosure—I think Crochetscene 2017 might be one of the most inspiring crochet magazines I’ve received in years! From the bulky cables and chunky yarn to the thread crochet, this oversized issue is full of innovative designs, modern silhouettes, and home décor pieces. And I am a little bit obsessed with the Colorado Poncho.
I caught up with co-editor Vickie Howell to talk about the issue.
What were you looking for in this issue?
Since Crochetscene only comes out once a year, the first thing that was a focus for us was to have a well-rounded collection of garments, accessories, and home dec projects so that crocheters would be excited to go back to the issue and make something new, regardless of the season. I also wanted there to be plenty of modern, totally doable DIY projects for stitchers—meaning pieces that they could fit into busy schedules (which seems to be the new norm), complete with success, and feel cool wearing, giving, or decorating!
The second thing that was really important to me was that a sense of crocheter culture and community be represented through a range of features. From a one-on-one interview with a fine artist who uses crochet in her work and product picks from both larger companies and indie artisans, to profiles of a few star crocheters (from across the globe) to watch, and some shout-outs to stitchers on Instagram whose feeds I find inspiring, I hoped to make connections for people with some of the bright spots in the crochet world.
The last thing I hoped to bring to this issue is a nod towards pop culture, which is currently very much influenced by bulk programming. “Binge watching” TV series and listening to niche podcasts have become the norm—both of which lend themselves well to entertaining crocheters (even more than the yarn is already doing) while our hands are moving. Included are recommendation lists for some of our favorite programs to watch or listen to during those long stretches of glorious stitching.
All in all, we just wanted the issue to be beautiful, but not take itself too seriously; to be playful, without skewing too young; to be cool, but still really accessible. I guess, we wanted Crochetscene 2017 to be like a friend that you’d love hanging out with!
Which project do you want to crochet first? Or have you already started one . . . or two?
I had fun making the projects I designed, especially the Hi-Fi hat and Expanse Scarf. I love quick, show pieces—accessories that add a bit of funk to an outfit, but requiring a minimal amount of time to finish. Both of those fit the bill!
The bigger projects I’m dying to stitch are the chunky Limitless Coat by Teva Durham and the Jailhouse Rock Pullover by Melissa Leapman. Both perfectly balance between the on-trend and classic design worlds.
If I was feeling ambitious time-wise, I’d dive into the Gobi Dress by Annastasia Cruz—I think it’s just spectacular in an understated way!
How did you choose the projects to be included?
In February, Editor Marcy Smith showed up at my house in Austin with a huge box of submissions. For what would turn out to be an action-packed forty-eight hours—with breaks only for sleep, a visit to the LYS, and possibly a bevvie or two—we talked over visions, designs, and yarn. We took over my office, then migrated to the kitchen table, and even absconded with my daughter’s whiteboard easel to hold our sticky-note map for the issue-to-be. Once we’d decided what the stories (themes for each layout) would be, then we started matching up submissions with a respective story. A few samples we took outright, but more often we asked the designer if they’d be willing to tweak a few things or re-concept the design to fit within those themes. Most were happy to do so. From there, we contact other designers directly with requests for either a specific type of garment or some general guidelines for them to riff on.
The photography in this issue is stunning. I especially love the black and whites. How did you choose the photography style and locations?
I can’t take any of the credit for locations—those were chosen by Marcy and magazine designer, Kit Kenseth—some of the spreads were actually shot at her house! The photography is the mastery of Nate from Haperpoint Photography. He immediately “got” what we wanted as soon as we gave him an overview.
The black and white photography was actually serendipitous. At the shoot, the garments for the Black and White story were being pulled out of a bag, at which point I noticed that one of the pieces was actually purple and grey. Although the piece itself, the Film Noir Shawl, is fantastic, the color scheme was throwing my overall vision. Someone—either Kit or Marcy, I can’t remember—suggested that we shoot it in black and white for consistency. I love what that element brought to the layout!
My conversation with Vickie was entertaining and enlightening! I am even more in love with Crochetscene 2017 now.