Recently I shared with you my review of the new crochet book Beastly Crochet: 23 Critters to Wear and Love. And today I am so excited to introduce you to the creative force behind the book. I love being able to peek into the inner thoughts and workings of creative and talented people, of which Brenda is definitely one! So dear readers, meet Brenda K.B. Anderson …
Kara: Tell us a little about yourself.
Brenda: I am a crochet and knit pattern designer that has an extra special love for making quick projects — accessories and toys mostly. I get super-excited about the “figuring-things-out” part of developing a project.
Kara: I hear you have a really fun “day job”; can you tell us about it and how you got involved doing that?
Brenda: I make character costumes — like mascots for professional sports teams and costumes for Sesame Street Live and other touring kids’ shows. I studied Clothing Design and Technical Theater at the University of Minnesota and worked in a couple of the costume shops around town before getting my job at Costumes and Creatures. Making mascots wasn’t something I planned on doing- it just sort-of happened and then I realized that I loved it. (Although you could say that I trained for it when I was little … Sesame Street and then The Muppet Show were by far my favorite shows as a kid.)
Kara: How long have you been crocheting? Who taught you?
Brenda: I learned how to crochet when I was very young — my incredibly patient mom taught my sister and I to keep us out of trouble. Then after a couple years of making Cabbage Patch Kid clothing I just forgot about it. … Until a few years ago — I found some hooks in an old box when I was moving and we’ve been inseparable ever since!
Kara: What’s on your hook right now?
Brenda: I just finished a new little character named Eggbert who is so cute I just wanna squish him! Next up are some Christmas presents — a fancy hat and a pair of socks for my husband.
Kara: What project or pattern are you most proud of and why?
Brenda: I think that would have to be my “Sidney’s Sideways Socks” published by Interweave Crochet. I figured out how to construct them in a way that allows them to be very stretchy. I have gotten such a positive response from people who had been frustrated by other non-stretchy crocheted sock patterns and were really happy with how these turned out.
Kara: What inspired you to start designing?
Brenda: When I was about 10 years old I started sewing my own clothes (with the help of my mom). All of a sudden I could decide what kind of fabric, what color, what shape everything should be! It was so exciting! (And I had some pretty crazy outfits in Middle School). Once I re-learned how to crochet, I naturally just wanted to make up my own designs.
Kara: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process? Where do you find inspiration?
Brenda: Absolutely everywhere! Sometimes it will start out as an interesting stitch pattern or technique that I would like to use, sometimes I am inspired by movies, music or art. Most of my creatures just start out with a few skeins of yarn in colors I like together, and I just start stitching. I very seldom sketch things out first — unless I am trying to record an idea that I had to use at a later time — or I am trying to show an editor what I had in mind before I make it.
Kara: What are some of your favorite crochet resources … books, blogs, magazines?
Brenda: I love Interweave Crochet magazine for its inventive, stylish projects and styling. Crochet Today! is great too — they always have simple and fun projects and use easy to find yarns. Stacey Trock (Fresh Stitches) makes really cute creatures and has a great sense of fun! She blogs here. My favorite resource crochet book of all time is called Crochet Workshop by James Walters. It’s printed in black and white Copyright 1979, and there are some really ridiculous hippie-type projects featured in it but the man is an absolute genius when it comes to three dimensional crochet!
Kara: How did Beastly Crochet come to be?
Brenda: I love making things that are super-cute-but-they-might-bite-you, know what I mean? Cute, but not so cute that you want to vomit. I have always wanted to make a collection of these things and was lucky enough to have the support of the fine people over at Interweave!
Kara: Do you have a favorite project from the book?
Brenda: Hmmmmm … Maybe A Zombie named Skip … no wait- the Robo blanky! But I do think that the Zippy Skully Neckwarmer is going to be a fixture around my neck this winter.
Kara: When are you most happy?
Brenda: When I am camping in Utah! I love it there — it’s so beautiful!
Kara: When you are not creating costumes or crocheting, where can we find you? What other things do you like to do?
Brenda: I love bellydancing, cooking, camping, live music and hanging out with my family and friends.
Thank you so much, Brenda, for so graciously agreeing to share a little about yourself with us!
Beastly Crochet is available from Interweave/F+W Media for $22.95.