Edie learned how to crochet around age six or seven. Her grandmother taught her both knitting and crochet at this time, and she has remained a fan of both crafts. Loving fiber, she opened a yarn shop, but she found that the shop business kept her so busy that she barely ever had time to craft. Therefore, she ended up closing the shop so that she could focus on design work. In this interview, she shares more about her history with crochet and her experience writing this book.
What most inspired you to write this book?
As I taught concepts from Around the Corner Crochet Borders (the book that preceded this one) and talked about it to so many people, I realized that there had been a need for that exact book. As I continued to study and teach the subject, I came to realize that I had even more to say about putting edgings on things than I had already shared. That's where Every Which Way Crochet Borders came from.
How are the two books similar and different from one another?
Around the Corner Crochet Borders was the original, with borders designed to go around 90-degree corners. In it, I write a bit about how to pick up stitches and work edgings onto knitted and crocheted fabric. Every Which Way Crochet Borders expands on the concept, showing you how to work on other types of fabric, how to fudge stitch counts, how to adapt edgings to go around curves and other shapes, and how to customize elements to design your own borders. Plus, of course, the border patterns themselves are also different in each one.
How has your work as a crochet teacher informed your writing?
In my teaching, I've learned what types of things tend to confuse crocheters and where in the work they are likely to get stuck. My job as a teacher is to help my students through these rough patches and give them the skills and confidence to eventually do it without my help.
Good teachers don't spoon-feed their students, but instead help them develop the skills and knowledge to be successful. I have a similar goal when I write crochet instructions. I want to provide as much information as possible to help the reader do the work. I do my best to be clear, concise, and accurate.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by “clear, concise, and accurate”?
- Clarity includes having good definitions for all crochet terminology and including both text and charted instructions.
- Being concise means giving the just the information needed, without a lot of extraneous information.
- Accuracy means that all of my crochet patterns have been professionally tech-edited to make them as correct as possible. Of course, nobody's perfect, and mistakes do sometimes happen, but I do my best. For Every Which Way Crochet Borders, most of the borders were also test-crocheted by dedicated volunteers, who gave feedback when something didn't work as I expected.
What is your own favorite border in this collection?
Oh, that's like asking me who is my favorite author or even my favorite child! I'm partial to #16, #17, and #117. That said, the one I’ll use really depends on the project. Each border has different attributes (noted in the table at the back of the book) so that you can find the ones that have what you need.
If someone is trying to choose a border for a project and just feels completely at a loss, what would be your number one tip?
Swatch. The answer is always "swatch". I'm sorry, because that's not what most people want to hear. It’s the best way to see what works, though.
Use the swatch you made for your main fabric and try a few inches of border on it. If it doesn't look right, take a picture, rip it out, and either adapt it or try a different border. Spending a bit of time in the beginning to swatch and find the right border will actually save you time in the long run.
Swatching is important. However, as you noted, a lot of people don’t like doing it. How do you feel about it?
I actually love to swatch! That was the best part of working on this book. Being able to – in fact, being required to - sit and do nothing but swatch is my idea of heaven. Sitting down with a crochet hook and yarn to make up borders was so much fun for me.
What was the least fun part of making this book?
It’s not that it wasn’t necessarily fun, but the biggest challenges were all related to color. Sometimes the colors I was using didn't speak to me, and I fought with them a bit. It's amazing how a difference in colorways affects your relationship to a stitch pattern.
If I could go back and change one thing, I would have liked to be able to show each border in different colors. That would really showcase how different the same border can look depending upon color choice.
In addition to crochet, you also knit and sew. How are the crafts similar and different for you?
I often find knitting more relaxing than crochet because I can usually do it without looking or thinking much, although of course that depends on the difficulty of the project. Because I've been doing so much crochet over the past few years as work, knitting is what I take on vacation.
Sewing and I have a love/hate relationship. My sewing skills are rusty. I really would like to spend more time sewing and bringing those skills up to speed, because there are so many cool projects out there, and so many lovely fabrics to work with.
Embroidery is something else that I used to enjoy, and that's another rabbit hole I'll go down again soon.
And weaving, let's not forget weaving! I recently took a weekend-long workshop at the Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association conference, and now I'm all excited about my newly-learned double-heddle skills.
With so many options as far as your skill set goes, what might cause you to choose one craft over the other for a project?
There is often a clear choice for me. I think knitting does some things better than crochet, and vice versa. I strongly prefer knitted socks, for example, but I love crochet for buttonbands and edgings. And of course, it's perfectly fine to mix everything together in one project as well. Knitting, crochet, weaving, sewing, embroidery … it's all fiber arts and there's no need to choose just one or two. Let’s have fun with all of them!
Edie loves connecting with the people who use her books. She encourages you to share any borders that you make from this book through posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Ravelry. Visit her website and make sure to check out her YouTube channel for more crochet.
Purchase Options: Every Which Way Crochet Borders
By Kathryn Vercillo: writing at the intersection of psychology/wellness and art/craft: exploring how creativity can heal individuals and communities!