Systemic Injustice, BLM, & A Free Tunisian Crochet Pattern

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Pin this Stand in the Gap Tunisian Crochet Pattern to your favorite boards Now and make later

Systemic Injustice and Systemic Racism Against the Black Community

There is great injustice happening against the Black community all over the US. Overt systemic injustice examples include police brutality, wrongful incarceration, and lynchings. There are also more subtle forms of systemic injustice such as food deserts/ lack of access to healthy foods in and around Black communities, and lack of health insurance making the Black community disproportionately affected by health disparities.

In this post, I take you through some data and visual aids to show you what systemic injustice looks like in the US, my own personal reflections and perspectives, what actions can be taken to fight against this injustice. I also feature some of my favorite Black crocheters and Black designers and finally share a free Tunisian crochet pattern that I came up with inspired by the concept of standing in the gap (which I’ll explain later).

Below are some powerful words inspired by the current situation by a mother of Black children from a Muslim mom group I am a part of:

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Table of Contents:

SYSTEMIC INJUSTICE EXPLAINED – THE DATA

I’ve shared some infographics below that visually represent these issues to create awareness starting with police brutality and wrongful incarceration.

Black individuals are more likely to be fatally shot by police than White individuals.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6

More than half of prisoners who are wrongfully convicted are Black

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/7113733/Innocence-Project-Infographic

Black workers have historically earned far less than White workers. There is still a significant wage gap between Black and White American workers.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6

“Gentrification is a process of changing the character of a neighborhood through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses.” This has led to the displacement of the Black community.

“Cities with the highest levels of black displacement between 2000 and 2010 were concentrated in the South, with nine out of 16 cities with high levels of black displacement located there. Richmond, Charlottesville, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans had the highest percentages of black displacement at the tract level.” 

Source: https://ncrc.org/gentrification/

Health Disparities in the Black Community

Black women are significantly more likely to die from a pregnancy-related death when compared with White women regardless of age.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6835a3.htm

Young African Americans are living with diseases more common at older ages.

African Americans ages 18-49 are 2 times as likely to die from heart disease than whites.

African Americans ages 35-64 years are 50% more likely to have high blood pressure than whites.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aahealth/index.html

Chronic diseases and some of their risk factors may be silent or not diagnosed during these early years. Health differences are often due to economic and social conditions that are more common among African Americans than whites. For example, African American adults are more likely to report they cannot see a doctor because of cost. 

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aahealth/index.html

*It should be noted that a lot of these risk factors are associated with socioeconomic issues including food deserts and lack of health insurance. These issues are usually a result of policies at the broader level that put the Black community at a disadvantage.

Black Americans were nearly twice as likely as their white neighbors to lack health insurance as recently as 2018.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6

A food desert is an area that has limited access to affordable and nutritious food (i.e. supermarkets and grocery stores are far, fast food and convenience stores are the main sources of food).

Food Deserts are more prevalent in the Black community. This leads to food-related health issues such as obesity and other metabolic chronic illnesses.

Source: https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20200411/expert-food-deserts-in-black-communities-partly-explain-coronavirus-vulnerability

Wherever possible, we should try to advocate for socio-economic changes at the policy level to help alleviate some of these health disparities and ensure a better future for the Black community.

Do the research and find out what you can do in your own local community to bring about change whether it’s making a donation or volunteering and working directly with community organizations.

REFLECTIONS AND PERSPECTIVE: Reflecting and Checking my Own Biases

For the past month, I’ve been having an internal dialogue. I’ve been reflecting on how events in my life and my perspective have impacted the larger picture of the systemic injustice my Black brothers and sisters experience.

This is hard for me to admit and to say openly but it needs to be said.
Our South Asian communities have wronged the Black community for generations. I grew up with the stereotype that I should be fearful of Black people because they are aggressive and dangerous. This was reinforced by the media. I also grew up thinking dark skin color meant you were less beautiful/less worthy of love. At that time I didn’t know right from wrong. On the other extreme, I also engaged in cultural appropriation during my high school years because that’s what all the cool kids did. Dressing in baggy clothes and saying things like “that’s so ghetto” “I’m so gangsta” etc.
As I grew up I learned the difference between right and wrong. I learned to love and appreciate my Black friends and their uniqueness and stopped engaging in cultural appropriation.

This is my point. Racism is learned, not something you are born with, but something you learn from your family, your environment, the type of news you follow, and the media you consume.

As a South Asian mom, I want to say it loudly and clearly that my son will not follow this stereotype. I will teach him to love and treat fairly people from the Black community. I will assist in breaking the cycle of racism one step at a time even if it means getting uncomfortable and creating a dialogue about things that may be difficult to talk about.

BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement aims to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.

Source: https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

How You Can Help

Start at home. The best thing we can do is teach our children to fight against injustice. Below is a great resource shared by mommy_brain on Instagram explaining how we can teach our kids to be anti-racist and how to be anti-racist as a family. Click on the source link to read more.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/CA2wpM5gDrR/

Take action now by donating, signing petitions, joining protests, and more. Don’t forget to also share the link on social media: https://www.blacklivesmatters.carrd.co

Check out these links for lists of some important movies, podcasts, and books to educate yourself on systemic injustice and racism.

Check out the thorough list found on PBS and a more brief list over on NPR. Here is another thorough list by CNET categorized by Nonfiction books, Fiction books, TV shows and films, and Children’s books.

Most importantly, continue to Stand in the Gap for Black Lives Matters Movement!

Stand in the Gap Meaning

Standing in the gap means that you are ready to intervene anytime you see injustice happening in any way. In my wise friend Nkese’s words:

SPEAK UP, WRITE LETTERS, SIGN PETITIONS, VOTE, CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK and REACT. In other words…STAND IN THE GAP people!! STAND👏🏾IN👏🏾THE👏🏾GAP!

-Nkese creator of Cosmic Crochet Creations

I was inspired by this concept and came up with a visual reminder for myself and for others. My latest design is a FREE Tunisian crochet pattern for a wall hanging with a visual reminder to stand in the gap inspired by BLM and the systemic injustice happening every day!

Learn about systemic injustice and what it means in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Keep reading to get to know some talented Black Makers and Designers!

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Grab the Free Pattern PDF with a full-color chart on Ravelry!

Grab the pattern on Etsy for a $1

Pin this Stand in the Gap Tunisian Crochet Wall Hanging Pattern to your favorite boards Now and make later

BLACK CROCHETER/BLACK DESIGNER FEATURES

Disclaimer: Do not just follow these makers because they are Black and you need a “token Black maker” to follow but only follow their work if you genuinely connect with them and appreciate their work!

This is a shout out to my Black instafam who lift me up and inspire me. This is NOT a “go follow these ladies because they are Black” post. Follow them because you love their work not simply because they’re Black!

These are my friends. Makers with a heart of gold who inspire me and help me thrive on the daily. Thank you for being in my space, love you ladies and I’m excited to continue to listen, learn, and grow with you!

BLACK CROCHETER/BLACK DESIGNER FEATURES

Nkese @cosmic_crochet_creations is always so real and I love seeing her handiwork! Her daughter Tnai has also started her own maker journey and is the creative mind behind most of her mom’s photos  @__t.d.l__. These ladies are always inspiring with the way they style their crochet pieces and are up and coming crochet designers! They taught me how to be confident. Make sure you browse Nkese’s hashtag #afteryarnglow for some major slow fashion inspiration!

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Leah has evolved into a multi-crafter over the years. She creates in many ways including cross stitch and embroidery, punch needle art, macrame, crochet, and knitting! She inspires me to try new things!

You can reach her via email at [email protected] and find her on Instagram, Ravelry, and Etsy. She recently released an embroidery project (seen in the pic) as a collab with Clover USA. Find all the details here.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Shanice from Crochetastic Boutique is a maker and designer of free crochet patterns for mama and baby. She also sells her makes in her Etsy shop. You can find her patterns on Ravelry and on her blog. She has also recently launched a brand focused on photography, check it out here.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Britt from Knot Bad Britt has a gorgeous feed and amazing designs. She inspires me to be genuine. You can find Britt on Instagram. You can grab her latest crochet pattern, the Savannah Summer Shawl on Etsy, Ravelry, and Lovecrafts.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Elisabeth @desamourdesigns, and I instantly clicked when we hit that LIVE button! She taught me to be fierce and real! You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Check out her work on her blog and shop her patterns on Etsy and Ravelry.

Saraphina @jw_craftsandfibres on Instagram is always showing love for my work and trusting me enough to ask me questions. She taught me persistence. She just launched her shop and is currently selling cute face masks

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Natalie @hijablifestyle77 on Instagram, is another lady who really supports me and may not even know how much her likes and comments mean to me. She reminds me that Muslim women can occupy this creative space too! You can shop for cute accessories and home decor over in her Etsy shop!

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Kelsie of Crafting for Weeks is so talented, I love seeing her work pop up in my feed! I have yet to learn her secrets for getting all the designing done with 3 littles! You can find her on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Follow her work on her blog and grab her patterns from Etsy and Ravelry. Check out her latest releases the Oceans Breath Cardi ad the Summer Nights Ruana.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Natalie of @detroitknots is always serving up some truths with a side of amazing crochet fashion! I love following along on her journey! You can check her work out on her blog and grab patterns from her Etsy and Ravelry shops.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Nadine of Buddy Luvs Crochet is always such a positive and cheerful maker always cheering others on! She taught me to give myself grace as a budding designer.

Nadine designed her Be Kind Beanie Keychain & the Kind Heart Beanie Keychain in honor of #hatnothate. She believes that teaching our young to look out for one another & to be kind in a world that needs to learn to do the same are important because they are our future. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook and shop her products and patterns on Etsy and Ravelry.

Chalis Creations on Instagram makes beautiful crochet accessories and more. Shop her products over on Etsy.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Courtney designs the most beautiful crochet garments and accessories for women. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Shop her patterns on Etsy, Ravelry, and Lovecrafts. Join her Facebook group here.

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Kaelyn of Iiirdwind is always so eloquent and inspirational. She is currently partnered with LoveCrafts for a number of projects, including an article that will be going live in August. 

Kaelyn has a Rihanna punch needle pattern available that you can grab here for free through LoveCrafts which launched for this last International Women’s Day.

Currently, she is working through her emotions on race relations, women’s rights and life in pandemic America through her punch needle art but will also be launching two crochet patterns this fall. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Etsy.

Natalia, Talia Crochet Creations on Instagram, designs unique and simple women’s crochet patterns. You can check out her work over on her blog and grab her patterns from Ravelry and check out her YouTube channel.

Last but not least: the queen herself Toni @tlyarncrafts has been such a radiant soul in my maker life and has inspired me to accept my role as a Tunisian crochet designer! I have learned so much from her but mostly to just embrace my creativity and share it with the world. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. Shop all of her crochet patterns and gifts here and follow her work on her blog.

Check them out + give a follow if you connect with them!

Other Black Makers who I love following:
@GGMadeIt, @ragingpurlwind, @designsbykey, @thedreamcrochet, @loveleighlady, and @chalias_craft.

Some accounts that are working hard to bring a voice to the BIPOC Fiber community: @meetmakersofcolor, @bipocmakers, @bipocinfiber.

Grab the Free Pattern PDF with a full-color chart on Ravelry!

Grab the pattern PDF on Etsy for $1

Pin this pattern to your favorite crochet boards Now and make later

Learn about systemic injustice in light of Black Lives Matter movement and grab a free Tunisian crochet pattern with a visual reminder to Stand in the Gap!

Self Care for Makers – #Makefoyoself

Have you felt burnt out from making things for your knitting or crochet business or for others? Here I share some great tips on self-care for makers.

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As makers and knitting designers/crochet designers, our craft is something we depend on and turn to for self-care. Crocheting and knitting a few stitches in uncertain moments is something that gives us calm and keeps us grounded. Whether we are making to sell our handmade items on Etsy or designing knitting patterns or crochet patterns, we spend a lot of time crocheting and knitting for others, which usually means we think of ourselves last. There is this concept of making something for ourselves as being selfish but I would like to change the narrative. I just want it to be something we do as a form of self-care! That’s where my hashtag #makefoyoself comes in.

This post may contain affiliate links from which I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

#MAKEFOYOSELF – What’s it all about?

I created this hashtag when I was feeling the burnout of being a maker. Designing was a whole new world to me and I was still trying to maintain physical item listings in my Etsy shop. I became anxious and stressed out because I was creating only for others. I lost my motivation. That’s when I decided to take a break and step away from everything and just work on a project for myself!

I decided to test the Tunisian Knit Cardi by Kelsey of @happily.yarn.after. This was the first time I crocheted a garment for myself! That’s when I got the idea to create this hashtag to not only remind myself but also remind other makers to take a step back and create for themselves. It doesn’t have to be a garment or something big, it could just be a small project such as an amigurumi or home decor item as long as you get that mental and physical break you need.

#MAKEFOYOSELF has over 200 posts now and keeps growing. I am so grateful for all of the makers who have contributed. Click the picture below to head over to the hashtag page and get inspired! You might just find your next project on there!

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Check out this fun version of the Don’t Rush Challenge #makefoyoself edition I recently did with my yarn friends!

Self Care for Makers; More Self Care Tips:

Here are a few more self-care ideas that we can put into practice:

Taking a social media break especially when you need to.** This one is a little bit hard for us to follow especially when we are trying to build our handmade business but it is essential! It’s easy to fall prey to the comparison game and imposter syndrome and when you feel like those are creeping into your heart and taking away from your motivation to post, That’s when you know you need to take a break!

Other ways to engage in self-care include:

  • Color
  • Maintain physical boundaries
    • This means just being away from your kids/family members for a few moments in the day
  • Dress up
    • Get dressed and put some make-up on just for yourself.
  • Do a face mask/follow a calming skin-care routine
  • Read a few pages of a book
  • Put on your favorite TV show and do some knitflixing/crochetflixing
  • Listen to your favorite song
  • Meditate and pray

Self-care looks different for each person and what works for one person may not work for another person. If you would like more ideas on self-care for makers, make sure to check out my friend Stephanie’s blog post all about self-care for makers. She has even included some great mental health resources.

Check out this chat on YouTube I had with a fellow maker, Sarah of SEKHandmade on this topic of self-care for makers! Follow her on Instagram and Check out all her patterns on Ravelry here.

More recenly I also chatted with Ashley from theloopylamb regarding the makefoyoself hashtag and we even played a fun game (there may even be a discount code in there for you!). Check the video out here. You can find all of Ashley’s important links including her latest patterns here.

Have you felt burnt out from making things for your knitting or crochet business or for others? Here I share some great tips on self-care for makers.

Pin this post to your favorite boards

Darn Good Yarn is having a sitewide 25% off sale in honor of Earth Day and there are some great project kits including DIY jewelry kits, amigurumi kits, and more at discounted prices!

Remember if you are making something for yourself – use the hashtag #makefoyoself on Instagram and tag me @noorsknits so I can see and share your work to inspire fellow makers to take that important break! You can check out my Fall-Ready Crossbody Bag which is a perfect project to make for yourself!

You can also check out some gift ideas for makers over here.

Crochet Baby Clothes – Meet Bonnie of Woodland Stitchcraft

Crochet baby clothes and so much more. Come and meet the designer Bonnie of Woodland Stitchcraft and check out all of her crochet patterns for babies!

Crochet Baby Clothes Designer Interview – Pin it now and read later

This is Bonnie, the amazing artist behind Woodland Stitchcraft. I came across her profile when I was browsing the hashtag for crochet for children. Instantly, I fell in love with her timeless and classic patterns. I couldn’t stop browsing her feed because along with the great baby and kid’s crochet patterns, she is a mama-maker like myself.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Well, I’m Bonnie. A 33-year-old mother of three: Cole and Luke, my 11-year-old twin boys and my three-year-old daughter, Autumn. We live in the foothills of California, near my home town.

Tell me a little about your business.

The Stanislaus National Forest was the backdrop of my childhood and is the “woodland” that inspired my shop name. Woodland Stitchcraft really began as a way to filter my hobby because I had all these things I made just taking up room so I started selling it. Having an online shop has been a great way to support myself in doing something I love and is growing into a way to contribute to the support of our family also.

How many years have you been crocheting for?

I began crocheting about five years ago. My nephew Maverick was about to be born and I wanted to make him a gift. I found a little aviator hat pattern on Pinterest and wanted to make it for him. My good friend Sarah was the only person I knew that could knit and crochet and so I asked her to teach me. She taught me how to read a pattern and begin a hat in the magic circle and once I finished that hat I just kept crocheting. I started designing crochet patterns for babies about two years ago. November 10th will actually be the 2 year anniversary of my first pattern release! More recently I have also designed a few crochet baby clothes.

What are your current WIPs?

I am always working on a million things at once. I have about three patterns in various stages of being written that I am jumping around between. The Crossing Paths Bonnet pattern is finished and being released on the 17th. I have a pattern with testers right now and as far as crocheting goes I have a Halloween costume to finish and a couple of cowls that need to be finished. I am sure I will just keep adding to that list too.

What is your favorite thing to design and why?

I love to design crochet baby clothes. I have a lot of fun with finding an outfit or a look I want to create with crochet for my daughter. It’s important for me to put a piece of crochet into every outfit she wears. One of my favorite ways to do this is bonnets. Crocheting hats is what I started with and I made every kind of hat you could when I was learning to crochet and bonnets just always were my favorite.

Currently, I am in the process of designing my fourth and fifth bonnet patterns actually. I made Autumn her first bonnet in February 2017 and have made so many over the past couple of years. I also started buying her handmade fabric bonnets too. She has more bonnets than any other accessory or piece of clothing. It’s just become a favorite part of her wardrobe for me. I also love a good crochet baby dress pattern and have designed a couple of pieces that pair well with dresses including the Wildflower Pinafore, Flouncy Halter, and the Farmhouse Pinafore!

What are your goals for this year?

My goal for the coming year is just to design more crochet patterns for babies as much as I can! I have really fallen in love with pattern writing and am just going to keep doing it until I run out of ideas. And I want to branch out into more patterns for moms and home décor. There is so much you can do with crochet that I haven’t even tried and I love learning more about this craft and then using that to continue creating designs for everyone else to make as well!

How do you balance mom-life and making?

Lots of coffee and podcasts. I honestly lucked out with a husband who worked really hard to make it possible for me to stay home and I started my business when my boys were about 7 so I have built-in help. They were and are at an age where chores and self-care have become apart of their routine so they take care of themselves and I delegate a portion of household tasks to them.

My toddler is another story, she is a bit harder to work with but you just find ways. Autumn loves to craft so I do like to set her up with a project and then I’ll sit with her with some rows to finish up or ends to weave in and we can just be creative together. It’s a great way to finish up those easier tasks that don’t require too much attention because I can still engage with her on her activity. This is a system that works for us. It’s just fitting all the stuff into your life where you can!

One piece of advice for fellow mama makers?

This is a hard question! I’m still learning how to do all this stuff myself. I think the best advice I can give is what I try to practice myself, which is don’t give up. Whatever it is you want to do in motherhood or making or business, just keep doing your best and you’ll get there. I’m one of those people that love quotes and one of my favorites is, “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” You can become stronger, you can always learn more but only if you show up day after day to work towards what you want. This is the mindset I personally thrive in.

Crochet Baby Clothes – Lil Sprouts Shorts pattern

Crochet baby clothes and so much more. Come and meet the designer Bonnie of Woodland Stitchcraft and check out all of her crochet patterns for babies!
Crochet baby clothes and so much more. Come and meet the designer Bonnie of Woodland Stitchcraft and check out all of her crochet patterns for babies!

This is the Lil’ Sprout Shorts Pattern, a gender-neutral crochet pattern for babies! These are so cute for layering in the cold months! Great over tights and under cardigans for boys and girls. Grab this pattern on Etsy or Ravelry.

You can find all of Bonnie’s patterns over in her Ravelry shop. You can also shop the patterns as well as her finished products from her Etsy shop. Get all of her updates and inspiration over on her Instagram and Blog. Read about her experience doing the Live interview over here.

You can check out the full recorded Live video conversation over on my YouTube Channel here.

If you are a POC and/or mom knit or crochet designer and would like to be featured, check out this blog post and fill out the form! Get to know some other great makers here.

Pin This Interview Now and Read Later

Crochet baby clothes and so much more. Come and meet the designer Bonnie of Woodland Stitchcraft and check out all of her crochet patterns for babies!

Knitwear Designer and Mentor – Frenchie of Aroha Knits

Frenchie is a great mentor and fellow POC knitwear designer of amazing accessory and women's patterns. Read more about her and find links to her patterns!

Frenchie is a fellow POC maker and knitwear designer and has published some amazing women’s knitting patterns that are a reflection of her Maori heritage. She is also a mentor and founder of the Swatch Studio Circle – a program that helps budding designers enhance their knowledge and skills around knitwear design.

I have had the privilege of learning a lot of new skills through Frenchie’s Swatch Studio Circle! I am still working through the framework and hope to apply all the new information and skills to enhance my pattern designing process. Read on to get to know her or skip to the bottom if you would like to watch our recorded Live!

Frenchie is a great mentor and fellow POC knitwear designer of amazing accessory and women's patterns. Read more about her and find links to her patterns!

Pin this interview and read later!

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.

I am a Māori knitwear designer and design coach behind Aroha Knits. I aim to empower fiber muses to transform their yarn so they can manifest more Aroha in their lives. My designs draw heavy influence from my cultural heritage.

How many years have you been knitting for? How long have you been a knitwear designer for?

I have been knitting for 5 years, designing for 4 1/2 years.

What are your current WIPs?

I have two secret designs for publications, and one for self-publishing. That design I can talk about: it will be a colorwork tubular cowl inspired by the movie Aquaman, haha.

As a knitwear designer, what is your favorite thing to design and why?

Shawls! They are so versitle and the possibilities for designs are endless.

What are your goals for this year?

My main goal this year is to scale my business. I’ve spent the past few years growing my business, which required a lot of hands-on work. Now I’m shifting into automating a lot of my processes so I can focus more on designing and teaching. My other goal, which is happening (!), is to go to New Zealand to connect with my family. I’m going in October: first to a female Maori entrepreneur conference and then to spend time with my mother and granddad.

How do you balance being a mentor and knitwear designer?

I don’t really believe in “balance”. It’s more about intentional trade-offs. There are times when I have to really focus on a design, and other times when I have to focus on mentorship/coaching. But I always aim to remember to keep things simple and focus on my strengths, and try not to do everything. I take a look at my “What’s Now” and “What’s Next” tasks and ask myself which are the top 3 most important things to do.

One piece of advice for fellow POC makers?

If there is no space at the table, carve out your own. When I was first starting out, I was so frustrated by getting rejected by publications and magazines, that I decided I was going to work to become so big, they couldn’t ignore me and would start asking me to design for them. So far, this strategy has worked for me, as I’m now the one turning down designing gigs.

Here is one of Frenchie’s latest beautiful shawl patterns, the Taha Moana shawl.

Frenchie is a great mentor and fellow POC knitwear designer of amazing accessory and women's patterns. Read more about her and find links to her patterns!

A little bit about this knitwear design:

Can you smell the sea breeze?

When we think of shawls, we often think of warm wraps to cover ourselves with during the cold winter seasons. While this shawl can definitely serve that purpose (just use a wool-based fiber!), I created the Taha Moana (Te Reo Maori for “Seashore”) shawl to be a warm-weather accessory. This majestic and flowing shawl, conjures images of moonlight moments by the seaside or quiet reposes under the shade of palm trees overlooking sandy beaches.

The 3/4 shawl shape makes it easy to wear over the shoulders – much more wearable than a triangular shawl sometimes – but if you would prefer to knit a triangular version, instructions are included to make the modification! 4 colors were used in the original sample, but if you wish to make a 3 color or a 2 color version, instructions are included on how to do that as well.

This pattern is available for purchase in her Ravelry shop here.

Frenchie is currently running a FREE 5-day knitwear design challenge where she will take you through all the steps you need to start designing patterns! I participated in this challenge last year and it was exactly the push I needed to get comfortable with designing. I would highly recommend this challenge if you have been thinking about writing your own patterns but feel intimidated. The challenge starts on Aug. 5th, you can sign up over here.

You can reach Frenchie on Instagram and her blog and browse her patterns in her Ravelry shop.

You can find a recording of the Live that I did with Frenchie here!

If you are a mama designer and/or a POC designer and would like to be featured, you can fill out the form here.

Crochet Cozy and More – Meet Hannah of Lalele Fibre Arts

Crochet cozy patterns, maker motivation, and so much more. Come and meet the designer Hannah of Lalele Fibre Arts and check out all of her patterns!

This is Hannah, the amazing artist behind Lalele Fibre Arts. I came across her profile when I was browsing the hashtag for crochet home decor. Instantly, I fell in love with her Walk Along the Shore Mat. I couldn’t stop browsing her feed because along with great patterns such as her crochet cozy patterns, she had some great reminders regarding self-care and mental health!

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m Hannah. I’m a married mother of three children (8, 4, and 1 years old). I was born in the UK and lived there until we moved to Romania just over two years ago.

Being a maker can be lonely sometimes. I don’t know anyone in ‘real’ life who knits and crochets and where I live handcrafts are not that popular so there aren’t little yarn shops and knit nights. I miss being able to go into a shop to squish ALL the yarn! The online community is where I connect with other makers and I have ‘met’ some amazing and supportive people online.

Tell me a little about your business.

I started my business while I worked full time. After my second baby was born, I became a stay at home mother and sold finished items, mainly baby items, blankets, hats, and scarves online. We moved to Romania and I needed a new direction. My business didn’t feel like it represented who I was and I wasn’t enjoying making all the finished items needed to stock an Etsy shop. Modifying patterns that I was using was something I really enjoyed doing. I would think of a way to change things so that I liked the finished result more or so that the garment fit better. I started writing my first pattern and that was it, I was hooked!

Last year, I released that pattern, a crochet design, and then took the end of the year off to focus on self-care and better business planning. At the beginning of 2019, I re-branded my business. It finally felt like my brand was true to who I am and the journey that I am on. Lalele Fibre Arts is a values-led business with accessibility and inclusivity at its’ core. For this reason, you will find that my patterns have a ‘Pay What Works’ structure to allow for financial flexibility, while still valuing the work that goes into the designs. Feedback has been good so far.

I set myself a loose target of releasing 5 patterns by the end of the year. As it stands, I have released 4 more patterns, some of which are crochet cozy patterns, and have plenty more in the pipeline. I have upped the target to 8-10 patterns! Juggling motherhood, a house and small business can be really hard sometimes so I don’t set my targets in stone! If I do, I pressure myself too hard to meet those targets and that is no good for my health. I’ve learned that one the hard way!

How many years have you been knitting/crocheting for?

Twenty-plus for both. It’s a bit scary putting that on paper. I can’t believe it’s been so long. My late grandmother taught me the knitting basics. She was an incredible knitter. She was one of those people who could adapt patterns including lace patterns in her head, on the needles without the need for paper and a pen. As a child, I didn’t realize how skilled she was and didn’t appreciate all of the time that she put into knitting us the endless supply of knitted sweaters. I bet she never could have imagined that those hours I sat on her bed with some plastic knitting needles would set me on the path to becoming a knit and crochet designer. I like to think that she would be proud of the legacy that she left behind.

What are your current WIPs?

At the minute I have a couple of WIPs. A new knit cowl design which I am hoping to have finished very soon and also the Breeze Racerback pattern from Jessie Mae Martinson. I am also searching for the right yarn for a sweater for my husband. He is LONG overdue this sweater. I told him I would have one finished for last winter and somehow it never happened. Since then, I have frogged the sweater and used the yarn in a pattern test (oops!). The Marshland Sweater by Tin Can Knits is what I finally settled on since I want to make him something special. I can’t wait to start another WIP. I really am not a one-WIP kind of person!

What is your favorite thing to design and why?

I go backward and forwards on this one. Designing bits for the home like the crochet cozy patterns I have in my store has been really great, but I have also loved designing my shawl and the cowl that I am currently working on. I have a whole mix of designs dotted down in my notebook. What I work on next really does depend upon how I’m feeling at the time.

What are your goals for this year?

I would like to continue to learn and grow. I will focus on self-care, making sure that my mental health is in a good place. Without this, I can’t do anything! This year I will be releasing more patterns. My long term target is to start designing garments. I am learning as much as I can about sizing and grading at the moment so that I can put out beautiful, size inclusive designs. I have made a good start on this goal already. By the end of 2019, I would like to have a clearer understanding of sizing and grading (no one should feel excluded from making patterns because they stop at an M or L!)

I also started the SWATCH Studio Course by Francoise of Aroha Knits this year. By the end of the year, I would like to have finished the main parts of this course by the end of the year. I already had a lot of the skills, but hearing them set out as a good way to do things, has really increased my confidence and I have picked up some great time-saving tips so far.

How do you balance mom-life and making?

This is a hard one! I mainly work at night so that I can be present and be a mum during the day. Looking after them and managing the house is a full-time job in itself. Children are only small for a short amount of time and I don’t want to miss that! It means a lot of late nights but little fingers playing with your yarn is no help at all and untangling those knots takes FOREVER!

It can be hard knowing how much faster patterns and makes could be completed if I was working on them full time. I constantly have to remind myself that this is my journey, at my own pace and not to compare myself to any of the other designers or makers I see online.

Hannah’s mental health journey as a mama maker.

At the end of last year, I was really struggling with my mental health. I couldn’t focus to create and that was a hard place to be in. I didn’t feel like my husband or children were getting the best from me. After I talked to my husband about it, I had to take a step back to refocus and take time to take care of ‘me’ without feeling pressured to carry on as normal online.

Hannah’s reflections and resources for maintaining positive mental health.

I have started bullet journaling. This has helped me more than I could ever have imagined. Setting up the months is relaxing for me. I enjoy doing some drawing and coloring. I’m not an artist but that doesn’t matter! I make a basic plan for the month ahead and every evening I complete my journal and fill in the tasks for the next day.

I have never really been consistent with standard diaries. They always felt too rigid and didn’t have space to properly track the things that I needed. Bullet journaling is great because it is so flexible. You can use it for whatever YOU need. I track my personal and work life, as well as self-care. Planning pages and business tracker are things I use daily. I track my moods and my health. A monthly habit tracker is also something I use to track my daily routine, self-care, cleaning plan, water intake, etc. I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore. Everything is written down in small tasks which I can tick off as I do them. It keeps me focused.

This year I started a cleaning plan called ‘The Organised Mum Method’. I used to spend far too long cleaning and this has helped me to break it down. Every day has a different room to focus on It with the end goal of everything being cleaner, all the time because you are focusing on one room at a time rather than trying to do everything at once and missing bits. It really works!. Cleaning doesn’t feel like an effort anymore and I don’t feel anxious about it. I have a clean house, spend less time cleaning and more time with the children and I like that!

One piece of advice for fellow mama makers?

I posted about my mental health on Instagram. People seemed to appreciate the openness and honesty. I will continue to share more about this on my online platform. I think it is important to be ‘human’ and to get away from only showing the perfect side of everything. You look online and all the photos are perfect, edited beautifully, the wording is happy and everyone is smiling. That is great but isn’t a reflection of real life. By being open about our struggles, our feelings, and experiences, we and others feel less alone. We are real people with real emotions and real lives. It does not make you less of a person to share those. I want other people to know they are not alone and it is ok, not to be ok sometimes.

Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember to look after yourself and your mental health. Although it is hard, do not compare yourself to others that you see online. Your journey is your journey. It is ok to take time off to rest and regroup. If you are not feeling yourself everything is harder.

Hannah’s crochet cozy patterns and more

Crochet cozy patterns, maker motivation, and so much more. Come and meet the designer Hannah of Lalele Fibre Arts and check out all of her patterns!

I released ‘The Explore Collection’ which is a collection of three crochet cozy patterns. These crochet cozy patterns were inspired by nature and the sea: Pebbles, a boardwalk and little stones. The crochet cozy patterns have been designed to complement one another as a set or to shine as stand-alone pieces. For this reason, I made these crochet cozy patterns available to purchase as single patterns. My own covered cans sit on my desk and I use them every day!

You can find all of Hannah’s patterns over on Ravelry and you can get all of her updates as well as great maker motivation over on her Instagram.

You can check out the full recorded Live video conversation over on my YouTube Channel here.

If you are a POC and/or mom knit or crochet designer and would like to be featured, check out this blog post and fill out the form! Get to know some other great makers here.

Jen – POC Designer of Crochet Basket Patterns and More

Jen is a fellow POC maker and mama designer and has published some amazing crochet basket patterns. She also discovered a new stitch called the Bolster Stitch which she has used in a few of her patterns.

Jen is a fellow POC maker and mama designer and has published some amazing accessory and crochet basket patterns. She also discovered a new stitch called the Bolster Stitch which she has used in a few of her patterns.

She just released this gorgeous Bolster Brim Sunhat pattern in collaboration with Erika Vondrak of Vondrak Yarns who sells XL yarns for home decor and other bigger projects!

I have had the privilege of meeting Jen in person and our little ones have also played together! She has gone from being an Instagram friend to one of my closest maker friends in real life! Read on to get to know her or skip to the bottom if you would like to watch our recorded Live!

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.

My name is Jen. I’m a wife, mama, crocheter/designer, licensed massage therapist and getting back to the appraisal field. In other words, I’m a maker trying to stay organized!
My business name “Jsodet” is pronounced j-so-day. More recently, my business has turned to designing patterns. Previously, I was making finished products to sell. I’m currently working on designs to feature the Bolster stitch.

How many years have you been knitting/crocheting for?

About 9 yrs now.

What are your current WIPs?

Collaborations with a couple of Etsy yarn shops and some patterns for my own blog and newsletter release.

What is your favorite thing to design and why?

Probably baskets and bags. I love working in the round!

What are your goals for this year?

I would like to make myself a cardi. I would also like to design a ruana or kimono.

How do you balance mom-life and making?

Hahaha idk! I try to crochet while my daughter is busy with something. We also share the attic which is my studio and her barbie world so we are doing our own thing but still hanging out and talking to each other.

One piece of advice for fellow mama makers?

As a POC, I usually just ignore racist crap. I have no time for that BS. My family is kind of diverse especially in skin tones and religious beliefs so I’m used to thinking diversity is normal. It has been a slap in the face realizing it’s not how everyone feels. I am just always aware of who I’m around. I like to keep quiet and observe and if I don’t like the vibe I leave. Sometimes I speak and sometimes I just don’t want to deal with it. But as I’ve gotten older I don’t get too much of it or I just ignore those people.

As for mama makers, don’t be hard on yourself. Try to find some mama time for self care and just try to enjoy your little ones. They won’t be little for long. And don’t think you have to keep up with the top makers. Go at your own pace so you can still enjoy your creative skill and not get burnt out.

Jen is a fellow POC maker and mama designer and has published some amazing crochet basket patterns. She also discovered a new stitch called the Bolster Stitch which she has used in a few of her patterns.

Here is one of Jen’s beautiful crochet basket patterns. This is the medium size basket from her “Bolster Ridge Basket Trio” pattern. It’s an easy textured basket pattern featuring her bolster stitch. You can find this pattern in her Etsy shop and in her Ravelry shop.

You can find Jen on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog. Find her patterns in her Etsy and Ravelry shops.

You can find a recording of the Live that I did with Jen here!

If you are a mama designer and/or a poc designer and would like to be featured, you can fill out the form here.

Nicolle -Mama Designer of Cute Baby Blankets

Nicolle is a fellow mama designer and has designed some amazing crochet baby blankets. One thing I love about her work is that it is always so neat! Her focus is on DIY with a simple and timeless touch.

Nicolle is a fellow mama designer and has designed some amazing crochet baby blankets. One thing I love about her work is that it is always so neat! Her focus is on DIY with a simple and timeless touch.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.

On the mom side of things, I have 2 kids (1.5 and almost 3). I am a veteran and my husband is still in the AF, so we move around a lot. It’s a challenge to parent without family around. So that’s a big part of things too. I’m a meteorologist by trade, and kind of as a tangent to that I’m a huge Earth lover and maybe a little bit of a tree hugger. I just started blogging regularly this past year, mostly crochet inspiration & patterns but also some other DIY things (I’m kinda big on holistic stuff). Baby blankets are my jam though! My patterns are available in my Etsy/Ravelry shops, but I don’t sell finished products because I don’t have the time! However I do have a life goal of doing a craft fair.

How many years have you been knitting/crocheting for?

I’ve been crocheting for a little over 20 years, which makes me sound really old, ha! When I was 11 years old, I learned from my grandfather’s wife. I made a blanket for my baby cousin, which I actually saw in recent years and and let me tell you it’s pretty horrific! But I’m honored that she kept it. She’s in college now. My friend taught me to knit a few years ago, but I haven’t explored that too much yet.

What are your current WIPs?

Always so many – I’ve been working on All About Ami’s Granite Cape for almost 3 years now! It’s almost done :). I mostly like to come up with my own stuff though. I’m working on a new baby blanket, a blanket for a friend’s May baby, and a temperature blanket that will represent my daughter’s first year of life. Clearly my fave thing is making baby blankets!. There is also a half finished throw blanket that honestly I probably won’t pick up again until Fall.

What is your favorite thing to design and why (Spoiler alert: it’s baby blankets)?

Blankets are really my jam. I especially love baby blankets, because I love trying to incorporate the receiver’s nursery theme and personality, etc. Since blankets are just simple rectangles, they are like a blank canvas and a challenge for making something interesting and worthy.

What are your goals for this year?

I want to put out 10 new crochet patterns. I’m working furiously on creating the projects now before I get more busy with the kids. So far I’ve put out 2, have 4 in progress and 4 more planned out. Most are blankets 🙂 I hope I can get to them all!

How do you balance mom-life and making?

This is a huge challenge and the reason I’ve been working on my Granite Cape for almost 3 years. My son is almost 3…coincidence? lol. There are a few things I’ve realized recently though. First, if you want something bad enough you will make time for it. Maybe “find” time is the better answer. I literally carry my project bag around the house with me, and the moment my kids are playing self sufficiently (and not wrestling each other) I pull it out and make some progress. It also helps when I bring it with me everywhere I go because car naps are a real thing with my 1 yr old.

Also, I know I need to be intentional with my time and not go down the rabbit hole on Instagram or get caught up with the TV. That’s time that can be used effectively to get things done. It’s also important to have intentional rest time. I’m a huge introvert and I neeeeed to rest. I’m also 30 weeks pregnant – yikes. What I still need to work on is balance. Balance is a big one for me. Trying to balance the “work at home thing” and dedicating time to work while trying to be an attentive parent is challenging . Mom life comes with so much guilt, so I try to make sure I’m not taking away from my job being a stay at home mom. Some days I just don’t get to do what I want but that’s life (preaching to myself here!).

One piece of advice for fellow mama makers?

Just be understanding of your limits. It’s true that you can make this work, but maybe you won’t grow quite as fast as you want to, or maybe you’ll have a lot of setbacks. But that’s okay. Your priority is your family. Don’t make excuses for not reaching goals, but give yourself some grace because momming isn’t easy and you’re doing the best you can.

Here is one of Nicolle’s beautiful baby blankets. This is called the “Sweet Georgia” baby blanket, which she made for a Georgia girl. It’s an infinite granny square with a scalloped border and ribbon/bow, and definitely has an heirloom quality to it. She loves the intricacy of it while still having a timeless feel to it. This was the first baby blanket she made after taking a long hiatus moving to Germany and having kids, and it’s extra special to her because the mama she made it for had tried long and hard for her baby girl. You can find this pattern on her blog and in her Etsy shop.

You can find Nicolle on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog. Find her patterns in her Etsy and Ravelry shops!

You can find a recording of the Live that I did with Nicolle here!

If you are a mama designer and/or a poc designer and would like to join me for a Live interview and be featured, you can fill out the form here.

Desamour Designs Interview-crochet patterns for women

Elisabeth’s crochet patterns for women are so beautiful. I came across Elisabeth’s profile when I was browsing the #pocdesignersandmakers hashtag and instantly connected with her. I find her style very unique and I also appreciate that she is an honest and open maker who shares posts about real life making.

You can read the interview below as a Q&A format or scroll to the bottom to watch the recording of the Live. Trust me, you’ll want to watch the Live, it was so much fun!

Meet Elisabeth of Desamour Designs, a fellow poc designer. Here, I'm featuring her and her beautiful crochet patterns for women!

1.     Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.

Hello. I’m 29 years old and the soul and heart behind Desamour Designs (Pronounced /deI.za.muʁ/). I learned to crochet in elementary school growing up in Haiti. Desamour Designs, and its many prior names, did not come about until about 4 years ago when I opened my Etsy shop to sell my finished objects. I have now moved away from that and I am focusing on garments, large accessories and home decor patterns. My focus is crochet patterns for women.

As a POC designer, I make it my mission to use my platform to educate my followers about my Haitian Heritage which tends to be shown in the worst light in American media. I often share history, pieces of my childhood there and anything I think my audience should learn about my parent’s country that they won’t learn on Google or via the media.

2.     How many years have you been knitting/crocheting for?

21 years!

3.     What are your current WIPs?

I have one current wip. It’s pretty much done but I need to weave in the ends. I’m still trying to decide the next project. Too many ideas and I just reduced my stash by about 80% and I’m still reducing it.

4.     What is your favorite thing to design and why?

After going through a recent stage of loving everything amigurumi, I discovered garment making last summer and I’ve been in love since. I especially enjoy designing crochet patterns for women.

5.     What are your goals for this year?

I am trying to focus a lot more on my shop this year. Having at least 100 listings is one of my main goals for my Etsy. Also, I want to invest more in my business this year and take more chances. My goal is to grow my business.

7.     One piece of advice for fellow POC makers?

Put yourself out there. Ignore the nay sayers and anyone who might make you feel you’re weak or inferior. Keep YOUR style, do what you like and makes you happy; do not try to imitate to gain exposure.

You can watch the recording of our Live interview here.

Meet Elisabeth of Desamour Designs, a fellow poc designer. Here, I'm featuring her and her beautiful crochet patterns for women!

This is the beautiful Initial Weekender bag pattern designed by Elisabeth. It’s perfect for spring and summer! Find all the details over on her blog post!

Elisabeth is the Owner of Desamour Designs. You can connect with her on Instagram, her blog, or via e-mail: [email protected]

If you are a poc and/or mama designer and would like to be featured, check out this post. I would love to connect with you!