If you’re a crocheter and a blogger you’re probably familiar with Drew, or as he is known far and wide, The Crochet Dude. If you don’t know Drew then you have definitely been missing out. This is a man who is not only immensely talented, but he’s fabulously funny, a brilliant designer, amazingly kind and compassionate, devoting his time and talent to myriad charitable efforts while running his “Dudepire”. Drew has also been one the loudest and most fervent supporters of my creations and my blog since its humble inception and that is pretty darn cool. All truth be told, the blogosphere is a much richer place by virtue of Drew’s presence here and basically, we all could use a little Daily Drew in our lives.
Okay, so I like the guy a little…
And hopefully, after reading the interview below, you will like him too!
Regina: Tell me about your crochet and knit origins.
Drew: I learned to crochet when I was five years old. We had just moved to Lake Tahoe and the winter was particularly heavy that year with drifts over the roof of the house. So I was inside a lot, and most likely surfing on Mom’s last nerve, and before I knew it she had given me a hook and some yarn and I was crocheting. I had been watching her crochet all my life so I knew there was more to it than making a chain snake! It seemed very intuitive and reading patterns became quite easy, even though I was so young. The following winter Mom wanted to make an afghan with swirl shaped motifs and couldn’t figure out the pattern. I’m not sure if she was happy or not that I read the pattern, explained it to her, and then whipped up an example that turned out the first time. Six year olds can be frustrating I’m sure!
Knitting was always an elusive sport. I saw my sister go to town with her aluminum knitting needles and wool (I still hear that clickity-click sound sometimes late at night when it’s dark, cold, and I’m half asleep). Anywho, she whipped up sweaters that me and my brothers could actually wear to school!
It was like magic to me! I still have the gold & avocado green ski sweater that she made for my big brother and wear it every time it gets cold here in Houston.
Last year I decided that knitting couldn’t be so hard since practically everyone I knew was knitting up those furry skinny scarves. I didn’t really have a hankering for a furry skinny scarf, since, well, I’m a dude and all, but I did want to be able to knit nonetheless. I taught myself to knit by looking at various websites and beginner knitting books that promised “there’s nothing to it”, and “look you’re already knitting” and “you can knit entire garments in garter stitch”. This led to my being selected to knit for the
book “Men Who Knit and the Dogs Who Love Them”, which after a few weeks I was then invited to co-author with Annie Modesitt. The book is coming out fall 2006.
Regina: I’m interested to learn how you got involved in the business of crochet and why.
Drew: I had always heard people on Oprah saying “Do what you love and the money will follow” and I love to eat, but that hadn’t turned into a career yet. I had been doing a lot of charity work, crocheting afghan squares for a comfortghan group called Heartmade Blessings, and the other square makers were continually looking for new patterns. I did a little designing and gave the squares patterns to the group and was very happy with the feedback that I received. It was such a great training period for me since nothing was on the line, and the people making the squares were very supportive. Through my charity work I was able to work out the process of writing patterns so that they were clear
and easy to follow.
A series of ironically mundane events has led me to designing for yarn companies. It’s exciting to get a box of yarn in the mail with a design idea scribbled on a sheet of paper and a deadline that seems impossible. I love that rush of looking at the yarn, visualizing the final item and then crocheting like a madman to get it done in time, working out the kinks as I go. I love it!
I decided to self-publish my first patterns with Lulu.com to become familiar with the process. Now when someone wants one of my patterns they can go online and download it, or order it in print, and I’m pretty much free to work on my next designs. It’s such a great relationship to have with the people that like my designs. I have several more pattern booklets that I’m developing right now and should be released within the next few months.
Regina: What do you enjoy about the design process?
Drew: The best part of designing for me is imagining the possibilities of crochet. Where can it go next? Has it been there before? How can I learn from the incredible fiber artists of my generation and take that knowledge into unfamiliar territory? Crochet and knit themselves are incredible opportunities for creativity and artistic expression.
Regina: What is your favorite item to design and why?
Drew: At the beginning of my career my main focus was on developing afghan squares, first for charity, then for the 2006 Crochet Pattern-a-day Calendar for Accord Publishing. They asked for 28 new patterns (plus a joining method) and they needed it yesterday. It was all I thought about for weeks and weeks. The editor of the calendar emailed me and said, “you really should get into garment design, you’d be very good”. I was amazed that she saw that in me, and I didn’t hesitate to shift my thoughts immediately to how I could represent crochet in the garment design arena and still push the boundaries of where crochet had gone before.
Drew Emborsky, aka The Crochet Dude, studied fine art at Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a national member of the Crochet Guild of America where he received a Masters in Crochet certificate. His publications can be found here and many of his designs are included in the 2006 Crochet Pattern-A-Day. Watch for his new book “Men Who Knit and the Dogs Who Love Them” to be released by Lark Books in the Fall 2006. Drew resides in Houston, Texas with his two cats Chandler & Cleocatra.