First of all I would to thank you for such a great opportunity to share my work with Knotions readers. My name is Tatsiana and I currently live in the Czech Republic (I am originally from Belarus, but we moved to the Czech Republic 10 years ago). Yes, I am married to a wonderful man who (luckily) works in the IT sphere and is helping me a lot with the technical parts of my work. We have a 6 year old son and a dog. Irish Setter.
You’re primarily a crocheter. How did you get into it?
I would not say I am primarily a crocheter as I can crochet and knit, and I learnt both crafts at the same time. But it’s true that I mostly design in crochet. I was taught by a teacher in the kindergarten when I was 5 years old and it’s probably the best ever thing I have learnt in my entire life.
I don’t remember much from my early childhood but I can recall two very bright episodes. One is when I was sitting at the outdoor playground with needles and blue acrylic yarn trying to master garter stitch. While other kids were running around and playing. And another bright moment is from a kindergarten when I was at a pre-school age, around 6 years old. We had several crochet and knitting books at home (and I still don’t know how they got to us as my mom doesn’t knit or crochet). I was “reading” those book every day and was staring at the charts trying to figure out how to follow them. So one day I brought one of the books to kindergarten and asked my teacher to show me how to read charts… But I don’t think it was a success though.
Three years ago I fell in love with overlay crochet and mandala art and made first attempts in my own designing. In the beginning I didn’t know how everything would turn, but since my crochet mandalas and pillows drew the attention of people, I decided to focus on interior design. And this is my main direction in designing today.
But I love challenges, and sometimes it’s nice to step away and try something else. I didn’t know if I could really write down a pattern for a garment. It seemed unreal. But then I tried once, and it worked. Currently I am an official blogger for Scheepjes (a Dutch yarn producer). I was asked to create a garment project for a YARN book-a-zine, and it worked again. So I thought maybe it’s a nice idea to create garments from time to time.
You design with LOTS of color. Do you have a favorite?
I am addicted to making mandalas and they are usually very colorful, so I really use lots of colors. But my favorites are amethyst and emerald.
What about fiber?
I am trying to use natural fibers in my work – mostly cotton and less wool. I care a lot about the environment and ecology. But I also agree and understand that 100% natural yarn might be not as practical and durable as acrylic blends.
You are probably talking about the Whirl Mandala Cardigan. Actually it’s not my first garment design. When I was a kid I created lots of crazy sweaters and tops in crazy color palettes. My parents were not rich at all and they couldn’t buy me fancy yarn in sophisticated colors. So I used what our family friends gave me, or yarns from frogged sweaters.
My first “official” garment design is the Blue Feather Sweater, which is a free tutorial on my blog. And it is made in the exact palette I am comfortable with: blue, teal, purple and grey. And my newest garment creation is the Nori Dress. It’s a very easy pattern aimed at beginners, free and available in 3 sizes on my blog.
How did you get into surface crochet?
I spotted a crochet mandala by Carola Herbst (CAROcreated) on Etsy three years ago, and it was a very strong WOW moment. Normally I can recreate crochet design from just a picture, but here I was staring and couldn’t understand how the stitches were placed, and how the whole piece was created. So I bought the pattern and created my first mandala in overlay crochet. It took me a month, I think… Then I found out that overlay crochet was “invented” by Melody McDuffee. I followed several of her patterns and finished quite a few pillows and rugs. And then I felt like trying to design something myself.
You design a lot with mandalas. Tell us about them.
…I don’t know what to tell… I design mandalas and I am happy with them. I love to draw with yarn and to play with stitches. Sometimes a new design is born in literally several hours, and sometimes it takes months to finalize the pattern.
I am not a calm person and normally I am all over the place. And crocheting mandalas helps me to calm down and find a balance and peace inside.
What are your most popular patterns?
The most popular patterns are overlay crochet mandalas. Dandelion Mandala (on right) became very hot just after release, and then when Dandelion Border was released (to square it up) both patterns went viral. A lot of pillows, and blankets, and wall hangings were created. Emma Aldous combined these patterns with my free Circles of the Sun squares and created a fantastic Sophie Loves Lilla Bjorn Winter Blanket. Emma put all the notes together and you can read more about this blanket on my blog.
I often get requests from people who would like to crochet my mandalas but are not familiar with overlay crochet. In my opinion the best start is Circles of the Sun CAL. It’s a collection of 9 small squares in overlay crochet which are available for free on my blog. Instructions are written in the same style as my mandala patterns, and there are also videos available for each part of the CAL (made by Esther Dijkstra of It’s All In A Nutshell).
So if you want to get a smooth and easy introduction into overlay crochet, I would recommend you start from there.
What are your days like? Give us a glimpse into a Tatiana Day.
Oh, I don’t think my life is interesting or exciting. I am just a mom, and a wife, and a dog owner… I work at home. Every morning I drink a cup of coffee and check my e-mails. Then blogging and pattern writing time comes. I take pictures for photo tutorials, write the patterns down, blog about my new designs. In the breaks I take my dog to walks, we wander in the fields and nearby forests. And then I go to a kindergarten for my son. We play for an hour or two outdoors, and then it’s time for cooking.
Whole evenings (after my son goes to bed) are devoted to crochet. I crochet for hours, for hours, for hours… until late in the night. And then the next day comes. Not very exciting life, right? 🙂
What do you do when you’re not crocheting?
Apparently my hobby became my daily job, but I am trying to balance work and family life. When I am not crocheting, and not writing patterns and blogging I try to spend as much time as possible with my family.