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Designer Studio Spotlight: Edie Eckman Crochetville User ID: knitandcrochet Website: www.edieeckman.com © 2011 Amy Shelton and Crochetville LLC. All rights reserved. All photos © 2010 and 2011 Edie Eckman. Used with permission. If you're a long-time crocheter or if you've ever had a need to consult any crochet reference books, you're probably very familiar with the name Edie Eckman, as she is a very well-known crochet designer, author, teacher, editor, and technical editor. (She's equally well-known in the knitting world.) Perhaps you've even had the opportunity to take one of her classes at CGOA's Chain Link conference or another fiber conference, or even attend some of her sessions at CGOA's Professional Development Day. You may have seen her patterns in various crochet magazines. I am very happy to feature my good friend in the first of our series of articles that will take you on a journey through up-close and personal looks at the studios of crochet designers. If you'd like the opportunity to meet Edie in person, she will be presenting afternoon breakout sessions at Professional Development Day at both CGOA Chain Link conferences this year: Minneapolis in July and Greensboro, NC in September. (Ssshhhhh, she'll also be teaching knitting classes at both conferences.) Click here for more information on the conferences. Perhaps you'll recognize some of Edie's books: Click on the book cover to go to an Amazon page for more information on each book. (Disclaimer: The links go through Crochetville's Amazon Associates account. Any purchases made through these links will provide Crochetville with a small commission.) All of Edie's books are wonderful! Her Crochet Answer Book is one of my favorite reference books. (I just realized I've been remiss and haven't written a review of this fabulous book. I will rectify that situation soon and add a link to the review here.) Of course the book contains all sorts of fabulous, wonderful information to help you with any crochet problem or question you may have; it is a reference book, after all. But what I really love about this book is its size: it's small enough that it will easily fit in just about any project tote bag so you can easily carry it with you anywhere. I just found out that it's also available in Kindle format, so if you have a Kindle, iPad, or any other e-reader with a Kindle app available, you can have an electronic version of this book with you wherever you happen to be. I already own the hard copy version, but I may just have to order the Kindle version as well so I can have it with me on my iPad at all times. (Yes, sad to say, I'm very much a tech-girl geek and the iPad rarely leaves my side these days. In fact, it's sitting right beside me as I type this article on the laptop.) Before we take a look at the photos of Edie's studio, let's check in with her to see what she has to share about her career in the crochet industry and her thoughts about her studio. Crochetville: When and how did you learn to crochet? Edie: My grandmother taught me when I was about five or six years old. She lived with us, and was always doing handwork, so it was natural that I wanted to learn what she was doing. Crochetville: When and how did you become interested in being a designer? Edie: For about five years, I co-owned a yarn shop. When we decided to close the shop, I wanted to stay in the business—I was used to buying yarn at wholesale—and decided that I'd try my hand at designing. My children were young, and it was a good way for me to be a stay-at-home working mother. Crochetville: What are your favorite items to design? Edie: That's a hard one to answer, as it depends on my mood. I love working with individual motifs, but fun texture stitches also hold my interest. From a personal standpoint, I prefer garments I can wear. Crochetville: What are your favorite fibers to work with? Edie: Wool and wool blends, but I'm partial to any natural fiber, depending on the project. Crochetville: What are your favorite crochet hooks? Edie: In-line style heads, like Susan Bates and Denise Needles. Crochetville: What else would you like our readers to know about you? Edie: I'm very interested in multi-crafting, especially mixing knitting and crochet. This is a topic that I come back to over and over again: the two disciplines are VERY closely related, and while I can understand that some people strongly prefer one or the other, I don't know why we don't get along better. I think it's lovely that we can have the best of both worlds. When people ask me which I like better (crocheting or knitting), I say that's like asking me to choose between my two children. Some days I prefer one over the other, but I love them both. I'm so glad I don't have to choose! Crochetville: What are your favorite things about your crochet studio? Edie: I love the view of my backyard. Despite the very low ceilings, the room has a sense of openness because of all the natural light that comes through the windows. The tile floor is heated, so in the winter it feels cozy and warm, even to bare feet; in the summer, it stays nice and cool. On nice spring or fall days, my studio moves to the outdoor patio. Crochetville: Why did you choose the items in your studio? Edie: Most of the things were chosen for function and storage, and only the grid shelving and the hollow door that makes up the worktable were bought specifically for the studio. The rest were found/repurposed from elsewhere in the house. Crochetville: How do you have things organized? Edie: As you can see from the "I wish it looked like this all the time" photos, which make me look very tidy, the reality is that I'm not tidy at all. Although I am highly organized, and can usually put my hands on anything I need, I don’t do a very good job of putting stuff away. Although I use a couple of different systems to help me manage deadlines, one that works well for me is the large bulletin board that you see in the corner of the studio for my active work. I have it divided into "High Priority" (do now), "Medium Priority" (do soon), "Contract Stitchers Projects", "Waiting for Something" and "Reminders". I've also recently added a separate board with "TODAY", for those things that really really have to happen today. Because I write in black Sharpie, I can see that "to do" list from anywhere in the room. I also have an Excel spreadsheet where I keep overall track of all my projects, no matter what state they are in (swatch only, proposal, etc). Crochetville: How do you use your studio? Edie: The business of my career takes place mostly in my studio; it's where I do my bookkeeping, proposal preparation, editing, and so on. Most people would be surprised at how little time I spend, relatively speaking, actually stitching. That stitching (crocheting or knitting) may take place just about anywhere, like the sofa in the den, or the patio, on the road, or my lake house. Crochetville: As you've used your studio, have you realized that there is something you'd like to add to your studio? Edie: A part-time assistant who can do all the things I want to do but have trouble getting around to. Crochetville: Are there any changes you'd like to make to your studio? Edie: I'd like more wall space. But since I'm unwilling to give up any of my windows, I'll keep what I have. And now, let's take a tour through Edie's studio. You may want to take a minute to get a snack and a cup of your favorite beverage (maybe a bathroom break) before you continue reading. You're going to be here awhile, drooling over Edie's fabulous setup. Think my family would mind if I ran away from home to become her part-time assistant just so I can hang out in this fabulous studio every day? Note: Click on any photo to see a larger version. Studio Overview from 2010: Don't you just love the nice, neat studio? It would be so relaxing to work in this beautifully organized space. Are you like me: just a tiny bit jealous that your crochet work space never looks as inviting as Edie's fabulous space? Well, Edie and I will let you in on a little secret. These photos were taken in 2010, during a freak snowstorm that had her trapped in her house for days. She had the time to spend getting everything spic and span. Would you be happy to know that maybe, just maybe, the studio didn't stay in this state for very long? Let's take another look at her studio as it appears when she is frantically working to get multiple projects completed by their various deadlines (which is most of the time). Overview of Studio: Storage: Miscellaneous (with knitting machine under wrap): Design Board: Prioritized Projects/Tasks Board: Today's Projects/Tasks Board: Comfy Chair and Table/Work Surface: Outdoor Work Space (and beautiful dog!): I hope you've enjoyed this tour of Edie's studio and the opportunity to get to know a famous designer/author/teacher just a little bit better. We hope you'll continue to join us as we spend time with other designers through the rest of 2011. Designers, if you'd like Crochetville to feature your studio in an upcoming article, please send me a PM or use our Contact Us form to let us know of your interest. I'll send you more information about what we'll need you to send us. Until next time, Amy Suggestions for future studio spotlight articles: If you have suggestions for other designers whose studios you'd like to see, please post your suggestions here. Directory of Studio Spotlight Articles (alphabetically by last name) Tracie Barrett Edie Eckman Melissa Horowzewski