If you love knit and crochet accessories that are both beautiful and practical, you really should take a look at ValerieBaberDesigns. Since 2012, her designs on Etsy have really stood out as both impressively beautiful and unique. The first time I saw her shop I clicked through everything admiring her work. It was – and still is – different than anything I had seen in any crochet pattern magazine.
“I love architecture from the past and continue to bring this inspiration into my designs,” Valerie says. “I am amazed and awed by the incredible designs of the past especially the Gothic architectural designs. The beautiful and detailed designs of these amazing buildings have so much inspiration to draw from.”
As you can see, Valerie is also inspired by nature. “It is perfection at its best yet not so perfect,” she says. “It all blends together and inspiration is never ending. Both architecture and design of the past and the present as well as nature work together seamlessly in design and you can see many influences of nature in Gothic architecture as you will also see in my more recent designs. Stained glass on a neutral base of stone in the beautiful cathedrals of the past and flowers in a field of grass and trees have a similarity in colour and influence. You can see in the architecture of the past the influence nature had on many artists as it does today.”
“Colour and shades are also a great influence for me,” she continues. “A yarn colour may inspire me to go a certain direction when I am designing. I love shades and subtle colours of architecture as much as I love the bright bold colours of stained glass and in the nature and landscapes around us. I love bringing these influences into my designs.”
Valerie started knitting at 18 when her sister invited her to attend a class. The class signaled the beginning of her designing career. “The first item I knit was a combination of three different sweater patterns I combined to make a style which I couldn’t find a pattern for. My teacher thought I was crazy and was sure it wouldn’t work. To both of our surprise it did!”
As she progressed in knitting, Valerie continued to change patterns to suit what she
wanted. Then in 1994, after her first child was born, she opened her first business HeyDiddleDiddle Knitwear and designed ready to wear children’s sweaters and hats for boutiques. She also began to crochet and published patterns with Cast On Magazine.
“A hand injury interrupted my designing, so off to school I went to study Interior Decoration and Design. Oddly enough a back injury interrupted my schooling and I ventured back into designing and making handmade scarves, hats, hand warmers and the like,” she says.
When another injury occurred this past summer, Valerie started writing crochet patterns for her shop ValerieBaberDesigns. “It’s interesting that injuries have played a big part in my direction. Life is funny. Basically, I have been designing from the first pattern I made and continue to design every day. It’s an amazing joy to me to sit down and pick up some knitting needles or crochet needles and some yarn and just see where I can take it, evolve it, and make it into something beautiful. There isn’t enough time to make all the designs that play around in my mind.”
If you were like me and believe that from looking at the items in Valerie’s store that her patterns are difficult, you might be surprised. I recently made the Elegant Rose Scarf and hand warmers. Here is how they turned out:
I was quite pleased with the clarity of the pattern and how the scarf and hand warmers were to crochet. If you’re a very confident beginner, you could probably navigate this pattern pretty well, especially with the pictures and charts that Valerie includes in the downloadable. Crocheters with intermediate skills will love it.
In addition to her patterns, Valerie is selling kits. You will definitely want to try these since the yarn is from Sweet Georgia Yarns, a Canadian company, that I hadn’t heard of before working with Valerie. The 100 percent superwash merino wool yarn is soft and very smooth. It is also hand painted so the colors are vivid and there are small variations of tone throughout.
If you don’t want to make anything, ValerieBaberDesigns sells plenty of ready made products that are suitable for gifts and for yourself. What fun it would be to receive a package with one of these products from a designer who has an incredible knack for beauty!
In our next post, I’ll show you how to make the two-toned roses for this pattern.