Lianka Azulay, a Baltimore author and artist, was seven years old when she discovered the craft of handmade items.
“My grandma showed me how to crochet a chain,” said Azulay. She wasn’t too patient. After that, she taught me the chain stitch. She told me just to watch was she was doing. I guess I’m a visual learner.”
For years, Azulay continued to improve her crocheting expertise by designing pieces for herself and her friends. In July 2011, Artscape decided to have an online fashion competition. The owner of Bonita Patterns wore her crocheted hood to Artscape and she became the winner of the 2011 contest.
“I felt fantastic,” said Azulay. I’ve always loved Artscape, and loved how people can come together to experience such and array of creativity in one single place.”
What made you want to start your Bonita Patterns line?
Last summer a friend saw one of my amigurumi dolls (a crochet doll) and she suggested I should open a shop on Etsy. I did not want to make finished products for sale.
I wanted to create original designs that others can replicate. Most of all I think crochet has somewhat of a unfair reputation of being outdated or granny-looking. I wanted to show that crochet can be quite elegant and fashionable.
Where do you make your Bonita Pattern pieces?
I make my designs literally, anywhere. Bonita Patterns is absolutely “mobile”. I design at the doctors’ office, in the car, in a classroom (luckily my professor was a knitter and understood I could multi-task) and even on the beach. The only thing I need to design is yarn and a hook.
What are your three favorite items that you have made so far with your Bonita Patterns? Why?
My favorites are:
Marte, A Crocodile Stitch Hood. One of the reasons I love this piece is the overwhelmingly positive feedback on it from my customers. This is the piece I entered on the Artscape contest. I also love it because the original picture I used for this design is of my little sister Luanna, who is gorgeous!
Crocodile Stitch Triangle Shawl, because shawls are timeless pieces that often become heirlooms.
My third favorite piece is the Crocodile Stitch Wristwarmers, because I love fingerless gloves, but sometimes they look too casual. I was looking to create fingerless gloves that were more feminine, chic, yet with an edge. I think the Wristwarmers fit the bill.
I know that you recently published your first book of patterns, what inspired you to create a book of patterns? Where can you buy the book?
The book happened without much of a plan. My patterns were successful enough on Etsy and other online fiber arts communities that the publisher, Annie’s Attic, approached me about a book deal. They were very accommodating and easy to work with. The book can be found at http://www.anniesattic.com/new/detail.html?prod_id=85780&cat_id=476