Have you “met” Haafner Linssen yet, either online or in person? If you have, I’m positive you’ll want to see her latest crochet designs and discover the interesting insights she has shared with our community — and if you haven’t, I’m excited to introduce you to Haafner and her fresh, colorful craft pattern designs.
Haafner is a crochet pattern designer who has now authored three craft books. Her first was a best-selling crochet book called Mandalas to Crochet. In that book, Haafner taught her readers how to succeed with crocheting colorful round motifs and then tranforming them into finished projects like blankets, table linens, a rug and a scarf.
I’ve been crocheting for more than 30 years, and I learned quite a bit from reading Mandalas to Crochet. I really enjoyed it.
Haafner’s third book is called Striped Crochet Blankets: 20 Modern Heirlooms to Crochet, published by St. Martin’s Griffin. This book has recently become available, and I haven’t yet had a chance to take a look at it — but I look forward to doing so.
I recently received a copy of Crochet Loom Blooms to review, and I’m really enjoying the book. In addition to 30 flower patterns, the book includes patterns for projects such as blankets,a scarf, a tote bag and a potholder.
So far I’ve completed one floral potholder from the book; and since I really want to have a pair of these gorgeous potholders, I’ve just started making its identical mate.
I know many of you enjoyed Haafner’s book about mandalas, and it occurred to me that you’d all probably be really interested in learning more about her flower looming book, too. So I reached out to the readers of my newsletter to see if anyone had questions they wanted to ask Haafner. As it turns out, a whole bunch of people DID have questions they really wanted answers to. So I took all our readers’ questions, gave them all to Haafner, and we compiled all the questions and answers together in one place.
The following is an email interview with Haafner Linssen; the questions are written in boldface type below. Her answers follow each question. We hope you’ll find this information helpful, interesting and informative.
Amy: “Haafner, congrats on the recent publication of Crochet Loom Blooms with Interweave Press. I really love the book, and I’m excited to discuss a few of the details with you.”
Haafner: “Thank you so much for your kind words and the interview. I am so happy you like the book.”
Leslie, Donna and Joan are all wondering which project in the book is the easiest to make. Donna also wants to know how many of the projects in Crochet Loom Blooms you think a total beginner could succeed with making.
Haafner: “It depends, do you mean beginner in crochet or in flower looming? Let me answer for both options! Flower looming is very easy. Maybe a bit fiddly in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it – after a flower or two – it’s very simple. There are a couple of wrapping techniques that need some experience, but nothing that can’t be achieved with just a bit of practicing. Most wrapping is very basic.
“Then you need to secure the center of your flower, for this you can choose your preferred technique, but the majority is fairly simple.
“When it comes to experience in crocheting: because the book focuses on flowerlooming I chose not to use difficult crochet stitches, so any beginner in crochet could use the patterns. Also, if you are not into crocheting at all, but want to start flowerlooming anyway: I’ve got you covered! There are also patterns where no crocheting is required, plus I share joining techniques for which also no crochet is required (knotting anyone!?)
“Regarding Donna’s question about how many patterns are doable for a total beginner: for a total flower loom beginner I’d say at least half. For a total crochet beginner: you can always start with the patterns for which no crochet is required.
Amy says, “I counted a total of 5 patterns that don’t require any crochet work.
“Additionally, you can make each individual type of loom bloom without using crochet to finish it. The book includes a photo of each bloom all by itself, without crochet, so you can see how it looks. You can also see a bunch of these single loom blooms pictured on the front cover of the book. While I think crochet does greatly enhance the loom-made flowers, crochet isn’t essential for succeeding with flower looming.
“Single flowers could be useful for embellishing paper craft projects like greeting cards; hot gluing to magnets; stitching to hats or headbands; etc.
“Jennifer and Cindy have similar questions: They both want to know if it is hard to learn how to make flowers on a loom and how steep you estimate the learning curve to be.”
Haafner: “So, I’m happy to say it is not difficult at all! It is a fairly basic technique, yet one that yields lovely and often intricate results. That is one of the things I love about it. 😉 As I mentioned in the previous question the first couple of flowers can be a tad fiddling, but you’ll get into the rhythm soon, I promise! So, in term of learning curve: within a couple of hours you’ll be flower looming like a pro! 😉 And as soon as you have the basics covered you can start experimenting with looming flowers in other shapes, and make variations in the wrapping.
“My tip: use a medium or large size loom for your first flowers – that will reduce the fiddleness of making your first loom flowers considerably. 😉 With regards to the yarn for your first flowers, choose a (cheap!) yarn, preferably with some elasticity, not too light weight.”
Shari asks, “What’s the quickest finished project in your new Crochet Loom Blooms book?”
Haafner: “Thanks for asking Shari! Bumblebee’s Favorite is a very quick project – but actually there are quite a few that won’t take long. Of course it eventually also depends what you are making from the pattern. The book contains 30 patterns, that you could turn into anything from a potholder to blanket. (Additionally it also contains five projects, where I share patterns that are already turned into items like a tote bag, blanket etc.) I also give tips in the book how to upsize the existing patterns. When upsizing, you can also shorten the time you need to finish a project.”
Michael says, “I learned how to knit when I was 8 years old, but I don’t know how to crochet. I’m pretty good at designing knits, but I don’t know how to do the flower loom technique. I’m keen to learn it. Do you think it would be hard to use the flower loom instructions in the book and then wing it to finish the pieces with knitting instead of crochet?”
Haafner: “I love your question Michael! A wonderful thing about flower looming is that it can be combined with other textile crafts, like macramé, and yes, also with knitting. Of course, you’ll have to tweak the patterns. Also, you can add the loom flowers later to your knitted pieces – depending on the specific pattern. But I am sure with your designing talent it would not be a problem to alter the patterns to create a similar knitting project. For instance, if a loom flower is crocheted into a hexagon, you could use a basic hexagon knit pattern to create a similar pattern.
“By the way, if I may add: how wonderful that you have been knitting since you were eight. Unfortunately I am not much of a knitter – hence I can’t give very specific advice on how to tweak the patterns 😉 – but very keen to learn.”
Jody Lee asks, “Does Crochet Loom Blooms include specific instructions for how to end off a flower you make on a vintage Daisy loom? Because I have an old Daisy loom without any instructions. I got as far as figuring out how to wind my yarn around the pegs, but I don’t know what to do after that. Also, can you please tell me if I can use a Daisy loom to make all the patterns in the book? Or do I have to get another loom? If so which flower loom do you recommend?”
Haafner: “Oh, I love the vintage Crazy Daisy Winders, they look so beautiful! I chose to use the Hana-Ami flower loom from Clover for all (except one) patterns and additional projects in the book.
First, let me explain why: it is widely available across the globe, and it is a standard loom set which included several sizes and shapes of looms. Plus it is really easy to make layered flowers with this set, using more several sizes and shapes for one flower. Also it is very easy to use, especially where it comes to securing the center of flowers. The loom set has a hole in the middle, which allows you to sew back and forth to secure any type of center you’d like.
Which brings me to your question, apologies for the long introduction. 😉 With a daisy loom making a center is a bit more fiddly (in my experience) because it lacks that hole in the middle. The book touches upon the different kind of looms, but does not give specific instructions for all different brands, because the basics for all looms are the same, plus there are lot of different brands available – especially when it comes to the vintage brands. I find that the trick with the Daisy winder to secure the center is to start working it towards the end of the petals (so not actually in the center) and then gently pull the yarn to the center, and then continue with securing the next petal, worked also outside the actual center, etc. I hope this helps!”
Monica wants to know, “What flower looms and crochet hooks should I use for making the projects in your new flower looming book? Also, how did you learn to create flowers on the loom?”
Haafner: “Thanks for your questions Monica! I learned it by using both the instructions that came with my loom and some googling to find more information. Mainly to discover that there wasn’t a lot of information AND that it used to be a thriving craft in the first half of the last century, with lots of interesting techniques that now seemed to be largely forgotten.
“Regarding which flower loom to use: I’ve used the Hana-Ami flowerloom for the reasons above. So if you still have to buy a loom it would be easiest to get that one. ( BTW: I don’t have any commercial interest in the Hana-Ami loom!) Nevertheless, if you have another brand flower loom, that is no problem. The sizes might vary a bit, but I give advice in the book how to tweak the patterns a bit to make sure it fits. Regarding the crochet hook: I’ve used a 3.5 mm hook for the 30 basic patterns (and a DK weight yarn, the lovely Vinnis Nikkim yarn). For the projects (blankets, potholder, tote bag etc), I’ve used different yarn weights (from fingering to super bulky) and adapted the size of my hooks accordingly. That is another fun thing about flower looming: you can use all sorts or yarns and it’s very rewarding to experiment with that!”
Michelle asks, “Are loom-made flowers sturdy enough to use in baby and toddler blankets, or could a little one pull them apart easily? Looking forward to your answer.”
Haafner: “Great question Michelle, thank you! It is definitely possible, but some patterns are more suitable for the little ones than others. I would choose a simple flower pattern, without layers and a sturdy center. Also the type of yarn is also of importance of course. Regarding the center of the loom flowers: These are not only decorative, but also essential to keep the flower from falling apart… In the book I give advice for each center whether it suitable for (heavy) use or better for decorative projects only. Also, if you have chosen a pattern for your blanket that has a decorative center that is less suitable for a baby or toddler, you can still make that pattern, but you can just choose a different, more sturdy center for it.
“Last but not least, it also depends on the toddler I guess, for which I am not an expert ;-), if they are in a particularly destructive phase it might always be a good idea to let them play with a basic fleece blanket. 😉
Helen says, “Please ask Haafner if she has any filet crochet patterns to share. I would like to make some curtains for my kitchen and bathroom and so far haven’t been able to find anyone who does this type of crocheting any more at all. Thanks.”
Haafner: “I agree with you Helen, you don’t see that type of crochet a lot anymore. Which is a pity really because those intricate designs are often stunning. Personally I was lucky enough to stock up on crochet magazines in Portugal, where this type of crochet is still thriving. But I realize that is not a very helpful answer if you’re not ‘accidently’ planning a trip to Portugal… A more helpful suggestion might be to search on Etsy.com. There are sellers who have vintage crochet books and magazines to offer, with lots of filet patterns. Also, if you don’t mind working from a chart rather than from a written pattern: also on Etsy you can find Japanese crochet books for sale. Apart from the fact that they are pure eyecandy, there are quite a few that are about filet crochet. Another option is combine crochet and flowerlooming for a filet pattern. (It’s still on my personal to do-list to make curtains like that for our new house…)
“I’ll ponder a bit more if I can think of any other sources for filet crochet. And maybe one of the readers here can leave a suggestion in the comment section?”
Amy: “Several of our readers submitted similar variations on the following questions: Is there any difference between a crocheted mandala and a doily? If so, what are the main differences? (Thanks for the questions, Tiffany, Julia, Maria and Steffani.)”
Haafner: “I’m afraid don’t have a definite answer to that. In general I’d say a mandala is less lacy than a doily and has a more geometric look. A mandala is often multi or bright coloured, a doily is often associated with mono more more muted colours. A doily can take any shape, where as a mandala is usually round (originally often with a square center though.) But these are not rules that are set in stone. I love the word doily: I like the slighty retro (others would say ‘stuffy’, but I don’t agree with that!) connotation.
“Relevant is also the different origin of both, the doily is for decorative purposes (and sometimes practical too, when turned into a table cloth for instance). A mandala on the other hand is a spiritual and ritual symbol in both Hinduism and Buddhism, and is a symbol of the universe. Nowadays however, the term mandala has also a more generic meaning for a circular and geometric diagram, drawing or pattern.
“If you’d like to read more: Recently I came across a really interesting article online about doilies and mandalas, by Beverly Gordon, professor emeritus in the Design Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The article is called ‘The Push-Pull of Doilies: Revered, Reviled and Reconceived.’“
Margaret wants to know, “What are you going to do with all the mandalas you’ve crocheted? I usually stick to making blankets, hats and scarves. I really enjoyed your mandalas book, although it took me a bit out of my comfort zone — which was a good thing. I’ve made several of the mandalas you designed, and they’re lovely, but I’m not sure how to use them. Thanks in advance for any help with this.”
Haafner: “First, thank you very much for your kind words about my designs, that means a lot as I poured a lot of love into making them. 🙂 Good question, I know more people wonder what on earth to do with them. 😉 So, yes, making an eclectic blanket or bedspread is a lovely way of using mandala’s, you can combine them with old crochet samples etc. to make a sizable blanket. If you have lightweight mandala’s you could make them into a curtain. You could make an ever-changing exhibition with them: I love decorating walls like that, I especially like them grouped together. On my IG account I have a couple of examples:
“If they are too wobbly, you could used pin them onto foam-cut-to-match.
“You could use them for a garland (provided that there are not too big, then you can fold them in halves with a rope in between both halves). I love them as a mini tablecloth, used under a candle holder, photo frame or flower vase (or to ‘tie’ those items together as it were).
You could make a sizable tablecloth by sewing several mandalas together. You could turn them into potholders and hotpads (sew or crochet a backside to them). There are very suitable to embellish bags or gift wraps. Also, you can spruce up a boring (non-crochet or crochet) blanket by sewing them onto the blanket. The tiny ones are excellent for embellishing a beautiful, personal postcard, especially when you’ve used light weight crochet thread. I hope this helps!”
Shirley and Jessica both want to know if you enjoy any crafts other than crochet and flower looming.
Haafner: “Thank you Shirley and Jessica! I used to draw and paint a lot when I was younger, even considered art school for a while. Later on the painting somehow didn’t combine very well with a busy job, so for years I suppressed my creativity, until I got hooked on crocheting, and later flower looming too! For the last two years or so, all my craft time went into making designs for my last two books, but I am actually eager to learn a couple of other techniques, like making bobbin lace (looks so fascinating!) and finally get to really learn to knit. And non-yarn related: I’d love to make linocuts again.”
Melissa says, “I don’t have a question for Haafner, but could you please just tell her, Thank you, thank you, thank you, for reviving my interest in this craft. I’m so excited about this book. I’ve been stalled with my old flower loom for years and am looking forward to picking it back up again.
Haafner: “Thank you so much Melissa, that means the world! Happy flower looming!”
Haafner:: “For the patterns in my book, the publisher has all the ins and out of the legal technicalities. But in broad outlines, yes, you can use the patterns and sell the products. Apart from legalities it is of course always kind to give credits to the designer when doing so. 😉 For all clarity, it’s not permitted to sell or otherwise distribute the patterns themselves.”
Amy: “Nobody asked the questions I’m most curious about, so I’ll go ahead and ask them: What’s next for you, Haafner? What are your professional goals for the rest of 2018 and heading into 2019? Do you have plans to write any more books?”
Haafner: “Thanks for this question Amy! I’ve only just finished work for my third book (Stripey Blankets) which is due to be published this autumn I believe. It was a lot (a loooooot) of work in a fairly small amount of time, so it did leave me little time with planning ahead for this year. However, I do have a list with things I still want to do (among which about fifty ideas for new books!) so I really should set some priorities soon. 😉 One other thing that really needs doing is reviving my blog, which is really in a state of despair right now. I’d love to start sharing new patterns via my blog again. Something I haven’t been doing for way too long. Also, although I love posting on Instagram, with making two book in just over a year, my IG account has suffered too – no time for creating things outside the designs for my book. And my publisher wouldn’t be too happy if I shared that already on Instagram I guess. 😉 So I need to get back in the flow of posting once or twice a day and reconnecting with all the lovely and creative people out there… “
Amy: “Those are fantastic goals, Haafner! I wish you much success with meeting them. Congrats on the upcoming Stripey Blanket book. I will look forward to seeing it this coming fall. Please keep us posted about it.
“To those of you following along: Here’s a peek at a blanket that inspired the idea for Haafner’s brand new Stripey Crochet Blankets book:”
If you want to get a whole bunch of crochet patterns for striped blankets similar to this one, be sure to check out Haafner’s new stripey crochet blanket book, which is now available.
If you’d like to keep up with Haafner’s work in the future, she is active on Instagram.
Haafner ends the interview by saying, “A big Thank You to you Amy for the interview, and to your lovely readers who participated in sending in questions. I hope my answers gave some clarity into the book and into flowerlooming. I hope you will all come to love this wonderful craft as much as I love it!”
Amy says, “The floor is open for reader comments, so please do share your thoughts — or let us know if you have any questions. I usually keep comment moderation turned on, so please forgive me if it takes a little time for me to approve your comment and respond to your questions. Thanks for your visit to Knittingandcrochet.net today! We really appreciate your interest.”
Quick Links to the Resources We’ve Discussed in This Interview:
- Click here to shop for Crochet Loom Blooms at the Interweave Store, or click here to shop for the book at Amazon.
- Click here to check out Haafner’s Striped Crochet book at Amazon.
- Click here to shop for Mandalas to Crochet at Amazon.
The photos you see on this page are all courtesy of Haafner Linssen, Phil Wilkins and Nicki Dowey and were used with the permission of the copyright owner.
About the Interviewer: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She has been crocheting and crafting since childhood, and knitting since she was a teenager. Her work also appears at AmySolovay.com, ArtsWithCrafts.com and Crochet-Books.com. Amy sends out a free knitting and crochet newsletter so interested crafters can easily keep up with her new patterns and tutorials. If you’re already an Instagram user, Amy also invites you to follow her on Instagram.
This page was last updated on 8-3-2019.