Friday, January 27, 2012

Blog interview with Brett Bara of "Knit and Crochet Now" and "Sewing in a Straight Line"

Brett in her sewing room.
Recently our fearless leader, Laura, attended the International Quilt Market in Houston, TX where she ran into none other than Brett Bara who was there promoting her new book "Sewing in a Straight Line". Brett is one of the hosts of "Knit and Crochet Now" on PBS, former editor of Crochet Today magazine, and writer of a wonderful blog: Manhattan Craft Room.  We asked her to do a blog interview with us and she agreed!  Here is what she had to say about her projects: 

JBW: Can you give us a super quick description of Knit and Crochet Now and how you get started in television?

Brett:  Knit and Crochet Now is a TV series all about (you guessed it!) knitting and crocheting. It airs on PBS and is produced by the yarn maven Candi Jensen.  We focus on teaching viewers how to do a little bit of everything, so no matter what your skill level or particular interest within the crafts, there should be something for everyone.

One of Brett's cute Crochet designs!
I got started as the host of the show because when it launched I was the editor in chief of Crochet Today magazine, and the magazine and show were created by the same team, so it ended up being a natural fit that I became the host of the show. I definitely never thought I would work in television, but it's fun!

JBW: What's your favorite part about writing your blog, Manhattan Craft Room? 
Her awesome new book!

Brett: I love sharing what I make with the internet, and as a result being part of the online conversation about crafts and DIY. Having a blog is a little bit like having your own personal magazine, which is just fun. My absolute favorite thing is when one of my posts inspires someone else to make something, and then they share their results with me. It's the best feeling in the world to know you've helped someone else have a good creative experience.

 
JBW: As an independent writer, designer, spokesperson and consultant as well as TV personality, do you have any advice for folks out there seeking to make a living doing what they love? 

Brett:  My best advice is to just follow your passions and try not to let fear stand in the way of doing what you love. Just go for it and keep putting what you want to do out there; eventually it will lead you where you want to go. It also helps to network a ton and make as many friends as you can within your field. Join groups, comment on blogs, make yourself part of the conversation--it does wonders!


And now for the fun part!   We asked Brett a few more personal questions about herself.  Here is what she had to say:


Shirred Dress

JBW: Where did you grow up? 

Brett: A small town in western Pennsylvania, out in the country. My parents are both very crafty, handy, do-it-yourself kind of people so I grew up in a house where we made everything ourselves, which I really appreciate today.


JBW: What time do you start work? 

Throw Pillow
Brett: Well.... I wake up around 9:30 most days and generally make it to my work room between 10 and 11am. Sometimes I start working right away but other days I just check my email then head off to go do a project, run errands, go to meetings or cook stuff. Sometimes I end up back at the computer and work as late as 2am, other times not. I try to allow myself the freedom to be flexible and work when I need to, and take time to do whatever else when I can. That's the beauty of being self-employed, and I believe it's really important for the creative process, so I try to keep it flexible!


JBW:  Do you watch the Superbowl? If so, who's your team? 

Brett:  Absolutely, positively not! I run screaming from any and all sporting events. :)


Simple Skirt
JBW: Tell us about your previous life (you know, before the crafting business): 

Brett: Magazine editor and freelance writer for men's and women's mags. Out of college, I started working in magazine publishing right away, but for the first 7 years of my career I worked for men's and women's mags like Details and Marie Claire, mostly freelance.  Eventually one day I randomly got an opportunity at a position as a craft editor, which was the first time I was able to combine my love of crafts with my professional career in magazines. From there everything fell into place. I eventually got the position as Editor in Chief of Crochet Today magazine, which helped me establish enough connections in the craft world that I was able to eventually transition to the career I have now.


Nesting Bowls
JBW: Which is your favorite medium- knitting, crocheting or sewing? 

Brett: I can't choose! I love them all! Though I have to admit that unfortunately I tend to get a lot of hand and wrist pain, and knitting and crocheting tend to exacerbate the problem, whereas sewing does not. So these days I do more sewing than anything else. I go in waves though, so I'm sure that will continue to wax and wane over the years.



JBW: Any new hobbies?: 

Brett: Amateur electrician. I recently moved into a new apartment and have been working on beefing up my handyman skills. Lately I've been installing new light fixtures, which is terrifying but also makes me very, very proud! 


JBW: First album you ever bought:  

Brett: Michael Jackson Thriller, of course!


JBW: Dream Job?: 
One of Brett's beautiful Jello molds!

Brett: Starting my own craft magazine. 


JBW: Little Known Fact:  

Brett: I'm a total hermit and I need to force myself to leave the house every so often.


JBW: I noticed the food tab in your website. Do you consider yourself a foodie?  

Brett: I'm a bit obsessed with food. I cook a lot - one of my favorite things is to cook dinner, sometimes I'll cook something really elaborate even if it's just for myself. I love to bake and make desserts too; I'm totally into Jello molds lately, and in the past I used to make wedding cakes. 


JBW: Biggest Accomplishment: 

Brett: Supporting myself doing what I love in New York City!

Thanks so much Brett for participating in our fun blog interview!  If anyone is interested in learning more about Brett's projects, feel free to check out the links below:


Website/Blog: www.brettbara.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Crafty-Brett-Bara/128412487195272
Twitter: @brettbara

Happy Friday everyone!
Kristen

PS.  Jimmy Beans Wool is the official yarn, knitting and crochet supplier to U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing!  To encourage people to be creative on and off the slopes, we have partnered with Red Heart® yarns to create “Stitch Mountain." Check out the free Stitch Mountain patterns at www.jimmybeanswool.com/StitchMountain and like our Facebook Fan Page!

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