Monday, November 01, 2010

Shirley Brown: A Crocheter In the Know!

While you might not recognize her name, if you have ever purchased a pattern from Annie's Attic or any of it's sister companies, you are probably familiar with Shirley Brown's work. Shirley is a technical editor for DRG, and does the technical editing for 'Crochet! Magazine,' as well as the crochet pattern books and leaflets. Since she began her career as a technical editor for Annie's Attic in 1988, Shirley has literally edited thousands of crochet patterns, in addition to many plastic canvas and a few knit and cross stitch patterns.
I first met Shirley in 1996, when I went to work in the Editorial Department of Annie's Attic, in Big Sandy, Texas. I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by her at first. But I soon found out that behind her strongly voiced opinions and no-nonsense demeanor, there beat a heart of pure gold, and she quickly became one of my dearest friends. Shirley has kindly agreed to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule and answer a few questions about the technical side of crochet.

BC: How (and when) did you learn to crochet, Shirley?

Shirley: I am not sure of the when, somewhere in the 60's. My mother-in-law taught me to crochet. I think the first thing I crocheted was an edging to go around a dresser scarf. My mother-in-law got tired of doing the crochet trim so she told me I had to do my own. I learned with a size 12 steel hook. For a long time that was the only hook I had and I used it with everything, including yarn.

BC: How did your career as a technical editor begin?

Shirley: I started out as a tester. In January of 1988, I answered a newspaper ad for Annie's Attic. For my interview, I was given yarn, a crochet hook, paper and pencil and told to crochet and write a pattern for a leaf that was in a lily pond. I worked as a tester for about 6 months and then began to write patterns under another editor. I then went into verification (which meant that I checked the patterns that others had written) before I actually became a pattern editor.

BC: Do you have any guidelines you follow when you are editing a pattern?

Shirley: I always try to make each pattern as easy as I can for the customer.

BC: What was the hardest pattern you ever edited?

Shirley: Well, there have been several, but I think the one that stands out in my mind was a crocheted Noah's Ark. It was the complete ark with all the people and animals.

BC: Have you ever come across one you couldn't do?

Shirley: No, not really

BC: What is the most difficult part of your job?

Shirley: Making sure every thing is correct, which is why I have Nina Marsh (a good friend and another crochet editor) come and help me with the magazine and larger projects. She is very good at finding errors. 

BC: What is the is the best part?

Shirley: I like it when a customer calls or writes to tell us she likes our patterns and that they are easy to work. Also I help with Pattern Services for DRG and I enjoy talking to customers and helping them with their problems. And it is a great pleasure to work with so many different and great designers. I really do enjoy my work and working with others.

Shirley has been married to her delightful husband Bill for 52 years. They are proud of their family, which includes 2 children, 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling all over the world, and have taken cruises to the Holy Land, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Right now they are getting ready to leave on a train trip and cruise to Alaska. But before you know it, Shirley will be back at her computer, turning out those wonderful and easy to follow patterns


Sherri said...

Wow thanks for the interview I totally enjoyed it!

Chain Stitch Crochet said...

This really stunned me when I saw it on my followed blogs. My mother's name was Shirley and her maiden name was Brown. My mother passed away when I was 14. I'm sure Shirley Brown is probably a pretty common name but these days I don't think people are naming their daughter's Shirley. Actually, I don't believe my mom crocheted (that I can remember) but her mom did and my older sister tells me she crocheted a lot. Anyways....thanks for the interview with Shirley. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

ghada said...

I really like this interview
how talent she is
I love crochet
I learn it in school
since then I love it
but I am not crocheting frequently
when I like a pattern i do it
but still confuse which hook I can use with yarn,I have 2 try different sizes, 2 get it soft not hard
,I am from Egypt-cairo
crochet magazine are really expensive
thanks for the internet
it become much easier 2 see crochet lover work
and different pattern 2 try
I am so pleased to know u ,both
good luck with your life