In the World of Crochet
Exciting news! Get your crochet hooks ready for season eight of Knit and Crochet Now! Each week is packed with projects, tips, techniques and free patterns. Thirteen brand-new episodes will air on local PBS stations beginning mid-September. Each episode will feature new crochet and knit projects—that’s 26 new patterns! We thought it would be fun to spend some time with Lena Skvagerson, executive producer, and learn a bit more about her and the TV show.
Crochet World (CW): Lena, we love to hear personal stories about crocheters. I know you were born in Sweden; did you grow up in a “crafty home”? Who taught you how to knit and crochet?
Lena: Neither my mom nor grandmother were crafty, but my teachers at school loved working with yarn and crafts and taught me.
CW: When did you move to the United States?
Lena: I moved here in 2007. My dad and several relatives on his side of the family live in California, and for a long time I wished I could move closer to them. When there was an opportunity to work remotely, we took a leap of faith.
CW: Have you always worked in the yarn industry?
Lena: Pretty much. I got my first job with a Scandinavian yarn company at the age of 24. I started out working in sales for DROPS Garnstudio. As the company grew I became the office manager for the Swedish branch office. Over time I got more involved with product development, as well as design. In the early 1990s, I developed the company’s first website, and a whole new internet adventure was started. The website gave us the opportunity to enter a larger European market, and with that I was put in charge of 16 ladies tasked with translating DROPS patterns into different languages. I also had a major role in tech editing, as numbers always have been a strong suit for me. When moving to the United States, I remotely developed the first 200-plus tutorial videos for DROPS. So over the 25 years I worked for DROPS, I was able to grow with the company, which eventually became the market leader in the European yarn industry.
CW: What brought you to Annie’s?
Lena: For five years I contributed to Annie’s publications as a freelance knitwear designer. In 2014, Annie’s offered me a job working part time as the coproducer of the Knit and Crochet Now! TV show, with my remaining time as the in-house designer for the Annie’s Signature Designs collection.
CW: Wow! Sounds like you jumped right into your new role as coproducer.
Lena: Yes, I joined right before season six. I was part of the planning as well as the production of the show. I also made my first appearance as an expert on the show that year as well.
CW: Give us a behind-the-scenes glimpse. How do you get ready for the show?
Lena: Work on a new season starts long before we start taping. Months before, we start planning the projects, writing patterns, stitching the sample projects and creating all the step-outs! That is a fulltime job all by itself. Each project has to be made in stages, so when we tape, we can move from one step to another quickly. When we tape the show, we arrive very early in the morning at the studio. The crochet and knit experts who will appear on camera meet up in the back room to arrange the projects and make sure we know all techniques involved. We then get our makeup and hair done by professional makeup artists that work their magic to make us look our best!
CW: Do you tape one show a week?
Lena: Oh no, we tape the whole season in just a few days. Several episodes are taped each day. We take a short break for lunch, and oftentimes end up staying late if we need to do retakes—the pace is intense, but fun!
CW: What is your favorite part about taping the show?
Lena: I love interacting with the production team. In my role as producer, I’m involved with all the different aspects of the day—sharing ideas with the creative designers, working with the camera crew to get the best shots, as well as constantly checking in with the production team.
CW: What is your least favorite part?
Lena: Without a doubt, that would be the stress of not getting things as perfect as I would like.
CW: Do you design projects for the show?
Lena: Sure do. If I am not designing specific projects, I am one of the key persons selecting the projects for each episode.
CW: past What season? was your favorite project from a
Lena: Slippers.I wouldI loved have how to theysay it’s turnedmy Walkout, andof FameI had such a Norville.great time The taping pattern that has segmentbeen very with popular Deborah since it aired, which makes me happy.
CW: I am sure taping all day can be exhausting, which can set the stage for some comic relief. I am sure you have lots of fun too!
Lena: Yes, there are plenty of funny moments in the midst of all the serious work of taping a whole season. We keep each other going with laughter which helps lower the stress.
CW: You have a new role for the 2017 season. Tell us about your new job and what that involves.
Lena: I am now the executive producer overseeing the major stages of the Knit and Crochet Now! TV show, from the beginning planning stages all the way to the final production. This includes coming up with the themes and the projects, working with the yarn companies, selecting the guests, designing the studio set and other numerous tasks—too many to even mention!
CW: Will you still be on camera?
Lena: Yes, this season I look forward to showing new and interesting techniques that we haven’t shared before. I love being able to demonstrate new tips and tricks for our viewers.
CW: What types of projects and topics will be covered this season?
Lena: The show is divided into knit and crochet projects, and we’ll also share a new technique each episode. We will talk about a wide variety of projects; everything from baby blankets, to cardigans, shawls, toys, slippers, hats and more. Some of the techniques we’ll cover include how to work with variegated yarns to create unusual color designs, using a color wheel, getting gauge and more. CW: Thanks, Lena! Can’t wait to watch this season! Don’t miss a single episode. Sign up for an all-access membership and you’ll get 24/7 access anytime, anywhere, on any device to every episode and every pattern. Watch all 104 episodes and download all 277 patterns from every season including season eight.