Recently I had the opportunity to interview Tamara Kelly. Tamara designed the crochet version of The Riley Hat for Hooked on You. I’ve made several of Tamara’s designs in the past and they’re a blast to make (including The Riley Hat!). She has lots of patterns on her site, Moogly Blog, from beginner to advanced. A big thank you to Tamara, for taking time out for this interview and for designing the lovely crochet Riley Hat! 

The Riley Hat, crocheted version.

How did you get started crocheting, and what inspired you to be a pattern designer?

A: I have always loved crafting of all kinds, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I met someone who knew how to crochet and was willing to teach me. My sister-in-law taught me how to single crochet while our babies were napping – and I was off and running! I was designing my own things before I knew how to read a pattern, but they were just for me and my family.

When my youngest entered preschool in 2011, I needed to start earning some income for our family. So I started blogging and selling finished crochet and knit items. When other crocheters started following and asking for the patterns, I finally tried my hand at writing patterns down!

Luckily, I got the hang of it – and now Moogly is my full-time job. I love designing because I get to be creative, and I’m always creating something new!

Hooked on You is now available. Click here for more information.

If you had one piece of advice to give to someone learning to crochet, what would it be?

A: Start small! Your first few projects should be about the size of dishcloths – and that’s a great use for them. This way you can stay motivated when you can see your improvement project by project, learn new stitches with minimal risk… and you don’t end up with a scarf that’s way better at the end than at the beginning. 

Tamara wearing one of her lovely designs.

Can you give us a behind-the-scenes look at how you came up with the pattern for The Riley Hat?

A: Every pattern presents it’s own set of challenges, and this one was no different! I wanted to make sure this design featured great texture on the outside with a smoother, skin-friendly interior. In addition, I worked with the knit hat designer to come up with stitch designs that would have a similar look. We went back and forth with lots of possibilities!  I think we landed on a lovely pair of patterns – and calling it the Riley Hat for the book is extra sweet, as that’s my oldest’s name, and it was her nap that allowed me to learn to crochet!

Find out more about how to make your own Riley Hat on the Hooked on You Yarn Kits page. There you’ll find everything you need to crochet or knit the Riley Hat!

Who/what is your inspiration for crochet?

A: It’s funny – when I began blogging and designing I was wracking my brain for ideas. But I’ve found creativity is a habit as much as anything, and now I draw inspiration from everything – friends and family, media, home décor trends (and now I have a to-design list to last a lifetime). But in the moment, when it’s time to start a new project, the yarn itself seems to whisper what it wants to be. It’s just my job to let it sing.

How cute is this Octopus Squish?

What is your favorite item to design?

A: One of my favorite things about designing is that I’m always making something new, so this is a tough one! Hats and totes are perennial favorites, and I’ve been having a lot of fun designing some large scale stuffed animals lately. But I think shawls are right up there too, because they are such a great vehicle for creativity and trying new things!

You can find Tamara and her designs here: