Throughout my childhood I’d seen my mother do needlework and learned from her by example. I can’t remember exactly why I was home from school that week. I think I might have had the mumps, or was it after I had my tonsils out. Whatever. I wasn’t allowed to go outside and ride my bike, climb trees or pet the neighbor’s pony. I’d read all the books I had at home. I was bored to tears and probably so was my mom who was stuck at home with me. So mom put me to work with knitting needles, crochet hook and yarn. Frankly I was glad to go back to school.
Fast forward to nearly a decade ago when I went into early “retirement”. The radio station at which I was employed was sold to a Spanish language company, my insistence that I could learn Spanish fell on deaf ears, and I found myself in the absurd state of having no job, an empty nest and nothing to do. I put myself to work with needles, hook and yarn. This time the crochet spoke to me.
I was just a hobbyist, a dabbler in the craft, but well on the way to becoming an obsessive fiberazzi (fiberazza?). Like you I crocheted holiday gifts for everyone, afghans for every baby shower, sweaters for the dog. One day on a whim I posted an image of myself in a shawl that I had made (I didn’t realize then that I had “designed” it) on the Lion Brand Yarn customer gallery. It got so many hits that I was asked to submit the sample and a pattern. They even offered to pay me. Money. Well HELL YES!
If you’ve cracked open any of a number of crochet or fiber interest magazines, books and booklets in the past few years, you’ve probably seen something of mine. Doris Chan designs have appeared in Interweave Crochet, Crochet Today, Crochet! magazine, Vogue Knitting, KnitScene, Crochet World; in book collections such as Interweave Crocheted Gifts, the Just books series from Lion Brand, the Vogue-to-Go book series. You might have seen my work in yarn company ads and offered in catalogs, booklets, in-store leaflets and websites as I create crochet design for major companies, including Tahki Stacy Charles, Caron International and Coats&Clark. Here are some of my covers:
As an author I have three crochet design books with Potter Craft. I also write technical articles and essays for magazines and newsletters.As a proud and avid Professional Member of the Crochet Guild Of America I hold a CGOA Masters in Basic Crochet and currently serve as chairman of the CGOA Design Competition Committee. I just earned status as a Craft Yarn Council of America Certified Crochet Instructor. And I am an Associate Member of the industry organization, The National NeedleArts Association.
My Modus Operandi
If you put tags on all of the hundreds of my published designs, the heaviest hits would be: crochet, lace, seamless top-down construction. Those three attributes pretty much sum up what I do. I specialize in garments and accessories for women, mostly because men don’t wear lace. With few exceptions my designs are virtually seamless, no sew, meaning when you’re done crocheting, you’re done.
My latest venture and the scariest thing I’ve ever done is launching my own self-published pattern line, DJC Designs. Available exclusively at DesigningVashti.com, the ultimate crochet destination and pattern boutique owned by my friend Vashti Braha, DJC Designs lets me explore territory not possible in traditional publishing venues. Coming soon is the expansion of the companion line, DJC Designs, Too!, a collection of seamless garments sized for girls, tweens and teens.
Over the years I have been interviewed a few times. Though I know I should be more circumspect in my response to questions (even when the interviewer is a good friend… especially when the interviewer is a good friend!) I end up spilling my guts anyway.
So if you want to read between the lines, try looking here:
Crochet Insider, a phone interview I did with Dora Ohrenstein in 2006.
Knitting Daily TV, Episode 208, I appeared with Kim Werker and demonstrated seamless garment construction. Older series of this show crop up occasionally on public TV; also available on DVD.
Knit and Crochet Now! TV, Show 213; speaking with Brett Bara about exploded lace; the companion project Light and Lacy Top is a free download, but you must sign up and sign in to get the pdf.
Knitcircus, Winter 2010; the first crochet designer interview for this primarily knitting e-magazine.
A Mothers Day essay I wrote for the Potter Craft newsletter, CrafterNews, May 2010, although not an interview, is fairly revealing.
While at TNNA, Columbus, June 2011, I talked with Stacey, head of the Independent Designer Program at KnitPicks, about Pam’s Comfort Cables. I sort of got ambushed and wasn’t prepared (in other words I look like hell!) but this was such a great project and such a nice reception at KnitPicks, so here I am being interviewed on camera.
An interview I did with Kathy Elkins, owner of WEBS, the most awesome yarn store on the planet, for the WEBS blog podcast Ready, Set, Knit #228, 23 July 2011.