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Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I'm a fifty something lifelong crocheter and knitter. I live in Cheshire and when I'm not crocheting I can usually be found in the garden, weeding my veg plot or in the kitchen baking cakes to share with my knitting group.
Tell us a bit about the book?
The book was designed to be a complete learn to crochet course. I wanted to write a reference book that crocheters could use to tackle any difficulties they might have when they first pick up a hook, and also refer to as they gain experience. All the projects are designed with beginners in mind and introduce the reader to new techniques. You'll find everything from how to hold your hook and yarn to first steps in Tunisian or Broomstick crochet, with lots of different stitches to try along the way.
What was the inspiration behind it?
Whenever I taught a crochet class, I would be asked to recommend a comprehensive learn to crochet book, so I was thrilled when I finally got the chance to write one of my own. I've tried to include all the queries and difficulties my pupils have asked about over the years.
Which is your favourite project?
Without hesitation it's Finnley the amigurumi fox designed by Stephanie Lau. He has such an adorable expression and her pattern is easy to follow. I chose to include other designers in the book to introduce readers to the wonderful diversity of crochet design. I am also a big fan of the beanie and wrist warmers. Both are suitable for first projects and I have used both when teaching classes. It's such a thrill to see new pupils make something they can wear or gift to a family member.
What is your craft space like?
Chaotic or incredibly tidy depending on how many commissions I'm working on! My desk is always covered in yarn samples, scribbled notes and pencils. I have a pin board with swatches, photos torn from magazines and a list of ideas, eventually these will all find their way into a published design. Like most crafters, I also have a cosy spot on the sofa where I can hook and watch TV in the evenings. My husband made me a beautiful side table where I can keep all my hooks, stitch markers and notions. It's made from cherry wood and everything about makes me happy. I love surrounding myself with things I've made or that my friends and family of made.
Have you always been creative?
Oh yes, my grandmothers taught me to knit and crochet at a very early age and I've always loved "cutting and sticking"! I was a primary school teacher and an Arts specialist advisor, so I've been lucky to try lots of different techniques. I always return to crochet though, sitting on the sofa, with a mug of tea is definitely my "happy place". My husband bought me a Dremel multi tool for Christmas, so I'm planning to try lots of different techniques this year.
When did you first start crafting?
I started knitting a scarf when I was about five, I soon lost interest though and it became a blanket for my Sindy doll. I was lucky that all my primary school teachers made time for craft, so I would often come home at the end of term with a pottery bowl, a paper mache maracca or a rag doll with a lop sided face (my stitching was always dreadful0!
Who are your crafty heroes?
There are plenty - Erika Knight has always been a favourite, I used to make her designs for my daughter and I have so much respect for the way she has managed to champion natural fibres. Claire Montgomerie has a great eye for colour and detail. When I first began submitting designs to magazines she had recently taken over as editor. I learned a lot from her about the technical side of pattern design. She encouraged me and patiently helped me gain confidence as a designer. I'll always be grateful to her for that.
Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly homes and interiors magazines - they are great sources of colour palettes and design ideas. I like to see what the ladies at my local knit group are making and listening to my crochet pupils so I know what kind of things they want to make. Often a design will come from something I want to make for myself - the perfect skinny scarf or a textured cushion for the living room
What's next for you?
I would like to say a few months to rest and take stock after a busy year of book writing (200 More Crochet Stitches is due out very soon), but already the commissions are piling up and requests to teach more classes mean the diary is already quite full. I keep promising myself more time in the garden and maybe an opportunity to improve my dress making skills. Whatever the future holds, it will certainly involve something creative!