Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I'm an avid crafter and I've tried my hand at most things, although knitting and crochet remain my true passions. I have been knitting pretty much as long as I can remember and designing my own patterns for years. I've always suffered from over-ambition in the craft department and so don't usually worry too much about if I think a project will be too difficult or time-consuming, I just go right ahead and do it anyway! Some things work and some don't, but it's all part of the learning process.
Tell us a bit about the book?
Sweet Knits is a collection of really summery, fun patterns for clothes and all sorts of other things that I love - bunting, bags, cupcakes and much more. I wanted to make a book that would have something for everyone from raw beginners to experienced knitters. this is why I've put easier or more advanced options in the patterns, so people didn't need to feel put-off by a pattern that looks tricky.
It was really important to me that the clothes for kids looked gorgeous and vintage-inspired without looking old-fashioned. I also wanted to make sure I had a mixture of projects that could be completed in an evening and larger projects that would take more time but look stunning when they were finished.
What was the inspiration behind it?
It was really a combination of different things. My own children were just a baby and a toddler when I started and I was making things for them anyway, but I also had many friends who had relatives making hand-knitted garments for their children. They would often complain that it was hard to find fashionable knitting patterns for children. The book then evolved around the things that my children loved doing: dressing up, playing tea parties, filling bags with precious treasures, etc.
Which is your favourite project?
My favourite has always been the stripy little bird dress. It was a design I had been thinking about, doodling and even dreaming about for months so I was really thrilled when I had finally made it. It's my little girls's favourite dress and she wears it all the time so I feel that the effort that went into making it was a real labour of love!
What is your craft space like?
I have different spaces for different things. I have rather large but beautiful craft wardrobe that opens out to reveal hundreds of little drawers, shelves and spaces for all my papercraft and scrapping stash. My husband calls it Narnia because when I'm in there I don't come out for days!
I have an office for the actual writing of the books and typing of patterns, with a lovely old Victorian writing desk that used to belong to my father-in-law. I have a massive pinboard on the wall above the desk that I covered in a pink rose print fabric. I pin all my ideas, to do lists and useful information like knitting needle conversion charts. But actually when I'm designing a pattern I'm usually curled up on the sofa with my knitting and a notebook.
Have you always been creative?
Most definitely. While other little girls played with their dolls, I was usually making clothes for mine. I went on to study art and still love painting and drawing, although I don't have as much time for it as I would like.
When did you first start crafting?
I was about 7 or so when I learned to knit properly, and I one of the first things I made was a jumper for a doll of mine that I still have. My children now play with both the doll and the jumper!
Who are your crafty heroes?
I absolutely adore craft books and I can rarely resist buying a new one when I see it. I even own a book called Knitting for Dogs, despite not owning a dog! I love Erika Knight, Debbie Bliss and Zoe Mellor for knitting and crochet. For scrapbooking Becky Fleck's Page Maps is my go-to book for page layouts and inspiration.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in all sorts of things; I love the vintage style that's trending right now and just looking through old magazines or patterns. Ideas and inspiration jump out at me all the time, sometimes just through seeing particular colours next to each other, or a pattern on a mug, or a picture. My children inspire me too, in the things they love and the games they play.
What's next for you?
Sweet Knits is my first book and I'm hoping many more will follow! I am currently in the middle of writing a book of crochet patterns, as I love to crochet. You can keep up to date with what I'm doing on my website at www.yarnlark.co.uk .
Step-by-step instructions and charming colour images accompany you through each and every pattern. The projects are easily adapted to suit knitters of all levels, as easy alternative directions are given alongside any tricky or complex design elements, and tips are provided throughout on how to simplify patterns.
Garments come in sizes for children from birth to ten years, and there are even a couple of items for grown-ups, too! With suggestions on how to adapt and personalise each design to make unique pieces, the projects in Sweet Knits provide cosy hand-made treasures that grow with your child and stir young imaginations.