A little bit of background

04/11/2016 · 0 comments

in Crochet,Interviews

sat-portraitIn the background

In recent weeks I have had lots of new followers to the blog – which is so wonderful. If you have been following my blog for a while you will know most of this detail, but I thought it was nice idea to give you a little bit of background to the blog and my design work.


Northern Powehouse

I live the vibrant city of Manchester in the North West of England. It is fun city to live in with lots of great galleries and restaurants. In recent years the Northern quarter of Manchester has become a focus for creativity and a great destination for shopping and eating. I like to visit a range of local yarn and craft shops. I simply adore the institution that is Fred Aldous. I have been visiting that shop since I was a student. Local shops in the South of Manchester provide great design inspiration. I can often be found looking in shops like Moth in West Didsbury for colour and shape inspiration. Originally I trained as a Museum Curator and then for many years I was a manager of a Museum Service in the eastern part of the city. I now have the honour and challenge of being a senior manager in local government, it keeps me extremely busy but I also get to work with some inspiring people. Many of the people I work with either knit or crochet, their creativity encourages me to keep being creative at home.

leighton-cardigan-inside-crochetJuggling the design work

I have had knitwear and crochet design career for about a decade. This part of my life sits alongside my day-job quite happily. I am not sure I could ever sit down at the end of the day and do nothing with my hands or my imagination. Crocheting started for me about eight years ago. I wanted to re-create a vintage blanket which we inherited from my husbands grandma. There was so much yarn in my stash that I thought it would be the perfect way to use up all the left-over yarn. When learning a new technique I am always much happier to sits quietly in the corner with a book and it wasn’t long before I started making small amigurumi toys for my son. Soon I was hooked and I now work mostly in crochet for accessories or toys but still love to knit garments. The yarn stash has actually grown and not diminished at all!

DBBlanketfrontcoverGorgeous Debbie Bliss

People often ask me if I enjoy blogging and do I ever consider just giving up. What are they trying to say? Well the blogging and the designing go hand in hand. Of all the social media or publishing work I do, my blog is my favourite online space. It is like a huge online diary of my thought processes and behind the scenes design work.

When I started my blog in 2010 my design work really took off. I have enjoyed so many wonderful opportunities, including designing for lots of different magazines, writing crochet books and designing for the Queen of British Knitting, Debbie Bliss. None of those opportunities would have developed without the blog.

The blog has also meant that I have met and encouraged lots of other bloggers to design and now there are loads of really talented people that have written and published crochet books that I know. It is a nice network to be part of.


Cute Crocheted Animals

I have just completed my third crochet book. I am very excited about it. There are 20 animals and their clothes to crochet. They have a very British look and style and I hope people will enjoy making them for their children. Many of the children I know crop up in this book. My son’s best friend is there – as a rabbit. My godchildren and my best friends children crop up. Best of all our gorgeous family cat, Stanley takes centre stage. He has become quite a diva since acquiring this new found fame. Very demanding regarding cat food and flea collars!

My son has always been a great inspiration to me and now he is quite a commissioner. For World Book day he dressed up as Paddington Bear and designed a marmalade sandwich which he asked me to crochet so that he could pop it under his hat.



When it comes to colour, I would love to think of myself as a sophisticated ‘Farrrow and Ball’ girl. But it is just not true. The colours I am actually attracted to a vibrant; pinks, reds and blues. We have a rich midnight blue on the walls dining room and one of rooms is completely scarlet. It brings joy to my heart. My instagram feed is a testament to my colour preferences, with bright zings of colour at every turn. My skin tone suits bright clear hues. I look so much better with a white base against my skin and a cheerful colour to lift the spirits. Like many people who have to look smart during the day I tend towards a base of black but always aim to add a flourish of a colourful accessory. At the weekend it would be unusual not to catch me in a navy breton stripe, with a swish of red lipstick – colour and joy.


I am working on my next book and I am just in the tricky stage of choosing new colours for each project. I know that lots of people fret about this – I am no different. But I always find that if I use a fabric or a greeting card as a base, it is a good place to start.


In the frame

Due to the i-phone revolution and a myriad of great filters, creating your own images seems so much easier than before. I like to take photos myself as projects develop and that provides a great insight into the process. However the best images of my work are taken by professional photographers. My friend Lucy of Smith Imaging has taken some of the best images of my creations over the years and her expertise brings add quality and beauty to the work I create. If you are ever thinking about self-publishing some of your designs it is worth getting some professional images of your work even if it is of just a few items.

I would encourage anyone who has dreams to write a blog or develop a design career to have a go. It has been enormous fun for me but also lots of hard work. If you have the resources and the time it is also worth investing in additional training and developing skills. But then learning something new is always great fun. Lots of my friends have said, ‘I looked at you and thought well if she can do it I can!’ Sometimes I have not quite known how to take that comment. But I chose to see it as a compliment and an encouragement to spur people on to reach for their dreams. Keep making and creating!






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