I’m thrilled about my next designer interview because I actually had the pleasure of meeting her in person!! Kerry Lord is the author of the extremely popular Edward’s Menagerie series which feature her designs of extremely cute animals, Birds and, in her new book: Imaginarium, all sorts of fabulous creatures. She is also a busy working mum and the founder of British luxury yarn brand TOFT which specialises in alpaca yarn.
Recently I attended TOFTfest, which celebrated the 10th birthday of TOFT yarn (which I blogged about here), where I met Kerry and I thought I would see if she would kindly let me find out more about her designing process – to my delight she said YES! Here’s what we chatted about…
How did you first discover crocheting and amigurumi?
When very pregnant with my first child Edward I decided to teach myself to crochet in order to distract me from going back to work. As soon as I had mastered the double crochet stitch an elephant flew off my hook and into existence. I think the Edward’s Menagerie shape had been living in my head for a while but my knitting skills didn’t allow me to achieve them.
How did you become a crocheting designer? Is it your real job?
My real job is running the company TOFT and everything that this involves. Designing crochet animals and clothing patterns is part of this role, but by no means all – I have to source and design the yarns first!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get lots of my inspiration from feedback, both from my family, colleagues and customers.
Tell us a bit about your design process…
I usually just pick up my yarn and start making when designing amigurumi. If designing something to wear it’s a far longer process as I sketch and swatch first before doing calculations to work out the pattern.
Many of your animals, birds and creatures have names (like Georgina the Hippo), how do you come up with them? Do you get people requesting names?
Some of them are people I know, whereas others are truly fictional characters. This is the most fun part of my job!
Do you have a favourite creation that you’ve designed?
I am very fond of Blake from Edward’s Menagerie, but Kerry the Chameleon from our recent hand-dyed project makes me feel very proud.
Do you have go to hooks and yarn? I’m guessing TOFT yarn is your favourite; but can you pick a favourite TOFT yarn?
I am lucky enough to design my own yarns and hooks, so of course I choose our own ones. My favourite TOFT yarn to make things for myself to wear is our DK Silver.
Who gets your creations; you, your family, your friends?
The studio!! Most of my crochet goes on display, but every now and again I find the time to make something for my children.
Now we’ve had animals, birds and imaginary characters can you tell us what might be next for Edward’s Menagerie?
I can’t let that secret slip just yet, but book four is well underway!
Where do you work? Do you have a studio space or do you work from your living room chair?
I do have my own room of yarny chaos (and lots of cacti), but more often than that I’ll work from the sofa.
Tell us a bit about yourself – what do you do when you’re not crocheting?
When not at work or crocheting I am having fun with my family. We enjoy muddy walks around the farm and plenty of messy crafts.
Finally finish the sentence … I love crochet because…
It makes other people very happy.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Kerry again for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions. I’ve really enjoyed getting a better understanding of what’s involved with in her designing process and hope you have too.
Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx