I had the pleasure of actually meeting Catherine at the end of last year, when I was a guest, and she was the guest designer at The Crochet Sanctuary. You will have no doubt come across her work, as I did, on social media and in magazines – she really has an eye for design using colour work and tapestry crochet.
I was delighted to have a go at her methods of tapestry crochet as we worked on her Winter Flora Cushion as our Crochet Sanctuary crochet workshop project. I thoroughly enjoyed making the cushion, and the tapestry stitch technique, so I wanted to find out a bit more about her designing processes and about her in general. Here’s what we chatted about…
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi Heather! Thanks for inviting me for this interview. It was great to meet you in November at the Crochet Sanctuary and chat all things “crochet designing” with you!
I’m a crochet designer from just outside London, in the UK. I live with my husband and two daughters. As you mentioned, I specialise in tapestry crochet. I absolutely love designing blankets with this technique although I’ve also produced a number of cushion and accessory designs too.
Have you always been crafty?
Yes, I’ve always loved crafts. I dabbled in lots of things as a child and my friends were really arty too so we inspired each other and were always making things. I took pottery classes for a few years, which I loved, and also tried lots of other arts and crafts like Fimo, calligraphy, quilling, painting, stamping, cross stitch… I don’t actually think I was particularly yarny as a child though, although I did learn the basics of how to knit.
How did you become a crochet designer? Do you do it full time?
I guess I fell into it a bit by chance really. I started crocheting when my youngest daughter was a toddler, mainly making blankets (with plenty of mistakes in them!). One day, I saw a tapestry crochet scarf online and I absolutely loved the look of it. I’d never seen that kind of crochet before. I thought it would be fabulous to make a blanket with lots of different tapestry crochet patterns on it. And so I came up with the Geo Georgie Blanket. It got a really great response from the crochet community on Instagram, which encouraged me to keep going with more designs and things just spiralled upwards from there.
Sadly, I don’t do it full-time, although I wish I could! I mainly fit it in during my evenings and weekends, and the odd lunchtime crochet break too!
You really seem to enjoy colourwork and tapestry crochet – what is it about that style of crochet that you love?
I love patterns and spot them all over the place. I find it really exciting recreating these patterns in crochet, and tapestry crochet is the perfect technique for this. I especially love taking a motif, like a square or hexagon, with a colour work pattern on it and repeating it over a large blanket to create an even more striking pattern.
Can you tell us about where you draw your inspiration from?
Some is from nature – I really like leaves and flowers – and some is more abstract like pure geometric patterns. I see a lot of inspiration on textile items or even ceramic tiles, that I then love to try recreating with crochet.
What does your design process look like? Do you sketch things out first, or do you just like to grab a hook and start?
I always sketch first. I use a lot of squared paper as I find this is essential when coming up with a tapestry crochet design. I usually draw out a design on squared paper first and then work up a test swatch or motif from that. Mostly, it turns out a bit different to how I expected once I’ve worked it up in crochet, so I make a few tweaks and try again until I’m happy with it.
Sometimes, I plunge straight into making the project and write it all up at the end. However, recently I’ve been getting much better at making notes and starting to write it up as I go along. That saves a lot of time at the end!
Do you have a favourite creation that you’ve designed?
That’s a tough one! Can I pick two?
My personal favourite is my Clarissa Blanket. Both the colours and the pattern are so me. This was a design that I just couldn’t help but make!
However, in terms of getting me started and known as a designer, then I have to say my Midnight Diamond Blanket. This is by far my most popular pattern and I’m so grateful for the wonderful response it’s had and continues to receive.
How do you fit everything in that you want to? Are you strict with yourself and your time or is it a struggle to juggle?
I never fit in everything that I’d like to! But I just do my best to do as much as I can and never miss an opportunity to work a bit more on a project. I make a lot of lists – I find that helps a lot – and I try not to be too hard on myself at not being able to do everything I want to straight away.
What advice or top tips would you suggest for anyone new to colourwork or tapestry crochet?
I’d say that it’s really not as hard as it looks. Watch or read a tutorial first, to get a feel for it. There are lots out there but I have a video tutorial on YouTube or a step-by-step guide on my blog that are both good places to start. Then just dive in with a pattern. I outlined a few relatively simple ones to start with in a blog post if anyone needs some inspiration.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, if you’d like to design your own, then all you need is some squared paper and colouring pencils and away you go!
What can we expect to see from Catherine Crochets in 2023?
This year, I’ve decided to focus on blankets as I love them and they are also my most popular patterns. I’m working on a new floral design at the moment using hexagons, which I’m really excited about.
I’m also hoping to create a tapestry crochet course with a series of patterns of increasing complexity, each introducing a new skill or aspect. That will be quite a big project for me of course, but I’m hoping to start work on it later this spring.
And just for fun if you could have a superpower what would you choose?
I’ve always loved the idea of the time turner that Hermione uses in the Harry Potter books. It would be great to have the power to turn back time so that I could fit more crochet into each day!
I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Catherine for taking time to chat to me. I’ve really enjoyed getting a better understanding of her life and designing process and hope you have too.
Catherine also has an email list which you can sign up to here if you’d like to get news of new pattern releases and the biggest discounts on her patterns. Plus, you get two FREE tapestry crochet patterns just for signing up.
If you enjoyed this interview you can catch up on all the other designer chats and discussions with other people in the fiber industry. And if there’s any other people you’d like to maybe see featured here on the blog, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.
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Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
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