Designer Interview | Zeens and Roger

I’m dead excited about my next designer interview because I had the pleasure of actually meeting her recently at The Crochet Sanctuary – and if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my fan girl moment in my stories. It’s the lovely Rosina aka Zeens and Roger !!!

© zeensandroger.com

I’ve been following Rosina since I was told about her vlogcasts on Youtube. Her down to earth, say it like it is, podcast episodes are amongst my favourite podcasts to listen to and watch.

You will have also no doubt, if you are a crochet fan, have seen her awesome Instagram feed and come across some of her lovely designs in magazines like Inside Crochet. She has also, more recently, branched out (pun intended) into hook whittling in her new collaboration Kirk and Roger creating some beautiful handmade hooks.

Kirk and Roger Handmade Hooks
© zeensandroger.com

With so much going on I wanted to find out a bit more about Rosina, how she does it all, her inspiration and her designing process. Here’s what we chatted about…

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I grew up in Southampton but I’ve spent half my life in Devon. I moved to Exeter in the late 90’s to study Art History at uni and never left. For the last ten years I’ve lived in an old town just outside of Exeter. It’s sandwiched between the countryside and the coast. I love it!  I’ve worked at a cinema (I still love the smell of popcorn), in social housing (I was rubbish at it) and in HR (interesting stuff). I still dream about working at the cinema even though it was nearly twenty years ago.

How did you discover crochet?

Let’s not count the failed attempts as a child. Instead, I think I can really only say that it was a year after I had my first baby, so nearly 9 years ago. It’s probably a familiar story amongst crafters. Something about starting a family kick started the creativity again (after years of not doing anything crafty). My baby boy received handmade blankets from my family and I wanted in on the action! I started to crochet because I wanted my children to have things I’d made for them.  I bought a beginners book and found a YouTube video that I liked and began to make a very long and very uneven chain. 

© zeensandroger.com

How did you become a crochet designer?

I don’t remember a time that didn’t have me going “off pattern”. However, the first thing I properly designed was a little granny owl decoration. It was the first time I’d written out a pattern anyway. That was around four/five years ago. I remember fretting that I’d never get another idea again. But the wondrous thing about being a crochet addict is that you always want more! The more you do it, the more ideas you get.

In the autumn of 2016 I sent out a few emails to magazines offering my ideas. I was thrilled that one of my ideas was accepted by Inside Crochet (my favourite crochet mag). It was such a buzz and a huge confidence booster!

One Way or Another Shawl
© zeensandroger.com

Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?

I honestly don’t have a clue half the time. Colour is a biggy as I expect it is for everyone. I’m inspired by what my peers/friends are doing too, I think we’re all influenced by the same trends and it’s fascinating to see how we all interpret them differently. My favourite ideas are often the ones that pop in my head from nowhere. But it might be a holiday, pretty wrapping paper or a bonkers conversation and all of a sudden you’re presented with an image of a thing that you have to make and you have to make it NOW!

© zeensandroger.com

What does your design process look like? Do you sketch things out first, or do you just like to grab a hook and go?

It’s haphazard! I don’t have a particular routine but I do like to make sketches. The starting point might be the pretty wrapping paper but it might also be a crochet stitch I’ve never seen before. If I fall in love with it I have to use it in something. Or I might lust after some special yarn I’ve seen, which has to be turned into a shawl or blanket.

Release the Hounds Shawl
© zeensandroger.com

Do you have a favourite creation that you’ve designed?

I often end up hating the designs I’ve come up with and can’t wait to see the back of them! (I probably spend way too much time with the frog/rework process to have any love left). It’s not always true though, I do have pieces I’m very proud of. My C2C projects make me happy. All the yarn tangling of Havana Nights was worth it in the end! At the moment my favourites are two shawls, Release the Hounds and Hinterland, mostly for their simplicity. Sometimes simple is best! 

Havana Nights Blanket
© zeensandroger.com

How and why did you start making your own hooks?

I’d seen other crocheters explore the idea and fancied having a hook for myself. I asked my friend, Paul to make one for me as his hobby is woodwork. He showed me how to make them and also suggested selling them. It’s quite addictive but I break a lot of sticks trying to make the perfect hook (and I get blisters!). I really should leave the hook making to him and I’ll stick to crochet! Kirk & Roger is a small sideline for us both, it’s fun and no pressure. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed working with someone else. We’re a good team!

What made you decide to start your own podcast?

The number one reason was because my friends in real life reeaalllly weren’t interested in hearing me blather on about crochet all the time. I get way too excited about yarn, patterns, design work etc and you can see eyes begin to glaze over. I thought it’d be a nice outlet for me to find like-minded people to engage with. For me it’s easier than blogging; I just sit down and hit record. I’m more of a talker than a writer. 

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 don’t fit everything in. Not by a long shot. I’m a world class procrastinator and am not strict on myself at all. I reckon I could double my output if I only learned how to be more disciplined. It can be very tricky to stay motivated when you work from home. I force myself to sit at the computer and write those patterns! It’s much easier when working to a deadline for a magazine, there’s an end goal… But I’ll still leave it to the last minute.

© zeensandroger.com

What advice would you have for any budding crochet designer, small business owner or podcaster who might like to follow in your footsteps?

Just do it. Start today. If you want to do it, just give it a go!  I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I can confirm that there is never a right time. None of what I do ever looks as good as the next person’s, there is always someone out there who does it way better. But I love it, so I do it anyway. I’ve definitely improved since I hit publish on that first episode, but I am always working towards getting better.

Tomorrow you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning £100 million. What would you do?

Buy a house big enough to have a craft room. Pay someone to write up my patterns and pay another person to sew in ends. I’d also like to have a yarn and craft shop, supporting local makers and creatives. Oh, and it would be amazing to go to all the yarn shops, all over the world. I want to see what’s out there.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Rosina again for taking time 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!

You can follow Rosina everywhere on the web:  BLOG, YOUTUBE, INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK and you can buy her patterns on RAVELRY and ETSY

Until next time – keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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So I finished a thing…ZZ Block Crochet Blanket

Hey folks! I’m celebrating today as I’ve finished a thing!!! I’ve completed a whole baby blanket for one of my lovely friends who is expecting a second baby boy later this month.

I do like to make my friends a baby blanket if I can, and I adore seeing their little ones wrapped up in something I’ve made them – it’s a guaranteed way to make me smile. But then I love to see children either wrapped in or dressed in handmade things full stop don’t you? 

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So here’s the finished blanket I made – what do you think? I love how this blanket turned out, my husband calls it the superhero blanket because it’s got that cool zig zag flash design running through it!

The pattern is the ZZ Block blanket by fellow blogger Rosina (aka Zeens and Roger) and when she posted this design on Instagram back in October last year it was a serendipitous moment – I knew it was going to be the perfect blanket to make for my colour loving friend!

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My friend comes from Zimbabwe and she’s an avid lover of all bright colours and the bold graphic c2c design by Rosina just seemed to fit what she’d like perfectly.

I don’t know if you’ve seen Rosina’s original blanket but it features the zig zag in yellow, turquoise, blue, magenta and pink on a grey background. 

ho-me

© Zeens and Roger 2018

I really loved the colours she used and the grey contrast but I personally really wanted to see what that zig zag looked like in a rainbow! Plus I’d found the perfect set of bright little baby tops that I knew would fit perfectly with my rainbow theme – especially if I could colour match!

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As I’m trying to be good, where buying yarn is concerned, I went stash diving and found some of the Paintbox Yarns Simply Aran yarn I had left over from making my zig zag zing cushion (free pattern from LoveCrochet available here) and I had enough Paintbox yarn to complete the rainbow colours. I did have to buy a bit more grey – but I figured as I was using up some of my stash then it was still good to do that! The Paintbox  colours I finally ended up using (in case you want to know were):

  • Granite Grey (206)
  • Rose Red (213)
  • Mandarin Orange (217)
  • Buttercup Yellow (222)
  • Neon Green (210)
  • Marine Blue (233)

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In the pattern notes it suggests that if using a 4.5mm hook and aran (worsted) weight yarn (which I planned to) that the blanket would be 80 x 110cm / 32 x 43 inches. This was going to be a bit big for the amount of yarn I had so I fiddled a bit with the initial pattern a bit to reduce it slightly. It’s still the pattern in a nutshell, just smaller as I was careful to keep the integrity of the design feature that I loved. I didn’t actually measure the finished blanket (I forgot!) before I gifted it but it ended up what I would say was just the right size for a baby blanket / lap blanket.

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I was so pleased with the end result of this blanket and mum to be loved it too – especially because of all the bright colours which I knew she would!

If you like this blanket the chart (it’s not a written pattern) is available for purchase from the Zeens and Roger Ravelry store where there’s also a link to a video with extra C2C help if you need it.

Sometimes it’s nice to go non-traditional for a baby blanket isn’t it as the end results can be really fun! Do you like to go non traditional or would you usually make something for a baby in more traditional pastels perhaps? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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