I’ve got something a bit special on my blog today as I’ve been chatting to the very lovely Lucy, aka crochet pattern designer extraordinaire and blogging powerhouse behind the massively successful Attic24 blog.
I’m such a big fan of Lucy’s blog and her crochet patterns (especially her blankets) are all totally gorgeous. In fact, it was her blog that inspired me to start blogging about my crafty exploits and random life bits and pieces, so this post is pretty special for me!
Lucy is going to be hosting a Q&A session at Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Christmas Fair, which is being held at Manchester Central from November 20-22. I’m looking forward to the event a lot and I’m really hoping that we’ll get to say hi and get to compare crochet hooks (joke – well, the last bit anyway!).
If you can’t make it to Manchester (or if you are heading there and would can’t wait to pick Lucy’s brain) then I chatted to her about her love of crochet, how she started and found out exactly what is her favourite pattern…
Hi Lucy! Thanks for stopping by for a chat. First things first, I’d love to know how you first got into crochet and how did you learn how to do it?
Hi Kate, lovely to be here! I trained in art and textiles and ran my own creative business making hand made greetings cards and textile art before I threw it all in a cupboard and closed the door when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child. Five years (and two children) later, up to my eyeballs in being a Mummy, I wanted some creativity back in my life. I craved something just for me (oh that precious, elusive “me time” when you have small children!) something that I could do that wouldn’t involve electrical equipment and a whole craft room set-up. A good friend suggested crochet as she had just learnt and thought I would like it. She lent me a hook and over a cup of tea at the kitchen table she taught me how to use my hands and crochet a chain. I still remember that Tuesday afternoon so clearly, with hindsight it was a momentous turning point in my life! I went to a local yarn shop that same day and bought my own hook and yarn along with a small beginners book to teach myself the basic stitches, then used the internet to learn how to make a granny square. And the rest is history…..
What is it about crochet that you love the most?
There are so many things I LOVE about this amazing craft. I love the things you can make and fill your home with (I am obsessed with crochet blankets, I love them so much). I love the vibrancy of yarn shades and the way that crochet lends itself so beautifully to colour play. I love the fact that with crochet I am never, ever bored as I always have something wonderful to occupy my hands and mind. And I love the sociable nature of crochet, the way it fits in with my busy life and has given me so many opportunities to belong to social groups (both in real life and online) and make friends.
Why is your blog called Attic24?
This is an easy-peasy question with a straightforward answer! Starting my blog coincided with a house move to a new area. My house a Victorian terrace with an attic room under the eaves and a window looking out over the Yorkshire hills. This is the room where I used to have my computer desk and small creative work space, it’s where I used to go every morning with a cup of fresh coffee to sit and write my blog and connect with outside world when I was in a new town, making a new start and finding my feet in a new community. Starting my blog really did keep me afloat and happy at a time when my life was a little bit adrift and lonesome.
What is your favourite crochet pattern you’ve either written or tried out?
Oooo tough question….hmm….(engaging brain cogs to think about the oodles of patterns I’ve written)….I think it would have to be the Neat Ripple pattern, I’ve made five blankets using this pattern and it always feels exciting and satisfying and produces great results every time. It’s a wonderful go-to blanket pattern.
If you had to give someone starting out in crochet one top tip, what would it be?
My top tip would be to find an actual person to teach you how to hold your yarn and tension it evenly as you work. This is so fundamental to the pleasure of crocheting and something that is very hard to learn from a book. With correct tension and yarn control, your crochet will always look good, plus you can get some satisfying speed going when your hands are working in the right way!
Which pattern designers/crochet bloggers do you admire the most?
There are so many crochet bloggers and designers out there now, the online crochet community has grown enormously since I first began in 2008. I don’t think I can pick a favourite, but I do admire all the crocheters out there who share their patterns, ideas and inspirations freely. There is a huge amount of talent, creative spirit and generosity within the blogging community and I’m very proud to be a part of it.
How did you turn your hobby into your career?
The honest answer to this is By Accident, I am still getting used to the fact that I have somehow morphed into a working mum! I guess the first step to turning my blog into something more than a hobby was the decision I made in 2010 to monetise it. I use the Amazon Affiliates programme as well as Google Adsense to generate a small amount of revenue through commission. In addition to this, I have an option for my readers to “buy me a coffee” using Paypal – this enables me to offer all my designs and patterns for free on my blog whilst allowing those who wish to pay to do so. I love the fact that I am free to keep sharing for free (which I LOVE to do, I am a very good enabler!). I also really enjoyed writing a monthly column for Simply Crochet magazine last year as well as designing a number of crochet projects for various magazines – being asked to do this sort of work makes me feel quite professional and work-like!
But without a doubt, the biggest change for me came in 2014 when I started working directly with the fabulous people at Wool Warehouse. By creating yarn kits to accompany my free patterns which I sell through Wool Warehouse, I have managed to combine my hobby with work. I am thrilled with the way this is going, it really is a dream come true.
Which is your favourite crochet stitch and why?
Crochet stitch??? OK, confession time…..I don’t know that many stitches, despite my many projects I am still quite a basic hooker in terms of technical variation and stitch knowledge. So I would probably have to confess to loving the good ol’ basic treble crochet, which I use for nearly all my blanket projects – it forms the basis for granny squares, ripple patterns, my popular cosy stripe…I would be lost without it!
You love to use bright and colourful yarns in your designs, but what’s your favourite colour combo?
Favourite colour combo is definitely putting hot and cold colours together for a bit of a zingy effect – eg bright turquoise with hot pink (YUMM!!!), or a softer version of that would be aqua with red.
What’s next for Attic24?
What’s next – basically keeping calm and carrying on! I’ve got my Sunny Crochet-A-Long in full swing at the moment which will keep me very busy until the New Year. After that I’ve got a new bag kit to launch, it’s a cross-body bag which will come in three different colourways. I’m already pondering new colour schemes for Spring/Summer blankets, plus a Summer wreath design to complete my seasonal collection. I’ve always got a whole heap load of design ideas bobbling about in my Creative Mind, jostling for position and fighting to be let out!
Thanks so much to Lucy for taking the time to answer my questions. It’s so interesting and inspiring for me (and hopefully other crochet lovers) to find out how such a crochet powerhouse started out and turned her hobby into a career.
I hope you enjoyed this chat. Have you checked out Lucy’s blog or tried one of her patterns? If not I really recommend you take a look!
Lots of hooky love,
All photos copyright of Attic24