Hi everyone, I am proud to tell you some stupendous news – this week I became an official Scheepjes Blogger!!!!! Gotta pinch myself to know it's real - It's a wonderful positive for me in these strange times we are experiencing!
It’s a true honour to be included amongst this group of acclaimed creatives and yarn-obsessed folk who are pushing the boundaries of crochet and knitting design! Since first discovering Scheepjes and their Bloggers a few years ago, I have admired their range of crochet creations, and marvelled at the eclectic mix of personalities who produce them.
There’s Tammy from Canadutch with her knitted & crocheted colour-blending magic (her Read Between the Lines knitted shawl was the very first Scheepjes pattern I clapped my eyes on in a magazine and thought “man – she knows how to make colours sing”). Rachele from Cypress Textiles designs vibrant blankets that have populated like a gazillion couches and beds all over the world! For uber-cool Martin from Martin Up North, his mojo is geometric zen blankets and utilitarian beanies. Christa from The Curio Crafts Room smashes out a peacock-inspired motif like nobody else, and I am totally in love with her amazeballs tea-pot cosy in YARN 8 (if you haven’t seen that yet – it’s luscious – but it’s actually called the “Blooming Tea Cosy”). Tatsiana from Lillabjörn Crochet produces stunning and complex stitchery for garments, blankets and mandalas! And these are only a few of this talented group! There is truly something for everybody, and all brought together by the inspired modern yarn company Scheepjes.
So …you can probably tell I am pretty happy about my new situation. I am definitely counting my blessings! But how do I fit in? What do I bring to the table?
Well, I love designing crochet fashion, or fashionable crochet – which ever way you want to put it. I figure why does knitting have all the fun when it comes to sweaters and cardigans, skirts and dresses etc? Crochet can do that too, right? Crochet stitches make a panel of fabric which you can add to, or join with other panels, and that fabric can be a solid stitch pattern or be open lace. Or both! Decorative seaming can take it to a whole new level too. The versatility of crochet creates a never-ending rabbit hole of discovery, so I think designing hooked garments will keep me busy for some time!
You might have already come across some of my designs in the Scheepjes Bookazines YARN 6, 7 or 8. I am particularly proud of The Lady Mabel in YARN 8 when it comes to sweaters: Knitting eat your heart out!
And then I do love a squishy mitten, beanie, scarf, handbag, crochet earring, and one of the absolute favourite things I have ever designed and crocheted is this set of light shades that hang in my kitchen (photo below). Crochet can do just about anything…
I tend to design feminine garments with decorative seams and trims. I like to carry a motif through a garment, and botanical elements pop up fairly frequently. My Olga Cardigan (published in YARN 6 Bookazine) and my Spider Lace Maxi Dress (pattern currently in development) are good examples of these.
My fixation on crochet fashion with feminine touches is pretty ironic to me, as I was a tom-boy growing up (out-dated and non-PC term I know...), more concerned with beating the boys and playing outside in the dirt than anything else. I literally won against every one of the thirty kids in my class in an arm-wrestling competition while at school camp when I was 12, (and the boys were not happy about it). And now, ...designing crochet dresses and a fondness for a bit of bling. I didn’t see it coming, but never the less, here I am!
The contrast of the photos below make me laugh: the evolution of me…
This first photo is a good representation of my childhood. Outdoors and grotty - Camping, lots of beach time. I did like to draw, and carried that through to my teenage years too. I am about 4 years old in this picture.
The second photo is a fair guide to my young adult years training to be a veterinary surgeon. I am 20 years old in this photo: a vet student on prac. at a beef cattle farm. I graduated vet school at 22, and spent the first two years after graduation working in a South Australian country veterinary practice, you guessed, it – outdoors and grotty.
And this last picture is me four weeks ago, just before my 46th birthday at a swanky bar in Melbourne, wearing my own crocheted design, the Arcadia Dress complete with frills and beaded bling, sipping cocktails in my stiletto heels with designer handbag hanging from arm. Not what I imagined of myself when I was young. (And….loving it! – Lol).
It’s amazing where life takes you. You think you have these big plans, but “life” happens and things change. You change. Circumstances change, you adapt, and before you know it, you are a different person with broader experience.
I worked full-time as a vet for 14 years. After the 2 years in country practice, I switched to small animal practice and completed extra study in sonology and surgery as I liked working with my hands and I can visualise 3D space. I was working very long hours with a high surgical load, and was preparing to embark on further study to begin the long path to become a specialist small animal surgeon when circumstances changed.
One night I arrived home after a work shift, very tired from chronic overloaded scheduling and I had an ache in my left thumb. I woke the next morning unable to use my whole left arm and it was hot, painful and entirely useless. It took months to reach a diagnosis (a joint inflammation combined with nerve impingement up around my neck). I could not work, and it took a full year to rehabilitate to my pre-injury function. I learnt a lot about myself that year. It was a stressful time (understatement) and I resolved to bring more of my creative side back into my life. I had been pushing hard in my work life to the exclusion of everything else. Not anymore. I quit my job and embarked on part-time locum vet work while studying art.
Yep, at that time drawing was my escape. I started doing pet portraits, and I was keen to improve my painting. Here is one of my portraits drawn with pastel pencils.
I thought maybe I could retrain as an interior architect and chase my creative dreams….? I (like many) am an overall craft-a-holic and drawing, sewing, felt-making and embroidery had also been a big part of my younger life. (Yes, I did actually spend time indoors too).
Honing in on the creative outlet that was to sustain me took some time, and there have been a bunch of random things I have made, but picking up my crochet hook again (my Grandma taught me from when I was 6 or so) was the thing that stuck.
My Grandma passed away early in 2011 and I found myself crocheting to grieve. Crafting truly is good for the soul. I could feel connected to her even though she was gone. I made a baby jacket as a gift for a friend, and I started to think about how things go together in a garment, trying a few things out. I decided to undertake the International Diploma of Crochet (Part 1), and started competing in the annual CGOA Crochet Design Awards, with some successes that brought me to the attention of Simy Somer at Scheepjes!
Here I am nine years after picking up my hook again: the new Scheepjes Blogger with numerous WIPs on the go, and always learning new computer skills to support my crochet habit!
I work part time 2-3 days a week in small animal practice as a GP vet, still enjoying surgery and looking after dogs and cats. They are long shifts and can be exhausting days, so crochet related activities often go out the window on work days. Sometimes I just can’t stay connected on social media or return emails as quickly as I might like, but it’s all got to be a balance. My left arm taught me that lesson.
Now you have some idea of what brought me here to this unlikely but happy place! Being a Scheepjes Blogger is the next part of the journey of where life is taking me - exciting times!!
You never know what is just around the corner………. Well, actually I DO! Something amazing is what, and only days away……. Stay tuned!
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