I’ve always found it fascinating to chat with tutors and designers in the Yarn world, finding out how they get their inspiration, and what they do with their time. All of the tutors we have this year are simply fantastic, so I’ve managed to do some interviews with them – I’ll be posting them over the next few weeks, Enjoy!
First up we have Helen Jordan, who is teaching Crochet 101 on Sunday Afternoon.
When and Why did you start designing?
Probably the floor cushion I wanted to make for my room at College – couldn’t afford to buy one and wanted something made from yarns that reminded me of my home
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Anywhere and everywhere! Don’t yet make as much use as I could have on-line resources, I am definitely a ‘book’ girl. The countryside in semi-rural West Yorkshire is stunning and the soft combinations if greens and washed-out neutrals are amazing.
What is your favourite thing to design? Why?
Probably done more scarves and shawls than anything – they don’t need working out for loads of different sizes.
When did you start Knitting/Crocheting/Crafting?
I started to knit (badly) while at school. I can do passable basics these days, but infinitely prefer to crochet.
My cousin showed me how to make a granny square just before I left school. Came back to crochet because of a lovely Tyrolean style jacket on the cover of Anna magazine in February 1983.
Started to do the International Diploma in Crochet in August 1988.
What new skills have you acquired since you started designing?
Pattern writing, technical editing, translation to/from USA terminology.
Expanded repertoire of crochet techniques. I think I still consider myself to be more of a technician than a designer, to be honest.
What are your biggest challenges?
The dreaded ‘t’ word – there doesn’t seem to be enough time to do everything I want to do!
Do you have a ‘day job’? If so, do you find any inspiration from the people/tasks you encounter?
I sell hooks, books, patterns, etc. – on-line, by mail order, at specialist shows, such as Fibre Flurry; I do pattern support for a local yarn company; I am a freelance technical editor for a number of magazines, so I see a lot of work by others and that can spark development ideas of my own.
Sometimes the white space between words on the screen or on a page will prompt new design ideas.
What are your favourite shapes and colours?
I love all sorts of shapes and where colour is concerned, I am thrilled with them all, with the possible exception of some shades of pink – guess what colour my hair is just now… yup – pink! Who knows what I will do with it before Fibre Flurry?!
If you could take any workshop at Fibre Flurry 2013, (apart from your own!) which would it be and why?
Probably the digital camera secrets one – I need to be more able to do better pix!
What plans do you have for 2014?
More workshops and teaching, I’m planning on keeping my new studio space clear enough to use that on a regular basis.
Collaborative work with other artists from the studios where I have my space.
Doing more designs of my own.
Finishing a big freeform crochet project, that seems to want to morph into a gown.
Using yarn from my considerable stash.
Learning to draw, so my design sketches are presentable.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
My absolute passion for the wonderfully creative craft of crochet.
My desire to promote the now proven therapeutic benefits of the creative crafts.
Find out more about Helen below, and check out her workshop on Sunday afternoon at Fibre Flurry 2013!
Born in the Black Country, now based in beautiful West Yorkshire with husband Mike, two cats and a dog. Trained as a teacher. Spent over twenty years with BT. Now self-employed – runs Thread of Life a specialist crochet supplies business.
Crochet lover, maker, author, designer, teacher, technical editor.
Passionate about sharing the creativity of the sometime-considered-as-‘Cinderella’ craft of crochet.
Runs workshops and one-to-one crochet lessons across West Yorkshire and beyond.
Worked with Inside Crochet magazine from its very beginnings, writing articles, producing designs and doing pattern editing.
Author of ‘Textured Crochet’ stitch dictionary.
Technical editor for a number of crochet books and magazines.
Translator to/from USA terminology.
Pattern support to a UK yarn company.
Works with Pauline Turner of Crochet Design to promote the International Diploma in Crochet. Associate assessor for Part I of this distance learning course.
Attends specialist textile events: Wonderwool Wales, Woolfest, Fibre Fest, Fibre East, Fibre Flurry. Visitors to Wonderwool may remember her ‘flipping her skirts’ on the sheepwalk.
Already working on something a bit special for 2014.