Thursday, 24 July 2014

Answers from the Attic

As part of my Deramores prize I was given the chance to have a question and answer session with lovely Lucy from Attic 24. What a fantastic opportunity!
It was very exciting to get the first email from her, inviting me to email her back and start our 'hooky chat'. How wonderful to have a connection with this very generous and talented person, Lucy is warm and welcoming and I have enjoyed very much thinking of my questions for her - and of course reading her answers! I thought you would enjoy reading this too, so without further ado, here's the Answers from the Attic!

BTW - all the photos are mine, of things I have made from Lucy's patterns and tutorials.

1.Your work is very original and you certainly have a distinct style. Is it hard to come up with original ideas, especially when there is so much out there already on the internet?
Crochet itself is quite a limited craft in terms of actual stitches, so when the whole world wide web is involved there are bound to be many overlaps in design. I think the "style" bit of crochet design is often down to colour rather than pattern, and yes I do seem to have my own unique colour palette which I have become well known for and which has remained intact and unaltered since I was a child. I have always been drawn to the same sort of vivid colours, the same balance of hot and cold colours, with an even balance of tone (light/dark) and contrast.
The design ideas I have are often a little quirky and often ping into my brain as if from nowhere, but I think it's almost impossible to be truly original in crochet design. The way I work, I am fortunate to be operating on my own time schedule, so I don't often have to "come up" with new designs on the spot. I just wait for them to come into my brain in their own time and take it from there, and that means that the ideas are mostly fresh and pretty unique to me and my way of working. 

2.You certainly are an inspiration to a lot of people, obviously including me. But what or who is your inspiration?
Aww, I still get a little bit giddy at the idea of being labelled An Inspiration, such a terrific compliment! My own inspiration comes from so many sources, mainly from the combined forces of the world wide creativity that we can tap into on the internet. Blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and Flickr deliver so much Good Visual Stuff that can spark all sorts of ideas and creative journeys. I absolutey love being a part of the online creative community with it's generous spirit and huge amount of talent.
I find I am also inspired by my surroundings, especially the colours of flowers and landscape, and by the desire to create a cosy, creative, colourful home for my children to grow up in.

3.I imagine you are very busy and have a lot of demands in your life from looking after your family, the daily chores and your own time as well as your successful blog and magazine work. Are you organised with your time, and if so how; or do you just amble through?
I am learning to be more organised as my workload has increased substantially in recent years and I now have a lot of different balls to juggle. I am not naturally organised, the opposite in fact and my natural way is to simply go with the flow and muddle through. Since I began working in my studio, this has given me the means to be more organsied as I have certain times when I can go to the studio and these become my "crochet work" times. I do all my writing from my little desk at home, and this happens in the evenings now since I had my third child as my days are just too full to write. I've learnt to adjust to an evening writing schedule, but really my brain works much better in the morning. Things are constantly shifting and changing though, and when my youngest starts school in September I'll be able to adjust my routine again to fit around the 9-3 school day. I think it's important to have a loose routine/structure to the days, or at least to have something to aim for! Ideally I would like to return to my daily blogging routine where I concentrate on writing my blog every week day Monday-Friday (writing in the mornings as I did when i first started Attic24), then switch over to my paid work in the afternoons (yarndale, designing, magazine/other writing commitments). That's what I'm aiming for, we shall see how it works out in reality!



4.I have been blogging for about a year and a half or so and I have found it has enhanced my life in a lot of ways. Has your blogging journey changed you at all, perhaps in the way you see and do things?
Oh yes, completely. I often say that blogging has helped me really open my eyes to the daily pleasures of everyday life, to appreciate the little things that bring happiness, and to connect more with the seasons, weather, landscape and general rhythms of family life. It has helped me record this time in my life in a way that has become soooo precious, like the best sort of diary. Recently my daughter (age 10) has started reading my blog, we look back over past archives and re-read accounts of our family holidays and day trips together, she says it is just like reading a story book. I tell her it is the story if our family life, and that it's a pretty good story! I also love that it has made me more aware of seasonal rhythms, of little family traditions that we are building over the years.
Blogging has given me such a sense of purpose and a connection to an amazing world wide creative community too. I love the feeling of "belonging" that blogging gives me.

5.Granny square or ripple?
Both! I love both for different reasons. I love ripples for the soothing, calming feelings they give me as I work those rows of colour. And i love granny squares for the part they have played in teaching me to crochet and starting me out on this amazing journey. My very first crochet project was a granny square blanket and it holds a special place in my heart. That blanket changed my life!


6.I want my blog to be more than a show and tell “look what I’ve made” read. What is your advice on blogging with more depth as yours is?
For me, I never set out for my blog to be a crochet blog, it was always intended to be a general life/family blog. I guess the common thread throughout all my posts is "happiness"...recording the things in life that are making me happy at that particular time, and of course that often involves crochet, such a great Provider of Happy Times! I've also come to love the sharing process, the whole journey of creative thinking if you like, so that the finished object is almost an additional extra. It is the process of designing and making that I am most interested in recording and sharing I think. But as my blog is primarily a "Creative Lifestyle" blog, I like to makes sure that my posts are varied and capture the whole of my life as I jaunt through the days, weeks, months and years. Creativity underlines everything that I do, the way I mother, garden, cook, bake, read, work, play. Always in full colour!!

7.Apart from crochet is there another craft you do or would like to get into?
I studied embroidery and textiles at Manchester in the late 1980's and have a degree in the subject. I came to crochet late on (in my thirties), my life before crochet and kids was always about fabric and stitch and for four years I ran my own business making and selling handmade embroidered pictures and greetings cards. I would love to do more sewing (specifically patchwork and quilting) and also have a hankering for trying mossaic.


8.Since you started blogging has there been a change in the blogging scene?
Oh yes, there has been a huge increase in the volume! So many more creative and lifestyle blogs out there now, and the fact that being a Blogger is now seen as a valid way to work/earn money/become famous! I still much prefer the down to earth, unpretentious kind of blogs to the professional looking commercial/design led blogs though, there has been a big increase in the latter.



9.I find crochet very therapeutic - both doing it a thinking about it. To get off to sleep at night I mentally count up my WIP’s - I don’t know how many I have as I fall asleep before I get to the end! 
Do you have craft related habits like this?
Gosh, that's a tough question, I don't think I do? I feel like I should have, but can't think of any! I do love to crochet outdoors and make it a habit to always take some hooky with me whenever we go on an outing or on holiday. I love the way that memories of time and place can attach themselves to crochet work, and when I look at my projects I can recall snippets of memories with each one.



10.So it’s your last ever crochet project…. (Yikes!)  What would you make and what would be your yarn of choice?
Without doubt it would have to be a huge blanket, a colourful creation made up from blocks/squares of some sort. A big, colourful patchwork of happy times and good memories. I often fantasize about working up  a blanket in Cascade 220, using as many colours as I could possibly get away with (there are over 200 colours to choose from!) I would fill a huge basket with loads of colourful balls and make the project last at least a year. And then I would cry...hope I am a hooker right till the very very end, I cannot contemplate not having crochet in my life. I think I will make my own crochet-lined coffin!!

Thank you Lucy for your amazing answers! It's been a lot of fun - and I quite fancy the Cascade 220 yarn too!!

PS Let's not talk about crochet-lined coffins though....

'till next time...

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