This month, we're really excited to introduce Holly from Holly Pips; crochet designer extraordinaire as well as a tutor of crochet, jewellery, embroidery and more!
Holly also develops her own patterns, and we love the beautiful, vibrant projects she creates. Learn more about how Holly first got into craft, what she loves about it, and her most memorable makes...
Let’s start from the beginning! How did you get into crochet?
I first started crocheting nearly eight years ago; I was newly married, living in London and was always on the look out for new activities to take part in. I booked on to a beginner’s crochet class at Tea & Crafting’s studio in Camden and learnt how to make a granny square - I was instantly hooked (excuse the pun!).
The next day I went out and bought some yarn and started making a granny square blanket - this would go on to become my daughter’s first baby blanket (even though she wasn't born until over a year later), and we still have it and treasure it.
What is it you love about crochet?
I love how versatile it is - whilst crochet blankets will always be my main love, I also enjoy making everything from cushions to bunting, baskets, bags, amigurumi, and clothing! I always have quite a few projects on the go at any time, some that are quick and easy and can be finished in a couple of hours, as well as longer term projects like blankets. I also knit, but I love how quickly crochet works up in comparison!
Where do you take inspiration for your projects from?
I draw inspiration from a lot of places - the seasons definitely effect the projects I choose and the colours I use for them. My children also influence my work as well, with many of the pieces I make being intended for them, based on their favourite colours or current interests.
I’m lucky to have a craft studio at home - I love working away in there, it’s a haven away from all the day-to-day noise, and helps me to come up with new ideas and patterns.
You’re also a craft tutor - can you tell us more about that?
A year after I had my daughter Pippa, I decided not to return to my corporate job - it meant travelling across the UK and just wasn’t practical or flexible enough for our family. At the same time, Jane from Tea & Crafting was looking for a crochet tutor for her studio, it seemed like fate so I jumped at the chance! I soon branched out into teaching other crafts including sewing, jewellery making, embroidery, and millinery.
Three years ago, we moved to the countryside. I wanted to continue my craft tutor role and was delighted that Millie at The Slipped Stitch invited me to teach classes at her shop in Sherborne.
I now teach classes for people who want to improve their crochet and learn new skills, and I love coming up with fresh and exciting classes each month. Recent classes have included Tunisian crochet, amigurumi goldfish, mandalas, entrelac and pompom bunting! I also teach one to one classes for people who want to learn from scratch or improve their skills.
What’s been your favourite crochet project to date?
Is it possible to only pick one?! I love making blankets - I make lots as gifts for friends’ new babies, but the blankets I made for my children will always be very special to me. Seeing them tucked under their favourite blankets at night or using them to make dens or have picnics makes all the hours spent making them worthwhile!
My favourite amigurumi has to be the flamingo I made for my sister a couple of years ago - it took weeks and was a labour of love - I adore it but don’t think I could ever bring myself to make another!
My favourite novelty make is the Christmas blanket I made a couple of years ago - it’s a brilliant corner to corner pattern by Repeat Crafter Me, and the children love that we bring it out every year to snuggle under watch Christmas movies (it took 3 months to make!)
Can you tell us what your first ever pattern was like?
The first pattern I posted on my blog was for a crochet sunflower pincushion with a cute little bee button on top - I was so nervous that people wouldn’t like it! But since then I’ve had lots of lovely comments and people tagging me in their makes.
I also designed a watermelon cushion pattern that has been very popular - as with many of my ideas it was made with someone specific in mind, but I thought other people might like it so I shared the pattern for free on my blog. There'll be some new patterns coming soon on my blog too!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Crafting for me is quite an exploratory thing, and so my inspiration isn't always taken from something specific. When I pick up a crochet hook or begin a weaving, I'm not always sure what it is I want to create, I kind of just pick up things that I've got leftover from other projects, and see where it takes me - which I suppose is the joy of crafting!
When I'm making things it's usually for somebody else; I absolutely adore giving people handmade gifts and showing my love through crafting. There's something so magical about making something for someone special in your life - sometimes words can't explain or convey what you want to tell someone, but when you've spent hours working on something you think they'll love, your sentiment speaks for itself.
What’s the next step for Holly Pips - any exciting news to share?
I’m currently writing up ideas for my winter classes - Christmas is my favourite time of year so I will be busy making presents for people and decorations!
I love coming up with craft ideas to do with the children and share these regularly over on my Instagram. I also have some ideas for new crochet patterns for the blog so keep an eye out for them!
We loved hearing all about Holly's story and journey with crochet! To keep up to date with the wonderful work she does, her new patterns and upcoming classes, follow her over on Instagram at @holly_pips and check out her blog www.hollypips.wordpress.com.
Photo credit: all @holly_pips
Come and join Craftiosity!
Each month, we design a limited edition craft kit for you.
Beautifully packaged, your box will arrive full of inspiration and all the materials, tools and instructions to make a complete project.
This month’s project is to make a needle-felted bird, hanging in his own wicker wreath.
Your kit includes everything you need for the project; you’ll just need a pair of scissors.
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This kit will be shipped on Monday 16th September.