Meet The Maker: Knit and Crochet Expert Claudine
If you don’t follow Claudine on Instagram then you need to straight away! She loves to work with colour and her feed shows this off in the best way. Check her out now.
How did you first get into knitting/crochet?
My mum taught me to knit and sew when I was very young. She loved making clothes and I inherited the same passion. I didn’t have the patience for knitting back then, so I stuck to sewing. I picked up my needles many times over the years, but didn’t really get the bug until my early thirties, when I made a friend who was really into both knitting and crochet. She introduced me to decent wool with great colours, and we started having regular knit nights with a few other friends, and lots of wine! It was really great seeing what everyone else was making, and she taught me to crochet during one of those sessions. Shortly after I became pregnant and started knitting like a maniac, churning out blankets and booties. Whilst on maternity leave, I used nap times and YouTube to develop my crochet skills, and at the same time embarked on my first adult knitted jumper. From that moment I was hooked, and started to get loads of ideas for designs. I started to draft my own jumper patterns, and quickly realised I could use the same principles to design a crocheted jumper, and that crochet works up faster! I’ve knitted six jumpers to date and I’m on my seventh crocheted garment.
What is your favourite thing to make?
Women’s clothes. I have always loved designing and making clothes from a young age, and I always will. Although I did a mixed media degree, I couldn’t resist making dresses for my final collection, and ended up working as a designer for a clubwear label in London. Now I teach teenagers to design and make clothes, so I guess it’s in my blood. My current obsession is crocheting oversized jumpers and cardigans in bright colours. The thrill of knowing I’ll get to wear it at the end keeps me going through the boring bits, and I love the fact that it can’t be found in the shops.
How many projects do you have at the moment?
Only two actually, which I know is rare for knitters and crocheters! If I have too many it annoys me. Currently I’ve got my gin o clock cardigan and a Christmas jumper and that’s about it. If I don’t plough on and finish them then I get sick of them, and eventually unravel them. Then the postman arrives with more wool and I feel really guilty! So I try not to let that happen.
What other crafts are you into?
If it doesn’t involve cooking, then I’ve probably tried it! I’ve always sewn and made clothes, I made all five of my bridesmaid’s dresses, I carried a bead loom with me around Australia, and I screen printed hoodies and t shirts in my parent’s garage which I sold from my van whilst doing a ski season in the alps. Three days a week I am a Design and Technology teacher, so I can be found teaching woodwork, metalwork, electronics, drawing, painting, sewing, printing, tie dye, embroidery, weaving and felt making. At home I like to relax by knitting and crocheting as it makes a nice change! Plus there’s no setting up or mess. Craft time is very limited when you have two small children so I have to squeeze in what I can. I often crochet in the car and on the beach/at the park.
What is your favourite thing you have made?
It would have to be my Granny Rocks jumper. I love the slouchy shape, the bold granny stripes, and that it features all of my favourite colours. Its just so bright and fun, and it makes me feel happy when I’m wearing it. It was a labour of love. I made the sleeves three times, the body took two attempts, and it took me ages to work out how to increase in clusters in the round. I have this ridiculous fantasy that it will become a family heirloom and be passed down through generations. But in reality my kids will probably use it as fancy dress!
Where do you find your inspiration?
What usually happens is I’ll see a blanket or cushion on Instagram in an amazing colourway or stitch pattern, and I’ll immediately envisage it as a jumper or cardigan. But the idea for the shape of the jumper will come from another garment I’ve seen, maybe on Pinterest, and I’ll put the two together. For example I’ve seen a lot of c2c crochet blankets recently and so now I’ve got a great idea for a c2c cardigan. Sometimes I get ideas for colourways from playing around with balls of yarn, or from looking at kids clothes – they’re always so much more bright and fun!
What is next for you?
I’m going to start selling my knitwear and crochet patterns as downloadable PDF’s. I am working on it, but time is scarce with a family, a job and a house mid-renovation. Plus I am a perfectionist. I have so many design ideas in my head right now, some days I feel like it’s going to explode. I need to grow a time tree. I guess I’d love for my patterns to be successful and one day to write a book of women’s garment patterns. I also have this urge to crochet a pair of granny pants, I don’t know why, I just think it would be funny!
Claudine can be found on Instagram as @iron_lamb