Interview with crochet designer Emma Leith

We sat down with crochet designer Emma Leith to find out about her design process, how she finds inspiration, and her favourite crochet projects so far…

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How did you learn to love crochet?

Thanks to my lovely nan who had the patience of a saint I learnt to crochet when I was eight. I remember being so proud when I made my first granny square. Picking up my hook after a 30 year break I was amazed at how quickly it all came back to me.

My love of crochet grows daily thanks to the abundant choice of yarns out there in all their glorious textures and colours.  We are so fortunate to have such a wealth of choice….my nan would have loved it!

Show me some beautiful yarn and my fingers positively tingle! Crochet feeds the spirit, soothes the soul and calms the mind and it really helps me manage the pain I have following my treatment for breast cancer.

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Where do you find inspiration? 

For me it’s all about colour and texture. Boucherouite Rugs make my heart skip a beat and I adore bohemian style and Moroccan decor so this is often my starting point. The Austrian artist and architect Hundertwasser uses colour and shape in a very Klimt-like way and I am forever finding inspiration for crochet in his work.

The designer Sophie Digard is an inspiration on what is possible with crochet and the colours she creates when combining multiple threads is breathtaking.

And if I’m thinking big I am forever drawn back to the work of Joana Vasconcelos, whose creations make me melt from the inside!

Instagram, Pinterest and publications like Selvedge and Simply Crochet are my go to places for instant inspiration. With so many people posting pictures and patterns there’s never a dull moment. I’m currently working on an exhibition that is stretching me to really consider and respond to my love of yarn. I want to find a way of conveying this joy I feel so that it transmits to others and inspires people to have a go themselves.

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Any crafty confessions?

I am completely self taught in everything I do! Every nook and cranny of my home and studio is stuffed with yarn and crafty goodness and I’ve lost count of the WIPs I have. They are more like sketches with wool and I often return to them years later with a new twist.

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Tell us about your favourite make or biggest crochet triumph?

My biggest crochet triumph is the yarn bomb I designed and curated last year as part of Bath In Fashion 2016. With the generous help of my lovely crochet group we adorned the centre of Bath with giant crochet flowers that were made around wire frames. I still have the prototype flower hanging in my studio and people always ask if there’s a pattern but the real success of these flowers is their freeform style making each one totally unique. I am especially connected to this particular yarn bomb because half way through making it (it took nine months to do) I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer and having this project kept me focused and positive. We raised £3000 for our local hospital too, which is wonderful!

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I’m also really proud of the Bikes I made as part of the Tour of Britain 2016 – I had a lot of fun making them!

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Where can our readers find you online?

On my website, www.emmaleith.co.uk, as well as on Instagram @emmaleithatelier. And on Facebook I’m Emma Leith – Artist.