Q&A with Crochet Designer Lucy Croft
Want to find out how our designers come up with such amazing patterns? Lucy Croft shares some of the secrets behind her amazing crochet-alongs!
Lucy Croft is the talented designer behind our Hook ‘n’ Learn crochet-along, as well as our previous Pick ‘n’ Mix CAL and many other popular Simply Crochet patterns.
Lucy took the time from her busy schedule to answer these questions asked by members of our Hook ‘n’ Learn Facebook group!
When designing a cal. Do you start with a theme then colour. Or do you know exactly what you want to make and go from there – in other words where do you actually start?
For this CAL I had a very clear idea in my mind that I wanted to do something using lots of different stitch patterns, all the ones I never manage to incorporate into other designs. I also knew I wanted the block sizes to vary to add a bit more interest. So I’d say I start with the theme and the colours come next. I’m very drawn to bright hues so that’s my usual colour palette, it’s a rare occasion I’ll make something in neutral tones unless it’s grey with a pop of colour. Because this CAL is a year long project, it wouldn’t have been appropriate to choose seasonal colours so I selected contrasting brights which help highlight the stitch patterns. Once I have a rough idea of what I want to design in my head, I like to use pen and paper to scribble out the ideas and then transfer the info to digital so I can’t lose it.
Do you have a ‘go to’ or favourite yarn?
Absolutely. I love, love, love a dk merino wool. Great for blankets and woolly jumpers and oh so soft and not at all itchy.
What’s your biggest challenge when designing a CAL?
It’s probably hardest to think it through to the final stages. Working out how best to join blocks and what kind of border might work before you’ve started is a challenge. Because of the big variety of stitches in this CAL I opted for simple sewing for the joins, but the previous CAL I worked on for Simply Crochet involved making sure each block ended up with the same number of stitches in the final round in order to make the lacy join work…. but I love the mathematical side of designing.
As you’re designing a new project, how much trial & error is in the process? Do you find yourself frogging pieces and trying again and again, or does the piece on your hook usually turn out like the one in your mind?
I’m a bit eager to get going once I’ve got the design in my head so don’t always swatch. Consequently at least 1 or 2 of these blocks were frogged and redone and a couple got ditched in favour of other stitch patterns, as I felt they didn’t work in the overall design.
In the case of this CAL, the finished concept is exactly what I had in mind and it’s a great feeling when that happens. At the same time I hadn’t made concrete decisions on all of the stitches I wanted to use so there’s an element of the design evolving as I work.
Roughly how long does it take for you to design and make a CAL from start to finish?
The design is often a lightbulb moment and takes seconds to come up with. Taking it from there to a workable pattern can be a big step, choosing the right yarns, colour palette and stitches etc. Then ‘the making’ happens in short bursts nowadays as I have 2 little people in my life to look after. That’s the beauty of a CAL, it’s naturally broken down into small chunks!
If you missed out on our Hook 'n' Learn crochet-along, you can buy the whole pattern as an ebook (or buy the individual patterns if you're missing the odd issue from your collection). Find our more here!
Lucy also designed the Pick ‘n’ Mix crochet-along blanket., which is made up of 12 vibrant squares in total (each worked in two different colourways). You can find the full pattern for Lucy’s Pick ‘n’ Mix CAL here
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.