Who taught you to crochet/How did you learn to crochet?
I learned to knit from a book and with some help from my grandmother what feels like a million years ago, but haven’t really practiced knitting in the past couple of decades. Crochet is my much more recent infatuation, since back then, when I was already a confident knitter, I could not for the life of me get crochet. Its non-linear nature could not fit in any of my mind’s drawers. A few years ago I watched a couple of YouTube tutorials and something just clicked somewhere and it suddenly made complete sense. I guess I just needed to forget knitting to be able to understand crochet!
How did you get started designing?
Probably like the majority of us, being rubbish at following patterns! I also seem to constantly have an urgent need to make something which I cannot find a pattern for.
What inspires your designs?
This question is always the hardest to answer! I think there are so many things at play at the same time, that I don’t really have a clue! This is why I find writing pattern intros so difficult: I feel like I should mention the source of my inspiration, but can’t always put my finger on it.
Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
The idea! With yarn, we are not a married couple, only lovers. I don’t even own any yarn stash (gasp!) except leftovers from previous projects and gifts.
What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
Texture, uniformity and rhythm. I like stability and predictability, and I think that comes through in my designs.
What is your favourite type of item to design?
I’ve always liked to design shawls and scarves since those seem like a perfect canvas for showing off interesting stitch pattern combinations (and I love to play with those!). I often get carried away with garment ideas, although those designs, unfortunately, are not always the best business decisions, at least not in crochet.
Tell me about “Linen Letters”, what is the story behind this collection?
This is actually a very special little collection! A few years ago I received a surprise package with three skein of lovely LitYarn linen from my friend and business partner Lena Fedotova. I have already mentioned that I do not start with yarn, and all those years this linen was waiting quietly for its perfect match. “Letters” seemed like an appropriate name for the collection made with the yarn received from someone living miles away and whom I never met in person.
Do you have an aspirational crochet – a complicated/challenging design that you want to crochet “some day” when you feel ready?
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I don’t think there is anything profoundly complex or challenging in crochet. Crochet can be time-consuming and there are plenty of techniques I don’t know or haven’t tried, or haven’t even been invented yet, but ever since my “big crochet revelation”, I know I am ready for just about anything. Bring it on!
What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I cannot tell you how excited I am about 2016! Lena and I are brewing two themed joint collections, which we plan to release in early spring and then in autumn. This is a completely new stage in our designing careers, since so far we have worked pretty much “solo”. It is also a big challenge for both of us, as we will need to bring our designs, colour choices, photography and pattern presentation together into one harmonious whole. We cannot wait to start on those!
Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
It would be Malabrigo! There is something about that yarn (luscious squishiness? stunning palette?) that makes me go back to it again and again.
Which is your most under-appreciated design?
This would be my all of my garments. I wish clothing were more popular with crocheters!
What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other crocheters?
Be adventurous! Learn a new technique, try thinner yarn, make yourself a sweater, get out of your crochet comfort zone! (Although this might sound “rich” coming from someone who likes stability and predictability!)
Any crocheting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
Get more people to make crochet clothing!
View all of Yuliya’s patterns here. All photos copyright Yuliya Tkacheva. All images used by permission.
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