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Kerry Lord is the founder and creative director behind TOFT – a UK leader in the manufacturing of homegrown woollen yarn and the design of DIY fashion knitting and on-trend crochet kits. Kerry is the author of three bestselling books, including Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium. Here, Kerry shares her crochet story and the inspiration behind her books.

How and when did you first discover crochet?
I first picked up a hook when entering my final few weeks of pregnancy. I had been a knitter for a number of years, but had truly always viewed crochet as something very difficult and, if I’m honest, not particularly desirable. I think there was a real lack of inspiring crochet patterns even as recently as three years ago. Thankfully that’s all changed, and there’s no better time to learn to crochet.

How has your love of crochet developed since then?
In a word, obsessively. I still can’t believe what a whirlwind the last three years have been. I do still turn to two pointy sticks when I’m looking to make something to wear, but the rest of the time I can’t imagine not having a hook in my handbag.

What was the first crochet item you designed? What inspired it?
I spent one determined night on YouTube learning the ‘single crochet’ (or as I now know, the British double crochet) stitch. The next day I sat down on the sofa and crocheted what would become Bridget the elephant from my first book Edward’s Menagerie. She did of course have some limbs inside out, (and her eyes were perhaps a tad wonky), but as soon as I shared my creation with my colleagues back at TOFT I knew I was into something.

Tell us about your new book Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium?
Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium is a very unusual pattern book. Rather than giving you a fixed number of projects, patterns and their accompanying instructions, it provides the building blocks, technical tuition and inspiration to enable you to make an almost infinite number of unique projects.

Describe, if you can, your creative process when coming up with a ‘monster’ for Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium.
My creative process when designing a new monster will be very similar to the process I am asking others to do when using the book. You flip through the shapes to select a head, arms and legs that the your fancy, and then you move onto selecting colours, patterns and any added extras like tails or wings. Sometimes I will sketch out my idea first, but at other times I just start with the yarn I’ve got closest to hand and see where it takes me. Ever taken time to think about what the creatures at the bottom of your garden might look like, or visualised the dishevelled hairstyle of the sock monster who lives in your washing machine?

You have been involved with all aspects of TOFT, from alpaca shearing, business management and designing to workshop instructing – what’s your favourite part of your job?
The variety of every week is the favourite part of my job. In the last ten years I really don’t think two days have ever been the same and that keeps me and my team very motivated, flexible and very adaptable to respond rapidly to trends.

Edward’s Crochet Imaginarium is available now (Pavilion, £14.99). Don’t forget to share a pic of your monster creation online. #edsflipbook


MillaMia, run by the two Swedish sisters Katarina and Helena Rosén, has quickly become recognised for its distinctive, modern knitting pattern designs and high quality yarn. In their latest book Winter Knitting they share some wonderful Swedish winter traditions, designs and activities for bringing warmth and light to the cold season. We asked creative director Helena Rosén about what it is that sparks her creativity, what makes her passionate about craft, and where the business name MillaMia came from.

What makes you passionate about your craft?
Amazing colour, texture, and the ability to create form is what I find most inspiring when I design. The act of making something with your hands is just the most incredible feeling. I think any crafter knows how addictive and satisfying that feeling is and for me, it’s even more special when it’s realised in a material which is pure and high quality. I love the fact that our yarns allow for such versatile stitches, rich textures and patterns – not to mention a whole range of deep, vibrant colours which really sing!

Where does the name MillaMia come from?
When we started the business back in 2009, we struggled to find a name. Katarina and I had discussed starting our own brand for a while but all the names we brainstormed were too specific or just not the exact message we wanted to convey. Anyone who has been through this exercise will appreciate just how hard choosing a name is. We wanted the name to describe us and to be us but all the classic combinations of our names, Katarina and Helena morphed into “HelKat” or “KatHel” which were not all appropriate! We stalled on this for some time, until we remembered the names of our imaginary friends. As children we both had imaginary friends whom we gave names to – names that we thought were beautiful and grown up. Mine was called Kamilla which was shortened to Milla and Katarina’s was called Mia. So MillaMia is really us but in an imaginary and aspirational form!

Which is your most cherished childhood memory?
I feel this might end up sounding like a cliché, but our summers spent in the Swedish archipelago were amazing. We had the freedom to run around, swim in the sea, pick berries in the forest and if the weather was bad we would knit, sew or play card games and bingo with our grandmothers and great aunts. Looking back now, I guess it was idyllic, and I am ever grateful for the memories I treasure of those times spent happily in the heart of my close family.

What sparks your creativity?
I seem to be full of clichés today… but it can be anything! I love to take a camera out onto the street and snap colours and textures that I find inspiring. I am truly happy scouring antique markets and vintage stores for retro inspiration. Also fashion is cyclical and I have immense fun taking something from the past and reworking it to make it relevant for the future.  

Could you describe a typical crafty day in your life?
I don’t think any day is typical when you run a small business! Our day can vary from sketching, swatching and playing with colour to pushing on to the finalised design spec, making mood boards or planning and styling upcoming shoots. I count myself very lucky to be allowed to do a job which is beautiful and which I enjoy so much – I remind myself of that when it involves late nights and early mornings!

Organised mess or creative minimalism? What does your working space look like?
I wish I was one of those uber-clean, efficient architect types who works in a minimal, stream-lined space – but I have to confess my space is a big creative mess! I fill my space with all sorts of things, and to an outsider it must look horrific, but there is method in my madness and I have an ability to locate almost anything when needed – just don’t ask me how!

Winter Knitting (Pavilion, £20.00) by MillaMia is available now

Vibe studied fashion design at Kingston University (London) and also at the Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, California. She currently works as a freelance knit designer, producing hand-knitted swatches that are sold to fashion companies in New York, Paris, Barcelona and London. Design credits include Nicole Farhi and Whistles. Vibe’s colourful, textured designs are both practical and beautiful. As well as designing knitting patterns, Vibe also takes all her own photography.

What makes you passionate about your craft?
I don’t know if this has anything to do with it but I get cold very easily, so part of it could be that I love the thought of making something soft, warming and comforting. I also find knitting therapeutic and like the fact that you can create your own patterned “fabric”. Good yarn is also important and I’m an absolute addict when it comes to beautiful, good quality yarn. I think I must also be interested in stitch patterns as I, once on holiday in Switzerland, caught myself trying to read through and knit a pattern from a Swiss knitting magazine.

What sparks your creativity?
A beautiful image, a skein of great yarn, someone sitting on the bus or someone in a movie… it’s quite random, actually. I also look at a lot of catwalk photos from recent shows and often get frustrated that a lot of winter collections consist of nothing more than chiffon dresses!

Could you describe a typical crafty day in your life?
If I have a deadline, I will usually get up and have breakfast, start knitting (if I know what I am going to do), or start designing a new piece which can sometimes take longer than hoped for, and then continue through the day with a walk in between for fresh air and exercise. The good thing about working from home is that my ‘work time’ can be flexible – I can go food shopping in the middle of the day or even go and look at shops if I’m feeling very uninspired.

Organised mess or creative minimalism? What does your working space look like?
I do like a certain sense of order. I’d go mad if everything was a total mess. What I also find important in a working space is lots of daylight.

Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard is the author of Lullaby Knits (Collins & Brown, £14.99)