We sat and talked with Sandra, author of Colourful Crochet Knitwear and we got the chance to get to know her better, learn more about the book and her passion for crocheting.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi! I am originally from Mexico, but I moved away to go to university in the States when I was 18 years old. I got the travel bug when visiting Europe with my dad as a teenager and since starting to university I have had the opportunity to live in 10 different countries and many more cities. I love getting to know new cultures and learning languages. My mom taught me how to knit and crochet when I was a young girl and I used to make hats and scarves without patterns. I started formally designing and selling handmade items and patterns when living in Spain in 2016 but didn’t work as a full-time designer until 2019, when my first daughter was born in Bulgaria.
I love food even though I am a pretty terrible cook. I am married to a wonderful Englishman and we now live in the UK with our daughters Magnolia and Luna.
Tell us a bit about your new book?
Colourful Crochet Knitwear is more than a collection of patterns, since it contains so much information on colorwork techniques, choosing colours and yarns, and ways to finish garments professionally. It’s basically all I know and have learned over a lifetime of making!
The patterns are so much fun. They are garments and accessories FULL of colour! Perfect for you to practice the new colorwork techniques learned in the book, as well as different construction methods and skills.
All designs were named after words in other languages that don’t have a direct translation into English. I chose this theme because I believe that our clothes have an untranslatable voice; and that colour and the act of making by hand, are charged with meaningful memories and emotions that speak to the world and to ourselves.
What is your favourite project/technique featured?
When it comes to techniques, it has to be mosaic crochet. It’s such a versatile and beautiful technique, but also SO SO EASY! As for a favourite project, well, that’s much more difficult since I love them all. But maybe Gigil – the long boxy cardigan with Intarsia circles on the back. It is just SO MUCH FUN!
How do you think you reached this point in your craft?
I love learning and studying, so I have done a lot of that over the years. I think that crochet is so wonderful and it often gets pushed aside because it’s not considered as special as knitting. However, I have worked very hard to create crochet garments that are wearable, that have good shaping for a great fit, and that are interesting and modern. So basically, I spend my days doing a lot of maths and playing with yarn! I am a huge nerd.
Where do you look for inspiration: travel, other designers, Pinterest?
My experiences traveling are a huge source of inspiration. So is my Mexican heritage and culture. But I also draw a lot of inspiration from other knitwear designers and even my own family!
What is the most challenging thing about being a designer/artist?
I think the most difficult thing about my job is that it never stops. Creative jobs in general keep your mind busy constantly and there’s no disconnecting. Even when I force myself to put down my yarn and watch a movie, I keep thinking “Ooh! I could make that!”. Sometimes even in my sleep I do maths and wake up with ideas!
Another thing is the fact that there are always people who will not like or appreciate your work and have no problem telling you. That can be rough!
What makes up for the challenges?
The other side of the coin is the wonderful people out there who DO appreciate my work. There is nothing like seeing people showing off the garments that they have made using my patterns! Also, I do get to work from home and be close to my family.
What do you think the “Next Big Thing” in your craft will be?
That’s such a difficult question. But I think that design that focuses on great fit and inclusivity should be the next thing. Long gone are the boxy jumpers with no shaping. I think it’s time crochet acknowledges that bodies are not square and that we, designer, all pay more attention at how our garments fit all bodies. Lots of wonderful designers are working on this, it’s not just me. So hopefully, it will spread!
How big a part, if any, does sustainability play in your work?
It plays a huge part. I always try to give yardage measurements that are as accurate as possible to reduce waste. I also work with mostly natural materials because I know that acrylic yarn is much more difficult to biodegrade. More importantly, what I do is supporting the slow fashion movement and encouraging the greater population to add more value to our clothes and to fight fast fashion by making with our hands.
Who (dead or alive) would you invite to the perfect Crafting retreat?
I would love to meet Yoko Ono. She seems like such a cool girl (breaking up the The Beatles aside) and she probably has some sick crafting skills!
What advice would you give to your beginner self?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and connect with others. I initially spent way too much time researching things and frogging instead of just asking for help. I learned loads and it was very rewarding; but it was also very frustrating!
In one word, how would you describe your book?
Which project would you recommend from your book for a beginner to try?
The Jayus Cardigan has simple stripes and colour blocking that are great for beginners. The raglan shaping and way the instructions are written makes for a very uncomplicated project where you get to still have lots of fun with colour!
One fun fact about yourself not many people know?
I LOVE plants but I am actually a terrible plant mom!
What’s next for you?
I will continue working on releasing independent garments, but hopefully, I’ll get to slow down a bit. My family and I are considering the idea of moving back to Mexico and I feel like there’s definitely another book in the horizon inspired by our time there. We’ll see. For now, I just want to enjoy my new baby (Luna was born in Sep, 2021) before she turns into a toddler!
You can learn more about Colourful Crochet Knitwear HERE.