Emma Friedlander-Collins is a brilliant craft author with multiple crochet books and a huge Instagram following over on @steelandstitch. We caught up with her to get a little more of her brilliant craft story and to pick her brains about all things crochet!
You started designing and selling crochet patterns on Etsy in 2011 and have since co-founded the wonderful #crochetgirlgang, written three brilliant crochet books and taught crochet classes. Can you tell us a bit about your crochet journey?
I’ve always had a passion for making things, but I didn’t take up crochet until about 5 years ago when I was on maternity leave with my littlest. After a few youtube tutorials I was literally hooked, and looking around for things to make for children, and was really frustrated by the lack of cool patterns for boys. I just started making things up, but it wasn’t until a couple of years later that my husband convinced me that other people would want to make the things I’d designed too! So I set up an Etsy and patterns started flying out, a few months later a friend said I should write a book, so after getting my confidence together I approached CICO and that’s how we wrote Crochet Dress-Up. Things haven’t stopped rolling since then, and now I’m a full time crochet designer, which still dazzles me every day.
Your latest book 35 Crocheted Bags is absolutely beautiful! Do you have a favourite project and why?
It’s always hard to pick a favourite because they’re all made for different reasons! I do really love the aztec, tapestry crochet bag that’s on the front cover, it was the first one I made and I just love the bright, summery colours and the perfect size. I also really love the berry bag, that uses the colours of autumn and a lovely catherine wheel stitch, it feels so sumptuous and elegant and is lovely to use.
You also created some lovely projects in your book Big Hook Crochet. What advice would you give to someone looking to try using the large crochet hooks?
Big hook crochet is great for getting experimental and playful. Don’t be afraid of trying lots of different materials and seeing what you can do. It’s a brilliant medium for using lots of different yarns together, so you can create all sorts of exciting new textures and colour combinations, you can’t be shy with a big hook design, it’s all about bold and bright for me!
Aside from crochet, what is your favourite way to pass the time?
Crochet and making have always been a way for me to express myself as well as creating personal and individual things for myself, my home and my friends. Recently I’ve been working on a lot of free hand embroidery to bring life and personality to old clothes and it’s really addictive. I also love a bit of drawing, reading and walking around the fields where we live to get colour inspiration.
And finally, are you working on anything exciting right now?
Gosh, there’s always so much going on! I design pieces and write articles for a variety of magazines and yarn companies, as well as teaching workshops and doing a bit of yarn photography, so it’s super busy! I’m hoping it’ll calm down a little now we're in the new year so that I can get to work on a new collection, and who knows, maybe another book!