Kate Eastwood taught herself to crochet seven years ago, and since then she's been sharing her beautiful creations on her blog, Just Pootling, designing patterns for the likes of Simply Crochet magazine, and now she's even written a book, the upcoming Crocheted Wreaths & Garlands. We caught up with Kate to talk about crochet and the inspiration for her new book:
Hi Kate! How did Crocheted Wreaths & Garlands come about?
I made my first crochet garland about 4 years ago. It was a Spring Garland full of primroses, snowdrops and zingy green leaves and it still comes out every year to decorate our fireplace. I enjoyed making it so much that no sooner had I finished it than I started work on a Wedding Garland for my daughter’s wedding. This ended up being about 4m long and full to bursting with cream and white crochet roses and ivy leaves, and it hung right across the front of the top table on the Wedding day. Both garlands were so lovely to make that I don’t think there’s been a day since when I haven’t had some sort of small crochet flower, leaf or small decoration on my hook that wasn’t heading for either a garland or a wreath! There is something so satisfying about making lots of small pieces that suddenly come together to make the most gorgeous display at the end of the project. There are not many rooms in our house that aren’t adorned with a crocheted wreath or garland! And so the seed for my book was sewn and I hope that the 35 wreaths and garlands within the book will inspire fellow crocheters to come and join the fun!
What is your favourite project from the book?
Another of the reasons that I love making wreaths and garlands is because they make such perfect gifts. For this reason I think one of my favourite projects in the book is my New Baby Wreath. Being worked for a 15cm wreath, the pieces are small and quick to make and the colours of the baby blanket and balloons can be easily changed to suit. I think it would be such a lovely wreath to receive and to hang on a nursery wall.
What’s your favourite season to craft for?
Oooh, that’s so tricky! I love all of the seasons for so many different reasons, and then there’s Easter and Christmas and birthdays! There’s just so many to choose from. But if I had to choose I think it would be Christmas. I don’t think I will ever get tired of designing different projects for this time of year. I find myself beginning to think of new designs around about October, and then it’s pretty much freefall to Christmas from then on!
What tips would you give anyone new to crochet?
My first tip would be to never, ever be frightened to just give it a go! At the end of the day it’s just one hook and a ball of yarn, and the joy of crochet is that there are no stitches to drop as you only ever have one stitch to be worked at a time. My second tip would be if you come across a stitch that you’re not sure how to do, Google it - there are so many fantastic video tutorials online. They are the perfect way to learn as you can pause and go as much as you need to.
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
Absolutely anything and everything! Colours, the seasons, things that have been hidden away at the back of my head forever, flowers, fabric, pictures, memories from childhood, books, wrapping paper, greetings cards... The list is endless.
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Time for another little sneaky peek at one of the Garlands from my book - and I’ve chosen this one because I think it’s probably my favourite. I’ve always loved simple shaker style decorations and I absolutely loved designing this simple bird house and bird Garland, all made in calming neutral shades. The ribbons and bells add an extra little finishing touch. Here it is laid flat ...... #crochetedwreathsandgarlands #makeetc #justpootling
Aside from crochet, what is your favourite way to pass the time?
Now that’s very tricky, because without a doubt if I’m home and I have spare time I will always be crocheting, but I do also love my home and surroundings and making our home a comfortable and relaxing place to be.
Do you have any favourite craft Instagram accounts?
I love Instagram and have quite an eclectic mix of accounts that I like to follow, from crocheters and home designers to florists and gardeners, dress makers, felters and embroiderers. My favourites would have to be Julie @littlecottonrabbits for her absolutely exquisite knitting skills, Nicki @nickifranklin_needlework because one day I would love to learn to embroider, and Mikaela @mikaelabartlettfelt because her felted dogs leave me breathless, they’re just so beautiful.
What can we look forward to from you over the next few months?
Right now I am busy hooking up lots of baby items as we are soon to welcome our second grandchild – I could get very addicted to making baby blankets I think! And almost certainly there will be several more wreaths and garlands on the go.