Meet the Maker: Fancyknittles
Irene Tretyakova from Fancyknittles traces her love of all things small back to being a child and wanting to carry everything in her pocket. Now fully grown up with 20 years as a practising architect behind her, Irene creates pocket-sized worlds of tiny flowers, trees, dolls house accessories and much more, all exquisitely crocheted and all full of fun and imagination. Fellow Folksy seller Bex Partridge from Botanical Tales finds out more…
It’s absolutely magical when you see something tiny but quite real – it’s like finding yourself inside a fairytale.
Your knits are absolutely amazing. How do you manage to get such small stitches in order to make your miniature knits?
Thank you! Actually, I started my first creations many years ago with thicker thread and a bigger hook. But I love all things small – they have their exceptional charm. I think it comes from my childhood when I wanted to have all my favourite things in my pocket. It’s absolutely magical when you see something tiny but quite real – it’s like finding yourself inside a fairytale.
One day I realised that I could make miniatures in the same way I make ordinary things. I tried to make the same things smaller using the thinner thread and smaller tools. All you need is love and desire to make it.
Miniature crochet cacti by FancyKnittles – available here
I’ve always loved to create things. Imagination, love and patience – that’s all it takes.
How did you discover you had this wonderful talent?
Oh, I don’t think this is talent, I think this is just skills. I’ve always loved to create things. Imagination, love and patience – that’s all it takes.
Miniature crochet mittens Christmas decorations by FancyKnittles – available here
I’m dying to get my hands on Botanica the book and see that you’re featured in there, which is so very exciting. How did the feature come about and how does it feel to be a published artist?
One of my customers gave me the link to the site where Janine Vangool, a Canadian publisher, editor, designer and founder of Uppercase magazine started her big ‘Encyclopedia of Inspiration‘ project (which consists of three books, one of them being Botanica). I found this idea very interesting and applied to be included. I was so happy when I received the confirmation that I’d made it into this amazing edition. I couldn’t believe it was true!
All your images are of such a high quality. Do you do all your own photographs and, if so, what sort of camera do you use?
Yes, I’m very keen of taking photographs, not only of my pieces but catching all life around me. I use a Canon 7D and different lenses but I’m not a professional, far from it. I just love photography very much.
Your designs are so intricate and the details are so perfect, how long does each piece take you to create?
Most of my pieces (such as the tiny bears and potted flowers) take around two to three hours to make, but some of them, such as my art dolls, need several days.
I think my love of small things comes from my childhood when I wanted to have all my favourite things in my pocket.
How did you first begin to sell your art?
Oh, it was ages ago. I started by taking my first ugly dolls to the local art shop in my home town – it’s such a pity I didn’t take any pictures of them.
Most of my pieces take around two to three hours to make, but some of them need several days.
Where do you see Fancyknittles in five years’ time?
That’s a good question but I have no answer. I hope I will be here with my creations and continuing to make something new.
Crochet Christmas Tree decoration by FancyKnittles – available here
I’m firm believer in having a champion in your life, someone who encourages you to go further and stands by your side. Who has been your biggest champion?
My champion is my son. I started my ‘hook way’ when he was a baby (he’s now 20) and I needed to do something to feel myself in the crowd of creative people. My son is the most important person in the world for me. He always supports me and inspires me, even when he’s far away and all grown-up, and I haven’t made any toys for him for ages.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for your new pieces?
Very often inspiration comes from my customers. They ask me to make something that hasn’t been in my head and sometimes I’m surprised what funny and genius ideas they have.
I love all things small – they have their exceptional charm.
Christmas can be such a busy time for makers, how do you stay on top of things and ensure you have enough stock for orders that come in?
Work, work and work! I’m trying to catch my tail and make my customers happy. My rule is not to say, “I can’t do this.” This is my big secret.
The maker asking the questions this week is Bex Partridge from Botanical Tales.