Meet the Maker: Hook and Loop
Crochet and knitting are skills that are often passed down from one generation to another. Luckily for Claire Woodhead from Hook and Loop, her grandma was a talented and generous lady who taught Claire both crafts. Now Claire knits and crochets creative tea cosies, mug sleeves and other home accessories embellished with quirky details inspired by her love of nature. We caught up with Claire to find out more…
Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
I’m Claire, a knitter and crocheter from Wilmslow in Cheshire. I love working with good quality yarns and making individual home and lifestyle accessories. I also absolutely love gardening and wildlife and my crochet is often inspired by nature – you’ll find butterflies on my knitted tea cosies, acorns on my coffee sleeves and oak leaves on my hot water bottle covers.
My favourite piece has to be my acorn tea cosy. It characterises my style of knitting and my favourite time of year and the beautiful colours of Autumn.
How did you learn to knit and crochet?
I have very happy memories of sitting with my grandma with some needles or a crochet hook and a ball of wool as she taught me how to knit and crochet. I used to make clothes for my dolls. I continued knitting when I started a family, making baby clothes, cushion covers and blankets for the home. I’ve always loved the feel of yarn in my hands.
What words of encouragement would you give to someone who has tried and failed to learn to crochet?
The main thing is to enjoy yourself. It doesn’t matter what your crochet looks like, it’s still a piece of artwork and individual to you. It just takes a bit of practice to perfect. Experiment with different yarns and hooks – there’s no right or wrong way to hold the hooks, just do what feels comfortable for you, relax and have fun.
I love working on a chair in the garden during the warm weather and in winter there’s nothing better than curling up with some knitting on the settee in front of the fire.
Where do you make your work?
My workspace is generally wherever I find myself with my knitting or crocheting. The beauty of my craft is that it’s very portable. I love working on a chair in the garden during the warm weather and in winter there’s nothing better than curling up with some knitting on the settee in front of the fire. I store all my yarn and accessories in storage boxes in one room and when I’m doing something more intricate, I work on my dining room table. I would love a craft room as it’s awkward having to clear the table for meals.
How do you start one of your pieces?
Ideas pop into my head in all sorts of places – walking the dog, sitting in the garden or during the night. I then play around with different colours from my stash of yarn and try out different stitches and leaf shapes until I’m happy with a design for the embellishment. I have a good stock of tea cosy bases ready made and usually find one that matches nicely. I usually ask my family for feedback as I know they’ll be honest.
Who or what influences you?
I’m inspired by nature and I’m fascinated by all the changes and colours throughout the seasons. I love going for countryside walks with my dog and planning my next creations. I just wish there was enough time in the day!
Where did the idea for your quirky tea cosies come from?
The idea for my tea cosies started when I was working part-time in a little coffee shop in Wilmslow, serving afternoon teas. The owner had a few tea cosies for sale that she had made herself and that inspired me to have a go at making one. I’d never made a tea cosy before. I couldn’t find any patterns that appealed to me so I decided to design my own. It just grew from there.
What’s the best thing about being creative for a living?
I can have my own freedom to express myself using the crafts that I’m passionate about. I get to be my own boss and I don’t have to work at specific times.
What does craft mean to you?
Craft is turning what you’re passionate about into a piece of artwork. It means allowing your creativity to make something beautiful and individual.
How would you spend your perfect day?
Getting up and walking my little dog Charlie. Knitting, crocheting and maybe a little pottering in the garden. Listening to some of my favourite music or Classic FM. Maybe meeting up with all my lovely friends at Knit and Natter, where there’s a lot more nattering than knitting! Then a lovely home-cooked evening meal with my family and a glass of wine.
My workspace is generally wherever I find myself with my knitting or crocheting. The beauty of my craft is that it’s very portable.
Do you have a favourite piece?
It has to be my acorn tea cosy. It characterises my style of knitting and my favourite time of year and the beautiful colours of Autumn. I love the colours and simplicity of it.
Get 10% off Hook and Loop crochet with the discount code ACORN10 – only valid until 12 September 2016.