GAL interview with Kate E. Hancock, PatchworkMoose on Ravelry

I noticed Kate‘s super cute amigurumi when I peeked at the bundle groups GAL chat thread and read their admiration.

What is your design process?
As I design animals, I usually start with the head. If I can get the face just how I want it, then I’m happy and I can work the rest around it. If the creature I’m working on involves something a little complicated, like a long, twisted tail (I’m looking at you kelpie!) I sketch out how that’s going to work stitch-wise. But I also pick up my hook and just run with it sometimes, altering as I go – I often try a few things such as different size or shape ears before I decide on what I’ll finally use, and which look I like the best.

How do you choose which animal to represent?

Ahhh, I just have to aim to make them all eventually – it’s easier that way. I have lists of animals people have asked me for, animals I’d like to make, animals I’ve just realised I haven’t made and don’t know why, cute inspiring pictures I’m given and those I find. Sometimes one of these pops out and I have to make that right now and sometimes the last creature I’ve made has inspired me for the next one – I’ve made a nose, tail or ear that didn’t quite work for this animal but it would be great for another one and I go from there.

What about designing and producing patterns are you most adept at, what parts are you most fond of, and what parts are challenging? (Pattern Grading, the last week of editing, coming up with a name for a project, self promotion?)

I love my job! Apart from the crochet, one of my absolute favourite parts is putting together my final amigurumi and watching it come to life. Even though I’ve made prototypes, it’s always a thrill watching how they’ll work out, wondering if the yarn I’ve chosen, the eyes I’ve painted, will all come together at the end, that’s when it gets the most exciting. However, the actual designing and problem solving is another favourite part, I love a good puzzle!

The most challenging part for me, is the photography – I’m not a natural photographer and it’s the area I have to work the hardest on, it doesn’t come easily for me, that, and the self promotion.

You as someone who likes to make things questions:
What is your usual process on a fiber project, for instance, do you start with a yarn, a cute pattern, a need you’ve noticed, something exciting you saw in a movie you want to copy, or a technique you want to learn – then what do you do next and then what?

If it’s a ‘for me’ project, I’d like to say I started with the yarn, because that would justify the amount I’ve collected when I’ve fallen in love with the colour or feel of it! But the truth is, it starts with the pattern and I’ll usually find an excuse to buy extra yarn to go with it. Obviously, I look for a design I think is beautiful but a lot of the time I look for a challenge too – I’m always looking to learn something new. Once I’ve found my pattern I’m off but I’m also likely to start modifying half way through – I’m quite tall and for clothing, I generally need to add a few more inches here or there.

Does anything intimidate you in knitting or crochet?
I’m laughing now as when I first started to knit, I chose the most elaborate lacey sock pattern as my inspiration. Obviously, they weren’t the first (second or third) thing I knitted but I was pretty determined to get there! I don’t find knitting or crocheting intimidating, as much as I find it a challenge, I just know I might need to gather a few skills before I get there. I do prefer quicker projects though (probably why my love lies with amigurumi). I’m unlikely to start another blanket yet, no matter how beautiful it is or how much I want to, because I know it will take me years to finish it.

When you want to learn something, do you look it up in a book, on U-tube, or seek a real person to teach you?

Mostly I’m self-taught, but only because there weren’t many people around to teach me and I’m pretty impatient when I decide I want to do something! I learnt to crochet and knit through online videos and I’ve used books too. But later on, as I found people who shared my woolly interests, I watched others and learnt from them too. I still do. I think even if you’ve got something absolutely nailed, you can still pick up something new watching somebody else occasionally.

Any repetitive motion disorders due to knitting or crochet? How do you deal with them?

Luckily, not so much, unless I’ve really overdone it recently, but I try to get a good dose of fish oils daily in the hope it might protect my joints a little more later.

What makes you buy a pattern (lovely photo, the story of the project, it looks do-able, it looks slightly challenging…)

It would make sense if I bought a pattern because I needed that object or thought it would look good on me (if it’s for me), but honestly, it’s mostly because of the pretty. I’m really enjoying colourwork at the moment, so I guess there’s a good element of challenge in there too. One of the more recent patterns I’ve bought (it was actually before the GAL) is Leighton House handwarmers by Ella Austin. The yarn for these is on my Christmas list because I want to make them so, so badly and I wouldn’t change a thing about them, not even the colour (although I did swatch them out in another yarn just to play at the colourwork – I was a bit excited when I bought it)

Thank you Kate!

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