We chat to designer Becky Pollard about her love of fibre arts,
hand-dyeing and spinning plus creating new products for her shop.
Becky lives in rural Cambridgeshire with her husband Kelvin and two children, Lenny and Phoebe. â€œLenny is nearly five and has a rare genetic condition,â€ says Becky. â€œLittle Phoebe has just had her first birthday.â€ Becky and Kelvin make crochet, knitting, spinning, felting, weaving and fibre art tools and accessories for their online shop, Doodlestop. â€œI love the natural warmth and feel of wood and most of our products are made in our wood shop, although we have a growing range of acrylic products cut on our laser,â€ says Becky. The talented couple also make jewellery, stitch markers and shawl pins. Beckyâ€™s energy and love for fibre arts constantly inspires her to learn new skills.
â€œAll fibre arts link together for me, and enjoying one has led to another. I learned crochet from websites such as Attic24 (www.attic24.typepad.com) and learning from my mistakes.â€
It wasnâ€™t long before she caught the hand-dyeing bug. â€œI wanted to create some of the beautiful colour mixes and effects I was seeing, so I learned to dye â€“ again from websites and the support of friends in the yarny world.â€
A few years ago Becky learned to spin using a drop spindle, and Kelvin bought her a wheel in 2015. â€œIt was a huge change. I was hooked. Most of my spinning is done on my electric spinner now â€“ the prototype for a new product.â€
A chartered accountant in a previous life, Becky became involved in the yarn business by following her passions.
â€œI loved crochet, yarn and fibre and wanted to make things I could use in my hobby. I found that other people enjoyed my inventions and Doodlestop grew.â€
â€œI love talking with our customers and often they will tell me of a problem, which becomes the starting point for a design. For example my adjustable sock blockers allow you to block your socks to the right size, not limiting you to two or three,â€ explains Becky, who also makes space-saving tools including a collapsible travel niddy noddy.
Some of Beckyâ€™s most popular products include her WIP-o-pedia project book, The Dyerâ€™s Notebook and A Yarn Spinnerâ€™s Handbook, with a new weaving book now out. Her giant 40mm crochet hooks and kits are in demand too. Becky says itâ€™s a challenge balancing family and work, especially if one of your children has additional needs. â€œTrading online makes things a little easier,â€ she explains, â€œas it enables me to work hours that fit around my family, although it does mean lots of late nights and weekends.â€
Designing and testing the products are both the best and worst part for Becky. â€œI love the feeling of making something new or something that improves a product. However the process of making a new product can be frustrating â€“ I have some designs I have been working on for years.â€
So, whatâ€™s round the corner for Becky?
â€œWe have invested in some very cool machinery and a bigger and faster laser which has opened the door to a whole new range of products. We have some designs that we are excited about and will be launching soon.â€ We canâ€™t wait!
Tell us your thoughts below.
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