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. “Lenny is nearly five and has a rare genetic condition,” says Becky. “Little Phoebe has just had her first birthday.” Becky and Kelvin make crochet, knitting, spinning, felting, weaving and fibre art tools and accessories for their online shop, Doodlestop. “I 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,” says Becky. The talented couple also make jewellery, stitch markers and shawl pins. Becky’s energy and love for fibre arts constantly inspires her to learn new skills.
“All 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.”
It wasn’t long before she caught the hand-dyeing bug. “I wanted to create some of the beautiful colour mixes and effects I was seeing, so I learned to dye – again from websites and the support of friends in the yarny world.”
A few years ago Becky learned to spin using a drop spindle, and Kelvin bought her a wheel in 2015. “It was a huge change. I was hooked. Most of my spinning is done on my electric spinner now – the prototype for a new product.”
A chartered accountant in a previous life, Becky became involved in the yarn business by following her passions.
“I 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.”
“I 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,” explains Becky, who also makes space-saving tools including a collapsible travel niddy noddy.
Some of Becky’s most popular products include her WIP-o-pedia project book, The Dyer’s Notebook and A Yarn Spinner’s Handbook, with a new weaving book now out. Her giant 40mm crochet hooks and kits are in demand too. Becky says it’s a challenge balancing family and work, especially if one of your children has additional needs. “Trading online makes things a little easier,” she explains, “as it enables me to work hours that fit around my family, although it does mean lots of late nights and weekends.”
Designing and testing the products are both the best and worst part for Becky. “I love the feeling of making something new or something that improves a product. However the process of making a new product can be frustrating – I have some designs I have been working on for years.”
So, what’s round the corner for Becky?
“We 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.” We can’t wait!
Tell us your thoughts below.
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