Crochet Entrepreneurs: Lena Fedotova

Date: 7th August 2018 | Category: News


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We chat with skipper and designer Lena Fedotova about her threefold inspiration.
Lena Fedotova is from Kyiv, Ukraine, but ten years ago an old wooden yacht became her new home and she, her husband and cat started travelling. She’s currently anchored in Montenegro, “a small, beautiful Balkan country”. In fact, living on a boat is a natural choice for Lena as she’s a professional skipper. “I had a small family yacht charter business with my husband in Ukraine. We raised our sails and made people happy.”
Designing beautiful crochet garments and accessories is now Lena’s full-time job, with a busy schedule each day, “sketching, swatching, sending submissions, pattern writing, photoshooting, and promoting. It’s definitely all a labour of love, though!” Lena has been knitting since childhood and taught herself to crochet when she was about 19 and “fell deeply in love” with it. However, making it her business was not something she expected. “Fifteen years ago, if someone had told me that my favourite hobby would become my professional occupation, it would have sounded as impossible as travelling in time. No Ravelrylike experience, no self-published patterns, no magazine/yarn company partnerships – there was simply nothing around me to even imagine such a job as a possibility.” So, she “opened her eyes and started discovering the huge and exciting world of designing”. She describes her inspiration as being threefold. “First, I look for inspiration in other crafts – fashion trends, Pantone colours, street style photos. This gives me a general idea of emerging styles. Next comes the mood. Every piece or collection has some mood, story or situation to place it in. Birds of Paradise, Mental Vacation, Introvert’s Collection – whatever – give the idea a story and it starts developing; you can now see the silhouettes, a drape, the colour schemes. And the last one, of course, is the yarn. I enjoy discovering the best matches of a yarn to its subsequent incarnations. Nearly always the yarn dominates the design process, it is simply screaming: ‘I need cables’. Or ‘simpler stitches, please!’”
Lena admits she was “not born organised, so I had to find ways to stay focused on my tasks. I started by taking some time to understand my work abilities and to fi nd out how much time I need to crochet a shawl/write a pattern/generate an idea/post a photo on Instagram. Knowing these timeframes helps me to set my personal deadlines.” Lena adds that she always tries di erent hooks while making a swatch for a new project and chooses the “fastest” one. “It depends on the yarn, the stitch pattern, and the hook material: metal, plastic or wooden. The right hook can really speed the work up!” She feels that the least attractive aspect of running her business is “deciding which idea is worth surviving. I generate 10 ideas per month, but am able to produce only one or two. This makes me sad!” And the best part? “It’s my dream come true. Even six years later I still feel like Cinderella!” Her timer is a must-have item. “It’s actually a wrist watch. I start my day with one or two hours of pattern writing and it tells me when I’m free (hooray!). And the rest of the day I work in 15-minute mode, switching between active and sedentary tasks, brain or hand work.” So, what is Lena looking forward to for the rest of 2018? “Garments! Chic and comfy casual garments for everyday wear.”

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