We chat to Inside Crochet designer and crochet teacher Ruby McGrath.
Designer Ruby McGrath lives near York with her fiancé, Pete, and two young children, Frank and Olive. She runs her business from home while bringing up her children. And it’s not just any business: “I design for top magazines and yarn companies, as well as owning my own clothing label, Frank&Olive, teaching crochet and hosting luxury crochet retreats,” explains Ruby.
Ruby taught herself to crochet as an adult, when she was pregnant with Olive.
“I really wanted to make her things that were made with the love that I had for her – it was a great way to help with the excitement of waiting for my first child to arrive!” She had originally studied illustration at university, then worked at a fair trade shop after returning home.
“I had every intention of returning to the shop after my maternity leave ended,” Ruby says, “but the business had started to grow so much, and I quickly realised that I didn’t have to go back.”
Ruby’s designs are distinctive, with a bold, contemporary style and plenty of colour. “I can look at a ball of wool and instantly see what it could be made into,” she says. “I also think that my children are wonderful sources of inspiration. I enjoy following current trends and find a lot of inspiration from famous designers, as well as on the high street.”
Many parents find that running their own business works well around raising young children – though self-employment can be demanding, it’s easier to get motivated when you’re working for yourself, and being able to set your own hours around your family is ideal. “I love that I have the freedom to follow my own instincts and truly take pride in what I do,” says Ruby. “I have a good work/family balance, so I don’t have to miss out on the children. I have recently brought my friend Kimberley on board too, to help with the running of the business, so I’m lucky to be working with my best friend – we have so much fun.”
And now Ruby’s also moving into the world of crochet retreats, teaching others her crochet skills while they get away from the stresses of everyday life.
“Due to the success of Frank&Olive and our workshops, I decided to run luxury crochet retreats,” she explains. “I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for crocheters to get away from it all, with a weekend of relaxation, luxury accommodation, delicious home-cooked food, crochet, prosecco (of course), loads of designer yarns and exclusive workshops. To my amazement, the first retreat sold out in just over a week and I had to quickly add more dates to meet demand. We have some amazing sponsors, including Rowan and Wool And The Gang, and some special surprise guests running exclusive workshops just for us. I’m so excited and can’t wait to kick back and crochet! You can find more info at www.thecrochetretreat.co.uk.”
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