Exclusive interview: Irene Strange

Date: 11th June 2015 | Category: Interview, Issue 66, Moomin

The wonderfully creative Irene Strange joins us to discuss her latest cover project and all things crochet...

IC: Hi Irene, first of all, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Irene: I guess you could say I’m a bit of a child at heart! I love cute and quirky characters, adore soft toys and will find any excuse to watch cartoons over serious grown-up TV.
At the moment I spend my days looking after my toddler who is a constant source of amusement and inspiration - it’s great to see firsthand how he and his friends are discovering the world and how they interact with hand-made objects.
Being a freelance graphic designer as well gives me a lot flexibility as to what projects fill up my spare time, I love having the variety of creating my own designs one evening, then getting a challenging brief the next. 


Above: A variety of patterns by Irene Strange. Moomin and Snorkmaiden, Birdie Cake Toppers, Hello Birdie Wall Art, Dala Horses, Travel Horse.

IC: How long have you been crocheting and when did you start designing your own patterns?
Irene: My very crafty grandma taught me to crochet when I was little but I didn’t really get into it properly until I was finishing my degree – crochet is a great antidote to spending too much time in front of the screen. Soon after that, I started making up my own designs pretty quickly, making small gifts for friends and family at first before 2009 came around and I stumbled across the Etsy marketplace and opened up a pattern shop there.  


IC: What can you tell us about the design process for your version of the Moomins? What's the first thing you do when starting a new design?
Irene: What I like best about crochet is how you can create almost any 3-dimensional shape with just a single line of yarn. I’m very familiar with these characters and adored Moomin books when I was little so making a Moomin pattern was the perfect task for me.
With Moomin I started by looking at his body shape and proportions from the front and sides, imagining how it could work as a seamless piece of crochet. After a few sketches of how the pieces might come together I picked up yarn and hook and made the first prototype. Then it just needed a few tweaks to get it looking just right. 


IC: Do you have a favourite design to date?
Irene: My tastes change with every pattern I write, at the moment I’m very into vintage-inspired designs and my pattern for Hopscotch Bunny [right] captures this quite well, he’s the design I’m most pleased with right now.
IC: What other projects do you have on the go at the moment?
Irene: I’m always thinking up new critters to make and have a sketchbook full of drawings. My little one is very interested in all forms of vehicles so my next pattern will probably be a tractor or a soft and cuddly digger. There are also some dinosaurs and hedgehogs in the works, so keep an eye out for those! 

Visit Irene Strange's Facebook page to find out more (www.facebook.com/irenestrangecrochet) or browse her other patterns at: www.irenestrange.etsy.com

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