Tell us about yourself…
I’m one of those pesky Scots that moved south. I now live in Cheshire, England with my wool-appreciative husband, Matthew and cat, Pom who also adores wool and loves snoring away on my crocheted blankets.
Could you tell us a bit about what you do?
Mainly I design crochet, but I design knitwear patterns too. Until recently, I have stuck to accessories and blankets, but I like a challenge and so have started designing jumpers and cardigans. My first ever cardigan design is in this issue – the Strata Cardigan. It’s a real challenge to get your head around designing, writing and grading patterns that are size inclusive.
Do you have another career too?
In a previous life, I worked in the waste management sector. When I started to crochet and knit, that just took over my life and I knew I wanted to carve out a new career path for myself. I also have an online craft shop called Provenance Craft Co. I firmly believe in knowing where your goods come from and buying as locally as possible.
How did you get into crochet design?
Pretty much as soon as I was confident with all the stitches, I was poring through stitch bibles to see how I could work up my own designs. First off the hook was a lace repeat cowl that I made for my best friend in lovely bright pink alpaca. She still wears it! That was back in 2014 and I have been designing ever since.
How would you describe your style?
Elegant, simple designs are my go-to. They are also the hardest to create because there is nowhere to hide, and I love that challenge. Fashion changes so quickly, so my preference is for quality handmade pieces that will last for years and never be off trend. Many of my designs are inspired by nature, geology, or architecture. The Hoy Bag reflects the sandstone layers of the Old Man of Hoy seastack off Orkney, and my Stormy Rainbow Blanket is that magical moment when the dark storm clouds let through a bright, happy rainbow.
What is your most popular design?
My Positivity Spiral Cowl. Designing it was a labour of love because I had to make it eight times over. The pattern is written to work with heavy laceweight up to chunky/ bulky yarn and I give the different circumferences you can create with different numbers of pattern repeats. It means that with just one skein of most yarn weights, you can crochet a cowl that is the perfect circumference for you.
Tell us about your colour palette and favourite yarns?
Muted, earthy tones will always have my heart. They are what I reach for in every wool shop I ever walk in to. That said, every now and then I do love to mix it up with some brights like a hot pink. As for favourite yarns, I will always advocate for British wool from brands such as John Arbon Textiles, RiverKnits, Garthenor and Nellie and Eve.
What are the best and worst aspects of running your own business?
Hands down, the best thing is the fact that I get to do something creative every single day. I love working with wool and hooks and needles. There is a common misconception that leading a creative life is a bit of a breeze. That may be the story for some – it’s not my story. I work harder now than I ever worked in my corporate job. But no violins are required; I knew this would be the case before I became self-employed!
Find Fay’s patterns at www.provenancecraft.com and on Etsy and LoveCrafts. Fay also creates video and blog tutorials to help crocheters build their skills.