Meet The Tutor – Holly
Holly has been teaching with us for a year an a half. This year she is running all our beginner crochet classes as well as improvers classes. There is a different class each month to join in with. Her first Beginners class is Granny Squares on Thursday 25th January 6.30-8.30pm.
Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Holly and I teach crochet classes at The Slipped Stitch.
Can you tell us a bit more about your craft?
Crochet is a lot of fun and over the last few years has become very popular again. I
think crochet is a lot easier than knitting and once you get the hang of it you can
make a whole range of projects – from blankets (my personal favourite), to
cushions, clothing, toys, you name it! Some people confuse crochet and knitting
but whereas knitting uses two (or more) needles, crochet uses a single hook.
How long have you had an interest in what you teach?
I learnt to crochet after getting married – I was living in London and I’ve always
liked learning new skills, so I went along to a workshop and made my first granny
square, which grew into a blanket for my little girl once she was born. So I’ve been
crocheting for almost 7 years now.
How long have you been teaching your craft?
After having my daughter I chose not to return to my day job, as luck would have
it, Jane from Tea & Crafting, who taught me to crochet was looking for a crochet
teacher! The evening and weekend classes were a great fit for me, and I also
ended up teaching a whole variety of other classes including fascinator making,
needle felting, jewellery making, and also running crafty hen parties and baby
showers. I’ve been teaching for almost 5 years and enjoy every class I do!
What do you enjoy most about your craft?
I love the variety with crochet – I have lots of projects on the go at any one time,
usually at least one blanket, I’ve recently made a hot water bottle cover, some
hats, mittens, a cowl and I love making amigurumi (crochet toys). You can work
with delicate yarns like 4ply cotton for amigurumi, all the way through to super
chunky yarns for bigger projects. You can even crochet with other materials like
string or wire!
Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?
A lot of my projects are made for my children (Pip is 4 and Milo has just turned 2
years old). Their interests influence what I make – for example Pip loves space so
I’ve just started a solar system blanket (its a Crochet-along project from Stylecraft
Yarns and Two Hearts Crochet). Milo will soon be moving into a toddler bed so I’ve
just finished making a blanket for him which matches the same colours from his
baby blanket but is a lot bigger.
Instagram is an endless source of inspiration – there’s a fantastic community of
crafters and makers on there (follow me @holly_pips to see more photos of my
work). And of course there’s Pinterest, where I can spend hours browsing potential
How long will it take a beginner to make something they’ll be pleased with?
I think the best way to learn to crochet is to learn how to make a granny square.
The repetitiveness of the pattern helps people to get to grips with the hand
positions and their tension, and you can easily keep adding more and more rounds
to it to make a blanket or a cushion! I like everyone who comes to a workshop to
leave with something they are proud of and they can continue working on at home.
Can you teach your craft to someone left-handed?
I’ve taught lots of left-handed people to crochet – sometimes it’s as easy as sitting
opposite them or in front of a mirror so they can copy my hand movements. As
crochet uses both hands – one to hold the hook and the other to feed through the
yarn and control tension, quite a lot of left-handed people find they crochet the
same as those who are right-handed!
What has been your personal favourite make?
I’m not sure I can narrow it down to just one! I love making baby blankets – for my
own children and also for friends and family. I spend a lot of time working out
which colours will work well and coordinate with their bedrooms. I also love
anything to do with Christmas – I made a corner-to-corner Christmas picture
blanket a couple of years ago (see picture) from a pattern by Repeat Crafter Me – it
was a labour of love but I can’t help but smile every time I see it!
What is a good starting project for someone new to this craft?
Start with some crochet squares – granny squares are ideal, but try out some other
patterns too. You can have fun experimenting with new stitches, and if you make
them all about the same size you can then saw them together to make a little
What secret tip can you give us?
When making granny squares I flip them over after each round. As you work
around the square they tend to lean to the left but if you flip it over each time they
won’t, and they’ll be really square and have straight edges!
Also blocking is brilliant – especially for things like shawls that have lacy edges or
something you want to have a bit more of a defined shape. Pin out your piece on
an ironing board (or I like to use children’s foam mats that slot together), using an
iron gently steam over the piece (don’t touch the crochet with the iron though!),
leave it to cool and then unpin and you’ll see it holds the pattern really well and
looks a lot neater. You can also block things using spray starch – a class before
Christmas made crochet stars to use as bunting or hang on the Christmas tree – is
you use starch instead of steam it’ll make it a but more rigid and less floppy.
And now for some fun ones:
Favourite hobby outside of work?
When I’m not running around after the children I like to try out new crafts. Last year
I learnt quilting, how to knit socks and I also tried out yarn dying and using natural
dyes. This year I want to learn some new ones and do more photography.
And drinking lots of tea 😉
I’ve just finished reading The Unmumsy Mum’s latest book which was very
entertaining. I really enjoy criminal/mystery/thriller books – it’s just getting the time
to read them!
Join Holly on one of her Improvers Workshops this year – Choose from Crochet Baskets, Flowers, Spring Bunting and Tunisian Crochet. Or come along to all of them!