There are still a couple weeks left for the Ami-Along – plenty of time to make more amigurumi to enter for prizes, especially since there are so many small and quick patterns you can make (including those by the designer in this interview!).
I have been interviewing several designers that are taking part in this years Ami-Along, including Melissa of Melissa’s Crochet Designs, Mevlinn of MevvSan, Justyna of Cute and Kaboodle, and Alyssa of Monster’s Toy Box.
Me: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Chloe: My name is Chloe and I live in Athens, Greece. I learned to crochet and knit the basics as a child by my two beloved grandmothers, but it took another 25 years and Stacey Trock’s “Crocheted Softies” for me to get actually hooked! Besides enjoying actually crocheting amis, two things have kept my interest in them so vivid: Ravelry, with its endless possibilities, and the response by children to them (my two nephews being amongst them!). Their excitement is just so fulfilling and encouraging!
Crochet is taking up all of my crafty time nowadays, but in the past, I’ve enjoyed pottery, candle making, polymer clay modelling and paper crafting, as well. I also love reading Russian literature, travelling, the sea and summer (preferably all those combined together at once!), animation, hiking, cooking, etc.
Me: When did you start designing amigurumi and why?
Chloe: It all started with the gnome FreshStitches pattern, which for some reason inspired me to modify it into a wizard! I was thrilled by the whole process! So, I decided to modify Stacey’s Leprechaun pattern as well, but this time into a pirate! It started as fun, but soon enough I found myself doodling my own designs!
Me: How do you decide what to design next? What inspires you?
Chloe: It depends. Of course, I have a growing list of animals I want to design, but I don’t always follow it! Sometimes I get a custom order (like the octopus or the minion), sometimes I just get carried away by the season (like the daisy or the Christmas ornaments). The bug world (Earth bound and Fly away) has also been very inspiring to me (I have another buggy coming up!), as well as the rainbow themed plushies, so many possibilities there! Inspiration can strike me anywhere, really!
Me: What is your design process like? Do you sketch out your design first?
Chloe: I’m horrible at sketching! That being said, let me tell you that I always make a sketch before I start crocheting the sample! I first google the animal to have a look at the real thing, and then I try to put the general idea of its cartoonish version into paper. It’s a very rough sketch, full of stitch numbers, which actually gets written and re-written a lot!
Me: Your patterns are crocheted in the blo (like mine!). Why did you choose to design your patterns this way?
Chloe: I started crocheting in the blo because of the patterns I used at that time. After a while, though, I thought I should try both loops for a change. To sum up, I prefer blo, mainly because I prefer the texture of the fabric that way. Plus, the ridges make it easier to attach pieces, like we often do in amigurumi. However, both loops or flo (front loop only) are always useful for miscellaneous uses (different texture, creating an edge etc).
Me: What is your favourite pattern that you have designed? Why?
Chloe: It’s hard to say…I love the story behind most of them! I’d say my favourite guy is Aris, the tiny brontosaurus. I hadn’t really planned it at the time, but I made myself a tiny dino, called him Tino, and have been carrying him around wherever I go! It’s been really fun taking photos in the most amazing places! On the other hand, the pattern I enjoyed designing the most is definitely Nina the Rainbow turtle! So challenging handling all those skeins at the same time!Me: What is your most popular pattern?
Chloe: The most popular paid pattern is my very first pattern, Ion & Glafki the Seagulls, with the Microcosmos e-books being a pretty close second! On the other hand, the most popular free pattern is already the Daisy. I love all the cute daisies popping out in Ravelry!
Me: Which of your patterns have surprised you the most in terms of how popular they are?
Chloe: I guess that would be the bugs in general. I know that they are popular as toys and in high demand with children, but I feared that crocheters might get discouraged by crocheting and attaching all the small parts, legs, antennae, wings etc. I’m happily proven wrong!
Me: What is most challenging for you as a designer and creative business owner?
Chloe: For the time being, this creative business only takes place in my free time; after my full-time job, my studies at the university and all the everyday stuff that waits to be done. So, for now, time is the most challenging aspect. I’m sure, there’s much more to it than time, once you get to give your full self to it.
Me: Any advice for those that are thinking about starting to design themselves?
Chloe: Go for it! There’re never too many designs! You just need to be thorough with your instructions (especially if you’re a non-English speaker, like many of us!), provide all the information required (hooks, yardages etc), take clear photos and have your pattern tested (there are lots of people willing to help with that). Provide the same quality, no matter if it’s a paid or a free pattern.
Me: Do you have a tip for those just starting to learn to make amigurumi?
Chloe: Practice makes perfect! You need to learn the basics and give it a little time. Before you know it, amazing creatures will fly off your hook! Gauge is almost never important, so that takes a lot of pressure off. Take one step at a time, start with beginner-level patterns and move to more advanced patterns as you go. If you’re enjoying it, you’re on the right track!
Me: Where can people find out more about you?
Chloe: You can read my posts in my blog, check my patterns in Ravelry, become a member of Amination group in Ravelry, follow me on Instagram, or like my Facebook page. And, of course, shoot me an email about anything!
Thank you Chloe for sharing your story with us!
If you decide to make some amis using Chloe’s patterns, make sure you enter them into the Ami-Along for your chance to win prizes! It will be running until the end of August 2016.