Designer focus: Catherine Hirst

Catherine HirstShe's the queen of mini makes - and has mastered the art of miniature crochet with her book Teeny Tiny Crochet. So we've sat down with contemporary crafts instructor & designer Catherine Hirst to find out more about her adventures with a crochet hook! Read more...

How did you come up with the idea for Teeny Tiny Crochet? And did you have fun thinking up the designs?

I've always loved miniature things! The project was a perfect fit for me because it combined my love of crochet and my love of wee animals, birds, accessories, and fun items for the home. Coming up with the designs was a joy; I even got to include my pet dachshund, Gus!

When did you start to crochet?

My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was 7 years old. I think lots of people learn at that age, but the difference for me was, I never stopped! I even still have some of my grandma's hooks, and they're very precious to me. I wish she was still here so we could sit and crochet together like we did when I was a little girl. She taught me to knit and embroider as well, and the love of craft is the best gift she could have ever given me.

What do you personally enjoy about crocheting?

I love crochet because it's so sculptural: it's so easy to make any shape you like. And it's super-fast! In an evening of work, you could make these sweet cupcakes, or really any of the projects in the book. I love the textural quality of the stitches, and the rhythmic simplicity of making them. It's very meditative.

Teeny Tiny CrochetDo you have a favourite project in the Teeny Tiny Crochet book?

My editor Gillian loves the little dolphin and I must say I do too. My favourites overall are probably the ducks and the pigs because they are incredibly, incredibly small. You could, of course, use a larger hook and yarn and scale these projects up as well, if you didn't want them quite so teeny tiny!

I see you have some great video tutorials on your website - how did you take your love of crocheting from enjoying it yourself, to showing others how for a living?

I'd taught part-time in the States, where I'm from, for years, but when my husband and I moved to London, it seemed like a brilliant time to make the move and start my own business teaching and designing craft books. I hit the market just right because the contemporary craft movement is so popular right now in the UK. I love meeting my students, fellow people with a creative spirit, and watching them grow and improve. I find teaching immensely satisfying.

Here on The Making Spot we're having a long-running debate about which is better - bamboo or plastic crochet hooks - what's your favourite?

Oh my goodness, am I allowed to say neither? Ha! I dislike plastic hooks because they are often poorly-moulded and have sharp bits that haven't been filed down properly. I'm not a fan of bamboo/wood hooks because the lip is often too sharp, more of a wedge than a rounded shape, and tends to split loosely-plied yarn. I use exclusively shiny aluminium hooks. My absolute favourite hooks (and the ones I've used to write my last two books) are the Tulip Etimo, which have an aluminium hook with a beautifully comfortable, ergonomically-designed grip. They are expensive but worth every penny. 

For more crochet inspiration, check out our crochet patterns over on our main site. Or if you'd like a taster of Catherine's mini crochet adventures, you can download this free crochet pattern - crochet a cupcake! available until 10th July only here on The Making Spot blog! 

Crochet a cupcake