Interview: Say hello to Twinkie Chan!

It's Crochet Month on the The Making Spot, and we're celebrating with a week of crochet fun here on our blog. Come back each day for our top tips, hot links, patterns and interviews - we're so excited!

To get our crochet-fest off to a sweet start, we chatted to San Francisco-based designer Twinkie Chan about her scrumptious food-themed accessories and her lifelong love of crochet.

If you're as crazy for Twinkie Chan's designs as we are, be sure to check out her fab website and Etsy shop, plus her book, Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies. Read on and delve into Twinkie Chan's world!

When did you first learn to crochet? Can you remember the first thing you made?
I first learned to crochet when my best friend and I stayed with her Grandma Wendleton. I was about ten years old. Grandma Wendleton was known for crocheting classic colorful afghans and those crazy toilet paper cozies that look like dolls with frilly dresses. To keep us busy, she taught us to crochet.

After that, I think I just made a lot of small ugly blankets! I'd buy pattern pamphlets from the craft store, and I taught myself to read patterns from them.

In the 6th grade, our class project was to operate a pretend city where we each ran a business out of a decorated box. Our city was called Boxburg, and my shop was called the Boxburg Zoo. I crocheted little animals and 'sold' them for our fake city money. My most popular item was the 'Onion Head', which looked like a bulb of garlic with eyes!

We adore your cute wearable designs - especially the cupcake and pizza slice scarves! Which is your favourite and why? How do people react to your fake-food makes when you wear them out and about?
Thank you so much! I think my favourite item I've made is a hot dog purse with a mustard zipper! I only ever made one, as it was so much work, but I thought it was so super funny. My favorite scarf is the pizza, too! It's just so iconic and recognisable and funny and weird. And both boys and girls can wear it.

To be honest, I haven't been wearing my own creations for very long. I would always end up selling everything I make! Right now I have two cupcake scarves, a toast scarf, and a bacon and egg scarf to call my own, and if I wear one out, people really love guessing and exclaiming what food I am wearing.

One time I was in a meeting and brought a bunch of scarves with me, and an older gentleman picked one up, put it on, and said, "This makes me feel young again!" My work seems to make people feel happy and youthful and nostalgic, and it gives them a giggle. I love that!

You've designed and made amazing accessories for your Etsy shop, you take on special commissions, and you've even written a book! What would you like to do next?
I have been working on my mass-produced clothing and accessories line since 2010. The apparel industry is very different than the craft world, and I'm still learning and going through all the ups and downs. I am determined, though! I put a lot of love and hard work into my crochet designs, and I know that not everyone can afford the price of my handmade, so I really hope that my Yummy You! by Twinkie Chan brand will find success in the market and help make my designs more accessible to everyone. I'd also love to write more books and learn now to use my knitting loom and a sewing machine!

And finally, do you have any tips for people who want to try crochet for the first time?
You're going to be frustrated, and you're going to make lots of ugly blobs, and you're going to feel like you don't know what you're doing. Keep practicing! Save the blobs and make a collage out of them later!

It's true that practice makes perfect, and as you keep exercising your crochet muscles, they will get stronger! These days, there are tons of free video tutorials all over the internet, so do take advantage of them as you learn your new skill.

And always keep your stitches uniform. That's what Grandma Wendleton taught us! Even when we thought she was talking about uniforms that you wear...

More treats from Twinkie Chan!
Check out Twinkie Chan's blog
Say hello on Twitter
Visit the Etsy shop!

Love crochet? Click here to find free crochet patterns and more on The Making Spot!

 

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