Kerry Lord, Founder and Creative Director of luxury knitwear brand Toft, lets us in on her life as a crochet guru.
How did you first get into crochet?
I taught myself to crochet using a few YouTube videos just over three years ago. When pregnant with my son Edward I picked up my book for the first time and made a dozen animals in the couple of weeks he was overdue.
What do you love best about your job, and why?
I love the fact that I can have an idea one day and have it out on the shelf/on our website within the week and see customer’s project photos on social media a few days later. I love seeing pictures and hearing stories from people making Edward’s Menagerie animals- just this weekend I heard about a bride who had made over 90 animals as favours for her wedding guests- this kind of feedback makes me even more motivated to keep making.
What are you most proud of?
I am made to feel most proud when I lead a workshop for ten beginner crocheters. I love starting by facing reluctance, resistance and often negativity about learning how to crochet, and seeing this attitude transform in just a couple of hours into enthusiasm, confidence and inspiration. I feel pride about the patterns when I see other people feel pride and pleasure about what they have made.
What is your favourite project you have made?
I can’t have favourites!
When and why did you come up with the idea for TOFT?
I fell into founding TOFT accidentally just after graduating from University. It all began as an investigation into finding a buyer for alpaca fleece, and then within a few years I went on to become one of the biggest alpaca fleece purchasers in the UK. TOFT now creates pure wool and other luxury fibre yarns alongside its alpaca range.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from working with an enthusiastic and talented team, and of course from my son, Edward.
What advice would you give to newbie crocheters?
Start with quick small projects that will give you a rapid sense of achievement. Something like an Edward’s Menagerie elephant can be completed in a few short evenings, rather than taking on a blanket that you might never finish.
What’s a typical day at work for you?
There’s never a typical day! Every week is very different and it can vary from designing and writing to fibre grading, teaching workshops, attending shows and events or just plain simple number crunching to keep on top of the business.
What are your top tips for crocheting?
- There’s no right or wrong way of holding your hook, so don’t get hung up on this and instead work out what’s comfortable and suits you.
- Make sure you are making things you want/enjoy. I’m not a believer in spending time on things that don’t give you pleasure. And make something just for you every now and again- a real indulgence rather than getting stuck in a gift-making rut!
- Use materials that are worthy of the hours you put in, in order to ensure top-notch results after all that effort.
See Kerry on Create and Craft TV at 1pm on 2nd October 2015 to learn more about how Toft is changing and challenging the traditional face of the knitting industry with their luxury alpaca knitting kits.