20 questions to Hayley J Robinson, Tunisian crochet designer

This month, it’s Hayley Joanne Robinson who accepted to answer the 20 questions I ask to Tunisian crochet designers. If you follow me, you have seen the Fair Isle scarf I made in March base on the original design by Hayley. And in the TCAL that just started in the Tunisian crochet explorers group on Ravelry, I opted for the Flip Side shawl, one of her latest designs.

Hayley Joanne Robinson, Tunisian crochet designer
Hayley Joanne Robinson, Tunisian crochet designer

3 adjectives that best defines TC
Multipurpose, under-used, addictive

When did you start Tunisian crochet?
I learnt to Tunisian Crochet at the start of 2015 and have been Crocheting since 2010. I was struggling to learn anything but basic knitting, so I decided to learn Crochet instead, which I found to be much easier. Then I came across something called Tunisian Crochet, which intrigued me so much I just had to learn it. I found the stitches and techniques much easier to do than knitting, and I really like that I can make something that looks like it was knitted but it was actually made using Tunisian Crochet!

Do you crochet and knit as well?
I love to Crochet too, especially granny squares. I can knit, but only the basic knit stitch.

Other creative activities or hobbies?
I like sewing, dressmaking, cross-stitching and card-making.

Tunisian Hoodie, design by Hayley J Robinson
Tunisian Hoodie, design by Hayley Joanne Robinson

What is your favorite yarn for TC?
I really like blends of natural fibres, such as wool, linen and cotton, as the texture is soft and durable.

What are your favorite TC tools?
My favourite hooks are my Denise Interchangeable Tunisian Crochet Hook Set, which came with two of each hook size and a variety of cable lengths, so I can make any single or double-ended Tunisian Crochet Hook for any project.

The project you are most proud of?
Definitely my Tunisian Entrelac Shawl, which was one of the first of my patterns to be published in a magazine. It turned out to be a much better pattern that I had originally planned it to be, and it used a colour-changing yarn in a really interesting way.

Tunisian Entrelac shawl, design by Hayley Joanne Robinson
Tunisian Entrelac shawl, design by Hayley Joanne Robinson

Your inspiration sources for creating patterns?
Sometimes I am using a stitch or technique, and I think “this will be good for…”, or “I can use this for…”, so then I sketch out the idea and begin planning out how I would create the design. Other times, I will need an item of clothing, so instead of buying one, I will design my own instead.

How did you get into publishing your own designs?
After I had learnt Tunisian Crochet, I wanted to make my own clothes, so I started to make simple garments for myself using the basic stitches that I had learnt.  One day, my friend who had helped me learn how to crochet, had seen me wearing a cardigan that I had designed, and recommended that I should write down the pattern as people would want to make one for themselves. During the following few years, I wrote down all the patterns that I had designed, and I soon had quite a lot of them. I then decided to contact the editors of the crochet magazines that I was reading, to see if they were interested in publishing the designs – and they were! My first 2 magazine patterns (Tunisian Ombre Tote and Tunisian Entrelac Shawl) were both in issue 91 of Inside Crochet Magazine. I then heard about a website called Ravelry, and started selling my patterns on there too.

What is your crochet routine?
I crochet ALL OF THE TIME! Any time of day, anywhere, and every day of the week. I always have some crochet in my bag whenever I leave the house.

Your motto?
Do what makes you happy. Make sure you are enjoying what you do, and reward yourself when you have achieved something which was hard for you to do.

Tunisian Sampler shawl, design by Hayley Joanne Robinson
Tunisian Sampler shawl, design by Hayley Joanne Robinson

Your favorite books?
I loved reading all of the Harry Potter Books, I am a big fan.

Your favorite color?
I love to wear blues, teals and turquoises, and I really like autumnal and jewel colours.

What do you like to do while Tunisian crocheting?
I like to listen to music, or watch something interesting on TV like a documentary, so I can learn something whilst I am working.

What do you dislike most doing in TC?
Getting rid of the curl. Sometimes, I design a pattern using a stitch that I know won’t curl (like the Tunisian Purl Stitch or Honeycomb Stitch) so that I don’t need to press it out.

What is your day job?
I feel very blessed that my day job is designing Tunisian Crochet patterns, turning my hobby into a business.

Where are you from? Where do you live?
I live in Birmingham, England. I was born here and have grown up here too.

A tip to share?
Practice. The more you do, the more you will learn, and if you are struggling with something, watch a video on YouTube about it, or read a post on the internet which will explain it more to you. And remember, even experts make mistakes.

Tunisian Fair Isle scarf, design by Hayley Joanne Robinson
Tunisian Fair Isle scarf, design by Hayley Joanne Robinson

What are you busy with right now?
I am designing a collection of patterns which utilize the relationship between the Tunisian Purl Stitch and the Tunisian Reverse Stitch (the front of one looks like the back of the other and vice versa). My Tunisian Entrelac Shawl used these two stitches to create a consistent design on both sides whilst turning the work to create the Entrelac squares. In this collection will be a Shawl-collared Cardigan, Turtle-neck Poncho, Moebius Cowl, and other reversible designs which will use the Tunisian Purl Stitch and the Tunisian Reverse Stitch in really exciting ways. I am hoping to have the patterns published on Ravelry in the Autumn, where you can buy the patterns individually, or together as an eBook.

Where can we find you?
I have a Ravelry page where you can find my patterns, and I also have an Instagram account where you can follow behind the scenes progress of my upcoming designs.

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