4th February 2014

Crochet header

British, bright, original and stylish! Did you know we’re talking about crochet?

You might not put these words and crochet together but that’s what Ruby McGrath from Frank&Olive does brilliantly with her craft and we can prove it! Here, we get an insight into the inspirations of the 22 year old self taught, highly successful and truly modern day crocheter.

How did you get started?
I taught myself to crochet whilst pregnant with my daughter Olive, in summer 2011. I was so underwhelmed by the lack of unique and stylish clothing for babies, that I decided I would attempt to make my own. After Olive was born, she was constantly dressed in my handmade wares, and I recieved so many wonderful compliments and orders from friends and family, that I felt it was time to create a website. 

How did you learn your craft?
I am completely self taught. Unfortunately, I had nobody to teach me so I began using books, magazines and online tutorials with which I had to be very patient! I envy the people I teach to crochet as I wish I’d had somebody to break it down into managable chunks for me, and translate the daunting patterns into a language I could actually understand… I now run exclusive crochet workshops around the country - working with Bas Ram Ewe and Black Sheep Wools, as well as my own private workshops. I can definitely sympathise with people who are daunted by starting a new craft or having trouble getting going, so I make sure that my style of teaching is very relaxed, patient and informative. I have not failed anyone yet, and after just one workshop my crocheters can crochet!

What inspired you?
The root of all my inspiration has remained the same throughout - my daughter Olive. She is the reason I started to crochet and she is also the reason why I am where I am today - I want to make her proud. I am able to dress Olive in clothes that I not only love, but that I am proud of too.

What do you love about what you do?
All of my designs begin with a new shade or colour I have fallen in love with. My customers always say its the bright and contemporary colours mixed with the quirky designs that keep them coming back for more, and there is nothing more humbling than making something that makes somebody happy. I am so lucky that I get to have a career and do what I love whilst still being at home with my daughter, watching her learn, giggle and grow.

What themes, colours and or styles are popular this Season 2013?
Like me, Frank&Olive doesn’t tend to follow trends. I absolutely love reading all of the latest magazines and blogs, and seeing what is trending on sites such as Pinterest, but but I don’t follow it religiously. The things that I make are little pieces of me and the things that I love - this season it is most definitely neon and brights!

What’s your most popular item this year?
The Frank&Olive Pom Pom Slippers and Rainbow Dresses are by far my best sellers, they’re perfect for any age and I love making them - they’re actually my favourite too!

How would you describe your creations?
I would describe Frank&Olive as being contemporary, bright and stylish, with a touch of luxury. Each piece is made with so much love and attention and I am so proud of all of my finished designs. I want to create something that is very current, luxurious and original but not losing the humble handmade appeal.

What’s special about them?
I think that my designs are very recognisable and never fail to catch your eye. They are bright, pretty and stylish which I feel crochet can struggle with at times. I love crochet, I love what it’s about, the history of it and I absolutely love making it. I feel that crochet can often be very tired and dated, and I want to breathe life into the old forgotten craft - bringing it back to life using irresistable colours and luxurious yarns.

Where do you source your yarns from?
I have been lucky enough to be sent wool by various companies, such as the amazing Wool And The Gang, Eden Cottage Yarns and Sirdar. When buying yarn, I always opt for the smaller, independent wool shops that sell the finest luxury, local yarns. Supporting local businesses is really important to me. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I am incredibly inspired by colour matching and contrasting, from the way I dress to to the way I  decorate my home, using bright and beautiful colours is my passion. There is nothing more exciting than delving into my huge yarn stash and choosing the colours for my next project. Almost every one of my designs started life as a new shade or yarn that I’d fallen in love with. 

What does the future hold?
I am currently designing for magazines such as Mollie Makes, Simply Crochet & Inside Crochet, which I absolutely love. I hope to continue designing for more top magazines and yarn companies. I am in talks with Wool And The Gang and Sirdar about designing for them, which would be a fantastic opportunity. I am also developing new Frank&Olive Crochet Kits and online tutorials, ready to launch in the new year. 

Where can we find out more about your products?
The best place to keep up to date with Frank&Olive is by liking the Facebook page where you will find updates about new designs and products, fairs and items for sale. For behind the scenes, sneak peaks at new designs, commissions in progress and general pretty pictures, follow Frank&Olive on Instagram too. You can also visit the Frank&Olive website for the full Frank&Olive range. Frank&Olive is featured in the Christmas issue of Mollie Makes and has designs set to feature in Gathered and Inside Crochet magazines - don’t miss them! 

Carrie hunter

Author

Carrie Hunter