Sarah London (whose name you might recognize because she’s the one doing the Crochet a Rainbow project that I still want to make squares for but still haven’t yet!) did a post on her blog recently directing readers to check out the Etsy store of her friend Natasja. As soon as I popped on over to the store, called crocheTime, I fell in love with the gorgeous, colorful, pop-feeling clocks that she makes. I was going to post one on the blog immediately as that days “crochet on Etsy” pick but then I thought, “actually, I really want to know more about these!) so I interviewed Natasja. Here’s that interview:
CROCHETBLOGGER: The best thing about your creations is your great use of color. Do you plan out your colors in advance for each project or do you just mix and match as you go, choosing what you like at the time?
Thanks for saying I have a great use of color! I am just naturally drawn to bright, zingy colours, and it gives me such a kick to see how colours interact with each other. I just love, love, love looking at my stash of yarn (known as the “box of toys” in our house) with all the shades of green and blue that makes the reds, pinks and purples “pop”.
When I decide what colours to use together, it really is just a gut feeling that I have to go with. I either love what I see and it makes me excited and happy, or else it doesn’t so I have to choose another colour. The combination has to “talk” to me. I think my zingy colour combos might be why I’ve had loads of favourites and views of my clocks, but only 4 sales (2 on Folksy and 2 on Etsy) – people love what they see but they may not necessarily have a room in their house with the same colour scheme as my clocks so they don’t buy the clock which is a pity.
CROCHETBLOGGER: I love the pop-py feel of your clock designs. What inspires your work? (Are there particular artists or magazines or things that you look at that have given you this unique sense of style?)
I can’t really put my finger on what inspires me. I prefer simple designs so that I can use colour as the main attraction. When I designed the clocks I really just went with my gut feeling. I remember I was on a train to work and just started drawing circles and playing around. My husband says the clocks and colours are a reflection of my personality. He’s probably right as I just do what comes naturally.
CROCHETBLOGGER: I know that in addition to your clocks you make flower brooches and magnets. Are there any other items that you make?
No, only these. The brooches were actually only added to fill up the shop. The main things is the clocks.
CROCHETBLOGGER: Do you have favorite yarn brands / types? I know you primarily work in cotton and wondered if there was a specific reason for that?
I just love the natural feel of cotton. For me, there is no better brand than Rowan for colour. My clock faces are done in white Stylecraft Classique Cotton because it’s a lovely cotton but cheaper than Rowan which makes economical as I need such a lot of white. The motifs and edges are all Rowan Handknit Cotton. I just can’t find anything that comes close to Rowan for colour intensity. Their red (they call it Rosso) is just amazing!
CROCHETBLOGGER: I know your Etsy store is pretty new. What made you decide to start one? How has that experience been so far?
I ran out of space. Seriously. I love making the clocks so much (the colour and design possibilities are endless) that I just want to make more and more but I can only hang so many clocks in my home. My husband in all his wisdom said: “Well, why don’t you just sell them?” So I did. It’s still mind blowing to me that people like my clocks and pay money for them.
CROCHETBLOGGER: I think it’s great since clocks really aren’t as common in homes today as they used to be, since we all have our computers and phones to give us time.
CROCHETBLOGGER: How has it been working with your hubby on the clocks? Do you work together creatively or do you just do your thing and pass it off to him to do his part?
We stick to what we each do best – I crochet and he turns my crochet circles into working clocks and he is also in charge of packaging. He literally is the “time” in crocheTime. During the week I will crochet and on weekends we sit together and assemble everything. When I need a sounding board or second opinion he always gives me his honest opinion, which I really value. He won’t necessarily comment on the colours or design (apart from giving me a hug or doing a little dance with me when I’ve finished a particularly nice one), but with his eye for detail I usually defer to him when it comes to proportion or work quality aspects. My standard question to him is “does this look right to you?” which he always answers truthfully. This whole experience wouldn’t have been half as lovely if it wasn’t for him. At the risk of sounding corny, he is the wind beneath my wings, or should I say “the tick behind my clock”? :-) I can babble on about him for hours yet. The two greatest loves of my life are crochet and my husband, so being able to combine the two whilst making a bit of money, is my idea of heaven.
CROCHETBLOGGER: That is so lovely!!
CROCHETBLOGGER: You mention in your Etsy profile that you weren’t drawn to knitting or quilting or any of those other domestic arts. What do you think was different with crochet?
I have one memory of my great grandmother crocheting. I can remember watching her as a girl (about 7 or 8 years old) crocheting a pale yellow afghan, whilst she was sitting under the afghan! That was magical to me. She only used one short metal sticky thing, yet she made this big blanket for her to sit under, and continue to work on! When I compared that to my mom’s knitting, where she had to use two long metal sticky things and only made jerseys, great granny’s blanket was way cooler! I think that image must have lodged in my brain and inspired me in August 2009 (about 25 years later) to start hooking. I think hooking is in my genes, even if it did skip two generations.
CROCHETBLOGGER: Do you have a favorite stitch? (I don’t know why, I’ve gotten so curious about people’s answers to this lately. Mine right now are hdc and crossed dc but it changes.)
Interesting question! I would say hdc as well. I always feel sorry for it – it’s not a sc and not a dc, just halfway in between. Very under rated little stitch that one.
CROCHETBLOGGER: Are there any crocheters out there whose work you especially admire?
Yes! Sarah London and Emma Lamb. I pre-ordered Sarah’s book on Amazon just yesterday. And Emma’s work is so fresh and pretty.
CROCHETBLOGGER: I want to get my hands on Sarah’s squares book, too!
CROCHETBLOGGER: What do you want other people to know about crochet?
It’s cooler than knitting.
CROCHETBLOGGER: Is there anything else you want my readers to know about you or your work?
I would love to do more custom orders. As I said in answer to your first questions, my colour combinations might not suit your colour scheme, but it shows what can be done. I have listings on each of my Etsy and Folksy shops to “make your own clock” where buyers can choose the different aspects of the clock, including size. I received a custom order on Monday for a 45cm clock. I never thought of making one that big, but now that I’m busy with it, I just know it’s going to be amazing. That made me think that maybe other people would want big clocks. That’s what I love about custom orders – you get to know the people buying them. I can picture the clock hanging in whichever room they’re buying it for, and find out what buyers really want.
CROCHETBLOGGER: That is definitely one of the best things about buying from independent sellers either locally or through sites like Etsy – that possibility for personal connection!
Note: Natasja is based in Surrey so the clocks are priced in pounds, not dollars. Visit crocheTime.