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Today I’m interviewing Nicki Trench, a multi-craftual author and needlecrafts teacher working in East Sussex. Lauren Walsh at CICO Books was able to give me a sneak peak of Nicki’s latest book, Geek Chic Crochet: 35 Retro-inspired Projects That Are Off the Hook, and you can expect plenty of garments and accessories, as well as a few home decor items. Nicki can be found online at her website, her blog, Twitter, Pinterest, and Ravelry. Geek Chic Crochet is published by CICO Books at £12.99 ($21.95 US) paperback and is available from all good bookshops (and online booksellers).
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?
Nicki: I was about 12. My mother and grandmother always crocheted, but I learnt when my sister was living in Paris and her boss wanted a crocheted poncho – they were very chic at the time! I got commissioned to make 3 or 4 in the end!!
UC: What inspired you to start designing?
Nicki: I’ve always enjoyed working with colour and I’ve always been involved with design in some form or the other. I started making my own knitwear designs in my early twenties. I used to design quite unusual jumpers for my boyfriends! Then I discovered Fairisle and started designing cushions and throws. When I got more into crochet I started playing with squares and combining some great colours.
UC: You are quite obviously multi-craftual. What is your favorite “go to” craft these days?
Nicki: I wanted to aim at younger women. I have a mix of easy and more challenging patterns in the book and I’ve tried my hardest to design garments that young people will wear. I want people to think that crochet is achievable at all levels and it’s not just for grannies.
UC: There seem to be more adult sized garments in Geek Chic Crochet than in your previous crochet books. What was the design process like for this book?
Nicki: I did a lot of research to see what was fashionable in crochet. I took a few trips to Shoreditch in East London, where there are loads of vintage shops and I also looked around the high street to see what is fashionable in crochet. I was pleasantly surprised to find there is a lot of crochet out there, so it was easy to get inspired.
UC: You teach a variety of crafts, including crochet. Does your experience as a teacher influence your design process, and if so, how?
Nicki: Yes, definitely. I know what works and what doesn’t. I try out my patterns on my students and this is the best way to test if something works. I also have a good understanding of how people read and understand patterns and what they want to make.
UC: What is your favorite crochet book in your collection (besides yours, of course)?
Nicki: I only really use reference books, so anything that has lots of different stitches and samples. Other than those I love the Japanese crochet books, they are very simple and beautiful. (UC comment: I love the Japanese crochet books, too. And, if you don’t read Japanese, they are a great way to learn to read stitch symbols.)
UC: Do you visit any crochet or craft blogs or websites regularly?
Nicki: I don’t tend to visit craft or crochet blogs as regularly as I’d like. I do lots of research before I write a book, to see what’s popular and in trend and that’s the time when I’ll browse the internet to see what people are talking about. There are always new crochet blogs popping up and it’s good to see what’s new and what people are making – especially when it’s something from my books!
Thanks for stopping by, Nicki, and we wish you success with you latest book!