Welcome to my themed blog series, Crochet Specialty of the Month! Each month in 2015, I’ll feature a specialized crochet technique, stitch pattern, or project type through several posts.
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As I was researching intermeshing online, I discovered the work of a talented crochet teacher and designer, Nickerjac. She was kind enough to agree to an interview, which I’m excited to share with you today.
Nickerjac lives in the U.K. and she specializes in the double filet technique as a teacher and as a designer. You can find her online on her blog, Nickerjac, or on Pinterest, Ravelry (as nickerjac, as moderator of the Double Filet Interlocking Crochet group, and on the Nickerjac designs designer page), and Twitter.
Underground Crafter (UC): How did you first learn to crochet?
Nickerjac: I can’t tell you exactly when I learnt but have very clear memories of being about 4 and sitting in my Nan’s kitchen crocheting chain whilst she was preparing dinner. She was definitely the one who taught me. I was very blessed as both of my grandmothers were very skilled in all types of textiles and both had the patience to teach me and let me experiment even at a young age.
UC: What inspired you to start designing and teaching?
Nickerjac: I kind of fell into both. I worked with a lot of young people in summer schemes and youth clubs and I seemed to have a natural flair for the art and craft activities so would often lead groups in different crafts that I had discovered, everything from puppet making to felt making. So when I started work in a Local Yarn Store, it was a natural progression that when we had customers coming in with queries about their knitting and crochet that I would end up teaching them as well. You learn fast, especially the skill to read peoples work. I then volunteered to help out the UK Hand Knitting Association in their teaching areas at the big knitting and stitching show in London, which led me to working a number of the shows, becoming more and more involved in the knitting community especially with the evolution of knitting blogs and then Ravelry, which eventually led to me teaching in Stash in Putney.
UC: You do a lot of designing and teaching with intermeshing crochet, or double filet. How did you learn this technique and what do you enjoy about it?
Nickerjac: Again I came across this technique quite by chance. I had recently moved to a completely new area of London and had joined the local library’s knitting group so I could meet people and someone mentioned that this lady (which turned out to be Barbara Mann) taught this specialised crochet technique. This was seven years ago now and there has been no looking back.
After just two lessons, Barbara very kindly asked me to join the design team for the East London Crochet Group who I still meet with every fortnight.
I love double filet because of its graphic nature, it is the closest I can come to painting in crochet, also there is so many possibilities yet to explore as there are not that many of us that practice this type of crochet.
UC: What do you feel are differences between double filet and intermeshing crochet?
Nickerjac: I believe that they have both obviously had the same starting point and are the same in many ways. Obviously, I have limited access to the US literature on intermeshing, but I have noticed that our starting and finishing are slightly different. Double filet it is not always reversible, especially if the design includes colour changing. The only other difference I have seen is that we produce our patterns as a chart rather than written instructions. I actually embrace the differences as we can always learn new things from each other.
UC: What are your favorite projects to design?
Nickerjac: If you look at the collection of work from the East London Crochet Group, you can see that we each have our own very distinct styles and in our quarterly pattern pack, you can usually work out whose is whose very easily. Mine has a tendency to be very flowing. I love circles and curves – quite organic shapes which can then be applied to many different projects.
So to answer the question, it is always my latest project. At the moment, I am experimenting with more 3D work, which is looking great but turning out to be quite difficult to put on paper.
UC: What are your favorite crochet books in your collection?
Nickerjac: My all time favourite book to go to for reference is Crochet Workshop by James Walters. It’s not just the content, it’s the whole feel of the book. I just feel like I am being let in on crochet secrets when I read it. (UC comment: I agree! I’ve talked about my vintage copy of the book here before, and it’s now available as a Dover reprint.)
UC: Do you have any crafty blogs or websites you visit regularly for inspiration or community?
Nickerjac: Besides obviously Ravelry and Pinterest I still read a number of blogs. My friend Lixie at Lixie Makes It is always up to something interesting, especially with her moving to Japan last year. I think we craft in similar ways. Neither of us are happy just doing one craft when you can be doing ten. Also, recently after being lucky enough to do a taster workshop with her, I have started to follow Kim Thittichai‘s blog, Kim’s Hot Textiles, as I find her use of colour and texture really inspiring.
UC: Where do you teach double filet?
Nickerjac: I help at the quarterly ELCG meet ups in Essex, we always do a little session at Skipnorth every year, plus I have a couple of private students who come and see me, but I am willing to teach anyone, pretty much anywhere, if I can fit it around my son who is only seven at the moment. I just want to share this skill.
Thanks so much for sharing your love of double filet with us, Nickerjac.