#MeetTheMaker

Hello and welcome to Holly Woodward Design’s new website and first ever blog! It’s so nice to have you here.

I’m a content writer and digital marketing executive by day (pre-Covid redundancy) so I’ve written literally hundreds of blogs in my professional life. I haven’t, however, been able to pluck up the courage to begin writing my very own blog. It seems really daft that as a professional blog writer I would be intimidated to start my own personal site. It is really daft, so I am leaving that daftness behind and taking the plunge into blogging all things yarny and nice!

So, time for a proper introduction I think. This is a long one, so grab a cuppa and get comfy.

I’m Holly Woodward, a 20-something vegan living in Yorkshire. I learnt how to knit pretty young after receiving a “Knit Your Own Scarf” kit and I was instantly hooked. My knit skills were completely self taught from early YouTube videos and just gradually progressed, whereas I took up crochet via a class at my LYS. At this class I couldn’t get my head around how to hold the bloody hook and got very huffy with the instructor. (Lovely crochet teacher: if you’re reading this, I’m very sorry!) From then on, I don’t think I’ve ever had a significant amount of time in my life where I wasn’t knitting or crocheting.

I’m quite an anxious and nervous person, so the benefits of crafts have not been lost on me. I sometimes dabble in other mediums such as painting, calligraphy and card making, but if anything those hobbies induce more stress than they relieve. I think the crochet bug really kicked in whilst I was in my first year of university. I was away from home, really quite shy and introverted and just really struggled with the very out-going life of a typical uni student. On days I was feeling particularly pants, I hid under the duvet, watched Once Upon a Time and started hooking up the Happy Colours Blanket by Dorien Hollewijn.

The Happy Colours Blanket on my bed at my mum and dad’s house (2016)

This blanket brought me a lot of joy at a difficult time, so I’m really grateful to have spent that time and energy making it. It was the first (and biggest) useful item I ever crocheted and I’m still really proud of it. I grab it from the spare bed when I’m cold and even had to perform a bit of yarn surgery after it got caught on a coat hanger.

After making this blanket I seemed to be on a bit of a lull and didn’t know what to make. In uni halls, I only had one bed and more than one blanket seemed a bit overkill. I now understand that as a maker, you can never have too many handmade blankets, hats, scarves or jumpers, but I didn’t know that back then and for that you’ll have to forgive me. I think I’m not alone when I say I struggle to find a purpose for my crochet – I need an end goal or a finished item to work towards otherwise I get a bit restless.

So I remember coming across Attic 24’s Winter Wreath and I knew I had to give it a go. It was made up of tiny bits and bobs so I could pick up and put down at will. I freestyled, sourcing different leaf and flower patterns from other places but Lucy’s pattern was the main source of info and ideas. It was so fun to make, so I made two!

My version of Attic 24’s Winter Wreath

After a couple of years of not really having much crojo or a need for a finished item, last year (2019) I found out a couple of close family friends were expecting. I went a bit wild on Daisy Farm Crafts Pinterest page and made 2 or 3 of their designs, changing most of the colours to grey. There’s too many to post here, but you’ll see at the very beginning of my Instagram page that it’s baby blanket central.

2019 was the year I first made my own clothing too! I followed the wonderful A Good Vintage Cardigan by Fran Morgan and I was SO happy to have my own handmade cardigan. It’s way too big because I didn’t check my gauge (never ever again) but I really love it, especially as my mum helped me pick out the colours at my LYS.

I also made the Day Date Cardigan by Make and Do Crew, which I would 100% recommend to beginners.

It wasn’t until the March lockdown and my first bout of furlough that I actually gave any thought to designing my own clothes. I had bought a load of Lilac (Wisteria) Stylecraft Special Aran previously to make the Chainette Turtleneck by Knits N Knots, but I was still undecided on what to do. I first started knitting it up (to a pattern I can’t remember) and realised my knitting skills were very rusty, so that idea was soon frogged.

So, I began drafting up the designs for a balloon-sleeved, longline, drop shoulder, oversized cardigan. I had a very clear image in my mind of how I wanted it to look and I knew I only needed simple shapes to achieve it, so I just went for it.

A sketch of the Lilith Cardigan, using simple shapes

Countless stitches and rows got frogged in the process of designing and making Lilith, and I very nearly gave up. I am a very persistent person, so after a good cuppa I started again and eventually got there! Honestly, designing your first pattern is ROUGH, but the sense of achievement you have when it’s finished is absolutely marvellous.

The Lilith Cardigan designed, made and modelled by me!

And then you lovely, lovely people went and bought it! I genuinely couldn’t (and still can’t) believe how many people made and loved Lilith. I didn’t even bribe any of them! And that’s when the design obsession really set in: people were willing to spend their hard earned pennies making something I designed. That last sentence is still a shock to me, and every time I am notified of another pattern sale I am so thankful, honoured and relieved.

I started this my designing journey in the middle of July, now it’s December and I’m working on my 11th pattern! I can’t believe how many designs have come tumbling off my hook in such a short amount of time.

In November, I was notified that Maya Mandala Jumper was nominated for LoveCraft’s Pattern of the month, and I needed to gain the most “likes” on the listing to win against nine other designs. Well, I shared and shared and my lovely friends and fellow makers really turned out to vote… and I won!

Maya Mandala Jumper is the current LoveCrafts pattern of the month (eeeeek!)

I am soooooo absolutely overwhelmed that over 70 people took the time to vote for my pattern, so I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who did. This is a very exciting and important step for HWD and it’s really spurred me onto to create even more!

So this #MeetTheMaker turned out to be my designer origin story? I’m okay with that! I hope you’ve enjoyed having a read and getting to know HWD a little better, I definitely enjoyed writing it.

Please do leave a comment below, I’d love to get to know more of you too!

Stay warm, stay safe and squish all the yarn,

Holly x

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