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My name is Charlotte, and I have been knitting, crocheting, embroidering and sewing for over 25 years. After knitting a pair of fingerless mittens many years ago, to keep my hands warm when typing in a stupidly cold office, I found them so invaluable, I started knitting them in different yarns and colours, invented new designs, and found them useful in so many different situations.

 

I made them for friends as gifts, and people would often comment that they couldn't believe they were home-made. When I became a full-time mother some years ago, I started knitting and crocheting blankets, baby clothes, jumpers and toys for my son, and I loved it so much, I wanted to spend much more time on it.

One of the things I love about knitting and crocheting is the feel and texture of yarn in my hands, thus I choose my yarns based on the softness and 'smooshability'. I prefer not to knit with scratchy wools or synthetics, I stick to natural fibres as much as I can. The breathable property of natural fibres mean that they regulate heat better and don't make you sweat like synthetics can. 

 

My only exception is bamboo, which makes a beautifully soft yarn, but it has to go through a chemical process to make it into yarn. I first came across it when looking at reusable nappies - the bamboo was much softer than the cotton.

 

Each of my designs have been honed and improved over a long period. It took me many months, for example, to perfect the design of Draggle, and find a way to make the fingerless mitts fit properly with enough stretch. I am always designing new cable-based patterns, which you can see from my mitts.

 

Embroidery is great love of mine; it is my way of painting with stitches. When I was a student, I embroidered a musical stave going up the leg of my jeans with the Star Wars (Luke's theme) music on it. It was a talking point, especially as embroidery was a foreign concept to most people. You can make a piece of clothing entirely unique by adding pictures or writing; you can embroider a name, in whatever font you like (which is great for children's school bags and clothes); you can draw a picture on fabric, and colour it in with stitches. I have embroidered names for friends on an ad hoc basis, and, due to bad planning, made all my son's clothing labels by hand.

 

I am a full-time mother to my five-year-old boy, and a semi-professional singer and pianist. I have been involved in many musicals, as Musical Director, Producer, composer, costume-maker, double bass player in the pit, and performer on the stage. When I'm not singing or playing, I get great pleasure out of making things out of recycling materials; toys for my son, or things that would cost a stupid amount to buy. My hands are always busy making and my brain is usually busy designing.