Quick-fire questions with... Vanessa Mooncie

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Don’t miss Vanessa signing copies of her latest book, Crocheted Wild Animals, at the GMC stand F5 at the Knitting & Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, on Thursday 10 October


On the run up to the start of this year's Knitting and Stitching Show, 10-13 October at Alexandra Palace, London, we chat to author/designer Vanessa Mooncie who will be signing copies of her latest book Crocheted Wild Animals, on our stand, F5, in the main hall on Thursday 10 October.

So, introducing…Vanessa Mooncie!

Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello, I am a crocheted accessories designer and maker and a silkscreen print artist. I have more recently been writing craft books which I have really enjoyed. I live in the countryside with my husband, who is a sculptor, and 3 of my 4 children.

In the craft world, what are you best known for?

I am best known for my crocheted jewellery which I began working on as a business a few years ago. I enjoy creating pieces using a variety of yarns and threads, old and new, such as faded, vintage cottons and silks, metallic threads and nettle twine. I often incorporate semi-precious stones into my work as well.

Do you have a preferred medium to craft in or do you like to dabble in them all?

I don’t have a preferred medium, although as I get so engrossed in each project I work on, it tends to be the favourite at the time, until I move onto the next thing.

Are there any crafts you haven’t tried yet but would like to? 

Yes, I was given a small loom a long time ago but I haven’t used it yet. I would love to do some weaving. I also have some old books on tatting which I would like to try.

What is the project/design you are most proud of?

At the moment, my favourite design is a collection of animal brooches and pins crocheted in fine threads. I have accessorised some of the animals themselves in hats and ruffs.

Have you ever had a major crafting disaster, and if so, what was it?

I have had many disasters, but nothing too major and that couldn’t be fixed. I forgot to put buttonholes in a cardigan for my granddaughter, but rather than unpicking it all, I stitched snap fasteners on the bands and sewed big buttons on the front which looked fine and worked out well in the end. Sometimes good things can come from what seems like a terrible mistake at the time as it makes you think of other ways to work and often inspires new ideas.

If you could only use one craft discipline for the rest of your life what would it be?

I think it would have to be crochet. It is so easy to carry around and can be picked up at any time. There are no problems with dropping stitches in the same way as with knitting.

The best crafty advice I've ever had, was…

...always check your tension. This is particularly helpful when substituting yarns as different fibres can produce various results, even when using the same weight. If your tension differs from the pattern, the end product may look very different from the photo. I have sometimes weighed what I have knitted when I think I may not have enough to finish a garment, so if I have completed one sleeve and not sure if I’ve got enough for the other one I can compare the knitted sleeve and the yarn that’s over. 

What would you say to a non-crafter to try to convert them?

Creating something from scratch is extremely satisfying. Whether it is a simple knitting, crochet, embroidery or sewing project, working on the repetitive stitches can be very therapeutic and relaxing. The end result would give them such a sense of achievement.

When I'm not crafting, I'm…

...out walking and spending precious time with my family.

Describe your crafty self in three words…

Observant, resourceful, inventive.

Ball of wool and a cup of tea or skein of silk and a glass of wine?

A skein of silk and glass of wine sounds lovely, thank you!


And now onto Vanessa's new book, Crocheted Wild Animals, on sale now!


When and how did you learn to crochet?

My Mum and Nana taught me to crochet. We made squares and turned them into blankets and cushions for my dolls.

What inspired your latest book, Crocheted Wild Animals?

I love looking through old children’s books and the beautiful illustrations. These inspired many of the projects in Crocheted Wild Animals, as well as the shapes and colours of vintage toys.

Once you started designing, was it hard to narrow down to just 14 projects? How did you decide what made the cut?

It was quite hard as I did have more than 14 ideas, but there wasn’t enough space to fit them all in. I had to look at what worked best together as well as creating a balanced amount of designs for different abilities. Also, the amount of charts each project would need had to be considered as they can take a lot of space on the page.

Be honest, which one is your favourite?

That is very easy! My favourite is the chameleon which changes colour, simply by turning it inside-out. I’m really pleased with how it looks and love it all the more because my son gave me the idea.

Are there any animals you wish you could have got in there? (possible sequel..?)

I have written a crocodile project which unfortunately was too big to fit in. Hopefully he will appear in another book.

Your last book with GMC was knitted Animal Hats. Do you have a preference for knitting or crochet?

I enjoy both knitting and crochet and don’t really have a preference. I tend to work mainly on a smaller scale in crochet and pick up the knitting needles if I want to make a garment, such as a jumper. However, I do have bigger plans in the pipeline for crochet!

Rumour has it you will be doing a Make & Take at our stand at the K&S Show as well as signing copies of your books. Can you give us a hint at what that might be?

The Make and Take project is a little crocheted mouse, to go with the theme of the Crocheted Wild Animals book.

What are you looking forward to the most about the Knitting & Stitching Show this year?

I’m looking forward to looking around the other stands at the show and finding some lovely yarns and threads that will inspire new ideas.

You have brought out a multitude of different craft books over the last year or so; Animal Hats, And Sew to Bed, Crocheted Accessories, Tea Cozies 3. Can you give us any sneak peeks into what we can expect from you next?

My new book, The Print Making Book, is out next month. It includes various projects using silk screen and relief printing, among others. All of the projects can be done from the home and garden.I am currently working on a book of sewing projects to make for babies and toddlers. As well as garments, there will be accessories and dressing-up projects.


Vanessa Mooncie will be signing copies of her GMC books at the GMC/Knitting magazine stand F5, on Thursday 10 October. Come and say hello! 

Thursday 10 October

11.30am-12.30pm – Book signing

14.00-15.30pm – Make & Take


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