Tea Talk: An Interview with Joanne Scrace

I’m constantly in awe of designers who come up with fashionable, attractive crocheted garment patterns, and naturally I’m a fan of Joanne Scrace’s work. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions about her projects and creative processes. Here’s what Joanne had to say!

(c) Lightbook Photography
(c) Lightbook Photography

What’s your favorite drink to have by your side while you’re crafting?
That depends on the time of day. 6am to 4pm, its coffee, preferably real with milk no sugar. 7pm to midnight, a glass of crisp white wine something like a gewurztraminer being the ultimate. Mostly I get really absorbed in what I am doing and forget to drink them though. (And yes I am a very bad girl; I rarely drink anything in between. My husband says I must have camel DNA as I rarely need to drink water.)

Do you like to have some background entertainment while you’re working? A favorite movie or maybe an audio book?
I need complete silence when I am pattern writing or tech editing, but I love to knit and crochet in front of the TV so all my samples and swatches are made whilst watching. I tend to catch up on my favourite shows (Revenge, The Good Wife, Nashville), watch comedy quiz shows, or teen movies- the more complicated the knitting is the less complicated the plot needs to be!

(c) Kat Goldin
(c) Kat Goldin

What is an average day in your life like?
Because my main job is Mum of three, my designing day is shoehorned into the spaces around. My eldest (8) is at school 5 days a week, my 4 year old is at pre-school 3 mornings a week and my littlest (2) goes to a childminder 2 mornings a week. On the two mornings that they are all out of the house I rush home and focus on tasks that need lots of concentration like tech editing (I tech edit for Inside Crochet, The Crochet Project and Kat Goldin) or pattern writing.

I pick up the kids at 1pm and try and focus on them (if they are playing happily I may knit a bit) until after dinner when their dad takes over for bedtimes and I can start work again. I’ll do any computer work early on in the evening while I am still fresh and then I switch to knitting or crochet later on in the evening. I normally work until about 10pm but quite often later if I am on a deadline.

Of all of your designs, do you have a particular favorite? What makes it special?
That’s really hard – I’m never sure if you are allowed to pick favourites! I love Triogona which I designed for Manos Yarns. I love the different cables and the curvy silhouette. Beautiful end result and fun to make. Sadly, I won’t get the sample back, and I don’t know if I’ll ever have the time to reknit it for me.

But really the proof is in the pudding, so I think I need to say which actually get worn the most, and I can’t pick so I’m going to take my top three! Oberon, a chunky, comfy crochet cardigan with an interesting edging, because it is really cosy, but it has just enough waist shaping that it still accentuates my figure and doesn’t drown me. This summer I am wearing Silene, a beautiful silky crochet shawl, and Bartsia, a light and lacy crochet cardigan, a lot as they are just so darn pretty and nice to wear. We have been having some pretty changeable weather here in the UK, and layering these up has been perfect way to look summery whether it is blowing a gale or blistering sunshine.

(c) Lightbook Photography
(c) Lightbook Photography

What is your go-to source for inspiration?
I find inspiration all around me but I couldn’t design without my library of stitch dictionaries, which help me revise a design into a workable stitch pattern. I like to use them as a basis for inspiration rather than a cut and paste design solution, but without them my designs would be much less exciting.

If you had the time and resources to pick up a new craft, what would you try?
I’m always trying new crafts. I’ve signed up for lino printing next week. If I had (or when I have) more time I would like to get back to dressmaking and silversmithing and improve my skills in those crafts I think. Hey, who am I kidding! More time will probably just go on more knitting and crochet – the Ravelry queue is long and the day is short!

(c) Kat Goldin
(c) Kat Goldin

Can you share a bit about The Crochet Project? The Spring/Summer issue was beautiful.
Thank you, we are really really proud of it. The Crochet Project was born after Kat and I enjoyed working together on her book Crochet at Play. We were both bemoaning the lack of publishing options for crochet designers. We wanted somewhere to publish where the styling was fantastic, patterns were clear. Then we realised that, between us, we had the skills to set one up. We make a great team; Kat takes care of styling and photography, I take care of tech editing and admin. You could say I am the less glamorous half of the partnership!

We are both passionate about promoting great crochet. Crochet tends to have a reputation for being “best for homewares,” but if you use the right yarns at the correct tension, you can achieve the most wonderful drape and utilise the versatility of crochet on garments to wonderful effect. I think we knew we had got the first issue right when the model gasped, “Gosh, I didn’t know crochet could be so beautiful!”

The knitters among you may well wish to follow our progress too as plans are afoot for The Knit Project – it is early days but we have some amazing designs and designers lined up and we hope to release the first issue in January.

What have you been working on lately?
I’ve been busy designing and making for Inside Crochet, The Knitter and SImply Crochet in the last few weeks. Next I get to move on to making two wonderful designs for the next issue of The Crochet Project, which is titled “Woodland Whimsy” – you can expect lots of rich saturated colours and projects to see you through Autumn and Winter. Take a look at our pinterest board to see what is inspiring us for this issue. Its due out in October.

You can see more of Joanne’s work on Ravelry or her blog Not So Granny.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.