This month, we got to chat with Lili! She’s the designer behind the Finding Your Way Cowl and as well as a plethora or other gorgeous crochet designs! She’s also Lillinette on Ravelry (and here’s her designer page) as well as her blog, LilinetteCrochet.
Tell us a bit more about yourself. Where do you live? How did you end up there?
My name is Lidewij, but one would almost forget that, since everyone calls me Lili these days. Not at home though. I was born in the North of the Netherlands, in a family of five children. A busy household with lots of stimulation! I love my family, and although we knew how to fight as kids, we are now best mates and I feel honored to be part of the bunch ;-).
Unfortunately, the bunch and I are quite far apart at the moment. I am currently living beside a tiny village in the South West of France. My Frenchie and I have a beautiful little homestead in the middle of nowhere where we enjoy the country life. We have lots of chickens and two cats which we raised from the moment they were two days old. Their mother died of a uterus infection, so we had to take on mothering skills. Loved it. And love them! Most affectionate little cats you can imagine. They talk with us and they go on walks with us and they like to spend their days as close to us as possible. It means of course that I am always meticulously picking cat hairs out of my makes and all my yarns are cat proof hidden! Also, all the pillows I crochet end up being occupied by our cats. Cats and yarn… it’s a match made in heaven.
I ended up here because I met my Frenchman, 16 years ago, on the internet. Now this was from before the days of internet dating. We met through Soulseek, a peer to peer music program. Somehow, the both of us ended up in a Jazzroom there and after half a year of chatting, and feeling completely in love, we decided to meet up in the middle to spend two weeks together: Belgium. Two weeks because when you are in love like that, a weekend is always fun. The real question is whether you can stand each other for two full weeks! Haha. Well… we did, he moved in with me three months later and the rest is history.
Most of what we do is entirely random. We traveled a lot together, through Asia and South Africa, and we came back to the Netherlands several times. He couldn’t settle there though, so I proposed to give France a try. We traveled in France, ended up here and decided to stay for a while. Always ready for our next adventure!
What are your favorite things:
My favorite colors? I don’t think I really have any. I love colors and almost all my designs are colorful. Somehow, there is a lot of pink in my designs at the moment, but that is a coincidence I believe. I think I’ll grow old being one of those eccentric ladies wearing mostly self-made colorful creations! 😉
I love to vary stitches and like to be able to see good stitch definition. I also love combining solid and variegated yarns to get interesting color effects. Lighter yarns work better for these purposes. I just got myself a bunch of very light lace weight yarns to turn into my own colorful whirls. Experimenting my way through the wonderful world of yarn, one make at a time. I’ve been able to get my hands on some beautiful hand died silk and bamboo yarns this year. They are still staring at me from their drawer though. I’m in ‘let’s squish them a little longer’-phase.
Types of objects (e.g., shawls, hats, etc.)
As with the rest of my life, I like to vary what I do. Shawls are great projects to just quietly stitch the night away but I also enjoy shaping clothes or mandalas or bags. The one thing I still don’t fancy designing is hats. I don’t know why though, I love hats! I think I need to make one soon and get over it.
Why do you like to design?
I’ve always felt I’m creative but I’ve tried expressing that in paper arts and frankly, I can’t draw nor paint… It’s a shame when you don’t find an outlet for your creativity! I did some cross stitch embroidery for a while and although I loved it, I was only following other peoples’ designs. Then, a few years back, crochet and knitting came back in my life and this is really where I can express all I have. I feel so grateful to have found an art where my hands are actually capable of creating what my mind makes up.
I love knitting too, but I’m just not that good at it because I don’t spend enough time doing it. That’s ok, you can’t become an expert in everything… I love the drape of beautiful lacy knitted garments. And I love the versatility and playfulness of crochet. Oh, and I love using only one hook! haha.
What made you choose to submit to Knotions?
A fellow designer recommended Knotions to me. She has been publishing with Knotions several times and really liked the whole process and close contact she had. I decided to give it a try when I saw a call for October cowls. I love the colours of autumn and had just designed a mosaic pattern, wondering what to turn it into. My fellow designer was right, it’s been a pleasure to work with Knotions so far!
Knotions – we couldn’t agree more – it’s been great working with you too!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Colors… nature… colors in nature… This is also one of the reasons why I try to use as much as possible second hand yarns and why I mend my clothes. We need to learn not to waste so much on this planet. And we need to make sure that our yarns are not tainted by modern slavery and planet destroying practices. I’m not a saint either, but I try to do my part. I’m also inspired by architecture, woodwork and poetry. I love poetry. And I love fairies. Went on a holiday to Ireland once to find them. It was a real adventure, involving musea an old men carrying on the storytelling tradition, and hikes in the forests and the mists. I think I was a faerie in a previous life ;-).
Can you tell us about your process when you design? I’m curious about your inspiration and how you bring that to life?
My mind is constantly bursting with ideas. I keep a booklet where I draw and note down things I want to make some day. Some designs appear in my head, move straight on to my hook and are done before I know it. They are just willing to happen. Other designs take a lot of maturing. There is a geometric mandala in my head for over a year already. I know I will turn this mandala into a design someday, but it is just not ready for it. I try now and then, but when I pick up my hook, the design plays hide and seek with me in my brain.
Who are your favorite designers? (both craft and non-craft)
I feel I am really green still in the world of crochet and knit design, so many beautiful works by so many designers! I’m especially looking at male designers at the moment and love the mosaic work of Martin up North and Mark Roseboom. Tinna Thórudóttir Thorvaldsdóttir also makes some beautiful mosaic crochet. The more introvert styles of Lena Fetodova and Tatsiana Kupryianchyk speak to my heart.
What do you do in addition to being a designer?
In daily life, I’m a psychological scientist, working on the development of empathy. I work in different parts of the world, and a lot from home. Some of it is research, a lot of it is working with (groups of) people to help them build their empathic muscles. It is great work and absolutely my other passion in life.
I love the mornings, where I’m fresh and ready to think and write. Unfortunately, I also love the evenings where I’m ready to relax and crochet. And I need sleep. So sometimes, I get up really early and enjoy the fresh day, and sometimes, I get up late because I enjoyed a long evening. Writing, reading, thinking, gardening, crocheting and cuddling with my Frenchie and my cats are all part of my daily rituals.
Other than crocheting and designing, do you have any other creative endeavors?
Too many! I’m trying to focus more these days because it can feel so dispersed sometimes. But I sing, I DIY, I cook and preserve a lot in the summer time and I love doing woodwork. I also have a weaving loom which is waiting to be taken up again this winter. Hopefully, I’ll find a moment for it. I’m not one of those people who wouldn’t know what to do with her life if she wouldn’t have to work anymore ;-).
Do you have a stash? Or if you buy it you make it up pretty quickly?
I confess… I stash. I buy mostly secondhand yarns when I find a good deal and/or a irresistible yarn. I also wonder into specialized shops now and then when I have a chance (not that much though… remember I’m in the middle of nowhere). I used to collect stamps as a child and spend hours and hours reorganizing them. That’s what I do with yarn now. But hey, I crochet every day, so a lot gets used and I give away most of my samples to people who can do with a little boost in their lives. It’s special… a handmade gift.
Knotions – thanks again for sharing all that with the Knotions readers! I love hearing how you both lead a “typical” life, and have many other endeavors too!