PROFILE: SARAH ZIM­MER­MAN

Be­hind Re­peat Crafter Me

Simply Crochet - - Contents - Writ­ten by Judy Dar­ley.

Cro­chet be­gan as a means to an end for Sarah Zim­mer­man after she gave birth to her sec­ond son, but she had no idea of the jour­ney it would take her on. “Cro­chet hats and props for new­born pho­to­shoots were trend­ing around the birth of my sec­ond son,” she com­ments. “I’ve al­ways been craftsy and wanted to cre­ate a few cro­cheted ac­ces­sories for my baby boy.”

Sarah set herself the task of teach­ing herself to cro­chet, and started by go­ing to her lo­cal craft store and pick­ing up begin­ner sup­plies. “Back at home I searched YouTube for ad­di­tional tu­to­ri­als and in­struc­tion. Sur­pris­ingly, I caught on quickly and in a short amount of time cre­ated my first hat!”

Sarah swiftly fell in love with her new skills, which were join­ing a whole sta­ble of other crafty tal­ents. “When I be­came a stay-ath­ome mom, I loved do­ing crafty projects with my boys,” she says. “I would make fun food cre­ations, set up themed arts and craft projects, and then when I learned to cro­chet, I had re­ally found an ad­di­tional out­let to my cre­ativ­ity that I wanted to share with oth­ers.”

TOOTING THE CRO­CHET HORN

By this time, Sarah had hap­pily been dip­ping into what she calls ‘mom blogs’. “I de­cided to set up my own blog as a way to share the things I was do­ing at home with oth­ers who would be in­ter­ested and in­spired.”

Right from the start, Sarah’s Re­peat Crafter Me blog (www.re­peatcrafterme.com) con­tained a cheer­ful mix of recipes, crafts, and snip­pets of fam­ily life, mak­ing it a lovely place to drop by and hang around. On 19 Oc­to­ber 2011, Sarah wrote her first blog post about her love of cro­chet. “I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m feel­ing pretty good about the fact that I taught my­self how to cro­chet less than a month ago,” she typed. “Who knew cro­chet­ing was so easy-peasy?”

The speed at which Sarah de­vel­oped her cro­chet skills is pretty ex­cep­tional, and in next to no time she was cre­at­ing her own de­signs. Her ex­ist­ing abil­i­ties cer­tainly helped: she grad­u­ated from the Univer­sity of Wash­ing­ton with a de­gree in Vis­ual Arts, and worked as a graphic de­signer for six years.

“I credit my back­ground in vis­ual arts and graphic de­sign as one of the main rea­sons my cro­chet has been so pop­u­lar,” she says. “It’s given me an eye for colour and the abil­ity to

cre­ate clean, fun and cute de­signs. Plus my ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of Pho­to­shop and Il­lus­tra­tor has been an im­mense help when it comes to the be­hind-the-scenes blog work.”

The beauty of Re­peat Crafter Me is that Sarah is show­cas­ing the projects and pat­terns she loves to work on herself. “I al­ways take pride in my cute cro­chet hats, but have re­cently been in­clud­ing a lot of graph­gan de­signs and smaller projects like cro­chet pouches and amigurumi to my pat­tern col­lec­tion,” she en­thuses. In case you were won­der­ing, graph­gans are afghan blan­kets mak­ing use of gor­geous graphic de­sign mo­tifs. It’s a pref­er­ence that harks di­rectly back to Sarah’s past pro­fes­sion.

Favourite tech­niques in­clude cor­ner-to­corner cro­chet. “With a pixel graph pat­tern you can in­cor­po­rate any pic­ture or im­age into your cro­chet,” Sarah says. “I grav­i­tate to­wards worsted weight yarn and am cur­rently lov­ing the Ber­nat Su­per Value line be­cause of the vast colour choices.”

Choos­ing the right tools for the job is also im­por­tant to Sarah. “Su­san Bates’ Size H has al­ways been my go-to cro­chet hook,” she says. “Lately I’ve en­joyed pur­chas­ing cus­tom poly­mer clay hooks from Etsy be­cause of the com­fort of the han­dles and beau­ti­ful de­signs that they of­fer. In ad­di­tion, you won’t find me with­out a cro­chet tote bag in tow and a nice fab­ric tool­kit with lots of pock­ets and slots for my hooks, nee­dles, scis­sors and mark­ers.”

A GROW­ING TRIBE

De­spite her nat­u­ral tal­ent and pro­fes­sional eye, Sarah owns up to some oc­ca­sional im­per­fec­tions, but takes these in her stride. “Of course, I con­stantly make mis­takes,” she says. “That’s part of the process of be­ing a pat­tern de­signer. Some­times I spend sev­eral days or even weeks re­work­ing a pat­tern to get it right. And even if a pub­lished pat­tern has an er­ror, I’ve found that my on­line cro­chet com­mu­nity has been extremely sup­port­ive and un­der­stand­ing.”

This at­ti­tude is es­pe­cially help­ful given that Sarah is now mum to three chil­dren, hav­ing given birth to her daugh­ter Zoe in 2013. This means she needs to fit all her cre­ative work around their needs. “Be­com­ing a full-time blog­ger on top of my most im­por­tant job of be­ing a full-time mom isn’t easy,” she ad­mits. “It’s a lot of work – I’m al­ways multi-task­ing.”

This in­cludes mak­ing time to read through a few care­fully se­lected craft blogs. “I have quite a few fel­low cro­chet and craft blog­gers that I network with and keep in touch with on a daily ba­sis,” she says. “I’m blessed to have met so many won­der­ful people since I started my blog! Among my favourites you’ll find Petals to Pi­cots (www.petal­stopi­cots.com), Happy Hour Projects (www. hap­py­hour­pro­jects.com), Seven Alive (www. seven-alive.com), and It Hap­pens In A Blink (www.ithap­pensin­ablink.com).”

Sarah reached a very ex­cit­ing cro­chet mile­stone last year when her de­but book,

Cor­ner-to- Cor­ner Cro­chet, came out in au­tumn 2016. “I am work­ing on its pro­mo­tion at the mo­ment and hope that more op­por­tu­ni­ties to pub­lish my work present them­selves,” she ex­plains. “Of course, I’ll con­tinue post­ing my free pat­terns and tu­to­ri­als on Re­peat Crafter Me.”

It all comes back to the fact that Sarah adores the multi-pur­pose na­ture of cro­chet. “You can cre­ate any­thing the heart de­sires,” she says. “Cro­chet is very ver­sa­tile, and with knowl­edge of the ba­sics, you can bring any de­sign to life you like – whether that’s an­i­mal hats, amigurumi or ac­ces­sories.”

With all that stitch­ing go­ing on, we’re not at all sur­prised to learn that Sarah’s yarn col­lec­tion is qui­etly tak­ing over the fam­ily home. “Most of my cro­chet­ing is done at night after the kids are in bed,” she says. “I have a stash next to my bed­side ta­ble. I also have a large stash down­stairs by my cro­chet chair, in case I get a chance to do some day­time cro­chet. When­ever I get an idea, I tend to stop what­ever I’m do­ing and pick up my hook and yarn, so I like to keep my craft­ing tools close by at all times!”

“CRO­CHET IS VERY VER­SA­TILE, AND YOU CAN BRING ANY DE­SIGN TO LIFE THAT YOU LIKE.”

“My on­line cro­chet com­mu­nity has been extremely sup­port­ive.”

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