Introducing you to Beverley Whitby, (known as Bev) who is currently working alongside Alison Woodside of Highland Crafters using her technical editing skills to revise crochet patterns designed by other members of The Highland Crafters’ Team.
We look forward to working with Bev in our aim to develop and finalise the Highland Crafters’ crochet collection.
I first discovered crocheting nearly 20 years ago. I had been a knitter since childhood, and always had a fascination for yarn (I always kept a crochet hook in with my knitting needles to pick up dropped stitches). It was the discovery of some very fine lace hooks belonging to my grandmother that sparked my interest in crochet.
I had absolutely no knowledge of crochet other than how to do a chain and double (single) crochet stitch. To begin with I struggled as most people do because there are some very basic rules to follow which are not immediately obvious. I came across an article by the author of ‘How to Crochet’ Pauline Turner in a magazine. This was at a time before YouTube and the widespread availability of the internet. I wrote off for an order form, and started to buy ‘how to do’ videos made by Pauline. From there I quickly learnt the basics of crochet, soon advancing to broom stick, Tunisian, and hairpin crochet too.
I progressed on to the Diploma which Pauline runs, in 2002. After successfully completing Part 1 which meant I was qualified to teach adults to crochet,I began Part 2 in 2005. Sadly though, family circumstances led me to having to abandon the course half way through as my husband was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. Needless to say crochet went on to the back burner, and after he died I just couldn’t go back to crochet as it held too many memories.
I decided to do something I had never done before, and tried my hand at watercolour painting. I was hopeless. I persisted for 4 years but when I accepted that I was never going to be a watercolour artist, I thought I may as well go back to what I was good at. Despite my love for the craft, it took me a further 4 years before I plucked up the courage to return to the Diploma.
I work as a pattern tester, technical editor, pattern grader and tutor for crochet. I combine that with my part time post as an administrator for a training provider. I am also continuing to work towards completing the Crochet Diploma I started over 12 years ago!
Here is the Highland Crafters project I am working on to edit and increase the size range of a public retro pattern called the Bell Sleeved Jacket.
Photography by Alison Woodside. Modelled by top Scottish model Elaine Harris. 1st prototype made by Bhicoo Bhamgara
This is a stunning piece, worked in Yeomans 4 ply sport pure wool yarn. I was so inspired by this pattern, I just wanted to crochet, get it completed and wear it. But initially the only sizes available were 32, 34, 36, so I needed to add two further sizes to that range to make it more commercial.
I start all patterns with a pencil and paper, rather than yarn and hook. I use the international crochet stitch symbols to draw the stitches.Although in my drafts the stitch symbols are not exactly correct, I know what they mean! That way,I get a feel for the pattern repeats and the row ends. Then I’ll write the number of stitches for each pattern repeat, add in the stitches required for the row ends. Next, I’ll go to the tension calculation and see the number of repeats per inch or numbers of inches per pattern repeat. Then, the calculator comes out and I prepare the spreadsheet. I put all the sizes along the top row and the stitches required at strategic points for each size underneath along with the length in inches.
Then and only then does my actual crochet work begin.
I pick up the hook and yarn and put my theory into practice with a tension square. I test a size that I have graded up or down and repeatedly measure and check to ensure my calculations are correct.
Working together with my stitch drawings I can start writing the pattern. Writing patterns makes you understand much more when you are reading other patterns.
Thomas (Black and white), Yazz (Brindle) and Smokie (Black)
As well as crochet,I am passionate about my pets. I have four guinea pigs, three cats, the most recent addition, Smokie joined us at the start of September as a 10 week old kitten. We already had Thomas who is 6.5 kg of cat but is scared of his own shadow,and Yazz, who I found in a ditch in 2007. Then there are my two dogs, Katie a whippet who is 13 years old which I have owned for the past 10 years, and Grace a 6 year old lurcher which I have owned since she was 4 months old.
Katie (Light brindle and white) Grace ( Dark brindle)