Crochet Designer Interview: HanJan Crochet

Last week we told you that Marly Bird blogger Kathryn Vercillo is also a long-time columnist over at Happily Hooked digital magazine. As you know, four of designers are currently participating together in the Classic Cable Collection CAL, which launched last week. Over the years, Kathryn has done a crochet designer interview with each of us for that magazine. So, we wanted to share those with you.

hanjan crochet

Classic Cable Collection CAL Crochet Designer Interviews

Each week, the Classic Cable Collection CAL features a design from one of the four of us:

corner to corner crochet cables pillow

Meet Hannah of HanJan Crochet

Hannah Crossed learned to crochet a little over a decade ago. Shortly after learning, she launched HanJan Crochet, her crochet design brand. Her work has been featured in a range of different magazine including Mollie Makes, Simply Crochet and here at Happily Hooked. She’s here today to tell us a little bit more about her love of the craft.

When and how did you learn to crochet?

I learned to crochet back in 2010 when I was recovering from knee surgery. I had lots of friends expecting babies at the time and so I decided to make them each a crochet blanket as a gift. My Mum taught me how to make a granny square and from there on I just taught myself the rest! 

How special to give those blankets as gifts! Do you have a specific memory of one?

My favorite crochet memory is seeing my best friend unwrap the blanket I designed for her first daughter Elsie. She knew just how much love I’d put into it and it’s still treasured to this day which means so much to me.

crochet mandala kaleidoscope pattern by hannah

Besides that one, what is one of your favorite things that you’ve ever crocheted and why?

My Kaleidoscope Mandala Throw. I really wanted to challenge myself with the construction of a blanket to make it work as a crochet spiral and I happily loved how it turned out! 

How would you say that your crochet has changed from the time that you started until now?

My crochet has definitely evolved with me over the years. Designwise, I am always trying to push myself with techniques and ideas but sometimes keeping it simple still works really well. There seems to be a magic formula of the right yarn, stitch and style and I love trying to find that perfect match every time I design something even now. 

What are some of your favorite crochet techniques / stitches/ patterns?

I go through phases of techniques that I love. I love working C2C, cables, post stitches and anything that adds texture.

Yep, that makes sense, since she’s one of the designers in our crochet cable collection!

In terms of patterns, I always love creating blankets but have recently started designing more garments (for children and adults) and bags! I love making bags!

I get worried about getting stuck in a rut so I make sure I’m always designing a wide variety of things to keep it varied and make sure there’s something for everyone to enjoy. 

What is the process like when you design a crochet pattern? What are some words you would use to describe your patterns?

The design process for me is very organic – it might just start off with some new yarn I have or a shape or motif. I rarely sketch and I only figure out the numbers once I’ve got the idea set in my head. I very much commit to things and really rarely change anything once I get going. If I’ve got the idea set in my head and the numbers work out then it normally just flies off the hook (not always though of course!).

Is there a technique that you don’t know yet that you would like to learn one day?

I’ve always wanted to try out Tunisian crochet, but I’ve just never got around to really learning it. Every year I say I will but I never do! 

c2c crochet cables pillow

In what ways has crochet changed / improved your life?

Crochet and having a crochet business have completely changed my life! Crocheting keeps me calm and grounded and I love getting lost in the rhythm of a project for mindfulness and calm.

In terms of a crochet business, HanJan Crochet has grown beyond anything I could ever have imagined. It allows me to work around my young family. And it has given me so many wonderful friends and taken me to the most amazing places, too. 

When and why did you decide to start your blog? What has that experience been like for you?

I started my HanJan Crochet business first, and I started my blog almost as soon as I started the business in 2012. I didn’t really know what I was doing at the time and the blog sort of got neglected over the years until I suddenly found my voice at the beginning of 2020.

At that time, I realized that I had so many patterns and lots of crochet knowledge that I’d acquired over the years that people really seem to enjoy reading! I decided to go for it and expand my content on the blog. I absolutely love it.

The experience has been more about learning how to undo all the things that I do wrong on it in the beginning! (I’m not that skilled at the technology side of things!) And learning what works as I go. Luckily, my subscribers are hugely supportive of me and know that I’m doing my best!

What do you most hope that people take away from your blog?

I would love for people to find a bit of inspiration, a bit of education and most of all a sense of community from my blog. It’s so wonderful to have a platform to share my ideas and all things crochet and I love hearing back from everyone that reads and enjoys it. 

What are some of your favorite qualities about the craft? What do you most love about it?

I love that crochet is so adaptable; it can be big and bold or gentle and delicate. It can be quick and easy or slow and complex. It can be anything you need it to be at the time and I love that about it.

Sometimes I want to make my brain work really hard at a technique or pattern and sometimes I just want to work row after row without thinking or looking. Crochet can give you all of these things and more. 

If you could tell a beginner one thing about crochet, what would it be?

Be brave! Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t experienced enough for this or that. If you know the basics of pattern reading and stitch formation then with enough perseverance you can achieve anything! You don’t have to work simple patterns forever, so have a go at something you really want to make! 

What other crafts / hobbies do you enjoy?

I love knitting, baking, gardening, crafting with my children (generally messy things!) and mostly anything where I can be creative. I’ll have a go at pretty much anything! 

What crochet hopes / plans do you have for the next year or two?

Gosh, where do I start?! I’d love to keep growing my blog and sharing patterns for everyone to enjoy. I have some really exciting plans coming up and new collaborations with people I haven’t worked with before so that’s really exciting. I am also planning to open up for guest designer submissions for the blog which I never thought would be possible!

Paying it forward, who are some of your favorite crochet designers / bloggers?

There are so many I admire! I love the work of Veronika from BlueStar Crochet, Nadia from the Moule Hole, Fran Morgan, Briana of Briana K Designs, Pam of Sincerely Pam, so many! I am lucky enough to also call these fabulous people my friends too which is an honor. 

What else would you like us to know about you?

I grew up and live in the UK with my husband, our two young sons and our dog Ginny. I am also a Midwife working for the NHS and love that job too.

Where can we find you online?

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Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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