I’m excited to introduce a talented individual who works on the backside of crochet design. She’s not an active crochet designer like my usual guest, but rather a fellow tech editor and businesswoman. I’m thrilled to have Gemma Williams on the blog today to get to know more about her and learn more about her business.
Without feather ado, let’s chat with Gemma!
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When did you learn to crochet and what was your “why” for learning crochet?
I first learned to crochet from my Granny as a small girl, but it didn’t really stick at that point. I picked it up again when my first child was born, learning at a craft and playgroup (craft for the parents, play for the babies). After that, I was hooked, as it were! My ‘why’ is simple. I just love it, I love the fact that you can do it anywhere, I love how relaxing it is, I love that it takes my mind off other things, and I love the things you can create with it.
What was your first crochet design? Could you share the inspiration behind the design?
I’m a tech editor rather than a designer, although I have designed a shower mat for myself and hope to branch out into design in the future. My shower mat was really inspired by our new bathroom, which had a narrow space for a shower mat and is all in neutral stone tones. I wanted something that fitted and matched the décor and couldn’t find anything in the shops, so I designed my own.
Could you describe your design process?
It’s probably not refined yet, but I did some research into textures and stitches, colors and yarns, and then started crocheting and frogging. For future projects, though, I would definitely put pen to paper first.
Do you have a small business? If so, share about your business.
I have a small business called Concrete Gems. It has two legs to it. The first is my crochet tech editing service, which I absolutely love. I love working with designers to make sure their patterns are the very best they can be. The second part of my business is a small homewares company, where I make and sell items such as trinket trays, coasters, and ring holders.
When did you become a crochet tech editor and what kind of patterns do you like to edit?
I haven’t been a crochet tech editor for long, but I love it and have thrown myself into it. I am an English graduate and an accountant by trade, so these two things really fit with tech editing, and I feel like it is my calling. I love to edit all sorts of items. I probably prefer blankets, accessories, and amigurumi over garments, but I do enjoy the challenges of editing garments too. If you’d like to work with me, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Sweet Bird Crochet for a 20% discount off your first tech edit.
Tell us about a time when you made a big mistake in the editing process. How did you recover from it?
My first job was editing a book, which was a big challenge that was quite overwhelming. I was sure I had missed lots of issues on the first pass, but a second version enabled me to pick up on further issues to complete the job well.
What are your favorite resources in your crochet toolbox?
I love my 4mm crochet hook, it’s my favorite. I’m not even sure what brand it is; I’ve had it so long, but I find it the most comfortable to work with.
What’s the most challenging part of being a crochet business owner?
Prioritization – I often end up with overwhelming paralysis because I can’t decide what the most important thing to do is. Being a mum of 3 means I have limited time to spend on my business, so it is often difficult to know what I should be doing in those moments to make the best of my business.
Share how you organize your week or how you balance life and yarny things.
Three mornings a week, I have no distractions at home. During that time, I make sure I tackle any tech edits or other written work I have to do first, setting myself up in my office straight away. I work a lot more in the colder and rainier months than in the summer, when I like to spend time in the garden. My crochet time is in the evenings in front of the TV, although I’ll often put in an hour of tech editing before that too. I sometimes work weekends or other times too. It’s all very flexible as I work around the kids and other life admin too. It seems to work for me though.
How are you hoping to grow over the next few years?
As my children are growing older, I am getting more time for myself, and I’m hoping to use this time to grow my business significantly. There are so many ideas inside my head of things I want to try, and I just can’t wait to get started with them.
What advice or encouragement would you give to aspiring or new designers?
Just go for it now; there will never be a perfect time! And always, always, always use a tech editor! A pattern tester is great, but they will not pick up on half of the things a tech editor can. Imagine buying a pattern and then not understanding it or finding loads of mistakes?! That would seriously damage your reputation, so hiring a tech editor is really an essential investment for all designers.
Do you know how to knit, cross stitch, weave, or spin? If not, do you have a desire to learn a new fiber art?
I can knit, cross stitch, and weave, but I’ve not had any formal training in any, I’ve just taught myself. I’ve not tried spinning and think it would be quite interesting, but I’m not sure it could compete with crochet.
Do you have a bucket list? If so, what are the top 5 things you want to accomplish?
Travel and see the world; write a book; become a crochet designer; grow my own veg; get good at yoga.
What’s your all-time favorite movie? Book? T.V. Series? Podcast?
I love books by T.M. Logan, Jojo Moyes, and Karin Slaughter at the moment. My favorite feel-good movie has to be Love Actually. T.V. Series – I loved The Heist on Netflix. I haven’t listened to a Podcast for a while, but I used to love the Create and Thrive podcast.
If you could travel anywhere in the world (all expenses paid), where would it be?
Right now, I need some proper sun – we have had such a rainy summer – so maybe somewhere like Mauritius or the Seychelles.
If you could have a craft part, what three people (living or dead, real or fictional) would you invite?
I have a soft spot for Stacey Solomon and Kirsty Allsopp, I can’t think of a third right now, I’m not very good at remembering names!
What’s your favorite quote, verse, or saying?
“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. Follow your dreams and persist.” Barack Obama
To find out more about Gemma or to follow her on social media, please click the links below: