Rachel Rogers is a Hackney-based designer and maker of crochet homeware and accessories. She uses chunky recycled cotton yarn in an array of vibrant colours to add a modern aesthetic to her products, and each of her pieces is made unique as a result of the processes used to create them. Rachel teaches our Crochet Basket classes at our West Hampstead shop which are super fun and popular!
Question: Where did the idea for your crochet business first come from?
Answer: There was no light bulb idea moment really it grew organically from friends showing an interest in my makes. It really came about when at a friends house during one of our regular craft nights. I had just discovered T Shirt yarns and was half way through making a basket which I completed there, my friend loved it and placed an order for two there and then! I had always dreamn’t of having my own business and at the time was freelancing and struggling with paying for childcare and the unpredictability of it all, so as the orders came in the decision to focus solely on setting up my business and see where it could take me felt like the right path and one that I had been in search of for a long time. It was important that I could work around my kids doing something I loved – crochet definitely hits the spot!
Q:Your Etsy shop looks amazing! How did you find the process of setting up your shop?
Thank you! It was not an easy task setting up shop, there are so many elements that have to be brought together before you can even think about pressing OPEN SHOP! It was quite nerve racking and opening it made it all feel very real. I literally thought I couldn’t open the shop without having every last detail in place, thinking that I would be inundated with orders! This wasn’t the reality and it turns out you have to put a huge amount of work into making Etsy work – firstly getting your head around the SEO of it, mean’t reading forum after forum and hours of tweaking. It still needs work and new products to be added but it works for now as my shop front, I’m in the process of working on my own website which is really exciting.
Q:We are super excited about your crochet classes at our West Hampstead shop, what can students expect?
You and me both!! There is nothing better than sharing my passion for crochet with new students. So far there isn’t one workshop that I have taught where someone hasn’t grasped it .. many have gone on and caught the crochet bug. Students can expect to learn the basics so that they could take this knowledge and apply it to many different future crochet projects. Its not only about learning to crochet its about the amazing t shirt yarns we will use to create the basket, they are all offcuts from textile factories which helps the environment enormously, there is something really special about creating a new practical product out of materials that would otherwise be waste.
Q:What is the most unusual / interesting commission you have been set?
My first commission was probably the most interesting which was to crochet lampshades. They were to go in a newly designed meeting room at a friends Architects practice. We would talk crochet and design at the school gates – I was hugely excited! They loved the t shirt yarns and told me they wanted big and bold so I just went for it!
Q:Do you still find time to crochet for yourself or do you have any other crafty hobbies?
I do crochet for myself still as I actually use all my products – no better way to test them! It is not unknown for me to be whipping up a crochet clutch bag last minute for a wedding, a new shopper bag just because or a basket to try to bring more order into my home! I generally fall in love with every product I make and find it impossible to not hold a few products back for myself. Not surprising when friends come over and mention there is a lot of crochet going on in my house!!! I recently did a wall weaving workshop which I really loved and would love to have more time to take this further, instead I will continue to be inspired by all those incredible weavers out there.
Q: What is your favourite material to work with and why?
A: I am 100% in love with t-shirt yarns. Each and every cone you buy is different in thickness, stretch and texture making everything you make unique. I never know exactly what the yarn will be like until it gets delivered so there is always an element of surprise. Even when the order arrives and you fall head over heals for a particular yarn there is very little chance you will ever be able to buy that same yarn again, this really is the unique selling point of each product. T Shirt yarns are all recycled (as I mentioned before), I just love that I am creating practical and useful products out of something that would otherwise end up on a waste site – I am a firm believer that we should be upcycling as much as possible not only for today but for future generations to come.