Crafty chat with ... Sharon Houwerzijl
Our first crafter interview is with Sharon Houwerzijl (46) from Vlagtwedde, a village near Groningen in the Netherlands. From an early age Sharon was taught various craft techniques by her mother, but her interest never took hold. Ten years ago, that all changed.
"It all began after a visit to my mother-in-law while she was crocheting a cardigan. She was keen to teach me, gave me a ball of cotton yarn and a hook and I started crocheting at home watching YouTube tutorials. Despite some trial and error, my enthusiasm was sparked. Since then, I have crocheted non-stop. It's a kind of addiction."
After mastering chains, Sharon switched to patterns. "I searched for a pattern and made my first coaster. When that turned out well, I tried something more complicated, then went full steam ahead. My mother was so proud that I could do it and gave me the iconic stork scissors. 'If you craft, you must have craft scissors' was her message!"
Sharon talks about how her yarn collection quickly grew. Laughing, she says: "To get through my stash, I will have to live to at least 100! I almost have enough at home to open a yarn shop. It’s partly stored under my bed and other things like my wool winder and buttons live in the garage." Sharon's stash is constantly topped up from new purchases and Marketplace acquisitions. "I have a nose for treasure" she says.
To keep her stash under some sort of control, Sharon regularly starts new projects: "If I want to make something new, I look at my yarn, then choose the pattern. When picking out yarn, I always smell the yarns first when no one is looking. I love that smell," she chuckles.
"I'm not really into making clothes. I have made jumpers, cardigans and dresses, but I get much more pleasure out of making blankets, wraps and cuddly toys. By now I have so many that I always have readymade gifts in the house - I can't keep them all myself! I really enjoy process and afterwards I’m glad if they make someone else happy."
After hooking several larger projects, Sharon and her mother-in-law joined their first Scheepjes CAL in 2017 - the Scandinavian inspired Hygge wrap. This was followed up in 2020 by the d'Histoire Naturelle CAL. "We gave those as gifts to each other for our birthdays,". Sharon tells us how excited she was when she found out that the 2023 CAL had a scientific theme: "I'm a medical lab technician so I walk around wearing a white coat every day. When the Colour Lab CAL was announced, I was immediately thinking, 'I can't miss this!"
Some beautiful traditions were also passed down from her late mother: "My mother had a tradition of crocheting a little something to give with her Christmas cards. I adopted that. At first, only for the neighbours, but now I crochet something to give with every card. Last Christmas, I crocheted forty angels. I already have an idea for next Christmas, but first I have to work it out and test to see if it will work."
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