Yorkshire crafter Ruby McGrath has turned a talent for crochet into the successful business Frank&Olive. Here she talks to Jayne Dwyer about her inspirations
Does crochet or crafting run in the family?
I have always been creative. I used to draw a lot as a kid, studied art and textiles at school and then illustration after that. I think it was inevitable that I was going to be creative. In my family we have a textiles artist, a sculptor, two photographers and a painter.
My grandparents were, and still are, a massive inspiration to me. My grandma used to make clothes and my grandad made beautiful silver jewellery – which I treasure.
Why not knitting or sewing?
I actually taught myself to knit a month or so before I took up crocheting. It just didn’t inspire me and I couldn’t see any progression like I could with crochet. I picked up a hook and knew I’d be busy for a long time!
How did your hobby become a business?
Truthfully, it all happened almost without me realising and I had to spend some time trying to catch up with the business.
I simply set out making clothes and accessories for my baby whilst pregnant, and people soon started to ask me to make things for them too. It started to snowball, and I soon decided I should make a website to keep up with the demand.
Who or what inspires your designs?
My daughter, Olive, is definitely my inspiration behind my children’s wear and accessories. I just like to make pretty things that my little girl will love – it just turns out lots of other people love them too!
Which is your most popular design?
I would definitely say the little rainbow dresses; they’re made using the most luxurious yarn and are the perfect design for all year round. The stretchy nature of the design also means that they won’t be outgrown too quickly, which is always a bonus for mums.
Is there a market for boy’s crocheted garments?
I am actually developing a boy’s clothing and accessories range. I have made dungarees, flat caps and hoodies in the past, which have gone down very well. I have had some enquiries from men, but none have dared come along to a workshop – yet!
Tell me about Kirstie’s Handmade Britain.
I was asked by Kirstie’s production team to produce a crochet tutorial for Kirstie’s Handmade Britain, which was a great success.
What has been your biggest buzz?
Definitely meeting, being featured in, and designing for Mollie Makes Magazine. I always said that my ultimate goal and dream would be to have my name mentioned in one of their issues. So, to have made friends with the editor, had a feature AND be designing for them, is a total dream come true.
What do people do at a Frank and Olive workshop?
In the beginners’ workshops, I teach you how to make a granny square, which you can then take home with you, to turn into a blanket or cushion cover etc. Then if you’d like to go on to improve your skills, we can make whatever you fancy at a one on one.