Designer Profile: Carola Herbst

Carola Herbst is the designer behind CAROcreated, a collection of whimsical, colorful designs ranging from paisleys to mandalas to three-dimensional parrots to pillows. Carola, who lives in Kiel, Germany, near the border with Denmark, sent us a bit of information about herself and her designs.

Tell us a little about yourself and your designs.

I love handicraft. I tried so many different handicrafts in the past. I crocheted lace and curtains using thread and small hooks. I loved these filigree crochet works. All my windows and cabinets are decorated with these works.

Via the Internet I found all these amigurumis, which excited me—at the time for me a new art of crochet. After using patterns by other crocheters, I decided to make my own designs.

I also crochet a lot of appliques. But my favorite projects are my overlay crochet mandalas, which are very popular with my customers.

Were you formally trained in crochet or self-taught?

My mother was a member of a local handicraft society, and she taught me all the handicrafts—knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch—so she taught me the
basics in crochet. The advanced techniques I taught myself. The Internet is a true treasury; I have learned so much there about crochet. I learned many special techniques that make a crochet piece look professional.

Are you a full-time crochet designer or do you have another “day job”?

I’m a half-time crochet designer. The other half time I work as a trainer of health and rehabilitation sport.

Tell us about your work process. Do you have a crafting studio? Do you have a special place you like to crochet?

I do not have a crafting studio. I have a room where I store all my stuff for handicraft (and that’s a lot) and where my sewing and overlock machine are located—it’s our former dining room. A hook and a skein of yarn, you can take with you anywhere. So in the wintertime, I sit on the sofa, and in the summertime, I sit on my sun lounger in the garden. All my friends envy this opportunity to work.

Where do you draw inspiration for your patterns?

My inspirations come through nature, the Internet, my customers.

Do have a preferred fiber of yarn or hook?

For most of my patterns, I use a cotton yarn of a German manufacture (Catania from Schachenmayr) and the hook size 2.5 mm. The yarn is very popular in Germany, and many German crochet designers use this yarn.

What are your favorite things to design?

I love my overlay crochet mandalas. Melody Macduffie created the technique of overlay crochet in 2003. This technique is really enjoyable. I have published eight patterns with this technique.

I just love your cockatoo and parrot amigurumis. Can you tell me more about them?

The cockatoo was my first pattern. Most amigurumi are too cartoony for my liking, so I decided to make a real-looking cockatoo. Shaping the body of an amigurumi is a challenge that appeals to me. I don’t like to crochet a round/oval head, a round/oval body, etc., and sew everything together to get the body. That’s boring!

How I got to my parrot? It’s funny. I decided to make a parrot in the past, but the different colors of the body put me off, because it’s not easy to get the right distribution of colors.

A customer who purchased my cockatoo pattern asked me if I had a pattern for a parrot. She had made a parrot using my cockatoo pattern and different colors. But there were some problems, because the pattern of the cockatoo is not really suited for a parrot. My ambition was aroused. And so the parrot pattern was created. I changed a lot in comparison to the cockatoo pattern. And soon I will offer my blue-and-yellow macaw. I think it is the best of all my three birds!

What are some of your nonfiber-related hobbies? What do you like to do with your free time?

Sewing is my second passion. I create Waldorf-inspired dolls and create clothes for the dolls. Here I can exert my first passion for crochet too by crocheting hats, shoes, scarves, etc., for the dolls.

My free time I spend with handicraft—stuff I make for myself (sewing bags, crocheting blankets, knitting socks). I can’t live without it for a long time.

What crochet designs do you admire?

Melody Macduffie was a great source for inspiration for my crochet work. I love Sophie Digard’s work. Her color combinations are the hit. Fantastic! I love the works of Helle Jorgensen. I saw some crochet works of hers in reality. Wonderful!

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