Interweave Crochet Accessories: Turning Chain
Katherine Dempsey is an everyday crocheter who particularly loves the Interweave Crochet Accessories special issues. An avid crafter who crochets daily, she taught herself to crochet in 2011. She recently started selling her work at local craft fairs and through her Etsy shop, A Danish Heart.
After the Fall
Katherine worked for more than twelve years as a successful complementary therapist specializing in reflexology and nutrition. Things were going well in her life and her practice until April 2011, when a bad spill resulted in broken ligaments, ripped tendons, and a torn disc in her back that caused immense sciatic pain. She had to spend most of her time in bed.
After about a month of going stir-crazy as she tried to heal, she received a magazine that inspired her to learn to crochet. Her husband took her to a yarn shop, where she bought a basic book, some yarn, and a hook. She poured her energy into learning how to crochet, stitch by stitch. Although she was unable to do her healing work for others, she healed herself through crochet. She felt creative and productive again.
Small Projects Bloom
Katherine started out crocheting simple flowers, playing around with different textures and colors. “I love the colors and textures of wool and really enjoy finding new wool shops,” she says. “I mostly use wooden hooks and love the feel of the chunky yarn and working with bigger hooks.” These days Katherine really loves to crochet accessories. She has all three previous editions of Interweave Crochet Accessories. She was excited to stumble upon a copy of the 2011 issue when she was relocating from her home in the United Kingdom to her new home in Toronto. It seemed to be a sign that the comfort of her new craft would be just right as she made big transitions in her life.
A Positive Attitude
Katherine’s injury sent her life into a bit of a tailspin, but it is what brought her to crochet, a craft she has come to love. Although she is still healing and dealing with surgery to help repair her injured body, she maintains a really positive attitude. She says that although her injury “has caused so much upheaval, maybe it will end up very positively changing my life forever. Crochet has played a huge part in this process.”
A Chan Fan
Asked about the crochet designers who inspire her most, Katherine does not hesitate to say she is a fan of Doris Chan. She watched a broomstick lace demonstration by Doris in London and wants to engage in broomstick projects next. In the meantime, she has worked on other Doris Chan designs. She made Doris’s One-For-All Family of Mitts (Interweave Crochet Accessories, 2010) for all of her cousins last Christmas.
Although Katherine became a crochet addict only fairly recently, she has always been a crafter. She says that her main love is Danish Hedebo, a form of whitework embroidery. She adores this craft but acknowledges that “it is very long, very painstaking, and very fine.” She tried to do Hedebo in the early days after her injury but found that she simply couldn’t focus and concentrate on it, which ultimately led her to the more meditative craft of crochet. She also points out that Hedebo requires good light, scissors, thread, magnifying glasses, and other tools, whereas crochet calls for just yarn and a hook. And you can easily crochet anywhere.
Crochet in Every Place
Katherine says that she crochets daily. In her old U.K. home, she had an upstairs craft room, and she’s working on creating a similar space in the den of her Toronto home. Some of the things she really wants in that craft space are a big armchair to sit in while she crochets and two large mood boards for inspiration. She likes to keep her yarn out where she can see it. During the day she will work in this space with the radio on and her dog, Jackson, nearby. During the evening she’ll crochet in front of the television as she relaxes.
Katherine crochets anywhere. She says, “I have crocheted on a bus, train, plane, car, and even at a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game.” Her favorite crochet memory is sitting in a coffee shop, working on her craft, and having the waitress ask her what she was doing. She ended up showing her how to crochet and passing the craft on to someone new. Katherine, always a healer at heart, was happy to inspire someone else in this way. She says that she always feels she has much more to learn from other people, but that crochet was a gift she could give to that stranger.
Note: Some of the quotes in this article come directly from Katherine’s interview for Crochet Saved My Life, where she shared her story about crafting to heal with author Kathryn Vercillo.
KATHRYN VERCILLO is the author of Crochet Saved My Life (createSpace independent Publishing Platform, 2012). She blogs at www.crochetconcupiscence.com.