Our yarn is dyed and balled on a farm in Philadelphia in the Western Cape.
Some of these balls get on a jet plane and travel to the other side of the world.
From there, they travel even further to cute little yarns shops across the world where they end up in the hands of very talented makers and designers. Awesome isn’t it? One of those very talented designers is Annelies Baes from Belgium. Annelies is a prolific designer, internationally well known for her beautiful shawls and garments. We caught up with her:
Tell us about yourself:
I am almost 45, married for 10 years, and mother of two boys, Arno (18) and Vic (9). My company name is Vicarno, which is a composition of both boys names together. I started crocheting a while ago, out of frustration. When Vic was born, he was a super sweet baby, but also a very sleepless one. He did not sleep well for many, many years. My husband and I became very tired after all those sleepless nights walking around with a sleepless little one… We did not (and still do not) believe in letting babies cry alone, we always knew he was not to blame, because he was suffering from being so tired himself too. I was too tired to get back to my office job, and we decided it would be best for me to become a stay-at-home-mum for a while. I needed something to do besides being with my little one, so one fine day I picked up a crochet hook, and everything else is history. Nowadays Vic is sleeping, he loves it by the way, and he is very proud of me becoming a crochet designer. (He is my biggest fan!) I like silence a lot. True silence. Walking in the woods and not speaking for a long time, just listening to the sounds of what is surrounding me; the leaves, the wind… becoming one with nature. Music makes me happy, unfortunately I am not a good singer, but I like to sing! Good food! We visit my parents-in-law a lot, and they cook the best meals!
What inspires you?
Yarn. I get inspired by beautiful yarns; their colours, their texture. When the yarn arrives at my home, I’ll leave it on my desk and wait until it ‘tells’ me what to do with it. I also like nature a lot, whenever I walk in the woods or at the beach, or even in the streets, inspiration comes to me. My family; they show me beautiful things all the time, what they read in magazines, what they learn at school… Instagram and Pinterest are amazing sources of inspiration as well, in fact, I constantly find inspiration in whatever surrounds me.
How do you decide on your next project?
There are several ways on how I decide what I will make or design next. Sometimes I design on request, which I like a lot. This means somebody else decides for me! This is quite challenging and it requires another way of working, another way of finding inspiration and creativity. I always have a list of new upcoming designs hanging on my moodboard at home, at my desk. This list is an overview of what I really want to design in the near future. Depending on how I feel, how much time I have, what yarn I have around me, I’ll pick one of these ideas and start working on it. Choosing a new project is always hard, a tough choice, because it means all the other ideas will have to wait! My list of all things I want to make or design is always very big, so choosing is always hard.
Do you have control over the creative aspect of commissions?
I like doing commissions a lot, the companies and magazines and people I work with have similar ideas of creativity, of the designing process, this means that even for commissions I have the feeling I get a lot of freedom, which is great. Doing commissions is also very challenging and enriching; I often need to get out of my comfort zone and work with new yarns I do not know, or make designs with new techniques, but I like learning new skills every day, I like discovering new yarns, new ways of creativity. Nevertheless I make sure there is always space and time for my own personal creativity and designing beautiful things for my own website and Ravelry page. In fact I am always working on several designs at the same time, which is good. Depending on the day, or my activity level, or whatever other circumstances, I can find the proper design to work on. During the day, when I am alone at home, I really like working on difficult designs, with quite a bit of math and/or challenges in it, but in the evening, or when I am a bit tired, or during school holidays, I prefer working on relaxing and more easy designs. Thanks to the variety of things I am working on, I find a nice balance and good productivity.
What is your favourite item to design?
I think I have two. I love designing garments a lot. Cardigans mainly. Everybody needs several good cardigans. My goal is to design beautiful and comfortable cardigans with great shape, that look fabulous on every woman. Since it is quite an intensive process to design these garments in different sizes, I also love designing beautiful shawls. Shawls are so great, they are perfect for everybody, in every season, for every occasion!
Do you ever have time to make items for yourself?
I am a lucky woman, since I get most of the sample designs I make for publications in magazines back! That is so rewarding and it makes me very happy. This way I have accumulated a lot of shawls and cardigans I can wear myself a short while after the publication. I like knitting a lot. In my free time I am learning to become a better knitter, and I definitely want to knit myself a sweater. That is one of my goals for 2018 : knitting myself a lovely topdown sweater.
What is your favourite Nurturing Fibres yarn?
Oh! This is a tough one! I like the Supertwist Sock yarn a lot. The colour palette is so amazing. Every skein has a royal yardage, which means it is super great to make shawls and garments with it. The drape of the yarn is also fantastic. It is a dream to work with this yarn.
I also like the Supertwist DK. I recently made a shawl with it, and I love how this yarn feels. It is soooo soft. I love its stitch definition, how every stitch looks so nice. I worked it rather tightly, to create a dense fabric, but even so, the shawl is so soft and drapes very nicely. It is the perfect yarn to make warm items that are truly soft, but also have great drape and look amazing.
The Eco-Fusion yarn is also wonderful to crochet with. (this yarn smells really great too, by the way!) What I like most about this yarn, is the delicate colour effect in it. Since it is a cotton-bamboo mix it has a special ‘double’ effect in it, which is amazing to look at (I think it is ok to say it has very subtle sparkles in it, without glitters), and fantastic to crochet with. It blocks out really nice, and I cannot wait to start wearing my new shawl design with it, once the pictures have been taken! The colours of this yarn also make me really happy, their intensity, the deepness and richness of the shades are stunning. In the near future, I would love to try the Kidsilk yarn, as I am a true mohair fan.
And your favourite shade?
Definitely the aqua blue shades! Aqua, Tidal Pool, Aventurine and Ocean in Eco-Fusion, Monette, Coquette and Sea Glass in Supertwist Sock yarn! In the newest Stained Glass palette I truly love Petrel and Nori, they are so beautiful.
Lastly, Annelies… do you do any other crafts, and what would you have loved to do, if you weren’t a designer?
I like to work with wool felt as well, before I became a crochet designer I loved making little seasonal table ornaments or for home decoration. Sometimes I sew, but I do not have a lot of time for it right now. Improving my knitting skills is on my to-do-list as well.
As a kid, I wanted to become a jewellery designer, a goldsmith. Making all those beautiful delicate earrings and bracelets out of silver or gold, wow, that was something I really wanted to learn. I would also love to be a female beer brewer. It seems I have a very good nose and good taste for beer!
Where can people get in touch with you?
English website : www.eng.vicarno.com
Dutch website : www.ned.vicarno.com
Facebook (business): Vicarno
Facebook (personal): Annelies Baes
Design Page: Ravelry
All photos by Annelies Baes.