Within her own home, Maaike has a few guidelines she abides by for ensuring her crochet productivity enhances rather than overwhelms the space she and her family inhabit. “When I started to crochet, I promised myself that if there were to be crochet items in the house, they would match our interior. By that I mean not all rainbow colours and pink. It just doesn’t suit me, nor our home. So what inspires my designs is a calm, neutral and comfortable mix to complement our home.”
Maaike’s favourite place to crochet is in her own living room, at the table or the couch. “There has to be a latte or tea, preferably some chocolate, or even better loads of it,” she grins. “My Fifties playlist in the background, fresh flowers of the season at the table, a notebook to take pattern notes… although I have to admit my mind usually crochets faster than it writes. Most times I end up making two or three versions of a new design to finally write the steps down. It’s just so much more fun to crochet! And usually while working on a design I can’t help but come up with a couple of variations, and get too excited to make those first before I write down the original.”
Maaike also loves to crochet in public places “like waiting rooms – people always have their own yarn related story and are interested in what I am making. It’s very motivating!” In addition, she attends crochet nights at a local yarn shop close to her home, “I love to share my yarn love with friends. It is just so inspirational and fun to sit with others while chatting and making.”
The world of blogging and social media contributes to Maaike’s sense of a broader crochet community. “Kat Goldin never fails to amaze me with her garments and intricate stitches in her shawl designs,” she says. “Her use of colour is always right. I haven’t had the guts yet to design a cardigan, sweater or other item that should fit so I can wear it. Anyone who does garment design is practically my hero!” Nicki Trench is also on Maaike’s radar. “Her classic designs, use of colour and patterns which just ‘work’ for me, are fantastic. Also, her blankets are amazing. If I had the time, I would make them all!”
Maaike adds: “My crochet-friends-from-afar Sandra and Annette are very dedicated bloggers. Each in their own and different way write beautiful posts and make lovely projects which always inspire me.” She finds Instagram increasingly absorbing too, drawing inspiration from a range of craft and lifestyle feeds including @alicebyday (“her colours and designs are lovely”) and @rawrustic (“her travels and eye for colour are very beautiful and unusual”). “The outdoors and nature, flowers in particular, the change of seasons and accompanying light… they all help me to come up with new inspiring crochet designs.”
Currently, Maaike is busy working on a new book, due to be published in English, the UK and USA towards the end of 2016/ early 2017. “It’s a dream come true for me to be given the opportunity to publish internationally, and it’s hard not to give away more details yet!” Maaike’s baby girl, Annabel, also helps to shape her mum’s creative output. “Besides the new book, I will be publishing some more baby patterns this year, like warm bonnets, practical bibs and blankets, all inspired by our girl and her needs,” Maaike says with a smile. “Regularly I ask myself, am I happy with this work-life balance? And so far I am still and feel privileged to live this calmer life crocheting and designing in a beautiful little village with my family.”
Interview by Judy Darley.