Posted on 29-10-2020 by Elianne van Steenis
From ‘crochet isn’t for me’ to reaching the final of the Dutch HaakSTER (‘Crochet-STAR’) 2019 competition, Eline Ermstrang has discovered the joy of crocheting and now helps others enjoy it too. For our third ‘Yarnplaza & … 2020’ collaboration, Eline has designed a stylish baby blanket with modern stitches and color gradient. Want to find out more about this up-and-coming talent and her creation? Then read on.
Most people in the Netherlands know me from the HaakSTER crochet competition which I took part in in 2019. I made it all the way to the final. It was a super fun challenge! Others may know me from Instagram under the handle @tanteelien.
My mom and aunt are keen crocheters. From a young age, I would tag along on trips to the Yarnplaza Inspiration Center, which is close to where we lived. I loved seeing all the colors, but I never picked up a crochet hook myself. I always thought, this isn’t really my thing. But then, one day, I decided to buy a crochet book (‘Zoomigurumi’, to be precise) and a ball of cotton. I borrowed a crochet hook from my mom and had a go, teaching myself to crochet using YouTube. My mom crocheted blankets, so she used different stitches. She’d never made a magic ring, the starting point of all amigurumi. I had to discover these techniques for myself. Once I had the basics under my belt, I kept on learning by asking around for handy tips and tricks.
Fun, simple and… challenging. I’m not a fan of frills, but I do enjoy a challenging stitch. I think the most important thing is that it’s a pleasure to crochet. I don’t like using the same stitch over and over again or making something I’ve already crocheted before. This fun aspect is so important to me that I don’t necessarily crochet everything that I find beautiful. I’d much rather work on something that I find fun and challenging to make.
I’d have to go for home accessories. While I do enjoy crocheting amigurumi, it’s always the same stitches. I’d miss the challenge that home décor provides, as there’s always something new to try and you have a lot more freedom.
There isn’t really a single project that stands out for me. Of course, I haven’t been designing for that long either. I’m really proud of everything I made for the crochet competition. There are several projects from it that I really love, just because I had previously only crocheted from a pattern but now had the freedom to design for myself. There’s the mandala, the amigurumi and the dragon-fruit keyring, for example. And now there's my baby blanket design for Yarnplaza, which I’m also really proud of.
Pinterest! I also find lots of inspiration on Instagram. And of course, what I see in stores; today’s trends.
I love going out for meals, doing fun things and getting away from it all. But… if it’s been a chaotic week, I much prefer crocheting at home on the sofa. Or better yet, I’d just combine the two! First, eating out, then crocheting in front of the TV.
My mother, but she’s also my biggest critic… ha-ha! Sometimes I send her a photo of a new project and in reply I get ‘you should change this and that’. Then I think, ‘Mom, I just wanted to hear that it’s great and looks nice’. But despite that, she really is my biggest fan. She was very supportive throughout the HaakSTER competition. She even contributed some ideas to the design of this baby blanket.
No-one! My family and friends all know that it’s something important to me. I only have supporters around me. It was funny, during the HaakSTER 2019 competition, a colleague of mine was watching the episodes. She then told me, ‘I had to switch it off. I barely recognized you. So quiet!’ At work I’m quite a madcap. So maybe they think, there goes Eline again, with her crochet work. Ha-ha!
It doesn’t really matter to me. It’s just the setting. If the weather’s nice, I take my crochet work outdoors. Otherwise, just in front of the TV, cross-legged on a comfy chair with armrests or cushions for support. I do like to have a small table next to me when I can put all my things.
Tightly, but I’m starting to crochet more loosely. My experience in the crochet competition has taught me to make sure I’m using a larger crochet hook than recommended. I started my crochet journey with amigurumi which you have to crochet super tightly, so maybe that’s the reason why I crochet as tightly as I do.
My craft stash is a collection of supplies I got from my crocheting mother and aunts. I’m now trying to bring some unity to my collection by purchasing new accessories. I also have a lot of yarn, mostly cotton. My yarn stash is more precious to me than my accessories, made up of balls that I’ve collected here, there and everywhere.
When I’m designing, my laptop is my absolute must-have. I work out the proportions of my designs in Adobe Illustrator. That’s what I did with this baby blanket as well. I had the idea to incorporate a color gradient in the blanket. I gave shape to this idea with Illustrator, working out where the color changes would be and how much color I would use in the blanket. This way I already had a working design before I even started crocheting, which saves time in the long run.
After the competition, Yarnplaza asked me to design something for them. As I’m currently expecting a little one, I thought it would be fun to design a baby blanket. For the Baby Blanket Fabulous Gradient, I began with the cream color, then gradually added in the mustard. First there’s an openwork motif, followed by a shell or diamond pattern, ending with a more challenging stitch. Well, it looks challenging, but it’s actually quite easy to crochet. I opted for a crab stitch border. I didn’t want a very wide, dramatic edge, that way the stitches in the blanket are allowed to shine.
If you’re a fan of amigurumi, then @picapauyan is fun to follow. I also follow quite a lot of Ukrainian and Russian designers, whose names I don’t really know! My tip is to search the hashtags on Instagram. If something nice catches your eye, check out the account. This way you’ll discover lots of exciting things, also from less well-known crocheters.
Crochet with Eline Ermstrang
As Eline says, this baby blanket provides a lot of (crochet) fun! And even better, you can share the joy. Whether it’s your own little one snoozing under this stylish blanket or you gift it to your (grand)child or friend for their bundle of joy. You can opt for the complete Baby Blanket Fabulous Gradient crochet kit or purchase the pattern and yarn separately (perfect for creating your own color combination). Have fun crocheting with Eline Ermstrang!