Michelle Robinson is the creative mind behind the fresh and modern crochet brand, Poppy & Bliss and the author of the gorgeous, bright and colourful new book Tunisian Crochet Workshop.
Start at page 1 as a complete beginner and finish as an absolutely hooked graduate. The 12 projects included in Tunisian Crochet Workshop are gorgeous, colourful, and perfect for all levels.
We caught up with Michelle recently to find out more about her and her love of crochet.
- Can you tell us a little bit about you?
I’m a passionate yarn addict, teacher, maker, designer and sometime blogger from Melbourne, Australia where I live with my partner Graham and furry friend Ralph who keeps me company in my ‘creatively’ messy studio and mum to 3 grown up kids who have all flown the coop now, generously giving up their bedrooms to accommodate my enormous yarn stash.
- Tunisian Crochet can seem very hard to get into, how did you first discover it?
I have vague memories of my granny working in Tunisian crochet way back in the 70’s but it wasn’t until about 6 or 7 years ago that I actually gave it a try when I was experimenting with crochet stitches that had a knit-like quality.
I fell in love with it instantly as it combined my love for both knitting and crochet and opened up a whole new world for my designs as it lends itself so well to creating the clean lines and textures that regular crochet doesn’t always allow.
- Your patterns are gorgeous and so colourful, do you create these to match your personal style?
My personal style is actually not very colourful at all. I tend to dress in mainly black or grey but I usually add a small pop of colour with accessories. My home is a bit more colourful than my wardrobe but rather than an explosion of colour I use the 80/20 rule – 80% neutral and 20% colour. The mainly neutral décor creates a good backdrop for my colourful creations without them getting lost in the crowd.
- Do you like to do other forms of yarn crafts?
In my downtime, I also love to knit and I also enjoy regular crochet, particularly tapestry and intarsia crochet which allows me to create the geometric designs that I love so much.
- What is your favourite thing to make?
It depends on my mood really, sometimes I feel like getting stuck into a big project and love to make blankets. Other times I just want a quick fix and will make a cushion or decoration. Lately, though, I’ve been on a quest to fill my wardrobe with handmade items as I can never find anything I like in the shops so I’m really enjoying making wearables at the moment.
- Is there anything exciting happening in the future that you can give us a little sneak peek at?
I’m actually about to take a 6-month break to embark on an exciting new adventure. Graham and I are in the process of selling our house, packing all our belongings into storage before heading off in our caravan to travel up the coast of Australia in search of the perfect location to re-settle and build our dream home by the beach. It’s all very exciting and a little bit scary but I’m really looking forward to it. Whilst we’re travelling I’ll be spending the time developing new ideas and directions for Poppy & Bliss and looking forward to starting afresh once we’ve settled into our new home.
- Do you have any hints or tips to give to newcomers to Tunisian crochet?
Don’t worry about the curl! It is normal for Tunisian crochet to curl but thankfully it is easily fixed with blocking. A quick shot of steam with your iron or a soak in a tub of water will do the trick.
The last stitch of the forward pass is always worked the same regardless of the stitch pattern being used. It’s not usually noted in pattern instructions but in my patterns, I always refer to this last stitch as the ‘end stitch’ to indicate that it is worked differently, i.e. you insert your hook under the last vertical bar and the bar that lies directly behind it. Regardless of whether it’s noted or not you will always work this last stitch the same way.