MAXINE GORDON meets North Yorkshire jeweller Steffi Glaves who is hooked on crochet
EXQUISITE is the word that best defines the work of Steffi Glaves, the North Yorkshire jeweller who makes pieces in micro-crochet.
Tiny flower buds, heart-shaped leaves and miniature bunting in an array of styles and colours form her collection of earrings, pendants and brooches.
After studying design crafts at university in Leicester, where she specialised in metalwork and enamelling, the 26-year-old took a totally different route when she set up her own jewellery business three years ago – by making pieces in miniature crochet.
“I learned to crochet because I was going on a trip to London with the college and didn’t want to read on the coach. I asked my mum to show me the basics. So I went on the trip with a ball of cotton and a 1.25mm crochet hook. My first samples are absolutely awful – they look like fishermen netting.”
But Steffi persevered. Once she got the hang of the basic stitches, she then followed tuition videos on YouTube. “At that point, I couldn’t understand or read patterns so found it useful to see how people used the hook for different stitches and construction.”
Steffi began making handwarmers. Her mother Moira de Lavenu runs a gallery in Pickering, Hares and Hedgerows, and Steffi began selling her handwarmers there. “The reception I got was that ‘I could make them myself and cheaper’ so I had to think how to translate my skills into something people can’t do.
“I thought, could I shrink my shapes and make them smaller? How far could I push my hands and my eyesight?”
And so Steffi’s journey into micro-crocheting began.
She first began by making brooches, then diversified into earrings and pendants, mostly on a floral theme.
To begin, she used fine bone-handled hooks that had belonged to her grandma. But they kept snapping, so she now uses narrow hooks just 0.5mm in diameter. She crochets with cottons normally used in hand quilting because they are waxed and tend to give a better stitch definition.
Her leaf earrings in dark purple and dark blue are her most popular. “People tend to buy the jewellery as gifts, normally for someone who loves crochet,” she says.
Prices for her fine crochet lace jewellery, with Sterling silver, start at £12.50 for a pair of stud earrings.
Besides selling in her mother’s shop, in Birdgate, Steffi sells online (etsy.com/uk/shop/SteffiGlaves) and at craft fairs. She has had a regular Sunday stall at Shambles Market in York and will be there tomorrow and on Easter Sunday.
She will also be taking part in a craft fair at The Feathers Hotel, Helmsley, on Easter Monday, from 10am-4pm.
Steffi, who used to work in haberdashers Duttons for Buttons, now splits her time between working as a woodwork technician in a school and running the business.
She likes that mix, which allows her to indulge her passion for crochet. “I love it. You have to in order to make all the stock. Each pieces takes quite a long time to make, but I really like the repetitive element of stitching and stitch counting.
“I will do it for as long as my eyes will let me.”