Apricot is the creative outlet of aspiring crochet queen Manda Grubner. Based in Wellington, the fashion design student and crafty mother of two learnt to crochet from her mum and now creates her own distinctive garments and accessories.
What do you make?
I make crochet everything! Arm warmers, hats, scarves, cowls, baby shoes, baby beanies and clothing and whatever else takes my fancy. I often see a shape or silhouette and instantly wonder “if I can crochet that”.
How did you get into your craft?
I Iearnt to sew as a child and from there I dabbled in knitting, cross stitch and other types of traditional craft. I was always interested in crochet and finally set aside the time to learn about four years ago. My marvelous mama taught me how and now says I have surpassed her skill and ability even though I can hardly follow a pattern!
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Not in crochet specifically but I studied fashion design in Hamilton before I moved to Wellington with my family at the end of last year. I got halfway through the diploma programme and I am considering continuing this here in Wellington at Massey University.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I love to work with deliciously soft cottons and bamboo yarns. I have about a million crochet hooks that I keep in a beautiful cloth case that my partner made for me. My process really just involves envisaging a shape or style and stitching until I get it. Crochet is great because you can really just work free form without a pattern or guide. Once I have something I love I have to go over it and count stitches and memorise what I did so all the design work isn’t lost.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
I’m not a big fan of big business or exploitative processes so I try to be conscious of where my yarns and supplies come from. I want to be as ethical as possible in what I make as well as what I buy. So, handmade is perfect for me!
What inspires you?
At the moment? My 10 week old daughter Edie. I am definitely working on more kids pieces than ever before. Textures, contrasts, colours and shapes also catch my eye and I spend a lot of time looking at street style from around the world to get an idea of what is current internationally.
Describe your workspace:
We do have a room in our house that I keep all my supplies in and work in but to be honest my whole world is my workspace. I take my crochet everywhere (less so since having a second child) and can do it in the car, at restaurants, cafes, the playground with my son, while waiting for a bus. It’s definitely a very portable craft form.
Recommend an album: Yeah So by The Slow Club. Love them!
Your favourite childhood book?
I was obsessed with reading as a child so there are loads. I loved anything by Judy Blume.
What are you reading now?
With a newborn? Um… yeah, reading doesn’t really happen! But before Edie was born I read a lot of sci fi and feminist novels. I loved Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I also like authors Marge Peircy, Marilyn French and Ursula Le Guin and more recently discovered Kurt Vonnegut.
All the marvelous women in my life. Mothers, sisters, daughters and friends who inspire, support, uplift and care for each other.
“What does that do? Excellent question! My sacrifice goes in the volcano, then the friendly gods will eat up my sacrifice, “Mmm thank you for the sacrifice” “Please have another sacrifice” “No I’ve had enough for the day” “Listen, I’m going to be very upset if you don’t have another” “I don’t want another sacrifice ok?!” “Come on you look so skinny!” “No I think I’ve had enough is that clear?!”……The gods eat the sacrifice…they are grateful, they give me some of their water, and I will give it to you.”
I have a seven year old. Does that explain this?
Do you have any pets?
We have a family cat named Biscuit Leapy Dynamite. Name care of aforementioned seven year old.
See more of Manda’s original hand crocheted designs in her Felt shop, Apricot.