Maine, United States

Contributor Spotlight / SIMPLE / Aneela Hoey
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Contributor Spotlight / SIMPLE / Aneela Hoey

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Today we're excited to introduce another SIMPLE contributor, Aneela Hoey. Aneela created the lovely Coastal Glasses Case project, found on pages 40-43. Aneela writes patterns for sewing and knitting organizers. She lives in the UK, drinks too much tea, and is fascinated by construction and mechanisms. To keep up with Aneela's work, follow her on Instagram, aneelahoey

What is your craft, and how did you get started? 

My craft is creating new idea's for sewing/knitting organizers and writing sewing patterns for these. I learned to sew in needlework classes while still at school. At home, my mum always had a project in the works, and I grew up with the idea that having a creative hobby was normal. About ten years ago, this outlet suddenly became much more intense for me. Around this time, I began making quilts and started seeing sewing as something that was necessary for me to do each day rather than a pastime I merely dabbled in when I felt like it. Over the intervening years, my focus has moved on from the quilts themselves to the process and set up in the way I sew and make. I started making organizers working from my own ideas, and this gradually led to pattern writing. As well as writing the patterns, I create all my own illustrations, take the photographs, and self publish the finished work as both PDF and printed booklets.  

How would you describe your aesthetic and style? 

Functional and modern. Most of my design decisions are led by the end use of the pouch or organizer. The starting point is always functionality; the finished item should answer any required needs when it is eventually put to use. This, in turn, informs the style and dictates the shape the pouch will take. Other than this, I like to keep things stylistically as simple as possible with small details such as leather pull tabs and metal zippers to give a polished finish.

What made you want to design patterns?

I had lots of ideas for new and interesting organizers that I was intrigued to try and create. When my first book Little Stitches was published, it came with a set of pull out pattern transfer sheets. I knew I wanted to create some kind of holder to keep the book, sheets, and cut-out patterns together in. My first attempt was very basic, but after several prototypes involving different construction ideas, I came up with an organizer that worked perfectly - the Project Book Pouch. The challenge of coming up with a workable solution to a required need by problem-solving any issues is something I've come to relish.

How do you refill your creative tank?

I frequently hit a dry patch where I'm not feeling inspired by anything. I've discovered the best solution is to completely step aside and do something different. Personally, I find doing the most mundane household tasks is often the thing that will lead to new interesting ideas forming. 

Do you have other passions and hobbies? 

I love to embroider and knit. With embroidery, I've been seeking ways in which to transfer designs onto heavier fabrics such as yarn-dyed linens. I'm a little obsessed with the look of colourful stitch patterns on dark, textured bases. I'm also keen on using the finished stitched work to make useable objects such as totes and cases. 

What's your favorite material to work with, and why? 

I use a heavyweight interfacing in several of my patterns called Pellon Peltex 72F. It looks and sounds terribly unexciting. But it opens up so many possibilities for transforming fabric into something much more rigid and hence robust. This, in turn, allows you to create items with structure that are both beautiful and useful.

Why do you create & what do you hope to express with the things you make?

The process of developing an idea into a finished article and, consequently, a set of instructions that others can follow is both frustrating and exhilarating in similar measure. I seem to enjoy the challenge of creating and allowing others to create handmade items that they are able to utilize for future making endeavors. I guess in some way I'm expressing a need for keeping things ordered and useable. I find I'm at my most productive when things are relatively tidy. My desire for keeping things organized fuels the objective of creating further ideas for new patterns.

What is one of your favorite things about the Coastal Glasses Case you designed in SIMPLE?

I like that a simple everyday item can be used to showcase handwork. Being able to use the case will give me a daily opportunity to remember how rewarding making is, both in the moment and subsequently, whenever I get to utilize that handmade object.

Thanks so much, Aneela, for sharing more about your work and creative process! It's so much fun to learning more about what goes on behind the scenes with our wonderful contributors. 

We hope the community enjoyed this interview with one of our contributors from SIMPLE. You can find Aneela's Coastal Glasses Case on pages 40-43 of Making No. 9 / SIMPLE To keep up with her work, follow Aneela on Instagram, aneelahoey