In mere moments, you’ll be purchasing a 0.5mm hook and starting your micro crochet journey!
Blink and you'll miss it!
You’d be forgiven for thinking these crochet commodities are regular sized. The detail, the mix of colours, the finesse... but it’s all a ruse. Sit them next to a postage stamp (go on, turn the page and see!) and you’ll discover quite how tiny they really are. They’re made by the meticulous Steffi Glaves for her new book, 100 Micro Crochet Motifs. And it’s a book you desperately need should you wish to reinvigorate your crafting.
Teacher turned crochet designer extraordinaire!
Secondary school teacher by day, micro crocheter at every other opportunity. Steffi Glaves loves teeny tiny crochet. And it wasn’t long before we loved it too. A menagerie of miniature makes greet you in Steffi’s maiden book, from sea creatures to delightfully dainty granny squares. And the collaboration took her quite by surprise. “I must admit, when I got an email from the publisher, I thought it was fake because it was simply too good to be true!” says Steffi humbly. “This was back in January 2020 when coronavirus was in the news but wasn’t eclipsing our thoughts and lives like it is now. That was a surreal time for me because I was suddenly doing very grown-up things like business calls and travelling across the country to a meeting, while still being a secondary school teacher. Then suddenly we were in our first lockdown in the UK and I was designing for the book and teaching from home.”
Master of all trades
So it’s fair to say Steffi crafts on the regular. “I specialise in design technology, so every day I’m making different things. I can be teaching kids to make boxes in woodwork, then soldering electronics, then cooking lasagne in food technology, and I love it. I feel very lucky that I can enjoy the workshop experience with other like-minded students and help them make something that they previously thought was impossible for them.” And it’s this teacher’s instinct that so beautifully comes across in the book – the instructions are clear, and you navigate your way through a range of themes, each one just as enticing as the last.
How to go micro
Though it’s not entirely obvious at first, embroidery threads are used instead of yarn. But if that and the fiddly nature of thread has you running for the hills, just wait one minute. Steffi’s got some good news. “All motifs in the book can be made with chunkier yarns too,” she encourages. “Start off with your favourite standard sized hook and yarn, practise a motif that you like, then make your way down the hook and yarn sizes until you’re comfortable. My book gives guidance on this, and you can use a magnifier too, like many people do with embroidery.”
Take it with you
A massive benefit to micro crochet is, of course, the portability. Steffi learned to crochet at the age of 18, but it was when she returned home from studying Design Crafts at university that she was suddenly unable to practise her other craft skills, such as large-scale metal work and enamelling. “When I graduated, I found myself without the wonderful facilities that I took for granted,” she remembers. “This was when I picked up crochet again because it was very travel-friendly and I didn’t need a decked-out workshop to enjoy it. I was travelling on the bus a lot and at first I was making and selling hand warmers with DK yarn, but wanted to try out threads because I could pack more spools in my bag than 100g balls of yarn.”
Steffi created her first micro flower on one of those bus journeys, and it became the basis of her inaugural jewellery collection and the small business she owns today. You can find Steffi’s shop on Etsy, where she’s enjoyed great success and her absolute favourite thing: custom requests. “I had a lady ask for a pair of earrings for her daughter,” shares Steffi. “She sent me photos of her grandmother’s crochet blanket and a photo of the beach. My task was to combine the wheel motif in the blanket with the colours in the photograph, and I came up with a pair of turquoise and green hexagonal earrings with a round of long spindly stitches in the centre. I loved it so much that I included it in my blanket squares chapter in the book.”
Just as she should be, Steffi is immensely proud of 100 Micro Crochet Motifs. “I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but my goodness it’s so pretty,” she beams. “I can’t believe that it has my name on it!” Though she has an impressive 100 to choose from, it’s the forget-me-not flower that she’s quick to declare her favourite. “I make it into ear studs, dangle drop earrings and pendants. Crochet it in pink and it becomes a cherry blossom!” she suggests.
Handmade is champion
We asked how long a typical micro crochet project takes, but of course it hinges on so many factors. “The time varies depending on my tension on the day, complexity of the design, colour changes, how many threads I have to sew in afterwards, my coffee or wine intake...” she laughs. “Even though an individual earring could take anything from 10-30 minutes, it takes much longer to make a pair that match. It doesn’t matter how consistent my tension is, each motif can look slightly different, so my earrings look more like very close sisters than twins. I don’t mind though, because that’s the beauty of handmade items over something manufactured.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Get your copy of Steffi's fantastic book from davidandcharles.com
Musician: Oh heck, thanks to Spotify I have no clue anymore! Some of my favourites are Beyoncé, Jack Garratt, Billie Eilish, MGMT, Linkin Park…
Weekend activity: Crochet, afternoon nap, snacks, then another afternoon nap
Yarn: Ooh I don’t have a favourite, but I love the Rico Essential Acrylic Antipilling DK, which I’m playing with right now
Colour to craft with: Deep reds
Netflix show: Pose