(Images courtesy of Twinkie Chan)
Twinkie Chan was taught how to crochet when she was 10 and has been making fun crocheted items ever since. Designing and crocheting food items has become Twinkie’s signature and her work has been featured in a variety of places, including contributing designs to the Sanrio 50th anniversary art show. Although she’s never taken an official crochet class, Twinkie’s intricate food designs have taken the Internet by storm. Learn more about Twinkie, how she got her name and why she loves to crochet food.
Is Twinkie your real nickname or something you made up for the blog? It’s something that I came up with when I launched my website in 2005. I was working in publishing at the time. My real name is very common but I didn’t want my clients to Google me and find out that I was doing this on the side. So it was definitely intentional for me to have a crafty persona that was separate from my other work.
And why Twinkie? I wanted something cute and fun! My mom’s maiden name is Chan so that’s where I got the last name.
How did you start crocheting? My best friend’s grandmother taught us when I was about 10. She took care of us for a week that year and she was very into crocheting and sewing. I think it was a good way to keep a couple of 10 year olds occupied (laughs).
Did you enjoy crocheting from the start? Yes, I thought it was really cool and would crochet at school. I kept doing it through the years because I recognized that it’s a neat way to hand make gifts for someone, even if it was really small. Then in 2005 every one had vanity websites and I moved to San Francisco. It’s not really cold here but it’s foggy and I wanted a scarf I couldn’t find in the stores so I started making funky scarves.
Why food-themed items? I wanted something cute and I already felt like people were making animal scarves. I’ve always had a nostalgic draw for faux food and fake plastic food so I think it was combining those things.
Does your love of crocheting food translate into a love of cooking? No, I’m actually a terrible cook (laughs). I have a love of real food but I’m not good at making edible things.
What inspires you to come up with your patterns? It can happen in two ways. One is if I see a photo or I eat something that is really cute and has great coloring, I want to see if that’s something that I can translate into crochet. It also can work in a reverse way; for example I wanted to make a cozy for my iPad. So I think what is rectangular, what is (food related) that’s in a special shape, what food can I match with that? That’s how I came up with a a TV dinner iPad cozy.
Do you have a favorite of the food patterns you’ve created? In my first book there was a pattern for a pepperoni pizza scarf in it. I remember when I first finished the pattern for that I was super proud of myself. The crust on it is bubbly and it’s not flat. It was one of the first times that I thought ‘wow, I can play with textures’.
How much crocheting experience does someone have to have to start working on your patterns? I would say that my patterns now, I have intermediate beginners in mind. I’m not a technically advanced crocheter - I’m not making lace or crazy afghans. Some of the projects might take longer or seem tedious but skill wise, as long as you know how to chain and how to single crochet, you could probably make about 80% of the patterns that I write.
Tell us about your yarn wall. I think it’s kind of scary. I don’t want to be a hoarder and it puts fear in me sometimes (laughs). It sort of slowly developed over the past 10 years. It keeps growing! It’s super handy if I’m crocheting in the middle of the night, which I’m usually doing. So I can just pull from the wall and not have to wait to go to the store. I have to have hundreds of skeins of yarn but I’m just guestimating.
How does your OttLite help you with your crocheting? It’s pretty amazing. The model that I reviewed on my blog really clicked with me. Being able to adjust so many things like the temperature and the strength that made a big difference for me. And I don’t just use it for crocheting. I use it to (take pictures) of my products, I used it to light my YouTube tutorial. I've been using it way more than I thought that I would.
For more information about Twinkie or to see her work visit her website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Etsy. Twinkie also has classes available on Creative Bug.
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