Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Nayu's Feature Post #1: Crochet/designer for Purple Creative, Lizzie Francis!

Lizzie beavering away in the Purple's meeting room with Phil Joyce of Purple Creative

Today’s post is all about an incredible crocheter/designer, Lizzie Francis of Purple Creative. While I’m not a Christmas-y blogger in any way shape of form (I actively avoid blog posts on it, along with Halloween and Easter), I’d previously been emailed by the publicist involved, Natalie, so I knew Lizzie was something special for Natalie to ask me to chat about. Rather than a question and answer post, or Lizzie chatting about the incredible project, I'm responding to the information I've been sent about her.

I totally agree that Lizzie is amazing, sinceshe spent most of December surrounded by wool, creating every single request that came in via Twitter, all fitted in around her day job. …although Lizzie made a couple of Christmassy items for the knitivity, most were actually not related to Christmas, which included a Star Wars set, minions, a flamingo, a shark, an elephant, a dragon, a sausage dog, Eeyore, and a pizza. So quite a variety!” 
 A variety indeed! I was impressed that she did so much in the month around her work schedule – that’s impressive. Star Wars & the nativity themed items may get a lot of attention, but  the highlight of her work for me had to be Eeyore. 
"It's not much of a tail, but I'm kind of attached to it" (Eeyore says something like this)

Who doesn’t adore the gloomy donkey who can be realistic in his life observations? 
I can't be killed!

The cactus made me smile, not just because they are incredible plants but because I’ve managed to kill one in the past – it shrivelled up and then imploded in a gooey substance. 
Jaws time! (Cue high pitched scream)
The shark is fun too as I’ve a shark loving friend!

The response to the campaign generally was pretty amazing, as it got lots of love from the knitting and crochet community and also by the ad industry mags, one of whom put it in their list of favourite Christmas activity. 
Knitivity complete!

Lizzie is an avid knitter, who's been knitting since the age of five, with the help of her nannie, who taught her using small balls of wall and some plastic drink stirrers, which were sanded into points. Each one was a different colour to make it a little bit easier for Lizzie to learn.
Since I’m a recent crochet newbie, I love how Lizzie learnt to knit. It reminds me of when I was taught by my mother and grandmother, although I can’t recall who taught me and how. I’m fairly sure there weren’t coloured drink stirrers involved! It’s interesting that Lizzie was a knitter and then a crocheter, as a lot of people who crochet that  hear about have been doing it since they were little.

Purple Knitivity key facts
  • Lizzie started crocheting for the Purple Knitivity on the 1st December and finished on 23rd December
  • 30 characters were made in total 30 in less than 24 days in between work? Lizzie is a legend! I know how long it takes to make small items of crochet, let alone figures with faces!
  • Purple raised £1050, which was donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital  That’s brilliant! I wholeheartedly recommend donating to GOSH, especially as I was a patient all of my childhood – it was sad when I had to go to the adult hospital, although I’m only ever an out-patient these days. They do tremendous work and provide support for the more unusual medical conditions, making the stay in hospital fun.
  • Lizzie spent 140 hours crocheting for the knitivity – which doesn’t include falling asleep counting stitches instead of sheep! I’m wondering whether Lizzie watched shows and listened to audiobooks/the radio while she got busy with yarn, or if she just relaxed in silence. However she occupied her crochet time, the amount of time she spent on it is a bit mind boggling. 
  • There were knitting needles, crochet hooks, big bags of wool and stuffing across her desk and Purple’s meeting room for the entire month of December, which were hurriedly cleared away every time a client came into the office
Lizzie crocheting at her desk

  • Heehee! This made me giggle. It so wouldn’t have been possible in my previous job. Now I’m self-employed while I don’t have to clear my crochet for a client, I do have to make sure my lap is clear for my cat, who will throw a strop over anything. I wonder if Lizzie has a pet?
  • Lizzie was busy crocheting at any given moment, including her commute to work. Crocheting on the bus, at rush hour, was a low point! Really? I can appreciate it isn’t an ideal situation, but crochet is so portable, and always cheers me up that I can’t see it as a negative. It’s a great way to promote it too!
  • 10-15 balls of wool were used to create the Purple Knitivity. This equalled around 6,330 metres of wool For the curious who love Google, while I didn’t have the patience to figure out where you could go for 6,330 metres I did discover that 6330 is a postcode in Western Australia! That’s your random fact of the day covered. J  
  • Lizzie created an entire Star Wars set of characters, which was asked for by Purple's Head of Digital Phil Joyce, and was finished to tie into the release date of the film, and took Lizzie about 40 hours That sounds quite an honour, I’m sure Lizzie had fun doing those figures!

About Lizzie Francis
Lizzie started knitting squares that were sewed together to create cushion covers. She then progressed on to toys and clothes for her teddies. I have to smile because while I didn’t make cushion covers, I did knit squares into a sleeping mat for my favourite teddy (I proudly still have the teddy and the mat!)  

And at the age of 11, Lizzie made her first jumper, to receive a Girl Guides badge. I was a Brownie, and I honestly can’t remember if I used my craft skills for a badge, so go Lizzie! I've included an old and new verison of the craft badge!

She then stopped knitting until she finished school and university, before starting to receive requests again from friends and family last year. I too had a break in craft, so can understand the continued delight of taking up an old pastime which has its own bank of memories. Since then, she hasn't stopped, and has had a couple of things on the go at once. Who doesn’t???! I don’t know anyone who just has 1 project in progress. Don’t ask how many I have – I know it’s under double digits!  

Her dad always makes requests by choosing items from Lizzie's knitting books, so he has a growing collection that includes iguanas, dinosaurs, foxes and elephants. I so approve of foxes – they are cute creatures! I’ve yet to knit an animal, and Lizzie has me feeling inspired to think about making my first Hello Kitty.  
I've got this cute book!

Now Lizzie regularly attends three knitting clubs, including Knaughty Knitters, Knitter's Anonymous and Wooly Bunch, and is currently knitting a 52 piece animal Noah's ark. Wow! I’m looking forward to see the ark which I’m sure will be superb!  Glad Lizzie’s got more projects already.

As you can see from these highlights, Lizzie is a talented, fun crocheter, always busy with yarn. I hope she’s inspired you to get out your needles and hooks, even if it is just to poke whoever deals with yarn in your life (me included)!

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