De Raquel Manuela

One of a kind and limited edition gifts by Raquel Manuela

Maker: Lydia Silver from Plovers Nest

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It has been extremely cold in New York. We have been battling snow and sub zero temperatures all winter long. This has been the coldest February in a hundred years! For our neighbors across the Atlantic, this winter has not been any better. Luckily, some people have made the best of this crazy winter weather. Lydia Silver, a student from Sheffield University in the UK, found inspiration in the bitter cold and started her own online business. Read her story below: 

How cold does it get at your school?

I think the coldest it got was about -5 Celsius [23 Fahrenheit]. I know there are a lot of colder places, but the problem is that we only put the heating on for two hours a day! At the worst of it I was sleeping with a coat and a hat on, so thank goodness for crochet blankets.

What is your workspace like? 

My workspace is my bedroom, and it's a mess. There are stacks of books everywhere, loads of images blue tacked up on the walls, and a huge stash of yarn under my bed. There's probably a ball of yarn or a half finished project on every surface imaginable, and I'm always finding hooks in odd places. I think it helps me be creative though - I couldn't get any ideas from a sterile space!


What did your peers say about your work when you first started crocheting? 

At first everyone thought it was hilarious! I've always had the nickname 'Granny' because of my crafty habits, so they all thought it was funny when I started making granny squares. Now they love it, and I've had lots of requests for things, but that will have to wait until I've finished my exams.

What is your creative process like? Do you start with a drawing? 

I start with research, looking at lots of different images. I sometimes use Pinterest to organise my ideas, but I also pin things up on my bedroom walls or lay out scraps of wool on the table. I don't tend to start with a drawing because I haven't yet worked out how to translate that into crochet, but I do have a really strong idea of what I want to make in my head. It doesn't always work out that way though!

What is the creative community like on campus?

I have a brilliant students union, so there's a huge creative community. There are societies for almost every craft, from papercrafts to baking, and there are also wider creative communities like drama and art. I've also been able to run a stall at a charity craft fair organised by the university, which was a great opportunity. There's lots of different ways to be creative.

Thank you Lydia for sharing your stories and your photos with us! Stay warm, spring is right around the corner! 

You can purchase Lydia's products on Etsy and follow her on Instagram