First things first, tell us a bit about your business and how you got started…
Truly Hooked started entirely by accident when I suddenly lost my Dad to suicide and decided to learn to crochet as a distraction from all the stuff that was going on. I posted a few of my makes on Facebook, friends asked me to make things for them and before too long, I had a little business! It led me to knitting again (which I had done a bit of as a child) and also into yarn dyeing. By the time I had my second baby, I’d switched the business from custom crocheted makes to hand dyed yarn as that fitted in much better around two little humans! I’m still kind of baffled that the business continued to grow and that people still like what I do enough to buy it and to tell their friends about it. In 2022, Truly Hooked will be 10 years old & I’m so proud of being able to make it to that milestone when it was something so awful that triggered the whole thing. Dad would be mega proud.
What’s your favourite product of yours and why?
I think I’m most proud of our pattern books as they were a massive undertaking with a huge amount of work and commitment, as well as team work between myself and MrTH. All three were much more successful than we ever expected, winning awards and being sold all over the world. I’m most proud of how we made them together, entirely in house (other than the printing) and we both learned new skills along the way to enable us to create them.
What yarn crafts are you into personally?
Knitting and crochet and also I recently got into embroidery & cross stitch. I’m really not a crafty person at heart though, my poor kids never get to do any arts and crafts because I hate it so much!!
Debbie names everything, do you have names for any of your equipment or tools?
My beautiful shed, which MrTH and I built ourselves, is known as Sheddy Mercury. Other than that, I’ve never felt the urge to name anything!
What’s your favourite project you’ve ever made?
That’s like asking me to pick my favourite child! Haha. Usually, whatever I’ve just made is my favourite thing and then I move on quite quickly.
If you came to TWM back in 2019 what did you like/dislike most about it?
I loved everything about it! The space was fantastic and everyone seemed much more relaxed moving around the event because of it. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and supportive of one another which was really wonderful. I loved seeing the other vendors and very much enjoyed a can of prosecco from the cafe as the show came to a close! What a treat 🙂
What inspires your products?
Anything! Recently I’ve been inspired by the Bridgerton series on Netflix, I’m often inspired by food and since moving to the countryside, I have a new appreciation of flowers and nature. I;m always inspired by music and the things around me, as well as people and experiences.
If you could collaborate with another TWM vendor, who would you choose and why?
OOO, I think maybe a vendor who does something like weaving and then made scarves or blankets or something like that with my yarn. I really like the idea of completely unique and special pieces that last a long time. Do you have someone that does that? OR, a mega mini skein pack featuring all the indie dyers would be so much fun!!
Who got you into yarn?
My granny taught me to knit when I was a kid however as a grown up, it was really a few friends on an online parenting forum that I was part of when my eldest was born. A lot of them, including Jo from JoKnitSew did yarny stuff and I guess they inspired me to take it up when Dad died. Then Eleanor, who owns my LYS, Knit Nottingham, became a friend and mentor for the first couple of years of TH. She sold me my first hand dyed too and was the first shop to stock my yarns!
What’s your favourite customer project?
I absolutely love it when people use my yarns (or patterns) to do something they haven’t done before and then they bring it to another show for me to see. The people who finally make their first pair of socks, or take the plunge and do a garment and we take the time to pick the colours together to create something really special for them. It brings me such joy everytime.
What’s the hardest part of what you do?
Keeping myself motivated, especially when I’m having a bit of a slump. You know when you lose your mojo and enthusiasm for a project and end up ignoring it for weeks.. it’s like that, except this is how I pay my bills and support my family so I can’t just wait for the mojo to come back again.
You’re travelling to a yarn show, what are you listening to on the way?
MrTH does the driving so we listen to whatever he needs to keep him awake. He has a really varied taste in music! Sometimes it’s an artist I enjoy like Brian Fallon or Frank Turner but other times it’s one of those bands with the screaming that your mum would say is ‘just noise’ and I’m less of a fan of that!
What’s your favourite colour?
At the moment, minty green but last week it was coral. I have a strong fondness for grey though, as it was our wedding colour and is the colour of MrTHs eyes.
If you weren’t running a yarn business what would you be doing?
In my ‘pre-yarn’ life, I was doing a PhD to be a Medical Sociologist and I had an interest in Pandemic Influenza. I actually turned down an opportunity to study under Professor Van Tam in favour of another project, so I could have ended up doing something related to the current covid crisis in the context of social behaviours. I think though, I’d have ended up leaving academics anyway as it was pretty intense!
What’s your favourite part of yarn shows?
Seeing my friends in the yarn world, seeing customers again and getting to know new people. I’m a bit introverted and don’t actually like social things that much (thanks anxiety) but a could of days of yarny chat and excellent people tends to fill up my happy tanks and keep me going for a little bit 🙂
What yarn craft do you wish you were good at?
Ooo, good question!! I’d like to commit to spinning and would love to raise my own sheep to be able to the entire process from fleece to finished garment, does that count as a yarn craft?
Tell us 3 things we might not know about you
I’ve quit University twice,
I’m scared of horses
I loved skydiving so much that I wanted to join a sky-diving display team.
Do you tend to go for repeatable lines or one-off products? What’s your longest-running product, range or colourway?
I used to do a lot of one offs but in the last 5 years or so, I’ve developed a large range of repeatables. More recently I’ve done ‘collections’ that are available for a few months before being semi-retired and brought back at another time. I think that helps stop me getting bored of doing the same thing and keeps inspiring me to create new colourways that could work with one or two from an older range to make it fresh and fun again.
Can you give us any hints of things you’ve got coming up soon?
I might possibly be in the very early stages of a new pattern book…maybe.
Do you have regular subscriptions or clubs? If so tell us about them
Right now I have a Blanket Club which runs from January to October every year. I also have a quarterly sweater club where you pay for 4 months and receive a sweater quantity of yarn at the end of the 4th month. Its a great way to spread the cost of a larger project and I’m thrilled people have responded so well to it. Your very own Mand was actually one of the first people to suggest it!
And finally, just for fun, would you rather fight 100 chicken-sized zombies or 10 zombie-sized chickens?
100 chicken sized zombies maybe, because they could be easier to destroy or contain in a big enclosure assuming they can be destroyed and can’t climb or smash through walls …. however massive chickens might be slower so easier to escape from but they’d potentially be quite destructive. I don’t know, I’m a pacifist and would probably be too scared of either!