Coffee with a Friend….. Ineke Mooijenkind

I thought it only fitting to start off our Designer Interview Series with Ineke Mooijenkind. She, as you might know, is the designer of the enormously popular Something Magic. I have gotten to know her over these few last months during the CAL planning process and I thought it would be nice to let you get to know the talented and sweet woman behind the pattern. So, go get a cup of coffee or tea, have a seat in your favorite comfy chair and let’s have a little chat with Ineke.

First, I’d like to say thank you for allowing us for bring your beautiful pattern to the crochet world and to the members of CAL – Crochet A Long Group. I’d also like to thank you for the opportunity to interview you and for allowing our members get to know you a little better. 

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Let’s start of with a mini biography.

Can you talk about when you first learned to crochet? Who taught you, how old were you and where did you learn?

My mother taught me how to crochet. I must have been about 5 years old and saw her every day with a hook in her hand sitting on the couch. I always sat right next to her to see how she did it.

What was the first thing you ever made?

‘Cause my mother, most of the time, made doilies, it must have been something like that.

Do you have any funny or favorite stories about crocheting?

Oh, yes I have. I know it happens to everyone, losing your favorite hook? I still remember my frustration when everyone searched for it and couldn’t find it. Continued working with a regular one but was awful so decided to buy another one next day. When I went to bed I put off my boot and there it was, I was so happy as a little child with a treat.

Besides designing your own patterns, what was the biggest project you ever made?

My biggest project was a blanket for my daughter. Back then she had a very large bed and wanted something on it. I then found Sophie’s Garden on the internet and made several squares around it until it had the size of 2.5 meters square.

I know you are a big part of Helen Shrimpton’s Facebook group. You were recently at an event with Helen, and you mentioned that was the first time meeting face to face. So how did you get to know each other? What other fun crochet related things do you do?

Oh, that weekend was really AMAZING! I was so excited to meet her and that moment we saw each other for the first time is indescribable. We shared a lot of time together but a weekend is way too short. I promised to visit her next year when she moved into her new home and I always keep my promise.

It feels like we know each other for ages but it started about 2 years ago. As you know I always love to crochet a lot of different stitches and texture. Mandala Madness caught my eye and I made two of them. Although the pattern was round I wanted it to be square and made the corners myself. After almost completed them I wanted to post a picture of it but wasn’t sure if I could do it without permission. So I decided to send a message with my picture to ask her permission. Took me an hour to push the send button, LOL. Two days later I did get a message back and I couldn’t believe what she said. Instead of just yes to post a picture she wanted to help me with the pattern. You can understand my excitement. A lot of Mandala Madness’ now do have corners.

After a while she asked me also to be a admin of the Hookaholics facebook group and I really love doing this too. I always loved answering questions of members, in this amazing group as well other groups.

CAL’s are so popular and plentiful right now. Have you participated in many? If so, which ones have you made?

The only one I participated in right from the start was Mandala Madness. At that time I was on facebook for about a year or so. Made Sophie’s Universe before this. I tried to crochet along with Whispers from the Past but testing came in between and had to put it aside. I finished it though but not like the pattern said it should be.

Are you a make along with the CAL type person or do you make a list and make them as you have time?

Well I was with Mandala Madness but since I am a tester I am making them ahead of everyone.

Other than testing Helen’s patterns, have you participated in any current CAL’s?

All the current CAL’s are so beautiful, and have saved all the links, but I don’t have the time to participate cause of testing and making my own designs

How many WIP’s (work in progress) do you have right now?

Not much really, well…. I have a lot of squares, tested and prototypes, with the intention to join them all together one day but at the moment I have just one WIP.

You definitely have a gift for crocheting and designing. What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any other hobbies and interests?

In my spare time I eat, sleep and do housework, LOL. I used to make a lot of crossword puzzles but now I am using them to see if my stitches fit in on a round.

What did you do before crochet became such a big part of your life?

That is a long story but I’ll try to keep it short. I first worked in a butcher’s shop for 15 years, and then became a full-time mother. When the children were small, I had been a helper for 10 years in a toddler playroom. Then 7 years in a greengrocer’s shop. And lastly in a butcher’s shop for 3 years. At that time, my daughter fell ill and picked up my crochet hook again to make dolls and animals for her to cheer her up. She is doing very well now. And then it was my turn, I got Lyme and because I could hardly walk I was tied at home and crocheting was a good therapy for me. Still because my hands are constantly tingling and when I use them I do not bother. It is going much better now !! I can walk pretty well again and I have very nice work in a home with older people suffering from dementia. There I will cook three or four days a week.

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Let’s dive into technique, yarn/supplies and related things next.

Are you a lefty or a righty? How do you hold your hook, like a pencil or like a knife?

Do you have a favorite hook brand?

I am a righty and hold my hook like a knife. And my favorite hook is definitely Clover Amour.

Do you have a “go to” or favorite yarn? Do you typically use DK weight yarn or aran/worsted weight yarn? Do you buy your yarn from a local store or from a website? Which one is your favorite?

My favorite yarn is Stylecraft Special DK, so nice and soft to work with.

It depends on how fast I want to have it where I buy my yarn. If it has to be fast I drive to a local store but if I need a big amount I order it from the internet. My favorite website where I order it is Deramores, they are fast and have great discounts sometime.

Do you prefer acrylic, wool blend or cotton yarn?

That depends also of the project I am making. For blankets I prefer acrylic because of the weight, but for making a wall hanging or coasters it has to be cotton.

If you’re like the rest of us, then you probably have a favorite and not so favorite stitch. What is your “go to” stitch? What’s your least favorite?

That’s a tough one, I actually like all the stitches but let’s say the back and front post stitches the most and the last stitch the least cause it means the end of a project.

Is there something you incorporate into all of your designs? A particular special stitch, sequence, etc.

I don’t have a particular special stitch or sequence. When I work on a project I just go with the flow.The more variation of stitches the better, because constantly crocheting rounds with the same stitches is boring for me. So I try something and then see if it looks good.

When beginning a circle, do you ch4 or make a magic circle? What’s your favorite and why?

Always the magic ring. It is so easy to do and when you sew the ends in multiple times it will never come undone.

What’s your preferred method of starting a round?

With a standing stitch.

What’s your preferred method of joining a round?

If I have to continue with the same colour next round with a slip- stitch but otherwise with the invisible join.

What are your thoughts on the invisible join?

The invisible join is amazing. There are always two loops after finishing and you can’t see where you have joined. So neat.

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Now, what we’ve all been waiting for, more information about Something Magic! Tell us how Something Magic came to be. What inspired you to make it?

What inspired me to make it? After Helen started the Hookaholic facebook group she asked her members which patterns they prefered: square, round, rectangle, with or without joined parts, etcetera, etcetera and I answered I would like to see one with all these subjects.

A lot of them had to laugh about it but I thought: why not? So I started it myself and it worked, you’ve seen the result.

There are so many flowers in your design. Can you share the reason behind that? Is there a sentimental reason for all the flowers? Do you have a favorite flower? Is your patio/yard a flower garden?

Flowers are a great way to work with, you can put your creativity in it with a lot of texture.

My favorite flower is the tulip, you have them in so many colours and yes, there are a lot of them in my garden.

I knew the minute you showed me a picture of Something Magic that it would be extremely popular! Give us a little insight, as the designer, what has it been like to watch your design grow in popularity?

It was, and is awesome to see how many peeps were and are still working on it. And they are all so different and pretty.

I’m sure your family has been very supportive and encouraging. What has your family’s reaction been to the whole designing process? And what has been their reaction during the CAL journey?

They all were excited to see what I was crocheting and still are with my other projects. During the CAL they followed me and the posts constantly.

I’ve watched, you’ve commented on each and every Something Magic WIP that I ever came across. I know this is a big, but very rewarding job. And I’m sure each CAL’er was excited to see you had noticed their work. I know it will be hard, but are you able to give us a top 10 list of your favorite Something Magic’s? Even harder, how about your very most favorite?

Oh this wasn’t easy! They are all so beautiful but I’ve made a top 10 list.

And my very most favorite one is the blanket of Virginia Griffith Vaughn. Not only because it is gorgeous but there is so much more that explains my decision. From the moment I knew that Virginia is half blind I followed her progress. She had problems with the dark yarn but didn’t gave up. Put all her energy in it and finished it after part 8. I’m extremely proud of her, she did an amazing job!

Virginia Griffith Vaughn – USA

Paula Kloosterman Netherlands

Nina Mayer – Austria

Lisa Popp – Canada

Lena Vast – Sweden

Leisa Marie Mounts – USA

Elizabeth Smith VanHorn – San Antonio, Texas

Janice Eggins LobegeierAustralia

Marian Morgan-KoopmanDutch living in the UK

Frederick Laseur Belgium

I know you showed me pictures while you were working on Something Magic. One was on your patio or in your garden area. Where else did you work on it and did you have a favorite spot to work or an area that was more inspirational?

Most of the time I worked on it in my garden but during my vacation I took it with me and worked also in the garden on it. When it became too cold to work outside I sat and sit on my couch.

How many did you make and in what yarn brands and color themes? Can you give us some pictures?

I made 2 blankets, the one with the blue shades was with yarn called Royal from Zeeman which is a Dutch shop. And because not all the members are living here and couldn’t order it cause they didn’t send it out across the pond (no international shipping). I decided to make the purple one with Stylecraft yarn so everyone all over the world could order it.

Royal Yarn By Zeeman

Stylecraft Yarn

I only have pictures of my two completed blankets.Recently I gave away a lot of yarn, which I didn’t use anymore, to a coworker who knew a woman who could use to make blankets for an orphanage in Romania. And, with cleaning out the boxes I found the beginning of it up to part 2 in yellow and blue. I had put it aside to keep it BUT hubby helped me and put it together with a lot of other squares in one of the bags. I didn’t know by then but I’m fine with it now. I am sure that it will become a blanket to keep a child warm.

I’m sure you have pages, notebooks even, filled with Something Magic notes. Have you kept any stats?

Most of the time I worked with notebooks.I have loads of them. I told you that i worked a lot in the garden and a notebook is easier to work with than to walk inside and type it in.

And of course I used word docs.

How many hours, days, years etc, did it take to create Something Magic?

Oh let me think. I can not tell you the exact hours and days. What I can tell you is that it took me less than a year for both.

The very first start was in January 2017 with the blue one. When testing started the end of June I was working on part 6 of the purple one. I think I finished it at the end of September. So it is about 9 or 10 months.

How much total yarn did you use during the designing/testing process?

With or without the frogged parts, LOL/ A lot, but approx 5 or 6 kg for both.

Do you know approximately how many sc, hdc, dc etc stitches were used throughout the afghan?

Oh, dear, I didn’t count them all. But what i have is the amount of folding stitches. I sure hope that we don’t scare new members off who want to start it after reading this. 3084!!

I hate to ask this because it’s my least favorite thing to do. LOL! How many ends are there to sew in?

LOL I saw a post someone said a zigillion, so i did some math and it is a lot less, only 540.

What do you consider to be the hardest round, the round that took the longest, the prettiest round etc?

There wasn’t any hard round in it but I had a hard time with part 7, the corners. I could not get them the right size so used the knit stitch in it and that worked. The longest is absolutely the last round with the 1088 folding stitches. For the prettiest round……. there were more than one round involved, but to see the flowers grow was very pretty to see.

Do you know or can you approximate how many Something Magic’s have been made so far?

I really have no idea. At Ravelry you can see how many downloads there are, but only per week, not per part. What I did see was that in the week part 1 was released there were over 4000 downloads.

Are there any other interesting facts about your design you’d like to share?

I know that a lot of people don’t realize how much work it is to make up a pattern. First you have to make a prototype and write everything down, which I did in a notebook, after this you have to write everything in documents on your pc. Then start another blanket to see if what you wrote is correct, and a lot of pictures has to be made. Well…no problem with taking pictures but you have to crop and resize them to make them work in a pdf file. Done! You think… no than it is all going to start, the pattern has to be tested because how hard you try to make it perfect, there are always errors in it. So there was a whole test team working on my pattern to find those errors.

As well as a translation team who is turning it into different languages. And don’t forget the admin team for making promotion, releasing posts, and everything else what is going on behind the scene.

I was so lucky that all those teams were and are in the CAL- Crochet A Long group, which I can’t thank enough for the amazing job they’ve done.

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Can you share a little insider information? We won’t tell anyone, we promise.

What are your future dreams or goals when it comes to the crochet world?

My future dream is to have my own crochet room, LOL. No, serious, I want to continue the way like I am doing now. Testing for Helen and working on my own patterns. And ofcourse to help each and everyone with pattern problems.

Do you have any other patterns in the works right now? Do you plan to design any other patterns that will become a CAL?

Right now I am working on a big square. I’ve made small ones too and two blanket patterns.

They are safely stored and will be released as soon as possible. About designing something that will become a CAL: you never know what happens and come off my hook 😉

Any OTHER exciting news?

Yes, there is!!! HOTH as they say. I designed a 20 inch square with some of the motifs of Something Magic which can be used as a cushion cover or if they add extra rounds or squares as a baby blanket. I am going to name it Something More Magic and hope to release it very soon!

Ineke has kindly donated a copy of her new cushion pattern to all 10 of the wonderful crocheters she chose as her favorite blankets.

There will be a poll (BE SURE TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE BLANKET!!) in the Facebook group running from Sunday, December 1, 2018 through Friday, December 7, 2018, to vote on the 10 photos shown in this interview. The winner of the ‘contest’ will receive a copy of her upcoming ***Malaysian Souvenir *** design, a paid pattern, being released in January of 2019.

“Malaysian Souvenir” to be released as a paid pattern on Ravelry coming January 2019!!!

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Let’s be silly and take a break from crochet for just a little bit. OK?  Pets: Cats, dogs, both or other?  Do you have them? How many, how old, names?

I have 2 cats: Steaky, she was in our garden one day so not sure how old she is but we think approx 15. And Karel is 11 years old.

Vacation Spot: favorite? Wish list to travel to? Dream vacation?

My favorite spot is here in the Dutch. A little village called Groet. It is nearby the woods, dunes and the beach. We are staying there for over 25 years now and it feels like coming home every time.

A wish list to travel to? No, not really. I am going to England for sure next year so that is no wish.

We’ve been to a lot of different countries throughout the years and I enjoyed them all but if you mean how my dream vacation should look like then it will be me on a tropical island, relaxing on the beach with my crochet work.

Where do you live now? Have you lived in other parts of the world? Have other cultures influenced your work?

I’m living in The Netherlands in Gouda for about 40 years now. Before that I lived in a smaller place but never in another part of the world.

Favorite season and why?

I love springtime. The weather is nice and to see all the flowers bloom is just great.

What’s your favorite homemade meal? Favorite cuisine when going out for dinner?

My favorite homemade meal is curry sauerkraut stew with pineapple and minced meat. And we love to eat in a Mexican restaurant, nothing specific, I love all the Mexican food. For except olives, yikes Lol

Favorite color?

Purple.

Do you enjoy reading? If so, do you have a favorite author or book/series?

I used to read a lot but that is years ago. I have all the books of Konsalik, so easy to read and very great stories.

How about movies? Do you go to the movie theater or do you watch them on cable/dvd? Favorite movie or genre?

When the kids were younger I used to go to the movie theater but nowadays I only listen to movies LOL Hubby loves to watch crime series on Netflix and I am next to him crocheting. Only when I hear that it is really exciting then I take a look.

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Finally, where can we find you?

Are you on social media outlets such as Twitter, Instagram, etc? Do you have a Facebook page or group we can join?

I am not on Twitter or Instagram but I have my own crochet page on facebook where they can find albums with my work and all the other designs I’ve tested

https://www.facebook.com/Something-Crochet-1875698805791418/

Do you have your own blog?

No maybe in the future.

Do you have any other patterns? If so, where can we find them, Ravelry?

Yes, there is the Puffy Star baby blanket, two free squares and of course, Something Magic. But as I told earlier, there will be coming more.

https://www.ravelry.com/designers/ineke-mooijenkind

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Thank you for having this little chat with us. It’s been so much fun spending time with you and getting to know more about you.

My pleasure.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I can’t wait to see what you bring us next!

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Until our next Coffee with a Friend,

Laurene and Jo 💗

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