Hooking With Sandra La Madeleine
Welcome to the first ever “Hooking With” interview!
This week, we interviewed Sandra of L’amas de Laine. Our readers requested several questions be asked. Well…you asked, we asked, and she answered! Join us as we introduce to you, Sandra La Madeleine.
Salut! My name is Sandra La Madeleine, but you can call me San. I am a 29 year old French-Canadian. I am obsessed with Harry Potter, the color black, and caramel lattes. I fell in love with crochet around 6 years ago. My love for yarn started because I wanted to make something for my baby. The idea of creating a blanket or a hat for her was very special. Can’t think of anything more personal than that. Then as I played around with yarn, trying to make slippers and scarves, I really got addicted to it.
About a year later, I decided to create my own crochet page on Facebook, just as a way of gathering all my project pictures together. But then my family started to follow me, and their friends, and then complete strangers as well. It grew on its own. That’s when I started to write my own designs. Free handing wasn’t enough anymore, people–especially other crocheters!–were asking to be able to make the same things as well.
My business name? L’amas de Laine. A French name that is pronounced exactly the same as my family name, but when written like this, it means “The Yarn Pile”. I don’t believe in fate or something, but I think it’s super fun that my own name describes my obsession for yarn. Or maybe it’s fate? I don’t know, you tell me.
Now, several years later, I still crochet, I still design, I still love it. My style drifted a bit. It’s more defined. I try to make items that are both beautiful and fun to make. I think that if I had to describe my style, I’d say….intentional, simple, and elegant.
Yes. For me, that’s what L’amas de Laine is. For me, that’s what yarn is.
Q: When did you start designing?
A: I started designing 2 years after I picked up my first crochet hook. That was 2015.
Q: Do you have a blog? If so, when did you start that up?
A: I do! It’s called L’amas de Laine. Like most designers, I started with a Facebook page. But I really wanted to have a place that was my own. Not on anybody else’s website. A place that I could present exactly the way I want. I opened up my website last year, in 2019, and I honestly could not be happier. I still haven’t added all of my designs on it because I’m re-making my pictures, but I’m getting there, slowly but surely.
Q: What was your initial plan with your blog and designs?
A: At first I wanted to be like the popular designers out there and have awesome designs that would go viral. I wanted that for me too. But I realized that being viral does not define one’s talent. Even if you don’t go viral, doesn’t mean you should stop designing! Now I create because I love it, and I write my designs because I want to share. Obviously I wouldn’t mind if one of my creations blew up (laughs) but it’s not a goal of mine necessarily. Not anymore. I just want to make cute things and enjoy myself.
Q: How have your designs and designing process evolved?
A: A lot has changed since then. In the beginning of my journey, I was aiming for quick designs and simple shapes. I used to work a lot with double strands of worsted weight yarn and huge hooks. I would try something once or twice, then I would write it, have it tested, and publish it. Now I really try to pour everything that I have in a design. Is it cute? Is it fun to make? Are the pictures clear? Are the instructions clear enough? Should I add a chart? I love the writing process. And since I feel very grateful for all individuals that choose to pay for my patterns, I want them to be happy with what they pay for.
Q: What designs do you specialize in?
A: Garments and accessories. I do have a couple of coasters and flowers, but I am really more passionate about clothes: Hat, Cardigan, Hoodie, Shrug, Slippers. Anything you can wear, basically. This is what I love to create.
Q: Do you have a favorite few stitches you like to use or do you always try to do new ones?
A: I’ve been obsessed with tapestry crochet for over a year now, so I do use that technique more and more. But I’m always open to work with anything that catches my eyes.
Q: When you come up with an idea, does it come first from yarn you have or do you find yarn to fit the idea?
A: It depends! Usually, I have an idea and then I try to find the right yarn for it. But recently, I saw some luxurious hand-dyed merino wool in a shelf and inspiration struck. Be on the look out for it! 😉
Q: When did you start crocheting?
A: During my pregnancy! I was 23. It was in 2014.
Q: What made you decide to become a designer?
A: I free handed a pair of high top slippers for a colleague’s daughter and when I shared the picture on Facebook, it blew up a little bit. I loved the attention, I will admit it. I loved that people enjoyed it so much, so that’s when I decided to write my first pattern.
Q: Are there any patterns not your own that you just love?
A: Yes! I am in love with everything that Linda Skuja makes. Every time she posts something in Instagram, I have a huge fan girl moment. I haven’t had the chance to try it yet, but next time I have a bit of free time, I will purchase her Finery Top! Check her out @elevenhandmade and lindaskuja.com
Q: Who/what inspired you? Does this still inspire you? Why?
A: a lot of people inspire me. Jessica from The Hook Nook, Vincent from Knot Bad, Linda from Eleven Handmade, just to name a few. I aim to be at least half as good as them when I grow up (laugh).
Q: Of your patterns, which is your favorite and why?
A: I think I’m gonna have to go with my High Top Slippers, because yes, they look awesome, but also because that’s the design that started it all.
Q: Are there any crochet techniques/stitches you wish to learn this year?
A: I want to try Interlocking Filet crochet in a near future. This thing is Witchcraft!!
Q: What are your biggest crochet challenges and how do you plan on overcoming that?
A: I want to create things that haven’t been seen before. I think that as designers, we have a responsibility toward each other. We need to respect each other and what we create. It’s hard to draw a line between inspiration and pure theft. I know I want to create my own thing. With my own style and my own spin to it. Hard to re-invent crochet when it’s been around for a couple hundreds of years.
Q: Have you ever lost your “crojo” and how did you overcome that?
A: Several times. And it’s okay. Crochet shouldn’t be forced. When it happens, I just walk away from my hooks a couple of days or weeks and I do something else. I read, I watch a new TV show or I draw. “Crojo” will come back on its own eventually, I just give it time.
Q: What three tips can you offer to anyone that crochets?
A: 1. Enjoy the process. If you feel rushed or if you don’t like what you create, but still push yourself to continue, you kinda lose the whole point of crocheting: having fun!
2. Buy good hooks. A painter has good brushes, an architect has good pens….a crocheter should have good hooks. We deserve quality tools, too.
3. Don’t compare yourself. We all have our own style, our own strengths and weaknesses. We are all different individuals. If you like crocheting, that’s all that matters.
The Wrap Up
Thank you so much for having me, Helen and Sara. I really enjoyed answering your questions! I am looking forward to seeing the other interviews on your blog. I like that we all have the same passion, yet we are all so different!
If you like my style and would like to try one of my patterns, use the code “Sunflower” on Ravelry for 25% off any of my patterns. Thank you so much! (Promotion ends January 21st)
L’amas de Laine website
Crochet L’amas de Laine on Facebook
Find her on Instagram
Etsy shop: Crochet L’amas De Laine
If you’d like to see more of this content, leave a comment below on who you’d like us to interview! We’ll we what we can do about getting it done! Join us in a couple of weeks for the next “Hooking With” as we interview another designer.
Be sure to check out our latest patterns, too!