Hooking With… Shannon of The Loophole Fox
I am so thrilled to be sharing today’s interview with you guys! In today’s Hooking With meet Shannon, a designer that I have met through some events we have been part of and are in the same designers group on IG. She is such a lovely soul, very supportive and a great cheerleader! I can’t wait for you to meet her …
Say Hi Shannon!
Hi everyone! I’m Shannon, the human behind The Loophole Fox. 18 years ago, I taught myself to crochet from books I bought with allowance money (before YouTube was a thing) and a ton of determination. I have always been an “I can make that!” type, so designing came naturally to me. I love designing cozy, warm and practical items; the type that make you feel comfortable, at home and happy. Within this scope, I set out to write beginner friendly patterns that are packed with personality.
In life (and within my blog/presence), I aim to spread happiness and acceptance for myself and others. I believe in helping others whenever possible, so you can often find me donating portions of my profits to causes I believe in or donating patterns that help crocheters create for causes they believe in. At my core, I feel called to help make the world a better place, even if that means one baby step at a time.
Outside of being a crochet designer, I’m a wife, a “mom” to two cats and a dog, a painter and a nature lover. When I’m not crocheting, you can find me curled up on my corner of the couch reading an epic fantasy novel and eating Flaming Hot Cheetos, playing video games with my husband or wandering around in nature trying to find the best place to swim.
When did you start designing?
I started designing in 2018 when a good friend of mine announced he was going to be a father. He and his girlfriend searched high and low for a specific style of baby blanket and couldn’t find what they wanted. “I can make that!” I said, and set off to work. That was the first design I ever wrote down, so that’s what I would count as my start of designing.
Before that, I never truly followed a pattern and always altered it or crocheted freeform. It wasn’t that out of my scope to design but, previous to the baby blanket, I never made the same thing twice or wrote down a pattern.
Do you have a blog? If so, when did you start that up?
I do have my own little cozy corner of the internet in the form of a blog. I’ve always enjoyed writing, so writing for my blog feels natural and I appreciate the ability to share my patterns and core beliefs with those who identify the same.
I started my blog in September 2019. Technically, I set everything up in May 2019 but I was still working very long hours as a Sales Manager for a nationally recognized company so I truly didn’t have the energy to put into it. In August of 2019, my husband accepted a position in a different county that required us to move and we both thought, well, there’s the sign for me to refocus and switch my own career path.
What was your initial plan with your blog and designs?
My initial plan with my blog was always to share free crochet patterns and I have stuck to that. Throughout the last year, I have evolved to include stitch tutorials, articles and “how-to”s and similar.
I have also started including YouTube tutorials for some (not all) of my patterns and I have really enjoyed the process of learning how to teach via video.
How have your designs and designing process evolved?
When I started my blog and publishing my designs, I didn’t have a very direct “plan” or brand. I simply just designed what sounded nice. While this has been a fun (and rewarding!) adventure, I am evolving now into sets of patterns and a certain style.
In terms of how my actual designing process has changed, I now use a pencil instead of a pen in my notebook. It sounds silly, but it’s absolutely groundbreaking for me! Haha. I save so much paper now.
What designs do you specialize in?
Currently, I would have to say accessories and baby blankets. My favorite things to crochet are cozy and comfortable.
Do you have a favorite few stitches you like to use or do you always try to do new ones?
I try to always use new ones but I have to say, I almost always go back to (US) half double crochet. Something about working a half double crochet is so soothing to me, I can’t not use it.
Otherwise, I am a huge fan of the marguerite (star) stitch, moss (linen) stitch and the box stitch.
When you come up with an idea, does it come first from yarn you have or do you find yarn to fit the idea?
I usually find the yarn to fit the idea. There have been times where I’ve seen a yarn and the idea comes to me, but usually I have an idea and go on an extensive trek to find the perfect yarn for it.
When did you start crocheting?
I started crocheting when I was 12. My grandmother crocheted and I desperately wanted her to teach me instead of just enlist me to roll her yarn for her. Despite rolling many yarn skeins for her, she wasn’t able to teach me in the small amount of time we had together. So, determined to learn, I purchased books from the local department store and set off crocheting.
I may have punted the books across my bedroom a few times. I am absolutely in love with how YouTube has made learning new hobbies so much easier.
What made you decide to become a designer?
A lot of things came together at once for me when I finally decided to jump into designing and posting my work for the world.
Back then, I was working as a Sales Manager for an insurance company. I was good at it and I loved my employees, but it didn’t feel fulfilling. On top of that, I found myself stressed, working long hours, having little to no time for my hobbies, suffering from even more migraines than usual and heightened anxiety. I hadn’t picked up my yarn and hook for a while and finally did. My anxiety melted away and I felt happier and more at peace than I had for a long time.
I’ve always loved to crochet and I’ve always had a drive to help people somehow. Going back to college for 6+ years to get a degree that might not even get me anywhere sounded unappealing. So, it was like putting two and two together. I loved crochet, I already was making my own designs and I wanted to help people. It seemed only natural to me to become a designer on a more legitimate scale.
Are there any patterns not your own that you just love?
Oh my gosh, so many. Too many to count. I feel like I am constantly surfing Instagram and just crushing on every project a crochet designer showcases. I unfortunately don’t have the time right now to follow their patterns, but I certainly have a few in my “to-do” list.
Who/what inspired you? Does this still inspire you? Why?
For my designs, I would have to say the Scandanavian Minimalist style really speaks to me. This is the style that I’d deck my house in if I had the money to completely redecorate my house. I find it to be so warm, cozy and concise.
In life, my inspiration is definitely my husband. I know this sounds cliche but this man has a tenacity and determination unlike anything I have ever seen. He knows how to accept and move on, or pivot and try again. He is also the true embodiment of “water off a duck’s back”. Nothing bothers him and he always has a bright, loving smile on his face.
Of your patterns, which is your favorite and why?
Oh man, that’s a toss up between my Arctic Beanie and my Something New baby blanket.
I love the Arctic Beanie design because it is classic enough for both men and women. It’s cozy while staying light weight – I really dislike when a beanie or hat are so heavy that I notice them. It has just enough texture to have some brilliant personality, but not so much style that it is too feminine or masculine. I am not-so-patiently waiting for it to be cooler so I can wear it.
The Something New baby blanket I designed for my husband’s boss and, when it came time to give it to him, he nearly had to pry it out of my fingers! I absolutely loved how timeless it looked when finished and the yarn showed such a lovely stitch definition. I am infinitely in love with that baby blanket, despite not being able to have children myself.
Are there any crochet techniques/stitches you wish to learn this year?
I am hoping to find the time in 2021 to learn Tunisian crochet. I love how different the technique looks, so I am really looking forward to it.
What are your biggest crochet challenges and how do you plan on overcoming that?
I think my biggest challenge is realizing that I can’t do everything all the time. I am very much a 100% all-in all the time type of person. My biggest challenge is slowing down and allowing time for myself to follow patterns by others, relax a bit, or take a full day off.
I think this happens when you’re not only passionate about growing your “business” but also so passionate about what you’re doing. If I don’t have my yarn and hook in hand, I’m probably on my laptop researching, revising, updating, etc. In the coming year, I really need to learn how to give myself the weekend to relax.
Have you ever lost your crojo and how did you overcome that?
The only time I truly feel like I’ve lost my crojo was after what I refer to as Scarf-pocalypse. I recently released my Simplicity scarf design and I love it. I posted it on my personal Facebook account as a “look what I made!” to my friends and so many people wanted one.
Going back to the “realizing I can’t do everything all the time” challenge, I accepted commissions which is something I don’t normally do. I ended up with about 10 Simplicity scarf commissions on top of the three I already was making for the design.
I get so bored of making the same thing over and over that it really was a struggle for me to get it done (on top of my time blogging). When the final scarf was finished, I held it above my head and made a victory noise.
I didn’t crochet for a few days after that. I spent my time focusing on some other things. One night, while scrolling through IG and crushing on projects, I was hit with inspiration again and picked up my hook.
I think it’s important to give yourself a break and let inspiration come to you, instead of forcing it.
What three tips can you offer to anyone that crochets?
- There is no right or wrong way. I remember this when I was learning to crochet. “You’re holding your hook wrong!” “You are holding your yarn wrong!” “You’re supposed to do this, not that!” While, sure, I’ll concede that there are some technical bits to crochet you need to have correct, what matters most is that you’re happy and enjoying what you’re doing.
- Community over Competition; Act with love in your heart. So many things are debated, shamed and ridiculed these days. Crochet/crafting does not need to be one of them. We have the amazing ability to connect with and communicate with crocheters from all around the world by the phones in our pockets. Be kind to yourself and to others.
- If you get frustrated, walk away for a few minutes. This works for anything in life. Give yourself a breather, take a minute to relax, and look at your project/situation with fresh eyes.
Thank you Shannon for being part of the Sunflower Community and sharing our little corner of the Internet!
Try a couple of Shannon’s patterns!
Click the pics below to be taken to Shannon’s free pattern post for these two gorgeous designs!