Crocheted toy and handmade sewing toys, which one do you prefer? For me, both of them are so amazing and even more wonderful if I can make them on my own! Today, let’s meet a special fabric artist that teaches us how to make amigurumi crochet toys and sew some soft and cute fabric toys – Mariska from DIY Fluffies.
Mariska is one of the famous crochet artists on Instagram and Youtube, but she is also well-known for her cute animal sewing patterns. In her shops or Youtube Channel, you can find tons of cute and cuddly amigurumi toys and stuffed animals to make. Looking at her easy crochet toys for beginners with unique and colorful designs would open you to the whole new world of fabric toys. Crocheting or sewing, let’s get started!
And in this meet the designer interview, Mariska also reveals her secret on how to have a successful crochet business. I am sure you will love her easy crochet animal patterns and would want to learn how to design these cute amigurumi patterns by yourself.
Moreover, find her special gift to my readers at the end of the post! Enjoy!
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The interview is inside 2021 COCROCHET TOUR – a year-long Amigurumi Designer Interviews, that will feature 12 famous amigurumi designers, listen to their unique success stories, and have wonderful gifts from them. You can read more about CoCrochet Tour and other interesting events in 2021 here.
CHECK OUT THis CROCHET designer interview AND HER super easy AMIGURUMI crochet toys
LET’S CHAT WITH THE CROCHET ARTIST DESIGNER
1. Please, tell us a little about yourself and your designs.
My name is Mariska Vos-Bolman and I am a designer of DIY Fluffies Amigurumi crochet patterns and Soft toy sewing patterns. I live in the Netherlands and sell my designs worldwide in my Etsy and Ravelry store.
I have made two books about sewing patterns and my crochet patterns were also in several books like the Zoomigurumi, Fantasy Amigurumi, Monster Amigurumi, and Dinosaur Amigurumi books. These crochet books are all published by Meteor books.
I have started DIY Fluffies in 2008 starting with toy sewing patterns. It is really great to have found a job that I can combine with my family’s life. During the day I take care of my sons and in the time I have left I work on my designs.
2. How long have you been crocheting?
I learned crocheting in 2008 and made two toys. The second toy wasn’t finished and it went into a box until 6 years later when I started to crochet. In 2008 my first son was born. When they got a bit older it was easier to find time to crochet again.
So I finally finished the second project and started making many more from several books. A few years later, in 2015, I started to make Amigurumi crochet patterns myself.
3. Why crochet? What is it that interests you?
There is something very relaxing about crocheting. I also love that you do not need large tools to crochet, you can easily bring them anywhere. I can take my crochet hooks to the playground, train, zoo, etc. Another plus is that I find it easier to create amigurumi patterns than sewing patterns.
4. Where do you usually get inspiration for your designs?
Animals are my big inspiration. There are so many beautiful animals in this world. My kids also help with ideas. They love animals too and have ideas about what I should make next.
5. Tell us about your happiest moments since you became an amigurumi designer?
When I won third place in the Amigurumipatterns Monster Amigurumi contest and the design was put in the Amigurumi Monster book with designs from the contest was one very happy moment.
It also makes me very happy to see the Amigurumi on Instagram that people have made from my designs. It is so great to see that there are crocheters that enjoy working with my designs.
When my kids or husband asks me to make one of my designs, I know they really like it.
6. What is the most struggle that you have faced during your design career?
Illegal pattern sharing, Some people want everything for free. But I wish they realized this is my full-time job and I need to live from this. It makes me very sad.
7. How did you start to be a professional designer and treat the hobby as a business?
In 2007 I bought my first sewing machine. I started to make toys right away and enjoyed them so much that I started selling them because I had so many. It was great to see that my toys sold quickly, but it was hard to sell more complex designs because of the time they take to make them more expensive.
That is why I start making patterns. Now I could still make complex toys and be able to make so much money from them. In 2008 I decided to start my company and quit my old job because I love making patterns so much more.
8. What is your strategy to grow a design business? How did you start to promote yourself and which platform?
I started on Facebook, now I use Instagram as well. I have years of experience now, which also helps. Make sure you make something that is of good quality before you start selling.
Have everything tested before you put it online. Also, be unique, make sure what you make is something you designed and looks different from other designers.
9. I saw that you have tons of sales on Etsy and other sales platforms, what you think is the main factor that leads to your success today?
My designs style seems to be popular with many people, which I am really proud of. It is so much fun to see all the amigurumi made from my patterns.
10. You are famous right now, but I know that it would be a long story behind with all the effort and of course, luck! What is your advice for people who want to be a designer and live with a career?
I think I already answered this in the previous questions. Be unique, deliver good quality. Promote on Facebook and Instagram.
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In case you are new to amigurumi, check my Ultimate guide to amigurumi for beginners to learn amigurumi from scratch this beautiful art!
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From Joy with love!