As part of the original Around the World in 80 Skeins tour, the 25th stop was Slovakia to visit crochet designer Ivana Jackova.
Hi, Ivana – welcome to the tour! Let’s start with where are you from?
I live in Slovakia, in the heart of Europe. Here is where I was born and grew up, I like it here.
What’s the best thing about your country?
Personally, the absolutely perfect thing in my country is the landscape, especially the beautiful mountains. Just a look out the window of our house or a walk through the village is an experience in its own right. So if you were to come visit me, first you would enjoy our homeland. And then there are a lot of other places, because Liptov is a region made for tourism – it is one of the most visited places in Slovakia. The most spectacular are the High Tatras, Liptovská Mara water reservoir, many caves or the village called Vlkolínec registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Interesting are also ski resorts and aqua parks. And of course folklore – because that is what our village is best known for.
How did you get started crocheting and why did it turn into designing?
I learned crocheting as a girl by following a guide in a magazine. I also knit and embroider and I am interested in artistic creation, but only crocheting fascinated me at first glance. As a child, I crocheted only a few small table covers, some flowers and that was all. I went back to crocheting when I was expecting my first daughter as I had to spend a lot of time lying down due to medical reasons. That was when I started crocheting hats, but on the internet I found a lot of good guides. And following these guides I improved. Moreover, the improvement increased my desire to do my own thing, so I gradually grew into a designer (however small at the moment).
Where is your favorite place to work?
My favourite place to crochet and design? Where the children will allow me. 😀 I create everywhere – outside in the yard and on a walk, in the study, but also in the bathroom! But if I had to choose an ideal place, I guess it would be somewhere quiet in a meadow under a tree.
What is your design process like? Do you plan it all out before you pick up your hook, or do you let the yarn show you where to go?
The design process is varied – sometimes what inspires me is the yarn itself, sometimes I already have a project in my head and I look for the suitable yarn. And sometimes it’s a thing my little daughter needs. In the past, I would not have believed that I could work as unintentionally being a pretty organized type of person.
Do you have a favorite local yarn store?
I purchase materials in several shops, but mainly on the Internet.
How does where you live influence your designs?
My work is mainly inspired by my children. But it is also affected by the beautiful surrounding countryside, which I mentioned above – mountains, hills, meadows, streams and plants.
Is there a big knitting/crochet culture where you live?
I think that a lot of women from Slovakia can knit and crochet, but I’m not aware of some exceptional tradition.
Do you have a favorite design in your portfolio that was inspired by your culture/environment?
My favourite design that is perfectly suited to our environment is the cap I named Spring slouchy hat. I made it in the spring for my daughters, so they would be neither too warm nor cold, and the cap 100 % met my expectations. And it caused admiring reactions from passers.
It’s a wonderful design and it is adorable on your girls! Thank you for joining the tour, Ivana!