About

My journey as a fulltime knitwear designer

When I tell people I used to live in China and speak fluent Mandarin Chinese for a living, I bet there’s a part of them that thinks I threw my education away. Because there must be tons of well-paying jobs in that branche and who would walk away from that to go play with yarn, right? Well first of all, let me burst that bubble because it is NOT easy to get a good job if you speak Mandarin Chinese. And secondly, who says that you can’t change your mind about your career?

It was my thirst for knowledge and the instant gratification that brought me to learn Chinese. I doubt there are many other things as satisfying as learning a new skill and being able to implement it straight away. That’s how learning a language was for me, learn a new word – use it in a sentence in the same day! And it was this same instant gratification that I found in knitting and crochet. I learned a new stitch and boom! I was able to follow a new pattern and make something.

Knitting and crocheting is even more satisfying than learning a language sometimes, because you get a tangible product from your efforts. And – not unimportantly – for benefitting from your newly learned language you often need other people to converse with, and you don’t need anybody but yourself to knit. And us knitters are all a bit (or a LOT) introverted, am I right? “But you still need other to teach you how to knit or crochet!” Ah, see that’s where I come in! I’m about to teach you ALL you want to know about knitting – and oh go on, a bit of crochet too – without you having to leave your comfy seat.

So hi! Welcome my lovely, I’m so glad you found my little corner of the internet. My name is Carmen Jorissen and I’m the designer behind New Leaf Designs (formerly Crafty Queens).

Knitting and crocheting are two things that fill my life with so much joy. I started both as a hobby in 2011, and it all kind of snowballed from there! They have brought me so many opportunities, and the most lovely group of friends I could ever wish for. Want to know how all of that happened? Read my blogpost on “Three things that helped me get into designing” right here.

As of September 2019, I am a fulltime knitwear and crochet designer, and I couldn’t be happier to call this my job! You are very welcome to join me on my journey by reading my blogs or catching up with me in one of my podcast episodes.

A couple more things you should know about me

I am committed to anti-racism work. If you enjoy saying “all lives matter” as a response to “Black lives matter”, or if you “don’t think it matters what colour people are / don’t see colour”, please remove yourself from my space. Racism, and for that matter also homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia and ableism have no place here.

I love to support BIPOC makers/designers, and for each purchase I’m checking if I can get it from a Black owned business. If you’d like to find more BIPOC makers, the BIPOC in Fiber directory is a great place to start if you’re in the US. If you’re in Europe, you might really enjoy (as do I!) the instagram page Independent Black Businesses. They mostly feature UK based shops, but it’s way more accessible (and more environmentally friendly!) to the rest of Europe than if you were to purchase from a US store. If you’re in the Netherlands like me, I can highly recommend this blogpost on NSMBL, and the app Bobplaats where you can find Black owned businesses (BOB) in the Netherlands.

If you’re still here, THANK YOU. I appreciate you so much for listening.

My patterns and publications

You can find all of my free patterns here, and my paid-for patterns are all in my shop.

I am an official Scheepjes blogger and frequently submit designs to any of their publications (YARN bookazine and YARN Afterparty), I have also worked with Mollie Makes, Simply Crochet and Inside Crochet.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me via the contact page.

Some of my publications: Top row: Inside Crochet – Chevron Boulevard Shawl (Issue 128) and Yeti (Issue 129) Middle row: Mollie Makes – Mohair Colourblock Scarf (Issue 114) and Crochet Bluetit Birds (Issue 52) Bottom row: YARN Bookazine – Red Panda Socks (Issue 10) and Sleeping Reindeer (Issue 6)

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