"IF I HAD ALL THE ARMS IN THE WORLD I WANT TO YARNBOMB PEOPLE’S CAR INTERIORS, OR HOME FURNITURE OR A WEDDING BUS."
Desiree Seow loves to knit (obviously) really, really cute plushies.
How and why did you get started on knitting and crocheting?
I was always inspired by thread-related works. I used to make heaps of friendship bands in secondary school, and I still keep them today for my guitars. Izzyana Suhaimi is my biggest modern local influence today—I will never be able to embroider like her. One of her collections involved knitting a hat or scarf directly onto her illustrations, which I was obsessed over and tried to do it but of course failed. Knitting is two sticks are too many! To knit a circle you have to use four sticks. Making a mistake whilst knitting requires you to back-knit.
I only really tried crochet on a 16-hour flight back from Russia in August 2013. The plane was half-filled with Italians fussing over what I should knit for them, and the noise level no less than that of a frat party at the back of the plane. A kind granny in the seat behind me slipped her arms over my head and showed me exactly how I should grasp the crochet hook (“Like-a pen-a, brava! Si, brava!”), and I owe whatever came forth from my ball of yarn to her. I kinda like crocheting now…more like love. Actually – just obsessed with it.
What is it about crocheting that you like?
My newfound ability to FOCUS. I was never able to focus on anything more than 10 minutes all my life. You can imagine how sad I was in school. Also when people receive my work - the happiness on their face makes me want to jump and hug/high-five them but I usually say “glad you like it” and that’s that.
Do you knit anywhere or do you need a certain kind of environment to do so?
I knit on the bus every single day to and from work. Actually any environment will do as long as it’s not wet or precarious. That’s the beauty of crochet!
How did crocheting Totoro come about?
I visited BBB Flea Market mid 2013, and there was a corner stall that caught my eye. Finn and Jake crocheted plushies for sale!! A lovely lady called Louise Soh was selling her amazing crochet works. We had a long chat about the art and when I got home, I looked her up online. She had a Totoro set for sale, and I’m a major Hayao Miyazaki fan so I was hyperventilating. But it was really expensive and I was strapped for cash. If she could do it, I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t, so I decided to try my hand at crochet.
What other things do you crochet / knit?
Amigurumi, berets, scarves, gloves, baby bootie, mittens, caps, blankets, cushion covers…I’m always expanding and looking for new projects. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to write my own patterns.
What would you love to knit, considering that there are no restrictions?
OMG IF I HAD ALL THE ARMS IN THE WORLD I WANT TO YARNBOMB PEOPLE’S CAR INTERIORS, OR HOME FURNITURE OR A WEDDING BUS. Just maybe, if only I were the Hindu goddess Kali.
What is your current occupation and what were you doing before this?
I’m currently an in-house Graphic Designer at Argentum Group, a company in the F&B industry. Right before this I was also an in-house graphic designer at a wellness centre. Can you believe it, a wellness centre? I am allergic to exercise.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Tough question. It’s a miracle to be able to live from day to day. I hope that being able to freelance from home in my undergarments is somewhere in the pipeline. The only reason I would stop crocheting is if my arms kena langah (meaning ‘get hit’) by a lorry or there were no more materials left on this godforsaken Earth to crochet. There is absolutely no reason why anyone will stop doing something that truly makes them happy.