Our Tools, Ourselves: Sandra Juto

In Our Tools, Ourselves, we get to know fiber artisans of all walks, ages, styles and skill levels, by way of their tools. For more on the series, read the introduction.

Sandra Juto in her illustration and crochet studio

I’ve been aware of illustrator and crocheter Sandra Juto for a while — dipping into her photo-rich blog and, more recently, her Instagrams — but when her Berlin apartment appeared on Freunde von Freunden last Fall, I made a note to myself to contact her about Our Tools, Ourselves one day. Her apartment is amazing but, naturally, I wanted to see and hear more about her life as a crocheter. Happily, she obliged —

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Do you knit, crochet, weave, spin, dye, sew … ?

Most of my yarn work is crochet, but sometimes I knit as well. I do everything by hand since there are no machines for crochet and also my knit work is 100% handmade. I like the slow process of it.

Tell us about your tool preferences and peccadilloes.

My knitting needles are made of wood (bamboo). I prefer them as they are lighter and don’t make noise while knitting. Most of my crochet hooks are from Clover — I use the “steel soft touch” ones and I love them. Since I changed to them, from the traditional metal ones, my wrists feel much better. I also wear Wrist Worms while working as they keep my wrists warm and I can work a couple of hours more during a day than if I don’t wear them.

How do you store or organize your tools? Or do you?

My tools are all over the place: in jars, in handbags, on desks, on the floor. Somehow my spare crochet hooks always get lost, strange!

Sandra Juto illustration and crochet studio

How do you store or organize your works-in-progress?

They are also all over the place — my studio is not very organized (as you can see in the pictures). I need to store everything visible; if I put them into boxes I forget they exist.

Are there any particularly prized possessions amongst your tools?

No, yarn, needles and hooks are quite cheap to buy.

Do you lend your tools?

No, since they are cheap I tell my friends to buy their own or I give them a couple of hooks as a gift.

What is your favorite place to crochet?

Most of the time I crochet/knit in front of my computer, cross-legged on my chair, watching TV series, documentaries or movies. Another favourite place is to go to a coffee shop where I can people watch as I work. Having made over 3000 pairs of Wrist Worms by now I don’t need to keep my eyes on my hands anymore. The great thing about my Wrist Worms work is that I can bring it anywhere — sometimes I spend time with friends in a bar doing crochet and chat. It’s also perfect to bring on long journeys.

What effect do the seasons have on you?

When it comes to work there is no real effect to talk about, except for right at this moment (late July) when it’s actually too hot to dig into wool, especially the project I’m working on now — a granny-square blanket which is almost finished, so the whole thing rests on my lap while crocheting it together, and two kilos of alpaca doesn’t go too well with a heat wave.

Sandra Juto Wrist Worms and granny square blanket

Do you have a dark secret, guilty pleasure or odd quirk, where your fiber pursuits are concerned?

I tend to feel empty on the inside when I don’t have any yarn available in my studio, it’s quite an addiction (luckily my only one).

What are you working on right now?

Right now I am stacking up Wrist Worms for the coming Fall as well as making a granny-square blanket of alpaca, I think it’s the 6th or 7th I’ve made. It will be available in my shop as soon as it’s finished. It’s such a great thing to know that my blankets are now living all over the world (Switzerland, Sweden, Hong Kong, USA, Australia, Germany etc).

[Editor’s note: That blanket has since been finished, sold right away, and went to live in Finland. Follow Sandra on Twitter for future announcements, and she also recently posted a granny-square blanket tutorial on her blog.]

Sandra Juto studio detail

PREVIOUSLY in Our Tools, Ourselves: Elizabeth Yong (aka Primoeza)

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Photos © Sandra Juto

10 thoughts on “Our Tools, Ourselves: Sandra Juto

  1. Great interview ~ it’s refreshing to read about an artist who lets all her stuff hang out! I crochet that same afghan but all my beautiful squares are still waiting to be sewn up together!

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