Born and raised in a small town in the Netherlands, Kwannie Chen, who has Chinese heritage, was always crafting. “Looking back into my childhood, I think that was my strength,” she says. “From writing to painting, working with my hands was my happy space.” Kwannie tried out many crafts before discovering crochet – and it stuck! She’s now a successful crochet designer, working under the name StudioManya.
StudioManya was born after Kwannie had her children, wanting to find something to do that was purely for her own enjoyment. “I was in a phase of discontent,” she explains. “I’d just come out of a period of immense lack of sleep, after having my first two children. So, after this, I finally had some space and time to think for myself.” Kwannie’s specialty is amigurumi, as well as miniature makes – delicate and unique little pieces that make a whole world of their own, which she posts as set-up scenes on her very successful Instagram account as a sort of ‘crocheted diary’. Kwannie initially chose to make small pieces of crochet for convenience – the smaller the item, the quicker for her to make and post on social media – but this time-saver has now become her trademark style!
You would never expect that Kwannie was a social media novice before all of this. With over 17,000 followers at the time of print, fans flock to her Instagram page to see what new magical scenes she’s created. “When I started on Instagram, I was so amazed by other people’s lives, all available on screen for everybody to watch and comment on. At the time, I thought people took it too seriously,” she explains. “That has meant my main purpose is simply to keep it light and entertaining. Also, I want to show people that there is so much more you can do with crochet. I want to help change the image crochet typically has.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
EMILY'S JOURNAL ...from the studio
Emily Penn of The Loopy Stitch loves designing and crocheting mandalas, and shares her tips and reasons for making this versatile motif
Earth and sky
A scarf to keep your feet on the ground and head in the clouds
The British seaside has always been a favourite place for Zoë Potrac, but it also inspired a crucial crochet design
ALL ABOUT THE SQUISH
Huggable and lovable, this cushion is a neon ray of sunshine after a long day.
Rise of the INDIE CAL
Big yarn brands aren’t the only ones to run crochet-alongs; independent designers are increasingly doing their own too. We find out what’s to love about an indie CAL
Bag of tricks
Carol Ibbetson is a multi-talented maker who, when she’s not designing crochet creations or presenting on TV, uses her technical skills to double-check patterns and teach others…
Make your dull denim sparkle again in a star-struck cushion design
Twist & out
Wrap up warm with a versatile infinity wrap design that you’ll keep coming back to
Shari White’s shawl design can do the talking for you
Pop on a pinny
Pretty and versatile, pinafores are deservedly a classic and Jenny King’s design is just so
EX-FACEBOOK MANAGER CRITICIZES COMPANY, URGES MORE OVERSIGHT
Haugen's accusations were buttressed by tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents she secretly copied before leaving her job in the company's civic integrity unit.
SOCIAL MEDIA'S 70-UP ‘GRANDFLUENCERS' DEBUNKING AGING MYTHS
Joan MacDonald’s health was in shambles at age 71. She was overweight and on numerous medications with high cholesterol, rising blood pressure and kidney trouble.
When Ghost Cities Come Alive
Built on a grand scale with thousands of apartments, new roads and subway lines, and Instagrammable architecture, China’s overnight cities have something else now: People
The Devil Wears Allbirds
Silicon Valley companies are sucking up all the fashion editors.
Julia & Danny SAVING THEIR MARRIAGE
America’s Sweetheart is flashing her famous smile again.
PEDRO ALMODÓVAR WARNS AGAINST ALGORITHMS IN INSTAGRAM ROW
Declaring “victory” over Instagram after a controversial poster for his upcoming film was censored and then reinstated, Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar said Thursday that society must be alert to the power of algorithms in deciding what humans are permitted to see.
WHAT WORKS FOR ME THE BIG MAN IS BACK
For four-time NBA champ Shaquille O’Neal, tragedy marked 2020 in ways that would bulldoze the average man. And while personal loss took a toll, he persevered with trademark positivity. Here’s how he strengthened his outlook—and his physique.
INSTAGRAM ‘The good, the bad, and the awful truth!’
THAT WAS FLEETING: TWITTER KILLS OFF EPHEMERAL MESSAGES
Twitter is disappearing its disappearing tweets, called fleets, after they didn’t catch on.