Gurinder Kaur Hatchard on Hooked on Shakespeare

“Once I’d come up with Woolliam Shakespeare as a pun, it seemed like a no brainer”

Words by Gurinder Kaur Hatchard | Feb 14 2024

Gurinder Kaur Hatchard is the founder of, an online platform dedicated to inspiring and teaching others how to crochet with her gorgeous patterns and brilliant beginner’s ‘Couch to Crochet’ series. We recently sat down with Gurinder and discussed her new book Hooked On Shakespeare.

1. What first inspired you to write a Shakespearean themed crochet book?

I’ve been designing little amigurumi characters for years, usually inspired by film characters that my children loved. A few years ago, I worked very near the Globe Theatre, and I’d always be crocheting on the train to work. I had a bit of an ‘aha’ moment and thought…why not give the Bard’s plays the crochet treatment? Once I’d come up with Woolliam Shakespeare as a pun, it seemed like a no brainer!

I’ve adored Shakespeare’s plays since school and I loved the idea of putting so many of his characters together in a book because there is so much variety. Some of the characters are from ancient times, some are magical, and others are from the Tudor era. I knew that none of the figures would look the same, so it was quite exciting to start designing and picking and choosing colours and costumes.

2. Were there any other plays and characters that you wanted to include but had to be cut for space?

Definitely! There were so many more that I could have included like Katherina from Taming of the Shrew, Lady Macbeth and it also would have been fab to include Malvolio from Twelfth Night, complete with his yellow stockings!

3. What is your favourite Shakespeare character and why?

It’s difficult to pick just the one, but Bottom from Midsummer Night’s Dream probably has the edge. I’ve seen so many different versions over the years and he never fails to make me laugh.


4. How did you go about bringing the characters to life?

I did a lot of research, which was tons of fun. It was a lovely excuse to immerse myself in Shakespeare by going to see some fantastic productions and watching some of the movies, and even the BBC’s Upstart Crow. A couple of books that were really helpful were Tudor Fashion by Eleri Lynn and What People Wore When by Melissa Leventon, as well a lot of children’s Shakespeare books. I also went to a talk at the Globe with their costume designers and got to see a lot of the clothes used in productions up close. I even met an Egyptologist at the Petrie Museum and we had a great chat about Cleopatra’s clothing and heritage.

For the figures that aren’t based on historical people, it was great putting my own spin on them. I’ve tried to include a lot of characters with different skin tones too as Shakespeare should be for everyone, as his plays are performed all over the world.

There’s a lot of trial and error when designing and so a lot of limbs and heads that never made it to the final pieces. To quote, All's Well That Ends Well - “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.”, which just about sums up what the bottom of my craft bag looked like!

The biggest challenge was Henry VIII – there are such classic portraits of him, and everyone is so familiar with his look, it was quite daunting to take on! He was the one that took the longest to design and there was a lot of unpicking and discarded bits that never made it through to the final version. I’m very proud with how he turned out in the end!

5. Do you have a favourite Shakespeare quote?

Can I pick a few? Just one is too hard!

The one I probably mostly relate to “Though she be little, she is fierce.” From A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I’m also a big fan of a Shakespearean insult, including, “He has not so much brain, as earwax” (Troilus and Cressida), and “You Banbury Cheese!” (Merry Wives of Windsor).

I was also inspired to include The Winter’s Tale in my book, inspired by the most famous stage direction, “Exit, pursued by a bear”.

6. What is your top tip for a beginner hoping to try amigurumi for the first time?

Instead of jumping into making a pattern straight away, try just making a ball with 4mm hook and DK yarn to get comfortable with the technique, and your work will become neater and neater. Make a few and then move onto creating patterns using a smaller hook and yarn. Be patient with yourself if you make a few mistakes along the way, Lady Macbeth was wrong when she said, “What is done, cannot be undone.”

7. What are you currently crocheting?

I have got about a million projects to finish, but a few of my friends have just had babies so it’s the perfect excuse to make them a hat and some matching booties. Then I’ll get back to all my unfinished blankets, jumpers and cardigans… and almost certainly get distracted and start a completely new project.


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