Interview with Ugly Gerbil

Ugly Gerbil has got some great Cthulhu and monster themed stuff in her shop...but she is a lot more than a creature crocheter! Read on to learn more!

I live in the San Francisco Bay area with 3 fuzzy cat-like creatures named Lobo, Ash and Lumpy. By day I work at, making sure the masses have a new fun game to play every day. By night I crochet silly things and yell at the cats. They roll their eyes a lot.
If you met me in person, you might be surprised to learn that I’m neither ugly, nor a gerbil! I’m actually a human girl named Terrie.

How did you find Etsy? How long have you been selling on Etsy?
My friend and co-worker Sheatiel first turned me on to Etsy. She’s part of the dynamic (and just married this month!) Etsy duo BinaryWinter. I opened my Etsy account in February ’08 to buy from them.
I was on the tail end of learning to crochet at the time, and juuust getting to the point where I only mostly sucked at it. This coincided with my discovery of 1) amigurumi and 2) the fact that I’m hopelessly addicted to yarn. I figured I may as well try to subsidize my yarn habit and listed a couple things.

How would you describe your style?

I don’t really think of myself as having a goofy a style? Everything I do, I do for my own amusement. I’m fortunate that other people seem to be amused as well.

How long have you been creating?
I only got into crafty stuff about 7 years ago. I got this sock monkey dog toy – squeaker and all – At Trader Joes. No, I don’t have a dog… But I loved that thing & decided I had to have a go at making my own sock monkeys. I made them for about 2 years & did pretty well selling them on my own website & Ebay. I wish Etsy had been around then!
I started crocheting because I saw this cute knit top in a catalog. It had crocheted cuffs and collar, and I said, “Pffft, I can do that”. So I bought Crochet for Dummies, and learned to crochet. I still haven’t made cuffs and collar…

Have you had any mentors, or are you self taught?
I’m not being glib, I actually learned from Crochet for Dummies! My grandmother crocheted, but she didn’t teach me how. I probably wasn’t interested at the time.
I’m going to tell you an embarrassing story that will seem tangential, but will tie together at the end, I promise.
Back when I was 12 or 13, I absolutely worshipped Stevie Nicks. I had a concert video of hers (on beta!), and when no one was home, I would pop that sucker into the betamax , drape the zig-zag pattern afghan my grandmother had crocheted over my shoulders, and twirl about the room perfecting my Stevie impression.
But the blanket didn’t drape quite properly, so I made 2 horizontal cuts in the side. It draped much better after that.
Now that I know how much work went into that thing, I feel terrible! (It was kinda ugly though.)
Also, when my mom asked what happened to the blanket, I looked her right in the eye and said, “I don’t know.”
I’ve since told her. She makes fun of me about it. A lot.

Do you sell more at one time of year than others?
It doesn’t seem like it, but this is only my second year, and I went on vacation last December, so I think I hosed myself on Christmas sales! Totally worth it though.

What is one thing about your creative process that you think most people don’t know?
That it is fueled by rage!!! Ok, that’s not true, it’s mostly fueled by chocolate and cheese. Other than that, I don’t really have a creative process. Things pop into my head and I make ‘em.
I do a lot of my crocheting on the train during my commute, most people probably don’t know that.

What kind of custom work do you do most often? What has been your favorite custom order?
Except for color specific Cthulhu Babies, I actually don’t do any custom work. Since I already have a full time + job, it’s really important for me to keep this fun. So toward that end, I make what I want, when I want, and slack off whenever I need to.

Do you have a favorite item you have made and/or color combo?
I love my Rude Dudes! They aren’t as popular as I thought they’d be, which is actually a bit of a blessing, they’re really time consuming to make, but they’re awfully cute! And rude.
I love all different color combos, but looking at my items, it’s pretty obvious that I love purple and green together.

What is the best reaction you have gotten from one of your pieces?
I absolutely love getting customer appreciation photos! Whether they’re simple happy customer with their item shots or more elaborate pics, and fellow Etsian / beloved repeat customer MannequinReject has sent me some awesome pics!