Finding your way thru the Indie Design Gift Along

Finding your way thru the Indie Design Gift Along

I love this.   Check out Barbara Benson’s designs here

Never Not Gnoming?

As I do most years, I have been taking part in the Indie Design Gift Along on Ravelry.com

I’m making the following for gifting this year:

Mount Rainier Hat by Peggy Jean Kaylor

This  is a great unisex hat and men to do seem to absolutely love it.

It has enough detail on the crown shaping (whiMount Rainierch has a couple of options) to keep the knitter happy but has clean, crisp designs lines that men love for sophisticated simplicity.     It’s made using worsted weight yarn and the lower part of the hat uses a simple ribbing pattern.   The crown decreases add a bit of interest and magic.

A few friends of mine tested this pattern and can attest to how well written it is.   All the main numbers are contained in a clear, easy to follow table and you just move to ‘your size’ as needed.

It’d look great in a worsted or aran weight yarn and I’m sure the men in your life would love it.

It’s a quick knit, a couple of evenings knitting for me, at most.    I’d recommend it as a quick gift knit, particularly for men.

 

 

Beekeeper Mittens by Mindy Dykman

I fell in love with these and they are supposed to be a gift, but I think I’ll be keeping them (no pun intended), so sorry Mum, you’ll get something else this year.     These are also made with worsted yarn but at a tighter gauge/tension for warmth and to keep out the wind on cold days.    Beekeeper Mittens

The honeycomb like texture pattern is very easy to memorize.   The palm has a slip stitch pattern to give it warmth and some strength to the fabric, in the same way you’d do on the heel of a sock.     It’s very well written with clear charts (and written instructions for those who don’t get on with charts).

I’m using Grouse, a mid grey for the cuffs and Blueberry, a rich purple for the body of the mittens.

 

Never Not Gnoming by Sarah Schira

I don’t make toys, absolutely not patience for small, fiddly things and yet I fell in love with these guys.    I’ve made two already.   I just need to finish the beard, nose and arms for the second one.

Other Ravelry members have made the small, medium, large and there is one super bulky egnormous Gnome so far.    Many projects have been themed by characters, mine is Gnomedalf the Grey.   I’m working on Sherlock Gnomes and trying to figure out how to make the deerstalker hat.

Do check out Dogwood13’s projects, hers are adorable.  My good friend bluesocks has also made a couple and one of her Gnomes is pictured with various books (hilarious titles).

 

 

Tintinnio by Cristina Ghirlanda

I was really tired and needed a warm, smooshly scarf.   This knitted up very quickly, I missed the cables as I really wasn’t awake enough to pay attention and wanted a much wider scarf.

If you check out the other projects, they cables really do make it.

I also recommend, if you can find it or it’s in your budget, use the Malabrigo Nube yarn for the pom pom, they’re adorable.

 

 

 

 

 

Mixlace Poncho by Denise Voie de Vie

I love Denise’s designs and have had this in my library for a while (the magazine version).   I love the way it works with a self striping yarn and various crochet lace stitch patterns to create a chic and stylish poncho.

If you’d like to browse the Ravelry Bundle of all the eligible patterns for the Gift Along, follow this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Spotlight – Ruth Brasch

Almost Aran is a scarf that features the lovely cabling seen on aran sweaters, but is a smaller project than a full sweater! Get your cable fix without having to worry about finishing a whole sweater!

This scarf features an optional faux mobius twist that is put in after the entire scarf is knitted. You get the option of a lovely twist without having to work a twisted project.

Our Designer Spotlight is on Ruth Brasch on Ravelry.com who is taking part in this years Indie Design Gift Along.

I first chatted to Ruth in the Indie Design Gift Along last year and have kept in touch over the year.   Her designs often feature clever names which never fail to make me smile, great use of colour and an wonderful eye for textured details.

My first choice for today is the Ode to Summer Hat, this has been really popular with knitters since it’s release, think they love the flower and texture which make it a fun project to knit but also because it has that wow factor your gift recipient is sure to love.

Next is the New Horizons Hat, something for the crocheters among you (something I love too!).   This’d be a good stashbuster or fabulous for self striping or plain yarns.

This hat features:

  • Edging for a controlled stretch in the band
  • A tutorial for an invisible 3rd loop join
  • A bottom up construction for adjustable sizing from the start
  • Options for an ear warmer instead of a hat
  • Options to make a slouchier hat
  • Options to make a larger or smaller hat
  • Instructions to make a straight Hdc seam instead of a diagonal one

© Heather Albert, Radiant Reflections Photography

Last on today’s list but another favourite of mine is the Almost Aran Fauxbius, what a fab name!    Almost Aran is a scarf that features the lovely cabling seen on aran sweaters, but is a smaller project than a full sweater! Get your cable fix without having to worry about finishing a whole sweater!    This scarf features an optional faux mobius twist that is put in after the entire scarf is knitted. You get the option of a lovely twist without having to work a twisted project.

© Heather Albert, Radiant Reflections Photography

 

To check out all the discounted patterns in the Indie Design Gift Along visit the group for more information.

Designer Spotlight Joan Dyer

I missed yesterday so I’m playing catch up.   Our Designer Spotlight is on Joan Dyer, joandyer on Ravelry.com who is taking part in this years Indie Design Gift Along.

I won a pattern in the forums the other day and chose Madeira, my dear, by Joan Dyer, it’s a gorgeous all over lace pattern and I love the rich raspberry colour she chose for the design sample.   I’d be easy to add a bit of waist and hip shaping by just changing needle sizes, larger at the hips and smaller at the waist.    It has a nice clean neckline (no clutter and fancy shaping required) and the sleeves also feature the pretty lace.   As always with Joan’s patterns, it’s well written, clear and clever.   There are charts and written instructions with lots of hints and tips on how best to handle the lace shaping at the raglan.

If you make one sweater for work or play, this should be on your short list.   It’s worked in the round with raglan shaping, that gives the best options for trying on as you knit.    There’s an option for sweater length and tunic length, this’d make a great beach coverup or a teen dress for nights out (with appropriate layers underneath 🙂

Madeira My Dear Sweater pattern

Next up is the Sidestrokes Pullover, a childrens knit worked ‘sideways’ if you hadn’t guessed from the name 🙂 .  Sidestrokes Pullover features  a placket neck opening with a one button closure to make it both easy to pull on over the head but also for style points. It was created for Tess’ Designer Yarns.  The four sizes correspond to ages 3, 6, 12, and 18 months with 4 inches (10 cm) ease. The width is easily adjusted by adding more rows, and the length by casting on additional stitches.  The main body is knit sideways, the neckline and bottom edge picked up and knit circularly after the sides are seamed.

The sweater can be worked in lace weight yarn, 3 strands held together, which provides the opportunity to create a gradient that shifts color from one cuff to the other with the color changes controlled by replacing one strand at a time. The design is well suited to variegated yarns, or sock weight yarns knit to gauge for a lighter weight garment.  If you use machine washable sock yarn, it’ll be clean and dry in no time.   Brilliant for busy Mums and stylish for fashion conscious kids.

sidestrokes

Our last garment for this post is called Klid, a child’s cardigan, with a stunning tree on a rev st st background.  Great for young Hobbit or LOTR fans or just kids who love nature!  The pattern has a cropped or hip length version (to keep them warm and toasty), is knitted in worsted weight yarn but there are notes on how to adapt for other yarn weights which is a great bonus.   The body is worked flat bottom-up, with waste yarn replacing sleeves until the sweater body is completed. The sleeves are worked in the round top-down with underarm gussets (continuing from waste yarn, no pickup required). The closure can be snaps or buttons. The construction is seamless.

 klid

 I couldn’t resist adding this and the sample item would match nicely to Klid (above), it’s the Ditty Bag pattern.    It’s handy for cable needles, your seaming or sewing needles to stop them dropping down the side of the chair (or is that just me?).     You can use any weight of yarn, any type of yarn and it’s a great project to learn about double knitting.

 dittybag

 To check out all the discounted patterns in the Indie Design Gift Along visit the group for more information.    To see our discounted patterns, go here.

the discount code is giftalong2015 for 25% of the sale patterns.  Sale ends on Friday UK time and Thursday midnight EST.

 

 

 

Designer Spotlight PJKaylor

Today I’ll be featuring some gorgeous designs from just one designer, Peggy Jean Kaylor or pjkaylor to her friends on Ravelry.com

One of my favourites is Leaves of Lothlorien.   I read Lord of the Rings at 8 years old and loved it, Tolkein created an incredible world where I could escape the day to day.   The film adaptations captured the written details perfectly and Peggy’s scarf does just the same thing.  It evokes magic, mystery and an ethereal atmosphere.       The pattern is very well written with clear instructions for every stage.     It’s adaptable – you could use it to make a garland for Christmas, a scarf for a night out using some sparkly yarns and it would even make a great hatband.    A friend of mine made it several times with different yarns and loves it.  The scarf is construction using garter stitch and short rows, so it’s a fabulous practice piece.   Each leaf ‘grows’ from the central spine and can be placed where you want them.   In this case, the short rows don’t require any special skill so all you need to know are how to knit-on cast on, traditional bind off/cast off, knit, knit 2 together. The short row shaping does not require any special treatments beyond turning the work and just knitting whatever number of stitches is specified instead of completing each row.

You could make several in shades of green or in autumnal shades (Fall to our US cousins) for a showstopper accessory or you could just make a short length and add it as an embellishment to a bag or garment, it’d look fabulous around the yoke of a sweater.

As for the LOTR, I try and read it once a year although I admit I skip the chapters with shelob the spider – ewwww..   Each of these gorgeous designs is 25% off so don’t miss the sale!   The coupon code is giftalong2015 without any spaces!

greenleaf4 mediumIMG 2675 medium2

IMG 2760 medium2Vine Scarf 001 medium2

Next up is the Heart Throb Scarf, a pretty project for those wanting to try something a bit lacy but not too much and fancy a go at bobbles to give texture.  Peggy has designed a cute heart motif which you could do many times on the scarf as shown, or just once at each end.    It’s very well written and every part of the pattern is clear, even for beginners.  

IMG 1835 medium2

Last, but by no means least, and made in a fabulous blue, is Melite, Nymph of Calm Seas, another very well written pattern, which has optional beading for those wanting to add a bit of glitz.    What I love about Melite is that every element is totally reversible. The beads sparkle from both sides of the fabric. The lace and solid sections are created from reversible stitch patterns. It makes the perfect wrap.   Why is that good?  It means you can’t wear it inside out, as either side looks amazing!   Great to grab as you dash out the door for a bit of added glamour and warmth

Stitches used in the pattern: k, p, yo, k2tog. While the techniques are not difficult, most knitters will need to pay regular attention to either the written instructions or the chart to successfully insert the solid zigzags into the lace ground and to place the beads correctly within the zigzags.    Beading is optional but adds a subtle sparkle. If knitted exactly as the pattern directs, Melite requires 1,213 size 6/0 glass seed beads. Placing the beads requires either Threader Floss dental floss or a small steel crochet hook that will fit through the center of the beads.    The pattern includes complete abbreviated row-by-row written instructions as well as fully charted directions.

Melite pattern sample modeled 001 medium2

 

I’ve finished my Campside Hat by CarolynMac and my Renilda Hat by Tracey Lee.

Do check out our designer bundle with our sale patterns, we hope you like our new releases and find lots of inspiration.

Knits for Head, Neck and Hands

Today I’ll be featuring some gorgeous designs from some amazing friends in the Indie Gift Along 2015.     They’re my personal favourites and include hats, mitts/wristers, scarves, shawls or cowls to mix or match.

First up is Knittipoliti, aka Ellen Kapusniak, and her Bezel Hat, Bezel Mittens and Bezel Cowl, a stunning set which has the smooshiest cable design and would be a really quick gift for someone knitworthy.  Or if that someone was a knitter, you could gift them the pattern(s), they will thank you.   Click on the images to see more.   Each of these gorgeous designs is 25% off so don’t miss the sale!   The coupon code is giftalong2015 without any spaces!

Hat3_small2Mittens2_smallCowl3_small2

Our next designer Scrabblepooh, aka Helen Gipson, has the most amazing eye for detail.   I’ve picked out some of her neckwear, perfect for wrapping up on cold days or to match with your winter coat.    My first choice is Downtime, a great way to use up scraps, match your scarf to all your outfits and just because it’s smooshy, warm and soft!   My second choice was Iolaire, look at the texture of this scarf?  It’s a knitters dream, a simple pattern, great texture and works with plain or patterned yarns.   Last, but by no means least, is the totally stunning Petalous Shawl, it’s got cables, lace and texture making it a fun and fascinating knit, it also stays on the shoulders when worn and could be styled in different ways.

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Lets have a look at Selana, aka Handarbeitskram on Ravelry.   Selana has some gorgeous designs in a wide range of categories.   I’ve stuck to todays theme and I’d love you to take a look at the Opposites Attact Hat, the Opposites Attract Cowl and the Muddy River Mitts and just for fun, also to keep you on your toes, Pin Eater

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Last, but just as wonderful is Mistealeaf, aka Tracey Lee, I love her Makallie Hat, great colourwork and another good stashbuster for those of us who keep part balls and oddments, just in case!    Next up are the Kallan Mitts, very pretty cable and rib pattern, fits most people and will look great in pretty much any yarn.   To match this and as a real showstopper I just low the Kallan Cape, smooshy cables and great for cooler days, stylish too!

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I’ve cast on my Campside Hat from yesterdays blog update and my Renilda Hat by Tracey Lee.

Do check out our designer bundle with our sale patterns, we hope you like our new releases and find lots of inspiration.

Hats, Hats and more Hats

The Indie Design Gift Along for 2015 starts tonight, it’ll be about 1am for us Brits so I’ll be sleeping like a baby.     I’ll catch up with all the excitement when I get up on Friday.

I’ve been perusing the list of participating designers and am just blown away by the fabulous designs, range of techniques, basics, classics and fun items they’ve included in the sale.   You can see the full list here with pictures, or here for an alphabetical list.     The featured patterns are all part of the sale event and will be 25% off for the next week (ish).

Today’s feature is all about hats.   I have a few I want to make, so anyone that knows me, please don’t tell my family or they won’t have suprises on Christmas Day!  

I’m planning to cast on Campside, I haven’t chosen a yarn yet, must stash dive but perhaps some Austermann Merino Silk as it’s beautifully soft.     I love the lace and texture of this beanie fit hat, the decreases for the crown give a wonderful 3D effect.   It should be warm enough for cool days and travelling, but also cute enough to wear at meetings where the room isn’t as warm as I’d like it to be 🙂       I also really love her Early Harvest Cap but that’ll feature on another day as it has some matching mitts I’d love you to see!

Campside-2_small2

Next is going to be Southern Star which features some really neat colourwork and would be brilliant for those using up scraps, oddments and leftover balls of yarn.  It’s a great opportuntity to practise stranded knitting and will look amazing.   I love this design, there is such clever use of traditional motifs with modern colour and fit.

Next on my list of cast on items is Nickes Hat, it’s really cute, great texture from the cabling and is worked in beanie and slouchy sizes.   It featurs a pretty lace and cable pattern to keep you interested but is also really easy to remember.     It’s made with dk weight yarn so I’m thinking Lanas Stop Alpaca as the softness and warmth will work really well.

Last but not least, for this post that is, is the gorgeous Twisted Fall Hat, I love the twisted stitches, texture and travelling elements of this pattern, it works so well.   But those who know me, also know I can’t resist a purple shade, so I’m sold on this one right from the first glance 🙂    We have some Austermann Merino Silk in a lilac or a baby blue shade that would be fabulous for this.

I’m off now to gather yarn and get ready for the big cast on event, I do hope you’ll join us and will love viewing all the fabulous patterns on offer.  It’ll be a great start to your gift knitting and you can win prizes in the Knit along/Crochet along threads for each type of project.    

Do check out our designer bundle with our sale patterns, we hope you like our new releases and find lots of inspiration.

 

 

Indie Design Gift Along 2015

After having such a wonderful and fun time last year in the Indie Design Gift Along, we are pleased announce that we are participating in the Indie Designers’ Gift Along this year!

There are even more designers taking part, over 330 at the last count, and that means lots and lots of patterns for sale.     If you’re buying patterns on Ravelry you can also gift them but gift patterns won’t work with the discount code.      During the GAL, if you win a coupon code for a free pattern, you can use that any time before March 1016.

The sale and the gift along officially kicks off THURSDAY NIGHT at 8PM EST which is about 1am for the UK so I’ll be catching up with everything on Friday morning.    A selected range of 20 of our pattern range are 25% off using the gift along coupon code giftalong2015. The sale lasts for one week only. Designers can include up to 20 of their patterns for sale.    There will be searchable boards on Pinterest for those that use it and also a Team Bundle on Ravelry so you can see all of the designers patterns.

You can participate in the gift along by knitting or crocheting any paid patterns (meaning not free) by any of the designers taking part. You can use patterns you’ve already purchased or patterns that aren’t on sale…as long as the pattern is not free, you can knit it (or crochet it!) and your project will be eligible for prizes if it’s finished during the Gift Along period, more info here.

Prizes! Lots and lots and lots of prizes! From downloadable patterns (each designer gave at least 5 coupon codes for free patterns, we donated 10 codes) to tangible, real life items…such as YARN.     I won some Capra yarn in last year’s gift along and it’s fabulous!

Here is a sneak peak at some of patterns for sale in the gift along. Click the picture to go to my Ravelry designer page:

GALCollageLBWMD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New out for Christmas knitting are the Evergreen Hat, Wheatsheaf Hat and the Frosty Morning Hat, we do hope you like them.

Shawl Pin Shawl Mystery KAL

Buy the pattern here

Pre-MKAL sale 25% off (applied automatically; regular price – $6.00 – starts August 26th, 2015)

Just a glimpse about the pattern: this easy level shawl features Drama by Claudia Hand Painted Yarns and comes in two sizes. The small – 10.5”/ 26.5cm deep by 64”/ 162.5cm wide – requires 2 skeins of yarn. The large – 12.75”/ 32.5cm deep by 74”/ 188cm wide – requires 3 skeins of yarn. The special features of the shawl are a secret, but the design works for both women and men. Suggested prerequisite skills include : knit, purl, increase, short rows (wrap and turn or method of choice), and I-cord. Pattern has been tech edited & test knit.

Now onto the fun – the Shawl Pin Shawl MKAL Details!

MKAL runs August 26, 2015 – September 18, 2015 in the Knit Eco Chic group on Ravelry.

Pattern Releases: August 26 (Wed) – Release Part A August 31 (Mon) – Release Part B September 9 (Wed) – Final Release & open FO thread Final projects due September 18, 2015 at 9am EST

Games: Hunter game – clues (some visual and some textual) will be posted at random during the duration of the MKAL. After the clue is posted you have 48 hours to post the correct answer. All correct posts will be entered into a random draw for a prize! The Hunter game will include multiple opportunities to win, but participants may only win 1 prize per person. You can still participate in the fun, but your post won’t be entered into the random draw.

FO game – everyone (including winners from the Hunter game) who post their FO in the FO thread by the deadline (September 18, 2015 at 9am EST) will be entered into a prize random draw.

Requirement for game participation – purchased Shawl Pin Shawl pattern and a project linked to the Shawl Pin Shawl pattern page

Physical Prizes from: Black Mountain Yarn Shop JUL Designs more coming soon

Electronic Prizes from: Knit Eco Chic – 10% of participants will win!

Muddy River Mitts by Selana

I recently test  knitted the Muddy River Mitts pattern by Selana on Ravelry.com.     I used Austermann Merino Silk and I love them.    The pattern is very well written with a cheat sheet to mark your thumb gusset increases next to the corresponding cable round.  Making it really easy to keep track.

They’d make an ideal gift and all of Selana’s patterns are 40% off until 10th May 2015.

Muddy River Mitts

 

 

giftalong 2014 Interview with Stana D.Sortor

today’s feature is on designer Stana D.Sortor aka Fifinka on Ravelry.com
My username is Fifinka and my website is stana-critters-etc.blogspot.com/

Hello, Stana! Welcome to our blog, Just in case people don’t know who you are… Who are you? Where are you?

My name is Stana. I am a dreamer, artist, photographer, writer, and designer. Originally from Europe, I live on the East Coast of USA at the moment.

Chameleon Leon Minion Pencil Box  
Fifi Minions  

How did you get into designing? Who taught you to knit? Can you crochet?

My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was a little girl. She tried to teach me knitting as well, but it took me a while to actually enjoy it. Nowadays I hardly crochet, but spend plenty of time with knitting needles and yarn. 
Couple of years ago a friend of mine asked me to explain to her a knitting pattern that she had trouble with, and at first I did not understand it as well. I have spent a lifetime with knitting but never really used knitting patterns. I always improvised and made up my own stuff. Anyway eventually I figured out that particular pattern and was able to help her. After I joined Ravelry I have received messages from other knitters asking for patterns for my creations, so I tried and wrote my first pattern. I still keep trying and working my way through it.

I love your designs, Stana, your use of clever details in your toy patterns is both creative and beautiful, what inspires your designs?

I try to keep my eyes open and let the nature and world around inspire me.

Do you find yourself working often in a specific style or is every piece different for you?

It varies. Sometimes when answering the call for submission I work within their set guidelines. But for toys, I am free and playful and let my imagination go wild. Of course there is always somebody asking for something specific, and as every mom in the world I try to make my child happy by knitting whatever is on the never-ending and ever-evolving list.

Who are your yarn heros? Do you have a favourite yarn or brand you love to use?

For toys I prefer to use cotton, or acrylic (for my charitable donations). Otherwise I let the colors and yarns speak to me.

What is your favourite part of designing? Is there a least favourite part of designing?

Playing with yarn and knitting needles and watching the finished project come to life, is probably my favorite part. My least favorite part is sitting in front of computer and type.

Who are your design heroes? What is about them that inspires you?

Too many to list.

What do you see yourself doing/exploring in 2015? Is there something you’d love to learn?

Hopefully by the end of January The Knit Season my e-book will be ready. After the work on this e-book is finished, perhaps a week or two without deadlines. 
I still would love to try Entrelac and play with polka dots in double knitting.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2015! Thank you for taking time to chat to us, Stana! If you’d like to see the Stana’s latest work, check out her website:

Stana’s critters etc: 
Blog: http://stana-critters-etc.blogspot.com/ 
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stanas-critters-etc/1857978… 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Stanascritters 
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stanascritters/ 
Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Stanascrittersetc

WIPs Giftalong2014 OPPs in focus

I’ve bought a few patterns in the giftalong2014 promotion so far, these are listed below and I’ll be doing regular updates of my progress with pictures and comments.

Taliesin Sweater by Leeana Gardiner

Taliesin Sweater

The mystical Taliesin is another treasured character from The Ancient Future by Traci Harding. His violet eyes and magical abilities were what came to mind when using the purple sparkly yarn for the Mini Taliesin. The Celtic cables with their many twists and turns complements Taliesin’s many plans and abilities.    I love the cable panel and the ease of shaping for this piece, I need to add hip and waist shaping as well as short rows for the bust.

This pattern is bottom up and in pieces. The set in sleeves and seams help to provide structure in this sweater. 

Mom’s Favourite Color (hat) by Paige Reisenfeld

Moms Favourite Colour hat

“Mom’s Favorite Color” is a quick, slightly slouchy bottom-up hat that looks more complicated than it is. It uses only one color per row and the plaid effect is created by slipped stitches. The name is a tribute to my mom, who in answer to the age-old question, “What is your favorite color?” always replied, “Plaid.”

Brix Coat by Denise Voie de Vie

brix coat

the yarn used is Lion Brand Amazing, I’ve used this a lot and it’s a fantastic value choice, washes well too!   I have some gorgeous purple fur yarn to trim this with and can’t wait to use it.   This would be my first crochet garment, so wish me luck!

 

postgrad by Alicia Plummer.  

postgrad by Alicia Plummer 

I’m also knitting

Cranberry Brioche Sweater by Ashwini Jambhekar 

Cranberry Brioche Sweater

This sweater is worked from the bottom up, flat, and seamed. The sweater back is plain stockinette, while the front has a cable panel, which is proportional across sizes. The sleeves feature a cable detail at the wrists. The cowl neck is worked in the round in brioche rib– brief instructions for brioche rib are provided in the pattern, as well as links to photo and video tutorials online.   I have some deep, rich red yarn which would look fabulous for this pattern.   Planning to cast on today and finish for Christmas.

The Spear Maidens Heart Fingerless by Erica Mount

The symmetrical heart and spear motif breaks through the latvian braid, creating interesting detail in these mitts.  The pattern is appropriate for intermediate colorwork knitters. It includes instructions for the braids. The chart is color coded.

 

GAL Interview Leeana Gardiner aka whirlsie

Today we are chatting to Leeana Gardiner, her username on Ravelry.com is whirlsie and my website is whirlsie.com

As well as Ravelry and my website, you can also find me in these crafty places online:

Blog | Craftsy | Etsy | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube

Hello, Leeana! Welcome to our blog, Just in case people don’t know who you are…

Taliesin Sweater by Leeana Gardiner
Who are you? Where are you? 

Hi everyone! My name is Leeana Gardiner and I live in Canberra, Australia. I am well known everywhere online as Whirlsie, and will even answer to it!! My life is filled will family, friends, knitting yarn and anything crafty. I share my life with my wonderful partner and his gorgeous 6 year old, who has become my little model for my designs and is learning to knit herself.

How did you get into designing? Who taught you to knit? Can you crochet? 
I learned to knit at age 6 and was taught by my mother, however less than 2 years later she sadly passed away and I think I continued to knit as my way of keeping that connection. I learned to crochet granny squares at 15 but it has never really grabbed me as knitting has. My knitting world never really expanded until I was introduced to Ravelry back in 2008, then it was an explosion of patterns and learning new techniques (You should see my queue, it has over 800 patterns!)

As for designing, I have always modified patterns, but a wonderful friend of mine, Sophie, encouraged me (for years!) to start designing. It wasn’t until I created the Maile Beanie pattern that I thought it was for me. So, since March this year I have designed 12 patterns and I have been having a blast!

Little Taliesin
I love your designs, Leeana, your use of cables and clever finishing details is gorgeous! What inspires your designs?
 
I adore cables! I have always been a fan of celtic knots and the more intricate and challenging the better. Most of my designs have been inspired by my favourite book, The Ancient Future by Traci Harding, as there are certain features that reflect different characters, such as the hearts for Katren and the twists and turns in the Taliesin sweaters.

Do you find yourself working often in a specific style or is every piece different for you? 
I try really hard to make my designs different, but more often than not there will be cables involved.

Who are your yarn heros? Do you have a favourite yarn or brand you love to use? 
My stash is made up mostly of Bendigo Woollen Mills yarn, as I love the big, 200g balls (less ends to sew in), the colour range is amazing, and the price is reasonable. I also have a lot of Fibrewebs yarns, however these are a little harder to come by (twice a year at the local markets here in Canberra), but I am lucky in that I know the dyer. I am hoping to try some more yarns in the future, so my yarn stash continues to grow.

What is your favourite part of designing? Is there a least favourite part of designing? 
I get so excited when someone has knit my designs. I love to see the pattern pages pop up and all of the photos being added. This is by far my favourite part of designing. I love to chat with everyone, so I am always around in my group on Ravelry, on my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram. 
My least favourite part… I’m not too sure… I guess I drag my feet a little when it comes to writing the pattern up, but that’s only so that I can make sure I get the wording right. I am lucky that I have some wonderful test knitters who help me out, when I get stuck on the wording.

Little Cherry Sweater
Who are your design heroes? What is about them that inspires you?
 
I have so many designers that I adore. Amy Herzog, Elena Nodel, Georgie Hallam, Kelly Brooker and Alex Tinsley. They are all very talented, have wonderful designs and gorgeous photos.

What do you see yourself doing/exploring in 2015? Is there something you’d love to learn? 
I think my goal for 2015 would be to have a design published, it would be lovely to see my work in ‘print’, it is something I am a little nervous about, but that just means it’s a great challenge to set myself!

I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2015! Thank you for taking time to chat to us, Leeana! If you’d like to see the Leeana’s latest work, check out her website:www.whirlsie.com

Indie Gift Along 2014 – interview with Arlette Thibodeau


Indie Design Gift Along 2014 Interview with Arlette Thibodeau aka arlette on ravelry.com and @arlette_knits

As part of Ravelry’s Indie Design Gift-Along, I’m interviewing desigers. 

Hello, Arlette. Welcome to my blog. Just in case people don’t know who you are… Who are you? Where are you?

I’m Arlette Thibodeau, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Arlette Knits

How did you come to design knitwear? Who taught you to knit/crochet?

I learned to knit about ten years ago. My friend Sarah Fama tried to teach me, and I just plain did not get it. It was infuriating. I was really used to being smart and able to pick things up quickly, but even after half an hour of her patient explaining, I couldn’t knit a single row unassisted. I got so  that I bought myself a copy of Stitch ‘n’ Bitch and pretty much didn’t leave the house for six weeks until I could knit, purl, increase and decrease, cable and even do some rudimentary two-color stranded knitting.

As for desigining: The Bay Area has a very strong maker culture. The gap between liking something and being a part of it yourself is very small. People tend not to tell you “That sounds hard, are you sure you want to do it?” and they don’t treat you like you’re crazy for wanting to put your stamp on the world. There were designers in most of the knitting groups I went to, so it always felt like something I could be if I wanted to. And because I’m massively competitive, I couldn’t just, say, knit a hat, I had to see if I could take it all the way through to self-publishing it. I’m terrible at having relaxing hobbies.

I love your designs, your modular shawl Flatirons is stunning! What inspires your designs?

flatirons shawl
Thanks! That’s what I like to hear!

Like many designers, I’m inspired by places and nature. I like unearthing details and relationships you might not notice until you get up close. Temescal is named after a neighbourhood in my city, Oakland, and features a yarn from Pigeonroof Studios, an incredible yarn dyer the next town over. There’s another hat design I’m working on that’s based on the way the Lake Merritt, which is right in the center of Oakland, reflects the city lights at night. Flatirons happened after I walked all the way from downtown Boulder to Chautaqua Park in the middle of winter and scrambled most of the way up the peak, when I had plenty of time to notice the parallel lines of the sandstone that makes up the rock formation.

For me pattern inspiration is a grown-up, artsy version of turning over rocks as a kid and seeing what – and who – I’ll find underneath.

Do you find yourself working often in a specific style or is every piece different for you?

I am an unremitting tomboy. I have a hard time with lace, frills, ruffles, bright colors, and so on. I end up playing a lot with texture, or tonal variations like in Flatirons, to scratch that itch for variety in a very restrained way. I like things that are subtle from afar but incredibly rich and layered up close – like Brian Eno’s ideas about ambient music.

Except for stripes, and the color red. Those I will use in any combination, as much as possible and as loudly as possible. I’m finishing a huge second sample of Flatirons to better show off the stripes, in the most vivid hot orange and red you can think of. You could probably see it from space. But even then I’m finding a way to crank down the texture – it’s in laceweight yarn, so the individual stitches practically disappear.

Temescal Hat

Who are your yarnie heros? Do you have a favourite yarn or brand you love to use?

Yeah! One local, one less so.

Pigeonroof Studios is just jaw-dropping. The colors are vivid and deep, the yarns are incredible to knit with, and the colorways are so my style: There are these colorways like “Meteorite” and “Railroad Spike” that look gray or blue or black from afar, but up close, you can count a dozen different colors in them. I love that.

The other is Gypsy Wools (they’re on Google+ too!), a yarn dyer and yarn store in Boulder, Colorado. The nature-inspired colorways get me every time! Whenever I visit I tend to freak out and get the same colorway across multiple yarn bases – the yarn materials really affect the final colors and I find it completely fascinating. 

What is your favorite part of designing? What’s the hardest part of being a designer?

The best is that moment when a swatch comes together after a whole lot of wrong attempts and outright failures, and I know my sketches and drawn-out ideas are about to become real.

Least favourite? Waiting for test knitters to update me on how their projects are going. Waiting is the worst. 

Who are your design heroes?

In a Pinterest-happy world that’s all hung up on spare, floaty, very delicate and minimalist fashion, it’s really nice to see examples of women who have really unconventional and kinda earthy but restrained styles that run through all of their work.

Kate Davies – I love her style! I ended up buying the exact same little red backpack as she has because of one of her posts, and I love her fresh twists on really traditional styles. Deco is just perfect. I love her sense of place. She immerses herself in the history and seasons of the places she admires. I also love her very feminist appreciation for the work of women and blue-collar workers throughout knitting history.

Caitlin ffrench – Different place, but many of the same reasons. She is so utterly herself, and so close to the places she loves.

What do you see yourself doing/exploring in 2015?

Grading my first sweater design. I have a lot of ideas for garments, but it’s going to be a big step up for me, knowledge-wise.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2015! Thank you for taking time to chat to us, Arlette!

If you’d like to see more of Arlette’s work at arletteknits.com

 

 

Indie Gift Along 2014 – interview with Yuliya Tkacheva and Elena Fedotova


Indie Design Gift Along 2014 Interview

As part of Ravelry’s Indie Design Gift-Along, today we have the delight to meet Yuliya Tkacheva – MsWeaver and Lena Fedotova – ravliki on Ravelry.com who are design partners. 

Cup of stitches 

 

 

 

 

Hello, Yuliya! Welcome to my blog. Just in case people don’t know who you are… Who are you? Where are you?

Thank you very much for having us in your wonderful blog, Loraine! We are Lena Fedotova and Yuliya Tkacheva and we work in a designer partnership called “Cup of Stitches”. We share a Ravelry group (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/cup-of-stitches), a blog (http://cup-of-stitches.blogspot.co.uk/) and a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cupofstitches). Lena is based in Montenegro and Yuliya lives in London, UK.

Lenas Geometry

 

La Mar Cowl by Yuliya TkachevaHow did you come to design crochet items?  Who taught you to crochet?

Lena: Crochet is a fairly recent infatuation for both of us and we are both self-taught. We have been knitting for a long time, but once we discovered crochet with its endless exploratory potential, we have been primarily designing crochet items.
 
Yuliya: Crochet is often stereotyped as ugly, tacky, bulky, etc. and we both feel it is not fair. With the right combination of yarn and stitch pattern, it can be as beautiful as you want it to be.

 

I love your design aesthetic, your clever use of colour and texture is so beautiful! What inspires your designs?

Yuliya: I always struggle to put my finger on anything specifically and call it my inspiration. I think most of the time it is a combination of different things, such as the memory of the wallpaper in my grandparents’ living room and that perfect colour of the Mediterranean Sea which suddenly make me want to make this specific piece with this stitch pattern and in this colour. Plus, probably, a bunch of other things, which don’t even get registered at a conscious level.
 
Lena: Same here. It is a difficult question to answer, because most of the time I simply sit down and work without waiting for any inspiration. If I don’t have any particular idea in mind, I simply try to learn a new technique, look through my old work-in-progress, try to go deeper into the subject I am interested at the moment (someone’s native culture, colour combinations and trends, knit and crochet techniques, other crafts like sewing, quilting, needlepoint etc,) until finally something begins to take shape in my mind and is ready to be called “my next design”.

Do you find yourself working often in a specific style or is every piece different for you?

Yuliya: Fabric and texture always come first for me, and everything else is secondary, which is probably explains why I tend to jump from one crochet technique to another. It’s whichever works for the piece in mind.
 
Lena: I too struggle to find any particular niche within crochet, and although I tend to fall in love with a particular stitch pattern or a motif and use it in a number of designs, inevitably I move on to something new. And while Yuliya searches for new, unexpected for crochet textures and looks, my passion is geometric patterns, which can only be achieved with a crochet hook.
 
Cup of Stitches GAL

Who are your yarnie heros?  Do you have a favourite yarn or brand you love to use?

Yuliya and Lena both: Malabrigo! 🙂
 
Yuliya: Well, we both are quite fond of natural animal fibres, such as merino, alpaca, etc. Malabrigo is so delightfully squishy and their colour palette is simply irresistible. Fyberspates is another great brand with a fabulous yarn collection.
 
Lena: We also tend to use thinner yarns, and our message to crocheters is don’t be afraid to move from worsted weight and DK to fingering and lace yarn!

What is your favorite part of designing?

Lena: To see projects made with my patterns, which are better than my original sample. This is when I know that “my work here is done” and that I have created a great design. The hardest part is to continue improving my results. To carry on, even if “I am too tired”, or “it takes too much time”, or “it looks good enough” etc. To carry on until I know I have done everything I could and the result is as perfect as it can be. For example, I may have a ready to be published, tech-edited and tested pattern, then take a deep breath and … scrap a two-page picture-tutorial. Then redo the tutorial from scratch and make the pattern even better.
 
Yuliya: I love the quickening heartbeat I get when I know this is IT, THE thing I will be making next! That feeling is very addictive. The hardest is to keep disciplined enough to see “the thing” through to a pdf pattern and not to get distracted by yet another “thing”. 

Yuliyas Texture
Who are your design heroes?

Yuliya: I admire Jared Flood’s aesthetics and style, the way he combines intricate texture with earthly colours and classic lines. In the crochet world, I am a fan of Vashti Braha and her innovative approach to designing.
 
Lena: I don’t have any … and I have too many. 🙂 I love meeting other designers, getting to know them, learn from them, get inspired by them and discover them through personal contact, rather than only by seeing their work.

What do you see yourself doing/exploring in 2015?

Yuliya: I will be looking at more crochet garment designs and may continue my Tunisian crochet line. Perhaps, a bit of “regular” crochet too!
 
Lena: Collections! Just the thought about crochet collections makes me very excited!

 

I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2015! Thank you for taking time to chat to us, Yuliya and Lena! 

Giftalong2014 Interview – Jessica K. Larson aka GooseBearKnits

Today’s intervew is with Knitwear Designer Jessica K Larson, aka GooseBearKnits on Ravelry.com.    Like us, Jessica is taking part in the Indie Designer Gift-Along2014 and has a bundle of gorgoues patterns with 25% off from 13th-21st November so don’t miss out!

When did you learn to knit Jessica?

I’m a knitwear designer based out of Cleveland, Ohio, USA. By day I’m a design engineer in the aerospace industry. In the evenings and on the weekends, I knit to unwind.

What made you start designing knitwear?  Can you crochet?

My mother and my grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 5 or 6. I knit on and off over the years, but when I graduated from engineering school, I suddenly had lots of free time. I dug out my knitting supplies and have never looked back. It wasn’t until then that I learned how to read a pattern, so I’ve always had the ability to improvise a pattern.

After spending several years knitting patterns from other designers, I began to improvises more and more. Sit and Knit friends at my LYS eventually succeeded in encouraging me to publish my creations so they could make one too 😉

My crochet skills are limited to things that enhance my knitting…crochet chain for provisional cast ons, scallops for blanket edgings, etc. There are some amazing crochet patterns I’d love to try someday, but it’s hard to put aside my knitting for something else.

Which of your designs feature in the GAL promotion?

GiftAlong2014-Designs by Jessica K Larson - GooseBearKnits

I love your designs, Jessica, your use of colour and texture is gorgeous! What inspires your designs?

Thank you. My inspiration comes from lots of sources. My family, my travels, a fun stitch pattern, a new-to-me technique I want to try.

My brain likes to play the “What if” game with knitting, especially when it comes to shapes and construction…what if I place an increase here instead of there, what if I wrap the yarn this way instead of that way, what if I use short rows in a slightly different way, etc…

I love architecture and I have endless of ideas inspired places I’ve seen in my travels.

Lakewood Shawl
Do you find yourself working often in a specific style or is every piece different for you?

For me, each piece is different. The beauty of self-publishing is that I can knit what I want when I want. I have a tentative plan, but no hard deadlines, so I can move things around to suit my whim.

Everything I design start fulfills something in particular…an item I want in my wardrobe, a gift I want to give, a technique I want to try, a yarn I want to play with…the rest of my design process flows from there.

Who are your yarnie heros? Do you have a favourite yarn or brand you love to use?

Ooh, I’m so glad you asked this question. I love working with and helping promote indie dyers. Lately I’ve been working with three amazing women.

First there’s Annie Riley of Annie Yarn which is available through Woolhouse Fiber. Annie offers a wide array of options from subscriptions and kits to an extensive list of dyed-to-order colorways and bases. Her Madison bases are the softest squooshiest merino I’ve ever laid hands on 😉 
Ravelry Group: Annie Yarn

Next up is new indie dyer CSDye. Amanda’s day job is as a CSI. She’s creatively combined her love for her work with her love for fiber and color. Soon I’ll be releasing a Hat and Mitts set knit up in her Motive Worsted base and let me tell you it is beyond swoon worthy! 
Ravelry Group: CSDye

Last but not least is another new Indie Dyer Call Me Sally Yarn. Sally’s specialty is gradient yarns, all colors connected on a single strand of yarn. Her gorgeous gradients inspired my Snark shawl. Oh and she does custom colorways with fast turn around times too. 
Ravelry group: Call Me Sally Yarn

Oh, this might be a good time to mention that any GAL project is eligible for prizes (including goodies from these yarnies) in the GAL with GBK event over in my Ravelry Group. Stop over and check it out.

Drexmore Hat
What is your favourite part of designing? Is there a least favourite part of designing?

My favorite part? Trying out new ideas and finding a way to make them work. I’m happiest when I have yarn and needles in my hands 😉

Oh, and my fans. They’re my favorite too. It’s so gratifying that other people enjoy my designs enough to use their precious yarn and knitting time to make them too!

Least favorite…hmmm, it used to be photography but now that I’ve found someone to take care of that for me, I’d have to say the marketing/self-promotion.

Who are your design heroes? What is about them that inspires you?

Mia Rinde. She designs the most beautiful shawls and her patterns are clear and easy to follow. I wish I had time to knit every one of them because I want them all 😉

What do you see yourself doing/exploring in 2015?

I’ll be starting off the year with an MKAL (mystery knit-a-long), which I’m very excited about. In May I’ll be teaming up with the Prject-a-month KAL group on Ravelry for the first time.

As far as new designs, I’ve got several shawls in the works. I’ve got some other ideas brewing 😉

 

Thanks for chatting to us today, Jessica

To see more of  Jessica’s work,  Jessica K Larson, aka GooseBearKnits on Ravelry, Twitter, Ravelry Group for GooseBearKnits

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Gift Along 2014 – interview with Brenda Castiel aka goodstuff


Indie Design Gift Along 2014 Interview with Brenda Castiel

As part of Ravelry’s Indie Design Gift-Along, I’m interviewing desigers. In this interview we meet Brenda Castiel aka goodstuff on Ravelry.com 

Hello, Brenda. Welcome to my blog. Just in case people don’t know who you are… Who are you? Where are you?

I have been knitting on and off since my teens, but became somewhat obsessed with it in 2007.

I’m a transplanted Canadian living in Los Angeles. I just love squishy wools, lots of cables and

textures, but there’s a limited season for them here in LA. I like to work with cottons and blends

for our mild climate.

I believe that even beginner knitters can create something beautiful and useful, so I try to keep

patterns simple yet original. I am “Goodstuff” on Ravelry, and I blog at

http://knitandtravelandsuch.blogspot.com/

collage designs 2014 small medium

How did you come to design knitwear? Who taught you to knit/crochet?

I got into designing in 2010, mainly because I just wanted to give it a try and see if I could do it! I submitted ideas to magazines, and they got accepted! I’m a self taught knitter; I taught myself out of a little pamphlet from Paton’s when I was a teenager. I like to figure things out for myself even now. No sorry, I don’t crochet, apart from a single chain stitch.

I love your designs, instant classics, your use of colour and yarn texture is gorgeous! What inspires your designs?

Inspiration – that’s a good question! Sometimes I see a beautiful yarn and I want to do something with it. Sometimes I come across an interesting stitch pattern and I just want to use it somewhere. Sometimes I just sit down and sketch and think – what can I do that’s different from what’s out there? So for example, there so many triangle shawls out there, that I decided to try different shapes… just to be different and stand out from the crowd. Sometimes I’m inspired by a specific event: for example I designed a shawl for a knitting retreat that was being held in a famous apple growing area. I decided to symbolize that, so I took the theme of apples and designed the “An Apple a Day” shawl. It has motifs of apple blossoms, harvest baskets, and apples, and leaves.

Richmond Mitts by Brenda Castiel

Do you find yourself working often in a specific style or is every piece different for you?

I guess there are some common aspects, but mostly they are different each time. A baby sweater will not have much in common with a beaded shawl!

Who are your yarnie heros? Do you have a favourite yarn or brand you love to use?

There are a few special yarn companies out there that I love. One that I’ve had good success with is 3 Irish Girls. They just turn out beautiful colors year after year and they’re very inspiring. Other favorites are Malabrigo – everybody’s favourite, Madeline Tosh, and Sweet Georgia. I like Cascade and I’ve done a lot of work with Knit Picks yarn. I find it really nice to work with.

What is your favorite part of designing? What’s the hardest part of being a designer?

My favorite part of designing I guess, is the inspiration. The fun part is getting the ideas, and putting them together. The least favorite part I think, is actually writing up the pattern. The knitting is done, now you have to write it all out step by step. That can be tiresome, especially when there are a lot of numbers involved!

Who are your design heroes?

Design heroes — there so many! One of my favorites is Norah Gaughan. She just has a way with texture and cables and shapes that is really impressive. Amy Herzog with her Knit to Flatter approach. She helps you analyze what type of sweaters work on different body types and encourages you to adapt patterns to make them work for you. Also Romi Hill for her shawls – beautiful!

What do you see yourself doing/exploring in 2015?

2015 — that’s a good question. I have a couple of contracts with magazines which should result in some published designs next year. I hope to continue to work with 3 Irish Girls yarn company and I’m looking to get involved with some new yarns. For example Outlaw yarns, from New Zealand, looks really interesting and I hope to work with them.

Thank you very much for the opportunity!

I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2015! Thank you for taking time to chat to us, Brenda!

If you’d like to see more of Brenda’s work at http://www.ravelry.com/designers/brenda-castiel

 

Designer Profile – Loraine Birchall of Woolly Madly Deeply, aka lor-artemis

Welcome to the fabulous Indie Design Gift-a-long 2014. All the designs in this bundle by Loraine Birchall for Woolly Madly Deeply will be on sale from November 13th to November 21st for 25% off, using the giftalong code that works for all the participating designers: 

giftalong2014

And join us for fun, games and gift-knitting: KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 13 at 8pm (US-EST) through our New Years Eve party, Wednesday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST), plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. We have games, tons of prizes, great conversation, and a lot of fun, so pull up a chair and join us!

thanks for reading.  Happy Knitting from Loraine

GiftalongBanner medium

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Gift Along 2014 – interview with Hanna Tjukanov – aka Hannairina


Indie Design Gift Along 2014 Interview with Hanna Tjukanov

As part of Ravelry’s Indie Design Gift-Along, I’m interviewing desigers. In this interview we meet Hanna Tjukanov aka Hannairina on Ravelry.com 

Hello, Hanna! Welcome to my blog. Just in case people don’t know who you are… Who are you? Where are you?

I’m an interior architect by profession, and a knitter, sewist, yogi, gardener and baker on my free time. I live in Helsinki in southern Finland.

image medium

maireaknits.tumblr.com/

How did you come to design knitwear? Who taught you to knit/crochet?

I first began to write patterns when I posted a crohet cat toy on my blog, and someone asked if I could write a pattern for it. My first two paid patterns (Tiptoe Slippers and Stripe on Stripe Socks) were things I originally designed for my Etsy shop to sell as finished knits. After a year or so I began to realize that I’m not really a maker, and maybe knitting just one sample would make more sense to me. Yes, it did make more sense, and I really enjoy the design process from sketching to pattern photography.

I learned to crochet when I was six, and knit maybe a year later. Nothing special about learning to crochet: my mother taught me. Knitting is a little different, though. My sister got a knitting starter kit as a birthday present, but I knew she wasn’t that into doing crafts. I sort of stole it from her, and taught myself to knit following the tutorials in the kit. I still have those 5 mm needles somewhere in here.

I love your designs, instant classics, your use of colour and yarn texture is so beautiful! What inspires your designs?

(Ok, I blushed a little. Thank you!) My designs can be divided into two groups: functional things (Tiptoe Slipper, Piilo and Peti) and things that just look nice or are interesting to knit (the rest). I like to come up with ways of using knitting techniques functionally. As an example, the colorwork stripe in Tiptoe Slippers is there to double the amount of yarn near the toes, so that the toes stay warm. In Piilo and Peti I wanted to use garter stitch vertically to gain more structure.

When I design stranded mittens I draw inspiration from traditional Nordic knitting. I have a couple of magazines from 1940’s, and it’s really interesting to examine the charts. What I especially like is the way of keeping long floats to minimum without losing the variety in ornaments. I’m always exited when I manage to chart something interesting, but still easy to knit without constantly twisting yarns.

Piilo

Do you find yourself working often in a specific style or is every piece different for you?

When I come up with a potential new design I usually check it against all others to see if it fits in. I have a vague idea of my brand or concept -what ever you want to call it- and try to ask myself where the sketch goes within the outlines of it. I don’t have a long term master plan, but sort of want to keep things together.

Who are your yarnie heros? Do you have a favourite yarn or brand you love to use?

I have a very good relationship with Pirkkalanka from Pirkanmaan kotityö. It’s a smallish Finnish company, and the yarn is the best traditional wool yarn I’ve come across so far. Not too soft and doesn’t pill much. And last, but definitely not least, it comes in about 70-80 different colors. I try not to over-use it on samples, though, because it might be too hard to get worldwide.

What is your favorite part of designing? What’s the hardest part of being a designer?

Favorite: sample knitting. 

Hardest: dealing with numbers. I get dizzy just thinking about that.

Who are your design heroes?

I’m going to have to say Michele Wang, because a) I keep ending up knitting her designs by accident, and b) her patterns are sometimes like detective stories and I stay up too late knitting because I need to know what happens next.

What do you see yourself doing/exploring in 2015?

This is a tough one at the moment. I’m not sure how EU tax laws are going to affect on what I do, and everything is currently on hold because of that. What I would like to do though, is to look further into what I could do with knitting and furniture. Or furniture type objects. That’s something that hasn’t been done much, and to me it’s always interesting to look for new ways of using old techniques.

What would you like to learn in 2015?

Ha! How to fit knitwear design into my daily schedule of 2 hours at the yoga studio, 8 hours at the office, and 7 hours sleeping.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2015! Thank you for taking time to chat to us, Hanna!

If you’d like to see the Hanna’s latest work, check out her website: add url, link to facebook, twitter etc

Instagram: http://instagram.com/hanna_irina 
Tumblr: http://maireaknits.tumblr.com

 

Indie Gift Along 2014 – interview with Corley Groves – aka cagroves91


Indie Design Gift Along 2014 Interview

As part of Ravelry’s Indie Design Gift-Along, I’m interviewing two knitwear designers. In this interview we meet Corley Groves, aka cagroves91 on Ravelry.com her website is http://craftedbycorley.blogspot.com/   to see Corley’s Giftalong patterns, click here

 

Hello, Corley! Welcome to my blog. Just in case people don’t know who you are… Who are you? Where are you?

Hello! A little about me: I’m a recent college graduate currently working as a nanny and performing in different plays at local theaters while I try to work it all out. Taking it all one step at a time. I’m currently in the US in Central Florida in a tiny little town.

GAL medium

How did you come to design knitwear?  Who taught you to knit?

When I was in 8th grade my English class spent one of our class periods going to the school book fair like we did every year since kindergarten. Only this time they had a kit to learn how to knit! I’d always wanted to learn and this came with a set of wooden needles and 5 small balls of yarn in fun bright colors all packaged in an adorable wicker basket. I knew I had to buy it! So I went to my Gammi’s (grandma) house where she taught me the basics: casting on, knitting, and purling. From there I took off! When I wanted to learn something new I hopped on the internet and looked it up. So other than that first lesson, I’m a self-taught knitter.

Designing came to me much later. I’d always wanted to try it out but was too nervous. I didn’t think I had anything original to add. But as time went by I became more and more inspired by the different patterns I came across and decided to bite the bullet and just try it out! That first design I don’t even count as my first design. My Wonderful Tea Wallet. I just wanted one and couldn’t find a pattern that I liked. It wasn’t until 2 years later (June of 2014) that I published what I consider to be my first design: Lattice Baby Hat. I’m not sure what was different this time, but it felt more real to me. The process stuck with me and I knew I wanted to keep designing

I love your designs Corley! What inspires your designs?

I get my designs from all over! I never know what’s going to inspire me until I see it. Sometimes it’s a stitch pattern that I come across, or a garment I see someone wearing. I’ve gotten inspiration from fabrics and scrapbook paper. Something will just catch my attention and I’ll think “I could use that..” Then it’s off to the sketchbook to figure out what it’s going to turn into.

Diamonds and Cables Cardigan small

Do you find yourself working often in a specific style or is every piece different for you?

Every pattern is its own adventure. While I don’t start out with a specific style in mind, I think now that I’ve got a few patterns out there I’m starting to notice some common themes. And I think that just comes with the territory. When you’re designing your style and energy shine through each piece whether you are specifically intending it or not. I like to keep things fun and I like to have a good mixture of simple and challenging pieces.

Who are your yarnie heros?  Do you have a favourite yarn or brand you love to use?

I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive yarn that doesn’t feel inexpensive! I’ve become a huge fan of all of the Knit Picks yarn. I don’t have a LYS so all my yarn shopping happens at chain craft stores or online. And Knit Picks has become my go-to for online yarn shopping. They have such a wide variety of types and colors and their pricing is great!”

What is your favorite part of designing?

Oh all of it! I have so much fun during the whole process. Most of the time I even have fun doing all the math! Though sometimes I wish that part would do itself. But I think my real favorite is watching the design take shape. Once I’ve written out the pattern and I start to work up the sample and I see the design come to life – you can’t beat that!”

Beanstalk vest
Who are your design heroes?

While I am constantly impressed and inspired by all of the wonderful designers out there, I find myself making a lot of Boknits designs. I’ve been a test knitter for her on about 5 designs now and I know I’ll do more in the future. I’m mostly in awe by how quickly she can knit and crank out new patters! She always has multiple tests going on at once.

What do you see yourself doing/exploring in 2015?

My current designs focus on babies and children and I’d like to start expanding out from that. I will continue to design baby and kid knits (I’ve got a couple designs in the works now) but I want to expand my audience. So my next endeavor will be some adult accessories. Maybe some cabling or color work. Who knows! We’ll just have to wait and see.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2015! Thank you for taking time to chat to us, Corley

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