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Interview: Yellow Mleczyk

December3

Today’s second interview is also with an international designer, Polish designer Yellow Mleczyk and you can find her blog here.

Yellow Mleczyk

Yellow Mleczyk

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I was about 6 or 7 when my mum showed me how knit and purl.
All my childhood and teenage years the economical situation in Poland was very poor and you just had to use your own ingenuity if you wanted to look out of ordinary. The shops didn’t offer much and there was no variety. I used to knit my own sweaters and try out different ideas that I imagined or saw in foreign magazines. And that was my knitting school.

How did you get started designing?
As I said, I used to invent my own garments. I always preferred to wear something unique, that nobody else wore. Consequently, I had to design the items.

In fact, I never knitted anything following the pattern, primarily because I didn’t know there was such an option. When I was a teenager there were pattern magazines available but they offered patterns I always had to adapt and it was easier to invent something from scratch than to adapt a pattern.

Many years passed and about three years ago I decided to browse the internet to find an idea for a sweater. I didn’t think of looking for a ready-made pattern, I was looking for inspiration only.

And that was my revelation day! I discovered that the world of knitting is something completely different to what I remembered from my youth in the times of communism. A week later I had my blog, three weeks later my first lace shawl was ready.

Then I decided to join my two passions: knitting and learning foreign languages and a few months later I started to write my own patterns. In English first, then I got to translate them into Polish, and now I am thinking of French. I just need a spare moment and a French native knitter kind enough to help me out a bit!

Being able to speak different languages is a blessing, of course, but it also complicates things a bit. My blog is in Polish and my English speaking friends can’t profit fully, Ravelry is in English, Facebook is international. I sometimes get lost, especially if I want to reach everybody.

What inspires your designs?
Stitch patterns. For a very long time I knitted mostly sweaters and tops which didn’t involve complicated stitch patterns. When I discovered lace shawls three years ago, I fell in love with knitting lace! My patterns usually start with a single stitch pattern I see somewhere or I imagine. Many times it happened that I followed someone in the street just to look at the stitch pattern they had on their garment. Or sat down next to someone in a waiting room for the same reason.

When I have a stitch pattern in my mind, my imagination just starts working and adds other elements: the item it would look good on, the yarn, the other stitch patterns that could emerge out of it etc. I am a very intuitive designer and I am often surprised myself at the final effect I get.

And, when an idea first comes to me, I always ask the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and ideas. And I believe He does a lot of work for me!

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Always the inspiration, yarn is secondary.

I have a friend who works in a yarn shop and she always tries to persuade me to buy variegated, self-striping, with beads or other embellishments and I always refuse and explain that I don’t like it when somebody does the designing for me. And that you can’t do much with such yarn, just knit and purl so that the effect of colours is not spoiled.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I just design things I would like to wear. Simple but not simplistic. Feminine, a bit romantic, no unnecessary elements.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
Lace! I just love it! It offers so many possibilities and it is so beautiful!

Tell me about “Feel Good Baby Set”, what is the story behind this collection?
It was designed for a little baby in the family. Little Adam is my favourite cousin’s first grandson and I wanted to do something nice and unique for him.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
A very big, lacy, triangular shawl with nupps!

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I am knitting a shawl for a friend. She chose the yarn and the rest is going to be a surprise. As her style is totally different from mine, I am trying hard to meet this challenge. Starting at the colour which I would never wear myself!

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
Solid colour, laceweight, natural fiber to block well, some silk in it. Any yarn that meets these requirements would be fine.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
To myself, the Silver Touch shawl. I just did it because I didn’t have any better idea for a shawl. I didn’t even want to test it, it seemed so disappointing to me. And to my great surprise, it turned out a success.

To my customers, most of my hats. They are not too successful. Probably my idea of a hat is not the popular one.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Experiment! Never be afraid of trying out your own way! There is never just one way of doing things and this is especially true with knitting where everybody has a different method of doing the same thing. Trust your instinct, look at the model and try!

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I am not particularly fond of resolutions as to me they consist of two parts: deciding on what I want to do or achieve (easy), but then accounting for what I have done. And this second part usually gives me the sense of failure.

I prefer to do it the other way, which is to check and sum up what I managed to do in the last year. When I see my achievements, I feel better and motivated.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
It is the most difficult question and I had been turning it in my head over and over until I finally decided. I wouldn’t like to have dinner with anybody, but I would LOVE to spend a week in either a Scandinavian or Canadian village in the 19th century. To live with the people, look at these great knitters of that time who followed designs passed from generation to generation, who knew how to do things and did them so expertly! (‘Anne of Green Gables’ was my number one for several years and I truly admired all those great women who could do everything!)

View all of Yellow’s patterns here. Lace shawl photos copyright Yellow Mleczyk, other photos copyright Radek Delimata. All images used by permission.

You can find Yellow on the following social media sites:

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

posted under interview, Knitting
2 Comments to

“Interview: Yellow Mleczyk”

  1. On December 5th, 2015 at 12:40 am Ela Says:

    Daga, you are amaizing !!

  2. On December 5th, 2015 at 5:20 am Marzena Says:

    I am speechless! Good job :-)

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