Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

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!

Interview: Carol Feller

December3

This morning’s interview is with Irish designer Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches.

Carol modeling Woodburne Cardigan

Carol modeling Woodburne Cardigan

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I actually don’t remember learning to knit; it feels like I’ve always known! I suspect in reality that it was a combination of school and my mother. My earliest knitting memory was from school probably at the age of 6 or 7 knitting fingerless mittens in a delightful lemon acrylic. I actually found them in my parent’s attic a few years ago and they brought back a lot of memories for me. Interestingly the love of knitting appeared to skip a generation in my house; my mother always found knitting too slow and she much preferred crochet and sewing but her mother was a fantastic knitter. In fact at one point when she was being wheeled in for an operation she made them stop so she could examine the stitch pattern on the doctor’s sweater :-)

How did you get started designing?
Designing did not initially begin as a conscious decision. When I left school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I did an art foundation course with the intention of becoming a graphic designer. During the course I found that textile was actually what I gravitated towards and I won an award for my textile design at the end of the year. However I missed math and science so I switched to civil engineering, specializing in structural engineering. After graduating I moved to Florida with my husband and worked for a few years as a structural engineer there. However engineering also never felt like the perfect match; I wanted both! Over the next few years I had 4 children, moved back to Ireland, ran an online natural parenting company and eventually after selling the company decided to become a full time mother.

That didn’t last very long; within a few months I rediscovered knitting and was immediately hooked. I swiftly moved from relearning knitting to designing. The first pattern that I had accepted was a knit ball for Knitty magazine, Doddy. This suddenly made me realize that I could become a designer! I set up a website, began submitting to other magazines and self-publishing my own patterns. For the first time in my life I had found the perfect blend between art and math.

What inspires your designs?
Inspiration comes in many forms; sometimes it’s a wonderful garment detail, other times it might be a fantastic yarn or yarn combination and other times I just want a functional garment that fits! The busier I get the harder it is to find the mental quiet space that’s needed for creative work.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
It’s not always the same, sometimes when I’m asked to do work for a yarn company by it’s nature the yarn comes first. I’ll then work with the yarn swatching and building my idea until I have something that works well with the yarn. Other times (especially for magazine work) I’ll envision the end product; how it fits, how the stitch pattern will behave and then the challenge is to find a yarn that complements the design you want to do. This is the easiest way to work, as you’ve already got the image of the finished piece in your head and you’re pulling the strands together to get it to work.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
In my designs there are a few things that always make me happy; I like seamless deigns, interesting construction methods that make you think (but still make sense!), and wearable pieces. I want all of my designs to be both fun to knit and also very wearable. As a knitwear designer you’re really performing two roles; a fashion designer that creates objects that people want to wear but also a knitter that writes patterns which are accurate, easy to follow and teach knitters new skills while they are working on them.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
I love designing and knitting garments, especially cardigans. From a knitting point of view I like working on big projects; you spend time setting it up and planning it and then you have several weeks of knitting fun to work on them.

Tell me about “Short Row Knits”, what was the inspiration for this collection/book?
I’ve always loved short rows; they are so versatile and easy to use. However when I began using them I really hated the pick up method for the standard wrap and turn. I kept messing with it until I found a way to get it to work better for me. From there I started learning as many short row methods as I could. This lead to short rows becoming one of my first in-person classes and it proved very popular. From there I did a free Craftsy mini-class that now has almost 160,000 students! Based on the popularity of short rows (and the fact that I use them in almost everything I design) it seemed like a perfect topic for my new book.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
I don’t really! As a designer I like to challenge myself, so often when I’m a little uncomfortable with a technique or type of yarn I’ll do a design in it to push myself to mastering it. This happened last year with lace weight yarn; I found it hard to keep very lightweight yarn tensioned so I avoided lace weight. In the Irish Yarn Club last year I picked a Hedgehog Fibres lace weight yarn for the Feamainn shawl. I loved working with the yarn and got over my lace weight fear!

My next challenge now is stranded colorwork. While I am able to work stranded colorwork the challenge for me is to design something I like to wear. Often these designs are complex and heavily patterned which is very different from my own personal style. I want to create a design that uses this technique in a very contemporary way that feels more like me.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I’ve currently got a few designs ready to go, they’re just waiting for the right season! One is a lighter weight sweater that will be released in the spring and the other one is a children’s sweater and hat combo that is nearly ready for release.

A little further down the line I’m busy planning the Irish Yarn Club for 2016. The yarns are coming in so I’m working on the designs. I love this club; being involved right from the yarn and color choice to the end design gives you so much control.

Finally I’m also at the first stages of planning for another bigger project that I hope to release next September. It’s still in early development but I’m giddy with excitement :-)

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
Is that really possible? I suspect for me that that yarn would keep changing. One of my current favorites is Dovestone DK from Baa Ram Ewe. I did a booklet for them, Dovestone Hills, that was released in August. This yarn is a great blend of soft and rustic that makes it rather wonderful to knit!

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Hmm, there are some that get lots of love but aren’t knit very frequently but one that I just love that just never took off is the Mayu Skirt. I love knitted skirts, they’re great to wear with a pair of leggings and big winter boots but I guess not everyone feels the same way about knitted skirts!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Nothing in knitting should scare you! If you can knit and purl and read a pattern then the whole knitting world is open to you. Keep lots of technique books close by, ask for help and don’t worry about ripping.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I’m in need of a little recharge time. Creativity doesn’t work in a rushed world so I’m overdue some time out. I’ve run a business before where it kind of ran away with me. I was so focused on growing the business that I didn’t take the time to look at the direction it was going in. I have to keep reminding myself to regroup, remember what I love and stop myself from heading in the wrong direction. To keep the business sustainable for me I have to keep loving it. This means that I must allow myself enough time to design, redesign and think about what I’m doing. As there are so many hours in the day this sometimes means turning down commissions and making hard decisions.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Is this dinner for fun or to learn?? For fun it’s probably be Laura Nelkin, she is a ton of fun!

Now if we’re being serious and it’s for learning then I’d love a dinner with Eilzabeth Zimmermann, she seems like such a fascinating woman.

View all of Carol’s patterns here. All photos copyright Joseph Feller. All images used by permission.

You can find Carol 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!

Interview: Nidhi Kansal

December2

Today’s second interview is with designer Nidhi Kansal, from Mumbai, India. You can find her blog here.

Nidhi, modeling Daisies in Pearl

Nidhi, modeling Daisies in Pearl

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
My earliest memory of knitting is of a summer vacation when I was very young. My mother used wool from some DIY kit lying around, took off the flags from the ends of two flag sticks, sat me down and taught me to knit and purl.

I only remember making a long and narrow brown rectangular band that vacation. It was many years later, after I took up a job, when I saw someone on a bus knitting a sweater and I suddenly felt the urge to learn again. The internet then played a major role in my knitting lessons, right from patterns to tutorials / online classes and eventually Ravelry.

How did you get started designing?
I live in Mumbai, India where we get about 2 months of ‘cold’ weather and the temperature rarely drops below 15 deg C even then. But I’ve always loved knitwear and carry a cardigan or jacket along with me at the slightest hint of a drop in temperature.

So I think it all started with modifications to existing patterns due to the climate I live in. I found that most of the Ravelry patterns I liked were made in dk / 8 ply or thicker weight yarns which would not work here at all.

My first mod was of a tunic pattern written for dk weight but I used light fingering weight. It involved a lot of math due to change in gauge but I was so proud of the final outcome.

I modded a few more patterns after that, one of them being Wilde by Melissa of the Plum Dandi group, a super bulky weight cardigan that I converted into sport weight.

That’s when I found out that my love of math was rearing its head again and I was open to experimenting with numbers and maybe head out on my own without the comfort of a written pattern.

I started out with smaller projects though, it took me a while to summon the courage to design a sweater and not only write the pattern but also grade it.

What inspires your designs?
Apart from the warm climate, it could be a stitch pattern that I see somewhere, or even parts of a very elaborate stitch pattern. Also, the cuts and styles that traditional Indian clothes, like a kurta might have.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Since I don’t have the luxury of walk-in yarn stores, and shipping can be quite steep, it is very rare that I buy yarn without a design in mind. I find I have almost zero stash most times, except for leftovers from previous projects. I find that once I have a basic plan in place, I can make a purchase more easily, hence inspiration first at most times.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I like them simple, I like straight lines and symmetry. I almost always have a stitch pattern or colorwork going on to simply tackle the monotony of endless stockinette. And I love the stockinette stitch because it keeps my fabric lighter than any other textured stitch pattern.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
Sweaters! Cardigans and pullovers and I like them with long sleeves.

As a designer from a warmer climate, do you feel that makes a difference to what/how you design?
Not too much in terms of design elements. But I do try to keep it really light, using fingering weights whenever possible.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
There are quite a few patterns that I think are gorgeous but I doubt I’ll ever get around to making it. Like this one: Assol’.

In techniques, I definitely want to try out steeking but I can’t bear the thought of cutting through yarn that I procured with so much difficulty in the first place!

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I have a boxy fit pullover made with Tosh Merino DK that’s currently being tested. A crescent shaped shawlette/ scarf made with alpaca is also blocked and ready to go. I hope to write the pattern soon and put it up for testing.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
I’m at a stage where I still have a lot of yarns to try out but the current favourite is Malabrigo Sock yarn – a dream to work with and I’d love to knit a few more projects with it.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
My shawl Rithu. I enjoyed working with the yarn, I made all these charts on excel and was quite proud of the finished product. It hasn’t done well at all.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Don’t be afraid of frogging, ripping, tinking. It actually makes you a better knitter:)

Getting a whole bunch of ripped out stitches back on your needles successfully will overcome your fear of making mistakes while knitting, and the sheer tediousness of that process will prevent you from making any more mistakes in the future!

We all make mistakes and there are tips and tricks to make amends if you spot an error only after the project is finished. But a lace repeat that has gone off centre or one cable that’s twisted left among all the other right cables, if spotted within a few rows of work, can definitely be reworked.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I would like to attempt top-down designs especially with circular yokes. I would also like to enter the beautiful world of fair isle and intarsia.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
A really tough one because each designer has their unique style and techniques and you know even a few moments spent with them would be an amazing learning experience.

But to name one, I’d go with Isabell Kraemer. I love the simplicity of her designs like Ravello which I hope to knit up soon. I have just finished knitting up the gorgeous Monte Rosa for a cousin.

View all of Nidhi’s patterns here. All photos copyright Nidhi Kansal. All images used by permission.

You can find Nidhi 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!

Interview: Brandy Velten

December2

Today’s first interview is with Brandy Velten of Brandy Velten Knitting Designs.

Brandy Velten

Brandy Velten

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I actually learned how to knit using videos on the web. I have known how to crochet since I was little, when my mom taught me, but I never learned how to knit until just a few years ago. I’m sure having the crochet experience really helped me pick up knitting quickly.

How did you get started designing?
I got started a bit slowly, just modifying patterns I had purchased with different details to better fit my aesthetic. I was pretty nervous about actually putting myself out there with original designs, so I started with smaller items like hats and cowls to build my confidence. I then kept challenging myself to design items that incorporated new techniques. I always aim to push myself to get better and braver with each design I release.

What inspires your designs?
Color and shape are two of the things I find the most inspirational.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Usually, the inspiration and then I hunt down the yarn that will help me realize the image in my head to the greatest effect. It helps stop me from just going nuts in the yarn store and buying all the beautiful things!

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I try to incorporate style and comfort while keeping things fun with color and texture.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
Right now, I’m totally on a sweater kick. But I also love designing new color work designs.

Tell me about the fairy tales that inspire your designs.
Sometimes, I think fairy tales, and especially the women of fairy tales, get a bit of a bad wrap in today’s society with people proclaiming they are anti-feminist and whatnot. But I be the first to admit that I grew up with Disney-ified fairy tales and I love them. I think the women in the stories are actually strong and often quite independent and headstrong. They fight for what they want, even when it might be different than what is expected of them, and they don’t let others dictate who they should be. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy feeling a little special now and then. I’m not sure if any of my designs actually capture that sentiment, but I hope someday they may.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
I really wanted to knit the Mull of Kintyre cardigan by Anna Davis this year, but my color work skills are just not at the necessary level for working with that many colors at one time. Someday, though.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
My next release will be my Karou pullover that is just finishing up testing this month and will be release in early December.

Karou Pullover

Karou Pullover

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
I have to go with Madelinetosh tosh merino light. I love that stuff for everything. I’ve made two sweaters with it plus numerous accessories. I love the colors, I love how it knits up, and I even just love how it smells. Yeah, it’s weird.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
I would say my Mont Royal socks. They were one of my very first designs, so I’ll always be oddly attached to them.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Trust your gut. If something isn’t appealing to you as you knit it, then you probably won’t enjoy it when it is finished. When I design, if something isn’t coming out the way I pictured it, I’ve learned the hard way that it is better to just rip back and work to make it better than to carry on with something only half my heart is in. I think people can oddly sense that sort of thing when you release a design.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I would really love to get organized enough to put together a full collection for next fall/winter.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Amy Miller’s design aesthetic has been a big source of inspiration for me as I work to develop my own ideas. I would love to just hang out with her and talk about color and texture and what inspires her.

View all of Brandy’s patterns here. All photos copyright Brandy Velten. All images used by permission.

You can find Julie 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!

Interview: Faye Kennington

December1

This morning’s interview is with Canadian designer Faye Kennington.

Faye modeling Folklore hat

Faye, modeling Folklore hat

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
In 2004 my roommate and I were vintage knitting pattern collecting junkies. We combed all the thrift shops. She taught me how to knit. My first project was a Mary Maxim cardigan “Dancing Blades.”

How did you get started designing?
When I started teaching knitting at my Local Yarn Shop, I got inspired to write some patterns for use in classes. Then the LYS put together some kits based on my work. Working with the LYS owner got me inspired to get more active in design.

What inspires your designs?
Lately I’ve been playing with stitch patterns and seeing if I can find ways to put my own spin on them. The stitch pattern often tells me how it wants to applied to an accessory or garment.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
It goes both ways!

What is your favourite type of item to design?
I’m having a lot of fun with neckwear right now, but hats are a favourite, too.

Tell me about “Waverleaf”, what was the inspiration for this pattern?
I went on a Malabrigo Worsted spree last year and I’ve had all these great colours just sitting in my stash, so I was looking for a way to put them together. I loved the braided look of the 2 colour bind off and played with ways to make it a little more fluid. Waverleaf was the result of the stash and stitch play combined.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
I keep feeling like I need to do more sweaters, but I really prefer the instant gratification of smaller accessories. I think after I design a sweater with set-in sleeves, I’ll believe I can design anything.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I have a super cute thrummed head accessory coming out as a Malabrigo Quickie in early January.

Your desert island yarn?
Gah! It’s like asking me to pick a favourite child. Sorry, I can’t do it.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
I’m going to go with Chroma Dot Blanket. I understand some of the reasons why it hasn’t many projects, but look at Knit Picks’ FO photos! That is one desirable throw.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
Try to work on my fall releases in my spring downtime!

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Probably Annie Watts. I think we could egg each other on it the best way and have a hoot doing it. If teleportation were possible, I think I could convince her to set a date.

View all of Faye’s patterns here. All photos copyright Faye Kennington. All images used by permission.

You can find Faye 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!

Help Fight Illiteracy

December1

It’s Giving Tuesday, a movement to balance the consumerism of Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Grammarly has chosen to focus on the problem of illiteracy this year. From their website:

“…help stomp out a truly global problem: illiteracy. A few months ago, in honor of International Literacy Day, we gathered the latest statistics from around the world to raise awareness about the importance of literacy. Literacy is an essential skill and human right, yet the numbers show that there are still 757 million adults who can’t read or write a simple sentence.” The infographic below shows these statistic.

Global Literacy Infographic

Infographic courtesy of Grammarly

#GivingTuesday

Interview: Jenise Hope

December1

This morning’s interview is with Canadian designer Jenise Hope of Feminine by Design, perhaps best known for her Persian Dreams blanket.

Jenise Hope

Jenise, modeling the January pullover

Who taught you to knit/crochet – How did you learn to knit/crochet?
My aunt taught me to cast on and work garter stitch when I was about 12. I knit a bit that summer, then forgot all about it. When I was 18 or so I taught my younger sister to knit using books from the library (even though I couldn’t really knit myself), and then from there eventually decided to give it a try myself, again using books to figure it all out.

How did you get started designing?
It was on a complete whim, just for fun, with the Knit Picks IDP program. When one of those first patterns became popular and sold quite well, I realized there was potential to build a business and decided to give it a serious try for a year or two. I never stopped!

What inspires your designs?
Everything! Right now, probably the most dominant source of inspiration comes from my own wardrobe – I like to make the kinds of things I like to wear.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Depends on the project, but usually the inspiration and then it’s a huge search to find an appropriate yarn. I prefer yarn-first, then I don’t have to find the right yarn, which can be a long and difficult search.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I don’t enjoy finishing, so I try to minimize that. I like seamless when it makes sense, in part because I like to see the right side of my work at all times, and I have an irrational hatred of turning my work around. Beyond that, each design is its own creation and I love to experiment as I knit so you won’t find a lot of common threads through my work.

What is your favorite type of item to design?
The one I have planned to do next, always. It is more fun to think up ideas and plan than to do the hard work and math to get a pattern completed!

I get the most satisfaction out of my sweaters. Honestly, sweater patterns are usually the most complex and convoluted patterns to create, partly due to the complex construction, part to the fact that it needs to look good on, but mostly because I write them in 6 sizes and it is a mental workout to imagine how each detail will change or stay the same in each size and how to write them all together in a way that makes sense! Without fail, every sweater pattern involves some late nights and hours staring at a spreadsheet of numbers (the key measurements and stitch counts for each size) while I mentally knit each size and then place it on a body that size and evaluate how my choices will look on each body shape. All from a page of numbers, and there is plenty of doubt and double checking numbers while I go. If I seriously considered the time and headache a sweater pattern is to write, I probably wouldn’t have any. But I love knitting them, and love owning and wearing them, and that’s what I consider when I start a new sweater pattern. After the headache stage, when the pattern is basically complete, it is deeply satisfying to have worked through so many challenges.

Toques and cowls I design mostly for fun – I enjoy using them, and the patterns I could practically write in my sleep. It is such a relief to write a basic pattern after doing some difficult ones. I couldn’t only do them, though. I get bored and need challenges!

Tell me about your “Epic Projects”, what is the story behind some of these pieces?
Generally, my “Epic Projects” are the ideas I had that were so complex or time consuming that I never thought anyone else would ever want to knit them, but for some reason the idea was compelling to me and I did it just because I had to.

The most epic would probably be my Persian Dreams. I had this thing that I wanted to try making a modular blanket, with colorwork, in a Persian theme. I don’t like small blankets, so it had to be decently large. I had a fairly specific color palette I wanted to use, and thanks to that, I had to change plans from making it in sport weight to fingering as I couldn’t find the right colors in sport. Who would ever want to knit a massive colorwork blanket in fingering weight? I assumed no one else would, but I was completely wrong! It is my best selling pattern by far, having sold thousands of copies (even now, when I consider this it is hard to believe), and on Ravelry I love to hang out in the KAL thread and watch blankets in progress and complete. Just a little while ago I made a worsted weight version of the pattern, and I also have a completely different sport weight blanket with a similar construction. They are really fun to watch grow, though they are time consuming!

Second to Persian Dreams would be my Twig Sweater. Cobweb weight, all lace, and the shaping is in the stitch pattern. Nupps too. Ironically, this was actually the first sweater I ever knit (I was fairly confident in lace skills by then, and charting and adapting lace stitches came naturally), and the reason it is so complex is that I was deeply concerned about if a thicker yarn would be flattering to wear (this might be a good reason to use sport or fingering weight, but I fell in love with Centolavaggi in my LYS, and so ended up with cobweb. Also, it is a single skein project, and when you are worried that you might not like the end result, cobweb is very affordable, even in a lovely soft merino). Thanks to my fascination with lace stitches and basic skills altering stitch patterns, it seemed like an enjoyable challenge to work all the shaping in the stitch pattern. And it was. Ok, and I was also convinced that I would give up if I had to make it in stockinette because it would be too boring. I had yet to learn the joys of mindless knitting. After starting to design, I didn’t dare try to write the pattern – it took a couple years before my sizing and writing skills were up to the task of figuring out different sizes and making them work together!

After that, I have some lace and fingering weight sweaters. I understand the joys of a quick worsted weight sweater, but the truth is that my skinny yarn sweaters are the ones I actually wear in my real life. They fit in my wardrobe, they are not too hot to wear indoors. Most of them exist because I wanted to knit a sweater that I would actually wear on a regular basis, not the handful of days a year when it is cold enough to wear a heavy layer of merino and I am going to be outdoors for some reason. I love my worsted sweaters, but I wear my lace and fingering ones.

Do you have an aspirational knit/crochet – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
No? Right now, pretty much anything I can imagine that I also think would be desirable to make I feel that I am up to creating. I guess my pattern writing skills caught up to the limit of my imagination 😉

That said, I do have some complex ideas that I really want to make, but the feeling ready has more to do with having time to do it than skills to do it. I mean, Persian Dreams was my first colorwork pattern, and it only scratched the surface of what is possible with modular colorwork. It’s not like making more complex variations of that is going to be quick and easy like writing another toque pattern, I know it will be a somewhat experimental and a learning process, but I feel better equipped to do that than I did when I made Persian Dreams!

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
A book! Last spring (while I was also in the process of getting engaged and married and moving, those were busy months) I had a publisher offer me a book contract and that is consuming the lion’s share of my time right now. It is slated to come out fall 2016, and those who are on my email list or members of my Ravelry group will hear all about it when I get closer to publishing time!

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit/crochet with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
Just one? The very thought makes me sad! If I am allowed unlimited choice of the colors of that yarn, Palette from Knit Picks, because I have a lot of favorites among those 150 colors, and I like using skinny yarns. If I am not allowed a large stock of all the 150 colors, I would probably pick a favorite color from Malabrigo’s Merino Worsted, though I also wouldn’t like to be limited to worsted weight (is the desert island cold at night? I might never wear anything I make if it isn’t). Can I cheat and bring my favorite yarnie along instead? Here is what I do when I need a particular color and can’t find it anywhere: I email Stephanie from SpaceCadet and start begging! It is definitely a designers perk, to request custom colors, and it is the most wonderful feeling to describe the color I need and then have it arrive on my doorstep a month or so later, exactly as it should be.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Haha, probably July Tee. It is one of my most-worn handknits, and I quite enjoy amazing non-knitters when I say I made it. However, it does take a certain level of, well, I won’t say stupidity, perhaps commitment is the better word, to take on a positive-ease top in slippery laceweight silk at 8 stitches to the inch (32 to 4 inches). I only knit about half of my samples (Too many ideas and too little time to knit them all, so I am deeply thankful to my faithful sample knitters) but July I knit all by myself and made it through all the emotional highs and lows of such a slow and slightly picky project. Just a tip, the first 3 inches are the hardest part. It only gets better from there.

Why all the fuss and time? Well, laceweight just looks so perfect (no one would ever guess you made it yourself). July is a favorite cut of mine – the boxy tee – but with a huge improvement for those of us with curves. Bust Shaping. If you are over a c cup, you might notice that boxy cut tops will glide out to your bust, and then continue gliding outward over your stomach into a sort of point that can make you feel as though you are wearing a tent. In addition to this, you may also end up with some funny wrinkles under your arms and across your back at bust level. Either of these fit issues means your bust is too large for the cut, and both are easily fixed with some short rows over the bust (or darts in a sewn top). Bust shaping will make the back lie perfectly flat, and the front will hang straight down after your bust instead of swinging out. The larger your bust, the more dramatic these issues will be, and I have yet to ever see a commercially made tee with darts to fix this. Handmade, we can add the perfect amount of shaping for our body, and end up with a level of perfection and flattery that can’t be bought. Why silk, since it is so slippery to work with? Fingers get used to it after a couple rounds, and it won’t seem slippery anymore. But if you are asking why, I can probably take it for granted that you have never in your life worn pure silk. Everyone should try it at least once, and that’s real silk, not polyester. You might be tricked by the appearance, but when you are actually wearing the garment, especially on a hot day, pure silk is the single most comfortable fiber I can imagine. Polyester is completely different – cotton or linen are more comfortable than it.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters/crocheters?
Keep experimenting, and try things that make you excited! If you know the basics (knit and purl, in the round or flat), you can try anything you want – You-Tube any techniques you don’t know as you work and make the things you really love. You will be an expert before you know it!

Any knitting/crochet/designing New Year’s resolutions?
No, I make resolutions all year whenever I feel the need for them :) Right now, the main one is to keep track of where my needles and scissors are. So far, I am only half keeping it. I don’t think it counts when I find the scissors the next day… the other resolution is to stop leaving needles in half-knit swatches. This relates back to resolution 1 since it is a place that needles disappear to (a yarn bin) and whenever I feel that I am doing pretty well keeping it, I find a needle in a half knit swatch.

It should be a resolution to keep all the yarn neatly contained in specific storage bins, but I have not made that particular resolution because I don’t think I could keep it anyways. It is like a mental disorder, the need to have at least 6 skeins lying out in the open where I can see them. Whenever I put them all away, I find myself pulling yarn out just so I can see it.

If you could have dinner with one knitting/crochet designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Elizabeth Zimmerman. If it wasn’t for EZ’s books, I would never have tried to knit anything. She gave knitting a certain fascination and it compelled me to just do it.

I seriously wonder if I would enjoy her personality live (not in writing), but it would be nice to take her out just to say thank you!

View all of Jenise’s patterns here. All photos copyright Jenise Hope. All images used by permission.

You can find Jenise 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!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jenise-Hope/1625071427771444?pnref=lhc

Interview:Åsa Söderman

November30

Today’s second interview is with Swedish designer Åsa Söderman of Åsa Tricosa.

Åsa Söderman

Åsa Söderman

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I would love to say it was my dad, but that’d be a lie! Like most knitters I know I learned from my very patient and skilled grandmother, Itti. She was a stickler for detail. As am I. Oddly, for I’m messy and chaotic about everything else.

How did you get started designing?
I think I’ve never not designed – I always thought it was a good idea to cast on and wing it. Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t. In seventh grade or so, I remember knitting and selling a striped mitten for a schoolmate who liked mine. I think I asked $1 for the pair… Anyway, most knitters I know are designers in that they like me invent and modify and find or come up with solutions to certain problems or non-pretty aspects of something we’re knitting. The main difference for me is that now those inventions and solutions have to be put clearly on paper and worked out for sizes other than my own. I like explaining things well. I dream of charts and how to better get something across.

What inspires your designs?
Me! By that I mean, I almost always knit things I’d like to wear, except for the kiddo stuff –but really, I’d like to wear those designs, too.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Tough question. That varies. I think it usually starts with a shape or an idea of a design, then I look for a suitable yarn. However, once I’ve started knitting with a yarn it usually inspires new ideas or variations on a theme I’ve already begun to play with. This is true for all my favourite yarns, come to think of it.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
Clever bits. I mean, unexpected solutions to avoid seaming and ends to weave in. I also care much about finely finished details (buttonbands, pockets, edgings) that are usually worked along the way so that there is no particular finishing left to do when I cast off.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
Gloves. No, wait! Ziggurat sweaters. No, wait! Ziggurat cardigans. Oh, but shawls! No, socks! (I haven’t yet, but I’m sure I will.) I think any knitted item inspires me. Especially if I can invent or come up with a clever way of doing something that creates a bit of extra knitting fun or a shape or detail that pleases.

Tell me about “Sister Syster”, what was the inspiration for this piece?
The yarn, Eden Cottage Yarns Milburn 4ply, and an occasion, the Unwind Brighton yarn festival.
I used to live in Sussex and often walked (rambled, as they say over there) on top of The Seven Sisters; seven domed chalk cliffs that easily rival the cliffs of Dover. In fact Sister Syster doesn’t’ look much like the shawl I had started to sketch and imagined – with different textures for the sea, a shoreline, the pebbly beaches characteristic of Brighton and Eastbourne, the undulating chalky Seven Sisters. That’s often how it goes… Perhaps the shawl is also a small lament over not being very close to my own syster (Swedish for sister) – the cables go in opposite directions and not quite in harmony but are connected by a textured fabric that reaches out and across.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
Hm. No, I don’t think I do. Bring it all on! Actually, I’m working on a Ziggurat with all over cables, no plain or textured panels in which to add stitches for the range of sizes. Given the ziggurat zigging and zagging while setting up the shoulders and sleeve caps, this is decidedly a challenge. I may have to succumb to panels. Or just one size (namely, mine)…

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I’m trying to put all my focus into designs and knitting for my Ziggurat Book. But of course I can’t stay completely on track… so I have:

  • Mio, a funky and fun glove. It may already have gone public when you post this. It’s one of the most expensive designs I’ve put out, given how much editing and time has gone into it. And this even though I gave up (for now) on the idea of providing instructions for both top down and bottom up versions. Haha, it’s 18 pages just for the bottom up (anyone knitting from charts will need to print only 4 pages, but still!). Only charted instructions for gloves from here on!
  • This sweater.
  • A shawl in collaboration with Purlescence for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
That seems to change… but if I can choose only one I’d have to choose one that is versatile for all sorts of projects, sweaters, gloves, shawls, hats… and then it has to be Wollmeise Pure. And I’m not saying that only because we have an ongoing collaboration! Wollmeise inspired some of my earliest (and best) designs and still does.

If you had asked me which yarn for my last project ever, you know like a last supper before I died or was killed, the answer would probably be different.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Tanjong Pagar! I always get compliments when wearing it as it wraps and sits so nicely, and I wear it all the time. My mum has her beady eye on mine so I’ll have to knit her one, I think…

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Knit with abandon!

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
Nope, none.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Nina Machlin Dayton (ninaknits) – for so many reasons. I just would love to hang out with this generous artistic knitter, reader, crafter, artist (and singer!). I’ve only met her online so far, but I know she’s likely to suggest some interesting eatery and food. She is inspiring not least by how much she gives back to the knitting and design community — and as the major domo of the Indie Gift-A-Long she’s the reason you invited me to chat here, too! I’ll raise a glass to her and the GAL this evening! Cheers & thank you, Nina!

Thanks for inviting me to chat (aka talk endlessly about myself…) with you, Janelle!

View all of Åsa’s patterns here. All photos copyright Åsa Söderman. All images used by permission.

You can find Åsa 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!

Interview: Julie of ACCROchet

November30

The first interview today is with fellow Canadian Julie of ACCROchet.com. In French, ACCRO means addict and Julie is a self-proclaimed crochet addict.

Julie, modeling the Méli headband

Julie, modeling the Méli headband

Who taught you to crochet/How did you learn to crochet?
I learned on my own, mostly, with the help of Heather, a friend of mine in the States. At the time, there was no Ravelry (GASP!), no Interweave Crochet. There was Crochet Me. And it was a quarterly (I think) online magazine. I remember waiting and waiting for it.

There were a few random sources of help on the web, and I managed to find books locally, and Heather coached me through email.

The rest was trial and error, like realizing you can’t just cut your yarn as close as possible to the stitch when you’re done.

Hah. Yes, that is a true story.

How did you get started designing?
I tell this story wrong when I’m asked, because I remember it differently from day to day.

I was invited to participate in a fiber festival a few years ago.

I now go every year, but that first year, on top of some of my crocheted items, I decided to bring the patterns for a hat, cowl, and fingerless mittens I’d written up. Super simple items for my crochet students.

Lo and behold, people asked me all weekend if I had more. They were excited to find designs in French. (I offer my patterns in French & English).

I had shared the booth with a knitting designer friend of mine, Stéphanie of À la maille suivante.

We vowed to design at least 1 pattern per month during the year before the next event! I haven’t stopped since.

What inspires your designs?
I apologize for the cheese, but literally everything. My entire online world is an endless feed of inspiration. I’m on Pinterest, Instagram, and I have a crazy collection of blogs in my RSS… ALL related to yarn, fiber, colour, design (knit and crochet).

Even in real life I can’t shop without accumulating mental (or cell phone) pictures of the items that I’d rather make than buy.

I’m pretty sure all of the gets into my head and colours what comes off the hook.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Hard to say. Sometimes a few designs are floating in my head and I go to The Stash to find something that would work with them.

Then I end up designing something completely different with the yarn I picked out.

I don’t know how to answer this!

Pumpkin Spice Mittens

Pumpkin Spice Mittens

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I really like for my designs to be simple enough so that new crocheters don’t shy away from them, but also interesting enough so that those with more experience will want them on their hook.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
I seem to design a lot of cowls. I love to wear them, so I imagine that would explain that. I also design a lot of hats, and a good number of modern shawls.

Quatre 4 in 1 cowl

a href=”http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/quatre-4-in-1-cowl”>Quatre 4 in 1 cowl

Tell me about “Quatre 4 in 1 cowl”, what was the inspiration for this piece?
This pattern was designed for Design Wars, a weekly crochet design challenge that involves some 40 independent designers.

The theme for that particular week was convertible cowls (that transform into a hat). I decided to go one step further and make the cowl not only convertible, but also reversible. I’m really proud of that design.

Do you have an aspirational crochet – a complicated/challenging design that you want to crochet “some day” when you feel ready?
I would love love love to design an intricate lace shawl, with lace weight yarn. I have options in The Stash, but I currently don’t think I have the concentration for it!

I’m thinking I might want to do it in Tunisian, too.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I’m releasing one, possibly 2 bag patterns at the end of the month & into January. One is a clutch, with beaded flowers. I can’t wait for it to be live! The other is a thought. I need to sit with it quickly and get it out there.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only crochet with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
Anything by Julie Asselin. Her hand-dyed yarns are scrumptious, and she can do no wrong in terms of colour.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
I’d say the Modern Hippie Blanket doesn’t get the love it deserves!

It’s a colour-block scheme but with no assembly. The colours are worked into each other as you go, not shapes to be assembled.

I really love it.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other crocheters?
Don’t think too hard about difficulty levels. With patience and the strength to frog your work when you spot a mistake, you can crochet anything.

Any crocheting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I want to release my patterns in collections of 2 or 3, rather than randomly. We’ll see how that goes; it’s usually hard for me to hold onto them once they’re ready to go.

If you could have dinner with one crochet designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
Doris Chan. She was the very first designer I discovered, and she introduced me to her unique technique (no seaming!). She’s quirky, and involved with the crochet world. I can’t think of a reason why dinner with her wouldn’t be super interesting.

View all of Julie’s patterns here. All photos copyright ACCROchet except for Adstock shawl, which is copyright Karine Viau. All images used by permission.

You can find Julie 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!

Interview: Josiah Bain

November28

Today’s interview is with the youngest designer in this series, Mr. Josiah Bain (16) of The Sock Monkey.

Mr. Josiah Bain

Mr. Josiah Bain

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
Well, I actually taught myself to knit when I was six or seven by watching my mother trying to figure out her knitting. I’d already mastered crochet, but while crochet allowed you to sort of do 3D and freeform shapes, it didn’t really look as intricate as knitting. My mother was learning how to knit from a friend, and she didn’t want me to teach me until she mastered it. So I went downstairs one night, got some chopsticks from the silverware drawer, terrible Red Heart in a multicolored blue/green/white color, and just started knitting. While I wasn’t doing it correctly by any stretch of the imagination, that was how I started out.

How did you get started designing?
I’m not entirely certain. I didn’t really knit from a pattern at all before I discovered Ravelry, so I just sort of always made things up. I think I was intrigued by the idea of getting published in a magazine, so that’s when I decided to go ahead and sit down and brainstorm a pattern idea to submit to Knitty.

What inspires your designs?
Wow, that depends. I’ve come up with things inspired by music, TV and movies, nature, and people that I know. I also think a good mood board is an inspiration catalyst, at least for me.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
That also depends! I think that for, say, a sock pattern, I need to have at least an idea of the yarn structure and color to be able to do anything. Sometimes a particular yarn will grab my attention, and then that yarn will dictate what I’m going to do with it. For another type of project, the design really benefits if I swatched with the intended yarn so that I could form a clear picture of that design. I think that as I grow as a designer, I’ll be able to speak more clearly to that, but I’m really still just figuring things out right now.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I’m making an effort to refine my style right now. Last year (and also the first part of this one), I just sort of put out whatever I thought up. What I’m going to try to do now on out is to really think through my designs; to only put out the patterns that I know are amazing and I know are the best that I can make, even if it means putting off other opportunities. Right now, I’m going through a minimalism phase, so stockinette stitch paired with really elegant detail is my friend at the moment.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
Depends on what mood I’m in. I’m most comfortable with sock design, but I’ve noticed a severe drop in other people’s sock knitting over the past few years, so I’m trying to branch out into other things as well. I’m having lots of fun with striped shawls and intarsia on hats and pullovers. I’m not sure exactly how many folks will share my intarsia enthusiasm, though.

Do you find it challenging to be a “man who knits”?
Not especially. A few years ago, definitely, but now, I’ve learned not to let it bother me when people sort of stare at me.

Do you think that being a male designer helps set you apart as a designer?
Being a guy and being a teenager does set me apart—online, when people have my designs in front of them, it’s great. But in person, I think that they always take the fact that I’m a designer with a grain of salt. Things have changed in the knitting pattern design industry with the launch of Ravelry. Anyone can take the label of “designer.” That is a good thing in many ways, and I know that there are numerous designers that wouldn’t be designing if it hadn’t been for that aspect of Ravelry. To those people who try work their business, like me, you can get lost in the mix of other patterns that aren’t as good as yours in presentation and design. And if a relatively unknown designer walks up and says, “Yeah, I’m a designer of things,” I think that the patterns with mediocre design and presentation comes into their minds. That’s what happens with me when I’m introduced in person.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “someday” when you feel ready?
To be honest, I don’t have one of those. I’m not exactly sure why I don’t have an aspirational knit, because I have seen some of the unbelievable things that have been done, and I have shaken my head in awe of other knitters’ creativity. Maybe it’s because that I haven’t seen the right design yet.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
No, no! Please don’t ask me this! I think, if I had to make a choice, I’d choose something from Quince and Co … perhaps Tern? Or Finch … Maybe just a small-farm Cormo fingering weight. I’ll let you know if I do ever have to choose. Hopefully that time will never come.

What’s your “comfort knitting?”
Garter stitch on an item with long rows. Or stockinette stitch socks.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Definitely Curry. I think that this is mostly my fault though; I got a tad carried away with curled cuffs and I’ve learned not to use vivid mustard in a design sample. But it is a very versatile pattern. The stockinette fabric in between the eyelet panels biases, and I think they would look really striking with a ribbed cuff and semisolid hand dyed yarn. I’ll have to knit up another sample.

Continental or English?
Continental! I’ve tried English (when I was first learning), but now I think that I only use English for that colorwork technique where you hold one color in your left hand and the other in the right.

What’s the best thing about knitting?
One thing that really drives me crazy is when people are just standing (or sitting) around literally doing nothing. The best thing about knitting is that times when you aren’t sure what to do aren’t wasted on doing nothing. In fact, I’ve come to look forward to those little breaks in schedule.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
I guess that would be to get educated. There are so many things that you can learn about the science of knitting, the science of the fibers that we use, that it’s amazing. Frankly, I don’t think that you could ever stop from learning something new in this craft. Take time to learn where your fibers come from, how they are raised, and what they are best used for in knitting. Take time to get to know how your stitches will behave in different ways when you do different things with them. It is not only interesting, but it gives a deeper connection with our projects and our stashes.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I did that whole New Year’s resolutions thing at the beginning of this year, and I must say that I don’t really want to do it again in 2016. I have some interesting things planned for next year, though, but I can’t say too much about them yet. That said, I do want to explore more with brioche and colorwork.

View all of Josiah’s patterns here. All photos copyright Josiah Bain. All images used by permission.

You can find Mr. Josiah Bain on the following social media sites:

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