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Interview: Jennifer Dassau, The Knitting Vortex


Today’s Gift-A-Long interview is with Jennifer Dassau of The Knitting Vortex. Jennifer is known for her use of interesting construction techniques and simple, attractive garments.

Jennifer Dassau, modeling Shadow Dial tee

Jennifer Dassau, modeling Shadow Dial tee

How did you get started designing?
I’m not much of a recipe-follower, so not long after I began knitting, I started deviating from patterns; I especially like making things seamless, and if it’s a garment, working from the top down. Designing my own pieces was a natural extension, because I like to use interesting techniques, and atypical construction.

What inspires your designs?
I like to make things I’d want to wear myself, especially sweaters and small accessories. And when it comes to shawls, I’m definitely inspired by unusual shapes and methods.

Vary, an asymmetric shawl with slipstitch color work and garter stitch.

Vary, an asymmetric shawl with slipstitch color work and garter stitch.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
They’re symbiotic! Typically, the yarn will be calling out to become a certain sort of item, or the item will be perfect for a special yarn.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
Seamless shapes, or shaping if it’s a sweater! I can seam perfectly well, but I really like the organic nature of a piece that’s made as a whole.

Elizabel, which uses seamless, simultaneous set-in sleeve construction.

Elizabel, which uses seamless, simultaneous set-in sleeve construction.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
I love topdown sweaters, and have been on a two-color sock yarn shawl binge as well. Lately I’m getting an urge for wintry accessories, like hats and infinity cowls, so some of those are in the works.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
You’re killing me! I’ll just narrow it down to a merino/cashmere/nylon blend, that’s the best I can do. String Theory Caper Sock is a favorite.

What’s your “comfort knitting?”
Garter stitch, in any weight or item.

Arachnophilia crescent shawl

Arachnophilia crescent shawl

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
I have a soft spot for the Arachnophilia shawl . . . crescent, a pretty beaded edging, silky/merino blend yarn . . . I wear mine all the time, but I’m sadly alone in my fandom.

Continental or English?
English; when I first learned to knit, I tried Continental but it didn’t click. My goal now is to be able to knit with both hands, but I never have time to practice, so I’m not making much progress.

What’s the best thing about knitting?
The FO! I’m a product knitter all the way; I love being able to make things.

Fish Moderne Scarf, a cabley winter scarf in EcoWool.

Fish Moderne Scarf, a cabley winter scarf in EcoWool.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Just go for it – there’s no knitting police!

View all of Jennifer’s patterns here. All photos are copyright Jennifer Dassau and used by permission.

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

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Audrey II

Angular Path Scarf

Cartouche Stole

Fossetta Cowl

Fossetta Hat

Sargaço Shawl

Whitman Hat

Every Which Way Cowl

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Every Which Way Fingerless Mitts

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New Tech Cowl

Vieux Carré Stole

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Taming of the Fox

Don't Ask Y

Cantilevering Leaves

Amplification Stole

Combs Cowl

Mindfulness Cowl

Tipsy Scarf

Gridwork Scarf
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