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: Dana Gervais


Today’s second interview is with Canadian designer Dana Gervais of Dana Gervais Designs.

Dana Gervais

Dana Gervais

Who taught you to knit/How did you learn to knit?
I was taught to knit by my Grandmother. She was a constant knitter. She made the most beautiful garments and accessories. She is still my knitting inspiration.

How did you get started designing?
Designing was an evolution. It started with slightly tweaking patterns to suit my taste and preferred fit, which evolved into heavily modifying patterns, then I started knitting my own designs for myself, family and friends, which evolved into writing patterns, grading them, having them tested and tech edited and releasing them into the world. It has, over time, become what I do.

What inspires your designs?
Anything and everything. I can find inspiration in yarn, colour, texture, a stitch pattern, a geometric design, architecture, a book, a movie – literally anything and everything.

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Both. Sometimes I love a yarn so much, that I am inspired to design something for it and sometimes I have an idea for a design so I find the right yarn for my vision.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
I like simple construction. I also like patterns that will work whether they are knit top-down or bottom-up since I design a lot of socks and many sock knitters want to be able to reverse the stitch pattern to suit their preferred technique. Since, as a knitter, I appreciate stitch patterns that are easy to memorize I consider that whenever possible. I also aim for gender neutrality a lot of the time.

What is your favourite type of item to design?
Definitely socks! I love socks. I have been knitting them since I was a teenager. They are gorgeous, useful, easy to customize, portable, not a huge time commitment and can be knit on any budget as you can usually make a pair with less than 100g of yarn. Also, after all these years, I still feel slightly magical when I turn a heel or Kitchener stitch a toe.

Tell me about “Heart & Sole”, what is the story behind this design?
I love mosaic knitting and I really wanted to design a mosaic sock pattern. Valentine’s Day was coming and I was sitting on this really bright pink and purple sock yarn that I was itching to use, so those factors all came together as “Heart & Sole”. I am hoping to release 3 more mosaic sock designs over the next year; it is definitely my favourite colourwork technique.

Do you have an aspirational knit – a complicated/challenging design that you want to knit “some day” when you feel ready?
One day when I am feeling really brave and strong I might steek something, but today is not that day.

What is coming next? What’s in your release queue?
I have two sock designs on the needles right now which will hopefully be self-published in the next couple of months. I am also knitting up a design for the April issue of I Like Knitting magazine as well as getting ready to start a design for the Fall 2016 issue of Knitscene. I am in the beginning stages of collaborating with a couple of other crafters about putting together some limited edition sock kits in 2016. Lots of exciting things!

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
This is tough. I think I would still be a happy knitter if the only yarn I ever had access to again was either Indigodragonfly or Sweet Georgia. It took me a really long time to come up with that answer – there are so many beautiful yarns available.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
It’s hard to say. I am lucky that all of my designs have been warmly received by knitters. That being said, I am surprised that Lazy Daisy has not been more popular – It’s one of my favourites. I wear it all the time.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
There is no right or wrong in knitting. It doesn’t matter what other knitters do or how they do it, if you are happy with your finished projects, that’s all that matters.

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
My wardrobe is in serious need of some hand knit sweaters. I have so many beautiful sweater patterns in my queue and I am hoping to make time to knit some of them in 2016.

If you could have dinner with one knitting designer (living or dead) who would it be and why?
This is another tough question. There are so many knitting designers who I admire and consider mentors even though I have never met them. I’m going to say Cookie A. Her sock designs are beautiful and I admire the business she has built.

View all of Dana’s patterns here. All photos copyright Dana Gervais. All images used by permission.

You can find Dana 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!

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