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Interview with Mary E. Rose, Mary E Rose Designs

Aviarium Shawl by Mary E. Rose Designs for

Today we’re chatting to a food friend of mine, the wonderful Mary E. Rose of Mary E Rose Designs, aka marydear on, on Instagram, on Facebook.

Mary is a knitwear designer and she loves knitting with super fine laceweight yarns.   I can hear some of you fainting at the thought, I’d be one of you!   It does mean that she’s lightning fast and the Queen of lace knitting.

Mary E. Rose, How did you get into knitting and who taught you?

I spent my early years in England, where knitting was still taught in school, and my mother knit.  I made my first “gift” knit when I was six or seven, a large garter stitch dish cloth for my grandmother.  (As an added bonus, my attention span was shorter than the rows of that cloth so I learned early about short rows and shaping!)

What made you want to start designing knitwear as Mary E. Rose designs?

I think that every knitter, at some point finds that they can’t find a pattern for what they want to make and create their own. I started designing my own things in the dark ages before the internet made it so easy to find such a large variety of patterns.  As time went by I designed for my kids then more recently wrote up little patterns for them and my friends…but it was my friends that really pushed me to “publishing” designs. 

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

A lot of my designs start with a question…What if? Or How Could? Figuring out the answer is my favourite part of the process…well, that and actually sitting down with needles in hand knitting it!

Do you start with a chart or a swatch or do you have a fully formed item in mind first?

I usually know how the project ends before I know how it begins!  I’ll explain…When I am goal setting I ask “What does success look like? Where do I want to end up?” and I do the same thing with a lot of my designs.  I know how the piece will end, then work backwards to figure out what the steps are to get to that ending.  Then I chart, write and start knitting swatches.

Aviarium Shawl by Mary E. Rose Designs for

What inspires you?

I would be hard pressed to say what doesn’t inspire me!  Everything can inspire an idea…the world outside that I see, the music that plays on the radio, colourways of yarn. I created a series of patterns playing with self striping yarns because I adore the colours, but get very bored knitting plain vanilla socks. (Although those plain socks do showcase a good self striping yarn!)

Are you a full-time or part-time knitwear designer and how does that fit into your life?

Full-time, part-time?…based on hours worked each week…Full Time.  I usually am actively working on some part of a design between 35 and 40 hours a week, but I have other jobs too! I think, as with many designers, while I would love for this to be my only job, in today’s economy that is not feasible.

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

I design the things I like to knit.  Shawls are one of my favorites and I wear them a lot, but I also love socks and cowls, hats and tops. (I adore knitting doilies, and have a box full of them to prove it, but haven’t ventured into actually designing one.  I do borrow from the techniques used to make them to create shawls though.)

Cowl Trick by Mary E. Rose Designs

Cowl Trick by Mary E. Rose Designs

Cowl Trick by Mary E Rose

Do you have much time to knit for yourself or for gifting?

A lot of my samples do end up getting worn or gifted, and I make a point of knitting for pleasure as well as for my designs.  There are a couple of ways that I make sure I get pleasure knitting time, one is to play along in the Indie Gift Along, another is to test knit for other designers and I have a pattern buying habit that is nearly a large as my yarn collecting habit!

If someone knitted or crocheted a gift item for you, what would you love the most?

I would adore anything that someone knitted or crocheted for me!  One of the crafters I met on Ravelry made me a collection of crocheted bookmarks that I use daily.  (Although I often say…I would really like to have a very fine weight, two by two ribbed, turtle neck pullover…but I do not have the patience to actually knit it for myself!)

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I am the worst kind of yarn snob.  I really believe that for every project, knitter (crocheter) and recipient there is a “right yarn”.  Sometimes that is a nice acrylic from a big box store, sometimes it is expensive hand dyed cashmere. Matching the project to the yarn really is key though.  

What’s your favourite design and what do you love about it?

Of  my own?  That’s a little like asking which one of my children is my favorite! My stock answer to that (for designs, not children) is the next one!  But of the most recent or newly upcoming…probably Aviarium, in,  where I played with mixing and matching shawl shapes to create a top down wedged half circle shawl with some pi- shawl shaping halfway through.  I really wasn’t sure, even having swatching a full third of it, how the pi-shaping would work out and the applied border edge (the ending that started the whole project) had to fit “just so”. You can buy Aviarium here


Avarian Shawl available at
Avarian Shawl available at this week

Is there anything new you can tell us about or a recent design you’d like to chat about?

So many new things on the horizon…I have a couple of really small tutorial type projects coming this summer, a Shetland hybrid shawl later this year…and…shhhh…there might even be an eBook waiting in the wings.

What’s your favourite colour?

Do I have to pick just one?  That’s hard…I am not fond of orange and my more conservative jobs have me wearing a lot of neutral, so for daily wear I have a lot of beige, navy blue and black but, I love all the shades of blues, greens and teals (for me). That said, my children love red, green and purple, so I knit with a lot of colors!

How do people get in touch with you at Mary E. Rose Designs or see more of your work?



Ravelry pattern store:



Quick links to our shop

Austermann Yarns, Baby Yarns, Debbie Bliss Yarns, Lanas Stop Yarns, Araucania Yarns, Schoeller & Stahl Yarns, Felting Yarns, Noro Yarns, DK Yarns, 4ply Yarns, Aran Yarns, Fur Yarns, James C Brett Yarns, Lion Brand Yarns

Gift A-long 2018 Interview with Laura Goodman – Dragon Wing Arts

Hi Laura, thanks for taking time to chat to me today, I really appreciate it.

What made you start designing and how long have you been doing it?

I started designing in 2010 with my Spring’s Beginning scarf.   I got a hank from a local dyer and I wanted a leafy pattern. There was nothing on Ravelry at the time that quite fit what I wanted, so I decided to come up with my own idea. It is still one of my favorite designs.

What’s inspiring you at the moment and can you share that with us?

I’m addicted to the look of drop stitches.  Again, I had a thought that I could use drop stitches with garter stitch for texture but there wasn’t quite a pattern for it. I had the yarn for the Bias Drop Stitch scarf around for AGES and I just needed something simple to work with it. Now I’ve gotten hooked on drop stitch patterns and I have three more in the works!

Any tips to aspiring designers, or things you wish you’d known before you started?

People will criticize, but you will also see beautiful work come of your ideas. Don’t let them discourage you. It takes time to get your patterns out there – there are so many patterns to choose from. It’s a wonderful community to be a part of and eventually it will work out!

Which pattern from your range is your favourite and why?

Other than my first pattern, probably my Crescent Trinity shawl –  it looks so much more complex than it is.  The body of the shawl is a two row repeat, and the edging is only four rows, but it came together to look great. It works in varigated yarns and gives great texture!

Do you have a favourite cast on and why?

Cable cast on – it always gives a clean edge. It’s most commonly what I use.

Tell us a little about you

I’m a history nut who does tech support for a living – a bit of an odd combination. I just became a mom three months ago and I couldn’t be happier!  I can’t wait to make all the cute baby things!  It’s so hard to pick what to make – I’ve picked out a sweater to start with during the Gift-a-Long.

Have you any new releases on the horizon we need to look out for?

I’ve got one pattern I just need to get photographed and it’s ready for release- a scarf using more drop stitches and a thicker yarn. WIP pictures are on my project page .  I’m also working on a lighter pattern with a chevron or V shape and one with zig zags – all with drop stitches.     I think they will be called Obsession, Fixation and Addiction – since I’m so completely hooked on drop stitch ideas right now!  I’ve got the sample done for the triangle and I’m working hard on the chevron and zig zags so I can get them out there!

How can people contact you and see your designs?

I’m on Ravelry under DragonWing Arts.    – I’m also starting to use instagram and will work on sharing some more pictures of my new ideas!

Last Minute Magic Cowl by Tanja Luescher

Last Minute Magic Cowl

My lovely friend, Tanja Luescher, released a fabulous pattern today.  It’s for the Last Minute Magic Cowl, is made using bulky/chunky yarn and 5mm needles.   It’s a super quick knit for those of you making Christmas or Holiday Gifts.   Tanja used some Eco-alpaca but this would be lovely in any chunky/bulky yarn and will fly off your needles.

Last Minute Magic Cowl

With the coupon code Magic, the pattern is 75 % off for 7 users, 50 % off for 10 users, then 25 % off for everyone until November 4th, end of day

Designer Spotlight Joan Dyer

I missed yesterday so I’m playing catch up.   Our Designer Spotlight is on Joan Dyer, joandyer on 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 🙂

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.

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.

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.

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.