Christine Guest, Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to a good friend of mine, Christine Guest, who a knit and crochet designer.

I’m Christine Guest. I homeschool my youngest two kids; figure out what gluten free meals are nutritious, tasty and cheap (my daughter and I have Celiac Disease); volunteer at church; and write knitting and crochet patterns. The writing gives me something technical, artistic and relatively linear to talk about.

How did you get into knitting/crochet and who taught you?

I learned to crochet at Pioneer Girls at church when I was in third grade, then borrowed a library book to learn to knit when I was 15, so I wouldn’t be someone who could only crochet.

Herringbone Toque by Christine Guest
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Herringbone Toque by Christine Guest

What made you want to start designing?

In the beginning I didn’t understand crochet pattern instructions, but I did understand sewing shapes so designing made sense as long as I could convince my Mom that I wasn’t wasting yarn or time. Those early sweaters were hysterical; once I made a life size stitch chart on a brown paper bag, because I didn’t realize you could measure a swatch and fill in a schematic. Algebra class should have had some word problems about crafting.

My Aunt Bev asked me if I was going to, “Waste money on patterns, or buy one book that told you how to make everything.” I thought she meant Elizabeth Zimmerman, but I think she meant the pattern atlas my Grandmother had. Now I will buy a pattern to see how another designer did something cool and not to make the item. I think my Aunt is laughing at me from Heaven.

Library Window Watchcap by Christine Guest
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Library Window Watchcap by Christine Guest

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

Wrestling with stitch pattern ideas. I have notebooks of ideas that struck me from the Barbara Walker Treasuries and Threads magazines in 1990. Most have been realized, but I still haven’t charted the ring cable dog.
Ivy Vine Mittens by Christine Guest.  © Shannon Lynn Photography 2012
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Ivy Vine Mittens by Christine Guest. © Shannon Lynn Photography 2012

What inspires you?

The Lord put so much beauty and order in the world that inspiration is everywhere; leaves, seed pods, old swatches, the neighbor’s cat, old sketch book pages I haven’t moved along recently…

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

Part time. I spend about an hour and a half between breakfast and homeschool tutorials on pattern writing and marketing, sometimes swatch development or sample knitting or crochet. After tutorials, meals, tidying and exercise, I often write a bit in the afternoons. Movie nights are great for sample making!
Knitted Library Window Watchcap by Christine Guest
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Knitted Library Window Watchcap by Christine Guest

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

Stitch patterns. Most of my designs start with the phrase, “I love this stitch, where is a non-tacky place to use it?” I made a list of items I could put a sparrow on before deciding on a bag for the Sparrow Reticule.
Sparrow Reticule by Christine Guest
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Sparrow Reticule by Christine Guest

Do you have much time to make things for yourself or for gifting?

So far I get to keep my samples, so I was sizing them for myself, friends or family, but there is a limit to how many jobs one item can do.
 

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

I’m forever losing my mittens, so a fancy colorwork pair with birds or animals on them.

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

It’s out of production, but I loved Ballybrae Clan Tweed. That’s what I crocheted my first sweater out of. I paid for the yarn with money from my first non-babysitting job, at a really cool LYS I could walk to.

What’s your favourite of your own designs and what do you love about it?

Oh dear, I love them all. But the Herringbone Pattern Scarf has sold more than all my other patterns combined. (It’s probably the photo my brother-in-law’s wife took of him that does it.)
Herringbone Parallelogram Scarf by Christine Guest
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Herringbone Parallelogram Scarf by Christine Guest

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

Did you see that sideways ribbing in Habibi and Andalus? I’m so proud of that short row slide technique.
https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/habibi
https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/andalus

Andalus by Christine Guest
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Andalus by Christine Guest

What’s your favourite colour?

My garden is constantly surprising me with what goes well together, and how much I love colors that I thought I didn’t like.

Apiaceae by Christine Guest. Photo © Avi Dascaloff 2019
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Apiaceae by Christine Guest. Photo © Avi Dascaloff 2019

Have you been a participating designer in the Indie Gift Along before and what do you love most about it?

I have been part of it since the first year. I love the commaraderie, and how much I learn from other designers; how to pin photos, use Instagram, and bundle designs.

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

Lee Meredith because her patterns are so colorful and clever
talitha kuomi because she can crystalize a design to it’s simplicity, and that is super hard work.
Paola Albergamo because her modular shawls are so beautiful, and her photos make me want to dance.
Natalia Kononova did you see Spica Embossed Bag? What wonderful crochet
Hunter Hammersen, her pattern books are like stitch books. Very clever stitch books.
Christelle Nihoul I love her colorwork cowls, especially when the motifs float away from the established patterns.
Amy van de Laar Those bee patterns, and now more lovely colorwork cowls.
Barbara Benson Her pattern books have so many technical tips, and she’s another clever simplifier.
Kerri Blumer, those knotted front shirts!

There are more, but I’ve fan girled on long enough.

How do people get in touch with you or see more of your work?

 

Christmas Tea Cozies 3 sizes, 4 characters, ebook

 

Aline Modular Cardigan ladies knitting pattern is released

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

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