Helen Gipson Interview Gift A-long 2019

Helen Gipson Interview Gift A-long 2019

Helen Gipson, Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Helen Gipson, aka scrabblepooh tell us a little about yourself please Helen.

I was a software engineer designing and writing computer programs for databases. My last employer was World Duty Free based at Heathrow before giving up work and moving to the peace of the Scottish Borders in 2005. Now we complain if we have to wait for more than 2 cars to get on to the main road!

Shape Your Booties Helen Gipson

Shape Your Booties Helen Gipson

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

My Nan taught me basic knitting as a teenager.
My best friend from school taught me how to crochet one particular granny square and how to join them together. I could not have told you what the stitches were but I still have the blanket I made at about age 16 which is probably the most expensive thing I have ever made both in time and money!

Blanerne by Helen Gipson

Blanerne by Helen Gipson

What made you want to start designing?

I’d always dabbled but I think I got serious about designing when I realised how much yarn I had accumulated and had no idea what to make with a lot of it – I couldn’t find patterns that worked for it that I really wanted to knit so I made my own.
 

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

I think my favourite part of designing is taking a very rough idea and seeing it evolve. There is a lot of trial and error in my process smile
 
Textured Landscape Throw by Helen Gipson

Textured Landscape Throw by Helen Gipson

What inspires you?

Hmm – I’m not good at this question – lol.

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

I am definitely part-time, as and when I have an idea I think worth pursuing.

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

Probably socks and sweaters because I then get to wear them.
 
Twisty Passages Mitts by Helen Gipson

Twisty Passages Mitts by Helen Gipson

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

I  occasionally make things for special friends or family members if I know they would really love it.

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

I think anything because I know the time that it would have taken them.
 
Colour me crazy socks by Helen Gipson

Colour me crazy socks by Helen Gipson

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I have no go to yarn, but if I was forced I think it would be Malabrigo Rios. I love merino, the colours are stunning and it shows cables like a dream.
 

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

My Textured Landscape throw. The ‘prototype’ of this was before I was designing and was a complete make it up as I go along to use up all these random odd balls and was rather wonky but endearing. It needed a lot of work to turn into a pattern and isn’t something anyone would make in the gift along smile

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

I have begun contemplating designing another patchwork throw but using closed cables, a technique I used in my Wrapsody in Gold shawl. At the moment it hasn’t progressed further than the idea – oh, and I have a lot of suitable yarn…
 
Wrapsody in Gold Helen Gipson

Wrapsody in Gold Helen Gipson

What’s your favourite colour?

I think I would have to say grey – it is so versatile.

Petalous by Helen Gipson

Petalous by Helen Gipson

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

This is my sixth year. I love support and encouragement everyone gives each other.
 

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

I have to say you, Loraine. I really don’t know how you can pack in everything you do every day with such good grace!

I think I am in awe of Ella Austin with her beautiful knitted softies – such fabulous ideas – and Alla Borisova’s shawls blow me away!

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

 
 

 

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

10HoursOrLess Interview Gift A-long 2019

10HoursOrLess Interview Gift A-long 2019

10HoursOrLess, Indie Design Gift ALong 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knit and crochet designer 10HoursOrLess who is also a Mod for the Indie Gift Along, tell us a little about yourself please George.

Flurry of Foliage by 10hoursorless

Flurry of Foliage by 10hoursorless

 

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

When I was 12 years old, I found a long-forgotten “How to Crochet” book alongside an old skein of yarn and hook stuffed into the living room closet. From that, I taught myself the basics of crochet. Shortly thereafter, I learned to knit from a book I borrowed from my local library.

Open Ocean Shawl by 10hoursorless

Open Ocean Shawl by 10hoursorless

What made you want to start designing?

I was always fascinated by the process of turning yarn into fabric. But just a few months after learning to knit and crochet, I became bored with the patterns available to me. So I started to use the schematics from my favorite patterns as a template to design my own. And a year later, when I was 13, I sold my first knitting pattern – a baby jacket – to an American yarn company!

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

The initial inception, when an idea first takes hold and the possibilities are endless: What fibers? What patterns? What colors? What shapes? It’s a magical time when I begin to see a design take shape much like a movie in my head.

Chorus of Cats Hat by 10hoursorless

Chorus of Cats Hat by 10hoursorless

What inspires you?

Nature. At this point in my life, I appreciate the clear mind and quiet reflection that comes with hiking Florida’s forest trails surrounded by trees, ponds and wildlife. Since I left the city over a decade ago, I’ve come to really “see” and appreciate the wonders around me. That not only inspires my designs, but my everyday life as well.

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

I’m a full-time designer and publisher. And that suits me perfectly. I’m my own boss. I control my own time. I do what I want, where I want, when I want. If it’s a beautiful day, I might spontaneously stop work in late morning and then drive to the coast for the afternoon. If I’ve spent the day hiking, I might decide to come home and design until midnight. Every day is new. Every day is different. And that’s how I like it.

Fisherman's Fabric by 10hoursorless

Fisherman’s Fabric by 10hoursorless

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

I actually don’t. And I’ll tell you why: I get bored very easily.

Being a designer allows me to immerse myself in one type of project and subsequently move on to an entirely different one thereafter. A month of working with wool will have me yearning for cotton or silk. A couple of knitted designs will eventually give way to thinking about crochet. After a succession of bulky projects, I’m ready for sport or fingering weight work. So I guess my “favorite thing to design” is whatever I’m working on at the time.

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

Since I spend my work time immersed in knitting or crochet, I never pick up the needles or hooks otherwise. Living in Florida, I much prefer to spend my free time in the active outdoors. So while I do have time to make things for myself and for others, I never do.

Penguins on Parade by 10hoursorless

Penguins on Parade by 10hoursorless

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

Definitely an afghan. Any style. Any kind. To me, there’s something quite comforting about a handmade afghan that goes beyond function or aesthetics. In fact, my aunt made an oversized afghan for me over 40 years ago – and it’s currently sitting atop my bed.

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I don’t have a favorite yarn per se, but I do have a favorite type. My favorite type is natural, non-superwash wool. The way it feels. The way it flows through my hands. The way it settles into the stitches. And the way it ultimately comes alive during the first wash and block.

Stag Season by 10hoursorless

Stag Season by 10hoursorless

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

I love all my “children” equally. Even the ugly ones. 🙂

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

That’s an interesting question – and a timely one. Especially since I’ve chosen to use the month of December to reassess my business direction. At this point, I don’t know whether I’ll continue the 10 Hours or Less™ brand as it is, expand it into other areas (like sewing and quilting) or add another entirely different brand to my portfolio. And that I don’t yet know. So stay tuned!

What’s your favourite colour?

Would you believe I don’t have one? The palettes I’m drawn to depend entirely on my mood at the time, which can lean toward soft neutrals or rustic heathers or deep jewel tones or electric neons.

Lace Labyrinth by 10hoursorless

Lace Labyrinth by 10hoursorless

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

Without a doubt, what I love most is being on the Moderator Team. The intelligence, competence and humor of the GAL moderators is second-to-none. We come from different walks of life, different corners of the globe, and yet work seamlessly together. Every year, I get so much more out of being a GAL moderator than I ever give back.

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

There are so many! But to name a few that stand out to me in specific categories:

Classic: Nina Machlin Dayton (Therese Hat – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/therese-hat-2)
Contemporary: Christelle Nihoul (Bel Ami Shawl – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bel-ami)
Lacework: Lily Go (Proud as a Peacock Shawl – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/proud-as-a-peaco…)
Patterning: Barbara Benson (Courant Stole – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/courant-3)
Whimsy: Loraine (Santa Tea Cozies – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/santa-tea-cozies…)

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

 

 

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

Allison Janocha Interview Gift A-long 2019

Allison Janocha Interview Gift A-long 2019

Allison Janocha, Indie Design Gift ALong 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Allison Janocha who is also a Mod for the Indie Gift Along, tell us a little about yourself please Allison.
River Ness by Allison Janocha

River Ness by Allison Janocha

 

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

My mom taught me the basics when I was 8 years old. We were planning to make scarves in 2×2 rib. She was making them for my younger sisters, and I was going to make my own. She cast on for me, and then I worked on the rest. This was the start of my lifetime of not finishing scarves; I don’t think I made it past the first 6” or so!

My next-door neighbor was a crocheter, and she taught me the very basics of crochet when I was 13. Not long after, I was working a garage sale with my Girl Scout troop, and I came across a copy of Learn How Book: Knitting, Crocheting, Tatting, Embroidery from Coats and Clark for 50 cents. I bought it, and thus began the rest of my learn-to-knit-and-crochet journey. Since then, I find I usually learn best from books and online videos.

Little Fires by Allison Janocha

Little Fires by Allison Janocha

What made you want to start designing?

When I was a teenager, I didn’t have the money to support my yarn habit, and I wished that I could sell things I was making. Of course, every single pattern book and magazine had the warning “you can’t sell things made from these patterns.” I took that warning seriously and figured that if I ever wanted to sell FOs, I needed to design them myself.
It wasn’t until many years later that I actually started designing, and I can say that now that I am designing, I still don’t sell FOs! In honor of my teenaged self, I do specifically state that people can sell FOs from my patterns, for countries where permission is needed.

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

I think I have two favorite parts. One is working out a new or interesting technique, playing around, seeing if it will work. The second is seeing how other people interpret my patterns once I send them out into the world. There is such creativity in yarn choice and pattern modifications, and I love seeing them all!

What inspires you?

My inspiration varies. I use a lot of hand-dyed/hand-painted yarns, so I’m often inspired by the yarns themselves. Other times, it’s looking through my stitch dictionaries and thinking of ways to use the stitch patterns that I fall in love with. On rare occasions, I come up with a pattern name first, then figure out what sort of thing would match the name. Since naming is the hardest part, I really enjoy those ideas that come name first!

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

I am part-time. I have a full-time job in a biomedical research lab, so my designing has to fit around that. It can be challenging, since my job varies between being very mentally engaging and very routine. During the times I’m working out new protocols, reading up on the latest research, or assisting my boss with grant preparations, I don’t have the mental energy to design as much as I’d like, so my design output is limited to when things are slow or routine at work. Oftentimes, I’ll go months without anything new, then release several designs that have been in progress for months all at once.

Zaklina Mitts by Allison Janocha

Zaklina Mitts by Allison Janocha

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

Yes and no. I tend to go in phases. When I first started out, I was doing a lot of sock patterns, with the occasional shawl. When I joined the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, I decided to start focusing on some quicker knits as well and started designing hats. This was a big surprise to me, because I look horrible in most hats and don’t like wearing them! Now, I’m inspired to design some neck things—cowls, shawls, maybe even something scarf-like?

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

For my smaller designs, I like to make multiple projects to test the pattern before sending it to my tech editor and testers, especially because some of my patterns include multiple versions (either different stitch patterns, or both toe up and cuff down instructions for socks). I often keep these samples for myself or gift them to family and friends. Just this past summer, I was working on developing larger sizes for my River Ness socks (larger sizes should be coming out early next year) See above for photo and link to pattern. I often knit at baseball games, and have become friends with the husband and wife who sit behind me. One day, I was knitting the sample, and the wife looked over and said “nice color!” I responded, “Do you want them?” and sent her the finished socks after I had finished knitting and photographing them!

Eve's Leaves by Allison Janocha

Eve’s Leaves by Allison Janocha

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

I think I would want something I can’t make myself—an amigurumi or stuffed animal (I’m horrible with faces!), something with intarsia, or something with really elaborate colorwork. Or a scarf, because I don’t have the patience!

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I love all yarn, but I especially love wool.

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

Isn’t this like asking someone to pick their favorite child?!? But if I had to choose, I think it would be Coronal. It has everything I love in a hat—looks complicated and has a dramatic crown—but is deceptively simple to knit.

Coronal by Allison Janocha

Coronal by Allison Janocha

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

My most recent design is the Becoming Shawl, released this December. I designed and knit it in the months leading up to my 40th birthday (December 11th!). It follows the life cycle of a flower, but to me, it is a mediation on life’s stages and changes, how each stage has its own beauty and potential, and how each stage must give way to what comes next.

Becoming Shawl by Allison Janocha

Becoming Shawl by Allison Janocha

What’s your favourite colour?

I like all colors, except certain spring greens/yellow-greens/green-yellows.

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

I have participated every year. My first few years, I faded away quickly, not really sure how to approach chat or the alongs. For the past few years, I’ve been very active, both as one of the chattiest chatters and as a moderator. I love so many things about the event: the people and the friendships made, my fellow moderators, and all the inspiring projects! The only real downside is how much of a workout my PayPal account gets!

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

This is so hard to pick! There are so many amazing designers in 2019 that I feel bad about having to pick just a few.
In the design category:
Nim Teasdale: I love her shawl designs, especially their versatility, and her photography.

Paola Albergamo: I love the bold graphical nature of her designs, how well they fit the urban landscape she photographs them in, and her dancing videos.

Amy van der Laar: I’d probably adore her designs if all she did was more Beeswax, but she has so many great designs, with fantastic stitch patterns and crisp yarns that highlight them perfectly.

In addition to their lovely designs, I also admire these designers for their Indie design advocacy:
Mary E Rose, for her cheerleading and the amount of time she has given to helping other indie designers.

Rachy Newin, for her efforts to elevate the perception of crochet in the indie design/indie yarn worlds.

Yvonne Poon, a fellow baseball fan, who is trying to find ways to encourage more people to try out patterns from less-well-known indie designers.

And, of course, the entire mod team: no better group of people to spend the end of the year with!

Fall Harvest Hat by Allison Janocha

Fall Harvest Hat by Allison Janocha

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

 

 

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

Ruth Brasch Interview Gift A-long 2019

Ruth Brasch Interview Gift A-long 2019

Ruth Brasch, Indie Design Gift ALong 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Ruth Brasch who is also our Stats Queen and the Indie Gift Along, tell us a little about yourself please Ruth.

Hi Loraine, I wear a lot of hats. I’m a stay at home mom to three little ones,  I design knitting and crochet patterns, just started designing Tunisian Crochet patterns, and also do some yarn dyeing!

Theoretically, I was supposed to be a secondary level English teacher, but my children arrived just as I received my certification! So, here I am – a tad verbose in an interview and playing with string and colors.

Feelin' Foxy by Ruth Brasch

Feelin’ Foxy by Ruth Brasch

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

When I was about 5-6 my mom taught me the basics of knitting.  I distinctly remember the annoying line you get between stitches with a backwards loop cast on and tension issues – I had that! I didn’t knit much at that point, though – mostly I just learned the skill, made a scarf or two for my stuffed animals, and left it alone.

Then, one day when we were cleaning the house when I was about 10, I found a crochet hook in my mom’s closet. I asked her what it was and she told me she didn’t remember how to crochet, but to ask my grandmother. Long story short, my grandmother lived 10 hours away in North Carolina, so she taught me how to do a chain stitch and sent me home. I chained an entire skein of yarn and had no idea what to do with it.

I’ll date myself by letting you know there was no YouTube at this point, so I got out LOTS of books from the local library and taught myself how to crochet out of them, as well as re-teaching myself to knit. From there I was off to the races. I plagued my family and friends with handmade gifts of an embarrassingly low quality, and eventually some nicer ones as well. I’ve literally been crocheting or knitting since about age 10 and haven’t stopped.

Louisette Socks by Ruth Brasch

Louisette Socks by Ruth Brasch

What made you want to start designing?

Well, as mentioned above, there was no YouTube or Ravelry when I was getting into knitting and crocheting, and I had no idea that there was such a thing as pattern designing, even through my teen years.
 
I just made whatever made sense to me, or made those super intricate filet crochet afghans out of books (I thought you had to be trained to write patterns in books! It never occurred to me I could learn to do that!)
 
But really, designing came from friends who also knit asking me to write down my pattern for fingerless gloves. I thought to myself hey, maybe others would like it too! So I published my first pattern to Ravelry.
 
I’ve learned a lot since that initial stage, but that’s how it started. So it wasn’t so much that I had a desire to start designing and decided to get into it, as that my brain apparently designs things and I’ve just learned how to do it more efficiently and intentionally over the years.
 

 

 

Kari Slipper Socks by Ruth Brasch

Kari Slipper Socks by Ruth Brasch

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

The moment when you realize the concept in your head will actually work. I have notebooks full of theoretical design concepts, and little post-it notes all over my kitchen cabinets (much to my husband’s chagrin) with ideas of “what if..” or “it would be really neat if I…”; the more realistic ones go on a whiteboard in my kitchen, and then I choose off that list to see if the idea will work.

The EUREKA! Moment is the one I enjoy the most – the rest is just explaining your epiphany so others can understand and replicate it.

What inspires you?

Honestly? The yarn. I feel like I should have something profound to say here, but I frequently will see a yarn, know what it wants to become, and only once it’s partially or fully completed will I make the connection of what it should be named. That’s not to say my pattern names don’t have a deep significance for me – many of them are named after people I care for, songs or books I love, etc.

Ode to Summer Hat by Ruth Brasch

Ode to Summer Hat by Ruth Brasch

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

I’m a part-time designer in the sense that I don’t keep a time card, and I’m not trying to use my designing as a second income for my family. This is a recent change, actually (not the time card – just the push for the income), as I’ve realized that I want to prioritize spending time with my children while they’re small. I’ll have plenty of time for “full time” work when they’re older.

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

You know, I don’t know that I actually have a favorite thing to design. I tend to go in spurts – for a few years it was almost exclusively hats, cowls, and fingerless gloves. Last year I think I only put out socks. This year I’m into shawls, mostly.

Tunisian Express by Ruth Brasch

Tunisian Express by Ruth Brasch

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

I usually wear my designs once they’re made and photographed. I’m not the world’s most stellar photographer, so I get my good photos and then just wear the darn thing, or my family does. My middle son (who is only three) has shockingly good taste in shawls and sweaters and wants to wear my designs all the time.

As for gifting, I think that may be my only regret of getting into designing so heavily. I used to be the aunt/friend who made a blanket for each new baby that was born or adopted into the family, but I just can’t keep up anymore since I started having my own kids and wanted to make things for them AND design.

I actually have this crazy plan to make a handmade gift for each of my nieces or nephews for Christmas 2020: There’s 45 (ish) of them, with one more on the way that I know of, so I plan to make one gift item each week and put it in a bucket – so I’ll be ready with their gifts next year!

Minus One Day by Ruth Brasch

Minus One Day by Ruth Brasch

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

Gloves. I absolutely hate doing full finger gloves, but I love how they feel.

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

That’s a really hard question. I work with a lot of indie dyed yarns, but I also have some box-store standbys that I love.  I’m currently loving Sugarplum Circus Merino Sport (it’s soo squishy and drapey!) for indie dyed, as well as pretty much anything Adella from Lolabean Yarn Co puts out. Her sport weight is heavenly too!

For box-store yarns I’ve always loved Lion Brand Wool-Ease for worsted weight, and Premier Yarns serenity sock for socks. That last one is getting hard to find, which makes me sad, because I knit socks with it probably close to 10 years ago and I haven’t had to darn them yet, though I’ve machine washed and dried them to death!

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

I love my Feelin’ Foxy shawl (shown above). That shawl was a breakthrough for me. I wore it to my first “event” – Vogue Knitting Live in New York City (I’m not that posh, it’s just where it was!) and when I walked the event with it on I felt confident for the first time to tell people I was a designer. Before that event I was very shy about my design work, and wasn’t comfortable promoting myself, but that shawl had me Feelin’ Foxy and confident!

Seaweed Swirl by Ruth Brasch

Seaweed Swirl by Ruth Brasch

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

I’ve recently fallen in love with Tunisian Crochet. I think it’s wildly underestimated by both knitters and crocheters, and I’m having so much fun discovering all the neat things you can do with it. I put out a pattern this year called Tunisian Express, which is intended to be an introductory level pattern that doesn’t have you mindlessly swatching squares while you learn a technique.

You’ll also see a new Tunisian Crochet pattern from me December 26th, being published as part of the Yarn Café Creations Cast on Collaborative to benefit suicide awareness, so keep your eyes open for that!

What’s your favourite colour?

Red. I’ve always loved a good red – Bright red, or deep burgundy, but I’ve also been on a gray/yellow kick for a while, as well as some good blues. But red is what I come back to.

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

Yes! I think this is my 5th or 6th year? It’s my second year as Stats Queen, and I believe 4th year as a moderator. I love seeing designers encourage each other and publicize each other. It’s easy for designers to see each other as competition, so to come to an environment where you don’t have to compete because others have your back is so safe and refreshing.

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

Ooh, it’s hard to choose! I’m loving the work that Nidhi Kansal is putting out – I’m actually knitting her Smriti pattern for the GAL; Natasha Sills has some really stunning pieces, I basically want to knit about 6 of her designs but will have to choose just one; and I’m always inspired by Christelle Nihoul. Her work creating a plus-size collection, her amazingly fast colorwork motifs, and beautiful cable and lace shawls? Gorgeous.

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

 

 

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

Jennifer Weissman Interview Gift A-long 2019

Jennifer Weissman Interview Gift A-long 2019

Jennifer Weissman, Indie Design Gift ALong 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Jennifer Weissman, tell us a little about yourself please Jen.

I’m an editor … who turned into a biotech patent attorney … who turned into a knitting designer!  I sometimes wish that I’d started designing earlier, but my years of editing and legal writing have been so helpful when it comes to writing patterns.
 
I live in Glen Ridge, New Jersey with my husband and two children.  Aside from being obsessed with knitting, I love to read, garden and make jewelry, and I adore animals.  I spend quite a lot of time walking our family’s exuberant 70-pound pup, which gives me extra incentive to knit warm accessories.

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

My grandmother taught me how to needlepoint, crochet, quilt and knit when I was a child.  I saw her rarely because we lived in different parts of the US, but she taught me a little something each time we got together.  I wish that she’d had the chance to experience ravelry; she would have loved it!

What made you want to start designing?

I’ve always felt comfortable modifying patterns — I would add sleeves to a vest, a lace edge to the ends of a scarf, etc.  Eventually that led me to design something completely new.  But if it weren’t for the encouragement of knitters on ravelry, I never would have had the confidence to publish patterns.    
 

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

I can’t decide — it’s either the knitting, or dreaming up the design.  I try to always have a notebook on hand, so that I can jot down a quick sketch of an idea before it disappears.

What inspires you?

I’m sometimes inspired by architectural details.  But mainly I try to knit things that I would want to wear.  If possible, I make them reversible.  It’s so nice being able to throw them on without worrying about which side is showing.
 

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

I am close to full time now, designing as much as I can around family obligations. 

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

Designing scarves is especially fun, because playing with the construction can create such different effects.
Architexture is an example of a scarf that I knitted on the bias. 
 
Architecture Scarf by Jennifer Weissman

Architecture Scarf by Jennifer Weissman

 
Beginning in the center of the scarf gave me Changing Light and the Shh! Wrap.  And starting with a triangle led to Bay’s Edge and Dappled Sunlight.
Changing Light by Jennifer Weissman

Changing Light by Jennifer Weissman

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

These days, almost all of my knitting time goes to new designs, but I try to squeeze in a hat or cowl for my family now and then.

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

I would adore ANY knitted or crocheted gift!  But I especially love a generous triangular shawl, something I can wear as a blanket while I’m working and as a scarf outdoors.

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I have a special weakness for Shibui Silk Cloud, a silk-mohair blend.  I usually knit a strand of it together with a strand of merino or wool.  It adds a gentle halo to the fabric and makes it look rich and sophisticated.  And it wears very well, holding its shape and minimizing pilling — it’s magical!
 
Bays Edge by Jennifer Weissman

Bays Edge by Jennifer Weissman

 

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

That’s so hard — I feel as though I’m trying to choose a favorite child!  But one I often wear is Under the Oak.  It’s an intuitive, quick knit in DK-weight yarn, and it keeps me toasty warm in the wintertime. 

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

I’m super excited about the Shh! Shawl, which I released last month.  This was my vacation knit in August, so it’s very relaxing, and the size is easy to adjust by working more or fewer repeats of the lace leaves.  Although I knitted mine in worsted weight, DK and aran-weight yarns would be equally beautiful. 
I’m also thrilled about a new pattern that is coming out later this month, but I’m sworn to secrecy right now….
Dappled Sunlight by Jennifer Weissman

Dappled Sunlight by Jennifer Weissman

What’s your favourite colour?

Probably blue-greens, but grays are wonderful, too.

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

This is my second Indie Gift Along, and I love the energy and excitement generated by this event!

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

There are SO many amazing designers!  I’m especially inspired by Gabrielle Vezina’s lovely aesthetic and use of color, Bérangère Cailliau’s stunning brioche designs, and Katy Carroll’s gorgeous cable, lace and slip-stitch accessories.
 

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

Facebook: ShadyStroll Knits 
Ravelry pattern store: Designs by Jennifer Weissman
Ravelry group: ShadyStroll Knits
Instagram: @shadystroll

 

 

Aline Modular Cardigan ladies knitting pattern is released

Quick links to our shop

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Cilla Webb Interview Gift A-long 2019

Cilla Webb Interview Gift A-long 2019

Cilla Webb, Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview

Today we’re chatting to knitwear designer Cilla Webb, tell us a little about yourself please Cilla.

I’m a mum of two growing boys (7 and 11), a wife to a lovely husband and a teacher of the Deaf in a wonderful school with a hearing impaired unit. I was born in Belgium but have lived in the UK for the last 15 years. I have a super dopey German Shepherd and a grumpy old Ragdoll cat. I spend most of my (very sparse) free time reading, drawing or knitting.

Cilla has a Mystery Knit Along running at the moment, check it out here

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

My mum taught me to knit when I was 6. There was always quite the stash of yarn at our house, so knitting became a popular past time for my sister and I. I stopped knitting as a teen but picked up the needles again when I was pregnant with my 1st child.

What made you want to start designing?

When Zander (now 11!) was a toddler, he loved playing with teddies but often got annoyed if he could take the clothes off and redress them, as many teddy outfits were sewn on. I decided to make him his very own Elephant with a track suit, which led to my first design: Elefred.
 

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

My favourite part of the process is gifting the finished project to someone. Usually my 7 year old runs off with them before I have the chance to think of a recipient though!

What inspires you?

I love to draw and often will sit and doodle creatures and characters which then need to come to life in yarn! Quite often, my boys will request a toy and they can be very specific with the details!
 
Puppy Pal by Cilla Webb

Puppy Pal by Cilla Webb

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

I am a full time mum, full time teacher of the deaf and part time designer… I honestly don’t see how I fit it all in! I often find myself wishing for more hours in the day, especially for sleeping!

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

I love designing characters with individual outfits as they are so much fun to make. I love anything quirky and whimsical.
Christmas Mice Knitivity by Cilla Webb

Christmas Mice Knitivity by Cilla Webb

 

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

I very rarely knit for myself. I ran a knitting club at school last year and the children often asked if I had knitted the clothes I was wearing but sadly they were all shop bought. My new year’s resolution this year will be to knit something for myself once in a while… and to destash (… yeah right!)

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

I would love a handmade jumper! My mum has made me some nice woolly jumpers in the past and I adore them! I’m always cold so I love wrapping up in something warm, made with love.

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I love Alpaca yarn. It’s so soft and not as itchy as sheep wool – one day I want to be the proud owner of my own little herd of fluffy alpacas!
 
Festive Tomte Gnomes by Cilla Webb

Festive Tomte Gnomes by Cilla Webb

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

My favourite design is my Christmas Mice Knitivity… it was such a huge project to start and I had put if off for so long but I’m so pleased I managed to complete it last year and it is now proudly sitting on my book shelf, ready for Christmas!

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

I released my Festive Tomte Gnomes earlier this week and they’ve been a huge hit! I’m also hoping to release some accessories next year, which will make a nice change from toys.

What’s your favourite colour?

Orange! It’s bright and warm and sunny!

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

I participated last year and a few times before that and I just love looking at all the fun projects on the forum threads. It’s a great way to support your favourite designers and discover new talent!
 

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

There’s so many talented designers this year, it’s hard to pick a favourite! I love Sloane Rosenthal’s cable work, Darlene Swaim has the most amazing stockings, Tania Richter has some really cool stranded knits that the boys in my household would go mad over!

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

The best place to contact me would be on Ravelry as that is the platform I check most often.

 

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

Woolly Madly Deeply Online Yarn Shop Cumbria UK

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