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
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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
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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
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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
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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

 

 

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