Lena Mathisson Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 

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

I have been knitting and designing my own knitwear since I was 16, but it’s only in the last few years that I have published designs. Ponytail hats with an integrated button band are my original specialty. I had been making those for myself for a long time, because sometimes I wear a high ponytail and sometimes a low ponytail, and sometimes I even switch mid-day. I was curious to see if other people were doing the same, but didn’t find any similar designs on Ravelry. 

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

A friend taught me in her basement when we were in high school. We went to college together, too, so we knitted side by side for quite a while.

What made you want to start designing?

Finally my daughter said, “Why don’t you just publish your own?” So I did! Now I have patterns for lots of other things, and have also conducted three mermaid-themed shawl mystery knitalongs, as well as publishing a size-inclusive beginner-friendly hoodie pattern.

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

I always have several test knitters for every pattern. I so appreciate when they suggest ways to make a pattern better, and it makes me so happy when they are pleased with the end product. I was really concerned that my Driftwood, Sand, and Sky hoodie, which goes up to a 64”/ 160 cm bust, might not fit as well in the larger sizes, but it turned out to be fine. It made me so, so happy to see those testers wearing their nicely-fitting hoodies.

What inspires you?

I don’t exactly know, but I wake up thinking about yarn and knitting patterns all the time.

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

I am a part-time designer. I think about knitting a lot, though!

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why?

I really love hats. I love the coziness of putting on a hat and will wear one as soon as there is the slightest briskness in the air, and sometimes indoors, too. And they have so much flexibility in the yarn you can use as far as weight and color, and they are financially accessible even to knitters on a tight budget.

Saxony Hat by Lena Mathisson

Saxony Hat by Lena Mathisson

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

I usually have several wips going, and lately I have tried to always have one thing on the needles for myself. Right now I am kind of cheating on that, though, because the wip for me is also a design in development.

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

Probably mittens or socks, because I don’t make those things for myself. Or amigurumi! Those are so cute.

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

A few years ago at a fiber festival I splurged on a single small skein of angora. It was so, so soft! It’s definitely not an everyday yarn, but wearing the cowl I made out of it is like wearing a cozy cloud.

Delicate Grace Hat by Lena Mathisson

Delicate Grace Hat by Lena Mathisson

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

Ooh, tough question! Probably the thing getting the most love at the moment in my own life is a Ridges slouch hat which I wear almost every day, often indoors. But the Driftwood, Sand, and Sky hoodie is the design effort that makes me the happiest, because all of the work of grading nine sizes and providing detailed modification options has allowed a lot of knitters to make a garment for themselves for the first time and actually be happy with it. Every once in a while I pull up the pictures of knitters smiling in their hoodies, just because it makes me smile, too.

Driftwood, Sand, and Sky Hoodie by Lena Mathisson

Driftwood, Sand, and Sky Hoodie
by Lena Mathisson

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

One of my recent designs is the Delicate Grace Hat, which has a fun twisted ribbing and a very un-demanding eyelet pattern for the body of the hat. I actually had this design in mind for several years, specifically for some yarn left over from a long-ago project. It turned out just the way I envisioned and I wear the hat all the time.

What’s your favourite colour?

I just love the colors of water, soft aquas and seafoam green. But I also have a soft spot for ballet pink; that’s the color of yarn that I used for the Delicate Grace Hat sample, which I had saved for that purpose, left over from another favorite project.

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

This is my second year as a participating designer and it is so much fun! My favorite part is feeling the connection with other members of the fiber community. I like seeing the recipes, too.

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

I love Triona Murphy’s hat designs. The way she arranges the stitches produces true art. And Mrsmumpitz designs the cutest animal toys! I really appreciate seeing the way other designers manipulate the yarn to create such enchanting effects, in such different ways.

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

Facebook: Softyarn Designs (www.facebook.com/softyarndesigns/)
Ravelry pattern store: lenarye/ Softyarn Designs (www.ravelry.com/designers/lena-mathisson)
Instagram: @softyarndesigns (www.instagram.com/softyarndesigns/)
Pinterest: Softyarn Designs (www.pinterest.com/softyarndesigns/boards/)



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