Sabine Kastner, Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Interview

Today I’m chatting to Sabine Kastner, aka sortekatt, tell us who you are and what you do?

I’m originally a biologist who’s now been working in science education for more than ten years. In my spare time, I’m a classical musician, and I’ve always been a crafty person. So when our first child was born and I spent more time at home, I cast on for a baby jacket, and it soon became clear that I wouldn’t stop knitting again any time soon.
We live in Switzerland and I love being outside, particularly in the mountains, but I wouldn’t mind being a bit closer to the seaside, either!

Hic Sunt Dracones by Sabine Kastner

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

I was taught the basics of both crafts at primary school – and for crochet, that was it. But in my late teens, I spent a year in Norway and learned to knit stranded colourwork and working from patterns. Today there’s a wealth of high-quality tutorials available online, and I really appreciate the work of everyone who creates and shares these resources!

What made you want to start designing?

The first group I joined on Ravelry were the Fingerless Glove Fanatics (meanwhile, I’ve become one of their moderators). It was one of their KAL challenges that made me design my first pair of fingerless gloves, and I discovered that I don’t only like the creative side of designing, but also the process of writing a pattern down and making my ideas accessible for others. ]

Aotearoa Mitts by Sabine Kastner

What’s you favourite part of the design process?

Sometimes it’s developing a new idea, sometimes I enjoy the actual knitting most. But finding the ideal finishing technique or the best way to explain an unusual stitch is very satisfying, too.

What inspires you?

Interesting shapes or textures I find in nature, sometimes also art and architecture. And my brioche designs are all themed around inspiring women in history and the exceptional (but often overlooked) contributions they made to science or the arts.

The Novelist's Mitts by Sabine Kastner

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

Oh, part-time at best … My work days are divided between my day job (which I enjoy) and my family, so not every knitting idea turns into fully-fledged design. I try not to push myself to publish more patterns, but rather take more time with the details of those that are most important to me.

Do you have a favourite thing to design and why

Fingerless gloves, mittens, armwarmers … I’m the girl whose hands are always cold!

InGENEous Mittens by Sabine Kastner

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

There are only few people for whom I make specific gifts. I’m really a process knitter, I often cast on just because a yarn or a pattern interests me, without considering what to do with the finished object. But quite a few of my knits end up as spontaneous gifts – or in my own wardrobe.

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

I’d love a handmade gift anyway! A pair of wristlets or a cowl would probably get the most wear.

Purling River Scarf by Sabine Kastner

Do you have a favourite yarn and why?

I mostly work with round, multi-ply merino yarns from fingering to DK weight – they’re just so versatile! I pay attention to how the fibres are sourced; Rosy Green Wool has a great philosophy and offers the best wool yarn I know for sensitive skin (Cheeky Merino Joy and Big Merino Hug). Malabrigo is fantastic for their choice of colours, but I also love to use yarn from local indie dyers such as Giggling Gecko Yarns and Sidispinnt.

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

It’s probably always one of the latest releases … I’m very happy with how Hic Sunt Dracones turned out, a mitt pattern that I designed for a recent mystery KAL. I like little surprises in MKALs, so at first sight it’s just another classic cable design, but there are little dragon faces peeking out of the knotwork, and the cuff is an interesting sideways construction.
]Climbing Vine Wristlets by Sabine Kastner

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

I’m currently working on the samples for a series of unisex brioche accessories, inspired by Danish geologist Inge Lehmann. More about this next year …

What’s your favourite colour?

Teal – followed closely by blue and dark purple.

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

It’s my second year; there are hardly any knitters among my friends in real life, let alone designers, so I really appreciate the GAL as a huge online get-together where designers connect and hundreds of enthusiastic crafters exchange ideas and share their projects.
Gecko Wristlets by Sabine Kastner

Which Gift Along 2019 designers inspire you and why?

It’s hard to single out someone! I’ll name two designers with rather different styles: Jennifer Weissman (@shadystroll) comes to my mind, because I love the classy look of her beautifully photographed cowls and shawls. And Lily Go (@lilygodesign) makes stunning lace shawls; I’m fascinated by her colourful knits and would love to be able to crochet one of her cowls.

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

Ravelry pattern store:

The Botanist’s Mittens by Sabine Kastner


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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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