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

Shawls Favourites Indie Design Gift A-long 2019

Shawls Favourites Indie Design Gift A-long 2019

Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 Shawl Favourites

I’ve been having a good look at all the designers for the Indie Design Gift A-Long 2019 and found my Shawl favourites from this year’s patterns.   I hope you love them as much as I do.  I’ve included a photo, a link and why I like the particular pattern.  

Shake it up Shawl by Anna Johanna

I loved this shawl pattern, Shake it up by Anna Johanna.   I love it for a couple of reasons, anyone who knows me well would laugh, but partly because of the asymmetry and my desire to always stand out.   But, I think I fell in love with the soft/muted colours and the gentle contrast of this particular shawl design.  It has texture, colourwork, asymmetry and is an absolute stunner of a shawl.

Shake it up Shawl by Anna Johanna

Shake it up Shawl by Anna Johanna

Beeswax Shawl by Amy Van De Laar

Another shawl pattern added to my queue, this shawl is by Amy Van De Laar and goes with her Beeswax set.  I made the hat a few years ago and wear it a lot in Winter.   How could I not fall in love with the accompanying Beeswax Shawl and it’s cute hive pattern?  I do have some mustard/gold coloured yarn that would be perfect for this shawl.  I need more hours in the day!

Beeswax Shawl by Amy Van De Laar

Beeswax Shawl by Amy Van De Laar

Smriti Shawl by Nidhi Kansal

This beautiful shawl pattern, Smriti by Nidhi Kansal, is so elegant and graceful.  Look at the drape and shaping of it, I can see Audrey Hepburn wearing this with a sheath dress, heels and a fabulous hat, can’t you?   

Smriti Shawl by Nidhi Kansal

Smriti Shawl by Nidhi Kansal

From the Ashes Shawl by Rachy Newin

Time for a bit of crochet with From The Ashes Shawl by Rachy Newin.  I know many of you are big fans of Rachy Newin.  Rachy has gone to great lengths to show that crochet is worthy of the most amazing yarns, gradients and colour combinations and I love to see what she comes up with next.

From the Ashes Shawl

From the Ashes Shawl

Rauli by Marie Amelie

I love this photo, the contrast of the cold background and the rich, warmth of the mustard/gold/yarn.  Absolutely stunning shawl from Marie Amelie called Rauli, it’s brioche for all you brioche nuts out there.  You know you want to!

Rauli Shawl by Marie Amelie

Rauli by Marie Amelie

Violet’s Garden Shawl by Michele DuNaier

I wanted to find more crochet shawls and this darling design by Michele DuNaier leapt off the page.  It’s one of her Downton Abbey inspired designs and this is Violet’s Garden Shawl.  I love anything purple so the colour was a winner for me, but the texture and pattern is fabulous.  

Violet's Garden Shawl

Violet’s Garden Shawl

Moraine Shawl by Abbyeknits

I love the colour blocking and the changes of texture/pattern with each colour change of this particular shawl.  The designer is a wizard with cables, check out her hats and cardigans to see more, but this is beautiful.  It helps that it’s Autumnal, rich shades and I’m a Autumn.   Cannot resist it!

Moraine Shawl by Abbyeknits

Moraine Shawl by Abbyeknits

Dragonfly’s Path by Jennifer Weissman

I saw this in the Shawls thread and loved the border cables, such fabulous design and texture.  It makes me want to wear it straight away.  

Dragonfly's Path Shawl by Jennifer Weissman

Dragonfly’s Path Shawl by Jennifer Weissman

Koi Pool by Nim Teasdale

I could have chosen any pattern from Nim’s amazing range, but this one drew me in with colours I can’t resist.   This one is mosaic knitting but is really colourwork stripes with slipped stitches so you only work with one colour at a time.  It can be used to create amazing patterns and is so much easier than stranding when you’re starting out.  

Koi Pool Shawl by Nim Teasdale

Koi Pool Shawl by Nim Teasdale

The Pink Arch by Paola Albergamo

Paola has an awesome eye for colour and her designs always stand out in any crowd but for all the right reasons.  This one features brioche, stripes and a bit of lace, lots of fun for the money and you’ll learn a lot knitting it.

That Pink Arch

That Pink Arch by Paola Albergamo

Every Witch Way by Barbara Benson

Who can resist that pattern name?  Not me, so it’s here.  I love that Barbara has created a simple shawl that allows a highly variegated skein of yarn to shine.  I’m not the only one who has a ton of them with no clue what to knit or crochet.   Now you know, Every Witch Way but lose, right?

Every Witch Way by Barbara Benson

Every Witch Way by Barbara Benson

Aysgarth by Kathryn Folkerth

Whatever is headed for my needles next!

Aysgarth by Kathryn Folkerth

Aysgarth by Kathryn Folkerth

Alright by Talitha Kuomi

Talitha’s designs definitely have an urban, edgy feel to them, just like the designer.  Clean lines, blocks of colour and clever use of shape and drape for a modern look.   I love this shawl, it’s unapologetic in it’s lines, stern and yet quietly confident. It definitely says you’re alright, whatever life throws at you.

alright by Talitha Kuomi

alright by Talitha Kuomi

Seaweed Swirl by Ruth Brasch

A bit of crochet this time and I do love the drape and shaping on this simple shawl from Ruth Brasch, it’s clever in it’s use of highly variegated yarns and whips them into submission.   No more dreaming of what to do with that skein you sit and pet or stare at, never quite know what it wants to be.  I’m tell you, it needs to be a Seaweed Swirl!

Seaweed Swirl by Ruth Brasch

Seaweed Swirl by Ruth Brasch

 

Gokyo by Allison Janocha

I remember Allison designing this shawl and I’ve loved it ever since.  Inspired by the Himalayas and using a yarn called Mr Darcy, I’d have thought this was every woman’s and some men’s dream?   Either way, the changing textures to represent the landscape and the cute knitted edging speak to my heart.  

Gokyo by Allison Janocha

Gokyo by Allison Janocha

 

Drifting Waves by Emily Lipa

Whatever is headed for my needles next!

Drifting Waves by Emily Lipa

Drifting Waves by Emily Lipa

 

Diamond Mine by Kate Poe

I love the simple design, the pretty lace panel in the centre and the name, what girl wouldn’t want a diamond mine?  I have the pattern and I’ve made this for my Mum using some superwash sock yarn, she loves it and claimed it the second she saw it.

Diamond Mine by Kate Poe

Diamond Mine by Kate Poe

Open Ocean by 10HoursOrLess

Whatever is headed for my needles next!

Open Ocean by 10hoursorless

Open Ocean by 10hoursorless

 

 

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

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest