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Meet BristolIvy

As part of the indie designer Gift-a-Long on Raverly, I interviewed BristolIvy.
The GAL is a group of indie designers on Raverly, it’s a way to kick start the holiday knitting, be it a gift for someone els or for you. As a bonus we discount our patterns until the 21.11.2014.

Bold are my questions and comments, and Texknitters answers are in regular font.

What is your design process and what influences your design?

Designs often start for me by seeing a ready-to-wear piece, and then figuring out how I would knit it through my own style.  I’m a big fan of non-traditional constructions, so often inspirations that might be straightforward in their original form end up following a completely unexpected direction! I also love designing based on technique: building a piece around a new concept or a specific way of shaping.  A lot of my work has grown organically from “what if?” moments.  I tend to sketch these, chart the shapes on graph paper, or plain old stare out a window and think them through before starting; I rarely swatch more than once for a shape or idea because I’ve spent a lot of time figuring it out mentally beforehand.  From there, I write out the pattern, and get knitting! A lot of the time I’ll make edits as I go, changing the pattern as the fabric and shape develops.

What do you love most about designing?

I love that knitting is a visual representation of conceptual logic and geometry.  Designing for me is an endless manipulation of those things: if I do this, then that; if I use this angle based on these increases, those angles result.  Then I love taking those concepts and making them wearable!

What is your favorite item you designed so far, and why?

Oooh, that’s a hard one.  I can only narrow it down to four: Hrim, Devlan, Winnowing, and Thorn.  The shawls are all explorations of technique and an idea, and I love that it worked out better than I could’ve planned.  Devlan has some interesting construction techniques to it, but it’s also probably the item in my design catalog that’s closest to my own personal style.

And Devlan is really cool!

Does anything intimidate you in knitting or crochet?

Complicated stuff! I tend not to have the attention span at this point for intricate stitch patterns, so I’m always so impressed by people who do them effortlessly.  Most of what I do has very basic stitch patterns to better show off the construction, but some days I wish I could let rip with something really crazy!

When you want to learn something new (or need to refresh it) in knitting/crochet, where do you look it up and why?

That’s a great question! It depends–if it’s a stitch pattern or technique, I’ll google it, or refer to the TECHKnitting blog.  If it’s construction-based, I’ll check out my bookshelf: Elizabeth Zimmermann, Maggie Righetti, Shirley Paden, and Catherine Lowe books all live there and they’re all invaluable for discussing the bigger picture.

Do you have a favorite LYS?

Yes! KnitWit, in my hometown here of Portland, Maine.  They’re wonderful!

Do you collect WIPs/FOs or do you work only on one project at a time?

I am completely monogamous! I actually get anxious if I have more than one project going, so I just try to zip through a single one at a time.

Are you a selfish knitter or do you knit mainly for other people?

Most of what I do right now is for publication, but I miss civilian knitting! When I was doing more of that, let’s be honest, I was pretty selfish. My family is super knitworthy, though, so I try to knit for them when I can.  I’ll be knitting my dad a long-overdue sweater as part of the GAL!

Is knitting a seasonal activity for you?

Nope! I’m year-round, and actually often busiest in the hottest months of the year.  There’s something a bit wrong with that. . .

What makes you buy a pattern?

Something that makes me sit up and say “WOW”.  There are so many amazingly talented designers out there, and it’s so great to see how they all approach the knitting world differently.  I love it when someone comes along and publishes something that I’d never even conceived of!

What do you most enjoy about knitting or crochet?

The way it feels in my hands after a long day at work.  Even when I’m working on it towards the goal of publishing the pattern, it’s such a centering, calming activity.  I love it!

Meet Texknitter

As part of the indie designer Gift-a-Long on Raverly, I interviewed Texknitter.

Bold are my questions and comments, and Texknitters answers are in regular font.

What is your design process and what influences your design?
Most of the time my designs are driven by techniques that I want to play with, but I am also very influenced by the visual world around me. There are times when I will notice a pattern in nature or in architecture, and see the whole knitting project in my mind.

What do you love most about designing?
I love seeing how a design comes together, from the inspiration to the techniques I choose. I like making it fun for the knitter.

What is your favorite item you designed so far, and why?
That’s like choosing your favorite child, but my favorite is generally whatever I am currently working on. Right now it’s the Mercado Shawl, because I love the drape of the bias shaping.

Does anything intimidate you in knitting or crochet?
Nothing in knitting intimidates me any more. What is the worst that can happen if I mess up? I rip back and fix it, or start over. No one gets hurt.

When you want to learn something new (or need to refresh it) in knitting/crochet, where do you look it up and why?
I have (cough, cough) a lot of knitting reference books. Of course the Internet has made it easy to learn all sorts of new techniques, through Ravelry, You Tube, and just searching.

Do you have a favorite LYS?
I am fortunate to live in an area with lots of yarn options. Most of my time and yarn dollars go to Hill Country Weavers in Austin, and The Happy Ewe in Jonestown.

Do you collect WIPs/UFOs or do you work only on one project at a time?
I always have a simple project in my purse, and I try to have a few projects at different stages on the needles. That way if one needs thinking about, I still have something else to be working on.

I may have to add Strawberry Fields to my never ending collections of travel knitting, just looke at it:

Are you a selfish knitter or do you knit mainly for other people?
Several years ago I looked back over a year of knitting and realized that I had nothing of my own to show for it; it had all been given away. Now I mostly knit for myself, although I will knit anything that my children ask for.

Is knitting a seasonal activity for you?
Knitting has no season! Living in a warm climate, I do knit smaller projects during the summer months, but I knit every day, all year.

What makes you buy a pattern?
Cool techniques keep me interested, and I am a sucker for pretty shawls.

Did someone say pretty shawls? I may as well have an addiction there as well. I personally like her Mercado Shawl


What do you most enjoy about knitting or crochet?
I love that knitting can be as simple or as complex as I want it to be. I get to spend time doing something I love, and I get something cool at the end.

Comic books and knitting

*dusting a bit* Gosh I haven’t blogged in a long time.

Live got in the way of social media, but never in the way of knitting and designing.

My newest obsession with designing are with comic book inspired knits. Well, superhero comic books to be precise, as my fairy tale knits were inspired by the comic series Fables.

Thanks to brain storming with a friend on twitter I have more then enough ideas for two collections, with everything from cowls and shawls, to garments.

And I already finished three prototypes!

The first one is for a Spider-Man inspired shawl, this is a matching piece to my Itsy Bitsy Spider and A Big One knee highs.
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The next one is Captain America inspired and will be a Mystery KAL, so psssst no pics :)
But there will be texture, lace, colourwork (well stripes and slipped stitches, and only if you want it), and fun.

And the third are fresh from the needles, some fingerless gloves matching the armor from Lady Sif.
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I developed an obession with that vertical braid you can see on the mittens. They are a really cool feature and easiert to work then you may think, I even made a ilittle tutorial for the mittens.

Waldhaus part 2

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Last week I finished the second pair of my “Das Waldhaus” socks for the friend who took the brillinat pics for the pattern.

In this post I talked about dying the yarn for the socks. After knitting up both versions I prefer the lower socks with the sprinkles. This yarn was dyed using the ball-method.
The upper one is really fun to dye and would look a lot better with different colours then trying to do a gradient one. For a good gradient yarn one would need a lot more skeins and dyes then I used. But I’ll try my hands on that method again for a rainbow or really colourful yarn.

Frühling

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This blog post is for the really nice lady today who was so impressed by my knitting I’m still smiling.

I was wearing my Blooming Garden Shawl in Wollmeise pure “Frühling”. As the colour means “spring” and it is rather warm here already for febuary I though it was the fitting piece for today.

I sadly don’t have any pics of me wearing the shawl but a funny one of it blocking:

In other news I finished a companion piece to my Waldhaus socks: Some mitten I knitted for the ravellenic games. Atm they are tested and will be available soon.

Doctor Who and Me

Earlier this year I stumble upon a search from the National Media Museum in Bradford, for their 50th year of Doctor Who exhibition.
Of cause I send an email with pics of my (well parts) collection of hand knitted and crochet dolls and memorabilia from Doctor Who.

Lot’s of emails and a few weeks later I was packing up the little ones cause they wanted them in the exhibition!

There is a launch party on friday evening before the official opening on saturday, just in time for the big day.
There are already two professional pics of my dolls online.

(more here)

(From the guardian website!)

And as it’s the usual case with a publication and handcrafts, they just can’t get their facts right, my Ice Warrior is crochet!
And was a gift from a friend, but I’m not sure if I only put that in the email or actually put a tag on him, so that could be my fault.
Never the less: One of mine is in the guardian :D

As I’m really exited about that whole thing in general, I’ll post pics whenever I find some online, so be warned ;)

Sidestep into dying

As payment for taking the gorgeous pictures for my Waldhaus socks (and lot’s of other brilliant pics) I’m knitting my friend the socks again.

The colour choices will be inspired by a test knit for the pattern. But in just monochrome black/gray/white.

As I could not find a sockyarn that has a gradient from white to black and would not cost more in shipment then in yarn.

So famous last words: I do that myself.

I searched who to dye gradient colour changes. There are two methods I found. And of cause I needed to try both.

I bought a white skein of sock yarn and split it into two equal parts, one for each sock.

For both methods you need:

- 1 skein of yarn, natural fibers
– Dye, I used Jacquard dye in black
– white vinegar
– Rubber gloves
– Old pot or jars

Read the rest of this entry

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