Monthly Archives: August 2012

Designer Interview Week: Karin Kemper!

Karin Kemper

Designer Interview Week wraps up today with Karin Kemper, who is also a first time contributor to Holla Knits with her upcoming Devon Cardigan! She blogs over at I Knit 2 Purl 2, and tweets at @iknit2purl2.

1. When did you first fall in love with knitting? 

I learned to knit from my grandmother when I was about 9 years old.  She did it all – crocheting, knitting and embroidery. She always had something to knit or crochet with her.  I read Little Women and the Little House on the Prairie series about that time and, like most little girls, wanted to learn how to do all the handcrafts that the books talked about.  First, I learned how to crochet, then we moved on to embroidery and, finally,  knitting.

2. What made you want to start designing? 

I was inspired by all of the independent designers on Ravelry.

3. What was the best design you’ve ever knit? 

Irish Hiking Mittens

So far my best design is Irish Hiking Mittens which is an adaptation of the Irish Hiking Scarf.  It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s portable.

4. Who is your favorite designer/who are some of your favorite designers?

Ysolda Teague, Jared Flood, Allyson Dykhuizen, Adrian Bizilia, Kirsten Kapur and  Nancy Bush are names that come to mind.

5. If you weren’t a knitter/knitwear designer, what would you be doing? 

I started knitting again as an adult when I started taking my children here and there and everywhere.  Knitting, especially portable knitting, is a great way to pass the time during sports practices, dance classes and carpool lines.  If I’m not knitting, you can usually find me with a book.

Designer Interview Week: Lilith Ubbelohde!

Lilith Ubbelohde!

Designer Interview Week continues! Today we are getting to know Lilith Ubbelohde, who contributed to the Spring Collection with her pattern Romp Around the Clock. Lily blogs at The Owl and the Bee, and tweets at @theowlandthebee.

1. What did you learn from your first experience designing for Holla Knits?

The biggest thing I learned over all was to give myself enough time. It’s easy to under estimate just how much time and work goes into creating and crafting a design and pattern. Being on the other side of the equation gives me so much more respect and admiration for people who consistently put out designs. It’s some SERIOUS work! Giving yourself enough time, to not only do the knitting but also writing the pattern means that you can roll with the punches when something changes or doesn’t go according to plan.

2. How did your first designing experience help you with your design in the upcoming collection?

Romp Around the Clock  was my first design EVER, not just for Holla Knits. I learned a lot not just about the design process but also what works for ME. I know some people will write out a pattern and then knit up the sample but I have to get something on the needles and work off that to really have a clear idea of how to translate it to a pattern. This time around I was much more conscious of taking clear and careful notes throughout my knitting process. There’s nothing like squinting at a number and going, wait is that a 4 or an 8?? I also got smart this time around and instead of working out all of my math on paper I whipped myself up a little excel spread sheet. Other than feeding my secret love for excel it was so helpful to have all of my numbers in one place. It meant I could double check not only that everything made sense but the accuracy of the numbers much more efficiently. I still worked all of the numbers out by hand with pencil and paper (and a calculator of course!) But it gave me a great way to streamline and really look at everything in one place. Sexxxy Librarian is also offered in a larger range of sizes than my first pattern, so there were a lot of numbers to keep track of. It was important for me though to make sure that this pattern was available to a wide range of sizes.

3. Do you have the designing bug now?!

Absolutely!  I’ve started keeping a little notebook in my purse and jotting down sketches or notes when an idea strikes me. I’ve been paying closer attention to what people are wearing and colors and patterns that draw my eye. First and foremost I want my designs to be something people could wear in their every day lives, something that I would wear!

4. Has being a knitwear designer changed the way you knit, and look at knitting patterns?

It has given me a better understanding of not only how things are put together but why they are. Understanding the construction of a garment or the techniques used has given me a better understanding of knitting as a whole. More than anything I feel like I’ve been given carte blanche to make things like I want them. I will always knit other peoples patterns- that will never change! Someone else is always going to see something differently that I do, or come up with an idea that I never would of thought of. But understanding something of the construction of a garment and knowing what my preferences are let’s me modify where I would like. For example, I’m participating in the Holla Knits Knit Along right now. The Holla Back Tank by Emma Welford is an adorable lace backed tank top but I don’t really find myself wearing knit tank tops that much. So I’ve decided to modify it by adding three quarter length sleeves. Modifying it to fit my own preferences means that I’ll get a lot more wear out of it and seeing hand knits in my daily wardrobe is one of my personal goals. If I’m going to spend a hundred or so hours knitting a sweater I want to gosh darn make sure I’m wearing it!

5. Do you have a pattern lined up by a different designer you are going to cast on as soon as soon as your current designer duties are completed?

My Ravelry queue has been a little out of control recently but I’ve got some serious holiday knitting staring me in the face. I’m determined to make sure my holiday knitting doesn’t last up until Christmas eve (it’s a pipe dream, I know) so I’m trying really hard to stay organized (spread sheets!) and give myself enough time (starting in August!). That said I have a sneaking suspicion that both the Rocky Coast Cardigan by Hanna Fettig and the Seberg Sweater by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark will be sneaking on my needles sometime soon.

Designer Interview Week: Ann Leachman!

Ann Leachman

Designer Interview Week continues! Today we get to know designer Ann Leachman, who’s design in the Fall Collection is her first! Find Ann at Magical Grammar and on twitter at @magicalgrammar.

1. When did you first fall in love with knitting?

I learned how to crochet through Girl Scouts in 4th grade.  I remember wanting so badly to cultivate the patience it took to complete an afghan!

Crochet sustained me until I was about 15, when I taught myself how to knit from a book.  Teaching myself something that seemed so confusing and unnatural gave me such a sense of confidence and personal pride.  This feeling has repeated itself over and over, each time I successfully pulled off a new knitting skill like cabling or knitting with double pointed needles.  It’s this feeling that keeps me excited about pushing my knitting further.


2. What made you want to start designing?

With each garment that I was knitting, I started paying more attention to how the pattern was written, and how I could alter it to better fit my body type and style.  I read Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book Knitting Without Tears, which completely opened my eyes to the fact that a knitting pattern is just a thousand math equations.  Designing for Holla Knits was a huge leap for me.  It was such a fulfilling experience that I can’t help but continue to explore pattern design.


3. What was the best design you’ve ever knit?

I love the first sweater I knit, Beatnik by Norah Gaughan.  It’s definitely the garment I wear the most.  I also love that this sweater looks so impressive, with all its crazy cabling.  I know knitting this sweater skyrocketed my skill level, and opened up tons of possibilities for me.4. Who is your favorite designer/who are some of your favorite designers?

Cirilia Rose’s Aidez

4. Who is your favorite designer/who are some of your favorite designers?

My Ravelry queue is filled with patterns by Cirilia Rose.  I love that everything she designs is super wearable, with one or two unique details.  I also love everything Kate Davies designs.  She gets me really excited about colorwork and traditional knitting styles.

Kate Davie’s Deco

5. If you weren’t a knitter/knitwear designer, what would you be doing?

While knitting is by far my strongest artistic passion, I’m also deeply in love with embroidery and illustration.  I studied fine art in college, which puts me in this middle ground existence of fine art and functional craft.  I like to play with everything!  I also spend a lot of time studying holistic healing/energy work/the overall effects of positivity, and I feel this affects every aspect of my life, including the creative things I do.