As part of Indie Gift-A-Long 2014, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Beaumont aka Jenmama on Ravelry. I love her patterns... she does some amazing things with pixellation! Here's what she had to say about her designs...
Tell us a little bit about yourself...
I work from home, teach part time, and homeschool with our two young children. This is a very busy time of life! Knitting and practicing yoga help me find quiet.
How long have you been designing and what led you to design?
I started designing when I couldn’t find patterns to create a design I had in mind. It was also around the time when I really took off with stranded knitting. Stranded knitting (colorwork) really ignited my interest in making my own designs as a way to play with color. I started to design my own accessories and sweaters and other knitters asked me to write the patterns for the designs, so then I worked at learning pattern writing.
Where do you find the inspiration for your designs?
I am inspired by color combinations: I may see them as some yarn I have in stash, a photograph or painting, a fabric from the fashion runway. Sometimes the pattern for the colorwork comes first and sometimes later and may be inspired by something I see and then combined into a flattering garment that I would like to wear.
What is your favorite of your own original designs and what makes it special to you?
I continue to be inspired by the color work patterns in my Pixelated Pullover.
What is your favorite fibre to design with and why?
I really have stuck to 100% merino wool, which is both warm and soft enough for my sensitive skin. My design work is inspired and made possible by the amazing hand dyed yarns by dyers like The Plucky Knitter, which is local to where I live; some of the small indie dyers like Black Trillium Fiber Arts and Rain City Knits Fiber Arts, and of course, Madelinetosh.
Where can we find your designs?
My patterns are available on Ravelry and there will be a stranded sweater design knit from Dream in Color yarns published by Stitch Seekers in February 2015. Another sweater design in The Plucky Knitter yarn will be published this summer in the Midwestern Knits book.
Can you give us some hints about upcoming designs?
Polar Prism Cardigan is up next and will be self-published in January. I also have plans for a jacket/cardigan designed with Rain City Knits yarn and also a couple of children’s stranded sweater designs inspired by own my kids.
Indie Design Gift-A-Long is back for another gifting season! We have 293 designers involved in the Gift-A-Long this year and we’re all offering select patterns at a 25% discount from now until November 21, 2014. Check out the Ravelry group for lots of exciting information, including KALs, fun games, and tons of prizes.
The participating designers are all showcased with cute collages in this thread. A snapshot of my collage appears below to give you the idea. We even have Pinterest boards showing all the eligible patterns by category.
I’m going to spend some quality time with Ravelry and a nice cup of tea tonight to shop for new patterns and start some gift knitting of my own! Let me know what you find to tempt you and post some photos of your projects.
I have officially become a major fan of pretty stitch markers. For many years, I didn't bother using markers at all. But eventually I started using little silicone ring markers and discovered their utility. And then my husband gave me some cute crocheted ring markers as a Christmas stocking stuffer. And then an indie dyer friend started sneaking tiny beaded markers into her sock club shipments. I slowly started to get hooked.
And then... during a recent trip to Knit City in Vancouver, I succumbed to the allures of beautiful stitch markers from Caliope’s Fibre. I browsed the offerings, debated choices, and selected two set of makers that may have launched an obsession. Now I find myself searching for excuses to use markers. They just look so adorable lying against my WIPs.
It’s that time of year already… snow has officially returned to my town! So instead of fretting about the departure of summer, I’m shining up the snowmobile and running my annual First Snowfall Sale through my Ravelry store.
Grab your needles and enjoy a 25% discount on patterns to warm your hands over the winter months…Snow Flurry Mittens, Checkmate Fingerless Mitts, Vertigo Fingerless Gloves, and Cordelia Fingerless Gloves. This promotion, available on Ravelry only, runs from October 18 through October 26, 2014 using coupon code Snow2014.
Stash enhancement from my recent trip to Knit City in Vancouver...
With the optimistic belief that spring must arrive eventually, I’ve put together a collection of sock patterns that make me dream of warmer days. It includes Grecian Columns Socks, Orelia Rose Socks, Twisted Tendrils Socks, Quail Trails Socks, Falling Fern Socks, and Palisades Socks. Each of these patterns will be 50% off in my Ravelry store until April 30, 2014.
I'm facing a bit of an emergency today. I just discovered that the majority of my everyday handknit socks are riddled with holes and thin spots. They're well worn but failing in critical spots. Guess I've been too busy designing fancy socks to pay attention to my stash of ordinary wear. Time for drastic resuscitation measures.
Luckily, I recently stumbled upon some great instructions for repairing handknit socks without darning. It allows you to knit a patch right into the sock! Check out the Cookie A blogpost for an excellent tutorial on the technique. I'm going to try it out right away. It has the potential to be a true lifesaver.
Just before Christmas, I participated as a designer in the Indie Gift-along on Ravelry. One of the best parts was the chance to get to know other designers and become familiar with their work.
Alicia Landi of Woolen Diversions is one of my new favorites and she kindly let me interview her recently! Read on to learn more about her and gaze at some of her fabulous and wearable designs...
Why did you start designing knitting patterns and what are your favorite items to design? I started writing knitting patterns because I had particular items I wanted to design for myself and thought others might like to make them too. I enjoy both writing and teaching and knitting patterns feels a little bit like teaching people through writing. My favorite items to design are accessories: socks, hats, cowls, and mitts. I have a few shawl and scarf ideas kicking around as well.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs? Sometimes a design is based just on something I want to knit or wear: usually something pretty simple to work with a fun detail or two to keep things interesting. Most of my knitting gets done on the run so it needs to be good multitasking knitting. Since I’m a biologist, I’m often inspired by nature as well, like with my Dissipative cowl.
Can you give us some hints on upcoming designs for 2014? 2013 was an unfortunately slow year for designs as I began a new job and worked on wedding planning and writing a science publication, which cut into my design time. This means I have a whole backlog of designs I’ve been itching to get developed. My first will be a sister pattern to Dissipative, a coordinating hat.
Have you heard about the Indie Design Gift-a-long? It’s time to prepare for
gift season and indie designers want to help. There are about 175 designers
involved in the Gift-a-long and we’re all offering select patterns at a 25%
discount from now until November 15. Check out the Ravelry group for lots of exciting information, like KALs and tons of prizes.
Look around Ravelry for the cute Giftalong tags identifying participating
designers and patterns. There’s even Pinterest boards showing all the eligible
patterns by category.
Now I’m off to shop for some new patterns and start some gift knitting of my
own! Let me know what you find to tempt you and post some photos of your
projects. I’m definitely starting with the Uchiwa mittens and hat.