One of the biggest mysteries in the knitting world is how to achieve success as a designer.
Please meet my feature designer, Robin Sample. When I discovered her pattern for Sojourn Mitts, I was deeply in awe of this designer. I clicked around her blog and discovered she was overly fond of wool. Score! So am I.
Robin says, “A few things that make me happy are autumn, home baked bread, vanilla anything, a cup of hot tea, Poirot, mason jars, the wind in the trees, hollyhocks and daisies, fancy schmancy grocery stores, 70’s soft rock, real maple syrup, hobnail milk glass, anything lemon, a good laugh, real butter and sweet puppies.”
Gotta love a woman like that.
|My knitted pair|
I was so gaga over her FREE pattern Sojourn Mitts, I shared it with everyone: bitch ‘n knit girls, neighbors, friends, family, just anyone who would take a look at my perfectly finished fingerless mitts. I did great, no doubt, but it was her detailed pattern that made me look SO good.
Let’s talk with her:
Robin, What inspired you to design these fabulous Sojourn Mitts?
These mitts came about because I have cold hands! I needed a pair of mitts that I could easily slip on and off, and I’d been playing around with the broken rib stitch pattern in a swatch. It was sort of like the old Reese’s peanut butter cup ads – they were made for each other.
Is there anything in particular that inspires you to design?
Everything inspires me (I know, everyone says that). I don’t know if it’s true for most designers, but coming up with ideas is the never-ending part. I’m always jotting down notes, making sketches, earmarking a stitch pattern…something. It’s taking all those ideas and filtering them into something unique, usable and repeatable, that is the challenge. I love nature, fall, hiking in the woods. Being outside always gets my creative juices flowing. I love to knit socks and mitts, so naturally gravitate towards those types of designs.
What advice do you have for a new knitter?
(A) Don’t be afraid…it is only yarn. Dive in and try something that inspires you! What’s the worst thing that could happen…it’ll have mistakes in it? So what!?
(B) If you knit things you love and are excited to knit, you’ll learn and grow so much faster. If you’re knitting a scarf because someone told you that was a beginner level project, but you hate it, you’ll never finish it. Cast on something you’re PASSIONATE about finishing.
How long have you been knitting, Robin?
I learned to knit (but not purl) about 20 years ago. About 12 years ago, I picked it up again and fell all the way in.
What was the first knitting project as a new knitter?
I knit a huge (HUGE) garter stitch blanket out of dark green cotton yarn. It weighed about 20 pounds, I think. I didn’t know how to purl, so I just kept knitting…and knitting. My second go-round, I knitted a small pouch in stockinette with a seed stitch top band. I still have the pouch. I don’t have the blanket 🙂
How has knitting changed your life?
Woosh…in a lot of ways. My husband and I now plan vacations around knitting and spinning! I still embroider, sew and quilt…but they happen occasionally. I knit and/or spin every day. I read about knitting every day (on Ravelry, blogs, magazines, or books). I found a love of sheep, and alpaca through knitting. The wonders of wool yarn always amaze me. I could go on and on here…
What is your favorite thing to knit? Obviously, Sojourn Mitts are already on that list…
Socks. I adore knitting socks. If I want a challenge, I knit a complex sock. If I want to relax and not think, I knit a simple sock. If I don’t know what to knit, I knit a sock. Mitts come in a close second here. In a lot of ways, socks and mitts are similar: you cast on, you truck around and around for a while. Just when you might be getting a little tired of that – boring! It’s time for the heel (or thumb). You perk up through that, then settle back down for the foot (or hand) and before you know it, it’s time for the toe (or fingerband) and then you’re binding off. And you think, “man, that was fun!” Which is good, since your sock or mitt needs a mate…and you get to go again. Of course, there are also shawls…
One last question, Robin, What is your favorite yarn to use? Because you know, as well as any knitter, there are favorites…
I’m a wool lover. I think sheep are brilliant. So, except for June through August (and that’s only because I live in Arkansas, where we have “air you can wear”), you’ll find me knitting with wool yarn. Sock yarn, is of course, a weakness. I tend to prefer finer gauge yarns overall, though. Lace weight yarn is another one I seem to collect a fair amount of because you never know when the urge to cast on a shawl will strike!
I’m so glad to be following Robin on twitter, and on her blog, and on Pinterest, so I can find out what she’s up to, and what her next fabulous design is.
Dear Readers, you must check out Robin, as she’s an inspiration to all us knitters and designers.
Many thanks to Robin for participating in my feature designer series…stay tuned each Wednesday for a new knitting designer. You WON’T want to miss a single week.
So, as I always say,