I am so glad you’ve found us here. I know it was not easy. That’s right. We are in this very cute and interesting cyber café and we are sitting at that round table in the corner by the window. There are four of us: Lois Young, Amy Marshall, Diane Zangl, and I (Faina Goberstein). It was so difficult for us to find the time and the place where we can all meet, but this is perfect. Grab a chair and sit with us. Do you want tea or coffee? We are four of the designers who contributed to the new book called Tops & Toes. This is the first time we are together and we have so much to talk about. Feel free to ask us questions as well (Leave your comment and we will get back to you).
FG: I am so glad that we have chance to talk. Diane, I was so glad to see that you contributed to this book. I always admire your designs. What do you think about this book?
DZ: I think it's an interesting mix for anyone wanting to do quick projects for their family or as gifts.
FG: Your Plush Stripes Hat's construction is so interesting! I love the effect of two different yarns in this design. I am curious to know how did you come up with this combination. I also think that short row technique is something that everyone should know. Can you tell us about this technique and why did you choose it for this hat?
DZ: I started by pulling yarns from my stash and liked the way the shine of Sinsation contrasted with the matte of the alpaca. I wanted vertical stripes, and short-rowing was the logical solution of shaping the top.
FG: I can just see how you went through your stash to find the right combination for your hat.
DZ: Lois, what is the origin of the pattern design in your Segmented Scandinavian Cloche? Is it a traditional pattern or did you come up with it yourself?
LY:The little design around the brim is a traditional "peerie", which means small, Fair Isle one. I liked the fact that it could be worked both horizontally and vertically. The large design on each segment of the cloche, I came up with myself. I had just purchased the Stitch Painter program, and wanted to see if I could make a floral-based design.
The design can also be used for pointed Norwegian-style mittens. Use one panel of the large pattern for the mitten front, and frame it with the vertical peerie design. The back can be an odd number of k1 MC, k1 CC, stitches. Change the order of MC and CC every three rounds. The hat brim pattern can be used as a cuff for the mitten. Work a gusset thumb, work a second set of four flowers to get the height of the mitten, and use the hat's top shaping for the top of the mitten. Voila!
FG: Lois, I see you also have a set called Sideways Striped Chuck & Socks in this book. I love the play of colors in it. Thank you for elaborating on your color work designs. I am sure it will be interesting to our readers.
LY: Thank you, Faina. Amy, those sure are cute hat and socks sets. Do you have little ones in your life that you like to design for?
AM: Thanks. My little ones aren’t so little anymore (they are teenagers now). Most of the little ones I like to design for now belong to friends and family. These sets are an off-shoot of something I designed for some friends that had triplets. I’ve always enjoyed designing and making gifts for people when they have babies. I like to give them something special and unique for the new little one they’ve brought into the world. Faina, what appealed to you about contributing to this book? Are you happy with the result?
FG: The idea of the book. I think there are many knitters who love to make small projects like hats and socks either for themselves or for a gift. I am one of them. I like to sprinkle small projects between the more substantial ones. When Kara explained that this book will be a compilation of such projects, I thought I want to have my design in it. I am very happy with the result. My Twisted Rib Cap is a fun project for a knitter who wants to learn how to do cables or for a quick gift. I especially liked how the crown decreases turned into a spiral. I thought Kara did a wonderful job and produced a book on a very good level.
This is so interesting for me to hear what you are all sharing. I always want to know more about other designer's work. For example, from where do you usually draw your inspiration? I am sure it varies from project to project, but is there something for you that triggers your imagination?
DZ: I don't know how to explain it, but the ideas always seem to be there. Sometimes the yarn will speak, or I'll see a sewn garment and think how it can be translated into knit. The colors of nature play a big role. I'd be interested in hearing how the other designers are inspired.
LY: I have many books of stitch patterns, and I like to look through them from time to time. When I'm going to design something, a pattern will often come to mind. I usually have to try different variations to get the final result. The yarn will also tell me what to do.
AM: I find inspiration all around me: scrollwork in a iron bar, interesting tile work, children’s drawings, paintings, interesting flowers. I tend to save anything that sparks an idea and from time to time I browse through the things I’ve saved. Sometimes when I go back looking through my clip files, I’m actually inspired by something on the back side of what I originally clipped.
FG: For me, besides many things you all have mentioned, the inspiration also comes from very unexpected sources. It could be something I saw when I was little, fashion shows or books, movies, museums, book illustrations, nature, or simply playing with the way I would wear my scarf. Isn’t it interesting that all of us have something similar, yet we all have our own style? So, here is a different question to all of you. What is in your future plans? Any of your publications in magazines or books we should expect soon?
DZ: I just finished a vest for JCA's Fall Collection and a kid's pictorial cardi for Mary Maxim, and am currently halfway through a hoodie that will be in the November issue of Creative Knitting. Next I'll be working on 2 hat/scarf sets and a kid's pullover for Brown Sheep's Fall Collection. Knit 'N Style will have 2 of my jacket patterns in the October issue, along with an overview of my work in their Designer's Spotlight column. That takes care of the next 6 weeks.
As for upcoming designs -- Knitter's Spring issue will have a cardigan and shell twinset. Creative Knitting: a vest in the May issue, cardigan for July, and a jacket in September. SWTC just purchased my Diamond Swing Vest. Knit 'N Style will feature a vest and a cardigan in June, and a cardigan and summer top in August. House of White Birches is planning another book that will be coming out in August and a tank top and baby's toy will be included there.
Trips: I'll be at TNNA in June, Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp in July, and Stitches Midwest in September.
AM: I’ve got two self-published patterns in the works and a baby sweater in DRG’s upcoming Pack & Go Knits book.
LY: My one design will appear in Knitter's Magazine spring 2009, three designs will be in Creative Knitting, two designs will be published in the same book as you all mentioned, and I design for Brown Sheep Co.
FG: This is interesting. I see that we are going to be together again:) I also have one design in this book. The other book where my skirt design will be included is called Knitting in the Sun by Kristi Porter. I have one design for Claudia Hand Painted Yarns and working on a few more for them. There are some other projects in works as well. We can talk about them later.
Well, I want to thank all of you for taking your time to get here. I was delighted to have a chance to talk to you.