I knit this sweet little Lenny by Heidi Atwood-Reeves a while back as part of Ravelry’s Indie Design Gift-A-Long (you can still join in and knit holiday gifts using patterns by eligible designers — if you join one of the KALs, there will also be tons of prizes to be won at the end of the year).
I waited and waited for better weather so that I could take a modeled photo that would do this little top justice, but alas it’s just not in the cards. So blurry yet sassy photos it is:
This is such a fast and pleasant knit, and I think the result is great. I love the modern t-shirt shape paired with a bold lace pattern in the front. It’s also a very practical garment, which adds a layer of warmth when hanging out indoors in the winter, but I could see it working just as well for a beach day. Add long sleeves, make it longer for a tunic/dress and pair it with leggings… tons of possibilities.
About the designer: I’ve been following Heidi Atwood Reeves on Instagram for a while now and I enjoy seeing her design process so much. I’m very envious of her pretty sketches and gorgeous swatches. I feel like such a disorganized slob in comparison! And her sense of color and style is just lovely. So I wanted to do a little Q&A with her. Thanks, Heidi, for giving such thoughtful answers!
· Tell us a bit about yourself…
I live in the Washington DC metro area with my daughter and my husband. When I’m not designing I am either at my day job or spending time with my little family. I love living where I do – there are lots of great yarn stores and plenty of worthy coffee shops to knit in (not that the latter happens often, but when it does, it is pure bliss). Knitting has been my creative outlet since I first took up the needles ten years ago. Very few days pass without me sneaking in at least a couple of rows.
· How and why did you become a knitting designer?
I’ve always had an interest in craft. Starting when I was very young, my mother made a point of immersing my siblings and me in arts and crafts. I still remember sitting at the kitchen table and printing with potato stamps and spending a Saturday afternoon making dolls from wooden spoons. Eventually my interest led me to earn an MFA in bookbinding and letterpress printing, which is when I discovered my love of fiber. A few years out of school, I found myself working in finance as a new mom, with little time or space to pursue bookbinding and printing at all. I had, however, been knitting clothes for my little girl without patterns. It was an incredibly satisfying process, so I decided I was going to learn about knitwear design. The more I read, the more I knew that it was something I needed to be doing. It was also great because I quickly learned that all the time I spent working with spreadsheets and formulas at my job would be incredibly useful for designing.
· What is the most rewarding thing about being a knitting designer? What is the most frustrating part? What have you discovered along the way?
Almost without exception, I do all of my grading and pattern writing before I knit up a sample, so it always amazes me when these seemingly abstract numbers knit up into exactly the thing I imagined. I also love seeing others knit and enjoy my patterns.
One of my biggest frustrations is finding the time to work on all the designs I have planned. I keep a little schedule of planned pattern released dates that goes out several months, and it can be frustrating when I know I’m not going to meet the deadline I had planned for myself. It’s something I need to learn to let go of, especially while designing is not my full time job.
· Can you describe your design style?
I love designing for children, and particularly for my daughter. I love vintage-inspired children’s fashion, so many of my designs are very classic shapes.
I’m also a knitter who loves to learn new techniques, and that carries over into my designs. Many of my patterns incorporate one or two interesting technique, or a construction that is a little less typical than the top-down raglan.
· Which one of your designs are you the most proud of and why? What is your most under-appreciated design?
I’m pretty proud of my most recent design, Spruce Island (which, coincidentally, is one I don’t think has gotten the love it deserves.) It is my 9th published pattern and the one where I feel that I have really come into my own as a pattern writer. Plus, it features an unusual top down construction and some interesting details. For me, it hits all the marks.
· What can we expect to see from you design-wise in 2015?
I’m already working on the first batch of 2015 patterns. I have a couple of girl’s cardigans planned for release early next year. Both draw on vintage children’s wear for inspiration. I also have plans for more designs for adults, and some accessories too. Mostly, I am excited to see how I develop as a designer over the next year!
Hi, I bought the pattern for the tiered baby coat. I just LOVE it!!!! I made a coat for my 2 year old niece, and now I would like to make one for my 5 year old niece. Do you know how many stitches I have to mount for the collar for a size 5-6? I think I can follow the pattern from there on. Thanks for your help!