Lenny

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:

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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!

Click on image to go to Heidi’s Ravelry store

·         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!

Designer Interview: Littletheorem

I often get blank stares when I tell people what I do. I don’t think many people understand what being a knitwear designer means (or that there is such a thing!), and I’d wager that most people definitely don’t understand the skill set that is required in order to be a successful one. Let’s remedy this!  Over the next few weeks, I will present mini interviews with a few fellow knitwear designers in order to shed some light on this odd occupation :)

To kick things off, here is a Q&A session with Dot of LittleTheorem Knits (littletheorem on Ravelry), the designer behind this lovely cardigan:

Snowcloud Cardigan by littletheorem. (click on image to go to pattern page)

  • Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a 29 year old Maths teacher living and working in Glasgow in Scotland. I love living in the city but I’m a country kid at heart and love nature. Every inch of my balcony is used for growing vegetables! I love the outdoors and spend a lot of my time climbing mountains in the Scottish Highlands, and have a particular interest in Alpine plants. I’m a qualified Mountain Leader and take kids out camping and hiking as part of our school’s Duke of Edinburgh scheme- this absolutely has to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job. I have a real difficulty with sitting still and not being busy so knitting is the perfect hobby for my spare time. I need something to keep me occupied!

  • How and why did you become a knitting designer?

I started knitting when I was doing my PhD as a bit of stress relief, research in Maths can be a pretty frantic and it was good to have something calming and meditative in my life. I’m very fussy and don’t think I’ve ever actually followed a pattern exactly as it was written, I like to tweak little details. This soon lead to me making up my own designs. I think my background in geometry really helped, as I could easily picture how shapes could come together to make a garment, and there’s a lot of Maths in pattern design. It was a very natural path for me to follow!

  • Can you describe your design style?

I like simple, unfussy garments with a bit of a twist to them. I love classic, fitted sweaters with a little detailing to make them special, like a little bit of lace or texture. Nothing over the top though, I’m not into super-girly things really. I try to make understated knits that are a bit luxurious, I love knitting with exotic fibres like baby camel or cashmere. I do a lot of spinning as well, so a lot of my patterns are designed with handspun yarn in mind.

  • What is the most rewarding thing about being a knitting designer? What is the most frustrating part? What have you discovered along the way?

Having a vision in your head of a garment you’d love to wear and making it a reality. And being really, really warm in the Winter! The most frustrating thing for me is having so many ideas and not enough time to knit them all. I must literally have dozens of unfinished objects in my flat. Coming from a Maths background and having done a bit of programming in my time, I think I initially wrote knitting patterns more like computer programmes. I think one of the main things I’ve learned is that people aren’t knitting machines! I’d like to think that my patterns are much more “user friendly” now.

  • Which one of your designs are you the most proud of and why?

I really love my Asphodel Shawl as a design. I love the way that the different bands of lace fit together.

Asphodel Shawl by Littletheorem (click on image to go to pattern page)

I think the knitted item that I’ve worn most though is my Moseley Cardigan, it goes with absolutely everything and is super flattering.

Moseley Cardigan by littletheorem. Click on image for pattern page.

  • What is on your needles now?

So many things! I have two sweaters with lace detailing on the go, one in dk and one in fingering weight yarn; multiple lace shawls and scarves that may or may not ever get finished; and of course some Christmas presents! I have a few quick fair isle items that will be under the tree in a month or so.

  • Who’s your favorite designer?

I think we’re really lucky as knitwear designers to live in an age where we can access so many other patterns for inspiration, Ravelry is just an amazing resource for anyone interested in pattern design. I think as a community we learn a lot from each other and everyone benefits from that. If I had to pick one absolute favourite though, it would be Isabell Kraemer. Her sweaters are so stylish and pretty without being too girly.

  • What can we expect to see from you design-wise in 2015?

The two sweaters that are currently on the needles should hopefully turn into patterns early in 2015.I have a pattern for a little cropped cardigan and for a cabled mens sweater that will be getting test knitted in the near future too. I’m going through a big fair-isle kick at the moment so there will most likely be a few colourwork pieces appearing before too long as well. Busy busy!

Thank you so very much for these thoughtful answers Dot! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next. Best of luck to you!

Follow littletheorem’s adventures on her blog, on Twitter or on Facebook. And be sure to check out her Ravelry or her Etsy store.

Huge week-long sale on Ravelry!

Who doesn’t love a bargain, am I right?

Starting today and lasting through the 21st (i.e. about a week), a huge number of indie designers are coming together on Ravelry and are offering a 25% discount of selected patterns. Just use the code “giftalong2014” at checkout to claim your discount. The list of participating designers can be seen here.

Once you have collected your goodies, feel free to join us in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group on Ravelry and knit-a-long your holiday gifts. Chat with designers and other crafters, play games, win tons of prizes (patterns, yarn etc), and more importantly finish all the things!!!

Want to know which ones of my patterns are on sale? Click on the image below — note: I have 12 patterns on sale, so the ones on the image are just a little preview ;)

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Curious about the Gift-A-Long event? Here’s a nifty infographic, put together by Kimberly Golynkskiy.

I will be interviewing some fellow designers in the next few weeks, so stay tuned and discover new favorites!

A look back on 2013

After feeling for a long time that I should just give a final send-off to this old blog, I’m realizing that I still get a lot of visits (hey, I’ve been around for 6 YEARS, which is pretty unbelievable). It’s also nice to have a record of what I’ve made and where I’ve been. I’ve lived in 4 different states/countries since starting the blog!

I’ve also been inspired to start blogging again by Lauren and Rae, who are both very cool and driven ladies (not that I know them IRL, but I feel like I do! You know how that goes). They also have managed to get their ducks in a row with 2 young children at home, so I feel like I should get more organized and give this a try. Here’s a good resolution for 2014! More blogging, more regularly.

Rae just had a great Top 5 for 2013 post, and boy, she’s been busy! Things haven’t been exactly quiet around here either, but since I haven’t documented much of the behind-the-scenes stuff, I though this post would be a good way to catch you up!

#1 Thing That Happened in 2013:

I had a second child! She is my little knitting assistant from the previous post. She was born in late September after a pretty exhausting but uneventful pregnancy and a lightning-quick labor — although she was technically born inside the hospital, I didn’t make it to the delivery room, ha!

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I have to admit that I am still a little traumatized by my new mom-of-two rhythm (or should I say total chaos) but I vow to do all I can to get it somewhat under control.

#2 Thing That Happened in 2013:

I’m more than a little bit proud to say that the money I earn from my knitting pattern sales can now be considered an actual income, and things really took off in 2013 for me, with a few patterns that became “hits” and a serious increase in sales overall. My Entrechat, Latte Baby Coat and Tiered Baby Coat patterns have been especially popular.

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I no longer feel a bit embarrassed/stumped for an answer when people ask me what I do besides take care of my kids (which is of course a very respectable and busy-making occupation in and of itself).

It’s so rewarding to make real money from something you absolutely love and I’m so grateful for every person who supports this little enterprise by buying my patterns.

#3 Thing That Happened in 2013:

I started treating my knitting pattern business like an actual business. Much progress could still be done here, but I’ve started doing things I had previously neglected:

– I’ve started selling my patterns in places other than Ravelry, I now have an Etsy and Craftsy stores and this has been a great experience for me so far. Craftsy especially has worked out great.

-I’ve started paying more attention to social media to get more connected to my customers and people who appreciate my patterns in general. So I now have a Facebook page, a Pinterest and an Instagram. I don’t think I’ll do the Twitter thing for now though, but I will definitely emphasize blogging more.

– I’ve gotten a couple of my patterns professionally translated, to test the waters, and it has been a positive thing, so I think I will get a few more translated at least in French over the course of the next few months.

-I’ve started thinking of knitting-related purchases as business expenses, and I’m so happy I don’t have a nagging sense of guilt when I buy yarn anymore :)

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Lovely lovely yarn

#4 Thing That Happened in 2013:

I now put a lot more thinking into which designs I publish. I have notebooks full of ideas and it would be nice to have the time to turn a lot of them into patterns. But the truth is that I still have precious few hours every week to devote to knitting and pattern writing, so I have to be ruthless. I have a few strict conditions that a design has to satisfy in order to be selected, but this will be the subject of another blog post :)

What about you? What is your roundup for 2013?

Back to the chopping blog

So I’ve decided to resurrect this good ole’ blog… It’s easier to keep the crafty bits over here, and the personal bits over at Baltic Baby. A little layout overhaul and it’s as good as new :)

Since our big move to Europe last Christmas, I have been sewing, knitting, designing lots of things ( I’ll show you over the next few weeks what I’ve been up to.)

I’ve also been trying to keep my Pinterest addiction in check, I just love the visual bookmarking and how everything is organized in one place. You can check out my Pinterest boards here if you are so inclined.

Are you on there? If so, leave me a link in the comments and I’ll follow you

Ok, gotta feed the monster my 10-month old… Be back soon!

Jupiter me gâte!!

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Regardez le superbe cadeau que j’ai reçu de Marie, du blog Jusqu’à Jupiter:

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Trop trop beau!

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Un magnifique châle tout doux et une jolie pochette pour le ranger avec un appliqué Liberty. Merci encore Marie, je suis ravie!!

PS: Et bonne année à toutes! Je vous souhaite des millards de bonnes choses pour 2010!

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I received a wonderful present from Marie, the author of the blog “Jusqu’à Jupiter.” A soft and gorgeous shawl and a pretty pouch with a Liberty appliqué… I feel very lucky!

PS: Happy 2010 to everybody! I wish you and yours the very best!

Busy bee

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Fouhlala, comme dirait l’autre, ça fait un bail, hein? J’ai fait plein de nouveaux trucs! Je les ai envoyés dans une boutique à Los Angeles, avec un peu de chance j’en vendrai un ou deux… Et j’ai ravitaillé ma boutique Etsy, ou on peut passer commande!

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Et je ne vous ai même pas encore montré mes tricots de Noël — la maman de Gabe m’a demandé de tricoter plein de choses qu’elle va offrir à ses nombreux frères et soeurs…Bon… ben je retourne au turbin!!

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Seriously it’s been a while, hasn’t it?? I’ve been busy, making lots of baby stuff for an L.A. store, and updating my Etsy shop with some new made-to-order items… And I haven’t even shown you the Christmas knits that I made for Gabe’s mom yet… Wow, I’d better get back to work!