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:

IMG_5504

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!

Retro back-to-school baby shirt

Back from some lovely R&R in Italy and France… Axel is starting daycare part-time this week and I thought this little shirt I made had a bit of a back-to-school feel to it.

As you can see I’m a bit fixated on the blue chambray and red gingham combo ;)

I’ve bought KAM snaps in many different colors as well as the special tool you need to install them and boy do I love those things! No more tedious buttonhole sewing for me! They add a very cute touch to children clothing I think, and they make dressing a wriggly toddler much easier!

Linen and Liberty baby set

~~

Over the week-end, it was back to sewing for me, thanks to my new amazing sewing machine!

I followed the Purl Bee people’s suggestions and went for the Janome Sew Precise, and it is just heavenly.

~~

Suivant scrupuleusement les suggestions du Purl Bee je me suis décidée à acheter une nouvelle machine à coudre, vu que la couture avec mon engloutisseuse de tissus rugissante était devenue une vraie torture. Et là, le rêve total, le tissu qui file sous l’aiguille bien sagement, avec un ronronnement à peine audible…

~~

Front

Front

Back

Back

Pants front

Pants front

~~

Pants - back

Pants - back


~~

Details:

~~

dsc_0488 dsc_0491

Insides

Insides

~~

Liberty detail on pant legs

Liberty detail on pant legs

My very own label ;)

My very own label ;)

~~

I recycled a 100% linen shirt that I never wore to make this little linen and liberty set. The sleeves became the pant legs and I also incorporated some of the shirt’s buttoning band. I put touches of Liberty here and there and the result is very classic/French, in my opinion.

~~

I improvised the pattern as I went, and there were a few frustrating moments, but mostly it was a fun little project. I estimate the size to be about 3 months, I tried to make the butt area pretty roomy to accommodate diapers, but I really wish I could borrow a baby to test-fit it!

~~

Et voici le résultat d’un recyclage de chemise en lin jamais portée: un petit ensemble lin/liberty très chic!

~~

Patron improvisé… d’où quelques frustrations, mais finalement je suis très contente du résultat. Je pense que c’est du trois mois grosso modo. Si seulement j’avais un nourrisson sous la main pour l’essayage…

~~

I don’t know what i’ll do with this one, I’ve been thinking about selling this and other things on Etsy, maybe I’ll get around to it at some point.

~~

Je ne sais pas trop ce que je vais faire de ce petit ensemble, je vais peut-être le mettre sur Etsy et voir ce que ça donne. On verra!