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Monday, November 17, 2014

Gift-A-Long Designer Interview: Sarah Jordan

As part of the Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry, I will be interviewing 2 of the 293 participating designers. The first one is Sarah Jordan (Knit/Wit) or PAKnitWit in Ravelry. You can see all of her patterns here. Get 25% off participating knitting patterns during the Gift-A-Long sale from November 13-21 with the code “giftalong2014.”

When did you start designing and why?
I think it all started back in 2011. I had an idea for a pair of colorwork mittens in my head but couldn’t find anything on Ravelry that remotely resembled what I’d envisioned. So I decided to design them myself!

What is your favorite pattern you have design to date and why?
That’s a bit like asking a parent which child is their favorite, isn’t it? ;-) I guess if I had to pick, I’d say Leventry. It’s been my most popular pattern to date and it was a design that just worked exactly as I’d hoped from start to finish.

What is your least favorite pattern you have design to date and why?
The designs that don’t work out or that I don’t like once they’re in yarn typically don’t see the light of day. I have a bunch of sketches and swatches from these failed ideas, and someday they might be tweaked into something better.

What inspires you to design?
I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes I see color patterns or architectural elements that I find particularly interesting. Sometimes I’ll see someone on the street with an interesting commercially made sweater on (and I’ll sneak a photo). Sometimes it’s the yarn. Most often, I get ideas as I’m lying in bed, right before I fall asleep. Ideas sneak up on me at the oddest times, and as a result, I have a rather large collection of notes and sketches on bits of paper.

What is your design process?
In most cases, it starts with an idea and a sketch. Sometimes, if it’s an item I knit a lot, I can plan out the whole piece from the beginning, but usually I’m working out and tweaking the design on the needles. If it’s something with texture or lace, I’ll often work up a rough draft of a chart and then adjust it as I knit. Sometimes it takes several swatches and prototypes before I get it right.

What is your favorite yarn (fiber, weight)?
I love natural fibers -- wool, primarily. I love the memory and the spring that it has. I use a wide variety of weights in my designing and knitting in general, but I seem to come back to fingering weight yarn again and again. It’s so versatile -- it can be used at a firm gauge for socks, a slightly looser gauge for hats and mitts/mittens, and an even looser gauge for shawls and garments. And I love that a single skein of sock yarn can be used for so many things.

What is your favorite needle/hook?
That’s a tough one! I tend to use smaller needles (usually US 6/4.0 mm or smaller), and strangely I seem to often have multiple projects on the needles using the same size. I use circular needles almost exclusively, and I always use metal needles. My current favorites are ChiaoGoo Red Lace and Addi Rockets.

Which of your patterns make for really great gift?
I think they all would! Nearly all of my patterns are accessories or other small items (I only have one sweater pattern in my shop). I also currently have a dishcloth pattern, Clean Up, Eat Up, that’s a fun, quick knit, and all proceeds from its sale go to Feeding America, which is an organization that supports local food banks across the United States.

Does anything intimidate you in knitting or crochet?
I’m willing to try anything, though certainly some more advanced color techniques are a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve never done double knitting or illusion knitting. I kind of understand how they work, but I’m the type of person who has to do something to fully understand it. Crochet is another story. I know how to crochet (well, the bare basics), but I haven’t done much of it in years. I’m really amazed by some of the incredibly intricate crochet designs out there!

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