Hi there, I hope you are all well and getting ready to start your weekend. I just finished my dayjob and am looking forward to this weekend and hopefully I’ll get some quiet time to work on my knits. I’d love to cast off my Come What May shawl by Susan B Anderson which has be waiting for that to happen for weeks! Shame on me!!!
Now, today’s post is a little bit different from usually as I’m going to present a very talented designer to you. And this talented designer has generously offered to give 2 of you one of her independently published patterns! Lucky you:) And I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.
The designer I want you to meet is called Nancy Whitman and I discovered her not so long ago. I think I first saw one of her designs on Pinterest and I clicked through to Ravelry where I fell in love! I have since then bought 5 of her patterns and have a few others just waiting to be put in my cart.
Nancy designs a lot of accessories and I particularly love her shawl designs – which is why I have bought 5 of them. She does also design socks and cowls and I just might add some of those to my library of patterns.
Before I introduce my interview with her I’d just like to show you the patterns that I have purchased from her so far. Just to give you a little idea about her work and get you drooling just a little bit:)
First there is Ganz which is a textured shawl
I love the cables and gansey style patterning here. This is a shawl that lends itself perfectly for some squishy solid colored yarn.
Then there is Tappan Zee and I totally love the border detail which is inspired by beautiful bridges and a stitch pattern by Barbara Walker. I really look forward to knitting this sooner rather than later.
Next in line is actually the first pattern of hers I ever bought – the Piet on Point shawl – this stunning shawl was inspired by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and I’m sure you will all understand why I had to get that one.
Don’t you just love how this shawl is set up? The colors and modularity? Endless possibilities with regards to color combos of course.
Then there is the High Street Shawl but this is also a modular garter stitch shawl and it kind of makes me think of the Sweet Memories blanket everyone is knitting these days because of the row of different coloured squares. Also endless possibilities in color.
And last but not the least, there is the Eden Prairie shawl which is inspired by a stained glass design. This one, once again gives you the chance to play with color and come up with a unique shawl.
Gorgeous don’t you think?
So have I got your full attention now? I’m sure I do so here comes:)
First things first. How did you come to knitting? Tell us about how and when you first learned to knit.
I learned to knit and crochet by my paternal grandmother at age 7 or 8. She had little to no education but was amazing with knitting, sewing and crochet. She relied on those skills to help support her family after she came to the US in her early 20s. I am fortunate to have many samples of her crochet work plus a ski sweater she knit for my dad in the 1950s.
Do you also crochet and maybe spin and weave too?
I know how to crochet, but prefer to knit. I don’t spin or weave. There just isn’t enough time to do all the things I would like to do!
When knitting, did you used to tweak the patterns you knit or did you scrupulously follow instructions as a new knitter?
I have scrupulously followed a pattern when I absolutely loved it, but that was not the norm. As a beginning knitter, I relied heavily on patterns until I developed the skills to go rogue.
When did you begin designing and what was the first ever design you published?
My first published design, Green Goddess Socks, was released in 2008, but I can’t say for sure when I knit my first design. I can tell you that publishing patterns was a whole other world from knitting your own designs. I tend to design on the needles with little advance planning. Sometimes I would have to fudge to get what I wanted. You can’t write a pattern that way so you have to knit and reknit to get the precise method to achieve your design. Then you have to write it in a way others can understand it. Publishing brought a new discipline to how I knit and how I kept track of what I knit. Unfortunately, the old ways creep in every now and then.
When browsing your Ravelry pattern shop, I see that you are into accessories, shawls, cowls and socks mostly. Is there a particular type of garment you especially enjoy designing?
I have been leaning toward accessories because it’s a smaller commitment than a sweater. Right now, I really love doing shawls, but that could change at any point.
What is the name of your most popular design and why do you think that particular pattern has such a success?
The shawl Eden Prairie is my most popular pattern. I have a few theories as to why that’s the case. The pattern benefitted from the general popularity of shawls over the past few years. The pattern appeals to people who like modular designs. Also, Eden Prairie is based on a piece of Prairie style stained glass and captures both the feel of stained glass and the Prairie color scheme. A different color palette changes the look so it can appeal to folks who want to knit a piece of stained glass.
What do you personally, as a knitter, enjoy knitting the most?
It changes over time. Right now I love knitting shawls and have more ideas than time to knit. When I first started publishing patterns, I was really into socks. Before that, I almost exclusively made sweaters. I think it’s important to be flexible and knit what you are inspired to knit.
Do you have a favorite yarn weight and/or blend that you especially enjoy working with?
I have always been a wool person. It wears well and has great shape retention. When mixed with other fibers that don’t do as well on their own, they become more stable. I am happy to knit with silk, cotton and linen, but only when blended with wool.
As far as my favorite weight yarn, right now it would be sport-weight yarn or lighter. Since I am knitting so many shawls, I tend to use fingering a lot now and I love tosh merino light.
Is knitwear design your primary occupation?
No it is not. I also have an online yarn shop called Whitknits.com. I stock a lot of madelinetosh yarn so that is why I use a lot of it.
How do you see your future as a knitwear designer?
To continue to self publish my designs and to expand where those designs are available. My designs sell in LYS through Ravelry’s in-store pattern sales program. They are also available as downloads and kits on other sites, as well as printed and kitted at fiber shows.
Where can we follow you on social media? Blog?
Probably the best place to follow me is on facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Whitknits/?ref=hl
Thank you very much Nancy for sharing with us. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you and I’m so happy that you accepted my interview and super grateful for your generosity as you have gracefully accepted to donate 2 of your patterns to my readers.
So like I said, Nancy will be gifting 2 patterns and to share the joy I have decided to draw for 2 winners, so one pattern each rather than just have one winner that gets 2 patterns. If you would like to join in the giveaway for a chance to win a pattern of your choice from Nancy Whitman’s Ravelry shop then this is how to join:
Go on Ravelry to check out Nancy’s pattern shop – you can click here
Browse her patterns and then come back here and leave a comment with your Ravelry name and the name of the pattern you would like to win. You have until Friday 18th of March to participate and leave your comment and I will draw 2 lucky winners using Random.org on Saturday March 19th. Nancy will then gift each winner the pattern of their choice. Please note that you can choose any of her self published patterns (that means excluding ebooks or patterns published by a third party).
Enjoy the browsing and good luck to you all:)