The Maker of the Month is CC Almon of JavaPurl Designs – Part one

Hi there, how are you today? I hope your week is shaping up to be a good one.

Now as you will have guessed from the title, today it’s time for the Maker of the Month and today I want to introduce you to CC Almond of JavaPurl Designs. I have a lot of things to share with you regarding this month’s maker so this is actually going to be a two post series. Tomorrow I will be sharing something very exciting with you and there will be a giveaway too:)

I’m actually  lucky enough to have met CC in real life. We met when we were both vending at the I Knit Fandango show in London a few years ago. We were able to talk some and CC bought some of my yarn and I also gifted her  a skein which she then used to design a sock pattern with. It was the first time ever someone used my yarn for a design so I was and still am overly excited and proud.

That first pattern (for me) is called Strawberries & Cream Frappe socks: It first appeared as an individual pattern and then later was part of her first book, Coffee with CC.

Here’s a picture for you to see if you are unfamiliar with the pattern

These are the ones I knit using the yarn/colorway that I designed specially for the pattern and called Strawberry Frappuccino. Aren’t these just gorgeous ?

I later collaborated with CC and her friend Sam of KnitRunDig on Etsy but she is a bag maker. Together we made a Gilmore Girls themed sock kit. CC did the pattern, Sam the bag and I did the yarn. That was my first and so far only kit collaboration and it really was a fun one. The pattern is called Where you lead I will follow. I did a ten color self striping yarn that I called You have been Gilmored and here are some pictures for you

CC is a self proclaimed geek and a lot of her patterns are inspired by tv series/books/films such as the Gilmore Girls, Outlander and Dr Who. CC regularly does kit collaborations with other indie makers and those are always gorgeous.

I have knit a number of her sock patterns and I really love her style and that fact that all or at least almost all her sock patterns are written both toe up and cuff down. That is unusual for a sock pattern I feel and so amazing because as we all know some of us only do cuff down and other only toe up and this way no matter our preference, her patterns will work for us.

Last year CC published her very first book of knitting patterns that is called Coffee with CC. That book, as you can see from the title, was all coffee inspired patterns and my ( I say my because I’m so happy about this) Strawberries & Cream Frappe socks also appear in that book. I did a little video review of that book and you can see that here

I was able to interview CC about her work as a pattern writer, her podcast and general knitting life so here is CC of JavaPurl Designs.

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Hello C.C. and welcome to the Knitting in France blog. Before we go on to talk about your new book, would you please tell us a little about yourself?
Hiya Bogga! I’m C.C., a Christ follower, wife to the Hubs Russ (for almost 20 years), Mamma to Dami (who’ll be 18 later this year), a knitter, a designer, a fibromyalgia fighter, & 1/2 of JavaPurl Designs & Geeky Girls Knit Podcast (& I love love love coffee & anything PINK!).
You are a very prolific knitter, when did you learn to knit and do you remember how or who taught you?
I learned to knit in 2005. I used a kit from a big box store & taught myself. I’d always wanted to learn to knit (no one I knew knit though), so this was my solution.
I have been following you since we met at the I Knit Fandango in London in 2014 so you have obviously been designing for some time. When did you publish your first ever design and what was it?
I had a couple of freebie patterns & a basic shawl pattern that released in 2012, but I consider my first design release to be Rescue Me, Chin Boy, and Show Me the Stars (Doctor Who Inspired Socks) which released in 2013.
How did you come to make and publish your own designs?
The sock design I mentioned above came about because I had a skein of yarn that demanded to be a certain pair of socks, but I couldn’t find the pattern I needed. So I designed it!
I think I know the answer to the following question, but then again you might surprise me, what is your favourite thing to design?
SOCKS! I have fallen in love with socks after swearing I’d never knit them. And look at me now.
As a knitter and a designer, is there a favourite type of yarn or wool blend you prefer over all others for sock knitting?
The sock yarn I use must, must, must have nylon in it. I’m pretty flexible otherwise, but nylon is a must for me to make the socks last as long as possible (because I wear handknit socks pretty much every day).
Do you have a favourite colour or type of dyeing method for your sock designs (I mean variegated/tonal/self striping etc) ?
My favourite colour is PINK (as evidenced by my stash & hair), but most of my sock designs use variegated or tonal yarn. However, I have created some sock patterns recently that highlight self-striping yarn (which is my favourite to knit with).
I know you regularly do collaborations with yarn dyers and bag makers, what has your experience of that been?
It’s been great! I love sharing an idea theme with a dyer and/or bag maker and then see what happens. It’s so fun to collaborate!
Do you have such a collaboration coming up soon and if so what is it?
After the book releases, I’m collaborating with Julia of Pandia’s Jewels for a 12th Doctor inspired sock pattern (Doctor Who that is) and with Jess of Ginger Twist Studio for an Outlander inspired shawl pattern.
You published your first book, Coffee with CC, in 2016 how did that come about? Could you tell us a little about the process of getting your own design book published and the hoops you had to jump through to make that all work out?
I designed a couple of coffee inspired patterns & then found out I had been accepted to vend at Edinburgh Yarn Festival for the 2nd time. I had been thinking of writing a book & this gave me the push to do it. I included those 2 patterns, plus 5 more. My book is self-published & wouldn’t have come about without my sample knitter, my test knitters, my tech editor, my copy editor, my photographer, amazing yarn dyers, & the help of the Starship members who helped me with all the self-publishing info that I hadn’t dealt with before. I ended up getting the book done in a few short months & my only wish was that I had a little more time so it wasn’t a race to finish in time.
You now work with your daughter Dami on your design business and you publish both of your designs under the label JavaPurl Designs. When did Dami start to design and was it a natural move for you to add her to your business for a joint venture rather than designing separately under different labels?
Dami’s first pattern released last summer (a sock pattern inspired by the tv show Elementary). She then designed 2 patterns for our White Christmas collection & she has 2 patterns in the new book. She was already involved in the business as my sample knitter (along with lots of other help). And since we already collaborate on the podcast (which I talk about below), it was natural for us to team up in the design business.
You also have a weekly podcast that you do with Dami called Geeky Girls Knit, when did you start podcasting and how did you come to podcast?
We started podcasting in August, 2012. A knitter had shared the world of knitting podcasts with us. She & other knitter friends kept telling us that we’d be great video podcasters. So we gave in & tried. And now we have over 230 episodes because we consistently podcast on a weekly basis.
What do you like most about podcasting?
Dami was a young 12 year old when we began & it’s been amazing to watch her grow on screen. And the community we’ve come to be a part of is so special to us. My best friends are knitters & we can’t imagine life without them.
And now on to the new book. The book is called Coffee with CC (and Dami Too) ~ Another 7 Pattern Caffeine Inspired Knitting Collection, can you tell us a little bit about this new book, the inspiration behind it and how it came to be?
After my first book released, some knitters suggested some other coffee drinks that could inspire us. And we thought of some too, so we just decided to jump in and do it. This time around, we’re inspired by espresso shots, babyccino, chai latte, espresso con panna, flat white, hot chocolate with pink marshmallows, & instant coffee.
Is this new book also mostly focused on sock knitting?
Yes, there are 5 sock patterns (all of them have both toe-up & cuff-down instructions). But, there is also a fingerless mitts pattern & a wrap pattern.
When and where will you launch the new book?
The book officially launches on Friday, 10-March-2017, at Edinburgh Yarn Festival.
Where can people find you online and what is the best way/place to follow you on social media?
Ravelry & Instagram are my favourites & you’ll have the best luck finding me there. 🙂
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A big thank you to CC for taking the time to answer my questions. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing your new book with you and there will be a giveaway too so see you tomorrow 🙂

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