Eiain

Meet Eiain, from the United Kingdom!
Eiain (pronounced Yay-ann) lives by the sea in a village in North West England with his partner Mark and their two Staffies, Lilu-Dallas and Harper-Lee.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: My favorite has to be Stephen And Penelope in Amsterdam. Living in the UK, it’s a little far to go to every week, but I would if I could.
Yarn: I guess my favorite yarn would be toss up between Hedgehog Fibres and Malabrigo. I have used both to make socks, and they are truly beautiful to work with.

Why do you knit? One of the reasons I knit is because I can. I learned when I was a kid, and picked it up again about 4 years ago – much to the surprise of my partner, who had no idea I knew how to knit. Being male also inspires me, as knitting has been thought of as a female hobby for so many years.

Most challenging project (and why)? I would say one of the most challenging projects I’ve done was Westknits’ Old Forge. I saw it on Instagram and thought it would be great to knit. It’s huge (I love massive projects), and has a lot techniques I haven’t done, like knitting in the round, which now I love to do as much as I can. Although many feel that cable work is hard, I find it really easy and relaxing.

What’s your new favorite thing? My new favorite thing is my Nespresso coffee machine. I have tonnes of tech items at home, but this really is a boom in my life. I can have espresso all the time whilst knitting, without all the messing about.


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Hanneke

Meet Hanneke from Amsterdam, Netherlands! Hanneke has been knitting for almost 50 years. Knitting and cycling have always been a part of her life. Fifteen years ago, she started working at the yarn shop “de Afstap” and still loves it there!

Hanneke1

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: de Afstap – because I work there, but also because of the selection of beautiful yarns!
Yarn: Rowan Yarns Felted Tweed.

Why do you knit? It’s fun, relaxing, and necessary because it clears my head. And I like creating beautiful things by hand!

Most challenging project (and why)? In 2012 I released a book called WereldTasjes (Bags of the World) in Dutch with 12 designs for knitted bags. The “Sophia” pattern was my most challenging project due to the fair isle techniques and shaping – but I loved doing it.

What’s your new favorite thing? Knitting complicated socks and making bags from leather.


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Lu

Meet Lu from Brisbane, Australia!
Lu is a mum to two humans and one furry dog. She’s also an artist, designer, writer, publisher and yarn lover.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: Initially, I purchased much of my natural fibre yarn from a large haberdashery store and still have a stash of that. I’ve dyed fabric for over 20 years, but when I finally discovered beautiful skeins of yarn online, I started dyeing them and haven’t stopped! Oh, the colors you can achieve! I’ve just started selling as an indie dyer and it’s so much fun creating the yarn stories for that!
Yarn: Oh I love Lotus Yarns! They’re so soft and glide so smoothly  on the needles. And I’m mesmerized by the sock yarn of Opal Regia! I have a few pairs made in that yarn.

Why do you knit? I knit for many reasons. The process of designing is a different story, but knitting is something you can do with family around. It was the first fibre lesson my mother taught me – she was creative and talented in many areas – so knitting is my connection to my Mum who isn’t with us anymore. When I was 6, she taught me with red mohair yarn (the worst yarn ever to learn to knit with) and the memory of that evening is as vivid now as it was then. I picture my mum relishing the journey yarn has taken me on, if she were here.

Most challenging project (and why)? I’m currently trying to get my head around top down, steeked cardigans with motifs, as I’m a cardigan addict with a good stash of DK yarn! The problem is that this type of design seems so tailored to the individual’s measurements that I haven’t been game to start. This hasn’t stopped me from trying to design a pattern with motifs I love (mushrooms, ladybirds, flowers…) I can just cross stitch them. I wanted to have the cardigan made in time for a trip to the USA in September, as Minnesota is supposed to be getting chilly, but we’ll see…

What’s your new favorite thing? The steeked cardigan. It’s consuming me – on paper at least – and while I’ve never made time for podcasts, I’ve started to watch The Grocery Girls. What good fun this is! They have a great balance of new ideas, inspiration, counseling and ever so funny stories. It’s like having buddies online! I find myself talking to them as they chat on about yarn.


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Constance

Meet Constance from Alabama, USA!
Constance is currently working on her doctorate in Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She’s originally from Tuskegee, Alabama and loves the South.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: Yarnhouse Studio in Opelika, AL. It is only 20 minutes from my hometown and I used to regularly attend Saturday morning knitting there before starting graduate school.
Yarn: Currently, I have been knitting with Knit Picks Palette quite a bit. I really enjoy the wide range of colors especially with my growing addiction to fair isle knitting. Another favorite is Quince and Company wool yarns especially Chickadee and Finch. I really like the bounce, color, and consistency of the Quince and Company yarns.

Why do you knit? I first started knitting because I was bored and wanted a productive pastime. After thinking about various crafts, I thought knitting would be great because I have a love for fashion and clothing. Therefore, my craft could produce garments that I would enjoy wearing. I now knit because it is a relaxing activity that keeps my mind active. There are always new things to try with this skill and I have yet to get bored by it. I’ve been knitting strong for 10 years now! I would’ve never imagined that would be the case.

Most challenging project (and why)? My most challenging project was the Vivien Sweater from the book Sweater Girls by Madeline Weston and Rita Taylor. Before this project, I had only done fair isle on a limited scale. So, this was my first time tackling a full fair isle garment. It actually took me two years to finish the top. However, I recently started another Vivien Sweater and it is flying off the needles. I think I needed to get over the hump to gain confidence with the technique.

What’s your new favorite thing? My favorite thing is knitting podcasts. Seriously, I can’t get enough of them! I get such joy with playing a podcast in the background while working on a knitting project alongside the perfect beverage (it’s currently an aloe vera drink). It’s definitely my favorite pastime.


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Cleo

Meet Cleo from Minnesota, USA!
Cleo is a recent graduate from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. She likes making in several mediums – drawing, web design, photography, screenwriting, printmaking – but knitting is her favorite.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: I’m going to start this off with a bit of a promotion for my mother Justine’s gorgeous yarn store in Northern California, Cast Away & Folk. She’s built a pretty incredible place. I am over the moon that I will be joining her this summer to re-brand the shop and build a website for it. We’ve both got a lot of ideas, and make a pretty good team.
Yarn: Well, obviously it’s always changing. I recently bought two hanks of a local spinner’s alpaca in a sock weight that I’m dying to try out. But a long time favorite is Blue Sky Fibers’ Extra. I knit a sweater for my boyfriend with it a couple years ago, and loved it so much I just finished one for myself as well. It’s an instant classic.

Why do you knit? For me, it’s all about feeling productive! I love having something to do when I’m watching TV, or waiting in some line somewhere. It makes me feel self-sufficient. I haven’t bought a hat, scarf, or pair of gloves for myself in the last decade, probably. That feels good.

Most challenging project (and why)? I proposed a design for Pom Pom magazine last year that I was really excited about, and they accepted it for their Spring 2016 issue. It was a loose top worked in four pieces in garter on the bias with stockinette stripes, and it was so difficult to get right! I spent a long time working out the kinks, and figuring out the sizes. The sample ended up being a size larger than it should have been, but the deadline was approaching and I had to send it in. They must have been as disappointed as I was, because they cut it from the issue. That was really hard news to get, but it made me determined to be a better designer. It was after that that I started designing for Soho Publishing (for publications like Knit Simple and the Cascade Yarns 60 Quick Book series) which has been going really well.

What’s your new favorite thing? I haven’t gotten one yet, but I absolutely LOVE Carry Okubo’s bags! I met the owner, Jocelyn, last year while I was working at Linden Yarn. She’s got an amazing sense of style and her bags are the perfect knitter’s companion!


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Charlene

Meet Charlene from Oxfordshire, England!
Charlene lives on a stud farm with her husband Nathanael. She’s a compulsive giggler who loves knitting, reading, cooking, tractors, beards, and dancing!

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: My favorite yarn store would have to be Oxford Yarn Store. It’s a gorgeous wee shop with really friendly staff and homey feeling. A delicious selection of yarns and books as well.
Yarn: Can I pick 2? Anything by Debbie Bliss. There is such an array of different types of yarn, and it’s always good quality. Whenever I knit with her yarn I always feel confident it will last. My second favorite has to be Wool And The Gang. It’s just such a cool, young brand, and really good quality yarn.

Why do you knit? Why I knit is a semi sweet story. My love affair really was sparked when I went to primary school, where we used to have half an hour every week to learn how to knit. I can’t say it was love at first, second, or even third sight but the seeds had been planted. It wasn’t until my late teens/early twenties that a very dear friend of mine reintroduced me to knitting. A true Scottish Highland lady, her method was quick, simple and efficient. I was hooked! But alas, I just stuck to making scarfs. I think I still have that scarf I started all those years ago. Fast forward a few more years, my mum and two of my sisters were diagnosed with cancer. Knitting became my comfort. As my world seemed to unravel around me, I soon began to rely on whatever piece of knitting I had taken with me to the hospital. Whilst they (and so many amazingly beautiful people) were going through their treatment, I would join them sharing in their stories with quiet conversation and the clicking of my needles. Soon I realized that actually I wasn’t too bad at knitting, and I thought mini projects were the way forward. People were asking whether I sold my creations, and before I knew it Loopy Booties was born. I still feel like a beginner knitter. YouTube, books, and yarn shops are all a part of my mecca in helping me when I get stuck, but I just love knitting! I would love to leave my job and knit full time. Maybe one day that will happen, but as long as people are still having babies and I can still knit, Loopy Booties will always be open!

Most challenging project (and why)? I’ve just started knitting a jumper for myself! It’s scary because everything I usually knit is on a small scale for babies.

What’s your new favorite thing? This is really hard. I have at least 10 new favorite things I could rattle off. But, as I’m eating it right now, it would probably be this amazing new gelato by a company called Remeo. It’s handmade in Italy, with all natural ingredients and gluten free. Basically delicious heaven.


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Kathlyn

Meet Kathlyn from Frederick, Maryland, USA!
Kathlyn is a mother of 5 and a full time sign language interpreter. Between her kids, sign language, and knitting, her hands are always busy.

What are your favorites right now?
Yarn Store: The Knot House is my local yarn store. The owners are amazing people who really care about their customers. They put an incredible amount of thought into everything they sell and always have something new and exciting to offer!

Yarn: I like to try new things and don’t often use the same yarn twice, but I adore sock yarns in bright color combos and deep jewel tones.

Why do you knit? I live a pretty hectic and busy life. Knitting gives me a productive and relaxing outlet while still allowing me to be present with the people around me, especially my kids. Now my oldest children are both learning to knit as well, and it really has become a way for us to spend time together.

Most challenging project (and why)? My most challenging project was a stubborn pair of muk luks that were determined to make me cry. I’m not sure where I went wrong. After frogging both feet repeatedly and adjusting my tension and gauge and all that good stuff, I still ended up with pair of socks that were two completely different sizes.

What’s your new favorite thing? This year I have started test knitting. I am a naturally competitive person and have been known to turn even things like yoga into a competition. Test knitting has been a fun way for me to challenge myself to knit more and at faster pace, trying out new techniques and racing against a set deadline.


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