Fun in December, Coming Your Way!

Did you do the Gnome Adventure with us last December? Wasn’t it fun? It’s time to pre-order your kits for the 2021 Gnome Knitting Event!

Myster Gnome Event
December Gnome Event with Imagined Landscapes and The Loopy Ewe!

Details:

Goodie Bag Set (contains 12 wrapped, numbered notions. Some you will use for your gnome, some just for fun. Arrives in a cute project bag.) Does not contain yarn – just 12 fun notions. (In case you’re using stash and still wanted the fun of unwrapping notions!)
Click here to order your Goodie Set.

Yarn Sets (two choices – Winter Sun and Festive. Dyed by Dream in Color, fingering weight, 100% superwash merino, 75 yards per mini)
Click here to order your yarn.

Mystery Gnome Options The Loopy Ewe
Two yarn options and a Goodie Set option. Treat yourself!

You can order as many sets of things as you like (because we know you made lots of gnome gifts last year), but please check out with ONLY these kits/yarn in your order. We can’t mix pre-orders with other items.

The yarn sets and bags will ship out at the end of the second week in November. (Internationals will ship a bit earlier).

The pattern is sold separately and comes with 24 days of emails, stories, recipes, and fun from Gnome Guru Sarah Schira. You’ll be able to order the pattern November 1st, and your first clue will arrive December 1st. To read more about it, click here.

Pre-orders are open through the evening of September 27th. We will have a few additional yarn sets available in November again, but the Goodie Sets are only being sold right now.

We can’t wait to knit gnomes again this holiday season!

Sheri

Designer Spotlight: Christal LK Designs

Today we have Christelle from Christal LK Designs in our Designer Spotlight. Christelle resides in Belgium and I can tell that she takes inspiration from her beautiful surroundings. I hope you find a new fall pattern that you just have to make! (Pattern links go to Ravelry, yarn links go to The Loopy Ewe.)

Winter Wonderland Christal LK Designs
Winter Wonderland © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper)

Loopy: Hi Christelle! Thanks for being with us today. Tell us, how long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Christelle: Hello Loopy! I have been knitting now for over 30 years. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 11-12 years old.

L'Envolee
L’Envolée © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Malabrigo Sock)

Loopy: I always love hearing that knitting instruction has been passed down from older generations. I hope we all continue to do that, moving forward. What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Christelle: Without any hesitation the shawls.

Margaux Christal LK Designs
Margaux © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Wollmeise Pure)

Loopy: Shawls are so versatile, aren’t they? Worn as a wrap or a scarf, and something beautiful to bundle up in. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Christelle: The most complex thing I’ve knitted is what I’m currently knitting: the Woodland Animals Shawl by Jenise Hope, a large stranded colorwork wrap!

Brise d"automne Cowl
Brise d’Automne Cowl © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper)


Loopy: That’s an amazing pattern – I can see what it is challenging! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Christelle: I really started designing my own patterns in 2011, but I already experienced a while ago by adjusting other designer’s patterns. I also tried several times to create some garments from scratch. At the age of 16 , I designed and knitted myself my very first sweater (without any notes of course). It was an oversized sweater in plain stockinette with long cabled 2*2 ribs.

Loopy: That’s an early age to start designing, especially with cables in it! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Christelle: I love all the patterns I’ve created, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more,  but if I had to name a recent pattern, it would be the Ines Shawl, a shawl with bobbles and mosaic knitting.

Ines Shawl
Inés Shawl © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Cascade Heritage Sock or Silk)

Loopy: Such a beautiful pattern – I love the colorwork. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Christelle: My favorite part of my job is drawing and imagining the pattern while on the other hand, I don’t like grading sweaters at all! Excel files are far from being my favorite part.

Simplicity Christal LK Designs
Simplicity © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Sandnes Garn Peer Gynt)

Loopy: I’m with you on that. Excel files, spreadsheets, no fun. But the imaginging part is all good! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side?  And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Christelle: Until 2015-2016, I worked as a IBCLC lactation consultant and teacher for healthcare professionals. Since then, I have been creating my patterns full time and recently started my own yarn brand.  It’s not always easy because the financial returns are sometimes random.  Moreover, with the Covid crisis, all the shows were cancelled and I could not give any more classes.

Skogar Mitts
Skogar Mitts © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Uschitita Merino Sock)

Loopy: Covid has really changed so many things, hasn’t it? I hope we can all get back to in person classes and shows by next year. Does anyone else in your family knit? (Would you like to tell us about your family?)

Christelle: I was raised by my grandmother and it was with her that I learned to knit and it was with my mother that I learned to crochet. No one else knitted or crocheted. I have three children and a husband and only my son crochets, mostly amigurumis. He recently learned tunisian crochet. My two daughters have learned to knit a little but they are not really interested. My youngest, on the other hand, really likes punch needle.

Fresnel Christal LK Designs
Fresnel © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Cascade Heritage Sock or Silk)

Loopy: I like that all three of your children are finding their own path in the needlearts – whether with knitting needles, crochet hooks, or punch needles. Having a hobby like that will serve them well in life. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Christelle: Before the covid crisis, I was doing a martial art: Iaido. Unfortunately, I haven’t practiced for more than a year. I hope to start again soon. Otherwise I like reading, cooking and especially baking bread and pastry.

Isay
Isay © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Primrose Roan DK)

Loopy: I had to look up Laido. That looks interesting! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Christelle: When I take a day off, I always knit but not necessarily my patterns. I also like to walk with my whippet or visit historical monuments, museums, new places in new countries.

Flamel Christal LK Designs
Flamel © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Magpie Swanky Sock)

Loopy: Ok – last set of questions for you – Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Christelle: I am both morning and evening person, I don’t sleep a lot so I get up early and go to bed late. I knit English style (sort of) but I use continental style when I knit stranded colorwork (I use my two hands) I drink coffee -a lot- and rarely tea but I still sometimes drink white tea, which is my favorite. Talking about colors, I like everything even the very variegated yarns and neon colors. But still, my favorite color is lilac.

Rosa Bonheur Christal LK Designs
Rosa Bonheur © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Uncommon Thread Merino DK)

Loopy: That’s my goal – sleeping less so that I can stay up late AND get up early. I’m glad to know you can do that! Thank you again for being with us today, Christelle!

Christelle is offering you 20% off of one pattern of your choice from her Ravelry Pattern Shop. The code is: THELOOPYEWE21 and is valid September 10-17, 2021.

Did you find a must-make from Christelle? So many good choices, and we have beautiful yarn to match, for you.

Have a great weekend!

Sheri

Loopy Academy Fall 2021!

How can it be September 1st already? But the fun part of that is that it brings Loopy Academy back in session! And this school year, we have something fun for you and it involves some of our wonderful indie knitwear designers.

Loopy Academy Knitwear Designers

Fall Semester Challenge: Three projects. Each pattern should be from different knitwear designers that we have featured in our Blog’s Designer Spotlight in the past. (So you’ll be doing one pattern each, from three different designers.) If you’re having a hard time choosing, just know this will also be our Spring Semester challenge, too. That way you’ll have a chance to do six different designers, if you do both Fall and Spring Semesters. Spring Semester goes from February 1 through May 31.

Details:
– If you complete all three Fall Semester Projects following the parameters, we’ll add 225 points to your Loopy Reward Totals. (Points will be added by mid-January, when we have confirmed all of the projects.)
– Yarn for Fall Semester needs to be purchased from The Loopy Ewe starting September 1, 2021 or later.
– Photos of each of your completed projects need to be emailed to us by 12/31/21 (support@theloopyewe.com) You can email them as you finish them. Sarah keeps an amazing master spreadsheet!
– When you send in your photo, please include date of yarn purchase, name of pattern, name of yarn, name of designer and yardage used.
– Each project needs to be a minimum of 400 yards, singly knit.

Here is a link to all of the Designer Spotlights on our blog: The Loopy Ewe Designer Spotlight

Here is a list of past designers and a link to their Ravelry pattern shop (unless otherwise noted):

Liz Abinante
Adventure du Jour
Paola Albergamo
Alfa Knits
Alina Appasova
Heidi Alander
Susan B Anderson
Laura Aylor
Rose Beck
A Bee in the Bonnet
Martina Behm
Melanie Berg
Amanda Berry
Blue Bee Studio
Kelly McClure
Butterflylove1
Hilary Smith Callis
Casapinka
Amy Christoffers
Thea Coleman
Alan Dart (on his own website)
Jennifer Dassau
Katie Degroff
Elizabeth Elliot
Elizabeth Smith Knits
Rich Ensor
Laura Fahlin
Jen Geigley
Hunter Hammersen
Handmade by Kunbi (on her own website)
Lisa Hannes
Sivia Harding (on her own website)
Heartstrings Fiber Arts
Taiga Hilliard Designs
Romi Hill
Caitlin Hunter
Susanna IC (on her own website)
Inspiration Knits
Irish Girlie Knits
Irmian Design
Darling J’Adore (on her own website)
Emilie Luis
Libby Jonson
JimiKnits
JulieKnitsinParis
Anna Johanna
Heidemarie Kaiser
Janina Kallio
Heidi Kirrmaier
Isabell Kraemer
Melissa LaBarre
Jennifer Lassonde
Joji Locatelli (on her own website)
Stephanie Lotven
Annie Lupton
Nancy Marchant
Judy Marples
Linda Marveng
5410 Studio
Meiju Knits
Leah Michelle Designs
Andrea Mowry (on her own website)
Cassie Munksgard
Natasja Hornby
Noma Ndlovu
Nicola Susen
Megan Nodecker
Ambah O’Brien
OGE Knitwear Designs
Linnea Ornstein
Alicia Plummer
Alasdair Post-Quinn
Retro Lemon Studio
Josh Ryks-Robinsky
Lucia Ruiz de Aguirre
Virginia Sattler-Reimer
Sarah Schira
Amy Christoffers
Jennifer Steingass
Susanne Sommer
SweaterBabe
SweaterFreak (on her own website)
Tellybeanknits
Alexandra Tinsley (on LoveCrafts)
Tiny Owl Knits
Dominique Trad
Julia Trice
Asa Tricosa
Truly Myrtle
Very Busy Monkey
Stephen West
Yamagara

I’m already having a hard time picking my own patterns and designers for Academy this semester. There are so many I want to do! But …. I’ll start with three and go from there.

Here is what I’m thinking so far:

Dillon Blue Bee Studio Knitwear Designers
Dillon © Blue Bee Studio (thinking about knitting it in stripes with Blue Sky Skyland)
Sunshine Coast HeidiKDesigns Knitwear Designers
Sunshine Coast © Heidikdesigns (thinking about knitting it in Uncommon Thread Merino DK)
Grate Stephanie Lotven Tellybean Knits
Grate © Stephanie Lotven/Tellybean Knits (thinking about knitting it in Malabrigo Rios)

Why yes, I do intend to start knitting myself a whole new sweater wardrobe. 🙂 And yes, I know I’m going over the 400 yard requirement each time. But right now, all I’m thinking about is getting new sweaters in colors I love!

What are you thinking about doing this semester? Can’t wait to see what you pick from all of these wonderful knitwear designers. Come talk with us on the Loopy Groupie Board on Ravelry and/or The Loopy Ewe Knitting Circle on Facebook, and tell us what you’re thinking for the semester.

Have a great rest of your week!

Sheri

P.S. If you prefer working on Undergrad Loopy Academy, you’ll find the list of assignments on our Ravelry Undergrad Thread or on our Loopy Academy blog post.

Designer Spotlight: Yamagara

Today we have Yamagara designs in our Designer Spotlight. Her designs are beautiful, classic, and timeless. Bernice lives in Singapore in Southeast Asia, and I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her! (Pattern links go to Ravelry, yarn links go to The Loopy Ewe.)

Rail Travel Yamagara
Rail Travel © yamagara (try it in Malabrigo Sock)


Loopy: Hello and thank you for being with us today! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit? 

Yamagara: I was a crocheter before I became a knitter. My journey with yarns began when I taught myself crochet at the age of 6. I spent a big part of my carefree childhood in my maternal grandmother’s multi-generation house surrounded by farms and greenery. One day I discovered a Japanese doily crochet pattern book, a ball of yarn and a crochet hook in the house. It looked like an abandoned hobby by someone in the house. Being a curious and self-entertaining child, I figured out that there were diagrams that matched the photographs of doilies featured in the book, and that by following the symbols in the diagrams, I would be able to create the doilies. The beauty of Japanese crochet books is that diagrams speak a thousand words. Without knowing a word of Japanese I was making one doily after another. 

I did not get to find out who owned the crochet book. No one else in the family did crochet and knitting was unheard of, but the early fascination with crochet was etched on my heart and continued to shape me as I grew up. I was always drawing, making with my hands, sewing something or designing fashion items for my paper dolls.

When I became a teenager, I was fascinated by a knitting book in the public library showing beautiful mohair pullovers. The idea of using two sticks to create fabric was too mysterious to me. I thought I needed lessons but I could not afford lessons nor yarns. It was only 12 years ago, with Youtube as a game changer, that I finally came across a knitting demo. Out of excitement after watching it, I made my first swatch — garter stitches with the back of 2 paint brushes and some acrylic yarn in my art studio (I was then already an art teacher working from my home studio). Quickly I went on to make my first project, a garter stitch scarf with mohair, the most unsuitable yarn, both for a beginner as well as the climate here. Besides Youtube, I relied heavily on Purlbee, before Purl Soho came about, for its beautifully photographed knitting instructions. After I learned the techniques, I moved on to Japanese knitting books and rediscovered the joy I had when I was 6. The books opened a world of knitting for me as I understood it in terms of geometry, construction and aesthetic sensibilities.

Lariat
Lariat © yamagara (try it in Wollmeise Pure)

Loopy: Isn’t it interesting that you had a connection with yarn and making things at such an early age? And then went on to find ways to teach yourself crochet, and later knitting. It seems like a natural and lifelong attraction that you have realized in your work. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Yamagara: Many of the designs that I came across in the books, especially those by designer Michiyo, had interesting ways of construction. Reading the diagrams and knitting from them, I learned much about garment construction. Often I substituted yarns because I did not have the yarns specified for the designs. Instructions were usually created for one size, so sometimes I found it necessary to adjust some dimensions. In doing these, I had to calculate stitches and rows and make modifications, which essentially was the beginning of designing. Ravelry did not influence my knitting as much as for some knitters, because I could not find many designs that I liked. Some of the sizes were not suitable for my petite body, and the yarns specified were not practical for my climate. I had in my stash mostly lace weight and summer yarns from Japan. One day as I was swatching with one of the yarns, an idea struck for a design I wished to wear. Having enough understanding of gauge and garment construction for my purpose, I did not have much problem knitting the idea in my mind. I shared some pictures of the layering garment on Instagram and was encouraged by comments to create a pattern for it. The pattern, Tokonatsu, became one of my best selling designs. Call it beginner’s luck, if you will. The support I got spurred me on to create more designs with yarns that I love, in the style that I like, and with attention to details in ways that I think make good designs. 

Loopy: That is such a beautiful pattern with a soft drape. I can see knitting that up in many colors as a wardrobe staple. What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Yamagara: I love knitting garments. It has not ceased to amaze me with endless possibilities from casting on to binding off.

Batavia
Batavia © yamagara (try it in JulieSpins Cashmere Silk Lace)

Loopy: Yes, so true! It’s amazing how many different sizes and shapes can be made with two sticks and a string. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Yamagara: It has to be my first knitting project– the mohair garter stitch scarf! It was a disaster. I didn’t know what I was doing, I couldn’t unravel and it was too warm and itchy for me to keep it around my neck. 

Loopy: That’s a tough yarn for a first knit – so sticky. Good for you for seeing it through, though! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Yamagara: It’s hard to pick one. I created each one with different design goals and there are things that I like about each of them.

Souffle Camisole
Soufflé Camisole © yamagara (try it in Magpie Swanky DK)

Loopy: What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Yamagara: There isn’t one particular part that I like the most. I enjoy the whole process. I love it from when the yarns reach my hands and I touch and admire them. Swatching and getting to know yarns, dreaming of ideas for them, working on construction and fit, and getting excited when design details and numbers work in harmony are addictive. I enjoy writing patterns. I like to work on layouts and organise clear and logical flows. I get feedback that my patterns are easy to understand and follow. My not-so-favourite part of designing is coming to know, after all my enthusiasm, time and hard work, that my designs are being sold in pirate markets or distributed without my permission. It is hard enough to create an income with knitwear designs.

TanTan  Yamagara
TanTan © yamagara (try it in Uncommon Thread Posh Fingering)

Loopy: I can’t imagine how disappointing and frustrating that must be – to see your work taken by others. It does seem like there is an army of knitters and crocheters who find and report such things, to that’s good. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side?  And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Yamagara: Besides knitwear designing since 2017, I’ve been running an art studio at home since 2004, teaching art mainly to children and teenagers. As I remember how much I enjoyed working with yarns and thread when I was a child, I include crochet, sewing and embroidery in the curriculum for students who are excited to learn. I’m also a slow-producing potter. You can follow my pottery work @mossypotssy on Instagram. I’m always busy with one or another. I find that these 3 jobs balance one another well and fulfill different creative needs.

Tin Roof  Yamagara
Tin Roof © yamagara (try it in Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper)

Loopy: I love your pottery pieces! I wish you lived closer so I could see them in person. So beautiful. I imagine this all keeps you very busy, but are there other hobbies that you enjoy as well?

Yamagara: I’m always drawing and painting as part of my job so I hardly do it as a hobby anymore. I still consider knitting and pottery my hobbies. At times I’m drawn to crochet, my first love.  Besides these, I enjoy taking care of my houseplants. I am quite obsessed with hoyas. I like cooking and presenting food on my handmade tableware for my family to enjoy. I love (and miss) traveling. 

Sonetto
Sonetto © yamagara (try it in Magpie Swanky Sock)

Loopy: Oh my goodness – same. I am so looking forward to traveling again. And your comment about Hoya plants reminded me of my favorite plant from my college days – a Rope Hoya. Now I’m on the lookout to buy one for my office, so thank you for that fun memory! With all that you do, what would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Yamagara: Cycling or walking with my husband, visiting cafes and art exhibitions with my daughter, bringing my mum out for food and coffee, and taking an afternoon nap that feels like I’ve rested for hours.

Loopy: That sounds pretty perfect. 🙂 Last questions: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 

Yamagara: I’m the happiest in the morning but the most at peace and productive at night. I like stretching myself late into the night and going to bed exhausted and satisfied with a day of hard work. I usually keep to one coffee in the morning, and tea, my homemade kombucha or water for the rest of the day. English. With this style, my tension is consistent on the right side and the wrong side. I learned continental knitting to be able to do colourwork with two hands. Undyed, solids and solids of the indie-dyer’s world. I don’t use them much in my designs but I have a soft spot for pretty speckled yarns. 

Haname
Haname © yamagara (try it in Uncommon Thread Merino DK)

Loopy: Thank you again for being with us today! Anything else you’d like to add?

Yamagara: Knitting can be enjoyable in the tropics and in summer if you use the right yarn and pattern. It is true that the warm and humid climate in Singapore is not the most conducive for wearing wool. People are surprised that I knit so much. Over the years I have discovered good summer yarns and light-weight yarns that are comfortable to wear. If you want ideas, have a look at my designs and check out some of the yarns that I used. If you have come across any yarns for warm weather that you enjoy wearing, please leave a comment or send me a message in Ravelry to let me know. 

Yamagara is offering 20% off the pattern of your choice from her Ravelry Patterns. The code is: loopyewe-20-yamagara and is valid August 27 – 9/3, 2021.

Enjoy!

Sheri