We’re back with another Designer Spotlight! Today, we’d love for you to meet Isabell Kraemer (also known as lilalu on Ravelry). When we’ve come across Isabell’s patterns in the past, they just look so cozy and definitely sweaters/pullovers we’d want to wear on our day off, sitting on our couch, and knitting. You may have seen a few of her most popular patterns already: Paulie, Ravello, Caramel, and il grande favorito.
Loopy: Thanks so much for joining us today, Isabell! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Isabell: My Granny tried to teach me when I was a little girl…and failed…she never took a second attempt 😉 Later, I think I was in my teens, I taught myself to knit from old knitting books.
Loopy: Sometimes it takes a second try to stick with learning something new. What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Isabell: I am a sweater girl from the bottom of my heart.
Loopy: All your sweater patterns look so warm and inviting! I can see why they’re your favorite. What is the most challenging thing you’ve knit to date?
Isabell: The most challenging thing? Hmm…I think my first fair isle pullover was the biggest challenge so far. I tried to knit with both hands (holding one color in each hand) and it slowed me down so much that I had to deal with my impatience 😉
Loopy: Ha! Knitting can definitely prompt some patience practice at times. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Isabell: The designing came quite naturally…I always changed existing patterns to my liking, or to fit my body better than the original pattern would have done. So, it was only a small step to come up with my own ideas. At the time, I frequently tested patterns for Joji (Locatelli), Veera (Valimäki), and Heidi (Kirrmaier) and all of them encouraged me to finally write my own patterns and offer my ideas to the knitting world.
Loopy: Very cool. It’s always valuable to have people encourage you to try something new. Do you have a favorite pattern you’ve designed?
Isabell: My favorite… hmm… this changes every now and then. Right now my favorite is a shawl I designed for the next winter issue of Amirisu… but now that I am thinking of this subject, Reagan is one of my designs I wear most (this is why I need to replace the original sample soon – it’s already worn out!)
Loopy: It can be hard to pick a favorite. I like how you can wear Reagan for a casual event or one a bit more fancy. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Isabell: My favorite part is to play with yarns. To try out new yarns, color combinations, pattern stitches and so on. I also still enjoy knitting the sample for a design. The not-so-favorite (most hated!) part of the design process for me is grading and yardage calculation. That’s what always is left to be done last 😉
Loopy: Yes, yarns and colors are always the most fun part! We’re glad you finish the parts you don’t love since we get to knit your patterns as a result 🙂 Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing? Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?
Isabell: I quit my day job (at an arts and craft store) just now. It always takes me a long time to make such decisions. In my case, it took about 3 years to finally take my courage in both hands 😉 For the last years, I worked part time in this store, teaching kids craft classes and such things, and had my designing job in addition. In the end, my work day was about 10 to 12 hours long and it was just a question of time that this wouldn’t work anymore. It wouldn’t have been possible to keep the work without my husband who’s doing all the work around… grocery shopping, cooking, baking, cleaning, and cheering me up!
Loopy: How fun it must have been to work with kids crafting, but it’s nice you’re able to focus on designing now too. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Isabell: No, I am out on a limb 😉 My mom picked up knitting needles about 2 years ago to knit a pair of socks for a friend. There’s still one sock to go… Some facts about my family… I am married (for the second time) to the BEST man in the world. My son just turned 23 this summer. And we are sharing our house (an old house, built in 1789) with 3 cats.
Loopy: Second Sock Syndrome is a real thing. Maybe your mom will get back to it! Are there other hobbies you enjoy?
Isabell: Jogging is a very important thing for me. I enjoy this time on my own, out in the beautiful surrounding nature, and being able to ‘clear my mind’. And I lately started to sew again (I am a dressmaker by education) after a long, long break and must say that I enjoy it very much.
Loopy: It’s fun you can do another creative activity unrelated to work and it’s always nice to clear your heard. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Isabell: I would get up late 😉 And maybe go for a hike, or at least a long walk with my husband. Just enjoy life.
Loopy: Sounds like a great day! Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Isabell: Night, definitely night! And coffee! Continental. That’s the way how it was shown in these old knitting books. Solid and even non colored at all (greys, naturals…)
Isabell has provided us with a coupon code (theloopyewe) valid from today through next Friday, for 20% off of one of her patterns of your choosing, via Ravelry. You can find all of Isabell’s patterns at this link. (Coupon valid July 7-14).
Some yarns we think would look beautiful with Isabell’s patterns:
Worsted – Uncommon Thread Lush Worsted, Dream in Color Classy, Malabrigo Rios. DK/Sport – Blue Moon Gaea Sport, Wollmeise Blend, Uncommon Thread Merino DK, Wollmeise DK. Fingering – Knerd String Fingering, Uncommon Thread Posh Fingering, Magpie Fibers Swanky Sock
Wow, I have three or four of her patterns in my ravelry queue, and I never connected them until now! Apparently I love her stuff!
Yesss, I have indigo frost in my queue forever, thanks for the coupon code! Maybe now that I own it i’ll get around to making it!
Thank you! I got the lovely Cosy Afternoon. Her patterns are wonderful. Enjoyed this interview.
My Ravello in Madtosh is one of my favorite sweaters to wear. Awesome design and pattern! And easy to do!