Today we have the talented Susanne Sommer as our Designer Spotlight today! You may have seen some of her patterns, Hoodie Shawl Cardigan, Shusui Shrug, or Shawl Shrug around on Ravelry. We love her color choices, brioche patterns, modern feel, and cozy projects. We think you’ll love her too if you don’t already! She’s designed shawls, cardigans, cowls, scarves, hats, and ponchos so you’re sure to find a new favorite pattern. In addition to the projects featured here, we recommend checking out: Chevron Cowl, Brioche Basix Cowl, New Beginnings, P-Rex, and Über Biased as well.
Loopy: We’re excited to learn more about you today! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Susanne: I learned to knit when I was very little, kindergarten age, from my grandmother. She was a seamstress and avid crafter and I just loved crafting with her. She taught me all the basics. I learned to knit socks in school, but my real knitting journey started after graduating from University, when I discovered Ravelry. The only thing I could remember from learning to knit when I was child was the long-tail cast on (totally unconscious motion memory), the rest I taught myself with the help of tutorials and patterns.
Susanne: I love knitting shawls and cardigans the most. Shawls are so versatile and there are endless possibilities with shapes and sizes and knit cardigans are just a wardrobe staple. I like knitting wearable things. I enjoy the process immensely, but I also want the FO to be something I – or the recipient – can and will get lots of use out of.
Loopy: Shawls definitely give you a lot of room to be creative. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Susanne: I love challenges and I always seek to challenge myself in my knitting. That’s how you grow and learn. Figuring out new shaping techniques or construction methods can be tricky and it can involve quite a lot of false starts. My motto is: I frog, so you don’t have to! The Shusui Shrug was one of those projects that took a little longer to figure out.
Susanne: I’m just not good at following patterns as written. I like to put my own spin on things and personalize and customize my knits. For me, that’s the best part about creating – you can really make it your own, even if it’s just the use of colors. One of my first designs was the Arrowhead Lace Cardigan (it’s a free pattern on Ravelry) – and it was also my first time knitting lace and my first garment. I wanted an all-over lace cardigan and couldn’t find a pattern, so I looked up how top-down raglan cardigans are constructed, picked a lace motive from a stitch library and just started knitting. I haven’t looked back since!
Susanne: I always love my latest projects! I’ve fallen down the brioche rabbit hole, and I love my brioche patterns the most. I’ve just completed my first ever Mystery KAL and it was such a fun experience. The shawl is called Mysteries, She Wrote. The pattern is really different and I can’t stop knitting variations of syncopated brioche triangles, it’s just too much fun!
Loopy: Brioche is such a fun rabbit hole to fall down. Mysteries, She Wrote is a really interesting and eye catching shawl. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Susanne: I just love knitting all the things in all the colors, and the excitement of finding new things, new shapes, new construction methods. Getting to work with indie dyers and collaborating on projects is such a pleasure! The not-so-favorite part is definitely grading and the business side of things. I do everything myself, from designing, pattern writing, grading, layouts, photos to publishing. And I’m so glad to have lots of wonderful test knitters to work with. I couldn’t do it without them!
Susanne: I’ve worked part-time as a copy editor for a while, but now I only have one more project that I’m working on. It’s quite a change from designing, and I like that I get to mix things up twice a year on something completely different.
Loopy: It’s fun to use different parts of your creative mind. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?
Susanne: I’m a full-time designer, I usually work seven days a week. The hardest part is taking time off, when you turn your hobby into your profession and you’re always connected through your phone and social media to the knitting world, it’s not so easy to disconnect and unplug for a while. There is a big difference between knitting as a pastime and knitting professionally. I still enjoy it immensely and wouldn’t want to change a thing, but it’s definitely more stressful then when I just knit for pleasure.
Loopy: Absolutely. Hopefully you’re able to sneak in some fun knitting on a regular basis! Does anyone else in your family knit?
Susanne: I’m the only knitter in my family. My grandma, who thought me the basics, passed away when I was 10, but I keep her memory alive through my craft, I hope. But everyone else enjoys me knitting for them. I don’t have the time to knit quite as many Christmas presents as I used to, but I sometimes make multiple prototypes and samples that I give away to whoever falls in love with it.
Susanne: I love to cook and bake – and eat well, too! I’m vegan and into organic, local & healthy food that tastes even better than it is good for you! My family also has quite the organic veggie garden, which I love. My mum and sister do the growing, I do the cooking! And I just love to travel. I usually travel with my sister and we love to explore new places, eat all the food and visit all the yarn stores and knitting festivals along the way!
Loopy: How fun to have food be a whole family affair and be able to share those experiences with them. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Susanne: A relaxed day with good food, good company and some exciting knitting is all I need. Throw in a gin tonic or a glass of wine and some chocolate and I’m in heaven. I’m all about the simple pleasures and making every day count.
Loopy: We’ll take one of those days too, please. Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Susanne: Definitely a night person, I’m useless in the morning. Coffee is a must, but ice tea in summer and a hot cuppa in winter to warm up is beautiful. I’m a continental knitter by heritage and tradition and love combining speckles with semisolids – the best of both worlds in a single project!
Loopy: Coffee is a must in our world too. Anything else you’d like to add?
Susanne: Thank you for taking the time to ask all those questions and reading my answers! A designer is nothing without knitters, who enjoy what we come up with and I just love seeing how knitters interpret my patterns. Please share your projects on Ravelry and Instagram and remember to tag them with #sosuknits so I can find them! I absolutely encourage fudging and interpreting my patterns – just have fun with them and make them your own! And remember: leftovers make great knit jewelry! Happy knitting!
Susanne has provided us with a coupon code (loopysosu) valid from today through next Friday, for 20% off of one of her patterns of your choosing, via Ravelry. You can find all of Susanne’s patterns at this link. (Coupon valid September 1-8).