Today, we have the talented Lisa Hannes joining us for our Designer Spotlight! We love her design sense, stunning mosaic patterns, and all her beautiful cozy patterns.
Lisa: I started knitting at the beginning of 2011. When we were visiting my grandma one day I asked her to show me how to knit because I really wanted to make myself a hand-knitted pair of socks. So she taught me the first knit stitches, meaning casting on and then knitting straight garter stitch. All the rest is really self-taught through books and internet tutorials. I was so fascinated by the knitted fabric and all the techniques – I was basically hooked right away. I havenʼt stopped knitting since and itʼs a big part of my life now. It really makes me happy and is the best way for me to relax.
Loopy: How special your grandma taught you! And how fun to have knitting be such a significant part of your life now. What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Lisa: Shawls. I absolutely love knitting and wearing them! Theyʼre such enjoyable knits and design-wise you can play with them in so many different ways. When I have more time I really enjoy knitting sweaters, too. And small items like hats or mitts can be so quick and satisfying.
Loopy: Shawls are so cozy and comfy to wear so I definitely understand! What is the most challenging thing you have knit to date?
Lisa: That would be my Felicitas (The Arrow Sweater) that I have designed just recently. It was more the design part and doing all the calculations for the grading than the actual knitting that was challenging. Expanding to garment design is really exciting for me and now my mind is plotting all kinds of new ideas.
Lisa: I started changing or adjusting patterns I would knit more and more to my liking. Also I really enjoyed figuring out and looking closely at all the details of a pattern about the how & why it was designed and written in a certain way. Then one day a special stitch pattern caught my eye and I just took the chance and designed a shawl and matching mitts with it. That was really what started it all and it felt like a natural step for me. People told me they really enjoyed my patterns and I came up with more and more ideas. It was like the ideas were just waiting there in my head for the right time to be knitted up and shared.
Now I have so many notebooks full of ideas for new designs waiting to be shared. Iʼm letting them out into the world bit by bit – as fast as my hands manage to knit them up.
Lisa: Thatʼs a tough question… itʼs like choosing a favorite child. Emiliana is definitely one I truly love and that holds a special place in my heart. It is one of my most successful designs (itʼs still so amazing for me to see how many people are knitting that pattern!) and captures a lot of elements I like to play with in my designs: Mosaic knitting as one of my favorite colorwork techniques, slipped stitches, having stitch patterns and/or colors interact with each other by reversing or mirroring, etc. Another one thatʼs really special to me is Laurelie, which also uses these elements and is quite popular at the moment.
Loopy: All are beautiful! I don’t know how you could pick just one. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Lisa: Actually I love every part of it. Itʼs a dream job for me and Iʼm so grateful that Iʼm able to work as a knitwear designer. The moment when a new idea suddenly pops up in my head is always magical. Often that happens late at night right before I go to bed, or even when I have already turned off the lights. Then I get up again, get my notebook and sketch out the first rough elements for this idea. When I go back to bed my mind is racing figuring out all the details for this new design – and when I get up in the morning itʼs almost all figured out! So I often literally design in my sleep, which I think shows thatIʼm really doing this from the bottom of my heart.
Knitting the swatches, doing the math and charts, knitting up the samples, writing the patterns, doing the layout, running the test knits, collaborating with yarn companies/indie dyers: these are all parts of the whole cake and I truly enjoy all of them! A not-so-favourite part would be if I have to frog and re-knit something that just wasn’t working. But I guess thatʼs also just part of it and lets me even more appreciate the projects where everything runs smoothly.
Loopy: How cool! It’s a great idea to have a notebook handy like that so you can sketch what comes to mind. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Lisa: Yes, I do have another job to ensure a regular monthly income that pays my bills so I can do the pattern design part without any pressure.
Lisa: Iʼm doing the knitwear design part-time besides my other job, which is completely different from my design work. It can be a little stressful sometimes when both require lots of my attention at the same time but knitting balances things out nicely for me. When I have my knitting around me I just relax and feel “at home”.
Loopy: That’s how we feel too! Does anyone else in your family knit?
Lisa: Not at the moment, Iʼm the only active knitter right know. My mom and my grandma both know the basics, but they were never as crazy about knitting as I am, and they donʼt knit anymore. My grandmaʼs sister was a cross-stitch and embroidery designer and my grandma thinks I got that talent from her.
Lisa: I love listening to music and reading books (actually that was mostly replaced by listening to audio-books and podcasts lately as I havenʼt been able to figure out how to read and knit at the same time yet). I would like to do more sewing again and weaving would be something Iʼd love to learn. Iʼm also really interested in architecture & interior design and discovering all kinds of handcrafted items. But knitting is really my favorite way to spend my time at the moment.
Loopy: Audiobooks and podcasts are great for knitting! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Loopy: Sounds like a wonderful day off! Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Lisa: Night person, definitely. Coffee – lots of coffee, please. Continental. Thatʼs the way I learned to knit and still my preferred method. I love solids just as much as multicolored yarns. You just have to find the right project for each of them to let them shine.
Loopy: Absolutely. It’s always so fun to see yarns and patterns that complement each other really well. Anything else you’d like to add?
Lisa: One of the most exciting parts of my job as a knitwear designer is when I see people knitting my patterns. Itʼs just amazing and I want to thank everyone who takes the time and posts a photo of their projects – it means the world to me and just makes me incredibly happy. Iʼm so grateful for all the feedback and support Iʼve experienced over the last 3 years and Iʼm excited to see what the future has in store for me on this journey!
If youʼd like to follow me, you can find me on Instagram as @malihadesigns and on Ravelry as maliha. The patterns for my designs are available on Ravelry where I also have an engaging, lovely little group with fun knit-alongs.
I hope to see you there!
Lisa has given us a 20% off coupon code good from today until November 9! You can use the code theloopyewe for a discount on a single pattern from Lisa’s designs.
What pattern from Lisa is your new favorite one? Besides all of them 😉