Designer Spolight: Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon

I’m happy to introduce you to Kunbi today. She is a talented designer, living in Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK, and I’ve discovered we have a lot in common, as we’ve emailed! (Also, I’m making her beautiful Oyinkan Asymmetric Shawl soon, and I can’t wait for that.)

© Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon

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

Kunbi: Hi Loopy! I’ve been a knitter since I was 8 years old and I was taught by my primary school teacher in my home country, Nigeria. She also taught me to crochet and both crafts kept me out of a lot of trouble growing up as I was always very busy designing, knitting and crocheting. 

Tiffy Mae Slouch Beanie © Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon

Loopy: I think knitting and crocheting have been used to keep a lot of kids out of trouble over the years! Although not many turn it into a designing business. What is your favorite type of item to knit? 

Kunbi: This one’s a tough one! It’s a toss between cowls and sweaters

Loopy: What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date? 

Kunbi: My most challenging knit project to date is actually a hat. In hindsight, the stitch pattern was not great for a hat but I was bent on using it as I thought it would look great. I was so frustrated and ended up abandoning it halfway through!

Autumn Leaves Cowl © Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon

Loopy: Well – been there before. Sometimes you just need to know when to lay it aside and move on, right? When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest? 

Kunbi: I did a lot of designing between age 8 and 10, so it was something I always did. After picking up knitting again nearly 5 years ago, I started designing again shortly after and my first design was a beanie. I love the look of cables but I don’t enjoy the process of using cable needles to hold stitches back,etc, so I used a cable stitch pattern that doesn’t require the use of cable needles to create a hat design. I haven’t stopped designing since.

Renaissance Crochet Cowl © Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon

Loopy: I am mind boggled that you were designing at age eight. That is so cool! It must have been meant to be, if you were thinking of designs already at that age. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed? 

Kunbi: Another tough one! Ha! All my designs are my faves, which may sound odd. If I did have to pick, I’ll say it’s my Oyinkan shawl pattern purely because it has a lot of lace stitches and I lace. It is a full bodied shawl because it uses nearly 700 meters of yarn, so you end up with a very cosy shawl to keep you warm during winter. I wore mine for most of winter.

Oyinkan Asymmetric Shawl © Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon

Loopy: That design is so beautiful and I cannot wait to knit it up later this summer. (Plus – out of Malabrigo Rios. You can’t go wrong with that either!) What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part? 

Kunbi: My favourite part of designing is the knitting as I’m able to see my plan come to life. My not-so favourite part is blocking! I’m not even sure why but I don’t enjoy it at all.

Julia Slouch Beanie © Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon



Loopy: Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing? 

Kunbi: Yes, I work as a publications manager in a medical communications agency and I also own another business creating Christian prints and artwork. (Faithcurated)

Loopy: Do you do this design business full-time, or on the side?  And is that hard? 

Kunbi: I do my knitwear and crochet designing business on the side but the hope is that I can do it full-time in the very near future. It’s definitely hard doing it on the side as I don’t have as much time to work on my designs as I want to.

Renaissance Crochet Cowl © Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon


Loopy: I hope you can do it full time soon, too! Does anyone else in your family knit? (Would you like to tell us about your family?) 

Kunbi: No one else in my family knits. My grandmum (on my mum’s side) knitted a lot when she was younger but stopped for some reason. I live in the United Kingdom with my husband and two amazing daughters.

Loopy: I always think it’s special when knitters have a mother or grandmother who were knitters. Carrying on the tradition. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy? 

Kunbi: I love reading and it’s a hobby I’ve had from a very young age. I’m crazy about fitness and really enjoy weightlifting and powerlifting; I’ll say fitness is more of a lifestyle than a hobby for me. I also enjoy writing (I have a personal blog – Warmhugsheartylaughs) when I have time to do so, baking and cooking. Can I add knitting and crocheting? 😉

Ibukun Striped Sweater © Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon


Loopy: What would be your favorite way to spend a day off? 

Kunbi: This will definitely be at a spa with my husband; it’s something we do regularly – just us for most of the day and we return home refreshed.

Caleb Unisex Slouchy Beanie © Kunbi Ayo-Okanlawon

Loopy: I think that is an awesome thing to do – a whole day! Good choice. And finally – Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors?

Kunbi: Night person, coffee, I do both and like both equally, and ooooo another difficult one! Can I say both again? Lol! 🙂

Loopy: Thank you again for sharing with us today. Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Kunbi: We are in a pivotal period where the issue of racism is being discussed more than ever before. As someone who has experienced microaggressions and racism, and whose little daughter has sadly experienced it too, I can only hope that when all the noise had died down, many people will continue to stand up and speak against racism. We owe this to ourselves and more importantly our future generation because no one deserves to experience racism in any way, shape or form. Thank you so much for having me.  

Loopy: Well said and I totally agree, Kunbi. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Kunbi has generously offered a 20% discount on one of her patterns via her Ravelry shop, between now and next Friday (July 3). Please use the code: loopyblog. You can find her patterns here: Handmadebykunbi

Have a great weekend, all. I hope you find plenty of time for knitting and crocheting!

Sheri

2 comments

  1. Another new to me designer. I really enjoy these posts. Kunbi is not only a designer but politically aware of current issues and communicates her thoughts well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.