I’m so happy to introduce you to Sarah today! We have been working on a special project together for several months (hint: 2020 Christmas Advent Kit….) and I know you will love meeting her. Read to the end for some information on a new MKAL that she is putting on, as well as a getting a good price on it!
Loopy: Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for joining in on the blog today. You know I’ve long loved your beautiful and whimsical gnomes. How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Sarah: Hi Loopy! I’ve been knitting since I retaught myself to knit around 2003. My grandmothers had taught me when I was a girl, but making garter scarves for my toys wasn’t inspiring and I gave it up. Once I picked it up as an adult, I could.not.stop. I taught myself from library books because my daughter asked me to teach her.
Loopy: That’s exactly why I got back into knitting myself – to teach my daughter, years ago. I love the hearing about people who learned from one generation and pass it on to another. What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Sarah: Gnomes! I can’t stop knitting them. I also always need a simple stockinette or garter project on the go (laughing at my 8 year old self). Simple projects seem like medicine for me. It’s like they iron out the wrinkles in my soul.
Loopy: Your house must be filled with a lot of adorable gnomes. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Sarah: Probably the cardigan I did for my daughter when she was 16. We talked about what she wanted, and I made a custom, asymmetrical cardigan with a cable and contrasting collar. And a saddle shoulder construction, zipper installation, custom fit … it was a fabulous challenge.
Loopy: That’s a much bigger project than your gnomes! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Sarah: I started doing one-offs for my family almost right away. I read the second Stitch and Bitch book really early in my knitting and it was great at telling us to be bold and make things our own. Patterns available in the early 2000’s didn’t really match my family’s style – which is bold, colourful, and European – and so I started tweaking, swapping, and eventually designing. I took the plunge into publishing my designs when I won the design contest for new designers run by Kate at the Playful Day podcast. It came at a point when I was really burnt out and needed a creative challenge.
Loopy: Well that was a fortunate win, then. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Sarah: Well, that’s an unfair question! I’m not going to overthink this and I’ll just panic and say Here We Gnome Again. I’m so proud of how that project worked – from the idea to the execution to the photography. It was a real turning point for me as a designer.
Loopy: That’s the pattern that I first bought from you. I absolutely love it (but have not knit it yet. Soon!). What is your favorite part of designing? And your not so favorite part?
Sarah: The knitting is definitely my favourite part. I love how it changes my mood. How can something be simultaneously calming and energizing? My least favourite part is the business side of things – the desk work, like taxes and edits and such. I didn’t realize how much non-knitting work there would be! But it’s so worth it. I’ve learned so much and grown in confidence with every new hat I learn to wear.
Loopy: Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Sarah: It’s my full-time job now and it’s incredible! I am not a great boss to myself – I keep blurring the lines between work and life because I love knitting, and I’m passionate about delivering the best possible pattern. Is knitting on a project in the evenings and checking tester feedback being a workaholic or having the best job in the world?
Loopy: I think I’m going to go with “best job in the world”. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Sarah: My son and daughter both know how to knit and have made several projects. They’re not addicted like I am and can drop the hobby for months and years at a time. I homeschooled both kids from kindergarten to grade 12. They’re in university now. My knitting obsession is partly because of the homeschooling – I needed something that helped me be patiently by their sides. If I read, I didn’t want to stop when they had a question. If I wandered away, so did they. If I didn’t have something to do, I’d be pestering them as they worked. So knitting while they did math or wrote was perfect. I even learned to read and knit at the same time so I could read aloud. Our family loves listening to books, so reading to them and working on a sock was pretty amazing. I felt like a superhero.
Loopy: I think reading aloud, homeschooling, and knitting at the same time does qualify you as a superhero. That’s impressive! Are there other hobbies you enjoy?
Sarah: I run, cycle, and love traveling. Being active is a great counter to all the sitting I do for work. The family is also really into board games. My husband’s game collection takes up more space than my yarns stash!
Loopy: I think that means you need to grow your stash. 🙂 What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Sarah: If I could pick anything, I’d pick hiking in Norway. Our vacation there last year was amazing.
Loopy: Ok – last question: Morning or night person? Coffee or tea? English or Continental? Solids or multicolors?
Sarah: Morning, tea, Continental and semi-solids.
Loopy: Thanks for being in the Spotlight today! Now – I know you have an exciting new project coming up on Monday. Can you tell us about it?
Sarah: My Nice to Gnome You Mystery Knit A Long starts up soon! Here is what this is all about:
A gnome of the gnorthern reaches, Gnicki loves laughing in the midnight sun with friends. She’s easy-going, like a gentle summer breeze that cools you at just the right moment. Come on over – she’s started a campfire and has all the ingredients for s’mores tucked up in her hat at all times.
Knitting-wise, Gnicki is a simple project with a few twists to give her a standout personality. Clues will be released every few days, and will have links to video tutorials where needed to help you along!
The pattern goes on sale on Monday, July 6th. For the first week only, get 40% off with code “SummerGnoming”. When you buy the pattern, there will be a file to download that lists all the clue dates, gives colour advice, and other tips.
Loopy: Sounds fun! And Gnicki sounds like the perfect summer friend for all.
Pop over to Sarah’s Designer Page on Monday to get in on the new Mystery Gnome Knitalong. Need yarn? Your Gnicki Gnome will need four colors of fingering weight yarn. Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper is great for solids in small quantities, and comes in lots of colors. Perfect for this new Knit A Long or any of Sarah’s other whimsical gnomes.