Today we have designer Libby Jonson from Truly Myrtle in our spotlight. She designs beautiful sweaters, shawls and accessories, and I know you will have fun learning more about her.
Loopy: Hi Libby! Thanks for being in our spotlight today. How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Libby: Hi Loopy! I don’t remember not being a knitter! My mother is a prolific knitter but it was my “Nanum” (my mum’s mum) who taught me to knit when I was about six. I’m a left-hander but she taught me to knit right-handed and, thankfully, I got used to that way of knitting really early on.
Loopy: I’m never sure of the difference between left and right handed knitting, but I’m glad it was just the way you needed to learn! What is your favorite thing to knit?
Libby: A year ago I would have said CARDIGAN with enthusiasm … but lately I’ve been feeling the love for sweaters and crave the occasional shawl at the moment, too. I think a shawl or hat is a fabulous quick knit to break up a lot of sweater knitting.
Loopy: That’s so true. It’s nice to have more instant gratification when you throw in some smaller projects. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Libby: Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. Although I try new things reasonably often, I enjoy fairly simple textures, stitches and techniques best. When it comes to challenging and knitting: I think grading my Kapua cardigan with it’s all-over lace and top-down collar construction, really challenged me, but I LOVE it!
Loopy: That is really a beautiful sweater. I’ve always thought that offering sweaters in lots of sizes must be a mathematical challenge. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Libby: I am a naturally curious person and I have vivid memories of designing my own colourwork recorder case when I was about 12 years old. I remember wondering what would happen if I slipped this stitch, twisted that one, and added a new colour here. Although I didn’t release any knitting patterns until a few decades later, I think I’ve always been an experimental designer-like knitter.
Loopy: You had an early calling to be a designer! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Libby: I have a couple. I wear my Georgie sweater all the time. It’s soft, cosy and super relaxed. Another one I reach for often is my Rebel Rebel cardigan. Even though it’s electric yellow, it’s amazing how well the shape and colour goes with so many of my clothes.
Loopy: Everyone needs one bright sweater in their wardrobe, for sure. What is your favorite part of designing? And your not so favorite part?
Libby: My favourite part is probably the puzzle of pulling the pattern together. There’s something very exciting about a blank page and an idea and getting to work. My not-so-favourite part? Modeling my knits! I am not a natural model and it takes quite a bit of effort to get into the mood. Also, I’m embracing the passing years, but it gives me quite a shock looking back at early pattern photos and seeing how much I’ve changed!
Loopy: I wouldn’t like that part either. I totally understand. Do you do this business full time, or on the side? And is that hard?
Libby: I work full time, but from home. It’s a huge juggle managing the needs of my family with my job (I have four kids at home – pretty busy!), but I’m so thankful that I can work at my own pace, and now they’re a bit older (3 are teenagers), it’s easier to get help with the cooking.
Loopy: Does anyone else in your family knit?
Libby: All my kids are very creative and they all know how to knit. My eldest, a boy, is the least interested and doesn’t ever pick up the needles, his next sister down prefers to weave and sew, but the little two girls dabble. My youngest is probably the one that enjoys knitting the most, and sometimes I catch her knitting in bed, just like her mummy and her grandma before her.
Loopy: Yes, knitting in bed is a good sign that this might stick with her! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Libby: I’m a born maker and also love to sew, cook, grow veggies, and pop flowers in vases. I grew up painting and I’ve got a fabulously stocked craft/art supply cupboard, and a pottery wheel in the garage that sometimes gets a spin. I love making my own clothes head to toe and my biggest challenge is time!
Loopy: I don’t know how you do it all. Never enough hours in the day. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Libby: Slowly. I’d start with breakfast in bed with my knitting and a good podcast, followed by meals made by other people. That sounds like heaven.
Loopy: That does sound like heaven! Are you a morning or night person? Coffee or tea? English or Continental? Solids or multicolors?
Libby: I really try to be a morning person, but I love the quiet of a late night. I’m addicted to Dandelion Root tea but since my husband has been mostly working from home this year, he’s been making me delicious almond milk coffees… I knit English and can’t go past a good tonal hand-dyed yarn in earthy colours.
Loopy: Well almond milk coffee sounds delicious, and having it made for you? Even better. Anything else you’d like to add?
Libby: I’m a knit-every-day kind of knitter. Summer or winter. I just can’t imagine not including a few rows into my day!
Loopy: Then you’re in good company around here. 🙂
You might also check out her website (coming soon): wardrobetoolbox, a monthly subscription program for sharing more tips and tricks for knitting clothes.
Have a great weekend, everyone –