Every time I see an Isabell Kraemer design, I want to make it. They are just timeless looking. (And really, if we’re going to spend a lot of time knitting something, don’t we want them to stand the test of time? I do.) She also has designed beautiful shawls and cowls, and her Indigo Frost poncho has been on my list forever. I know you will enjoy learning more about her today. (Note – all pattern links go to Ravelry in this post.)
Loopy: Hi Isabell! Thank you for being in the spotlight today. Tell us, who taught you to knit, and how long have you been a knitter?
Isabell: Hi Loopy! I think I started knitting when I was 15 or so. I was told that we were taught how to crochet in primary school but somehow this experience must have been an awful one because I simply cannot remember this! 😉 When I was a teen, I taught myself how to knit (mostly from books my mom had stored in the darkest corner of her bookshelf).
Loopy: It must mean that you were not meant to be a crocheter, but you were definitely meant to be a knitter! What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Isabell: Sweaters 🙂
Loopy: I could have guessed that! When did you start designing and what spurred that interest?
Isabell: Probably very early, most (if not all) clothes of my dolls were ‘designed’ and hand sewn by myself. After school I was professionally trained as a dressmaker, but never worked in this job after the 3 years of training. I think the first knitwear patterns I wrote were published in 2011/2012 (the free ones … On the Beach, Paulie, and Driftwood). Becoming a knitwear designer was a process that started off with me being a test knitter for some lovely knitwear designers. They encouraged me to write down my notes for the projects (sweaters) I had done without using a pattern. There never was a master plan, and I actually never ever would have thought that I would work as a knitwear designer at some point in my life. But I felt the need for sharing my ideas, and how cool and exciting it is to be able to create modern and wearable sweaters by hand.
Loopy: I agree with that. It really is cool to be able to knit your own wardrobe, and I’m glad you were prompted to put your work out there. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Isabell: This changes every now and then. (Right now I am totally in love with the Don’t Ask cardigan). But the ones I would always come back to in terms of wearing them, no matter how ‘old’ they are, would be Humulus, Reagan, Ashes, and The Purl Code Sweater.
Loopy: All very beautiful and classic designs. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your no-so-favorite part?
Isabell: The most favorite part is trying out a yarn and starting off with an idea. The not-so-favorite part (and I am sure that I am not the only one) is getting my crappy notes into a proper pattern and the grading.
Loopy: You are definitely not the only one. I have heard many designers say they don’t enjoy the grading! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?
Isabell: Full-time since July 2017. Before that I was working at an Arts and Craft store and had a part-time job (weekends) as a waitress to be able to pay the ‘left-overs’ of my not-so-lucky first marriage. It is hard but I still feel like I have one of the best jobs in the world, no matter how hard it is to keep some kind of a work/life balance running a one-woman-business.
Loopy: That whole work/life balance thing is hard. I think especially for people who really love what they do and love spending time on it. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Isabell: Not really. My mom has been working on a pair of socks for over two years now, which means she knows how to knit but it definitely is not one of her favorite hobbies! 😉
Loopy: Well that sure is a bit long for one pair of socks! But at least she has something going in the knitting arena. Are there other hobbies you enjoy?
Isabell: I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, running, snorkeling, swimming, or just meeting up with friends.
Loopy: What would be your favorite way to spend a day off? I’m guessing something to do with the outdoors!
Isabell: My dream day off would be a day at the Red Sea, getting up early in the morning to watch some dolphins, spending a good portion of the day in and under water, ending it with a lovely dinner aaaaaand … some knitting.
Loopy: That does sound like a lovely day with all of your favorite things combined. Ok, last question – Morning or night person? Coffee or tea? English or Continental? Solids or multicolors?
Isabell: Night, coffee, Continental, and solids!
Loopy: Thank you again for joining us today!
Isabell is offering 20% off of one pattern of your choice, from her self-published patterns (Isabell Kraemer’s Ravelry Store). You can find her patterns on Ravelry: click here. The discount code is: TLE2020 and will work from October 16-23, 2020.
And then don’t forget to check out our yarn choices for your new pattern! Here are our favorites for colorwork: Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper, Sandnes Garn Peer Gynt, Fiber Co Lore, Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool, and Cascade 220.
Have a great weekend, all!