Today we have Sierra and her husband, from Darling J’adore in our Spotlight. Sierra does the designing and writing, and her husband is the IT engineer and does the technological aspects of the business. They live here in Colorado (where Loopy is also located), and I know you’ll enjoy learning more about them! (Pattern links go to Ravelry, yarn links go to The Loopy Ewe)
Loopy: Hi Sierra! Thanks for being in our Spotlight today. How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Sierra: Hi, Loopy! Thank you so much for this opportunity! I have been knitting for over two decades and was taught by sweet ladies in a tiny yarn shop in Kentucky when I was a little girl. Years later, I taught myself to crochet.
Loopy: I love hearing about people passing on the love of knitting like that. We need to keep doing that, to grown this wonderful community! What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Sierra: Socks! I love the history of sock-knitting, the tiny stitches, their practicality, how excellent they are to give as gifts, and how relaxing and rhythmic they are to knit. I always keep a pair of socks on my knitting needles at any given time to practice and sharpen my skills, as a sort of “practice project”.
Loopy: You have some really beautiful sock patterns. I think that is what first drew me to your company. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Sierra: Sweaters are my most challenging item to knit simply because I am very picky with the fit and look of a finished knitted sweater. Whenever I design sweaters, it usually takes me many months and lots of tries before I am pleased with the finished item.
Loopy: I love your Comfort Sweater. It looks like the perfect sweater to cozy up in. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Sierra: I have been knitting for many years, but I began drafting patterns approximately five years ago as a hobby while attending law school. My passion has always been in knitwear design, so I decided to make a career change from lawyer to knitwear designer in 2018.
Loopy: That’s a big change. From left brain work to right brain work! (Although plenty of left brain work in the technical aspects of pattern writing.) Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Sierra: At the moment, The Weekend Sweater is my favorite design, because it is classic, cozy, and practical – it’s the perfect go-to sweater! The simple, all-over stockinette stitches make it a really relaxing pattern to follow as well.
Loopy: Yes, I love that one, too! You don’t have a lot of sweater patterns, but the ones you design all look like guaranteed favorites to wear. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Sierra: My favorite part of my design process is the beginning phases, involving sketching, swatching various yarns, and playing with stitches. I also enjoy the final moments of the knit/crochet process: wet-blocking. My least-favorite part can sometimes be the technicalities and complexities involved in pattern drafting, including tedious math, grading, and technological behind-the-scenes issues that occasionally arise.
Loopy: Oh, the grading. 🙁 That never sounds fun. But the swatching and sketching sound great! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Sierra: Darling Jadore is my full-time job, and I made the transition in 2018. Before this, I was a practicing attorney. The adjustment was quite difficult at first, since owning a small business can be intensely overwhelming in its infancy stages. The technological complexities involved in owning a knitwear design business, including website development and maintenance, marketing, photography, and video editing and processing, were initially the most difficult aspects of this transition. However, growing a small team and delegating some of these duties to that team has been instrumental in the overall maintenance and growth of Darling Jadore.
Loopy: Delegating some of those roles lets you do the things you are most gifted in – the designing process. That’s smart. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Sierra: No, I’m the only one. But years ago, I taught my husband some basic knit and crochet stitches and I think he has quite a knack for it!
Loopy: Maybe he will be drawn in and hooked one day! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Sierra: Yes, I enjoy many outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, walking, and exploring beautiful Colorado. I also enjoy embroidery, sewing, painting, and playing the guitar in my free time.
Loopy: Isn’t this the best place to live? So many beautiful outdoor opportunities near us. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Sierra: Kayaking, hiking, and exploring the beautiful Rocky Mountains with my husband!
Loopy: A perfect day! Last questions: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Sierra: Lately, I have been a morning person. I am a huge coffee lover and I knit Continental style. I prefer working with solid-colored yarn over multicolor, preferably neutrals and earth-tones, although I do enjoy a pop of color in spring and summertime!
Loopy: Thanks again for being with us today, Sierra!
Sierra is offering you a 20% off coupon for one of her patterns in her Ravelry Pattern shop. Code: LoopyEwe (and this will be valid 3/26-4/2, 2021)
Happy weekend, all!