In today’s Designer Spotlight, we have Romi Hill. Romi lives in northern Nevada on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range in the high desert. (What a beautiful place, full of inspiration!) I first met Romi at one of our trade show markets many many years ago, and have loved her beautiful designs ever since. I hope you have fun getting to know more about her! (Pattern links go to Ravelry.)
Loopy: Hi Romi! Thanks for being in our Spotlight today. How long have you been a knitter, and who taught you to knit?
Romi: Hi Loopy – thanks for having me! I’ve been a knitter for OMG 46 years! I was born into a crocheting family and I finally convinced my mother to teach me how to knit when I was 9. She taught me to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off. I was completely in love with the look of stockinette stitch.
Loopy: It’s fun that your family was already into yarn and crocheting. Those pretty yarn colors are probably what caught your eye early on. What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Romi: Hmmmmm. That’s a difficult one, because whatever I’m about to knit is my favorite thing! I think I have to go with my least favorite instead. Is that okay? I’m not a sock knitter. Not at all.
Loopy: No socks?? Out of all of your pages of designs, I just see just a handful of sock patterns (plus leg warmers and boot toppers.) So that makes sense. 🙂 What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Romi: I’d have to say it was the first shawl I knit. I jumped into the deep end for sure! It was my first time using laceweight yarn and also the first time I’d actually done lace. I had only done a few eyelets before. I fell in love with a Shetland style square shawl, so I decided to do it. It had a lace center and then needed stitches picked up all the way around. It included lace patterning both sides, and also a knitted on edging that I needed to graft together. I must have ripped out the center of that shawl about 20 times because I kept getting lost and could NOT read my knitting! But by the time I was finished, I was a lace knitter.
Loopy: Good grief – you did not make it easy on yourself! But it sounds like just jumping in and figuring it out was the best teacher for learning lace. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Romi: I unofficially started designing when I was in college, because I loved nice yarn but could only afford whatever was in the bargain basket! I used to stalk sale yarns and then figure something out for that amount of yarn. It’s one of those things where I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to, so I did it. Somehow, I got some great wearable sweaters out of it. My best one, I think, was a crew neck where I had only 2 inches of remaining yarn left. But I officially started designing in 2006 when my first pattern appeared on knitty.com. At first, I was designing to support the shawl pins I made, but now designing has almost completely taken over!
Loopy: That’s the perfect game of yarn chicken – 2″ left over! And 2006 is when we started Loopy. I knew we had met a long time ago! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Loopy: Those are all beautiful. The Leaves in a Stream looks like it would be really fun to knit! What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Romi: I love the possibilities and I love engineering it in my head and choosing my yarn. I do find it difficult to sit still, though, so sometimes making myself sit there and actually do the knitting is beyond me. If I’m on a deadline, I sit on my exercise ball and bounce while I knit, and that helps. My all-time least favorite thing, though, is paperwork. I used to just wing everything without a pattern, but now I stop in the middle and take copious notes to make sure I don’t forget anything.
Loopy: I have never tried knitting on an exercise ball. That seems like great multi-tasking (as well as a good way to keep you on track.) Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Romi: I do my business full time. It’s both wonderful and difficult, but I love all the different hats I wear. I get to do photography, graphic design, website work, teaching, audiovisual, and marketing as well as my pattern designing. Once in awhile I also make some shawl pins too!
Loopy: Beautiful shawl pins, and also yarn ball earrings back in the day. I have a pair of those! Does anyone else in your family knit? (Would you like to tell us about your family?)
Romi: Both my sons know how to knit, but neither of them is all that into it at the moment. My kids are 21 and 18 right now, and they pretty much grew up thinking that being in the fiber business is normal. My older son is in the Army, and my younger son is a musician about to graduate from a fine arts boarding high school. When he’s home, he models for me and he is SO good at it now! So my partner and I are all alone in our home now, which took some getting used to, for sure!
Loopy: I wondered if that was one of your sons in some of your patterns. He does a great job. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Romi: I love reading, and I love music. I play French horn, some piano, and some classical guitar. I just got an electric bass and I’ve been playing with that. I’m also something of an audio nerd, so I have a board and some mics. I’ve recorded my son a lot, and – in the before times – volunteered at the local high school coaching and giving lessons to brass players.
Loopy: Sounds like volunteering at the local high school is a great way to participate in your musical hobbies, while also encouraging those music students. (We will get back to all of that one day, right?) What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Romi: A day off? What’s that? lol Wandering around outside, I think. I live in a really gorgeous area! Also, I haven’t gone kayaking for awhile, and I’d love to get back on the water.
Loopy: You really do live in a beautiful area! Ok – last questions: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Romi: I am such a night owl! Though not quite as bad as I used to be when younger. I love both coffee and tea. My partner roasts coffee and makes the absolute most incredible oat milk latte in the world. But when he’s not making the coffee, I drink tea. I am so spoiled! I’m a continental knitter, although my mother taught me to knit English style. I love hand dyed solids and tonals, and I adore speckles. I like to look at variegated yarn in the skein, but I don’t love knitting with it.
Loopy: Thanks again for being with us today, Romi!
Romi is offering a 20% discount on her Leaves in a Stream pattern, using the code Leaves20. This code is valid 4/23-30, 2021.