Today we have Linda Marveng in our Designer Spotlight. Linda lives in a small town outside of Oslo in Norway. If you love cables, you are going to love her designs! If you don’t love cables, I’m betting you will be inspired to give them a try after seeing her work. (Pattern links go to Ravelry, yarn links go to The Loopy Ewe.)
Loopy: Hi Linda! Thanks for being in our Spotlight today. How long have you been a knitter, and who taught you to knit?
Linda: Hi Loopy! Thank you so much for including me in your Designer Spotlight. I have been knitting since I was 10 years old. I learnt at school but my mum had to help a lot as my handicraft teacher thought I was a hopeless knitter as I tended to knit in the wrong direction when I picked up my project again, knitted in the round. Hence I practiced short rows long before I knew what they were! I took my revenge a few years later when I knitted a coat in stranded colourwork. I had a break from knitting in my early twenties but soon picked it up again knitting gifts for my friends.
Loopy: Oh, I had that same problem when I first learned to knit. Could not figure out which side I was supposed to be on! What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Linda: I prefer to knit garments such as sweaters preferably with a matching cowl or a skirt. As a young girl I wanted to be clothes designer, hence I tend to think in outfits. What would I wear with this? I would ask myself and often realise that I needed to make a matching skirt or cowl. Hence it easier to style it when I plan my photoshoot and visualise what my model should wear together with my designs.
Loopy: That’s interesting, thinking in groups like that. I think your wardrobe must look very put together! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Linda: The most challenging item I have knitted is a stranded colourwork jacket with extra wide sleeves in an extremely intricate pattern, with a cabled collar part that was sewn on, called “Season of Darkness and Winter Light” b Margaretha Finseth, published in the book “Norsk Strikkedesign”: Season of Darkness and Light – 1. I loved the result and made a second one, knitting a couple of hours each day like a mental exercise: Season of Darkness and Light – 2. Designer had actually planned for the colour work parts to be worked on a knitting machine she wrote as a comment on my blog. Another very challenging item of my own design is my Prescott Pullover initially designed for Interweave Knits Fall 2018. The cable requires focus and I had about one month to knit and write the patterns to both the Prescott Pullover and the stranded colourwork cardigan Cambridge Cardigan. Both designs submissions were excepted by Interweave and I was too flattered to say no. I made it, but needed days to recover afterwards, as I had knitted through numerous nights too. It was worth it though, when the Prescott Pullover became the most popular pattern of the year for Interweave.
Loopy: That’s quite a honor – to have the most popular pattern of the year! But your hands must have been exhausted with all of that non-stop knitting. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Linda: I began designing back in 2010, after I had modified a number of designs to fit me better. I could not find patterns for the garments I wanted to knit and realised that I had to design them myself. When I grew up in Norway nearly all knitting patterns were loose fitting ski sweaters, so I discovered Italian and English knitting patterns early on, just as the yarn shops in Oslo started to import foreign yarns. So I knew the Rowan Yarns brand when I began to work for them as a Design Consultant in London, UK back in 2004. I was encouraged by designer and then Design Consultant Manager Jane Crowfoot, known as Janie Crow, to admit a design submission for a Rowan book. It was never accepted but started a spark. Not long after I had just began designing I was approached by a Norwegian publisher to make a knitting book. That was a perfect challenge for me and resulted in my first knitting book called “To rett, en vrang. Designstrikk” only published in Norwegian and Finnish. But a number of the designs are now available in English in my Ravelry Store: Linda Marveng and on LoveCrafts: Linda Marveng. I met and worked with a number of designers while working for Rowan Yarns. I was inspired by designers such as Kim Hargreaves and Shirley Paden.
Loopy: You’ve had some really great opportunities in the knitting world. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Linda: My favourite pattern that I have designed is, Aibell dress, as you can wear it in different ways as a balloon dress, mini dress or a tunic. I am proud of how flattering it looks on different body types with the gradual introduction of the cables on the upper part. I have a wonderful test knitter who loves the dress so much that she bestowed upon herself the title as Aibell Ambassador and encourages everyone to make one. Beth Robinson, aka yarnbeth, is currently working on her second Aibell. It is a large project to knit, so I am honoured that she is making a second one: Aibell Ambassador Beth Robinson.
Loopy: What a fun design! So many different ways to wear it, and it looks very flattering. I love that Beth has the title of Aibell Ambassador. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Linda: The best part of designing is pinning down the idea with the right yarn, stitch pattern and silhouette. Usually I reach this point after I have made one or several swatches. My least favourite part is the grading, where I have to calculate all the sizes. Math has never been easy for me, so I decline the technical editing job offers I receive, which occasionally happens after spotting mistakes in a pattern I am translating.
Loopy: That would be my least favorite part, too. It’s difficult to adapt it to so many different sizes, but it’s so appreciated by all of us in the knitting world. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Linda: No, I design on the side, so it is hard to find enough time, which means I end up working every day. My day job is translating knitting patterns from English or Danish or Swedish into Norwegian for a Norwegian magazine called “Familien” but also translate into English for Norwegian designers. I also format and proof read knitting patterns for the magazine Familien. Before the Coronavirus I taught at knitting festivals too. I love designing so I wish it was something I could do for a living, but I do not earn enough to do just that. I live in hope that one day I might.
Loopy: It is nice, though, that your full time job is still in the knitting industry. I would think you are full of inspiration and so ready to work on your own things by the end of the day! Does anyone else in your family knit?
Linda: My mum still knits everyday and she is in her late eighties. My grandmother also used to knit. My British husband Michael does not knit, but he knows a lot of knitting terms, since he makes my knitting patterns in Adobe InDesign.
Loopy: You come from a line of knitters! I’m sure they are so proud of you and your beautiful work. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Linda: I enjoy working out at my local gym and going for long walks as it helps me solve design issues or come up with new ideas.
Loopy: What would be your favorite way to spend a day of?
Linda: In these Coronavirus days, I miss seeing my friends and meeting up for lunch or dinner in Oslo.
Loopy: I miss that so much, too! It will be great when we can go back to simple pleasures like that. Ok – last questions: Morning or night person? Coffee or tea? English or Continental? Solids or multicolors?
Linda: I am a morning person, even though I enjoy knitting late at night too. I only drink tea and think living so many years in the UK made that very easy. I am and have always been a Continental knitter, but when I lived in London and began working for Rowan Yarns I had to learn how to knit the English style. I was never any good at it, though. I began, like most Scandinavians, knitting everything in the round. That changed when I began working for Rowan Yarns as a Design Consultant and discovered the perfect fit on seamed garments. I prefer to knit with a solid or semi-solid yarn as I love texture such as cables and I want that stitch definition to show.
Loopy: It’s interesting to see how your different jobs in the industry have really shaped the work you do on your own designs. You’ve had great on-the-job training and experience. Anything else you’d like to add?
Linda: Yes, I have a Ravelry group, Linda Marveng, and I would like to welcome anyone who likes my designs to join in. I hold my test knits in the group and I am always looking for more test knitters to join my test knits and lovely group.
Loopy: Thank you again for joining us today, Linda!
Linda has set up a discount for 20% off any of her patterns from her Ravelry pattern shop (no limit). The code is: LoopyEweMarveng and is valid May 21 – 28, 2021.
Have a great weekend!