Designer Spotlight: Nancy Marchant

Today we have Nancy Marchant in our Designer Spotlight. I first tried Brioche because my knitting friends kept showing me their beautiful projects and it just feels so wonderful and squishy. You can’t go too far into brioche patterns without bumping right into Nancy and her amazing designs. She is definitely the Brioche Guru.

Nancy was born and raised in the USA between Evansville and Darmstadt, Indiana. When she finished her graduate studies in Berkeley, California, she traveled to the Netherlands thinking that she would stay one month, then one year and now she has lived in Amsterdam for more than 40 years! Read on to learn more about her.

Nancy Marchant
© Nancy Marchant

Loopy: Hi Nancy! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Nancy: Hi Loopy – my mother taught me to knit when I was 7 or 8 years old and I really haven’t stopped knitting since then, really never. 

Damask Cowl Nancy Marchant
Damask Cowl © Nancy Marchant (try it in Stonehedge Shepherd’s Wool)

Loopy: You knew you liked it from the very beginning! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Nancy: Scarves and shawls. And since I love to design new stitches, I also like to make samples. For me, a scarf is just a big sample. I like to make sweaters as well.

Carmine and Rocko
Carmine and Rocko © Nancy Marchant (try it in Knerd String Sport)

Loopy: That’s true about scarves – they can be a big swatch for trying out yarn and stitches. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Nancy: The most challenging? Writing knitting patterns is difficult and because some patterns are very difficult to write, they can be difficult to understand. Once you understand the construction of a pattern, it becomes intuitive and easier. When I first started developing brioche knitting, I needed to invent knitting symbols and abbreviations that would best represent how brioche works. This was quite a task but now those symbols and abbreviations are accepted as the norm.

Hegg Braid Brioche Scarf Nancy Marchant
Hegg Braid Brioche Scarf © Nancy Marchant (try it in Magpie Swanky DK)

Loopy: You really brought brioche knitting into more modern times, and we’re all happy about that! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Nancy: As a child living in rural Indiana, I was forced to rewrite patterns. The only yarn available to me, when I was growing up, was a wool yarn from Woolworths in 7 different colors. So in order to make something interesting, I needed to rethink and redesign from a picture of a sweater that I liked. Things like that are easy when you are a child.

Goldwork © Nancy Marchant (try it in Uncommon Thread Posh Fingering)

Loopy: I think as a child, you don’t know that something should be intimidating to you. You just jump in and do it! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Nancy: I am very proud of my two-color Under Dutch Skies Shawl because it was the beginning of my two-color brioche development.

BEBEB Nancy Marchant
BEBEB © Nancy Marchant (A great pattern to try Brioche! Try it in Cascade 220)

Loopy: I love two color brioche. I find that it’s easier to keep track of your stitching with two colors. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Nancy: I am a process knitter so the entire process is my favorite part. Choosing the yarn, colors, swatching the stitch pattern, creating the shape, and finally knitting the piece, all of this is interesting. I HATE writing the pattern. I keep careful notes but even then, I doubt myself so I write and rewrite and rewrite.

Paris's Brioche Scarf
Paris’s Brioche Scarf © Nancy Marchant (try it in Cascade Superwash Sport)

Loopy: I can understand that. The tech part vs. the more creative part. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side?  And is that hard?

Nancy: I am a retired graphic designer. I used to work full time but now have all the time in the world. 

Whorl Shawl Nancy Marchant
Whorl Shawl © Nancy Marchant (try it in Walcot Opus)

Loopy: That sounds pretty perfect! Does anyone else in your family knit? Would you like to tell us about your family?

Nancy: I have 2 daughters who are not interested in knitting at all. Funny enough, they both have jobs as graphic designers though. My mother knit but her main interest was quilting.

Stitch Trio Shawl
Stitch Trio Shawl © Nancy Marchant (try it in CaMaRose Yaku 4/16)

Loopy: It swounds like your daughters channel their creativity into their work role. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Nancy: I like to bake and try out new recipes all the time.

Feo's Crossover Nancy Marchant
Feo’s Crossover © Nancy Marchant (try it in Uncommon Thread Everyday Singles)

Loopy: Ok – last questions: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Nancy: Night person, coffee, English, I like semi-solids, tweeds, yarn that are a blend of white with grey fibers and then dyed.

Pecan Pie Beret
Pecan Pie Beret © Nancy Marchant (try it in Dream in Color City)

Loopy: Thanks again for being with us today, Nancy!

Nancy is offering you 20% off any pattern or ebook from her Ravelry Pattern Shop. The code is: LoopyEweBrioche and is valid April 30 – May 7, 2021.

Did you check out our new website? We’re still fine-tuning (also still doing a bit of big-tuning too – is that a word?). But we hope you like it! And you might have some credit to spend. Check it out. 🙂

Happy Weekend, all


P.S. To leave a blog comment, click on the “Leave a comment” icon up at the top of the post, to the right of the blog title!


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