Designer Spotlight: Christal LK Designs

Today we have Christelle from Christal LK Designs in our Designer Spotlight. Christelle resides in Belgium and I can tell that she takes inspiration from her beautiful surroundings. I hope you find a new fall pattern that you just have to make! (Pattern links go to Ravelry, yarn links go to The Loopy Ewe.)

Winter Wonderland Christal LK Designs
Winter Wonderland © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper)

Loopy: Hi Christelle! Thanks for being with us today. Tell us, how long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Christelle: Hello Loopy! I have been knitting now for over 30 years. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 11-12 years old.

L'Envolee
L’Envolée © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Malabrigo Sock)

Loopy: I always love hearing that knitting instruction has been passed down from older generations. I hope we all continue to do that, moving forward. What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Christelle: Without any hesitation the shawls.

Margaux Christal LK Designs
Margaux © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Wollmeise Pure)

Loopy: Shawls are so versatile, aren’t they? Worn as a wrap or a scarf, and something beautiful to bundle up in. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Christelle: The most complex thing I’ve knitted is what I’m currently knitting: the Woodland Animals Shawl by Jenise Hope, a large stranded colorwork wrap!

Brise d"automne Cowl
Brise d’Automne Cowl © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Jamieson & Smith 2 Ply Jumper)


Loopy: That’s an amazing pattern – I can see what it is challenging! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Christelle: I really started designing my own patterns in 2011, but I already experienced a while ago by adjusting other designer’s patterns. I also tried several times to create some garments from scratch. At the age of 16 , I designed and knitted myself my very first sweater (without any notes of course). It was an oversized sweater in plain stockinette with long cabled 2*2 ribs.

Loopy: That’s an early age to start designing, especially with cables in it! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Christelle: I love all the patterns I’ve created, sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more,  but if I had to name a recent pattern, it would be the Ines Shawl, a shawl with bobbles and mosaic knitting.

Ines Shawl
Inés Shawl © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Cascade Heritage Sock or Silk)

Loopy: Such a beautiful pattern – I love the colorwork. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Christelle: My favorite part of my job is drawing and imagining the pattern while on the other hand, I don’t like grading sweaters at all! Excel files are far from being my favorite part.

Simplicity Christal LK Designs
Simplicity © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Sandnes Garn Peer Gynt)

Loopy: I’m with you on that. Excel files, spreadsheets, no fun. But the imaginging part is all good! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side?  And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Christelle: Until 2015-2016, I worked as a IBCLC lactation consultant and teacher for healthcare professionals. Since then, I have been creating my patterns full time and recently started my own yarn brand.  It’s not always easy because the financial returns are sometimes random.  Moreover, with the Covid crisis, all the shows were cancelled and I could not give any more classes.

Skogar Mitts
Skogar Mitts © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Uschitita Merino Sock)

Loopy: Covid has really changed so many things, hasn’t it? I hope we can all get back to in person classes and shows by next year. Does anyone else in your family knit? (Would you like to tell us about your family?)

Christelle: I was raised by my grandmother and it was with her that I learned to knit and it was with my mother that I learned to crochet. No one else knitted or crocheted. I have three children and a husband and only my son crochets, mostly amigurumis. He recently learned tunisian crochet. My two daughters have learned to knit a little but they are not really interested. My youngest, on the other hand, really likes punch needle.

Fresnel Christal LK Designs
Fresnel © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Cascade Heritage Sock or Silk)

Loopy: I like that all three of your children are finding their own path in the needlearts – whether with knitting needles, crochet hooks, or punch needles. Having a hobby like that will serve them well in life. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Christelle: Before the covid crisis, I was doing a martial art: Iaido. Unfortunately, I haven’t practiced for more than a year. I hope to start again soon. Otherwise I like reading, cooking and especially baking bread and pastry.

Isay
Isay © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Primrose Roan DK)

Loopy: I had to look up Laido. That looks interesting! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Christelle: When I take a day off, I always knit but not necessarily my patterns. I also like to walk with my whippet or visit historical monuments, museums, new places in new countries.

Flamel Christal LK Designs
Flamel © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Magpie Swanky Sock)

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

Christelle: I am both morning and evening person, I don’t sleep a lot so I get up early and go to bed late. I knit English style (sort of) but I use continental style when I knit stranded colorwork (I use my two hands) I drink coffee -a lot- and rarely tea but I still sometimes drink white tea, which is my favorite. Talking about colors, I like everything even the very variegated yarns and neon colors. But still, my favorite color is lilac.

Rosa Bonheur Christal LK Designs
Rosa Bonheur © Christelle Nihoul (try it in Uncommon Thread Merino DK)

Loopy: That’s my goal – sleeping less so that I can stay up late AND get up early. I’m glad to know you can do that! Thank you again for being with us today, Christelle!

Christelle is offering you 20% off of one pattern of your choice from her Ravelry Pattern Shop. The code is: THELOOPYEWE21 and is valid September 10-17, 2021.

Did you find a must-make from Christelle? So many good choices, and we have beautiful yarn to match, for you.

Have a great weekend!

Sheri

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