Happy Monday! Is it Spring where you are? Are you seeing flowers blooming? Because here, we’re getting 6-12 inches of snow tonight. Dear Colorado.
Anyway, we have a new yarn company with two new bases for you today, as well as re-stocks (including, finally, more Rasta!). We just added in:
CaMaRose Yaku 4/16 – This new-to-us yarn comes from Denmark, and we are delighted to add it in here at the shop. Yaku is a 100% Superwash Merino fingering weight, with a soft hand and sturdy ply, giving you wonderful stitch definition.
CaMaRose Pimabomuld 2/8 – You all have been asking for a fingering weight cotton for a long time, and we were delighted to find this one. These balls come with 219 yards per skein in a 100% Pima Cotton base. Try it for summer tanks and sweaters, baby blankets and sweaters, soft washcloths, and anything for people who stay away from wool.
Walcot Opus – this sport weight yarn is 70% Falkland Merino (a big rustic) and 30% Baby Alpaca (which adds a perfect touch of tempering).
In case you’re not on our regular Loopy Monthly Email List, I wanted to let you know that we are getting a new website (SOON!) and we are simplifying our Loopy Rewards program. You’ll still be earning points for purchases (and now, for referrals and birthdays), as well as any of our challenges that you participate in. Those can be traded in for Loopy credits (cash towards future purchases). If you have current credit in your account, those will be transferred over to the new site. We are ending the Loopy Reward Store, so if you have points and have had your eye on something in the Reward Store, please purchase those by Thursday morning, April 22 so we can get that out to you. All unused Reward Store points will convert to Loopy credit on the new site. We sent this info out last week to the Monthly List.
Have a great week! Sheri and The Loopy Ewe Crew
P.S. Don’t forget to watch Loopy Live at Five on Mondays on Facebook! (5 pm MST)
Today we have Emilie Luis from Atelier Emilie in our Designer Spotlight. Emilie lives in France near the city of Bordeaux with her husband and 3 boys. Her designs are beautiful and many are knit with two strands held together to make them even more luscious. I know you’ll enjoy meeting her here. (Pattern links go to Ravelry, yarn links go to The Loopy Ewe.)
Loopy: Hello Emilie! Thank you for being in our Spotlight today. How long have you been a knitter, and who taught you to knit?
Emilie: Hello Loopy! The first person to put knitting needles in my hands was a grand mother when I was about 10 years old. But I did not continue. On the other hand, I have always had thread between my fingers when embroidering (cross stitch, canvas, embroidery, traditional, crochet). It was not until adulthood during my second pregnancy that I wanted to get back to knitting. My mom gave me the basics and then I learned a lot on my own thanks to the youtube videos. And it’s been almost 15 years now that I haven’t stopped knitting.
Loopy: It’s interesting how many people learned at a younger age, didn’t keep up with it, but then came back to it in adulthood. (Same with me.) I’m glad you came back to it! What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Emilie: What I prefer to knit is what I want to wear. Most of the time it is therefore more of a sweater or cardigan type garment. Not necessarily something complicated to knit but with nice finishes.
Loopy: You do have really pretty yarn combinations and details in your sweaters. They are beautiful and wearable. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date:
Emilie: It is not a complicated model to knit but I will answer you my Colette cardigan. This is the first model for women that I designed. And the challenge was especially for the gradation of the pattern. I was really starting from scratch in this area and I remember those evenings spent with my notebook, my pencil, my calculator, my meter and measuring my vest, doing and redoing calculations. It was a real challenge for me.
Loopy: That seems to be the most challenging part of designing sweaters – having to figure out the stitches and counts for so many different sizes. It doesn’t sound like fun. But all of us out here knitting your patterns appreciate the time you put into making it for many different sizes. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Emilie: The design almost came about by chance. I hadn’t been a knitter for many years, but I wanted to knit a little cardigan for my 3rd child. I knew what I wanted it to look like. So I did some calculations and the little Circus vest was born. I was then encouraged to offer it in several sizes and my taste for design was born.
Loopy: It’s a cute pattern, and fun that it was born from a desire to knit it for your own child. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Emilie: I don’t really have a favorite model. Each one has their own story, it can be the way the idea came to me, the collaboration from which it stems, the photo shoot, a new construction or technique, …On the other hand, there are certain models that I wear much more often, like my Luz vest, reverie or boom for example.
Loopy: You probably never have time to reknit your favorite patterns in all of your favorite colors, do you? But the ones you wear most often are always the best. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Emilie: My favorite part of the design is when it comes time to knit where the bulk of the calculations and construction are done. Knitting is then just a moment of rest. My least favorite moment is the gradation of the pattern. I’m not a math fan at all 🙂
Loopy: I’m not a math fan, either! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard? Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Emilie: Atelier Emilie is not my only job. I am at the same time a nanny. These two jobs are done at home which is an advantage in my opinion. But to combine all of this is also very addicting. On the other hand, I admit that my days are very busy! Because it is necessary to be able to insure several caps. And I would like to be able to focus my time solely on design.
Loopy: Your days do sound busy. Designing and knitting must be a good way to relax in between all of the activities. Does anyone else in your family knit? Would you like to tell us about your family?
Emilie: Knitting is a story of transmission. My grandmother and my mother knit. It was my grandmother who surprised me but it was my mom who was very passionate about it. I’ve always seen her knit. I did not want to force my children (I have 3 boys aged 18, 14 and 9) to learn but I suggested to them if they wanted to try. It was only my youngest son who said yes. And to my surprise he very quickly understood the movement of the needle and the hand. He then wanted to make a sling for a friend’s baby and to date it must be 10 cm high :))) And I don’t think it will go any further. My husband and my children don’t knit, but they help me a lot in my business. They’re the ones who take the photos or help me make the website, for example. And their support is very precious.
Loopy: It’s nice that one of your three wanted to learn. Maybe the other two will give it a try at some point in life. But it sounds like they all appreciate what you do and are happy to help you with it. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Emilie: I really like needlework, embroidery, crochet. I spend very little time on it but I like to see what can be done with a thread. I also really enjoy going for walks in the countryside with a camera in my hand. I’m not a great photographer but I like to capture a moment, a smile, a feeling of peace, of happiness in a snapshot. And then it makes pretty memories.
Loopy: You probably also get inspiration for future knitting designs in those walks in nature! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Emilie: A dream day off would start early. I love the morning light and the calm atmosphere before the whole house wakes up. So it would start with a few knitted stitches, then I would take my husband, our children, a picnic, my camera and my knitting, and we were off to the ocean.
Loopy: That sounds like a perfect day of time alone and time with loved ones. And a picnic at the ocean! Ok, last question: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors?
Emilie: For some questions I am very uncertain to make a choice, but now I have all the answers without thinking! Morning / Tea / English / Solids.
Loopy: Thank you again for being with us today, Emilie. It was fun to get to know you a little bit.
We’ve re-stocked our Merino DK and Everyday Singles bases this time. The DK is 100% Superwash Merino with a sturdy twist (great for showing off stitch definition). The Everyday Singles base is a fingering weight, 100% Merino, beautiful and dainty.
Today in our Spotlight we are featuring Mary Lee, the knitter and designer behind Fifty Four Ten Studio. I first saw her designs four years ago, when I came across The Little House and favorited it. Isn’t that a fun pattern? Mary Lee lives in Kansas here in the U.S. and we’re delighted to have her here. (Pattern links go to Ravelry, yarn links go to The Loopy Ewe).
Loopy: Hi Mary Lee! Thanks for being with us today. Tell us, how long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Mary Lee: Thank you so much for the invitation to participate in your Designer Spotlight series! My mother taught me to knit when I was about 8 years old. I still remember my first project was a garter stitch blanket for my doll made with 1970’s acrylic pale yellow yarn. Of course, there were a few dropped stitches that resulted in holes. When I was in high school and college I knit a lot of sweaters including a cream mohair sweater with scattered bobble stitches and slightly puffy sleeves… very 1980’s!
Loopy: I may have used that exact same yellow acrylic yarn for my first knitting project back then! What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Mary Lee: In the last few years, my favorite projects to knit are blankets and winter scarves. When our kids were little I knit a lot of mittens and hats for them, as well as a few sweaters.
Loopy: I think you have such beautiful patterns. The stitches and resulting textures that you incorporate into your designs are beautiful and classic. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Mary Lee: There was a time when I knit a few cable sweaters with fairly complex stitch patterns. These days, I really enjoy a project that is not too complicated with an easy to remember stitch pattern.
Loopy: I think we all need some relaxing, not-too-complicated patterns these days! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Mary Lee: I designed and published my first knitting pattern in November 2013. For a couple of years prior to that I had been looking for a way to use my creative skills in a new endeavor. Finally, I turned to knitting… the craft I have enjoyed throughout my life. It’s been an amazing experience to be a small part of the renewed interest in knitting over the last few years.
Loopy: It’s wonderful that you could take something you already loved and turn it into a business. What was the inspiration for the name of your business:
Mary Lee: Fifty Four Ten Studio is named for the house number of the home my grandparents purchased when my mother was a young girl. They had lived in a one bedroom apartment hotel for many years and this was the first home they owned. Even many years after the house was sold, my mother and her family referred fondly to their first home by using the house address number… 5410. I live a few miles from that house and make a point to drive by whenever I’m in the area.
Loopy: I love that story. What a fun way to keep that memory going. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Mary Lee: That’s a challenging question! How about three favorites?
TheRoom with a View scarf is a favorite because it’s the finished object that I wear throughout the winter. I made this 12” wide reversible scarf using three skeins of Malabrigo Rios in the ‘Reflecting Pool’ colorway. (The pattern has instructions for 4 sizes.) This rich, teal colorway is one of my favorite colors to wear.
The On the Porch blanket remains one of my favorites in my blanket knitting pattern collection. It is simple and easy to knit. The pattern was named for childhood memories of summer evenings on my grandparents’ screened porch. The simple textured stripe design reminds me of the old, painted wood floor of their porch. I used Blue Sky Fibers Organic Cotton Worsted in the ‘Drift’ colorway.
One of my recent favorites is the Touch of Kindness blanket. When I knit this blue blanket (in Fall 2020) I thought of so many wonderful people who have touched my life with their kindness. A beautiful yarn was a key part of the success of this design. I used Spud & Chloe Sweater in the ‘Sea Horse’ colorway. There’s a reason why I have turned to this yarn again and again for blanket designs… it’s simply lovely.
Loopy: Love all three of your favorites. I’m working on a blanket out of Spud & Chloe Sweater right now. I also totally agree with you on that yarn! What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Mary Lee: I really enjoy working on all aspects of my design business: designing new patterns, knitting the sample, pattern writing, photography, and answering knitter’s questions. My favorite part is seeing how knitters use my patterns. I love seeing the projects they make! It’s really satisfying to see knitters have success using my pattern instructions and that they are pleased with the results of their project.
Also, it’s heartwarming to read knitter’s stories of who they made the project for and why. My blanket knitting patterns have been used to make gifts to celebrate happy occasions such as welcoming new babies and weddings. Or, as a gift to show someone… you are loved. I have heard from so many knitters who want to knit a really big blanket for their much-loved, 6’4” tall son-in-law! I’ll never forget an 80+ year old knitter who told me she used one of my blanket patterns to knit more than 20 blankets… one for every person in her family: adult children, grandchildren, and the in-laws of her adult children. I also receive emails about blankets made to give comfort to those who are going through a difficult time.
I’m so thankful for the opportunity – through email, Instagram and Ravelry – to see how knitters use my patterns and hear their personal stories.
Loopy: I think maybe blankets, more than anything else we can knit for gifts, are a wonderful way to show you care about someone. Great story about the 6’4″ son-in-law. I bet he had never had a blanket that was long enough! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?
Mary Lee: Fifty Four Ten Studio is my full-time endeavor. I feel so fortunate to spend my days doing something that I really love. The hardest part is having a really long list of ideas and deciding which one to do next! On my desk, there are numerous spiral notebooks and scraps of paper with ideas for pattern designs as well as yarns to try and ideas for pattern names.
Loopy: I’m glad you have a lot more ideas to keep you designing for years to come! Does anyone else in your family knit? (Would you like to tell us about your family?)
Mary Lee: My mother was a life-long knitter. My cousin’s wife is an avid knitter. We always talk about yarn and knitting when we see each other. And, one of my in-laws knits so it’s fun to go to yarn shops together when we visit each other. No knitters in my immediate family… but we all enjoy creative projects. My husband is our in-house woodworker and is great at finding creative solutions for almost any project in our old house. We have two children who are in college. I look to them for tech and website advice!
Loopy: Well I hope you vacation in Colorado one day and can visit The Loopy Ewe when you are out here. I love visiting other yarn shops on trips, too. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Mary Lee: I enjoy reading, gardening and walking with my friends. Last year, I pulled out my watercolor paints for the first time in years. It’s good to revisit a hobby and challenge myself to set aside time for it.
Loopy: Watercolor painting sounds fun! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Mary Lee: When I take a day off I enjoy visiting some of my favorite places in Kansas City such as the urban vintage stores, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and the Kauffman Gardens (it’s a small public garden nestled in the heart of our city).
Loopy: That sounds like a great mix of indoors and outdoors for your day. Last questions: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Mary Lee: Morning person… but not too early! Tea: My favorite is pumpkin spice tea… no matter the season. English knitting Solids: Most of the time, I prefer solid color yarn so an interesting stitch pattern can be the ‘star of the show’.
Loopy: Thank you again for being with us today, Mary Lee!
Mary Lee is offering a 20% discount on all of her patterns (no limit) through her Ravelry Pattern Shop, with the code: LOOPYEWE This code is valid April 9-16, 2021.