Designer Spotlight: Tiny Owl Knits

Today, we have the owner of Tiny Owl Knits, Stephanie. We love all of her designs! You may have seen her patterns Beekeeper’s Quilt, Some Cloudy Day, Hopsalots, or Orchids & Fairy Lights.

Loopy: Thanks so much for joining us today! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Stephanie: Around 14 years ago I got a job at a yarn shop. However, I didn’t know how to knit! I was hired as a crochet teacher and that was all I knew how to do. My first day on the job I had to help tons of people with knitting questions and I even had to help put a sweater together! It was a very steep learning curve. I went home that night and crammed the entire ‘stitch n bitch’ book into my head.

Loopy: Oh my – what a crazy first day! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Stephanie: I love felting things, so anything I can shrink. Also I love colorwork, sweaters, SOCKS!, wristees.. um.. maybe I should just stop here before I list everything. OH! animals! I love knitting animals, stuffees, shapes.. I like knitting things with structure.

Loopy: It is always fun to see the end product of felting! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Stephanie: That is a good question. I feel like every new skill has been a little challenging at first. But I’d have to say the first time I tried to knit a sock was probably the time when I went the most insane. It was after work, and I was knitting a toe-up sock with heavy metal dpns and tiny yarn and I got super frustrated and freaked out. I could literally NOT do it. I ended up in actual tears and threw the wad of junk behind my bed and it stayed there I think until I moved. Now I love knitting them. I’m addicted to them!

Loopy: Sometimes it’s best to just set something aside for a bit. I’m glad you were able to get going on socks again! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Stephanie: At first when I started working at the shop I didn’t know how to read patterns. I would take yarn home and make things up. When I would get to work everyone would ask how I did it, but I had no idea. The wise owls that worked at the shop taught me, (forced me) to write them down. It was kind of funny because I really didn’t want to write patterns because it took too much patience! There were times when my bosses and co-workers would literally sit me down at a table and put the paper and pen in my hand. Then they would kind of walk me through the process and push me along. I was not super willing. But then I really did grow to love it. I got a lot more organized… and patient… and now again, addicted!

Loopy: I’m sensing a theme 😉  Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Stephanie: I probably wear “Midsummer Night’s Dream” the most. But I do love the faery wings.

Loopy: It’s a cute hat! What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Stephanie: Favorite is wearing it as soon as I’ve finished it! Not so favorite is probably yarn hunting or photoshoots.

Loopy: The best part about finishing a project is wearing it right away. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Stephanie: I had a pretty fun music career for a while. I was living in England and touring and putting out records. But now I’m back in the US and a full time mommy to my sweet little boy Woodson. I knit and write patterns while he naps! My mom and I also have a flea market booth. We do a lot of antiquing and thrift store junking together.

Loopy: It’s fun you have been involved in so many creative type of projects. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Stephanie: My mom taught me how to crochet when I was little and she still does quite a bit of fiber work. Lots of super gorgeous afghans come from her direction. She uses beautiful wool and they are really classic and elegant.

Loopy: I hope you’ve been the recipient of at least one of her elegant afghans! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Stephanie: I love making the house beautiful and creating sacred space. I love making essential oil blends and lotions. I do a little working with other fibers, and sewing. I’m also pretty obsessed with books and collecting books on certain subjects. Also video games. Is video games a hobby? I’m an indoor cat.

Loopy: Video games definitely count. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Stephanie: We like to head up into the mountains for a bit, then come down and have lunch at the Bohemian Biergarten. Then home to sit on the deck with friends and family around the fire. Of course there would be a little knitting in there too.

Loopy: It sounds like a lovely day. Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Stephanie: Night person, coffee, both – (I like the way English feels, but I’m so much faster with Continental and have so many patterns I’m trying to finish that Continental usually wins,) solids. 😀

Loopy: Interesting! Not many people can do both interchangeably. Anything else you’d like to add?

Stephanie: I’d like to encourage people to not be afraid of knitting! When I was working at the shop, so many of our customers were super afraid of trying new things, or afraid they would mess up. I was kind of on a mission to take the fear out of knitting. Be afraid of bears or jumping out of airplanes, but never be afraid of your knitting! 😀

Stephanie has given us a 20% coupon code good from today until January 5th! You can use the code HOOTS for a discount on a single pattern from Stephanie’s design store.

Designer Spotlight: Andrea Mowry

We’re back with another Designer Spotlight! We’d love to introduce you to Andrea Mowry (known as dreareneeknits on Ravelry). Andrea designs beautiful patterns, all of which are cozy. You may have seen her most popular pattern, Find Your Fade, released this past December. We recommend checking out her other patterns as well!

Loopy: Thanks for joining us today Andrea! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Andrea: I feel so lucky that my grandma taught me to knit as a child! If she hadn’t, I don’t know that I would be doing this today!! She taught me when I was around 9 years old, but I really got obsessed with knitting in my late teens. So I would say that I have been a “knitter” for about 15 years.

Loopy: What a special memory to have your grandma teach you! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Andrea: I love to knit all the things, and usually have a number of different projects on my needles. But my happy place is definitely shawls! They are the perfect canvas for me to play with color and texture and explore my creativity.

Loopy: Shawls are definitely fun to brainstorm ideas with and plan colors. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Andrea: Hmmm, this is a great question! As a designer, challenges come in a different way. Sort of like to trying to put together a puzzle, which can sometimes lead to lots of trial and error. When I was designing Ronan for Brooklyn Tweed, I had never knit a garment like that before and really had to play around to get the details to work out just as I wanted them to! It was challenging to figure out, but super satisfying!

Loopy: It is always nice to figure out a challenging problem! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Andrea: Since I first began seriously knitting in my teens, I would create my own little patterns and projects. It was before Raverly, and patterns weren’t as accessible then. I referenced a lot of Elizabeth Zimmerman books, which are so empowering, and I would just throw caution to the wind and try things out! When I was pregnant with my daughter I left my job as a pastry chef, and I finally had the space in my life to really give designing a serious go. I’ve never looked back!

Loopy: It’s so interesting you were a pastry chef! We’ll be happy to test anything you make 😉  And what a special opportunity, then, being able to spend time focusing on designing. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Andrea: I have so many favorites, for different reasons! Right now I am really loving on my Briochealuscious shawl. It is so fun to wear and I am obsessed with its playful brioche border. My Yoga Shawl is also at the top of my list, as I love how versatile it is, with so many different ways to wear it!

Loopy: Briochealuscious looks so fun and your Yoga Shawl just looks so warm. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Andrea: My favorite part of designing is definitely the knitting! To be honest, I really love all aspects of designing – even the tedious computer work! But physically knitting the sample would be at the top, and computer work at the bottom 🙂

Loopy: It’s fun to hear you like all the work. I do think it would be most fun to see how the sample works up as you’re knitting. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Andrea: Knitting is my full time job! I do also teach knitting workshops in addition to designing patterns.

Loopy: That’s awesome. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?

Andrea: Up until just a few weeks ago I was doing it whenever I could find time as I raised my two young children at home. Thanks to my husband now being home with the kids, I am able to work full time. I am so thrilled, as I really love what I do! I work from home, so I still get to be with my children, it’s just a little easier to focus now 😉

Loopy: What a great husband 🙂  Does anyone else in your family knit?

Andrea: My grandma still knits afghans and dishcloths! I have taught 2 of my sisters to knit, and the 3rd crochets a bit – but none of them seem to have been bit by the bug! I also taught my nephew who was a real natural, and I am hoping he continues to play around with it!

Loopy: It’s fun to be able to share your hobbies with others in your family and hopefully your nephew will stick with it! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Andrea: I used to be a chef, and will always love cooking and playing in the kitchen. I really enjoy embroidery and am really excited to expand my sewing skills.

Loopy: I bet your family appreciates what you make in the kitchen! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Andrea: Family time! My husband is a musician and it is really easy for us to just always be working. We really try to schedule in solid time to just be a family! Of course, that still involves lots of music and knitting, just in a less “work-focused” sense. An ideal day off would be making a fun breakie with my daughter, going on a family walk, and then sneaking in some knitting time while sitting next to my hubs as the kids play!

Loopy: Sounds like a great day! Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Andrea: Yes! Ha! I love coffee and tea, I knit both English and Continental and I love all the colors! I am definitely more of a morning person than night person though 😉

Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?

Andrea: Thanks for having me!!! xoxo

Andrea has provided us with a coupon code (theloopyewe) valid from today through next Friday, for 20% off of one of her patterns of your choosing, via Ravelry. You can find all of Andrea’s patterns at this link. (Coupon valid August 4-11).

Yarn Recommendations:

Worsted: Dream in Color Classy, Malabrigo Rios, Cascade 220 Superwash, Fibre Company Canopy Worsted, and Stonehedge Fiber Worsted

Fingering: Knerd String, Uncommon Thread Posh Fingering, Magpie Swanky Sock, and Cascade Heritage Sock