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: Virginia Sattler-Reimer

We have Virginia Sattler-Reimer joining us today for our Designer Spotlight. You may have seen her beautiful designs such as 21 Color Slouch, Mora Pearl Cowl, Alice’s Capelet, and Extra Quick and Easy Scarf.

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

Virginia: I learned from my mom when I was kid, and probably managed a few inches of garter stitch, but in 2001 I really got obsessed! I had some students in my yoga class from Denmark who always wore these amazing fair isle socks and I was just so completely taken with them. When they told me they had made them, like it was no big deal, I was stunned! That’s what drove me to really learn how to knit and to knit socks. The rest is history…

Loopy: How fun to be inspired by your students. What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Virginia: In some ways it’s whatever I’m going to knit next, but I admit that any fair isle accessory is total joy for me.

Loopy: Fair Isle is beautiful so I can see why you enjoy it. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Virginia: That’s a tough one.. Well, my first Bohus sweater, Forest Darkness was challenging for being mostly black yarn on size 2.5mm needles… or Chestnut Crescent by the incredible Kieran Foley, his patterns are a lot of fun to knit, but I worked it as a MKAL when it first came out, and that aspect of this one made picking colors tricky. Really what I love most about knitting is that there is always more to learn—about color or a new skill or technique or finishing… Even a simple project can offer you a chance to learn something new, or think about something in a new way.

Loopy: Very true! There’s always something to learn about. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Virginia: I think I started designing right away, trying new things and figuring out how to make what I had in my mind. I kept a lot of notes when I was a newer knitter, and I made a lot of experiments. I started publishing in early 2014.

Loopy: It’s so fun you started right away. I imagine it might have helped you learn as well. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Virginia: Another hard question! Well, I wear my Mora Pearl Cowl all the time, it’s a very practical little luxury around my neck! I’m also quite fond of the combination of colors in my Deco Dots Mittens, but then I like the mix of cables and lace in Wild Oak Socks… Hard to pick a favorite!

Loopy: It really is, but we always like to ask 🙂  What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Virginia: I love playing with the yarn, thinking about what it wants to be, and how to make the most of it. Playing with color. Figuring out the puzzle of how to make an idea work elegantly in a particular project. I don’t really love taking the photos, especially when I have to model!

Loopy: Coming up with the pattern is definitely just like a puzzle. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Virginia: Yes, I have been a yoga instructor for 21 years!  I also do some professional test and sample knitting, so I wear a few different hats.

Loopy: It’s fun you’re able to do a few different things. Do you do this business full-time, or on the side?  And is that hard?

Virginia: I think of knitting as my “day job” and my yoga classes as my evening work. They compliment each other well, balancing physical activity with my couch sitting and the social and time alone. Because I love both jobs I’m almost always doing one or the other.

Loopy: It sounds like the perfect balance. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Virginia: My grandmother was a crocheting maniac, and I think I get a lot of my creative drive from her. I spent a lot of time with her when I was young and we were always making something together. We’d make little dolls from clothespins, or cut up old greeting cards for collage, always thinking about what we could make out of this or that ordinary thing. My mother was talented at many textile arts, and her “I could make that” attitude rubbed off on all her kids, a gift I am frequently grateful for.  My husband can knit (but doesn’t much) and spin, and is a talented needle felter, so between the two of us our house seems to be all about wool, all the time!  

Loopy: Our houses are pretty all wool too! Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Virginia: I really love stitching stuff, but I’m a beginner, so I’m trying to improve my embroidery skills. I also love to read, hike, kayak, plan projects and collect yarn. (those are hobbies, right?) 🙂

Loopy: Definitely hobbies! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Virginia: A morning hike somewhere beautiful, then curl up with a fresh knitting project using a bowl full of a whole bunch of colors! I’d end the day with a nice meal with my sweetie and a glass of wine!

Loopy: I like the sound of your day off! Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Virginia: Morning. Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. English. Solids. (all of them!)

Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?

Virginia: Thank you so much for having me!

Virginia has given us a 20% coupon code good from today until December 22! You can use the code theloopyewe for a discount on a single pattern from Virginia’s Design Store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designer Spotlight: Åsa Tricosa

We have Åsa Tricosa joining us today! You may have seen her pattern Non Troppo floating around on Ravelry lately – understandably so as it’s a beautiful 2+ color shawl! Semele, Tiong Bahru, Simple Ziggurat, and Mysteriosa MKAL are some of her most popular patterns as well.

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

Åsa: Knitting and knitting off piste – making stuff up – has been a constant companion since from the time I could walk. Almost. Like many lifelong knitters I was taught by my crafty and patient “mormor” (Swedish for grandmother). She was also meticulous and precise. Which I am too. When it comes to knitting. Only.

Loopy: We all have things we’re more meticulous about! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Åsa: Unsurprisingly, Ziggurat sweaters. I get a kick out of the first few steps each time I cast on; to see the sculpted shoulders take shape is exciting each and every time. So… I tend to cast on a lot. I’m a bit obsessed by sweaters as I’m working out the final bits on my Ziggurat Book. It’s a lot more work than I had ever imagined…

I do long to get back to some shawl ideas that have been percolating in my mind for a good long while, too. Oh, and gloves! I love gloves. So neat, so quick, so many possibilities for playing around.

Loopy: Shawls, gloves, and sweaters – we can get behind all of those things. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Åsa: The Ja Ja Jacket Because I had to learn double-knitting on the spot and to invent suitable buttonholes through double knitted fabric as I went along. And I really love this jacket – wherefore I have another version of it up my sleeve. ATB (After The Book).

Loopy: Impressive you learned as you designed! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Åsa: Designing or making stuff up? Making stuff up was always a part of knitting. And coming up with solutions of my own — they may very well have already existed but I just like figuring things out and still do, such as finding sneaky ways of starting or ending things on a sideways shawl. I think many knitters do just that. If by “designing” we mean producing graded, edited and test-knitted patterns for fellow knitters to use, well, that snuck into my life while I was spending years not finishing a PhD. And then it simply took over.

Loopy: I love that you were always making stuff up. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Åsa: Difficult to pick just one. Sorry! Simple Ziggurat for sure. Stripes Ahoy! too. The sweater I wear most of them all is Filijokus — not knitted by as many knitters as some of my other patterns, but Filijokus just fits me perfectly and is knitted in a somewhat lofty yarn and I love wearing it. I need to knit another one or two…
Non troppo wrap for its simple asymmetry and strrrrripes.

For fun and for kids I love the not very popular Marja-Stina — the details are just so… perfect, if I may say so. It can be a bit finicky but one can choose an easier more plain option, too. There’s a DK version called Stina that is available against a voluntary donation to p/hop (Pennies per hour of pleasure — the proceeds go to MSF/Doctors without Borders).

Oh and my gloves, too! Io and Mio gloves. Shawls… Mysteriosa. Semele, one of my very first is still my most popular design — maybe it’s telling me something… But really, just now it’s Funnel Thing – a casual sweater in a heavy lace weight yarn from The Uncommon Thread It’s not out yet. It will feature in my Ziggurat Book.

Loopy: All of those look beautiful! What is your favorite part of designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Åsa: May I list three favourite things, please? I get a kick out of fellow knitters’ interpretations of my designs, especially when they’ve added a detail from another pattern or from their own head. Their clever colour choices always make me want to knit more versions for myself, too. And I looooove if one of my tutorials or patterns have helped a knitter discover a new or different way of doing something. Or that they now can knit sweaters that properly fit them.

So, what spurs me is figuring out little details, such as built-in single-layer pockets or an integrated tuck, working out ways to not have to cut or join new yarn more than absolutely necessary. Sometimes a tiny adjustment can bring utter joy.

Playing with colours and textures – the fantastic yarns dyed by incredible women bring me joy. Every day. I can’t quite believe I get to do this every day. Such a luxury. One of my favourite collaborations is the ongoing one with the dyeing genius (and very funny) Claudia of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise.

Not so favourite: Finding typos and little errors after several rounds of tech edit, proofreading, test knitting. That said, as designing is often a rather lonely pursuit I like collaborating with tech editors and translators. Other collaborators who are invaluable not only for making the patterns better but keeping me sane are the test and sample knitters. Without whom my work would never be up to scratch.

Loopy: I think most of us have pure joy when we have less yarn to weave in 🙂  Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Åsa: Nope. But I do know how to do many things so in pinch I’d probably still be able to be a somewhat useful waitress, copy editor, index creator. Or not…

Loopy: Always nice to have an option B if needed! But we’ll keep you busy designing for as long as possible Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?

Åsa: More than full time. And yes it is hard. And fun. I’d love to say I’m a successful, independent crafter and designer who supports myself just with my designs, but that would be a big lie. I have the luxury of sharing my life with a generous partner.

Loopy: We’re all glad you’re able to design so much. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Åsa: Not anymore. My mother would if she could but her hands are rendered unusable for most things by arthritis. My man is not a knitter, no. (My family lives in Sweden. My man is Danish. We live in Germany — and have lived in the US, the UK, and here and there.)

Loopy: It’s fun you’ve been able to experience different cultures. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Åsa: Baking bread. I take my sourdough starter along to Scotland during our stays there… Reading. And yes, I can knit (plain) and read at the same time. Luckily. Or were you talking of hobbies as in making things? I’m firmly avoiding any ventures into other tempting textile or fibre crafts – and there are some that are seriously tempting. I’d love to learn book binding, too. But there aren’t even enough hours in the day for knitting.

Loopy: So true. What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Åsa: Baroque music, opera — listening to, not singing. Classical concert. Good eats. Stadtbummeln (strolling through town, any town or city) with H. I’d fit in some frivolous knitting, too.

Loopy: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Åsa: Night. A glass of leggy Willamette Pinot Noir — oh, in the morning? Then, Earl Grey. (OK, so I never drink Willamette Pinot Noir anymore as it is from Oregon and I now live in a culinary desert on another continent, but if I could, I would). Continental. Semi-solids

Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?

Åsa: Knit with abandon!

Åsa has given us a 20% coupon code good from today until December 8! You can use the code theloopyewe for a discount on a single pattern from Åsa’s Designs.

 

Designer Spotlight: Ambah O’Brien

Today, we have the talented Ambah O’Brien joining us for our Designer Spotlight. You may have seen her patterns such as Lilli Pilli, Inara Wrap, Lamina Wrap, or many more of her beautiful and elegant patterns.

Loopy: We’re happy to have you with us today! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?

Ambah: I have been a knitter since early 2012. Initially I learned some very holey garter stitch as a girl, from my mother. It was really only recently that my son – aged 8 at the time taught me how! He attended a Waldorf/ Steiner school and learned at a young age and was a fantastic teacher; he pointed out my mistakes and would make me unravel and fix them – even now he will inspect my knitting. He taught me how to cast on and bind off and purl – I could still remember how to knit. A friend was setting up a LYS at the time and she introduced me to Ravelry and gorgeous yarns, I was hooked immediately.

Loopy: How special to have your soon teach you! What is your favorite type of item to knit?

Ambah: I do have a bias toward shawls but do enjoy making everything.

Loopy: We love shawls too. They’re so much like a warm hug. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?

Ambah: Gosh, I find that hard to answer. Most things have a little challenge about them. I think early on lace knitting was a challenge for me until my skills improved and I learned to read my knitting and became more confident and able to fix mistakes rather than rip back.

Loopy: Being able to read your knitting is definitely a helpful skill to be able to fix those mistakes. When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?

Ambah: I released my first pattern in February 2013 and am still surprised by the fact that I decided to do it. I was very happy knitting other designers gorgeous patterns and then I had an idea and couldn’t find the pattern for it so away I went – and haven’t looked back I am about to release my 100th design and have more I am excited about working on.

Loopy: Sometimes a spark of inspiration encourages us to take that next step forward. How cool. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Ambah: I really don’t, I have many favorites that I wear regularly, it really is hard to pick one.

Loopy: We agree! But we always like to ask 🙂  What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?

Ambah: So much to love; dreaming up designs and creating them and then seeing others knit them up with their own gorgeous colour combinations. I really enjoy collaborating with yarn dyers and using their creations to inspire my own. Not so favourite part…..sometimes the design process can involve a fair amount of frogging – but I never regret doing it and always feel better afterward.

Loopy: Even though frogging can be frustrating, the mental relief of correcting the issue is always nice. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?

Ambah: No, I work full time designing and have been for about 2 years now.

Loopy: Awesome! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?

Ambah: I work full time at this, it does take a lot of discipline but this suits me and I love it. I feel very blessed to have the support of my knitting community to be able to focus on this full time.

Loopy: It’s always special when you’re able to focus your time on what you love doing the most. Does anyone else in your family knit?

Ambah: My son occasionally makes a hat and my mother, who was always creating with textiles, was a very talented knitter.

Loopy: It’s always fun to be able to share your hobby with the people around you. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?

Ambah: I love gardening and cooking and have always enjoyed painting, sewing and anything crafty so I like to find time to dabble in these, it can be hard to put the knitting down though!

Loopy: It definitely can be hard! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?

Ambah: Either pottering about the house and garden or to go on an adventure, usually with my family, anything goes really I just love to get out and see nature or enjoy beautiful food or music or an exhibition.

Loopy: Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a day! Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂

Ambah: Night. Coffee. English (much as I try to be continental!) Solids (and speckles and gradients)

Ambah has given us a 20% off coupon code good from today until November 24! You can use the code theloopyewe for a discount on a single pattern from Ambah’s Designs.

Ambah just released her Astra patterns (Mitts, Hat, and Cowl) this month! As a special promo, if you add the mitts and either the hat or cowl pattern, you’ll be able to get both patterns for the price of one. Additionally, if you’re looking for a KAL, Ambah will be doing an ADVENTurous Wrap KAL soon and you can find out more about it here.