The best part of Indie Design Gift-A-Long 2014 is discovering new and new-to-us knit and crochet designers, right? I have been amazed at all the beautiful patterns that I hadn’t noticed before and I have also been introduced to a few designers I hadn’t met before.
I want to extend that to you and introduce to you a wonderfully creative Canadian designer from Ucluelet, British Columbia. This is my first designer interview – yay!! – and I am thrilled to be interviewing a fellow Canadian designer!
This is Faye Kennington, also known as UkeeKnits on Ravelry.
Faye, how long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
In 2004 I had a roommate, Lola, and she taught me how to knit. We both had a mutual love of craft and all things vintage so we spent hours combing charity shops for old knitting magazines together. My first project was the vintage intarsia Mary Maxim cardigan No 429 “Dancing Blades.” I wanted all the vintage Mary Maxim cardigans. Still do, in fact.
Ah, yes, Mary Maxim is an important part of Canadian knitting history! When did you start designing, and what got you interested in designing?
I started sewing when I was 3 and I always loved making things. Throughout high school I wanted to be a shoe designer. I took an intensive fashion design program in 1996, but by year end I didn’t even want to hem my own pants anymore.
It wasn’t until 2011 when I started teaching knitting at our LYS that I started thinking about designing my own knitwear. My first designs were the basis for classes or kits there.
Are your designs influenced by where you live? The climate? Location? Scenery?
Absolutely! Ucluelet and Tofino are very popular tourist destinations. I always go souvenir shopping at LYSs while on vacation, so many of my early designs for the shop were intentionally reflective of the region. You’ve heard “Put a bird on it?” Well around here, we “Put a whale on it.”
I can’t think of a more beautiful place to live. I certainly see the influence of the west coast of Vancouver Island in your designs. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
A favourite is tough. I love Sasquatch! Because wearers can have so much fun with it. A knitter sent me a video of her husband wearing a yeti-style interpretation while SUPing on an icy lake. It brought me so much glee.
I love connecting with other fibre artists and seeing how they interpret and wear my designs. I feel very fortunate that a lot of people have been interested in Artist’s Loop this Gift-A-Long season. It’s been so cool to see all the different yarn and button combinations popping up in the FO thread.
Reading through a pattern to edit it after the fourth or fifth time makes my eyes cross a bit.
Do you design full-time or part-time? Do you also work at another job?
I own and operate a bed and breakfast, so I’m on call with that 24 hours a day, every day, in the summer. Not so many people seem to appreciate our powerful storm watching season, so I have way more time to knit between Thanksgiving and Victoria Day.
What role have you played in the planning and organization of the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long event this year? How important is this event to designers and knitters?
I’ve been working behind the scenes coordinating our advertising and promotional activities. I think the importance of the event is personal. Like so many things in life, “the more you put in, the more you get out.”
When you work independently, especially in a remote and rural area, you don’t have a lot of opportunities to feel like part of a team or build relationships with your co-workers. The Gift-A-Long is great for getting to know other designers, knitters and crocheters that are as passionate about making things as I am. I’m in it for the camaraderie amongst fibre enthusiasts.
I certainly appreciate all the hard work you have put into the GAL. I agree that our work can be isolating, especially for those of us in remote areas and this event brings us together in such an inspiring and supportive way. I think I speak for all of us who are participating in saying thank you!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you haven’t checked out the Gift-A-Long this year, please do so. There’ll be lots of prizes and giftie chatter until the end of the year!
Thanks for allowing me to interview you. This has been a lot of fun! I have enjoyed getting to know more about you.
A selection of Faye’s patterns are on sale for 25% off until November 21st as part of the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long event. Use coupon code giftalong2014. See her pattern selection here.
As an added bonus, Faye is offering a choice of one of her patterns for free to the first person who can explain, here in the comments section, what her pattern Artist’s Loop is named after. Who is up for the challenge? We want to hear from you!