Designer Interview: Faye Kennington

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 Kennington

Knit designer, Faye Kennington

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.”

View from the Wild Pacific Trail

View From The Wild Pacific Trail, Ucluelet B.C.

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 think Sagitta has a special place in my heart just in terms of style. The Malabrigo Nube pompoms on Calico Parka Hood are seriously gorgeous.

I love your Calico Parka Hood! That is such a beautiful way to use Malabrigo NubeWhat is your favourite part of designing? And your not-so-favourite part?

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!

KenningtonFaye

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!

 

And watch for more designer interviews coming soon!

Michelle

It’s a Gift-A-Long Sale!

Are you taking part in the Ravelry Gift-A-Long event? I am, and along with a couple hundred other knit and crochet designers I am offering 25% off selected patterns until November 21st!

collage2014B

 

My full list of 19 discounted patterns is here. Use the coupon code giftalong2014 at checkout to receive the 25% discount.

Happy shopping!

Michelle

Friday Follow-Up: Online Knitting Highlights for the Week of November 10th

This week has been all about the GAL – the Ravelry Indie Designer Gift-A-Long that is. This event is organized and run by a large group of independent knit and crochet designers to help knitters get their holiday gift knitting done. Here are some highlights:

GAL14_logo-800

  • 293 designers are participating offering 3,822 discounted knit and crochet patterns during the sale period of Nov 13 – Nov 21;
  • 11,512 patterns are eligible for KAL/CALs, contests, and prizes from Nov 13 – Dec 31;
  • the discount available on patterns between Nov 13 and Nov 21 is 25% and the coupon code is giftalong2014;
  • the list of participating designers and patterns is here;
  • the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group is here.

What are you waiting for? Come check it out!

Michelle

What is Friday Follow-Up? My Friday Follow-Up is a weekly blog feature. Every Friday, I follow-up the online knitting events of the week with my own take on things.

Working the Left Lifted Increase (LLI) 101

The Fashion Forward Hat pattern uses the Left Lifted Increase stitch for a very important reason. It does not leave an unsightly hole, like other increases do. That little hole isn’t usually a problem in most patterns, but in the location of the increases in this hat the holes are particularly visible. The brim of the hat is snug and the honeycomb cables pull, drawing attention to those little holes. Here is the hat using the M1L increase:

 

hat with holes

Do you see the increase holes? I sure do. They really bother me! So, the LLI comes to the rescue!

hat with no holes

And the holes are all gone!

The lifted increases are easy to work. There is a right and a left lifted increase. I am explaining only the left lifted increase here as it is the one used in this pattern. The benefits to using these increases are that they are invisible, they stack on top of each other nicely when used in sweater or shawl shaping, and they are attractive looking.

Here are the steps for the LLI:

Want to learn more?

Happy knitting!

Michelle

Friday Follow-Up: Online Knitting Highlights for the Week of November 3rd

I have become very enamoured of these two new books this week that I would like to share.

  • Available for pre-order is this beautiful new book from Kate Davies: Yokes. The seven gorgeous circular yoke sweater patterns can been seen here on Ravelry. I absolutely love Frost at Midnight!

YOKES_lowres_small2

  • And I can’t stop looking at Curls by Hunter Hammersen. This is a book of 14 wrap patterns and I especially love the photography. It is also available for pre-order and the patterns are here on Ravelry.

1415198188Curls-front-cover-square

I am going to place my orders now!

Michelle

What is Friday Follow-Up? My Friday Follow-Up is a weekly blog feature. Every Friday, I follow-up the online knitting events of the week with my own take on things.

Stay Warm This Winter With The Fashion Forward Hat

It’s time for a new hat pattern and a promo to go with it! Meet the Fashion Forward Hat. It matches nicely with the Fashion Forward Cowl or it does just fine on its own. It has a nice relaxed slouch with a snug ribbed brim that doesn’t slide off. Add a big pom pom and you’ll be right in style, not to mention nice and warm! Get the pattern this week – before midnight on Friday – and get 30% off with the coupon code honeycomb. Check it out here.

This hat is designed in the soft and cozy Cascade 220 Superwash Aran and the colour shown is Feather Grey. One skein is required plus an additional colour for the contrasting stripe and the pom pom. I used my leftover  Cascade Yarns Eco Cloud in charcoal from my Fashion Forward Cowl, making a matched set.

As always, my test knitters were great fun to work with. Check out their wonderful colour combos here and find out how we solved the problem of the increase holes. More about that in my next post!

Happy knitting!
Michelle

Friday Follow-Up: Online Knitting Highlights for the Week of October 27th

The big publications are putting out their winter issues.

  • Winter gift knitting season has officially arrived when the Vogue Knitting Holiday issue is out. There’s a little bit of everything in this one: shawls, scarves, sweaters, hats. Check it out.

0002378938_small2

  • Interweave Knits Winter 2015 will be out in November and it has all the requisite winter goodies too, including some big comfy wraps. The patterns are up on Ravelry.
  • And 9 patterns from the November Pom Pom Quarterly, Issue 11: Winter 2014 are also up on Ravelry. They have a warm, cozy, comfortable feel. I especially like Brynja by Linda Lencovic. It’s a beautiful cardigan that will definitely go on my ‘I wish I had time to knit this’ list.

Enjoy!

Michelle

What is Friday Follow-Up? My Friday Follow-Up is a weekly blog feature. Every Friday, I follow-up the online knitting events of the week with my own take on things.

Do I Have Enough Yarn Left To Knit Another Row?

We’ve all been there, right? Maybe you are following a pattern and want to make the scarf/cowl/sleeve a little longer than called for. Or you are creating your own knitted item and just aren’t sure if that little ball of yarn that is left is enough for one more repeat of the stitch pattern or one more row or one more round. There are a few options in this situation.

Option 1: Just don’t bother. It’s too complicated to figure out. You can live with it the way it is. Finish up and move on.

Option 2: Thread a lifeline. Start another repeat/row/round. See how far you get. If you can’t do a full repeat then rip back to the lifeline, finish up, and move on.

Option 3: Use your handy kitchen scale early in the project to weight your yarn before and after working a full repeat or row or round so that you know exactly how much one weighs. Then, toward the end of the project, you can weigh that ball of yarn and know whether or not you can get another one out of it or not.

Option 1 is for the ‘laissez-faire’ knitter – what will be will be. Option 2 is for the comfortable knitter who just can’t get up off the couch right now to go to the kitchen and use the scale. Option 3 is for the knitter who is always prepared.

yarn on scaleI love option 3, and used it recently when I designed the Bulky Lace Cowl. I had two skeins of yarn and wanted to use up every last bit of it. I worked on the project for a while and then at a point when it was time to start a new repeat of the lace stitch pattern I weighed my ball of yarn. I wrote down the weight so I wouldn’t forget. I worked a full repeat. Then I weighed my yarn again. I subtracted the two numbers. I did this a couple of times to be sure. My repeats, using Malabrigo Mecha, averaged about 14 grams each. So I knew when I got close to the end of my cowl that when I weighed my ball of remaining yarn I needed at least 14 grams of yarn for one more repeat plus enough to finish the cowl and bind off. (Always weigh your own yarn for your own project. Each yarn is different and everyone’s gauge is different).

Bulky Lace Cowl Flat

When I was all done I had 10 grams of yarn left. I wouldn’t have gotten another repeat out of that. Good thing I checked before trying!

If you don’t have a kitchen scale, it’s an inexpensive item to buy. Here in Canada, just watch the Canadian Tire flyer. They are often on sale for about $10.00. That’s a great time to pick one up. If you live outside of Canada or don’t shop at Canadian Tire, they are often on sale at other places too for about the same price.

Michelle

Friday Follow-Up: Online Knitting Highlights for the Week of October 20th

Did anyone else notice all the great hat patterns this week? Winter must be coming soon!

classic-cuffed-hats-wt-600-21

Happy hat knitting!

Michelle

What is Friday Follow-Up? My Friday Follow-Up is a weekly blog feature. Every Friday, I follow-up the online knitting events of the week with my own take on things.

Another New Pattern – The Bulky Lace Cowl

The Lengthy Lace Scarf has a new sister! A sister pattern, that is. The Bulky Lace Cowl is closely related because it uses the same lace stitch, is worked in a bulky yarn on large needles, and is a quick and easy knit.

This cowl is designed for two skeins of Malabrigo Mecha, a single ply bulky merino yarn. The colour shown here is Dewberry. Like the Lengthy Lace Scarf, any aran to bulky weight yarn may be used. The needle size is US 11 (8.0 mm).

This cowl is worked in the round and it’s important to bind off loosely so that the bound off edge matches the cast on edge. Use a favourite loose bind off technique if you wish or just bind off in an exaggerated loose manner, as I do. I explain in the pattern notes.

Thanks again to my hard working test knitters! Take a look at their beautiful cowls here.

Happy knitting!
Michelle