Dashing Dachshund and another GAL interview

Dashing Dachshund is now available as a Ravelry download.

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This is a sweet little knit that uses baa ram ewe’s Titus 4ply -gorgeous stuff!

GAL Interview

I have another Gift A Long interview with fellow gift-a-longer and talented designer Jessica Bolof. Same questions as last time (but different answers of course!)

headshot by brenna

When did you learn to knit?

I started to crochet first when I was about 5 or 6. My mom taught me how to make a chain, her mom taught me a few stitches, and then my Great Aunt Dolores took over my instruction. She always made sweet peach tea during our lessons and taught me to be fearless and to trust my instincts when creating. She was a wonderful teacher. I was taught to knit a few years later as an attempt by a friend’s mother to keep me out of her knitting basket which contained an intricate green cabled sweater!

How did you get into designing?

From the start I was making my own designs or doing freeform work. I wasn’t able to find young and modern patterns so I started creating for my own use. Later I discovered Ravelry and the world opened! My first major pattern, Summer’s Twilight Shawl, was designed when I was 18 for a dance. The original shrug I made was far too chunky for my delicately beaded dress so I whipped it up finishing just before midnight the day before! I had no idea that it would be my top selling pattern years later.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

I love seeing finished projects or hearing from a customer how much they loved making a design! There’s something so humbling when seeing that someone used one of my designs to be their first project ever, or of that type. It keeps me going.

What’s your least favourite part of the job?

That would be the hours and hours of editing, checking grading (I do it all without a program to help ensure the best look and fit), layout formatting, editing again, and doing final tweaks. I just want to get back to playing with yarn! At the same time though the feeling of doing all of the work is so satisfying when I’m finished. I often think of the quote by Dorothy Parker, “I hate writing, I love having written.”

STS Collage

What inspires you to design and how do you turn your inspiration into a finished design?

I can be inspired by a feeling that I want a design to emit, patterns and textures observed like an old fence at a farm, or the yarn itself. I frequently have a very precise picture in my mind before I start so I sketch to help preserve that image. Then I’ll make a rough schematic with technical notes, make several swatches, adjust the schematic, write the pattern, and finally start knitting. After that the design is on it’s journey to becoming a pattern!

Which of your designs are you most proud of and why?

I would say my new collection, Cozy Christmas Knits. It’s definitely what I’ve poured more of myself into and I think you can see it in the final product. It’s not that the patterns are very complex or involved, they are the kinds of things to make for gifts or to wear everyday. It takes a lot of restraint to keep the purity of a design. There will always be a temptation to add and add to the point that a design loses it’s focus and clarity. One of the perks of this restraint is that most of my patterns are approachable for advanced beginners, or are relaxing for more experienced crafters.

Pinetsy 2

Is there anything you’d like to design but haven’t done yet?

I have a wedding dress design that I work on here and there. Someday I’ll finish it and have a wonderfully elaborate photoshoot!

There are some patterns that I would like to make for babies and children. I’m sure that my daughter who is due to be born in a few months will provide lots of inspiration! She already loves to squirm and kick when I’m working on projects. I think she’s itching to be a part.

Which of the Gift-A-Long 2014 designers are your favourite or which design would you most like to knit?

The Temescal hat by Arlette (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/temescal) using Miss Scarlet’s Demise in Dude by Schmutzerella Yarns (http://schmutzerellayarns.com/shop/miss-scarlets-demise-gradient-dude/)

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