As a buyer of products for the Patternworks catalog, you get to meet lots of interesting people. One of the top on my “favorite” list is Laura, who I have dubbed “The Queen of Beads!” She always comes up with inventive patterns and unique kits.
We did a little Q&A with Laura recently, and here is what she had to say:
Q-What do you most enjoy knitting?
A-Hmm, really I most enjoy knitting a variety of things. I absolutely love when I have multiple projects going that all are completely different from each other. I almost always have an intricate lace piece on the needles, and at the same time, something SO simple that I can chat with friends and family while I knit and not mess it up. Then, there are always a few longer-term, bigger projects, like a sweater or two, and even a crochet afghan I’ve been slowly working on for the last two years!
Q-How do you come up with the ideas for your patterns?
A-Normally I come up with my ideas either while I am knitting, or in the shower! When I finally get to the knitting stage of the design, a large part of the planning has been done and I just have to knit away and make a few small changes for fit or flow here and there. This means my mind is free to wander, and typically it wanders to what I want to knit next. I try to save my showers for when I need a break from the day’s stimuli; this is a major perk of working from home. If I’ve hit a brick wall with an idea or thought, normally I get it all worked out by the time I run out of hot water : )!
The other way an idea comes to me is when I have a hole in my wardrobe. I absolutely fell in love with a skirt this winter, and it NEEDED some hand-knit knee socks to go along with it, so I designed some that will be available in my Fall line. The great perk of this is that I get to buy the skirt for the photo shoot and then keep it for me!
A-Yes, the soles of your socks! Walking on beads is NOT comfortable!
I actually started working with beads way before I learned how to knit. When I was in my late teens, I spent a ton of time doing VERY intricate peyote stitch necklaces that I sold to high-end craft stores and collectors for what then felt like good money. Since then I always dabbled with my seed beads on occasion, but in the last few years renewed my interest in working with them. I do love the extra dimensionality and texture they add to my knitting.
Q-What has been your most challenging design thus far, and how so?
A-Sweater designs are actually the hardest for me because of the sizing. I typically knit my models in a size I can wear, but it is then really hard to size them up and make sure they still fit proportionally and flatteringly on all bodies. Sizing is my biggest challenge and it takes a fair amount of time to get right! This might be why a fair portion of my pattern line is shawls, scarves, and jewelry.
Q-Your bio on Knitty says you enjoy vacationing so you can play and knit. Where are your favorite places to travel to?
A-Traveling is our passion and something we try to do every year when schedules and finances allow : )!
We have a VW bus, so when the weather suits, we like to take it camping. We’ve been to Ontario, Utah, Nova Scotia, and many times to the Adirondacks in New York. I have a bee in my bonnet about taking the summer to travel across the Canadian Rockies. Just think of how much knitting I would get done with all that driving time.
In the mid-90’s my husband and I traveled to Costa Rica for the first time, since then we have been back over seven times. We absolutely love it there! In the last few years, he has taken up underwater photography, so we’ve started traveling to places with vibrant coral reefs. This has led us to a few places like Bequia, Belize, and Barbados. I am hoping for New Zealand, Australia and Fiji one day soon!