Friday, November 14, 2014

Colorful Cables and You - Gift-A-Long Interview with Andi Smith

Synchronicity, by Andi Smith
Hopefully you're taking advantage of the Indie Design Gift-A-Long pattern sale (25% off  bunch of patterns with coupon code giftalong2014, if you don't remember!) and finding all kinds of new designs and designers that you didn't know you were missing but now are loving so much.

I know that I love the community of knitters and crocheters and crafters that I'm a part of just because I'm able to wrap some string around two sticks in the right manner and create all sorts of beautiful and useful projects. And meeting one of these other knitters and crocheters and crafters in public is especially wonderful. But sometimes, you have to settle for just meeting online.

I'd like to introduce you to a new-to-me knitting designer, Andi Smith. Andi, knitbrit on Ravelry, has been designing for eight years and also helps other designers bring their patterns to life by making sure their patterns are as correct as possible, a tech editor par excellence. Let's get to know Andi a little bit together.

Andi, welcome to Rodeo Knits. How long have you been designing and working with designers?

I've been designing for about 8 years. Firstly, expanding my role as a sample knitter for Shannon Okey, and then in books and magazines, before I embraced the job full time about three years ago. My first book, Big Foot Knits (Amazon link: Big Foot Knits) came out last year, and my e-book, Synchronicity, came out this year. As well as designing, I work as a Technical Editor for Cooperative Press and indie designers at large.

We were introduced through the Indie Design Gift-A-Long this year. Have you participated in the Gift-A-Long before?
I participated last year, and loved the experience. From a designers point of view, this is a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk to so many knitters. Some really great connections can be made. This year for me, I'm looking on the Gift-A-Long as the ideal opportunity to spread the Two-Color Cable love. The patterns can look daunting, although they're not. The Gift-A-Long gives me the ideal platform to share both the patterns and the technique tutorials that accompany them. Being involved with the knit-a-longs, means that I'm on hand to answer questions, and learn from knitters at the same time. 
The patterns you're offering as part of the Gift-A-Long are mainly multi-colored cabled patterns. I love cabling but haven't done much with two-color cables. What are your top tips for success?
Good question. When I teach this class, my main tip is to relax and enjoy the process. Each pattern has a step-by-step tutorial attached. If you take a few minutes to work a practice swatch, you'll quickly discover that the techniques aren't really that difficult. The "ah-ha" moment comes much more quickly than you would imagine.
I love to knit for other people. Almost everything that comes off my needles is for a friend or family member. What are you favorite go-to patterns for gift knitting or crocheting?
Like you, I'm a "other people" knitter. I have three types of knitting that I usually have in my UFO pile throughout the year:
  1. Generic 2 x 2 rib scarves. These are great for watching TV scarves, that don't require you to look down very often. I like to work with 2 skeins of yarn, switching out after every 2 rows. I try and work in unisex colors, and by the time gift-giving season arrives, I have a stack to choose from. There isn't really a pattern for these, but Jared Flood's Noro Striped Scarf is my jumping off point.
  2. One or two complex gifts for my mom. My mom taught me to knit, and we love knitting complicated, fiddly things for each other. This year, I'm making her a pair of the Chrysanthemum mittens. I had to go down a needle size to get gauge, so I'm working on US#0's which is a bit of a challenge, but they're stunning!
  3. Charity Knitting. I do a lot of scarves and hats for Open M each year. I tend to knit garter st scarves, and a plain fisherman's cap.
Sometimes I want to give a gift to a fellow knitter or crafter. Sure, they'd appreciate a hat or shawl, but I think they'd really love a new yarn or tool. Do you have a favorite yarn or tool that you'd suggest as a gift for another knitter?
I have two answers for you - one from my thrifty self and one from my extravagant self. Thrifty me likes to make project bags for people. Finding the perfect fabric for someone and creating a bag that matches their crafting needs, to me, is the epitome of a good gift. However, sometimes, I like to splurge, and when that happens, I head for DyakCraft's needles. Anything from them would be an amazing gift to give or receive.
Thanks for joining me here at Rodeo Knits!

You can follow along in Andi's knitting adventures on Twitter at @knitbrit and keep up with her designs on Ravelry.

I'm going to be casting on for Black Bunny using some wonderful stashed but discontinued Khroma DK by The Fibre Company. Stay tuned!