We’ve got two fantastic new patterns the month for our Valley Yarns Brimfield!
The Blurry Lines Scarf by Kim Bridgeo is a truly unisex piece with a bold geometric texture, but an easy to memorize stitch repeat. We asked Kim to tell us more about herself, how she designs, and her experience with Brimfield.
When did you learn to knit? I learned to knit back in 2008. I had been crocheting since I was young but wanted to give knitting a try, so I taught myself using the Teach Yourself Visually book series. Over the last few years, though, my passion for knitting has grown exponentially. As I continue to be exposed to new fiber content, yarn brands and independent dyers, I get so inspired to find the perfect pattern/yarn combination. My stash is a bit out of control!
What prompted you to start designing? I guess I’ve always been designing without really knowing it. It’s common for me to modify patterns as I’m making them, or combine different elements of one stitch pattern with another. The first design I ever created for sale came about after I knit a baby blanket for my cousin a few years ago and lots of friends and family members asked if I could share the pattern. I’ve had the designing bug ever since.
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration? I’m constantly jotting down notes that aren’t fully formed designs initially, but more about different ideas for shapes, stitches, and combinations of increases & decreases. I also chart the majority of my designs whether or not I include them in the final published design. In my “non-knitting life” I analyze and visualize data for a living, so, when I’m designing I constantly think about visual balance and spacing, and how to make the math work to achieve the look I want. After that it’s really all about the yarn. I have skeins that I know I want to design something with, so I review my design notes and figure out what would work best with the yarn given its weight, fiber and color.
Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories. For me, knitting has become all about community and camaraderie. When I first started knitting, I was in my 20s, and it was rare that I came across others who knit. But now I feel like it’s much more mainstream across age and gender. I started teaching a knitting class at a local chain craft store a couple years ago, and though I no longer teach, I still get together weekly with three women who were some of my very first students. The four of us were born in 3 different decades and have had very different life experiences, yet we have developed an awesome friendship built initially on our love for knitting. Also, with the popularity of Ravelry & Instagram, it is so great to make lots of new “fiber friends” every day who continue to inspire and challenge me. I design to create something that others want to make and enjoy.
Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with? During my very first trip out to WEBS, I fell in love with Brimfield and couldn’t resist buying a full 10-skein bag! I’ve always been a huge fan of merino and silk blends. The texture of Brimfield makes for amazing stitch definition but also feels so soft! I also really love the rich and deep color choices. Perfect for fall!
We also have the lovely Hendrie Park Cardigan from Karen Marlatt. The sweater features an sweet lace pattern in the yoke, 3/4 sleeves and a relaxed tunic-length fit. Valley Yarns Brimfield is the perfect yarn to balance the polished simplicity of stockinette stitch and the structural beauty of the lace. Karen tells us about her love of this yarn and her journey from new knitter to designer.
When did you learn to knit? I first learned to knit in Brownies, I wish I still had that first uneven, hole-filled square. I have always been crafting, rug hooking, cross stitch, jewelry, etc., but did not pick up needles again until 2006.
What prompted you to start designing? It was the Think Outside the Socks competition and their $5,000 prize, I thought to myself, ‘How hard could it be to knit a pair of socks?’. I obviously had a lot to learn! Off I went to my local LYS, Spun Fibre Arts, and the owner Danielle worked with me to find the perfect yarn for the project and offered a bit of guidance along the way! My Apple of my Eyelet socks did not win the competition, but I was honoured to be included in the publication of the same name.
Give us a glimpse into your design process, where/how do you find inspiration? Oh that is a tough question to answer. I would say it is an even split between seeing a beautiful yarn and being completely inspired vs. doodling in my fashionary and then enjoying the challenge of bringing that flat image to life (sometimes unsuccessfully). I think the fact that I am a bit of a math geek helps in the design process as well.
Tell us one of your favorite knit/fiber stories. I was very lucky to have Pat McClymont in my life, as a neighbour, friend and knitting guru. Pat was one of the original Eaton’s yarn department demonstration staff in the late 1950’s, had a long career creating samples for Spinrite/Paton’s as well as many designers. It is very easy to experiment and challenge yourself with new knitting techniques knowing your safety net lives next door. Many a time I would show up with my mess and she would walk me through how to correct it and send me away even more confident. Unfortunately Pat passed away this September, but each time I pick up my knitting I know she is close by!
Tell us about the Valley Yarn you worked with? For the Hendrie Park Cardigan I worked with the scrumptious Brimfield. The Merino/Silk blend was such a pleasure to work with, the stitch definition was fantastic and the silk gives the garment a wonderful drape. I fell so much in love with this yarn that I am currently working on my second Hendrie Park Cardigan (this one’s for me)!
It’s always interesting to see the ways that knitting comes into our lives and what paths different knitters take to becoming designers and how our yarns inspire them. What have you been inspired to knit or design with Valley Yarns?