Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Let's Play Favourites! with Rachel Henry

This Indie Gift-A-Long season we are having a series of interviews with some fabulous independent crochet and knitting designers participating in this Ravelry event.

Our first guest is Rachel Henry (remcat on Ravely) of Remily Knits: Thoughtful Patterns for Avid Knitters (, who has kindly agreed to chat with us about her designing and knitting favourites. Thank you, Rachel!

Let's play favourites!

1. Which of your designs is your most favourite?

Probably my most favourite design is Cogwheel. It's a shallow crescent wrap/shawl, which is the easiest shape for me to wear. It is interesting to knit, with some fun lace wheels embedded in two-color garter stitch. Speaking of which, the garter stitch makes the finished object squishy and warm! I'm glad I designed this for an indie yarn dyer (A Hundred Ravens) who is also a friend, because I know when my sample is done touring the nation in her booth, I'll get to have it back! :)

2. Which of your patterns would be your favourite recommendation to a novice knitter/crocheter?

I recently published "Mighty Mini" -- designed for use with minis, or even just leftover sock yarn. It is all garter, and the cool shape is made with just increases at one edge and binding off at the other. I would say it is a good "second or third" project for a new knitter who is growing bored of plain garter-stitch scarves.

3. And which one would be such to a more experienced knitter/crocheter?

I should be honest and say that I'm a bit of capricious knitter -- I seek novelty and changing stitch patterns to hold my interest over a big project! Like many designers, I design what I would personally want to make and have, so many of my patterns have a lot going on. For lace knitters, I recommend Flywheel. The stitch patterns change regularly, no time to get bored! The "big holes" are a lot of fun too. If you're not into lace, take a look at Hornburg -- it uses a couple tricks to make a really delightful cowl that is knit flat but has no seaming or picked-up stitches. The slipped-stitch pattern is perfect for crazy hand-dyed colorways.

4. What is your most favourite part of designing?

Hands-down, my favourite part is seeing what other people make from my patterns. It is a total thrill to see what I designed on someone else's needles! I love it when people show me something they have made. My dream is to spot one of my designs in the wild -- on someone's shoulders at a fiber festival or show. That would be amazing!

5. Favourite knitting/crocheting technique?

Oh, this is a tough question! How can you pick just one? I think I would have to choose ... knitting mobiusly? It's either that or a crochet cast-on, but choosing a cast-on seems boring. I love knitting around and around the long single edge of a truly mobius piece, and trying to wrap my head around how the stitch pattern will work in the finished piece.

6. Favourite yarn brand/yarn type?

I really like Aesir, an 8-ply sport-weight superwash wool yarn from A Hundred Ravens. It's bouncy and round, which gives great stitch definition. It is a pleasure to knit with. My other favorite is Soft Linen by Classic Elite -- it is an alpaca/linen/wool blend with great drape and just the right amount of "crunch" from the linen.

7. Favourite place to knit/crochet?

I have a fantastic group of friends who knit together at least once a week. We go out for drinks and dinner every Friday night, then assemble at a big table at the local Barnes & Noble cafe. We talk and laugh (oh, and knit) for hours. I look forward to Knit Night all week.

8. Favourite colour combination?

Blue-y purple and greens.

9. What are your (favourite) designing plans for 2015?

I have a couple things coming out through Classic Elite, but I'm not allowed to say much about them. I have mad plans for a mini-collection of my own, featuring the same(ish) stitch pattern on a variety of different types of projects using different yarns. Further out, my "inspirations" whiteboard has the phrases "all the things you don't say" and "steampunk Oz" as shawl collection ideas.

10. Is there a designer-GAL participant, whose designs you favourited most of all?

Shall I confess that I have already bought 19 GAL patterns? Some were already in my queue, but others I discovered by browsing through the GAL designer thread. I bought two patterns from Amy Maceyko -- Quinta Cowl and Berra Scarf. I'm glad the GAL exists, or I never would have found her work!

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