So much of this blog has become a dedicated place for me to talk about my design process and sharing updates on new releases and ideas, I thought it might be nice to give you all a break from me and focus on some other independent designers. So every two weeks or so, I plan to spotlight an indie designer, primarily focusing on designers whose work I have enjoyed knitting or whose designs I greatly admire.
To get us started in the very first spotlight is the wonderful and kind Jennie, who I thank endlessly for agreeing to be my first
Designer Name: Jennie Santopietro
Current Location: Texas, USA
Find Jennie online on her beautiful blog, A Lovely Homemade Life, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, and, of course, Ravelry.
Jennie began self-publishing on Ravelry in September 2014 with her adorable Lady Wren pattern for girls and she has been going strong since then, including working with the Knit Picks Independent Designers program, and she is hosting her very first Mystery Knit-a-Long in January that all Dr. Who fans need to get in on: Bow Ties are Cool MKAL
What inspires/influences your designs?
I love combining different textures and stitch patterns into cohesive designs and featuring a certain technique or stitch is usually the impetus for a new pattern. Once I’ve decided how best to showcase what is special about a particular knit, the rest of the details seem to fall into place. I have enjoyed playing around with feather motifs so far and many of my pattern names are bird-related.
Why did you first decide to begin designing knitwear?
I love making special things for my two children and I started imagining different pieces I wanted to create. I could never find patterns for exactly what I had envisioned, so I started making up designs myself. Baby Wren was my first published design, and after I released it, the ideas just kept flowing. I have fancy notebooks full of sketches and notes about ideas I want to bring to life in the future.
What are your favorite items to design?
Even though they are time consuming, I have so many ideas for sweaters that I want to create. I also love to knit and design shawls—they’re a blank canvas that hold so much potential.
What published design of yours are you the most proud of?
I am most proud of Scarlet Ibis. It has not been a big seller, but I personally love the way it looks and how the shape of it makes it easy and flattering to wear. I love everything about the combination of stitches and lace patterns and it is definitely my favorite shawl!
What advice would you give to a knitter looking to begin designing?
Hire a tech editor! Don’t wait until you’ve published enough designs or made enough money. Find a new TE who is just starting out like you and work together to publish the very best version of your design.
Do you have any embarrassing knitting/designing stories to share?
I submitted an idea for a design (Gilded Flicker) to a yarn company and it was accepted! They sent the yarn and I got to work, but I couldn’t get the shape quite right. I frogged and reknit the sample at least 10 times until I finally got it to look the way I had envisioned. I was really stressing about having proposed a pattern that I was apparently unable to knit, but I ended up finishing it on time and I’m very pleased with how it turned out in the end.
Do you have a favorite yarn to work with? Or a dream yarn you’d love to use someday?
In general, my go-to yarn is a good high twist sock yarn. I have loved many skeins—Three Irish Girls Adorn Sock, MadTosh Sock, Plymouth Happy Feet, Knit Picks Hawthorne—never to make socks, mind you, but for shawls and mitts and all sorts of other knits. I’m not particularly drawn to the super fancy luxury yarns (I’m actually allergic to camel, who knew?!) Just give me a good sock yarn any day and I’m a happy knitter!
If you could spend a day with any designer (living or dead), who would it be and what would you do?
I have gotten to know fellow designer Asja Janeczek this year and I think we would be inseparable if we lived on the same continent. I think we’d probably go grab a coffee somewhere and just knit and chat for hours. She’s already invited me over to visit the next time I’m in Germany!
What are your designing goals for the upcoming year?
I am hosting my very first MKAL starting Jan 7 entitled Bowties Are Cool MKAL Shawl, in honor of one of my favorite shows—Dr. Who! I’m hoping for a really positive turn out and to have a lot of fun with some awesome Whovian knitters! I also have a collection of colorwork sweaters rattling around in my brain and a shawl/accessory collection that I hope to release next fall! It’s going to be a big year!
Tell me something special/interesting/funny, not knitting related, about yourself.
I have two children, a boy (5) and a girl (2). I was induced at the hospital with both of them. My son took twenty three hours and forty five minutes to arrive, and my daughter was delivered so quickly the doctor wasn’t even present at her birth! At about 4 hours in I asked them to call the anesthesiologist to administer an epidural, as I wasn’t looking forward to possibly 20 more hours in the state I was in. He ended up standing right outside the door as she was born less than 30 minutes later! I was fortunate to have a great team of nurses that put me at ease and helped me through a very quick delivery!
And randomly, if you had the choice of one last meal to eat before you died, what would you choose?
My husband’s fantastic Chicken Piccata, mashed potatoes with black truffle salt and sour cream and Dark Chocolate Dulce de Leche Tarte! And Jack & Coke—let’s go out in style!
Thanks again to Jennie for taking the time to chat with me! You can find all of Jennie’s beautiful patterns on Ravelry. I’m currently working on her Gilded Flicker shawl, which is a really fun knit and is just turning out beautifully! I will be sure to share lots of photos once I have it finished (which hopefully will be soon because I finally shipped off my Christmas knits – whee!)
And if you are interested in being featured in the designer spotlight, please drop me a line!