Recovering from the holidays has taken me a bit longer than I anticipated, but I’m hoping to get ramped back up. So lets kick of the new year with a chat with a wonderful indie designer that I have really loved getting to know through her blog and beautiful designs.

copyright Francoise Danoy

Aroha Knits

Designer Name: Francoise Danoy

Current Location: Ubuyama, Kumamoto, Japan

You can follow Francoise’s beautiful blog, which is full of insights into her design process. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and of course, Ravelry.

What inspires/influences your designs? 

Depending on the design, I draw inspiration from nature or the Maori culture. If I’m having a particularly hard time coming up with a design, I play word association games with the yarn I’m working with to see what themes pop up.

Why did you first decide to begin designing knitwear? 

Short answer: because I preferred to make my own items and not work from someone else’s instructions. I started designing my own patterns four months after I first learned how to knit.

What are your favorite items to design? 

Shawls! Lace, fingering-weight, airy and flow-y shawls!

copyright Francoise Danoy
Puaka Shawlette by Aroha Knits

What published design of yours are you the most proud of? 

Oh boy, that’s a tough question. Each design is special to me in one way or another: whether it incorporates a Maori motif, or happened to be a overnight success, it involved a challenging construction… I’m going to take the easy way out and say that I’m proud of all of them.

What advice would you give to a knitter looking to begin designing?

Keep it simple. Don’t quit your day job just yet, but put in consistent and deliberate action.

Do you have any embarrassing knitting/designing stories to share? 

Not yet. 😛

copyright Francoise Danoy
Huatau Cardigan by Aroha Knits

Do you have a favorite yarn to work with? Or a dream yarn you’d love to use someday? 

I’m a sucker for merino and merino blends. Give me merino/cashmere blends any day of the week!

What are your designing goals for the upcoming year? 

Continue to publish at least one design a month. Get published in at least one knitting magazine. And lastly, get my Design e-course up and running!

copyright Francoise Danoy
Caprius Shawl by Aroha Knits

Tell me something special/interesting/funny, not knitting related, about yourself. 

I’m a nerd and my love for Fanfiction knows no boundaries.

And randomly, if you were trapped on a dessert island with only one book, which would you choose? 

Not-so serious answer: Hopefully a book that can teach me how to get off such island.

Serious answer: well, that’s a toughie, since I don’t so much know. But maybe I can use that time to catch up on some reading: “The Hero and the Outlaw”. It’s about brand archetypes. 😉

Thanks to Francoise for taking the time to chat with me about her designs and inspirations. And if you are interested in being featured in the designer spotlight, please drop me a line!


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