Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Jen Beaumont to Mahi and Aroha. Jen is one of the participating designers in the GiftAlong 2014 and has some gorgeous colourwork designs in her portfolio. I particularly love her pixelated designs.
Can you describe your design portfolio in just 3 words... seamless colorful contrast
How did you get started designing? Where do you draw inspiration from? I started designing when I was inspired to knit a hat with a certain color combination and contrasting pattern and I couldn’t find a pattern that already existed. Shortly after, a friend asked me to write it up so that she could make one, and I found that it felt quite natural to me. I enjoy solving math problems and complicated puzzles. I didn’t have an intention to “be a designer”. Now that I have started, I can’t stop “designing”. I continue to be inspired by the nuanced COLOR created the amazing dyers that are working right now, and usually certain color combinations and patterns. I also look at fashion photography and can be inspired by a fabric or a shape of a sweater’s collar, and bam… I usually make drawings or watercolor paintings first, and then search out the perfect yarns and swatch, swatch, swatch… The climate is very cold in winter where I live, and I have found that stranded sweaters really help keep me warm. I have been working on a series of stranded sweaters that I unofficially call “winter armor” because of the warmth and structure of the densely stranded patterned fabrics.
How does designing fit in with the rest of your life? It is a full time job, part time job, or other? If you do a different job full time, is designing at all related? I have two young children and we are homeschooling, and I also have another part-time teaching business. The designing isn’t related to these other things but I think that my other work contributes to who I am as a designer. I think I am happier when I have my hands in a few pots.
Your designs draw heavily on the interplay of colours - is this something that you’ve always been attracted to? Why colourwork?
From an early age I was obsessed with color and loved to paint or draw with colored pencils and when I was in college, I was co-enrolled in the School of Art along with my academic studies (both in science and writing), and studied painting and color. I have a strong visual bent. As a child I had a photographic memory. Today, I may see a fabric or a color combination in nature and I hold onto it for awhile in memory and it grows into my designs. I am interested in not just one color, but its interplay with another contrast, or several, which is why patterned fabrics have inspired my design process. Stranded color work has been a means to painting with yarn I suppose. I am strongly attached to the original color combination that I visualize, although sometimes it multiples, and I have to see other color combinations in the same pattern. I don’t think about what would be popular but I will knit duplicate samples because of this need to see the interplay of other colors.
What’s next for your design line? Is there anything you want to tell us about? For example, I am currently working on publishing my Polar Prism Cardigan which has a prismatic stranded pattern over all the cardigan. I am in the process of knitting another version using Rain City Knits yarns with a navy-black background, with hot pink, hot coral, and bright orange gradient for the “prism tiles”. I live in a place where it is quite cold, and snowy, and gray for many months of the year, in West Michigan, and all this color work really brightens and warms up the days. After this design, which is almost done with technical editing, and nearly ready for test knitting, I have another design that will be worked in Rain City Knits yarn and it is inspired by a Chanel coat, worked in a surprising stitch pattern and color combination… Another stranded sweater design will be published by Stitch Seekers in February, and I have another that will be in the Midwestern Knits book this summer, worked in a West Michigan dyer’s yarn, The Plucky Knitter’s Plucky Single. If there is time between these projects, I plan to work up some stranded sweaters for my children.
Thanks Jen for stopping by, it was great to learn more about you and your design process.
You can find Jen's designs on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/jennifer-beaumont
I am giving away one of Jen's patterns to a lucky reader. Just comment below which pattern you would like to win and your Ravelry name. Will close for comments midnight Monday 1 Dec (NZT).
Cheezombie often finds herself bleary eyed and finger sore, but still knitting and watching slasher movies and cartoons at 2 a.m. The byproducts of these late night sessions fuel others, whereby creating a cycle of sleeplessness and creativity.
I'm very excited to welcome Cheezombie to MahiandAroha!
Your designs are instantly recognisable as “Cheezombie”. How did you get started designing your cute little critters? What is that appeals to you about designing toys? My toy designs are inspired by my caffeinecartoonwikipedia fever dreams , but I alter them slightly to be less unsettling to children and the elderly. Except telepathic kitten,he’s just creepy
Which of your patterns is your favourite critter and why?
My personal favorite design of mine is the slug. It was one of my first, so I’m partial, but also it reminds me of myself. Smallish, slimy, likes beer, and avoids salt. And splat cat. He’s just hilarious.
Photo credit: cheezombie
What’s next for the cheezombie design line? Anything you are working on you would like to share? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Beats me. The needles do what they do, I’m just the puppet.
Are you really a zombie? Who IS cheez?
Nope, not a zombie, just a crazy kid trying to make it in this big world. I do love dairy though, hence the cheez.
If you were stranded on a (cold) desert island and were allowed 3 knitting/yarn related things, what would you pack?
I would bring a knitted boat, a knitted crew, and knitted friends.
I have actually knit a cheezombie pattern! The kiwi (of course, what New Zealander can resist this pattern?) featured in Knitty Deep Fall 2011.
Photo credit: sweetp
Have you ever been to New Zealand and seen a real kiwi? I was actually trying to knit a kiwi fruit. I googled the wrong picture and by the time I noticed I had already finished the pattern.
Thank you so much for dropping by!
I love cheezombie's patterns. Cute and quirky and ideal for gifting.
Her sale patterns (be quick ends 21 Nov 2014 US EST) can be viewed here: http://www.ravelry.com/bundles/3342 GIVEAWAY.... Win a copy of your favourite Cheezombie pattern. Simply leave a comment with your favourite Cheezombie design and I will gift a Cheezombie pattern to a randomly selected winner. (Must be a selfpublished pattern). Giveaway ends midnight Sunday 23rd Nov (NZ).
The Ravelry GiftAlong 2014 has officially kicked off. I have spent the past couple of days in bed with a headcold which was the perfect excuse to spend some time looking through all the wonderful designs and making a (long!) xmas make list. First on my list is two Marjie shrugs. These are for a dear friend's little girls - her two year old and her new baby girl. I don't normally get in to the whole matchy matchy thing but I thought it might be nice to make the same pattern but in different yarns. Marjie is by New Zealand designer Julia Stanfield. Julia has been an online friend for a number of years and is a really lovely lady. Her designs are "seamless, stylish and simple" but mostly just really wearable which is really appealing when you are trying to choose something that's both lovely but also going to get worn by the recipient. I love the look of this little cardigan that has the cropped/short sleeves ideal for over summer dresses, but also the button up front for when you need a bit more coverage. I am just about finished a tiny little 17" Marjie in a gorgeous purple from Candy Apple Lane and so far it has been a nice relaxing knit. The pattern is written out line by line so it's ideal for both the beginner knitter and for TV watching while you knit. I also love that you cast off the sleeves as you go rather than putting them on holders - makes for minimal finishing and would be great for gradient yarns. You can see all of Julia's giftalong sale patterns here: http://www.ravelry.com/bundles/4665
It's that time of year again, the second annual Ravelry Indie Designer Gift-A-Long (GAL) begins this week! This year there is an impressive 293 designers participating and it looks as though it will be even bigger and better than last years fun event. Not sure what the GAL is? The GAL is a co-ordinated knit/crochet-along event featuring independent designers. The GAL begins on November 13th and runs until December 31st 2014. Join the Ravelry group to knit and chat-along and be in to win any of the thousands of prizes up for grabs. There are games and giveaways and lots of fun activities going on in the group. It's a fantastic way to support indie designers on Ravelry and also to find new to you patterns and designers. As well as the KAL aspect for the FIRST WEEK of the GAL, there is a coordinated pattern sale. Every participating designer has made a bundle on their designer page featuring a selection of patterns. These patterns will be discounted by 25% if you use the code: giftalong2014 Sale period is Thursday November 13 at 8 pm (20:00) US-EST to Friday November 21 at 11:59 pm (23:59) US-EST Here is the bundle of patterns I am discounting for the GAL. I am so excited to be joining in this event again this year. Last year it was so much fun and I had a great time finding new-to-me designers and knitting up some gifts. I hope you'll join us!