Laura (laurachandler6…), Mari Lovesyarn, & NimrodVern
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It's so much fun when I meet new friends and knitters via Ravelry or my blog. Today's guest is a long time YOTH follower and mutually I have been following her blog for awhile now. This little knitting world of ours is very grand (with 3 million Ravelry members now!), yet so small at the same time. Meet: Andrea Sanchez of the sweet Life on Laffer blog. She's not only a knitter but also a hooker (is that what they call themselves?!). Andrea has recently started releasing some really adorable baby knitting patterns, since the birth of her first son. Isn't he just a cutie?! I had the chance to do a written interview with Andrea. Enjoy!
1. Please start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Can I first just say how excited I am to be on your blog. I've been a follower since the very beginning!
Describing myself is always difficult. I feel like I wear a lot of hats. I'm a wife and new mother. I teach kindergarten as my day job. I'm also a knitter in a variety of aspects. I knit as a hobby. I do quite a bit of sample knitting for a few different designers as well as yarn companies, and now I've taken on self-publishing my own designs! I blog about my life and knitting at Life on Laffer and I cohost a knitting podcast called Wool Junkies. I can also be found on Ravelry as peatmoss83 and Twitter here.
2. You just recently released the Little Fisher Pullover. Where did your inspiration come from?
It started out with me wanting to make my son a special sweater for his first Christmas. I wanted something that had a "big boy" look to it, but that could still have a modern feel (and that he wouldn't be embarassed by pictures of it 20 years from now!). I really love the look of fisherman style sweaters and the idea of this just grew in my mind. I initally looked for a pattern to match my mind's sweater but I couldn't find one that I was fully happy with. I eventually justs figured I would try to put the design together myself. I was really afraid I wouldn't be able to render a finished piece just from this mental image but it turned out exactly as I had hoped!
3. I've followed your blog for awhile and know that you've worked for some "famous" designers out there doing test and sample knits. What made you want to start designing yourself?
I had kind of been toying with the idea of trying to write my own patterns for quite a while. I tend to feel inspired a lot. I write down ideas in a notebook. I sketch, I swatch, then I manage to get busy with all the other knitting that I do and my ideas fall to the side. I think I've come to a point in my knitting that I had to just get out there and give it a shot.
4. For budding new designers out there, what's the one piece of advice you have?
Believe in the process. It will take some time to work out the kinks, but by following a process, it is definitely more manageable. Also, find a really good tech editor!
5. What will be next for you? Do you have new designs in the works that you can share with us?
I just released another children's design, the Neighbor Hoodie. It's a round yoke, hooded pullover worked mostly in garter stitch with a little pocket. I am in LOVE with this new pattern and the yarn I used (The Fibre Co. Road to China Light). I designed this sweater to be unisex and am hoping to see it knitted by others in some really fun colors!
I also have another design that I'm working on right now and hope to release by the end of the month. It's long-sleeved, but knit with fingering weight yarn, so more of a transitional winter-into-spring piece.
A lot of my inspirataion for designing has come from my son. I really hope to produce stylish and modern garments for boys that have thoughtful details. I have a lot of ideas, sketches, and swatches, so I'm just going to try to keep the momentum up!
6. Why do you knit?
I am definitely a progress knitter. I love to knit but what really gets me to finish a project (and quickly) is the finished piece.
7. When did you learn to knit and who taught you?
I learned to knit around the end of 2009. My mother had tried to teach me before (she taught me to crochet over ten years ago) but I had a really hard time getting engaged in knitting. I joined Ravelry in 2009 and took part in a swap. My swap partner sent me two hanks of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande in a beautiful blue color, along with the pattern for a cabled scarf and I HAD to have it. I went and bought needles that very night. I could remember how to make a knit stitch but I couldn't cast on, purl, let alone cable. I Googled things like "how to purl" and watched a lot of You Tube videos. It took me all night to get the first 4" of the scarf done. But after that, I was hooked.
8. If you were to knit and live anywhere in the world, where would you knit and live?
I would want to be back in California. I've been living in Ohio since 2007 but boy do I sure miss the sunshine!
9. What's been your worst knitting disaster?
It would have to be my first crocheted shawl (so technically not knitting). When I first joined Ravelry and found my LYS, I bought a book of crocheted shawls by Kristin Omdahl. I found a beautiful shawl that I wanted to make and was done in fingering weight alpaca. I went out and bought something like 7 balls of a mercerized cotton and tried to crochet this shawl. It was terrible! The shawl was too small because of course I didn't ever think to swatch. Up until that point I had only ever crocheted afghans. The yarn had zero drape so it looked stiff and terrible. I ended up ripping some of it out and then I may have just thrown the whole thing away to hide my shame. To this day I'm not sure why I thought it would be a good idea. I've never worn a shawl in my life!
10. And last but not least, if you were to be drinking your favorite drink while reading my blog, what would it be?
Having a 6 month old in the house, I would have to say I have never been so grateful for coffee!
Andrea is offering THREE followers a chance to win a PDF copy of her darling Little Fisher Pullover:
Plus, Cephalopod Yarns has graciously sent over two skeins of their Traveller yarn for ONE follower to win along with their pattern. That's enough yarn to knit up to the 2T size!
I would like you to do the following if you would like to be entered into this week's giveaway:
1. Read over the rules if you have not done so already.
2. Leave a comment on this blog post by the end of Sunday, 3/24/13. Andrea wants to know, when it comes to designs for both adults and children, what particulars do you look for (ie., sizes, yarn weights, certain styles, etc)?
I'll randomly pick the winners in 2 weeks and post the results along with the new giveaway, so be sure to check back. Good luck everyone.