Category Archives: Interviews

An interview with Dieuwke van Mulligen

Today I’m really excited to introduce you to my dear friend and knitting buddy, Dieuwke van Mulligen. We’ve  known each other for a while now and meet pretty often on various knitting events. Now you can learn about her a little too :-)

Likeness

Hi Dieuwke. Can you tell us a little about how you began knitting? Is your educational background connected with knitting?

My grandmother has always knitted a lot, and I have been fascinated by it since I was little. She taught me to knit. In Denmark, knitting is a part of the school curriculum (around 3rd grade I think), so it’s not at all odd if you can knit. I knitted on and off during my teenage years, and when I started University I used it as a de-stress tool. So it’s always been a very personal thing for me, a hobby I pursued myself, and I didn’t even consider an education in textiles. Which I could have though, as my grandfather actually was a teacher at a school specialized in textiles. He died when I was young, so I never really got to know him and soak up knowledge, but my mother and grandmother tell great stories about him!

Trillidium

What inspired the name of your brand? And Rav Id?

My Rav ID was the one that came first. My name is kind of complicated (did you notice? ;)), and the friends of one of my ex boyfriends chose to shorten it to “dutte”, which (in Danish, at least) sounds remotely like it (“duke-uh” is a more accurate pronunciation). So I just picked that up and used it as a nickname.

My brand – well, I didn’t really establish Knitter’s Kitchen until I started trying out dyeing. As the dyeing happens in my (tiny!) kitchen, the name seemed appropriate.

How do you name your designs?

That’s a tough one! It varies a lot – sometimes I already know the name before I’ve even finalized the design idea, sometimes I have a design where I simply have no idea what to call it. And sometimes, like with my Ridges collection, the stitch pattern is the initial inspiration and then I go from there.

What would your ideal day consist of?

My IDEAL day would most likely be one filled with knitting and friends! Having time to watch a movie, knit on something fun, chat and have coffee/tea and cake. Weekends without any fixed plans work fine for that.

What is your favourite weight yarn to design for and knit with?

That’s a very good question! It depends on the result I want. Sweaters are great in DK weight – but fingering weight makes for lovely light fabric as well. I can’t really choose between the two!

Feather & Fan-tastic

Can you describe your own core style and do you design with that style in mind?

I always have problems describing my style. But I guess I’m trying to do things simple (I often need to remind myself of the KISS principle; Keep It Simple, Stupid), with funky details like advanced techniques, while also giving easier alternatives. I’m a sucker for asymmetry and alternative constructions, which I myself think is very obvious in my designs so far. I don’t always design with my style in mind, often it just comes by itself!

Do you knit other people’s designs and if so, can you tell us a few of your favourites

I do, sometimes! It’s hard to get time for it though, as there always seems to be a sample or second sample of a design that needs finishing. I usually go for things with fun constructions or lovely texture. Knitting other people’s designs is exploration and/or relaxation for me, so I tend to browse around. I’m a fan of Heidi Kirrmaier and Ankestrick, of whom I’ve knitted quite a few pieces in the past. And then there’s the ever popular Camomille shawl by Helga Isager – I made that one 6 times, and it wouldn’t surprise me if I “accidentally” cast on one more at some point. It’s one of the most versatile and relaxing knits I know! In my knitting group consisting of 7 people, we have a total of 22 projects from that pattern. Everyone made it at least once!

If you could only knit with one colour, what would it be?

This is one that changes with the seasons! But to be honest, I think it would be blue. I think I must admit that blue is my favourite colour these days, I just love all shades.

Do you share your needles /tools with anyone?

I guess I do. Everyone is welcome to borrow something I have when they need it (there is a lot of tool borrowing going on at knit nights!), but a few things I just keep to myself, like for instance my Signature needles.

Castle Walls

Are there any crafts or hobbies you do (other than knitting of course ;-)?

I like to do ALL THE THINGS! I have a spinning wheel, a sewing machine, and I dye yarn once in a while. At the moment I’m very much into my motorcycle and my car (a vintage one which needs actual repairing, which I want to do myself), so that also takes up some time. And I love reading books and watching movies and shows, luckily that can often be combined with the knitting!

Do you dream about knitting at night?

Sometimes! I can have a hard time falling asleep, or wake up in the middle of the night, because I have an idea. So yeah, I guess I do ;)

What are the 3 most important knitting items you use?

I take it you mean finished pieces? I use sweaters/cardigans, socks, and shawls or cowls every day. Only if it’s really hot in summer you can catch me without something woolly on, else I always wear something knitted.

Do you have an anecdote to share? Something funny, nice, interesting?

I’m very stubborn at times. I have been known to frog and re-knit something several times, for instance I knitted the Aileron shawl 7 times over before I was happy with it. I’m currently working on a sweater for my brother, it’s the 6th time I cast that on… And I already finished it twice! This only happens with my own designs though. You can say it means they have been thought through thoroughly ;)

If I’m knitting someone else’s design, I have an unspoken rule about a maximum of 3 tries. That goes for the pattern as well as the yarn – if it doesn’t work the 3rd time, I consider it cursed!

Aileron

Something nice: I have a bunch of very knit worthy people in my life. One of them being my 4-year-old niece, who is over the moon when I knit her something. Her smile and enthusiasm makes me want to knit her everything. She’s recently started “knitting” when I’m visiting (AKA wanting to play with my current WIP, just sticking the needles in here and there and potentially making a huge mess), perhaps I should bring her some needles and yarn of her own soon!

Thank you for talking to us. 

Dieuwke has been knitting ever since she realised that the thing her grandma was doing was creating garments for her family.  She lives in Denmark, a yarn paradise with its many LYS’s where she conveys her inspiration through designing knitwear.

You can find Dieuwke on her website, her ravelry page  and on Facebook.

See you soon!

Zara & Justyna

Interview with Julie Asselin

She’s propably one of the nicest yarnies I’ve had opportinity to work with. Always smiling, funny and absolutely lovely, yes, that’s right, we will be interviewing Julie Asselin.

I met Julie some time ago on Ravelry and you can imagine how thrilled I was when she invited me to collaborate on a design (that was Mrs. Skyler). Since then I have gathered quite a nice amount of her yarn goodies in my stash and I can’t get enough of it. :-)

But enough with the introduction… here’s Julie!

Julie herself
Julie herself

Hello Julie, nice to talk to you again. What is your favourite base to dye?

Hum…that’s a tough one….I will have to say Leizu DK or Worsted. Great color outcomes but also easy to work with because of the way they absorb the dyes.

Where do you source your yarn? Do you have your own sheep/alpaca’s etc?

We are very careful about all the fiber sources, yarn mills, dyes and process we use, making conscious decision all along the creative line.

We source our fibres from ethical sources most of the time here in North America or in New Zealand. We solely work with mills here in Canada and US, making the process closest to home as possible.

Where can we buy your yarn from?

We have several retailers across Canada, US, Europe and Japan. We make it a point to work with shops offering the best customer service possible, we love our shop owners!

Also we sometimes do Etsy Update for whenever a new pattern comes out and we want to support it.

What is your best color, the one you like most or are proud of? Do you have a color you’d like to forget about?

Our best sellers of all times are ‘Birch’ and ‘Dapple Grey’. I have a soft spot for Blackberry Coulis recently. Our color process and palette have evolve quite a bit since the beginning and it did happen many times that I wanted to do complete do overs so as far as colors I would like to forget I would say it is more of a learning curve/evolution then regrets.

Birch colorway

If you could only knit with one colour, what would it be?

I am really into any kind of blue right now.

Dapple Grey
Dapple Grey colorway

What other yarns do you like to knit with?

As far as colors go I am a big fan of what my friend Tanis at Tanis Fiber Arts is doing; I also love the color story at Sweet Fiber Yarn a fellow Canadian as well. Ce at The Uncommon Thread has some lovely sought after yarns and colors. I also am very keen to anything small farm and single breed, I truly am a fiber lover and there is a world of discovery when it comes to wool and fibers of all kind.

Are there any crafts or hobbies you do (other than knitting of course ;-)?

Cooking and photography are a big part of me too. I am also an outdoorsy person, love walking, hiking and spending time outside in the garden.

Do you have any current or upcoming news you’d like to share with us.

We have a new yarn line out this fall called ‘Nurtured’. We partnered up with our friends at The Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont on this one.

Nurtured teaser
Nurtured teaser

This yarn is dyed in the wool, meaning we dyed the fibers prior to sending them to the mill resulting in a heathered finish. It was very fun to see the colors come together and our goal was to put forward the natural colors of the fleeces as well, so we played on natural occurring tints mixed in with our colors to create a very natural palette I would say.

What would your ideal day consist of?

Ideal days I don’t know but let me tell you about moments I love during my weeks.

I love waking up early and go for a walk with my dog.

Having breakfast with my husband having a good time. Our humor is similar and we are very imaginative so we love to make up stories and we often come up with the same ideas and this can get pretty crazy!

Also I love to have people over to share a meal, community is very important to us.

colimacie_studio-73
Julie in her studio

Do you dream about color dyes at night?

Of course! And about new yarn too!

How do you name your colour ways?

It can be all sorts of things really! I am not always the one to name them, Jean-Francois also finds a lot of them. Names finding is fun and I particularly love the ones that are more on the imaginary side. ‘Johnny’, one of blacks is name after the man in black himself Johnny Cash, ‘Blue Steel’ referring to a certain look in a certain movie! ;)

Do you have an anecdote to share? Something funny, nice, interesting?

Something funny, when I first started calling my supplier and asking when I would receive my yarns, I used to say: ” Could you please tell when it will arrive, so I can plan my dyeing days’’. It took me a while to realise what I was saying could sound funny; they never said anything. To this day I don’t know if they think I’m dying. ;)

What inspired the name of your brand? And Rav Id?

Well, this will sound very boring but I didn’t have an idea for a name when I first started this back in 2010 and I didn’t want to choose anything I would regret later, so I simply went with my name. Also because I really believe in what we do and I stand for it.

Julie Asselin lives in Quebec, Canada where she spends her time creating amazing colorways for the most exquisite yarns. Find her on Ravelry  or on her website

I hope you manage to “taste” some of her lovely yarn – it’s really worth it!

See you soon,
Zara & Justyna

Interview with Melanie Berg

During the many years I’ve been knitting, I’ve met a lot of talented and creative people. I bet some of you also know them  and would love to learn a little bit more about their knitting or yarny adventure.

One day my dear friend Zara and I thought it might be fun to host small interviews with people we like and admire a lot. We noted down some questions that we found interesting and invited them to “talk knitty” with us.

Here is the first interview with lovely Melanie Berg. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Melanie modeling her Drachenfels 

Hi Melanie, thank you for talking with us. Can you tell us a little about how you began knitting? Is your educational background connected with knitting?

I first learned to knit when my mother taught it to me – I think I was thirteen years old. I made a terrible, curling stockinette scarf and was so disappointed with it that I didn’t want to knit anymore. I put it down and only picked it up again when my first daughter was born. I wanted to create something for her, something warm, something to protect her, and knitting seemed like the natural thing to do. I’m passionate for it ever since!

I have an IT background – I’ve worked as Unix system administrator for more than ten years. But as our family grew and my designing career, too, I didn’t feel connected to that job anymore. I quit it more than a year ago and now work fulltime as a designer. However, that IT background is helpful in so many ways for me! Being a knitwear designer is not only about knitting, you know. You have to be skilful in many fields – photography, layout, technical writing, basic math, social media, just to name a few, and my technical education definitely comes in handy now.

What inspired the name of your brand? And Rav Id?

Mairlynd is just a word – no special meaning connected to it! I like the way it sounds – it has something mysterious, something very interesting, but is clear and straightforward at the same time.

sunwalker
Sunwalker

How do you name your designs?

Oh, naming my designs is one of the hardest things! I can spend the entire time that I need for knitting a pattern thinking about a name for it! I do keep a list, though, and every time I find a nice word, or a phrase that I like, I’ll add it to that list. This is like a small treasure box for me – when I need a name, I can always go there, open the box and search for what’s inside. Sometimes I’ll find the perfect name in there.

What would your ideal day consist of?

Oh, that is easy – I’d spend it knitting, of course! Start with a good coffee in the morning and then have lunch with my husband and my three kids. We just found a great new restaurant here in town, so that would be a good choice. Then later, after some more knitting, we would meet with good friends and drink a bottle of Federweißer together – that’s a local specialty, a very young and only partially fermented, sweet wine. It’s delicious, and it’s only available in early fall.

What is your favourite weight yarn to design for and knit with?

I just love fingering weight yarns! They’re perfect for really all kinds of knits – for shawls, for small accessories like hats and mitts, and of course for garments. Especially for garments. A lot of knitters are scared of knitting up a sweater in a fingering weight, but it’s oh so worth it: Yes, it will take more time, but a thin yarn is usually more flattering on our bodies than a heavier weight, and it will also usually be better for showing small details and such.

threshold
Treshold

Can you describe your own core style and do you design with that style in mind?

It’s hard to put my entire style in only a few words, but “modern” and “wearable” are probably the best ones to describe my way of knitting. I don’t design with these in mind – it just happens automatically!

Why do we knit? It’s because in the end, we want to have a finished object that we love. One that we wear a lot, one that we enjoy. With my designs, I try to offer this. I don’t want my knitters to end up with a piece that’s unhandy in their everyday life – I want them to be able to use it whenever they wish. At work, when chilling on the couch, or even when going out at night.

Do you knit other people’s designs and if so, can you tell us a few of your favourites

I would love to knit more other designers’ work, and this is a New Year’s resolution for me every year! So far, I haven’t been able to fulfill it this year. But there are so many wonderful designers out there who inspire us with their ideas. Justyna obviously is one of them – I love her work! But I’m also a huge fan of Joji, Alicia Plummer and Norah Gaughan, and of many, many others! I wish my day had ten hours more so I could knit more of their beautiful designs.

tau
Tau

If you could only knit with one colour, what would it be?

That would be grey, of course. :) Grey is a color that goes together with pretty much anything else. It’s easy to dress it up or down, and it has a certain elegance to it. The larger part of my wardrobe is grey, too, which makes it easy to combine. And you can always add a small color pop to it to make it more interesting!

What do you do while you knit? Read? Listen to podcasts/Audiobooks? Watch TV?

I listen to podcasts and audiobooks! My favorite podcasts are the Woolful podcast and Kristen Finley’s Skein podcast. Both are lovely and interesting, and they sweeten my day when I have a lot of knitting to do.

For audiobooks, I have a pretty wide variety of what I enjoy. When I was younger I used to read a lot, but nowadays I don’t find a lot of time for that anymore. So I’m very happy to have my audiobooks, because that way I still get a lot of reading done, somehow. :)

Are there any crafts or hobbies you do (other than knitting of course ;-)?

Not really. I have three little kids, aged 3, 4 and 6, and they do keep me busy. – there’s simply no time for another activity! But I enjoy just hanging out with them, watching them play. So they are my hobby, I guess I could say.

Do you dream about knitting at night?

That’s a funny question, but thinking back, I guess no. I dream all kinds of crazy things at night, but I don’t recall any knitting dream.

What are the 3 most important knitting items you use?

Obviously my knitting needles come first! Second would be a pair of scissors, and the third is probably a measuring tape and a gauge measuring tool. Sounds pretty boring, no? But they’re really the tools I use most.

qwistmitts
Quist Mitts

Melanie Berg is a former IT specialist, mother of three and  (in her own words) a semi-successful housewife.

She lives with her husband and three children in Bonn, Germany, where she spends her time combining colors, shapes and textures into freewheeling designs that are uniquely her own.

Find her on Ravelry or on her website.

Make sure to visit Melanie’s little spots on the internet. I believe she has a lot of seriously gorgeous designs that you’ll love!

See you soon,
Zara & Justyna