I always have fun finding new patterns to explore on Ravelry. I keep an eye out for great designs that I can share with you on Mondays and Thursdays (for the Updates) and great designers that I can share with you in the Designer Spotlight. Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Michelle, from Leah Michelle Designs. Be sure to get in on the special offer at the bottom of the post!
Loopy: Hi Michelle! Thanks for sitting down to talk with us today. How long have you been a knitter, and who taught you to knit?
Michelle: Hi Loopy! I’ve been a serious knitter for 12 years. I learned form my grandma when I was young and started a scarf with a lightweight yarn and small needles. I eventually gave up, but I still have it! I became serious about knitting when my kids were 2 and 5. I wanted to knit hats, scarves, and mittens for them. I bought a knitting magazine, needles and yarn, and have been adding new knitting techniques to my repertoire ever since.
Loopy: What is your favorite type of item to knit now?
Michelle: I like knitting everything! If I had to pick one favorite item, I guess it would be cowls. They are quick and easy to knit, they don’t require much finishing, and because I live in a cold climate, I can wear them a lot.
Loopy: I like making cowls for those very same reasons. One can never have too many, and they’re easy to wear. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Michelle: Hmm. I think each new technique I attempt to learn is my biggest challenge at the time. I’m knitting Jane Richmond’s Grace pattern right now. It’s the first top down sweater I have ever done, so I’d say it’s my most challenging project to date. I love to knit patterns that challenge me with new techniques, so whatever new technique I’m learning at the moment is my biggest challenge.
Loopy: That’s a nice way to move to the next project – finding a new technique you’d like to learn. When did you start designing, and what got you interested in that?
Michelle: I started with simple dishcloths about 4 years ago and I designed my own because I wanted dishcloths that didn’t look ‘homemade’. I wanted edges that were straight and square and didn’t curl. I wanted clean and simple lines. That desire has transferred into all of my patterns. I like clean, structure, and linear designs.
Loopy: Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Michelle: My favorite pattern is probably my first paid pattern – Just a Little Twist. It’s a beautiful little scarf designed in Malabrigo Silky. It’s so soft and luxurious and I’m still wearing it after knitting it two years ago.
Loopy: I like that pattern! And I think I have just the yarn for it. Beautiful in semi-solids, but I also think it would be fun in a variegated. So what are your favorite and not-so-favorite parts of designing?
Michelle: My favorite part is the thrill of releasing a new design and watching it (hopefully!) become popular. I really can’t think of a not-so-favorite part. I like it all!
Loopy: Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Michelle: Yes. My ‘real job’ is in an elementary school. It’s fast-paced and sometimes stressful, so knitting and designing is how I relax and also how I express my creative side.
Loopy: So you do the designing business on the side. Is that hard?
Michelle: I only self-publish my patterns right now so that I can work at my own pace. I don’t always have time for designing, so I can’t commit to deadlines. I guess the hard part is that I wish I had more time to design.
Loopy: Does anyone else in your family knit?
Michelle: The only person in my immediate family that doesn’t knit is my husband. Even my 16 year old son knits (okay, it was one time, but still). He recently knitted a scarf for his girlfriend for Christmas! My 13 year old daughter knits, and my sister knits, too.
Loopy: I hope your son’s girlfriend appreciates that handknit scarf! Are there any other hobbies you enjoy besides knitting?
Michelle: When I have time, I love to bake. I also love to read.
Loopy: So what would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Michelle: Knitting, of course!
Loopy: Good choice. And one last thing: Coke or Pepsi? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors?
Michelle: I’m trying to kick my Diet Pepsi habit right now. I need my daily morning coffee, but I’ve recently discovered David’s Tea. I still don’t know which is English and which is Continental. I hold my yarn in my right hand. Which one is that? I’m learning to embrace all types of color. I was always a neutral and beige kind of girl. Knitting is slowly opening my mind to the possibilities of color.
Loopy: It sounds like you knit English. Now you know! Anything else you’d like to add?
Michelle: Thanks for interviewing me – this was fun!
Michelle is offering our blog readers 20% off any one of her patterns, with the code “loopyewe”. This offer is good today through next Friday, March 7th. Hop on over to her Ravelry pattern store and pick a fun one, then pop over to The Loopy Ewe to get some yarn to go with it. Thanks for the offer, Michelle!