One of the first pattern lines that we carried at The Loopy Ewe was Heartstrings FiberArts. Jackie has so many different projects and patterns, and they’re all fun to work through! I asked if she’d like to be a part of our Designer Spotlight and she was happy to do so. I hope you enjoy getting to know her. Be sure to read through to the end for a special pattern offer.
Loopy: Hi Jackie! Thanks for being in our Designer Spotlight today. Can you tell us how long you’ve been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Jackie: I am still learning to knit! lol Discovering one thing only opens up avenues of new discovery. I first picked up the needles when about 5 years of age. No, I wasn’t a child prodigy and didn’t learn knitting on the spot, but that was truly when I believe the stone was cast. I loved watching my mommy knit socks for my daddy. One afternoon when I was supposed to be taking a nap, I saw a sock-in-progress on the bed and picked it up and started knitting. Of course I made a mess of it, tried to fix it, and then laid it aside as if nothing had happened! Then when I was 8, they taught us to knit at Brownies (i.e. little people Girl Scouts). I got one ball of blue (donated) yarn and knit 2-needle mittens. There wasn’t enough yarn to finish them, so I unraveled it many times over and just kept re-knitting different things from the same ball, learning something new each time.
Loopy: It sounds like you made good use of your first ball of yarn. What is your favorite type of item to knit now?
Jackie: I am inclined to knitting lighter-weight garments and accessories that can be layered. There are so many advantages to extending a basic wardrobe, as well as wearing just the right amount as you move between climates.
Loopy: That’s true. I love knitting accessories and shawls for that very reason. What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Jackie: I guess I would consider that to be a wedding ring Shetland shawl I knit several years ago. The knitting was not difficult, but the challenge was just the magnitude (to me at the time) of a large lace shawl in fine yarn.
Loopy: I don’t know about that not being difficult. It looks like there are a lot of different patterns going on in that beautiful shawl! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Jackie: My formal designing for sale began in 1994. I had been getting requests for years to write up some of my designs, but it was finally through prompting from the owner of a local yarn store in New Orleans, Bette Bornside, that I finally made the commitment to proceed.
Loopy: Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Jackie: I designed “Cascading Hearts Faroese Shawl” in 1995 and it is still my premiere signature piece. “Thinking of You” is a modified version for simpler knitting (initially designed in 2006 for Women Heart, to which I contributed sales proceeds in support of friends and family with heart disease).
Loopy: There are pretty hearts in both of those designs. What is your favorite part of designing? And your not so favorite part?
Jackie: Favorite … Seeing people knit the pattern and use it for their own creations. Not so favorite … All the business stuff. It takes up at least 90% of my time vs. what I can devote to designing. Who would have thought that there is more to designing than just to design?
Loopy: I think that’s especially hard for creative people like yourself. It’s much more fun to deal with the design side, and a much better use of your talents! Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing? Or do you do this business all the time?
Jackie: I took early retirement from my full-time corporate work-a-day world in 2001. I guess you could say, I now do my HeartStrings design business “half-time”. It is not unusual for me to work 12 or more hours in the 24-hour day! That is fine, though, when it is somthing I enjoy. If I ever get to the point of not enjoying, it, I will turn to something else that interests me.
Loopy: That still sounds pretty full time. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Jackie: I love all things yarn and fiber. Knitting is just the one that I focused on for post-retirement from my computer-oriented career. I also enjoy spinning, weaving, dyeing, crocheting, and embroidery. Non-yarn-related: I enjoy cooking, hiking, playing cards, and music. Obviously I can’t get these all in on the same day, or even month. But I keep trying, lol!
Loopy: What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Jackie: If it’s in the warmer weather months (when I am in Colorado) – hiking in the Rockies. For the colder weather months (when I am in Louisiana) – going to a music festival.
Loopy: Coke or Pepsi? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors?
Jackie: I can’t even remember when I last drank a soda, but when I did I definitely preferred Coke. I’ve lived in New Orleans too long not to be a coffee convert, lol! But I don’t pass up a good cup of tea, either. I am primarily an English knitter (although I do not throw; instead I use the “lever action” method to reduce movement). I do use Continental with 2-color knitting, and also for demonstrations in classes where needed to accommodate students using that method (and to prove to them that what I am teaching does work while holding the yarn in either the right or left hand, which is basically what it comes down to). Solids or multicolors? I love them all. Bring ‘em on!
Loopy: We love all types of yarn here, too. Anything else you’d like to add?
Jackie: I loved visiting your shop last summer and was really impressed with your lovely, organized presentation of yarns and other delights throughout. You happened to be traveling then, so I hope there will be a next time soon when we will get a chance to meet in person.
Loopy: I hope so, too!
Jackie is offering a 20% discount to our blog readers, on one of her patterns between now and next Friday (2/7 – 2/14). Pop over to her Ravelry pattern page (code LOOPYHEARTS) and pick the one that you’d like to make and tell us what you chose!