I’m In Love… An Interview with Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

26 Jun
Glacial by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

Glacial by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

 

Apparently I’ve started a new series of blog posts. The “I’m In Love” series will be about all of the designers/dyers/products I love. Sometimes with interviews, sometimes not. Miss Ruth Garcia-Alcantud of Rock+Purl was stellar enough to let me interview her. I’ve been dying to ask her questions ever since I saw her amazing designs a few years ago. Ruth is a doll, opinionated, funny, and a darling. Her knits are beautiful and I can’t believe she agreed to let me interview her!

 

Rockpool by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

Rockpool by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

 

 

Miss Vicious Knits: To knitters who don’t know your awesome self, how would you introduce them to you?
Ruth: Hi I’m Ruth and I drink a lot of coffee. ūüôā My designs are nothing but wearable art to me, they are engineered to enhance the figure and create an even more beautiful you!!

MVK: We’re halfway though 2013, did you have a knitting goal? Have you achieved it?
Ruth: Ha! Not even close. I thought I’d be two-thirds done with my book by now‚Ķ but other interesting propositions came around, which I think will raise my profile up and therefore give a bigger boost to the book upon its release, so I chose to pursue those. Curious? Come winter you will find out!!

MVK: What’s currently on your needles?
Ruth: I’m finishing a pair of socks for myself, as well as working on a book garment with the luscious Indigodragonfly Merino Silk Sock. As TNNA is coming up soon I’m also thinking of something easy and mindless to stitch on while I have meals and drinks with my friends!

MVK: How would you describe your design style?
Ruth: In terms of process, I’m a blueprint designer – I am far more inclined to design something when I think there’s a challenge in how to manipulate a simple shape to become more flattering. In terms of fashion style? I like wearable shapes that tend towards being wardrobe staples, I encourage my customers to pick their colours and yarns in order to flatter them, and love seeing those wardrobe staples taking a life of their own – from the people that dress up one of my hoodies (Chambourcin) with a pencil skirt to those that add sass to a school uniform with my sweaters (Agnes Pullover).

Caramel by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

Caramel by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

 

MVK: Your designs are pretty and elegant. What was your favorite piece to design?
Ruth: I’ve the softest of spots for Caramel. It was a delight to create, from its conception stage (pencil sketch) to the blueprint (schematics) – I knew the yarn I wanted to use and could envision the finished project clearly, including the buttons and the ribbon on the edging. It’s beautiful and I wish it got more attention!

MVK: Tell us about your book!
Ruth: My publisher is Cooperative Press – I chose to pitch to them because of the freedom of choice in terms of style and feel for the book, as well as the very open and honest conversations we have regarding deadlines and involvement of external people in the project. CP’s Shannon Okey has been incredibly supportive of my career and progress since I very first started, so it only makes this project all the more special.
The book will be full of garments you will want to knit and wear, in a huge variety of sizes, from 30 to 50 inches and more. The yarns have been carefully selected to match the projects and the feel of the garment – some of the yarn dyers involved so far are Indigodragonfly, Skein Queen, Northbound Knitting, Candy Skein, Three Irish Girls‚Ķ. and there’s a lot more to come!!
I’m hoping this book will introduce the rock+purl style to those who don’t know it yet while also appealing to those who have been knitting my designs for a while…, and hope it paves the way for future books!

MVK: What are your favorite yarns to work with?
Ruth: I’m in a committed, long-term love affair with Rowan Felted Tweed. My first ever garment was made with it and I keep coming back to it. I’ve approx 4 sweater lots of it in my studio, waiting to be knit. For socks, I love Hazel Knits, it’s SO perfect for socks and their colours are delicious! A worsted weight I recently fell in love with is Anzula’s For Better or Worsted. It’s SO cushy and beautiful, with incredible stitch definition – I’m looking forward to playing with it some more! Another independent dyer you all should keep an eye out is Wool Dispensary. Incredibly saturated colours and great bases. I still can’t pick which one I’ll use in my book!!!

Sincerely Yours by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

Sincerely Yours by Ruth Garcia-Alcantud

 

MVK: Who is your designer crush?
Ruth: Oh that’s a TOUGH one!!! There are many people I admire and different reasons for it. I admire Eunny Jang because I can’t think of anyone else who could invent the Tangled Yoke pattern. I’m in awe of Kim Hargreaves because she’s so prolific and classy. I have the pleasure of counting Woolly Wormhead as a close friend and I can tell you the spatial abilities and ways to un-vent hats she has just blow me away.

MVK: I, personally, would love to know what inspires you?
Ruth: I love people-watching, and things-watching. Sometimes I’ll gladly sit somewhere and just stare into space, see things in unexpected places, a window frame can tell me to be a sweater. A balcony was the inspiration for my current Mystery Shawl. A hand on someone’s shoulder triggered the design for a garment for my book. I also tend to keep an open mind and stay up to speed with trends. I subscribe to Vogue and read it carefully, I watch what’s out in stores, what people are wearing when I see someone that looks confident and comfortable‚Ķ

MVK: How did you first start designing knitwear?
Ruth: It was a bit of synergy. I was unemployed and found myself needing to create further than just following a pattern. Increasingly I was counting on books and chats to my father (who has worked in fashion forever) for modifications to existing knits, discussions on what does and doesn’t work‚Ķ and the last straw was a sweater that fit me like a tent. I chose to start small – I designed shawls and socks at first, while I worked carefully on garment designs. Once those were a bit more seasoned, I switched gears and chose to stay on a part-time office job while boosting production on my garment designs, learning fit, fabric qualities and grading.
Everyone’s paths are different, I guess mine was a combination of factors, but it worked out: I just celebrated my one-year self-employedversary!!

 

Thank you again to Ruth for allowing me to interview her! You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, her website, AND on Ravelry! Next up is Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots!

P.S. – All photos courtesy of Ruth! ūüôā

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I’m In Love… An Interview With Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting

19 Jun

I don’t review things I don’t like and lie to my readers, pretending I like things I really don’t. And I don’t go on and on about people/things/yarns/patterns that I don’t absolutely fucking adore. Case in point – I absolutely adore Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting. Her designs are amazing, her yarns are exquisite, and she is an absolute joy to know. So when I found out she had two new designs coming out, I really felt like it was time to re-interview her and see what was going on with one of my favorite people in the Knitting World.

Everlong Legwarmers by Lisa Mutch

Everlong Legwarmers by Lisa Mutch

Miss Vicious Knits: Where is your yarn being sold?
Lisa Mutch: As of right now, besides the nbk Etsy shop, nbk yarns are being sold at Lettuce Knit in Toronto, Canada, Jules Wollshop in Bielefeld, Germany, Yarnaholic  in Chiba-ken, Japan, Meadow Yarn in Suffolk, UK, and in the US at In The Loop in Norfolk, MA and Do Ewe Knit in Hoboken, NJ.

MVK: What are some description words for these new patterns?
LM: uhm…descriptive words for my designs are always kinda the same. Simple, geometric, bold…..that sounds like such a shit answer though.

MVK: Any new color ways coming out?
LM: Yes, always new colourways coming out! Every month I release a new colourway for the nbk yarn club but also try to add new colourways to the updates when I can.

MVK: How do you keep coming up with these patterns? What inspires you?
LM:¬†I have so many design ideas, I just can’t seem to knit them fast enough!¬†¬†I don’t know exactly¬†where they come from but usually stem from an idea for something I would want to wear. I’m very particular with my clothing and shawls and often will look at patterns but can never find exactly what I have in mind. So I just¬†create it myself.

Nazar Shawl by Lisa Mutch

MVK: How do you manage your time? You’re ridiculously busy but still manage to design, dye, take care of two kids, and knit for yourself!
LM: How do I manage my time? Good question! I am slightly obsessive with list making and being very organized. Every day I follow my to-do list and try to be as time-effective as I possibly can be, while still spending quality time with my children and saving a little bit of time for myself every day. Usually in the evening, after the kids are in bed is my quiet, alone time. And chances are you can find me knitting, having a glass of wine then.

MVK: Who are designers/dyers that you look up to?
LM:¬† There are lots of dyers and designers that I like but honestly, I try not to pay too much attention to what everyone else is doing. And that makes me sound like a snob, which I’m not. [MVK NOTE: It’s true, she’s not!]

Nazar by Lisa Mutch

Nazar by Lisa Mutch

MVK: What do you have on  the needles right now?
LM:¬†Right now I’m working on a few new designs. A merino/silk dk cowl, an alpaca/silk/cashmere shawl and a few other ideas I’m swatching for.

MVK: We’re halfway through 2013. Did you have a knitting goal for the year? Have you achieved it?
LM: I don’t really set out knitting goals for myself, I just knit.

Nectar, Oleander, Medusa, Sapphire, and Nocturne

Nectar, Oleander, Medusa, Sapphire, and Nocturne

MVK: What should we be looking for from you over the next six months?
LM:¬† I don’t have anything exciting coming up soooo……yarn fiber and knitting patterns?

photo 1

Gelato socks by Chrissy Gardiner using Nocturne by Lisa Mutch

MVK: Every knitter has a “DUH” moment with a knitting project. Tell us bout one of your funniest knitting adventures.
LM:¬† I have been thinking hard about this one, but can’t come up with anything! I’m so boring.

MVK: You’re becoming rather larger (and, you know, a “big deal”) How does that make you feel?
LM: Haha, I don’t know about a ‘big deal’ but you’re right, things are steadily getting busier and busier over at chez nbk and to be honest,¬†it’s so flattering¬†for me. To think that¬†so many¬†people all around the world¬†are knitting designs I’ve created or knitting with¬†yarn I’ve dyed, is amazing. I feel very lucky, grateful and proud of all the recognition and positive feedback I’ve received from so many people.

Gelato socks by Chrissy Gardiner using Nocturne by Lisa Mutch

Gelato socks by Chrissy Gardiner using Nocturne by Lisa Mutch

 

Lisa’s newest designs are a comfy pair of legwarmers called Everlong and a beautiful shawl named Nazar and they’re coming out soon!

In the next week or so I plan on posting interviews with the amazing Ruth Garcia-Alcantud of Rock and Purl and Miss Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots. There are many designers and dyers of the knitting world that I think my readers should be exposed to. And these are just two out of many! If you could ask any designer/dyer any question, who would you ask and what would it be?

Make Up Your Mind

4 Jun

20130604-135736.jpg

I’m trying to decide if I like knitting plain socks anymore. Maybe I just need a challenge.

Oh Baby

22 May

20130522-130306.jpg

I’ve been working on this blanket (Pattern is Baby Love Diagonal Blanket¬†by Lion Brand Yarn) for the past week and a half. It’s mindless as all hell but I think sometimes you need a mindless knit before or after a challenging one.

I’ve also been stuck looking at KnitHacker a lot. I’m not gonna lie, the website/concept is REALLY cool but I dislike all of¬† the crochet things (Hello. It’s not CrochetHacker) or finding something that I don’t think is extraordinary like leg warmers. If there’s some crazy color work, then SURE. I’d love to see legwarmers! But a plain pair of ribbed leg warmers? No thanks.

It’s been getting warmer in San Diego, and as it happens every year when it heats up, my hands get clammy. I’ve been trying to think about working on lighter weight projects (you know… once I finish this blanket) and I’ve been thinking lots about socks or shawls. Nothing makes me happier than knitting a shawl. Mmmmm shaaawwlls.

Is it warming up where you are? What are your warmer weather go to knits?

FINE. YOU CAN HAVE WHAT YOU WANT.

14 May

For fuck’s sake. OK. YOU WANT PICTURES? YOU CAN HAVE PICTURES!

A tub full of commissioned socks for men. 100% alpaca wool.

A tub full of commissioned socks for men. 100% alpaca wool.

And I hated knitting them. I really like the person I knitted  them FOR. Just not the yarn I was asked to use.

Plain Jane sock

Plain Jane sock

Plain Jane sock using Northbound Knitting Fingering in Nautical.

IMG_5459Plain Jane socks using Knit Picks in Minty.

IMG_5627Socks for KristiLynn using Knit Picks.

Yarn for cup cozies!

Yarn for cup cozies!

The grey yarn was dyed by Lisa of Northbound Knitting and the orange was dyed by Knitted Wit.

IMG_5650 IMG_5648 IMG_5636These three are examples of cup cozies that I’m knitting as wedding favors for my wedding!

More plain jane socks from a local yarn dyer whose name I can't remember and if I recall, can't be found online anyway.

More plain jane socks from a local yarn dyer whose name I can’t remember and if I recall, can’t be found online anyway.

IMG_5725A work in progress pic of Drizzle by Meghan Jackson using Berry Colorful Yarnings in Cheshire Cat.

LAST ONE.

LAST ONE.

This was a last minute Mother’s Day gift for my momma. She’s allergic to wool and most other things so I knit her this Storm Fir shawl¬†by Fiddle Knits¬†in Sprout (100% Organic Cotton) by Classic Elite Yarns. The colorway is Steel Blue which you really can’t tell from this picture but I swear, it is.

 

[Not A Knitting Post] I Don’t Look In The Mirror…

6 May

I was surfing the internet this morning when I came across this article. This author of the article talks about how she used to look in the mirror (or windows or anything with a reflection) CONSTANTLY to make sure that her “flaws” weren’t easily seen. The article goes on to talk about how she gave up using a mirror for a year.

Now, my head twisted this article around and I started to get really angry. REALLY angry. Angry to the point where I got maybe halfway through the article before showing the page to KristiLynn (you know, my BFF) and saying I needed to stop reading articles.

I don’t look in the mirror for different reasons.

I have Discoid Lupus, an auto immune disease that attacks my skin, leaving lesions and scars. I can get these lesions from UV light, stress, and heat (amongst other things.) They show up on my face and arms and I’ve got a lovely more specific kind of Lupus (Tumid Lupus) on my back and chest which leaves bumps all over, making it look like I have hundreds of mosquito bites.

I don’t look in the mirror because I feel these scars make me look ugly. I feel like¬†maybe if I don’t look, don’t see them, they don’t exist and that no one else can see them too.¬†I look in the mirror long enough to brush my hair in the mornings. That’s it.¬†Other than that, I don’t look. I maybe look at my hair in the bathroom while I’m at work, but even then, it’s unlikely. If I look for too long, I see them, see all the imperfections. See the¬†pock marks on my face and realize everyone else can see them too. And¬†then I worry that people will stare because of all of these scars (even though “all of these scars” equals maybe five scars on my face.)

I’m not going to hide the fact that even while I type this post, I’m fighting back tears. I’m angry that there are women out there with beautiful scar-free faces that are worried about being “not thin enough” and THAT is why they don’t look in the mirror. You can fix fat. You can’t fix scars.

 

May is Lupus Awareness Month

3 May

In case you didn’t know…

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in forever. Writing has seemed like such a chore and things have been busy… too busy.

I got engaged on Christmas Day so I’ve been spending a good chunk of time getting ready for the wedding. We have a ceremony/reception location, I have a dress, and we know where we want to order our cake from, but other than that, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

My commissioned knitting has been taking up a good chunk of my time as well. I knit a tie for Donna Druchunas that was in the Spring issue of Knitting Traditions from Interweave which was super exciting. And I have another project on the needles for Donna as well (but as she hasn’t given me permission to talk about it, I won’t say anymore.)

I’ve been spending a lot of time knitting plain jane socks and working on knitting cup cozies in my wedding colors (Charcoal and Pumpkin in case you were interested) as wedding favors. My favorite pair of socks currently has to be a pair of plain janes I knit out of Northbound Knitting fingering weight yarn in Nautical. They are hands down the most gorgeous socks ever. AND they’re super soft. I suppose I’ll post a picture of them next time I update.

I got a new laptop around Thanksgiving and haven’t put any of my pictures or files on it yet because within the first two weeks of owning it I got a horrible virus and the entire thing had to be wiped. So I’m afraid (I guess) of putting all of my files and pictures on it and the laptop getting another virus and then everything would be gone all over again. In my round about way, that’s why there are no pictures in this post. There are no pictures on this laptop for me to include. Other than wedding venue pictures. Which has no place on a knitting blog.

Although to be honest, I’m not sure this post has a place on this blog. This seems to be just random ramblings of a crazy woman.

Sigh.

Readers, do me a favor, will you? Post in the comment section about what you’d like to read about next. I need some inspiration.