Tag Archives: dyeing

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?


And The Winner Is… PLUS an Interview with Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting!

28 Mar
© Lisa Mutch

The Winner


Congrats to Deborah! I’ll try emailing you but please send me an email at brittvicious@gmail.com just in case!

We had a great bunch of people comment on the giveaway post to win a copy of Lisa Mutch’s Nightlock shawl (which I will email the winner) and to receive two skeins of Lisa’s yarn. Thank you to EVERYONE that entered, retweeted, and commented. Your appreciation made Lisa and I smile tons!

The Interview

Over the past couple of weeks I have had the joy and the pleasure of getting to chat with Lisa. She’s a dear sweetheart. Not gonna lie. I’d get all sappy about how awesome she is but I have a feeling that that would just bore everyone to tears. Or, I’d run out of nice things to say about her. In my time getting to know her, I was dying to ask her questions about her process and how she comes up with the things she does. Lisa was kind enough to answer some of my questions.

1. How did you first get into knitting?

I always loved the look of hand knit scarves and sweaters, so about 10 years ago when I quit smoking, I decided knitting would be the perfect hobby to keep my hands busy. I went to the local craft store, bought a Debbie Bliss ‘how to knit’ book, some needles, yarn and taught myself how to knit.

2. What was your first design and how did you come up with it?

Hmmm, my first design…..I started making up my own patterns very soon after learning to knit. I could never seem to get the recommended gauge or didn’t have the right weight yarn so I would improvise or just make it up as I went along. Before I figured out how to knit in the round, I would knit a flat rectangle, seam the long edges together, leaving a 3″ hole and voila, wrist warmers.

3. What inspires your knit wear?

My designs are always a result of something I want to wear. Either I see a shape that would make a cool sweater, or really need a light weight spring scarf. But all of my designs come from the selfish girl in me who needs 27 cardigans and a different shawl to wear every day of the week.

4. From start to finish, how long does it take to come up with designs?

From start to finish, the publication of a pattern can take several months. First there is sketching and swatching. A lot of sketching. And a lot of swatching. Then I knit the sample, write the pattern, edit the pdf, have it tech edited and test knit. Doesn’t sound like much, but it can be a several month long process.

5. When did you start dyeing?

I started dyeing about a year or so after knitting. Once again, being the annoyingly fussy person that I am, I could never find the exact colour I was looking for. Then as soon as I discovered spinning, the dyeing became an obsession. Not only could I dye my own yarn, but I could dye my own spinning fiber and that’s when all the fiber started piling up.

6. What do you use for dyes? What does your process include

I use professional grade acid dyes on my yarn and fiber but I did a lot of dabbling with kool-aid when I first started which was soooo much fun, and smelled delicious.

7. What inspires your color ways?

Oh, colourway inspiration is everywhere. A lot of my colourways are based on food and nature but really, I see potential colourways in everything, my children’s toys, hair colours, nail polish, everything.

8. What can we expect to see from you in the upcoming months?

The next few months are looking pretty busy. I have a few new yarn bases, fiber breeds and colourways to try out. And of course, I always have too many design ideas floating around in my head, distracting me.

9. Where do you do all your creating? Do you have a special space?

I have a knitting spot, with a little table where I keep my ‘Project’ binder. This is where I sit at night, when the kids have gone to bed and I can write down ideas, do some sketching or swatching.

10. How did you first come about selling your awesome yarns and designs?

A knitting friend of mine had a booth at our local farmer’s market where she sold wool and craft supplies and asked if I wanted to give her a few things to sell. I wrote up a few of my wrist warmer patterns, along with some hand dyed fiber and yarn and over the next few months, my stuff sold really well. From there, I opened my Etsy shop and published a few patterns on Ravelry, and well, that’s it.

11. I wanna know is designing and dyeing your job? Or do you have a job job? Other than your family of course.

Well, yeah. I’m a stay at home mom but gradually, my dyeing and designing has grown from a hobby into a business and my part time job. Hopefully with the way things are going, it’ll be my full time job very soon.

12.What is the most exciting part of your “job” to you?

Hmmmm, that’s a good one. So much of it is exciting to me. I get pretty excited about trying new colourways. Oh, and seeing people’s reactions to a new design. I also get waaaay too excited about yarn and fiber photoshoots and posting spoiler pics.

13.I like to imagine my faves put on a tv show or certain music while dyeing or designing, do you do that? If so, what’s the playlist?

Oh yeah, I always listen to music when dyeing. It’s very inspirational and usually influences what colourways I end up dyeing that day. I listen to everything, and it really depends on my mood. One day it’ll be The Cure, next could be Adele or Weezer or Radiohead. You never know. I don’t listen to music when designing though. There’s too many numbers and math. I need quiet, and sometimes chocolate.

Remember, you can purchase Lisa’s wonderful patterns on Ravelry or in her Etsy Shop.

I Am Miss Vicious

7 Oct

Sometimes I get into this funk where in the knitting community, I feel like a little fish in a big, BIG pond. Here I am, swimming around, barely making a ripple. Whereas the big fish, like Stephen West, make tidal waves as they go through their days swimming.

But Miss Kim reminded me of something. She said to me tonight “are not! [Referring to me calling myself a small fish] Yous Miss Vicious for fucks sake! You are immense in yarnballs and attitude :-)”

And she’s right. I AM Miss Vicious. I might not make huge waves in the knitting community but I do some kick ass work and have made some awesome knitting friends. I can power out shawls like you cannot believe and even though I might get frustrated with a project, I never give up. I have conquered sweaters and lace shawls and have even attempted to design a thing or two.

One day, yes, it’d be nice to be a big fish (Oh-hello-Stephen-West-fame), but maybe for now, I can settle for being a kick ass small fish.

With that being said, What the Fuck has my problem been lately? Every morning on my commute into work I’ve thought to myself “I need to write a blog post today” and instead, I’ve been procrastinating. Because I felt like I’d already written some awesome posts and that I had plateaued. How disappointed have you all been, knowing that I haven’t written a sassy new post for you to read? I know you’ve been dying to hear about my finished projects.

Using custom dyed AtKnitsEnd yarn for my mom's Christmas shawl

Since the last time I posted, I finished the From Dawn Till Dusk Shawlette by Tetiana Otruta, created a wrap based off of a cowl called A Cowl with a Little Twist by Linda Frydl, finished a Zig Zag Shawl by Marion Bulin, finished New Moon Shawl by Anita Grahn, and started two christmas projects. BOOYAH. I have been a busy bee for the past couple of weeks. Not to mention that on Monday I plan on participating in the At Knits End Knit-A-Long featuring the Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes.

How have you darlings been? Working your fingers to the bone? Knitting up a storm? Lusting for a new Miss Vicious Knits blog post? Tell me all the juicy gossip!

Interview with Kim Hartmann of At Knits End Yarns

15 Sep

At Knits End Yarns © Kim Hartmann

Kim Hartmann, creator of At Knits End Yarns, sat down with me today and answered all my questions about dyeing, smells, and why her yarn is so absolutely fantastically yummy.

Miss Vicious: When did you dye your first skein of yarn?

Kim:About 2 years ago…Maybe a year and a half? And the very first thing I dyed was dorset wool for spinning with acid dye. Was trying to match the pink of a Stargazer lily. Switched to kool-aid shortly after.

I Put A Spell On Ewe © Kim Hartmann

MV: How did you first start dyeing yarn?
Kim: By the time I started with yarn I was dyeing exclusively with kool-aid. I started doing yarn as well as spinning fiber because not everyone spins and as long as I am dyeing, it doesn’t really matter to me what it is. It’s all about the wool , not what form it is. Wool is a fucking magical thing.

MV: Why did you decide to dye yarn?
Kim:Was just that not everyone spins and it is awesome to see something I dyed knit up.

MV: Why did you switch from acid dyes to kool-aid?
Kim: Just don’t care for the acid dyeing process at all. Think kool aid challenges me in a way I like. Really have to think about how I am going to get a color using a limited selection. Plus smells way better

MV: From start to finish, how long does the dyeing process take?
Kim: If I include pre-soak and cooling time would say 3-4 hours per skein, but can do several skeins at once so that time is a bit misleading

MV: What inspires you to come up with your colorways?
Kim: Everything. Have gotten inspired from everything from flowers to sunsets to Muppets to a bruise. My dyeing is very much like my personality. If you know me, or follow me on Twitter, you can see that whatever I am obsessing over at the time usually makes an appearance in the dyepot.

MV: What’s your favorite flavor to dye with?
Kim: Lemon-lime smells the best to me

Ewe look mauve-ulous © Kim Hartmann

MV: Why does the yarn smell so good? Is it because of the kool-aid?
Kim: Yep. Thats why. Also I store undyed yarns and dyed ones with lavender so people may get hints of that too.

MV: What is your favorite colorway that you’ve come up with?
Kim: Oh boy. They are all my babies. Dont know that I could pick a favorite.

MV: What is the most complicated thing you’ve ever done with dyeing?
Kim: Probably getting a chocolate brown. Not easy to do with koolaid. (Miss Vicious Note – The colorway Kim is referring to is Ewe Can Suck It.)

MV: How do you come up with the names for your colorways?
Kim:The names come from all over the place too. The only consistent thing is the ewe. Sometimes the name comes first and I will think about what that means to me color-wise, but often its the opposite. Sometimes friends will suggest them, and often am talking or texting with a friend and something comes that way.

I want ewe to want me © Kim Hartmann

MV: What is your preferred yarn to knit with? Your own? Name brand? Or do you not discriminate?
Kim:Am a stupid yarnie snob. Will admit it freely. Fleece artist is by far my favorite yarn of all time. Also have yarnie boner for Noro. Have been using my yarns alot lately….So I don’t have to use stash yarn and can keep it forever, after all can get more of the yarn I dyed anytime I want.

You can find At Knit’s End on Etsy and you can Kim on Twitter.

Sparkle ewe-r cake © Kim Hartmann