The first ‘Designer of the month’ is Sarah Brunenberg. I first saw one of her designs in Pom Pom Magazine’s 2016 spring issue which featured her Perdendicular Shawl. I love her interesting construction and really enjoyed the thumb gusset on Yubinashi Mitts which I knitted before Christmas (you can read about more the pattern here). Her designs are modern and usually beautifully textured and am very excited to see what she comes up with in the future.
Before we get the interview I just want to say thank you to Sarah for agreeing to be the first designer to be featured and for offering readers a 50% discount on her patterns. You can get the discount on Ravelry with the coupon code: feature50.
But now without further ado, here is Sarah.
When did you learn to knit? Did someone teach you or did you teach yourself?
Back in 2009, I learned to knit because I wanted one of these chunky double-length cowls that I saw all over the internet. But in Germany I could not find them somehow, so I walked into a yarn store, bought 7mm needles and some yarn and had my mother teach me how to knit. She did the cast on and the bind off, which was a bit troublesome because of course I ended up with many more stitches than I started with! After that, I caught the bug and started teaching myself how to brioche, purl, and everything else using youtube.
Why did you start designing? What gave you the idea?
After reading many, many patterns for fun, a good friend budgered me into submitting a design idea to a magazine, which I am so thankful for today! She said my idea was good and that I should just try it. Worst they can say is no, right? I literally jumped up and down for excitement when I got the acceptance email.
What is your favourite yarn and/or fibre to work with? Why?
Recently, single-breed wool started to appeal to me. It is fascinating how these different fibres feel, depending on how they were grown, spun or even what the sheep were fed. My inner collector enjoys working with fibres that are unavailable in Europe, like Romney, Lincoln or Targhee wool.
What is your favourite knitting/designing resource? Books? Magazines? Blogs? Software?
Since I work in a Japanese book store, I have access to many Japanese stitch pattern books and they are a big favourite. Perhaps my biggest resource is actually Ravelry – looking up uses for yarns I bought on a whim, what kind of needle sizes did other Ravelers use to knit up a certain item and so on. There is so much useful information and of course community to be found.
Can you describe your designing process? What is your favourite part?
Usually, I start with an inspiration. Sometimes I like thinking up new ways to construct something (see the Perpendicular shawl) but often it’s just a stitch pattern that I like and want to have in a certain shape. Then starts the swatching for the perfect yarn/needle combination. What I enjoy most is the actual knitting. Seeing a new object come to life is always exciting.
Do you have any tips or tricks for other knitters that had an impact on your knitting?
I used to hate the gap at the cast on of socks and hat brims. I tried many things to avoid it but none stuck or looked perfect enough for me. A huge tip I learned through a Craftsy class was when setting up stitches for knitting in the round, to slip the first stitch of the first round. In the next round, when you come to that stitch, use the length of slipped yarn to knit the stitch normally before starting the second round. Use a crochet hook if you find it difficult to do with your needles. Makes a neat transition every time!
What does knitting mean to you? Why do you do it?
Knitting is a huge part of my life and if you meet me in the street I will always carry a project in my bag. Creating something that I can wear and use has become very essential to me. Originally, I wanted to create my own clothes in my own pace but there has yet to be a jumper or cardigan with the perfect fit (of course ;). I am a big girl and finding clothes that I like has always been difficult, so making them myself was an obvious, but long-winding solution.
What do you have planned for the future as a designer? Do you want to make it a full-time job or is it a hobby for you?
Designing started out as a hobby for me but in 2017 I want to tackle the hurdle and take it more seriously, publish more designs and make spending time on it more profitable. Since the market is competitive I don’t think it can turn into a full-time job. But there are still so many ideas begging to be knit up that I can’t wait to show them to you all.