I am so happy and grateful to be able to introduce you to Solène Le Roux as my second designer of the month. I stumbled upon Solène about the same time I started designing myself during summer last year and watching her grow as a designer and have so much success is a constant source of inspiration and motivation. Her approach to knitting is very thoughtful and reflective and her love for our shared craft comes through in designs just as much as in her social media posts.
Solène’s designs are available on Ravelry and she is offering a 30% discount on her self-published patterns for you with the code ‘annikaandreaknits’. I highly recommend that after reading her lovely interview you should check out her designs. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook and her website.
When did you learn to knit? Did someone teach you or did you teach yourself?
My mother taught me to knit when I was a child. Every summer vacation, she would bring her current project and a few extra skeins and needles for my sister and I and we would make little squares of garter stitch. Then I proudly made my first garter stitch scarf in Harry Potter colors when I was about 12, and my first sweater at 15. After that I stopped, and picked up the needles only five years ago, when I was buying big wool sweaters and thought: “I can do that myself!”
Why did you start designing? What gave you the idea?
I started designing when I discovered Ravelry and all the amazing knitting community online. I first did it as a hobby but then I had my first designs accepted in publications at the beginning of 2016, and I realized that this could really become my career.
Can you describe your designing process? What is your favourite part?
The first part is inspiration. I like to browse through my art books, or look at photos of nature online. I draw shapes and patterns I like, and then I go to my stitch dictionaries and try to find a few stitch patterns I like. I draw them on paper, modify them, combine them to get to what I want and then I take my needles and start swatching. This is my favorite part! It doesn’t always work out and I often have to start over a few times, but I love when I get to the perfect swatch and I know just by looking at this little piece of fabric that I can make a whole design out of it. Then I have to do the math and figure out the whole design and I can actually start knitting. Sometimes I do both of these things at once, but I like to have most of my design planned before I start knitting so I don’t have to rip it. When the sample is finished, I take photos of it, and write the pattern that I send to my tech editor and to my test knitters to be ready for publication!
What is your dream project? Is it an existing pattern or something you dream of designing because you can’t find it anywhere?
My dream would be to design and knit a whole outfit from head to toe. That would mean knitting a dress or a sweater and a skirt, tights, and of course some matching accessories. It’s kind of a gigantic project but I really want to find the time to do it one day. I started designing to create my own handmade wardrobe, and actually wearing nothing but my knits from head to toe would feel like such an accomplishment. And it could also make a great collection!
English or Continental (or both)? Which way do you knit?
I knit English style because it’s the way I learned. I know how to knit Continental too, and I use it when I’m doing stranded knitting with both hands, but English feels more comfortable to me. I know it’s slower, but I’m okay with that. Knitting is my slow time anyway, and I really enjoy the slow process of creating something with my own two hands.
What does knitting mean to you? Why do you do it?
I have this need to create and to make things with my hands that are useful. When I design, I take what inspires me in the world around me and turn it into something unique. And all the time and effort I put in making my clothes make them extra special to me. Knitting is also my way to feel connected to my heritage. My grandmother was a seamstress and crafts run in my family so this is my way of paying her a tribute. And it also makes me feel connected to the generations of women who came before me and practised this craft, creating beautiful work of art.
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?
I already consider designing as a full time job, because I’m working on it 24/7 even if I still have a part time job to pay the bills. I registered my business in 2016, and everything went so fast from there that I’m confident I can make it profitable enough in time with a lot of hard work. Nothing has felt so right in my life before. I am so happy to be able to build my own business around my passion and I wake up every morning happy and excited about everything I have to do during the day!