This is the second in our series of interviews with designers that have brought us popular projects that are on our free pattern site. Thought you might find it fun to know more about these wonderfully talented people that contribute so much to our yarn habits.
1. You inspire us with your designs. What are your favorite types of projects to design? I almost always wear something I’ve made so my first love is to design garments. It’s wonderful to make something, wear it and then (hopefully) elicit ooh’s and ahhh’s. I like the challenge of making seemingly disparate colors/yarns work together, whether for a sweater or accessory or afghan. And I love to use up yarn, rather than go into a new ball for just a few yards. Thus, multi-colored edgings, asymmetrical stripes or pin-stripe contrasts can often be found in my designs.
2. What is usually going on around you as you design? I often listen to sports radio for company. I’m not an athlete and didn’t play sports in high school but listening to all those guys carry on, usually in crisis mode, about the minutiae of last night’s game is instructive, funny and somehow soothing to me. Second-guessing the coach comes first, then yesterday’s hero becomes today’s bum cause he didn’t/couldn’t score. Plus a statistic for everything and anything that went on. And for some reason, none of it gets on my nerves so I can concentrate on the task at hand.
3. How did you learn to knit and/or crochet? My aunt taught me to crochet when I was 9 or so, using an IMRIA steel hook size 8 (which I still have). Can’t imagine how I kept at it – coming to the States at 18 and finding ‘giant’ crochet hooks (D! H! K!) was a revelation. As for knitting, I taught myself to knit when I was 30. I’d gotten a part-time job at a yarn store and decided I better know what I was doing if I was going to help anyone with a project. It was the beginning of a great obsession!
4. Can you tell us anything special about this Granny Tree Skirt (LW3208) design that has been very popular on the Red Heart free pattern site? It’s a great canvas to experiment with color. Although the colors used are spelled out in the pattern, try working one or 2 squares in your spontaneous color choices, trusting your eye as you go. Or try working light to dark in one square, then dark to light in another.
5. Do you have a personal website or blog where crocheters or knitters can find your patterns? annregis.com — a work in progress.
6. What would the people that recreate your designs be surprised to know about you? That I’m quite a lazy crocheter/knitter. I just want to knit or crochet once I start a project, to enjoy the process and not agonize over charts or stitch repeats or follow diagrams or slog through paragraphs of where I need to be. Once the design is established, it should just flow. So I like to design projects that look involved, but are very easy to execute because I’ve worked out all the kinks. So the consumer, like me, can make something on the bus or subway, while watching Netflix, chit-chatting, reading or listening/laughing to a fave sports radio!
|Lace Edge Vest
||Hexagon Baby Blanket
||Shore Thing Scarf
1. You inspire us with your designs. What are your favorite types of projects to design?
I love to design accessories, decor, toys—things that don’t rely on ‘fit’ to be successful, and things that don’t require half-a-lifetime to finish! I like to figure out what details will make a design appealing, then focus on the shaping and proportions.
2. What is usually going on around you as you design?
I have 4 kids—I spend much of my life at swim meets, soccer tournaments, lacrosse games, etc. I try to knit or crochet during warm-ups, but I have to put away my work when it gets exciting—my tension tends to mirror what I’m watching. Given my choice, I like to sit in a comfy chair and watch TV while I design. If I need to pay attention to what I am doing, I have to watch something that I’ve seen before!
3. How did you learn to knit and/or crochet?
My mother taught me how to knit when I was 5. She was desperate to keep my brother (6) and me busy. All I remember is that my tension was too tight and his was too loose. I made a very strangely shaped potholder.
4. Can you tell us anything special about this Baby Boots (WR1759) design that has been very popular on the Red Heart free pattern site?
Sure! This is the kind of project that I love best. It is deceptively simple. I will sketch out the shape I want, then do a lot of math (!) to plan the pieces. I probably made and ripped out the project 10 times (I am a bit of a perfectionist!). Each time, I make tweaks that get me closer to what I want. I have made peace with ripping out and re-working—it doesn’t mean that I have made a mistake, it means that I think I can do better.
5. Do you have a personal website or blog where crocheters or knitters can find out more about you?
6. What would the people that recreate your designs be surprised to know about you?
My kids make some of my samples! Many of my designs are created with a beginner or advanced beginner in mind. I know that I’ve got it right when a 12-year-old boy can make it look good. My youngest also likes to crochet when he watches TV—it makes him feel productive. I don’t always have a ‘work’ project for him, so he has embarked on a crochet service project. He plays multiple sports, so he doesn’t have time to give regular volunteer hours. This is a way for him to ‘give back’ that fits into his busy life.
|Sock Monkey and Baby Hat
||Give a Hoot Crochet Owl Hat
||It’s a Hoot Knit Owl Hat