Knitterview: TinyOwlKnits!

A firm favourite designer at The Knit Club has to be Tiny Owl Knits. Tiny Owl Knits patterns are designed by Stephanie Dosen, “an American singer who lives in the mountains with her unicorn, puffy cat & a hefty yarn stash riddled with gnomes.”

Tiny Owl Knits - Deer with Antlers

(Deer with Antlers Hat)

Recently, we were lucky enough to have a nice chat across the pond with Stephanie and talk all things knitty! Read on for her answers.

When and how did you learn to knit? 

I took several stabs at knitting before it really stuck. I somehow managed to get a job at a yarn shop as a crochet teacher before I could even knit a stitch! The learning curve was pretty steep. I went from learning to knit one day, to helping people with their knitting problems the next. Thankfully there were dozens of amazing mama-owls at the shop that taught me so much every single day. I worked at the shop for 3 years and I refer to it now as “knitting college”. I got my degree in: “OOh I just made up this new thing; now I need to write down what I did so we can ALL make one!”

Are you more of a knitter or a crocheter? 

I love mixing knitting and crochet. To me they are sisters. I do hesitate sometimes to put them both in patterns together because people often seem to like one or the other. If I’m making something just for myself it will generally have both arts together.

Tiny Owl Knits

Who/what inspires your designs? 

I get inspired by so many things. It could be some old fabric I find at a flea market or a squirrel spiralling through the trees. (I only say that because I’ve recently moved to Colorado and I’m obsessed with the color of the red squirrels here! Their coats are so perfectly amber and beautiful. I think I might be addicted to that color right now as my stash seems to be filling up with it!

Do you have a favourite Tiny Owl Knits design? 

My favorites are the “meow mitts” and my new “spirit of the birch” cuff. Though I seem to wear the heck out of the “Oh my bear!” sweater every winter!

Meow Mitts by Tiny Owl Knits

(Meow Mitts)

What do you hope people gain from knitting TinyOwlKnits patterns? 

Whenever I see a pattern that I really want to make, I get outrageous butterflies in my stomach. I get so excited picking out the yarn and casting on! I hope that people get that same feeling when they see my patterns. But secondly and probably most importantly, I want people to have success with my patterns. I need to know that I can get them from “butterflies to finished object” with ease (and without tears!) Knitting can be frustrating when something is unclear. I understand that and try to write my patterns in a way that really clearly guides the knitter. Every knitter who sets out on a project is taking a risk! They are like a hobbit going on a journey and they need a good map! That’s my job. 🙂

Favourite film? 

Harry Potter, Little Women (1994), The Dark Crystal

Little women 1994

Favourite band/artist? 

Joni Mitchell, Indigo Girls and Cocteau Twins. I am actually releasing a record soon with Simon Raymonde from Cocteau Twins. Our band is called “snowbird” and I’m really excited for it to come out!

Anything exciting in the knitting pipeline? 

I’m heading back to England for the second photo shoot for my knitting book next month and also have lots of designs coming out. I need some more elves to help me knit! If anyone knows any elves please send them my way. I have lots of goldfish crackers and I’m happy to share. I also give good elf back-rubs. (small backs = easy.)

Describe your favourite knitting spot? 

I have a ridiculously big puffy chair and I live in it. Um… I’m in it right now. 🙂

Do you have a little message for fans of your work? 

Thank you!!!!! Thank you so much for knitting my patterns. I hope they bring you much joy and happiness and that you have success with every stitch! Lastly, don’t be afraid of your knitting. Making mistakes is just part of it. Be afraid of skydiving, but never ever be afraid of your knitting!

xoxo

Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits

Check out our range of Tiny Owl Knits patterns here.

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All Rippled Out

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I have finished all the ripples on my rainbow blanket.  Woo hoo!  This project has been on and off my hook for a year, I think.  I started it for a friend’s baby but did my initial maths all wrong (never mind my maths degree!) so it ended up larger than intended and then Son1 decided that it was to be for him.

I have really enjoyed the project despite how long it’s taken (and it’s not done yet!).  It’s definitely an example of comforting crochet rather than counting.  It’s rhythmic and relaxing and a perfect evening activity after a frantic day with two small boys when your brain doesn’t want to do much thinking.  You can pick it up and immediately know where you are and what to do next.  It fits perfectly in to any amount of time – twenty minutes for a little sit down and a cup of tea or an hour or two on a rainy afternoon.  It grows quickly and looks great right from the start.  It keeps your lap warm while you’re working on it during winter evenings.  You can put it away for a time when you need a change, do other projects and then come back to it and love it all over again.

Most importantly, you can work on it while you’re nattering with your knitty friends and eating cake and biscuits without worrying about going massively wrong!  You can still go a bit wrong but it’s easily spotted and easily fixed.  I learnt that lesson the hard way when I had to pull back a couple of hours of crochet on a hat because I’d missed an increase right at the start of Knit Night!.  I always choose which project to take very carefully now!

Now I need to sew in all the ends.  I really should have done that in sections as I went but it’s a bit like how your mum always told you not to leave your homework until the last day of the holidays but you did it anyway.  Hmm.  I hate it when Mum’s right!  There will be a border too.  A first round in yellow, I think, and then something else – maybe red.  What do you think?

P.S. The yarn is Rico Design Lisa.

Aye Aye Capt’n!

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My first make of 2013!  A simple beanie pattern, some stripes to break up the black and a crocheted skull and crossbones.  It was quick and fun to make and Son1 loves it, thankfully.  He had asked for a Storm Trooper hat (Star Wars) but that was a bit beyond me (and, if I’m truthful, I didn’t want to make one!).  I did find a cool R2D2 crocheted hat when I was browsing though!

The yarn is Rico Design:Essentials Soft Merino Aran which is a firm favourite of mine.  It’s good value and really nice to work with.  I’ve used it recently for several projects including:

Baby blanket

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Penguin hat (modelled by a melon!)

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My “things to make in 2013” list is underway.  I think there’ll be a blanket, a scarf, a hat and, well, plenty more.  I MUST finish a gift that I started in the summer first though!  Oh, and remember to go to the Post Office to send it!

On The Road Again…

There’s nothing to kick start you back into action than a photograph of your work in active service.

A close friend of mine was due to have her second baby the week that we were moving to Belgium.  Not wanting to miss out on a squidge, I had stern words with the bump and instructed it not to hang around and be late.  Thankfully, the bump was obedient and arrived a little early!  I was able to have a little cuddle and to pass on a cardigan that I had made for her.

Shortly after my last blog post, this photo popped up on Facebook:

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The lovely Grace modelling my work!  It certainly made me dig out all my tools and get going again.

I made a Mandarin Baby Jacket (Ravelry link) using Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo.  The yarn is lovely and has a gorgeous sheen.  The pattern was really easy to follow and was seamless (my favourite!).  And, most importantly, it fitted!

Seeing Grace’s picture made me remember how proud I was when I finished my first ever proper project.  I made a small Granny Stripe blanket for Son2 and would pop it over him when he fell asleep playing under his baby gym doodah.

So, the good news is that I’m back in the saddle.  Current projects are: name bunting, a scarf, a jumper for Son2 and the ongoing rainbow ripple blanket for Son1.  I shan’t list what’s in my queue!

Lost: One Mojo

Since I started crocheting in May last year, I’ve been going pretty much none stop.  But now, I’ve lost my way a bit.

The reason is not a mystery. We have just left our cosy life in the UK with family, friends and knit clubs for a new one in Belgium where, at the moment, there’s not a lot happening.  With the move, the paperwork, the language change, the boxes that need unpacking, the children that need entertaining (and feeding) and the floor that need endless mopping, I don’t have much headspace for crochet.  How sad! Something that should help me relax is making me feel a bit stressed. Perhaps it a reminder of “home”?

Then there’s the added factor of not knowing entirely where everything is.  I know that the yarn stash is in the spare room and the sewing box is in the cupboard in the lounge but where are my hooks? Where’s my rainbow blanket that’s a work in progress? And where’s the felt I need to complete the baby bunting I’ve been working on?

Think I’d better go and rummage in some boxes!

Claire x

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Why Crochet is Better than Sudoku…

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I’ve never been very goodat sitting still.

Once the children are in bed, dinner’s been had and tidied up after and the TV is on, I get twitchy hands.  I’ve surfed the internet, completed jigsaws and solved a serious quantity of Sudoku puzzles in a bid to keep my hands and mind busy.  In May last year, I decided I need something new. I like learning but what to choose?  Going out in the evenings is difficult so it need to be something to do at home.  A few friends on an internet forum crocheted.  Young people.  People like me.  I liked what they produced but have never considered myself a “crafty” person and didn’t think I’d be much good at it.  Nonetheless, I decided to give it a whirl.

I reserved a book at the library, bought a 3.5mm hook and some double knitting yarn and set to it with my book, advice from crocheting friends and some YouTube tutorials.  It was hard to get started: the yarn needed holding a certain way; the hook had to go in this gap, not that one and the finished swatch was, well, wonky.  But soon I got the hang of it and I was hooked (pun intended!).

What have I got to show for my new crochet habit?  Blankets, hats (lots), toddler jumpers, scarves, snowflakes, apples, pears, a pumpkin, a mug cosy, crab and octopus finger puppets and a fried egg.  Oh, and a cupboard full of yarn and some pretty, shiny hooks!  What have I got to show for my old Sudoku habit?  Completed grids of numbers and an average time of just over 7 minutes on the expert level of my phone app.

People are nice about my crochet.  They show an interest in what I’m doing and what I’ve done.  They touch and examine what I’ve made and say nice things about it.  It makes me smile.  People care and it’s great.

I still do Sudoku from time to time but no one’s bothered when you’ve completed a Sudoku puzzle – not even the REALLY hard one on the very back page!

By Claire