Designer Interview: Miranda “Pokito” Grant

As a part of the Gift-a-Long, designers are doing blog interviews to get to know each other better and to help our readers get to know more designers. If you are a member of Ravelry, you can go to this post to see other blog posts about the GAL and GAL designers.

Today, I am interviewing Miranda Grant, aka Pokito, about her design work and crafty interests. I hope you find this interesting and head over here to see more of her work.

Among other things, she has intricate colorwork arm warmers, textured tams, and cabled mitts in her shop.
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Amy: How does designing fit in with the rest of your life? It is a full time job, part time job, or other?

Miranda: Designing is something that I do part time. There’s a lot more on the marketing/social side that I probably should do with it.

Amy: What is your favorite thing in your toolbag?

Miranda: I have a metal ruler/gauge/needle-sizer device that used to belong to my grandmother.

Amy: What is your favorite thing about designing? Is it different than you thought it would be when you started?

Miranda: I always like the rare times when I can think of a design, draw it up, and have it knit up like I thought it would without ripping, erasing, and breaking the laws of physics that sometimes happen. I’ve a had a few prototypes that must have entered a wormhole into a dimension where the math doesn’t matter.

I didn’t really set out to design. I had an idea for a scarf which became Kelp and for a while, that was that. Then I had an urge to knit floral mitts and I couldn’t find anything that suited what I had in mind, so then came Something Floral. Both of those were fairly easy to write out, pattern-wise, so when I thought to write out Gallivant I thought “How hard could it be?” Very. Had I known how hard it could be, I wouldn’t have done it.

The moral of the story is: Ignorance has its uses. When I started working on more designs, I expected to have delved further into lace than I’ve done.

Amy: Are you a process crafter or a product crafter, and does that affect the way that you design?

Miranda: I lean towards the process crafting. I knit slower in Stockinette stitch than in anything else. I need something to challenge my brain or it goes, “Is it done yet? Is it done yet? Hey let’s go work on that lace project with the tiny needles! Is it done yet?”

Amy: Describe your perfect crafting weekend.

Miranda: Lessee, I go to one of wool festivals that I’ve heard so much about and get to buy whatever I want because some one else is footing the bill. Then, I go home and knit all the things while marathoning Firefly with my friends.

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I hope this has inspired you to take a closer look at Miranda’s work and to explore the designs of some other GAL designers that you may not have seen before.

Remember, the sale portion of the Gift-a-Long ends on Friday at midnight. I’ll also mention that I plan to raise the prices of a few of my designs in the new year, so the current prices with the 25% off promotion may be the lowest that prices ever get for several of my patterns. ;-)

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I can’t help it…

Whenever I teach Intro to Stranded Knitting, I like to have a stranded project on the needles so I have something in my hands that I can use to demonstrate techniques. And even if I have four or more students, a lot of the class is about the students doing the knitting and practicing with help nearby, so there is always some down time when I can actually knit.
 
 Since I first started teaching the class, I have made five versions of my Primero pattern in different colors and sizes. The one I made for my son is well worn but still fits. The one I made for me is a little short, but I haven’t made the time to rip out the crown and make it longer. It may become my daughter’s hat for that very reason!
 


So when I went to cast on a new hat to teach the class this past weekend, I really didn’t want to make another Primero. It’s a great beginner pattern, but I am no longer a beginner.
 
 I may have unintentionally designed a new hat this weekend. Looks like I really need to make some time to write up my backlog of patterns soon, because I just added another to the list!
 

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Indie Gift-a-Long 2014!

GAL14_Notebook-Indie-DesignPrepping for the holidays as only fiber folks can, with special deals from tons of indie designers!

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 2 month long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by nearly 300 independent designers. From Thursday, November 13th at 8:00 pm US EST – Friday, November 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm US EST those indie designers will be discounting over 3,800 patterns. Enter the coupon code “giftalong2014″ at checkout and 25% will be automatically taken off the pattern price. The list of participating designers and links to their patterns can be found in this thread – http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/indie-design-gift-a-long/2999184/1-25

GAL01_jpgYes, I am one of those 293 designers participating in the event. You can find my patterns here – http://www.ravelry.com/designers/amy-maceyko

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, please join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.) To join, simply write a post in the KAL/CAL thread you want to join, including the pattern name you will be knitting and a link to your project page. KAL/CAL participants are eligible to win over 1,800 electronic prizes and over 70 physical prizes (yarn, gift cards, kits, etc) – but you gotta post to win! Rules and Eligibility for prizes can be found in this thread – http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/indie-design-gift-a-long/3066402/1-25

KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 13 at 8pm (US-EST) through our New Years Eve party, Wednesday, December 31 at midnight (US-EST), plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting. We have games, tons of prizes, great conversation, and a lot of fun, so pull up a chair and join us!

And be sure to use the tag #giftalong2014 when you post about your projects on social media.

On your mark…get set…. GIFT!!GAL14_logo-800

Note: While the discount code will work for all pattern purchases with the ravelry shopping cart (which can be accessed by non-ravelry members), only those who are logged into ravelry can participate in the KAL/CAL and be eligible for prizes. So if you aren’t a member of ravelry, what are you waiting for? Join today for free and join us for the Indie Gift-a-Long!

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In the Works: . . . Oops!

Ever have one of those moments when you don’t actually notice a problem with your knitting until you take a picture of it. And then when looking at the picture it becomes painfully obvious that you have screwed up.
 
 Rip. Rip. Rip.
 
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 When I was nearly done with the socks for my daughter and me, I let my son pick out yarn for the next set of socks at my LYS. His decision making process usually takes 5 seconds or half an hour. I told him he couldn’t have a piece of candy from the store dish until he picked out sock yarn, so this particular decision was of the 5-second variety. I’m pretty sure he picked out the brightest yarn in the shop.
 
 (Sorry, I don’t have the ball band at the moment. I’ll include the yarn details next time.)
 

 For the previous set, I knit one sock for me, one sock for my daughter, one for me, and one for her. I knew that the next little while was going to be busier, so I decided to do both of my son’s socks first. That way they would both have new socks within a month or so of each other. In theory.
 
 Now I have caused myself a setback. Can you see the problem?
 

 The completed sock was knit from toe to heel, and then the leg was knit up from where I inserted waste yarn. The second sock is knitted from toe to leg, with waste yarn inserted for an afterthought heel.
 
 Worse, the latter is really a better match for this yarn with long color changes. I guess I will be finishing the second sock, and then going back to redo the leg and heel of the first.
 
 Sigh.
 
 At my current rate of stopping and starting on this project, the boy may have his socks by Christmas.
 

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Coaxial Hat

As I had hoped, I was able to pull together my promised hat pattern in the first week of November. I found a good places to take indoor pictures, and stayed up a little too late on Monday night to make it happen. I had a good reason to push myself to publish it last week, a reason that will become very obvious later this coming week.

(Hint: If you love this hat or have plans to make another one of my patterns, I would wait a few days before buying. Unless you don’t care about saving 25% off the price of the pattern and need to cast on RIGHT NOW. If so, by all means, please go ahead and purchase as many as you like!)

Today, I am happy to write the blog introduction for the Coaxial Hat!

  CoaxialMaroonBack3 CoaxialMaroonSide

My sister-in-law requested a hat because she is always cold, but as a stylist she can’t afford to wear a warm hat that messes up her “do”, especially at work. The hat is designed with extra ease and slouch, so as not to crush her perfectly coiffed curls, but the double-layer slip stitch pattern provides extra warmth.

Most any wool or wool-blend worsted weight yarn would work well in this hat pattern – don’t be afraid to combine two different yarns to get the color combination that makes you happy. An indie-dyed vibrant yarn would look great against a dark commercial yarn, or maybe two small skeins of hand-spun!

Required Skills:

This hat is worked from the brim to the crown in the round using a ribbed brim and an all-over two-color slip stitch pattern. Crown decreases are worked within the slip stitch pattern. The design is both written and charted. These instructions do not recommend a particular method for knitting in the round.

Gauge: Needles:

26 sts/64 rounds = 4″ (10 cm) square U.S. Size 5 (3.75 mm) in slip stitch pattern after blocking. or size needed to produce noted gauge.

Sizes and Finished Measurements:

1-2 Years [3-10 Years | Teen/Small Adult | Large Adult] – Unstretched brim circumference is 16″ [18", 20" and 22"] or 40.5 cm [45.75 cm, 50.75 cm and 55.75 cm]  Note: Measurements for each size assume 1-2” of positive ease at the circumference for a loose-fitting hat.

Yarn:CoaxialBlueBackSide

Wandering Wool Heights Worsted, 1 skein each, 100% Superwash Merino, 218 yds/100g.  Color A – “Grey Matter” & Color B “Sugar Plum”.  T/Sm Adult sized sample used approximately 130 yds of Color A & 100 yds of Color B

Additional Supplies:

Plate or circle for blocking, Tapestry Needle, Scissors, Tape Measure

Good Yarn Substitutions:CoaxialBlocking

Cascade 220, Malabrigo Rios, Dream in Color Classy, Imperial Yarn Erin or your favorite worsted weight wool, or wool-blend yarn. A handspun yarn in worsted weight should work well, too.

The blue and black sample is the one I made for my sister-in-law. It uses Malabrigo Rios and Cascade 220 superwash.

That last picture shows the hat blocking over a plate. The important thing when blocking is that you not stretch out the ribbing and you leave the hat lying flat until it is completely dry.

If you like this, there is a coordinating mitten pattern in the works…

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Frustration

Long, long ago I teased that this would be an upcoming pattern.

This summer I knitted another sample, since the original went to live with my sister-in-law. In September I got the pattern written up and charted. And with the vague goal of publishing it before the end of October, I was proud of myself for getting the pattern to my editor before Columbus Day.

Now here I sit, on the last day of the month, having received the edits from my editor two weeks ago, without a new pattern to share with you. I know, I know. The benefit of self-publishing is that my deadlines don’t really hold any weight. and the one who is most disappointed is me.

But still. I was doing so well…

I am convinced that October is a temporal black hole. I’m pretty sure that December will be one as well, so I’m hoping I can get a few personal things accomplished in November.

I continue to hope that I can share my new hat pattern with you next week. Cross your fingers for me!

 

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Warm and Colorful Tree

As I mentioned earlier this month, I was involved in a planned yarn bombing at the school my children attend. The pieces needed to cover a tree out front were gathered, constructed and assembled in the couple of weeks leading up to Art Photo Oct 10, 6 15 04 PMNight by a group of parents. During the day of the event, the parent leading the charge got most of the large pieces assembled on the tree, so that during the event some of the taller students could assemble pieces on the branches and students without practical sewing experience could embellish the piece.

 

 

 

The panel that I put together is around the trunk of the tree before the split. The big purple “swatch” was going to be one quarter of a blanket for my daughter, but in the end I didn’t like it with the other three panels and I had made. So it was replaced by a fifth version. My girl is 7 1/2, so that piece has Photo Oct 10, 6 15 51 PMbeen in my stash for over nearly 8 years. Finally it has found a useful life keeping something warm and protected!

During the event, my daughter did a little sewn embellishment and my son added a few googly eye stickers.

 

 

The result is a fantastic installation and if the art teacher has her way, this will not be the last yarn bomb on Art Night.Photo Oct 13, 6 02 32 PM

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