Getting to Know Our Designers: Julie Farmer and Marianne Forrestal
What in the world would we do without talented designers?! They offer their creative talents so that we can in turn enjoy crocheting or knitting our own unique projects. Even after many years of yarn addiction (more years than I like to admit), I am constantly amazed at how a ball of yarn can become so many different and beautiful things. Here are interviews with two of our best designers who have mastered the design process.
Julie Farmer1. You inspire us with your designs. What are your favorite types of projects to design? My favorite things to design are sweaters. That was the reason I learned to knit. I really like that I'm making something I can wear. It's beautiful and functional at the same time.
2. What is usually going on around you as you design? I watch a lot of movies and television while I'm designing. Netflix is my best friend. I also have a 10 year old daughter and a husband creating a lot of chaos in the background.
3. How did you learn to knit and/or crochet? My mother taught me the basics of crochet when I was about 9. I didn't really do much with it until I was in college. I have always liked to make things. I started knitting in 2004 after my daughter was born. I got a book and taught myself how to knit. I continue to learn new things about knitting and crocheting every day. 4. Can you tell us anything special about this Lace in the Cables Vest (LW3234) design that has been very popular on the Red Heart free pattern site? I think this design is a great first garment to try. Don't let the intermediate skill level scare you off. The shaping is minimal and you get a little bit of wow with the lace cable panels. This vest is also going to look good on just about everybody. Give it a try.
5. What would the people that recreate your designs be surprised to know about you? I have a degree in Ceramics and ran my own pottery business for a few years before my daughter was born. I also made drapes and installed them for an interior designer for 7 years. I have been on a lot of tall ladders! Knitting is much safer!
You inspire us with your designs. What are your favorite types of projects to design?I like designing afghans, especially baby afghans. They're easy because you don't have to deal with multiple sizes like you do with clothing, and they're usually rectangular, so there's no shaping. I can do most of the work on graph paper before I have to pick up a hook and work on gauge. And baby afghans are so cute!
2. What is usually going on around you as you design? I usually work in the living room in the evening. It's just me and my husband, and he's the strong silent type, so the only distraction is the TV. I always say I don't watch TV, I just listen to it, because my eyes are usually on my crocheting.
3. How did you learn to knit and/or crochet? My mother was crocheting an afghan, and I asked her to teach me how to do it. She showed me a few times and I couldn't get it and she said I'd never learn. A few months later, my friend who lived next door was crocheting a baby afghan and she showed me how to do single and double crochet stitches. I made a few simple afghans and then started reading patterns and figuring it out on my own. And I've been at it ever since.
4. Can you tell us anything special about this Stone Mountain Throw (LW2761) design that has been very popular on the Red Heart free pattern site? Usually, when I work with multiple colors in the same afghan, I keep the stitches and patterns simple and let the color pattern shine. And when I work on a single color afghan, I try to use a more complicated stitch pattern that stands out on the monochromatic background. Variegated yarn is kind of in the middle, multiple colors but no real pattern to their arrangement, so I tried to use the interlocking raised chains to break up the blotchy look that variegated yarn can sometimes have.
5. What would the people that recreate your designs be surprised to know about you? I enjoy the math involved in creating patterns as much as trying to make them look good. To me, each design is like a puzzle, and it's so much fun figuring all the numbers out and creating something that looks great in the end!