Tuesday 22 December 2015

Indie Design GAL 2015: Meet a designer: Meg Gadsbey

While I was browsing the Indie Design GAL patterns, I fell in love with the beautiful simplicity of Meg Gadsbey's designs (AtelierMeg on Ravelry), so I'm delighted to be interviewing her here on my blog.

Sailing, image copyright Meg Gadsbey

1. You’re fairly new to designing, but all your designs are beautiful. How long have you been knitting, and who taught you? 

Thank you, Vikki - I’m pleased you like my designs! My mother taught me to knit when I was about 7 or 8 but I wasn’t very interested in taking it any further than the first or second ‘holey’ scarves that I made. When I decided to pick up the needles in 2011, my skills were so rusty that I had to re-learn how to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off. I really loved it and became hooked on all things yarn-related.

2. How did you get into designing? 

In 2013, I played around with a dragon skin stitch to make a fluffy cowl from some Noro Kochoran I had in my stash. I didn’t write up the pattern but it was my first experience of designing an accessory from beginning to end. I designed my first published pattern, The Big Blue, in 2014 as an attempt to create a shawl design that I wanted to wear myself, that was straightforward yet interesting to knit.

The Big Blue, image copyright Meg Gadsbey

3. What is your favourite part of the design process?
Figuring out the structure or shape of the design is the first part and the most exciting part. Often this is done at the swatching stage - yes, I am now a lover of swatching, something that as a knitter I had always been loathe to do. At other times, the design is worked out with a pencil and paper. Either way, this particular stage always feels fresh, exhilarating and creative.

4. Which is your favourite of your designs? 

It would be difficult to choose an overall favourite design but, at the moment, it is Midnight in Sydney. There are so many beautiful photos of it on Ravelry - every time I see a new Midnight in Sydney project, I am both thrilled and grateful that someone would invest their time, money and effort in knitting the pattern.

Midnight in Sydney, image copyright Meg Gadsbey

5. And your most underappreciated? 
 Aquitaine is my most underappreciated design in terms of pattern sales. I think it would have received more love if it had been designed to be a larger shawl or perhaps made in a lighter-weight yarn. In saying that, I still love the design as it is - a quick, fun shawl to knit and throw on around your neck in the winter.

Aquitaine, image copyright Meg Gadsbey
6. As well as designing, you also dye yarn. What’s your favourite fibre to dye, and is it the same as your favourite fibre to knit with?
I love to dye superwash fingering/sock merino and merino blend yarns. They take the dye beautifully and are fairly easy to handle during the dyeing process. I’m a huge fan of knitting and designing with fingering yarn from indie dyers but I also enjoy the more minimally processed yarns from local producers like White Gum Wool in Tasmania. I’d like to try some fingering Polwarth Yarn from Tarndie in Victoria as soon as it is available in the grey or white shades. I also love alpaca; there are quite a few alpaca producers in Australia, so it’d be awesome to design and knit a shawl in some soft alpaca fingering weight yarn.

7. Do you find the same things inspire your dyeing and designing, or are they completely separate?
I find that the inspiration and ideas for dyeing yarn and pattern design are quite different. For me, dyeing yarn is about exploring and revelling in colour just for its own sake, whereas designing is more about playing with texture and shape. The colours I use in the design samples tend to be those that I enjoy looking at over a long period of time whilst the design is being repeatedly knitted, ripped out, placed in hibernation, etc., so I tend to gravitate towards blues and greys (my favourite colours).

8. Which other GAL designers are on your must-knit list?
Designers that have patterns or styles that I’m drawn to this year include: Alicia Plummer, Justyna Lorkowska, Clare Devine, Lisa Hanes, Libby Johnson, Hanna Maciejewska, and I love your Fluffy White Clouds and Vroom Vroom, Beep Beep blanket designs too!

Peppermint Leaves, image copyright Clare Devine
Rattan Shawl, image copyright Libby Johnson
Fluffy White Clouds, image copyright Practical Publishing
9. What is your favourite knitting technique? 

I love Fair Isle. My maternal grandmother loved to knit Fair Isle patterns and although she has long since passed, I somehow feel closer to her knowing that we share the love of the same knitting technique.

10. Are there any knitting techniques you’re keen to learn? 

I’m keen to delve into textured knitting techniques or styles like Aran, Gansey, Guernsey and cabled knitting.

11. If money were no object, what crafting object would you like to unwrap on Christmas morning?
I’d love to find a Saori Loom under my Christmas tree! The woven fabric made on those looms is stunning.

If you've enjoyed reading about Meg and want to see more of her work, you can find her in the following places:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ateliermeg/

The Gift-A-Long continues until the end of the year. Full details can be found in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group on Ravelry.*

*Note that you must be logged into Ravelry for this link to work.

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