Designer Interview: Hilary Smith Callis

This entry was posted on 16th August, 2012 .
Today we're talking to Hilary Smith Callis (ie "The Yarniad,") a terribly talented young designer who is probably known best for her viral Knitty pattern, Citron (in Malabrigo Lace, no less!)
Artsy! Hehe.
We met Hilary at TNNA this year (click here for a picture of Antonio trying on Citron) and she is just a doll! About herself, Hilary says:
Living in chilly San Francisco, handknit sweaters are appropriate roughly 360 days a year.  So that's what I like to knit, and that's what I like to design.  I'm a big shawlette fan, too, but just can't stop thinking up sweaters I want to create!
Hi Hilary!! Thanks so much for talking with us! Let's start at the beginning- what was your first experience working with Malabrigo yarn?
It was a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. :)  It was February 2008 and I had been knitting "seriously" for about a year.  I had been hoarding a bunch of Malabrigo for a few months, but was scared to use it because I thought it was so beautiful and I wanted to really make something "worthy" of it.  Then, one night, I was waiting for the gal at my local yarn shop to ring me up, and a skein of Chunky in the Brillante colorway actually shouted at me from across the room and forced me to buy it (who was I to say no?).  And when I got home, I wound it up and immediately made myself a ski hat (An Unoriginal Hat by Stephanie Pearl McPhee).  I remember how much I loved knitting that hat, savoring each stitch!  And from there, I was hooked.
Hilary rocking the "Unoriginal Hat" in Brillante on the slopes.
That's Brillante for you- she's no shrinking violet ;-) What was your first design in Malabrigo?
My first design in Malabrigo was my Tiffany Neckwarmer, a little kerchief made from another impulse purchase, a tiny hank of Malabrigo Angora in Bobby Blue that I bought as a souvenir from a yarn shop in Washington DC.  This was actually one of my very first designs and is super simple -- I just wanted to use every last yard I had of the yarn and made up a way to do it.
Tiffany Neckwarmer in Bobby Blue Angora
  You've designed quite a few things in Malabrigo- why do you choose to use Malabrigo in so many of your designs? Um, because it's amazing?? :) I don't think I've ever used a Malabrigo base yarn I didn't LOVE and the colors are so rich and gorgeous. I'm a big fan of a semi-solid colorway and Malabrigo does semi-solids to perfection.  Malabrigo yarns are just so reliable...I always know they'll create a great finished object, whether a sweater or a simple accessory.  
Peppermint Candy Cowl in Natural and Cactus Flower Chunky
Aw, thanks! What is your personal favorite Mal project to date?
My favorite project done in Malabrigo so far has to be my Citron Shawlette. This was a design that was wholly inspired by the yarn.  I had bought a skein of Lace during a work trip, and one day just picked it up and started playing around.  I loved every part of designing and knitting Citron, from figuring out how to shape a semi-circular shawl to calculating the frequency of the increases to knitting it while watching baseball in the summer of 2009. It was my very first published pattern, so it will always hold a special place in my heart!
Citron in Lettuce Lace
And the hearts of nearly 10,000 knitters (and that's just on Ravelry!) Citron is one seriously charming shawl. And now to wrap up our line of questioning: What is your fave colorway and base yarn?
If I had to choose, I'd say my favorite base yarn was Sock (though I do love them all!).  I love the fabric it creates when knit on slightly larger-than-usual needles, like in my Indicum Pullover. It's light and drapey and the way the subtly variegated shades turn out in Stockinette is just so beautiful!  And Polar Morn is my favorite colorway...I have some Polar Morn that is the most beautiful thing in my stash.  I'm not sure what it wants to be yet, but stay tuned!
Indicum Pullover in Cote D'Azure Sock
  (Ooh that pullover is just luscious, isn't it?) Thanks so much, Hilary! You can check out all of Hilary's designs on her Ravelry page, or keep up with her goings-ons at The Yarniad. Can't wait to see her next stroke of genius!
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