Go to Knitting School with Malabrigo Junkies

This entry was posted on 20th August, 2017 by .

One of the Admins of the super fun, Ravelry based Malabrigo Junkies group was kind enough to agree to the following interview about all of the fun things that go on in this vibrant collection of Malabrigo lovers. Kateclysm is her Ravelry ID and she keeps things moving right along in this fast paced group.

Could you tell us a bit about the Malabrigo Junkies Ravelry group? When did it start? How many members does it have? How did you become an admin?

The Malabrigo Junkies Ravelry group was started a bajillion years ago by member Simplethings. In August 2007. I didn’t join until the next August but the first year was a rolling-rollicking group looking for their next big fix. Most of the oldest threads are asking where to find certain colorways, or reporting sales or asking how to use the colorway they just bought. A truly fun a chaotic group! We’ve accrued 16,180 members, but only about 300 are active at any given time. When a group has been around this long I think that’s par for the course.

I became one of three Admins maybe 4 or 5 years ago when one of our previous Admins had to take a break. We try to never have fewer than three because we all lean on each other and sort of tag-team certain duties. My cohort is made up of myself, the wonderful Gwenschweitzer and the incomparable RiverPoet, we also have a dedicated team of mods who step up to the plate for each event and really do a great job. Truly wonderful people!

This sock by Raveler victoriasews is knit in Malabrigo Sock, colorway Primavera as her participation in the Junkie U sock class.

I know you have quite a few events over the course of the year, what and when are they?

I think we’re most known for Malabrigo March. Simplethings decided that we needed a special event to celebrate our Mal love and Malabrigo March was started! There were KALs for particular patterns or mal bases, contests and random prizes. We still run the event basically the same way and are very fortunate that the always-generous Malabrigo Company is able to donate prize yarn each year! Mal March is always something we look forward to, the camaraderie and competition is awesome and we all enjoy it.

For the Brioche class Raveler momfortytwo combined Sabiduria and Ivy in Rios to stunning effect.

This past year we also started very casual “color alongs”. The members were starting to do little kals where they all happened to have the same colorway and wanted to work it up, others would get inspired (I mean, who wouldn’t get inspired by the gorgeous Malabrigo colors??) and drop what they were doing to cast on something in the same or similar colorway. So we decided it would be fun to make those mini-vents a little more “official” and set aside threads so anyone could play along that wanted to (also making it easier to find the content! The Junkie threads are moving very fast every day and little bits of information can definitely get lost).

At one time, we had an annual event for encouraging members to get their Holiday knitting started early and that was October Stockpile… but other groups have been doing such a fabulous job with that same concept that we decided it was time to let that one go.

And then in summer we have Junkie University…

Of course there is a crochet class and Raveler ChrissieM made this adorable owl using Mechita in a variety of colors including Eggplant, Hollychock, Sand Bank, Anniversario, and Manzanilla Olive. What a great way to use up scraps.

OK, Junkies University! Please tell us all about it? I know that there are different categories and contests and well, a load of fun stuff that I’d love to hear about.

A couple of years ago I proposed a new event that was more related to what inspired me about our group (as opposed to being inspired by the yarn) which was the supportiveness of the members, and my love of learning. I decided to reinforce my credo that there’s nothing you can’t do when it comes to knitting/crocheting/weaving/spinning/dying, by encouraging the members to choose a technique they have always been wanting to learn, or have been too intimidated to start, and pick a project and start it. I called it Junkie University and made it a three month event running from July to September.

In the modular knitting class Raveler carolsumie learned how to do entrelac using Rios in Piedras. She also learned she didn't want it to be a hat so an entrelac cowl is now in the works.

The way it works is self-run learning with peer help. We have mentors in-group who are there to recommend methods, provide clarity, root for results and cheer for the FOs. Since everyone has different levels of interest, we also allow participants to decide how “into it” they want to go: you can choose to Audit the “class” by making a decent sized swatch using the chosen technique, “Normal” level students will generally create something accessory-sized, and then “Master” students work up a proposal and plan for a much larger project that will be worked on through the three month term of the event. At the end of it all, we encourage students to write up a “What I learned this summer” essay which are lots of fun to read and very rewarding! We give out loads of prizes for both participation and finishing… it’s all about adding to your skill set and learning something new!

Sabiduria on Rios knit up beautifully in this pair of mitts by Raveler JavaDressage! Her entry into the gloves class is fabulous.

Finally, a totally unfair question. What is your favorite Malabrigo yarn base and color?

Truly like asking which of my children I love best (this is why I only have one). I think my go-to colorway has been Lettuce for a long time, I have it in just about every base! I love just about all the blues that come out of Mal’s dye pots, and some of the variegated colors make me swoon whenever I see them (Indiecita, Pocion, Vaa). I’m excited about the new speckled colors on Mechita and look forward to playing with some in the near future! As far as bases, Merino Worsted is always my first love, but I adore Twist and Rios as well as Mechita and Mora (the sheen of that silk!). Truly a Junkie, I could go on and on about our beloved Mal!

Not part of Junkies University, but I couldn't resist this beautiful vest that kateclysm knit up in Chunky using her favorite color Lettuce.

Thank you so much Kate for the interview and insight into Junkies University. The Junkies group is always a ton of fun and if you want to hang out with a whole bunch of crafters who share your love of Malabrigo yarn it is a great place to be.

Designer Interview: Corrina Ferguson

This entry was posted on 30th August, 2013 .
We've been meaning to get Corrina in our clutches for ages, and we are so glad to finally present this interview! Corrina is known for her beautifully intricate designs, delicate lace, and flattering silhouettes.

Photo on 8-10-13 at 12.58 PM A quick bio blurb before we dive in:
Corrina knits and designs in Florida where it is sadly too hot to wear all her Malabrigo hats. One day maybe she'll be a reverse snowbird and start vacationing in New England in the winter so she can wear all her handknits. Corrina blogs at http://picnicknits.com/
  Alrighty! Corrina, can you tell us about your first experience with Malabrigo yarns?  My first experience with Malabrigo was using it for the Tilted Duster from Interweave Knits in 2007. This was right before I started designing. Malabrigo Merino Worsted was *the* big thing at my LYS and I think a dozen of us knitted that sweater in Malabrigo. The yarn store owner had bags of colors and you got to pick your bag. I chose Red Mahogany. It was then and is still my favorite worsted weight yarn. I actually keep a good chunk of it in my worsted swatching bin - it's my go to yarn for swatching worsted designs, especially cables.  
Corrina's first Malabrigo Project, the Tilted Duster by Norah Gaughan Corrina's first Malabrigo Project, the Tilted Duster by Norah Gaughan
  And what was your first design in Malabrigo? My first design in Malabrigo was my Surrey Hat. The natural color of the worsted was the perfect backdrop for the cables and honeycomb texture. Malabrigo cables like magic! I actually dyed up a skein of the natural a second time to work a man-style cabled hat- MacDuff- because I was so in love with how it cabled.  
Surrey Hat in Merino Worsted, Natural Surrey Hat in Merino Worsted, Natural
MacDuff hat in Merino Worsted, dyed by Corrina. MacDuff hat in Merino Worsted, dyed by Corrina.
  Oooh, pretty! Nice color too- maybe we need to get you down to Uruguay! Hehe. What draws you to Malabrigo for your design work? For me first and foremost I design with Malabrigo because I love how it feels. It's so easy on the hands, and it's always a delight to work with. And the color selection is wonderful. There's something about the way Malabrigo is dyed that makes even the craziest variegates look gorgeous.   What is your favorite thing that you've knit in Malabrigo so far? My favorite Malabrigo design is my Pettine in Malabrigo Sock. The Indicieta colorway is the perfect blend of soft blues and greens. It's one of those shawlettes that you can easily see thrown over a crisp white shirt worn with a pair of jeans. I think I love it best because it's so pretty and so wearable.  
Pettine Shawlette in Sock, Indiecita. Pettine Shawlette in Sock, Indiecita.
  And finally, the tough one: what is your favorite base and colorway? My favorite base will always be the Merino Worsted, although the Twist comes a close second. I'm actually a thrower, and have recently been trying to teach myself to efficiently knit continental. And the yarn I break out every time for practice is the Merino Worsted. My favorite color is one I have yet to design with - Noviembre. I worked up a Foliage hat (from Knitty) in that colorway years ago and it is still my favorite hat ever with the pinks and oranges.    
Corrina's Foliage Hat (by Emilee Mooney) as modeled by a Robot. Knit in Chunky in Noviembre. Corrina's Foliage Hat (by Emilee Mooney) as modeled by a Robot. Knit in Chunky in Noviembre.
  Thank you so much Corrina!! You can check out Corrina's huge body of gorgeous work on her Ravelry page here, or her website here. (Especially if you're a lace or shawlette fan- you've gotta see her stuff!)

Designer Interview: Melissa Goodale

This entry was posted on 30th January, 2013 .

Today we've got a great designer from my old Pacific Northwest stomping grounds- Melissa Goodale! A little quick bio:
Mel spends her days in Seattle dreaming up new designs and playing with yarn. Her projects expand to fill the space available. Luckily, this doesn't seem to bother her husband or her 2 sons. You can find her as StickChick on Ravelry, scknits on Twitter, or at scknits.com.
Hi Melissa! Thanks for talking with us. Can you tell us about your first experience with Malabrigo? The first time I saw Malabrigo was a knit night at my LYS; a friend brought in some Worsted (back when that was the only base available) in Stonechat. I fell crazy in love with the color, and the softness. I couldn't believe it was actually wool. I ran out and bought 2 skeins of Worsted in Stonechat for myself that night. The funny thing is that I've never used those 2 skeins. I love them so much that I'm still waiting for the perfect pattern to use them. I think the first project I actually knit with Malabrigo was the Echoes Mitts  I designed.
Echoes Mitts, in Worsted, color Sunset.
  Well that answers my second question about your first design in Malabrigo, haha. I've had many more since then. Remolino won a Malabrigo design competition on Ravelry back in 2008. I was also flattered to be one of the MFPP designers in May 2012; Birds of Mythology was the compilation I put together for that project.
Remolino Hat in Worsted, colorway Pagoda.
  And a beautiful collection it was! Why are you drawn to Malabrigo for use in your designs? I'm drawn to Malabrigo because of their deep, saturated colors and amazing softness. These yarns are meant to be worn next to the skin. Now that they have so many base yarns available it makes designing even easier. From lace to super bulky and everything in between I can find a Malabrigo yarn to fit the design.   What is your favorite Malabrigo project that you've made to date? This is a tough one, I love so many of my Malabrigo projects for different reasons. I'd say the one I wear the most, though, is my Hermosa. It's just the right size to wrap around my neck and block the Seattle chill from getting into my coat. I've had it for a couple years and it still looks new. Arroyo is such a great base.
Hermosa shawls, both in Arroyo, in colors Coffee Toffee and Aguas.
  In the spring I love to wear my Alicanto, which is also knit in Arroyo. If Arroyo came in the full array of colors that Worsted comes in I might never use another sport yarn again.  
Alicanto, in Arroyo, colorway Jupiter
What is your favorite colorway and yarn base? I have 2 favorite yarn bases, Arroyo and Finito. Arroyo is the perfect yarn for everyday items that need to stand up to regular washing and wearing. Finito, on the other hand, is the perfect splurge yarn for those little luxuries. I designed Coloma using Finito and the entire time I was knitting with it I just couldn't believe there wasn't any cashmere in the yarn. It is insanely soft. I'm not sure how it is that Malabrigo has found such wonderfully soft sheep, but I'm happy to enjoy the results.  
Coloma in Finito, in the Glitter colorway.
  As far as colors there are so many that I love. Red is my favorite color, so I find myself drawn to Tiziano, Ravelry Red, and I've got a great sweater I knit out of Sealing Wax. But I also love Lettuce and Sunset when I'm looking for something vibrant. Stonechat is my favorite from the variegated colors.   Thanks so much Melissa!! You can check out all of Melissa's work on her Ravelry page, or on her website!

Designer Interview: Alicia Plummer

This entry was posted on 19th December, 2012 by .
Alicia and her kiddos!
As promised, I've got the second half of the Plum Dandi duo here today- Alicia Plummer! Alicia's chic and wearable designs have just blown me away, I want them all in my wardrobe. Before we dive in, a little background:
Alicia is a stay at home mom in rural Maine. She loves to laugh, she’s hopelessly messy, and she always has at least 3 designs on the needles at any time. Her husband, two daughters, and animals keep her very busy during the day while she ATTEMPTS to balance homeschooling, housework, designing, playing, faith, excercise, and cleaning…and fails miserably. But she sure has fun trying!
Hi Alicia! Thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your first experience with Malabrigo? Well, family knows best! When I first started knitting, both my mother and my Aunt were very adamant about the tools I used and the supplies I purchased. When you’re making things, I was told, you never use cheap material. My mother, a quilter, really encouraged my newfound love of fiber and took me on a little yarn spree to a LYS. I’m a toucher, and Malabrigo was the first yarn that spoke to my fingertips. The store had a huge selection of Merino Worsted in every color imaginable. This may sound strange, but my immediate desire was to get a whole bed covered in this yarn and roll in it! Or wear it head to toe. (Maybe I should design a blanket out of it? Maybe I should build a fort next to yours, Alex, and we can be neighbors?) I bought 2 skeins of Worsted in Bijou Blue, completely intending to knit something for myself. The blue reminded me of a gently clouded sky midsummer. I thought I was buying it to match my eyes…(little did I know!) Ironically, as often happens in this house, the skeins were hijacked into becoming a cute little vest for Rebekah who was 2 at the time. I won’t leave you guessing who the designer was…that’s right! Thanks to Malabrigo, Melissa Schaschwary and I met when I knitted her Heathcliff Vest out of the Bijou Blue! We got chatting on Rav, and now we have a friendship that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Heathcliff Vest by Melissa Schaschwary. "At least it matches Rebekah’s eyes too, right?"
Aw, what a cool way to make a friend! What was your first design in Malabrigo? My first design in Malabrigo was Shaw Hill in Malabrigo Chunky. I wanted something classic and timeless, so I used the natural colorway. Also, cabling is my PASSION (love it!). What’s more fun than huge cables? I was also nursing at the time so I used it as a nursing cover as well as a cowl.
Shaw Hill in Malabrigo Chunky, Natural.
Why are you drawn to Malabrigo for use in so many of your designs? I’m inspired by lots of things. The beautiful rural landscape here in Maine, the ocean, emotions…but mostly memories. I can look at almost every color Malabrigo puts out and have a beautiful memory to associate with it. And designing with it? It’s like telling a story. Sharing your story to the world without words. Calendula, the little girl’s dress I designed out of sock, is a brilliant yellow. The minute I got it, it sang to me of dandelions, daisies, buttercups, and goldenrod. I can’t really mention the inspiration without sharing it here, as it was very difficult for me to expose this part of my heart publicly: My father used to take me to a field of wildflowers down the road from our house, where we’d get fistfuls of flowers to bring home. We’d decorate the whole house with Mason Jars full of these wildflowers.
"Ellie, our youngest, playing with calendula flowers from my herb garden." Calendula pattern calls for Sock weight (but this particular sample is done in a test yarn in Frank Ochre)
Another reason I love Malabrigo is because I feel that my personal style is a mixture of Rustic Vintage and Luxury. Here in Maine, we need to be practical and warm during the colder months ( which is most of them!) but we also want to look good doing it! I love pastoral and I love luxe. Some may think those don’t go together, but in many cases it’s a beautiful marriage for knitting! Balmy is a good example of that: it’s a simple, no-nonsense silhouette, but the Arroyo’s superwash merino gives it functionality and feels amazing on bare skin.
Balmy in Arroyo, colorway Aguas
What is your favorite Malabrigo project that you've made to date? That’s difficult- I’d have to say that I love Kindling Season, the little chevron backed unisex cardi I made for Rebekah out of Twist. It’s so soft, vibrant, and in her ever-requested Ravelry Red. It’s holding up surprisingly well to the abuse it’s enduring at her 4 year old hands!
Kindling Season in Twist, Ravelry Red
And now the toughie: what is your favorite colorway and base? This actually isn’t a tough one at all! My favorite colorway is Azul Profundo—a deep blue that has a hint of warmth to it. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded of my father, a generous and loving redhead who passed in 2007. There are no words to describe what a special man he was. So it’s a big solace to me. I’m working up a sweater in it right now called Ease out of Rios—it’s all about comfort, coziness, relaxation…like being wrapped up in one of my Dad’s big bear hugs. It doesn’t get any better than that. My favorite base is Arroyo- the versatility you can get from this yarn is mind-blowing. I’m a stay at home mom, and let’s just say almost everything in this house MUST BE MACHINE WASHABLE or I’m in trouble!
Prototype for "Ease", knit in Rios in Azul Profundo
One last bonus question- You and Melissa have associated yourselves as a design team on Ravelry, which is somewhat unique. What do you think makes this pairing so effective, and how does Malabrigo play into that equation? I think we both love designing, and we have so much else in common! (Would you believe that we both got pregnant within a week of each other a year into our friendship?) I think that while our likes and styles are similar, we each bring something unique to the table. Melissa has the romance of the Midwest in her designs, while I bring a fresh East Coast prep to the table. There’s a balance in our friendship. She is incredibly talented at making chunky yarns flattering on everyone, while I play with structure and drape in more of the Sport to Aran weight yarns. I don’t think there’s a single design, since we’ve met, that I’ve published that I haven’t discussed with her, and vice versa. And on that note, I think the better question is how DOESN’T Malabrigo play a huge role in our collaboration? We discuss the colors, the moods they set, the fabrics we can achieve, the structural elements that the yarn is so suited for—it’s much of our conversation. We have a great group on Ravelry called Plum Dandi where we do fun giveaways, post test knits, talk about anything- it’s a warm group and we’re thankful for every single person in it. We have fun, but we also listen to people and share our concerns. Come join our fun—we have some very exciting things in the works… Thanks so much, Alicia! I can't wait to see what lovely things you come up with next (I know you've got some awesome stuff in the works, hehe ;-) ) You can check out all of Alicia's work at her Ravelry page or follow her blog!

Designer Interview: Melissa Schaschwary

This entry was posted on 5th December, 2012 .
Melissa, looking darling in her Road to Gimmerton pattern in Rasta.
Today we're talking to fabulous designer Melissa Schaschwary, who has designed all sorts of wonderful things in Malabrigo yarns, each as gorgeous as the last! Before we dive in, a little bio info:
Melissa Schaschwary lives with her husband, 2 daughters and her rat terrier, Puck in beautiful Wisconsin. She learned to knit when she and her husband relocated from Illinois to follow his career. She drinks way too much coffee, laughs a lot, talks very fast and has a hard time sitting in one place for long, which is why you’re likely to find her running after her kids with her needles in hand and the dog barking at her heels. She's even written a book about a knitting spider! Melissa moderates a group on Ravelry called the Plum Dandi Group with her design partner and great friend Alicia Plummer. Stop by to talk about anything and everything, to get the chance to test knit, or be involved in exciting knit alongs and to see what Malabrigo recipes the girls are frequently cooking up!
Hi Melissa!! Thank you for letting us quiz you! Let's jump on in- what was your first experience with Malabrigo? I am very lucky to have the really wonderful Main St Yarn Shop within walking distance from my house, whose shelves are stocked as often as possible with bounties of various types of Malabrigo. When I first started knitting, my dear friend and shop owner, Ronda Hattori, gave me the invaluable advice that my projects would only be as good as the materials that I used. With that in mind, when I knit my first full length, long sleeved sweater for my daughter, (Children’s Hooded Tunic by Diane Soucy,) I chose Malabrigo.
Melissa's Children's Hooded Tunic (design by Diane Soucy)
While I made a novice error and knit the sweater a few sizes too big, but it ended up working out because 3 years later, the sweater still gets a lot of use and the fabric has held up incredibly well when you consider numerous trips to the shore and lots of hot cocoa spills. Super cute! Those colors just scream "day at the beach." What was your first design in Malabrigo? My very first design using Malabrigo is called The Harbor hat.
The Harbor Hat
It’s a very simple, striped slouch hat for children. I created it because we spend many of our weekends on the shores and walking the harbors of Lake Michigan, where the crisp lake wind can really bring a chill to the bones during the winter months. I chose Malabrigo Worsted for that project because of its warmth, softness and its ability to achieve great fabric drape. I designed the hat for my little girl who at the time was only 4 months old (then made one for her older sister too.) I wanted only the softest yarn for the little noggin that I cherish so much. Aww :-) Besides the softness, why are you drawn to Malabrigo for use in your designs? I simply adore Malabrigo’s colorways. I have always appreciated art, thanks to my parents, who filled our little farm house with artwork to take the place of the television we didn’t have. Many of the Malabrigo colorways remind me of Degas, Van Gogh and one of my personal favorites, Andrew Wyeth. I find it very easy to be inspired by the colors themselves when it comes to designing. Consider Selkie, whose namesake was inspired by the seal-like color of the yarn.
Selkie, in Malabrigo Chunky in Marron Oscuro
The Peruvian inspired color palette I chose when making my hooded coat, Wilde, took me away to exotic, fairytale places in my mind. It was a great “escape” project to knit on it while my little one took her afternoon naps and I procrastinated on chores. Who knew a yarn could be so transporting? If only it could transport the chores…permanently…
Wilde, in Rasta Pagoda, Piedras, and Abril
Both of those are breathtakingly gorgeous! And I can only imagine how luxurious a Rasta coat must be to wear. What is your favorite Malabrigo project that you've made to date? Hmmm, this is a hard one. At the moment I really am completely in love with Wilde. Every time I slip into it I feel like a storybook character. I really wanted to showcase the Rasta’s ability to be used as not only a garment yarn, but as a flattering garment yarn! The colors in the yarn bring so much drama to the coat, that it truly is like wearing a piece of art. And we haven’t even talked about the cozy factor yet.
Wilde
The only problem might be that when wearing this coat, I’ve learned to be prepared for random people to reach out and touch my sleeve to feel if it’s really as soft as it looks. Yes, it can be awkward, but as the girl who can frequently be seen at yarn shops and fiber events rubbing yarn and fiber all over her face and neck to see if it’s as soft as it looks…well….I get it.
Another version of Wilde, by friend and design partner Alicia Plum. Rasta in Plomo and Azul Profundo.
I also really love Selkie,
Selkie
which uses Malabrigo Chunky, as well as Hemingway, which uses Rios.
Hemingway in Rios, Teal Feather
Again, the colors are really beautiful, but the durability of the fabric makes them all garments that will be in my closet, or nestled safely in my heirloom chest for years to come. And finally, the toughie: what is your favorite colorway and yarn base? Again, a really difficult question to answer. If I had to pick a colorway off the top of my head, I’d say I have an infatuation with Piedras. I used this colorway in sweater that I designed for my daughter called The Road To Gimmerton.
The Road to Gimmerton in Rasta, Piedras
The design is extremely basic and wonderful for beginner knitters, or those looking to make a first sweater, because the colors in the yarn really do most of the work! Knitting with it is like watching a painting unfold before your eyes. There is so much depth and richness; it’s like someone walked along a fall garden path, plucked all of the best colors and spun them into the softest fiber. After I finished this sweater, I actually had it hanging in my kitchen for a week, just so my eyes could drink it in and savor it for a while. I find that I most enjoy working with bulky and super bulky yarns. I love finding ways to create figure flattering shapes with not so typical yarn weights. I also love instant gratification (yes, I am that person who reads last page of the book, and have been known to shake my Christmas packages on more than one occasion.) With bulky yarn, I can typically have a full garment in just a few days’ time. What’s not to love about that?   Truer words, my friend! (I think she's done a pretty fantastic job turning Rasta into a figure flattering silhouette, don't you?) You can check out all of Melissa's designs on her Ravelry page or keep up with her adventures on her blog, Another Dandi Day! Thanks so much Melissa!   (I think we might have to turn the spotlight onto her pal Alicia next, whatddyathink?)

Designer Interview: Larissa Brown

This entry was posted on 21st November, 2012 .

Today I'm very excited to present to you an interview with Larissa Brown! Larissa was one of the first designers I ever discovered, way back in my knitting noob days. Her Mabel's Scarf was one of the first patterns in Malabrigo I ever saw, and is named after the first real LYS I ever went to (may it rest in peace.) It's safe to say she's been an inspiration to me from the beginning. Before we dive in, a little bio info:

Larissa is a lifelong knitter who learned with aluminum needles and Red Heart yarn on her nanny's chenille couch in suburban New Jersey. She writes about it in her book My Grandmother's Knitting: Family Stories and Inspired Knits by Top Designers. The book includes engaging family tales from 17 of today's foremost knitting designers, and 22 designs inspired by family. As an independent designer, Larissa sells dozens of patterns for accessories and the home that all invite the knitter to create their own works of art.  

Hi Larissa!! As usual, we'll start at the beginning- what was your first experience with Malabrigo?

My first experience was buying some Taupe Worsted and just looking at it for inspiration. The colors were subtle and enchanting, luxurious. That skein became the Sacred Yarn. I don't think I ever found anything worthy to make with it. I mailed it to my editor, Melanie Falick, just so she could see it. (I don't know where it is now. It has a life of its own.)

 

Doppio Gauntlets in Merino Worsted, in colorways Marron Oscuro and Rich Chocolate. Photo copyright Michael Crouser for the book "Knitalong."

 

They don't always get a lot of attention, but the neutral colors like Simply Taupe are some of my favorites. Mmmm. Wonder where that wayward skein is now... anyway, moving on, what was your first design in Malabrigo?

 

My first design was the Doppio Gauntlets in my book Knitalong. Shortly after that, I created one of my most popular designs with Mal Worsted called the Mabel's Scarf. It continues to be widely loved by Malabrigo addicts and I'm still amazed by how different in looks in the huge range of colorways knitters have used. The yarn is perfect for its labyrinth design.

 

Mabel's Scarves everywhere!

 

Why are you drawn to Malabrigo for use in your designs?

 

In technical terms, I like how it squishes. It somehow features cables and texture while still being fuzzy and cuddly. I also like the huge range of colors; lots of unexpected color combinations can be achieved.

 

From the Fields in Sock, colorway Persia

 

What is your favorite Malabrigo project that you've made to date?

 

I'm really proud of a recent design that's close to my heart--the From the Fields Shawl. This year, I'm writing a novel--a time travel love story that takes place in 10th century Iceland. I'm publishing a collection of shawls and wraps that are inspired by all my Viking research, and this one--the first--is designed in Malabrigo Sock. My amazing sample knitter, Kelley Dew, suggested the yarn in Persia and it's perfect.

 

From the Fields in Sock, colorway Persia

 

Another favorite is the Falconry gauntlets. They were a technical achievement for me at that time in my design career and I still think they are cool. People have used them for steampunk events, and they're quite perfect for any archeress-hunteress-game of thronesish party you might have to attend.

 

Falconry in Merino Worsted, colorway Rich Chocolate

It's so cool that you're writing a novel! And I can't wait to see the rest of the shawls. Everyday it seems like I fall in love with Iceland a little more (and I've never even been there, haha.) And to wrap up...what is your favorite colorway and yarn base?

Definitely the first Malabrigo I ever tried is still my favorite base. The original Worsted. As for colorways, does everyone tell you that's impossible to answer? I can narrow it down. I love Simply Taupe, Pearl Ten, Frost, and Water. Those are followed by the tonal shades, especially in yellows and golds. Despite my early work (circa 1974) in the Red Heart Mexicana colorway, I've moved away from variegated yarns. They're not as beautiful, I think, with textures and lace. They tend to obscure things, and the beauty of the yarn itself gets lost too. That's why I love the huge range of tonal colorways Malabrigo offers. They are complex while the majority of them still work with a textured design.   Thanks so much for talking with us Larissa! You can see more of Larissa's fabulous patterns on Ravelry and on Craftsy (and don't forget to keep an eye out for that love story!)

Designer Interview: Kitman Figueroa

This entry was posted on 7th November, 2012 .
Kitman!!
This week we're talking to Kitman Figueroa! Kitman is a Malaysian designer now living in the heart of Texas with her husband, dog, and a whole bunch of yarn. She excels in lace design, and her shawls are truly amazing! Kitman's pattern Azulejos is featured in our newest pattern booklet, Malabrigo Book 4.   Hi Kitman! Let's dive right in- can you recall your very first "Malabrigo Experience"?
That will be my first triangle shawl design - Be.Leaf. I used a skein of Malabrigo Sock in Turner for that project and I fell in love with the softness of this yarn. I am a purple and green monster. I tend to buy yarn in these colors very very often.
Be.Leaf, in Sock in the Turner colorway.
And what was your first design with Malabrigo?
It is also Be.Leaf :) but I have to mention Damask here. This is the shawl I designed for the Malabrigo Sock Yarn design competition and it got 3rd prize. I used a skein of Ochre sock yarn for the shawl and that is definitely a dream combination of work.
Damask in Sock in Ochre
I remember seeing that one when it came out and thinking it was just gorgeous! Can you tell us why you choose to use Malabrigo in so many of your designs?
Malabrigo yarn is famous of its buttery softness and besides that, I love their colors!
What is your favorite project that you've made in Malabrigo? 
That has to be Damask and Azulejos (in Malabrigo Book 4).
Azulejos, in Lace in color Purple Mystery. Soon to be available in Malabrigo Book Four!
And finally- what is your favorite colorway and base yarn?
For colorways, Archangel and Persia. For base, Sock and Rios.
Drop City in Sock in colorway Rayon Vert
Thank you, Kitman!! You can see all of Kitman's work on her Ravelry page, or check out her website at kitfig.com.

Designer Interview: Sara Gresbach

This entry was posted on 17th October, 2012 .
Today we're talking to an awesome designer I only just discovered recently (thanks to the Junkies designer thread)- Ms Sara Gresbach!  
Kaleidoscope Cowl, in Worsted, in Pearl Ten and Malambo
A little about Sara:
I live in a small town in Wisconsin with my husband, who takes most of my design photos, and my two children. I chose to leave my job as an Occupational Therapist at a hand clinic after having my second child.  At that point, knitting was a hobby but a growing addiction.  I found myself inspired to create things for my kids and decided to try my hand at writing down what I did.  Raised by an English teacher and having worked on my college paper as a copy editor, I enjoyed putting my designs into words.  It’s such a humbling and wonderful feeling every time I sell a pattern, and the things I’ve learned along the way are invaluable.
  Hi Sara! Welcome to the blog ;-) We'll start at the beginning- what was your first experience with Malabrigo? I have loved the colors and soft touch of Malabrigo from the very start, but as a new knitter, I was hesitant to use it for fear of not doing it justice.  My very first project with Malabrigo was a brimmed hat using Worsted in the Déjà vu colorway.  I had been coveting the Déjà Vu for some time, and to my surprise and delight, a skein appeared on the front seat of my car after a visit with my mom (who taught me to knit and got me thoroughly hooked on Malabrigo).  I chose Kimberly's Cool Cap, which is not a very well known pattern on ravelry. In fact, I think my project is the only one linked to the pattern, but it showcased the yarn beautifully and I love the result.  The seed stitch and the decreases on the top were perfect with the yarn.   
Sara's first Malabrigo project, in Worsted in Déjà Vu
And what was your first design with Malabrigo yarn? My first design in Malabrigo was the Little Treasures Cardi, designed for my son’s 18-month pictures, taken at an abandoned gas station.  The whole family had so much fun at that photo shoot, and best of all, because of the undeniable softness of Malabrigo Worsted, he loved wearing that sweater.  Sadly, a year later, he has outgrown it. 
Little Treasures in Worsted, Blue Surf
  What draws you to Malabrigo for your design work? There are so many reasons….the colors, the softness, the reliability.  It’s so wearable, and honestly, it just makes me happy!   I know when I pick it up, whatever it will become, I will love the finished object.  Whether it’s for me, my kids, or a gift, there is never any doubt, it will be worn and loved.  I had a skein of worsted in Bobby Blue in my stash for several months. It had been sitting all alone on the shelf at my local shop, Main Street Yarn Shop, Hartford, WI, so I had to bring it home.  It sat and sat in my stash, and when the cooler weather hit this Fall, I designed Yellowstone with it and gifted it to a friend, who in turn modeled it.  The color is fabulous on her and as a knitter, she truly appreciated its loveliness.
Yellowstone in Worsted, Bobby Blue
  What is your favorite Malabrigo project that you've made to date? The more I knit with it, the harder that question is to answer!  I would have to say that my County Clare boot toppers are a contender because of their inspiration.  I had a wonderful get-away weekend with my sister (who is not a knitter, but has a great fashion sense) and we stayed at a lovely little Irish Inn, The County Clare Hotel, in Milwaukee.  Together we dreamed up this design, which was really fun to knit.  It was my first experience with Arroyo.  Needless to say, I am now hooked on another base. 
County Clare Boot Toppers in Arroyo, Candombe
What is your favorite colorway and yarn base? It really is impossible to choose just one.  I always come back to Worsted.  This summer when I was away on vacation for a week, the shop owner at my local yarn shop posted on Ravelry about receiving a huge shipment of worsted and how amazing all the new colors were.  I was seriously having anxiety because I wasn’t there to experience it! I am always drawn to the variegated colorways that Malabrigo does better than anyone.  It’s sometimes a challenge to find the perfect pattern to fit the yarn, which is what I had in mind when I designed the Kaleidoscope Cowl.  It was specifically designed to showcase a highly variegated yarn alongside a more subtle solid or semi-solid yarn.  One of my current favorites is Malambo, used in the cowl, but Milonga, Pearl Ten, Candombe, and Apple Cinnamon all come in very close behind.  I used the remainder of a skein of Arroyo in Candombe for Trailhead and cannot get past the depth of the colors, they just blow me away.  I could go on and on….at this point there is no doubt I have a true addiction! 
Trailhead in Arroyo, Candombe
Thank you so much Sara, for sharing your beautiful work with us! If you’d like to hear more about Sara's knitting adventures or follow her blog, check out her website, frontporchknitting.com. You can also find Sara on Ravelry (or click any of the photos in this interview to go straight to the pattern!)

Designer Interview - Alex Tinsley

This entry was posted on 29th August, 2012 .
Alex Tinsley
Today we're sitting Alex Tinsley on the other side of the table and it's her turn to get interviewed! Being that she has designed patterns using Malabrigo for quite a while, we couldn't pass the opportunity to let her share her experience and thoughts with us. Thank you for accepting to do this, Alex! Alex lives in Michigan, she is happily married and have two very cute dogs. She has a degree in psychology, that she's not really using for now, and claims to be one of the few people who actually likes white chocolate. I have one other friend who likes white chocolate too. One. To say that she specializes in hats is an understatement. She has designed a LOT of them, each one really different from the other, applying techniques that makes the knit a learning experience as well as fun times. The first one that caught my eye, a long time ago, was Wabbit Season, designed with Malabrigo Twist,  that is part of an e-book called Go Go, Malabrigo. Those ear flaps are both endearing and useful on cold days, the pom-poms adds to the cute , and the pockets definitely gives a very original touch to the design. So Alex, tell us, how did you get to know Malabrigo?
I bought my first skein of Mal Worsted at a shop called Busy Hands, in Michigan. The color was "Dry Blue" which doesn't exist anymore, but I think it was kind of like Stone Blue. I was still a pretty new knitter at the time and it was one of the first high-quality, not-from-Joann's yarns that I used, and I was just blown away! It just felt really good in my hands. Soft, but substantial. I crocheted a not-very-good hat and scarf with it... and then promptly went out and bought a bunch more in all sorts of colors.
First project working with Malabrigo
I have been told this happens to quite a few people! Not to me, of course. Never. No (ahem) Moving on What was the first thing you designed with Malabrigo?
My first design in Malabrigo was called Golden Boy, and it was a hat I knit for my now-husband shortly after we started dating. It's knit flat, and then finished off with a short-row wedge, because at the time, I only had size 10 needles that were straight, haha. I did the first version in Chunky, in Loro barranquero, and then another in Worsted in Lettuce and some leftover Dry Blue. It's never gotten much attention, but I still kind of like it- especially the Chunky version.
Golden Boy in Malabrigo Chunky, Loro Barranquero
I really like this design. It looks simple, but then you look closer and see the short row wedge, and now that you explain why that design feature is there, it goes to show how a little thinking outside the box and using what you have at hand can create something beautiful and original. Many of your designs are done in Malabrigo, why do you choose Malabrigo for your designs?
I think Malabrigo is the perfect combination of soft texture, great colors, and availability. It's a luxury yarn without being wildly expensive. It's sold (and loved) just about everywhere, which is great for designers. But most of all - it still just feels good in my hands! Mal Worsted and I are like old friends- I know how it will knit up without even needing to swatch, and it's wonderful for hats, which are my favorite things to design. The colors are always so rich and beautiful- especially some of the new "watercolor" shades, which have been tempting me away from Worsted into some of the other bases, hehe.
Doublish in Malabrigo Sock, Turner
If you had to choose one project done with Malabrigo as your favorite, which one would it be?
Oh man, that's hard. I think the one that gets the most wear is my Bespeckled hat. I love the color, I like how it fits, and pom poms are awesome. I recently had to make a second one for a workshop I was putting together, so now I own it in two colors, Frank Ochre and Polvoriento. Yay!
Bespeckled in Malabrigo Worsted, Frank Ochre and Natural
That is definitely a hat that will put some sunshine as well as warmth on a cold winter! You could say you have knitted with most of Malabrigos bases and colors. If you got stranded on an island and could take only one base and one color with you, which would it be?
I love all the bases but Worsted will always be closest to my heart. I would happily roll around in a pile of Finito though! My favorite colorway is, hands down, Frank Ochre. I want it to come in every base, and then I want to pile it up and make myself a fort out of it, where I will live happily forever. I also really like the neutrals- Pearl, Simply Taupe- and some of the other gold/chartreuse colorways like Glitter and Mostaza. Some of the new watercolors are amazing too- Volcan and Marte and Peacock, oh my! This question is too hard.
Alex dreaming about her fort,wearing Hypnotica, Malabrigo Worsted in Frank Ochre and Pearl
  Thank you, Alex, for letting me be the journalist once, this was fun! If you want to see more of Alex's designs, you can visit her designer page in Ravelry or visit her website dull-roar.com.  

- Verónica

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!

Designer Interview: Sarah Burghardt

This entry was posted on 25th July, 2012 .
Today's designer is a pal of mine and a terribly talented Chicagoite: Ms Sarah Burghardt! Sarah blew straight out of the gate with amazing, uniquely constructed shawl patterns (and some darn cute hats as well!) and has been a Mal fan since the beginning. Hi Sarah! Let's dive right in: What was your first experience working with Malabrigo yarn? I made the Diagonal Multidirectional Scarf, the first pattern I had ever used. The color I used, "Hummingbird," was so exciting at every turn--which color was coming next? Would it be lime green? Royal blue? Purple? I was mesmerized for the whole length of the scarf, never getting bored with simple garter stitch. In fact, that was also what got me into short-rows. To me, Malabrigo and short-rows are a delicious pair.
And what was your first design in Malabrigo? My first design in Malabrigo was my first for-sale design as well, Wicker Park. I made some very rookie mistakes with this design; I took too few notes, and I gave away the first prototype before writing the pattern, believing I could trust my brain to remember what I did. Fortunately, with the help of a handful of testers, I fixed the pattern so it accurately depicted what one should do to get the product. I suppose that is the point of a pattern!
It's a very ambitious early pattern, haha! It came out wonderfully though. Movin' along- what drives you to use Malabrigo in so many of your designs? First and foremost are the colorways, especially the multi-colored skeins. I like to play with geometry and short-rows, and the multi-colored yarns are the best for showing off the "grain" of the knitting. It's fun to change directions in a piece and be able to see it in the final product. If Malabrigo had great colors and no softness, I would probably not work with it as much, so I guess it's the colors that invite me to the party and the softness that gets me to sleep on the couch instead of driving home. What is your personal favorite Mal project to date? I'm pretty crazy about my Condurat in the colorways Coco and Piedras. I saw those two skeins at Stitches Midwest and knew that they wanted to have a baby together. That baby grew up to be a brioche, double-moebius cowl. The skeins are very proud.
What a beautiful bouncing baby brioche ;-) And finally...what is your fave colorway and/or base yarn? I think Playa is one of the most perfect colors out there, but I'm also crazy for Piedras and Candombe. Playa is mysterious, Piedras is festive, and Candombe exudes richness. My favorite base to touch is Twist, though I'd love to give Finito a chance; we just haven't met yet.
Wait, one more bonus question! Can you tell us about the system you use to name your patterns? I've noticed that there is, well, a pattern to it ;-) When I moved back to Chicago after college, I lived a few blocks away from Nina, a beautiful yarn store in Wicker Park, which was the place where I bought my first hank of Malabrigo.  I was also singing a lot of shape-note music (an old form of American hymns), and a lot of the songs were named after neighborhoods, towns, and streets.  One song, by the composer Judy Hauff, is called Wood Street (the second link is less wild and authentic, but very pretty), which was one block from me.  Inspired by the tradition of naming songs after places, I started to name my knitting patterns, almost exclusively, after streets and neighborhoods where I was living or visiting.  Some of them were named for how the sounds went with the design (Wicker Park, Paulina), and others were named with purpose; Wolcott is a confusing street that is both discontinuous and changes directions, so I gave its name to a hat that can be worn two ways and also changes direction before the brim, and Sheridan is curvy street along the lakefront, so I gave its name to a swirly shawl.   Thanks so much Sarah, it was a pleasure talking to you! You guys can check out all of Sarah's work on Ravelry or at her website!

Designer Interview: Mia Rinde

This entry was posted on 11th July, 2012 .
Our newest designer interviewee is Mia Rinde! Mia is a lace shawl extrordinaire, having published TEN of them since beginning to design last year! Mia says:
I’m totally addicted to knitting lace shawls, I tell myself (and try to convince my husband) that one can never have too many shawls.
(I'm with ya there, Mia.)
  Hi Mia! Thanks for being here :-) What can you tell us about your first experience with Malabrigo yarn? My first skein of Malabrigo was actually a gift sent to me by a Raveler in Finland. I had heard lots about the yarns but didn't know any retailers where I lived (in Sweden). I think the fact that I finished my lace shawl in a week is a good indication on how much I liked it. I've always been fascinated by colours and the slight variegation in this yarn, the constant question of how the next row will look on the row before is addicting and fun (/terribly sleep depriving).
And what was your first design in Malabrigo? My first design with Malabrigo was a shawl depicting foilage, it's called Leaf by Leaf and I used less than one skein of Malabrigo lace. My designs often start out with me trying to find ways of interpreting nature in knitting but it isn't always obvious in the finished piece.
Why do you choose to use Malabrigo in so many of your designs? Well, this year I had a plan to knit with a wider range of colours (not just pink, purple, green and everything in between (hey that rhymes)) I've chosen a lot of Malabrigo because it has just the right amount of colour variegation for my taste.
What is your personal favorite Mal project to date? I'm not the kind that sticks to a favourite knit over a longer period of time, I tend to prefer one of the things I've made recently. Right now it's this one in Silky Merino (Madre Perla)- I'm proud I managed to give it to the intended recipient as I'm normally a very selfish knitter keeping all of my goodies to myself.
What is your favorite colorway and yarn base? My favourite colorway out of the ones I've actually seen is Hollyhock. I keep thinking I should get Damask Rose when I look online but my retailers don't carry it. There are so many beautiful colours this question is almost impossible to answer! I have just the faintest memory of my kindergarten teacher saying "everybody is best in their own way" so I think my final answer is "every colourway is best in it's own way". As for favourite base I'd have to say Malabrigo Lace, my hands are in heaven when I knit with this wonderfully soft yarn!   Thank you for answering our questions Mia! You guys can ogle all of Mia's lovely designs on her Ravelry page ;-)

Designer Interview: Judy Marples

This entry was posted on 27th June, 2012 .
Today we're talking to the amazing Judy Marples! Judy is a Canadian knitter who learned to knit as a child and never stopped. She began designing in 2009 and has racked up a rather gorgeous portfolio!
She's got an eye for rich, scrumptious color and a great talent for lace...
My favorite thing to design is lace. I love the logic of lace, the math involved and playing with graph paper and pencil. I love all the little details that come together to form lace and I always strive to create patterns that are intuitive for the knitter.  
Hi Judy!! Thanks for letting us interview you. Can you tell us about your ?rst "Malabrigo experience"? In spring 2007 I began working part time at my LYS 88 Stitches Yarn Shop, which just happens to be right across the street from my home. The owner, Sue, was just opening the store and I began working with her on the second day of operation. We didn?t have much yarn in those early days but that fall Malabrigo Merino Worsted appeared on our shelves. I couldn?t believe how soft it was and how lovely it felt in my hands. And the colors just blew me away! The ?rst color I choose was Velvet Grapes. I started knitting with Malabrigo then and have never stopped. The shop is now happily full of yarn and Malabrigo is one of our top sellers. I love introducing other people to Malabrigo! I teach classes as well as designing and I recently did a series of Learn to Knit classes at my local City Hall for the employees on their lunch break. I made up kits for the class and along with my favorite needles I included in each kit a small ball of Merino worsted. They loved it! We now have a large group of women who meet once a week and are passionate about knitting. Aww, that's great! What about your first design in Malabrigo? My ?rst design with Malabrigo was also my ?rst design ever. Woodsie Gloves(knit in Merino worsted) is a free pattern that I published in November 2009.
  Very cute! What would you say drives you to use Malabrigo in so many of your designs? Malabrigo has remained one of my favorite yarns over the years. Working in a LYS I see tons of yarn come and go but Malabrigo has remained consistent in it?s quality and of course, I love, love, love the colorways. I really am all about the color when choosing yarn. It?s the ?rst aspect I react to in a yarn and usually the deciding factor for me. With Malabrigo I know that quality yarn comes along with the awesome color. I know it will block beautifully and there won?t be any surprises. Also the wide range of yarn weights are awesome, there is a weight for every project.  
  What is your absolute favorite project that you've made in Malabrigo? Wow, now you have me stumped! They are really all my favorites, but if I had to choose just one, it would have be my Sweet Details Cardigan. This was designed with my little granddaughter in mind and is knit in Rios. I knit two versions of this pattern and once the pattern was published she took the samples home with her. She loves her sweaters and wore them both until they ?nally became too small. Time to make her another one in a larger size!
Some of my other designs that I love in Malabrigo are: Heart of Wales Shawl which I knit in Sock in Tiziano Red. Love that color!
Knit Night Hat (free pattern) and Knit Night Gloves, done in either Merino worsted or Rios.
Elowen Shawl, using Arroyo yarn was so much fun to design.
Yorkshire Shawl - one of the samples was knit in Finito, which started another whole obsession for me with this amazing yarn.
So many beautiful designs! Alright, last question- what is your favorite colorway and yarn base? Sue at 88 Stitches has provided me with a steady diet of treats, we?ve had all the Malabrigo yarns over the years. Last fall she ordered Arroyo and I do have a special love for this base. It?s such a versatile weight and I?ve used it for shawls, accessories and sweaters and love that it is superwash. This spring a small shipment of Finito arrived in the store. I used it to knit a sample for my Yorkshire Shawl and I absolutely fell in love with it. I Immediately began to buy one skein for every shift I worked in the shop, lol! One of the perks/dangers of working in a LYS :) I now have a small stash of Finito, waiting for inspiration. My plan is for fall accessories. I really do love them all but in particular, I love the washability of Rios and Arroyo for kid?s clothes and I love the lighter weights for lace. My favorite colorway? Really hard question for me to answer! I have made several projects with Vaa and it is amazing. I just love the combination of greens and blues. It would de?nitely make my short list. Another favorite is Frank Ochre. You simply cannot be in a bad mood while knitting with this colorway! I made a cowl using Merino worsted in Frank Ochre as a Christmas gift for a co-worker and it was really hard to give it up. It just glows with warmth and I really love it. I?m working on a sweater for myself right now in Arroyo Jupiter and I?m loving this color too. I also love Tiziano Red, Lettuce, Paris Night, Purple Mystery and Buscando Azul. The neutrals are awesome too, I?m thinking of Plomo, Pearl Ten, Coffee Toffee...Oops, sorry you probably meant just one favorite :) I could ramble on and on about the colors...   Thank you so much Judy!! You can check out all of Judy's amazing designs on her Ravelry page or her blog. 

-Alex

Designer Interview: Gege à la Gomme

This entry was posted on 13th June, 2012 .
Today we're talking to Geneviève, who designs as Gege à la Gomme (a childhood nickname that means, she explains, something like "Dennis the Menace" or "rascal".)  In her own words: I started playing with yarn in preschool. I’ve always been knitting since then but not regularly. I started playing again with yarn seriously in 2003, when I was completing my degree in Fine Arts. I slowly switched my paintbrushes for knitting needles and since then knitting has become my first choice medium. I’ve always been improvising my own projects. I started designing knitting patterns in the beginning of 2010. I love the challenge and the satisfaction that designing provides. I like to design all kind of things. My patterns come from a combination of experimentation, inspiration, a lot of thinking and a lot of ripping off. Hi Geneviève!! Can you please tell us about your first "Malabrigo Experience"?  I first discovered Malabrigo via Ravelry. I think I’ve joined the Junkies’s group even before I bought my first skein of Mal. Everyone seemed so happy with their Malabrigo yarns and the projects made out of it were looking so beautiful to me that I had to place an order to try that for myself. I grabbed several skeins of Merino worsted in a variety of colorways. I picked up one skein of each colorway that was available in the store I was used to shop at that time. I got Sealing Wax, Bergamota, Pearl Ten, Verde Esperanza, Sapphire Green, Tortuga, Frank Ochre and Pearl. There was some Loro Barranquero too. And then I’ve been hooked!
What was your first design using Malabrigo? My first design with Mal was Buttercup hat. It’s also my first design ever. It makes a great gift. It’s very quick and also easy. I’ve made a couple more to give to my sister and friends.
I just love the color combos in that hat! (But then, I'm a huge sucker for Frank Ochre, hehe.) Anyway, moving on... what draws you to Malabrigo for your designs? I use Malabrigo most of the time because of the high quality of their bases. The selection of colorways is phenomenal and so inspiring. I think it’s a good yarn to choose to design with because it’s very appreciated and widely available. The company is being run by awesome people and I am also secretly hoping to work with them one some projects one day.
Hehe, we do love working with indie designers! So what is your personal favorite Mal project to date? It’s hard to compare a shawl with a hat or a sweater but I would say my sample for Riddim. I’ve been wearing it a lot. It’s made out of Rios and it’s such a pleasure to wear. Most people don’t believe I made it when they don’t know me. My favorite hat this past winter has been Street Lamps. The two layers are making it very warm. It's also reversible and you can use different colors for each layer. I also love my Nightlite shawl sample to pieces.  
Beautiful! I really like the reversibility of the Street Lamps hat, and the way the two multicolored colorways melt together. Speaking of which, what is your fave colorway (and fave base yarn, too)? My favorite base yarn to date is Rios. I love it for it’s washability and it’s beautiful stitch definition. I still didn’t have the privilege to try Arroyo, Finito, Twist, Chunky, Rasta nor Silky yet. I bet I would love them too and and I can’t wait till the day I can put my hands on some of these yarns! Let’s talk about the fabulous colorways. It’s going to be impossible to narrow it down to just one favorite. I really love the neutrals Pearl and Pearl Ten. I never tried Plomo, but it looks to be so amazing. If you didn’t try Black because you think it’s ordinary, try it! It’s not just Black, it’s more like Power Black, the deepest you ever seen. I love vivid colors too! Sunset, Solis, Bergamota, I never got to try Bobby Blue but it looks gorgeous. I’m into pastels too! I love Water Green, Butter, Apricot and I have so many more colorways to try and to love! Thank you so much Geneviève! You can check out Geneviève's blog here or see all her work on her Ravelry page. We can't wait to see what you come up with in the future! (And I highly recommend the Finito! And Twist. And Arroyo. Aw heck, all of 'em.) (And a little bonus sneak preview of her upcoming design, New Tower: )

- Alex

 

Designer Interview: Gege à la Gomme

This entry was posted on 13th June, 2012 .
Today we're talking to Geneviève, who designs as Gege à la Gomme (a childhood nickname that means, she explains, something like "Dennis the Menace" or "rascal".)  In her own words: I started playing with yarn in preschool. I’ve always been knitting since then but not regularly. I started playing again with yarn seriously in 2003, when I was completing my degree in Fine Arts. I slowly switched my paintbrushes for knitting needles and since then knitting has become my first choice medium. I’ve always been improvising my own projects. I started designing knitting patterns in the beginning of 2010. I love the challenge and the satisfaction that designing provides. I like to design all kind of things. My patterns come from a combination of experimentation, inspiration, a lot of thinking and a lot of ripping off. Hi Geneviève!! Can you please tell us about your first "Malabrigo Experience"?  I first discovered Malabrigo via Ravelry. I think I’ve joined the Junkies’s group even before I bought my first skein of Mal. Everyone seemed so happy with their Malabrigo yarns and the projects made out of it were looking so beautiful to me that I had to place an order to try that for myself. I grabbed several skeins of Merino worsted in a variety of colorways. I picked up one skein of each colorway that was available in the store I was used to shop at that time. I got Sealing Wax, Bergamota, Pearl Ten, Verde Esperanza, Sapphire Green, Tortuga, Frank Ochre and Pearl. There was some Loro Barranquero too. And then I’ve been hooked!
What was your first design using Malabrigo? My first design with Mal was Buttercup hat. It’s also my first design ever. It makes a great gift. It’s very quick and also easy. I’ve made a couple more to give to my sister and friends.
I just love the color combos in that hat! (But then, I'm a huge sucker for Frank Ochre, hehe.) Anyway, moving on... what draws you to Malabrigo for your designs? I use Malabrigo most of the time because of the high quality of their bases. The selection of colorways is phenomenal and so inspiring. I think it’s a good yarn to choose to design with because it’s very appreciated and widely available. The company is being run by awesome people and I am also secretly hoping to work with them one some projects one day.
Hehe, we do love working with indie designers! So what is your personal favorite Mal project to date? It’s hard to compare a shawl with a hat or a sweater but I would say my sample for Riddim. I’ve been wearing it a lot. It’s made out of Rios and it’s such a pleasure to wear. Most people don’t believe I made it when they don’t know me. My favorite hat this past winter has been Street Lamps. The two layers are making it very warm. It's also reversible and you can use different colors for each layer. I also love my Nightlite shawl sample to pieces.  
Beautiful! I really like the reversibility of the Street Lamps hat, and the way the two multicolored colorways melt together. Speaking of which, what is your fave colorway (and fave base yarn, too)? My favorite base yarn to date is Rios. I love it for it’s washability and it’s beautiful stitch definition. I still didn’t have the privilege to try Arroyo, Finito, Twist, Chunky, Rasta nor Silky yet. I bet I would love them too and and I can’t wait till the day I can put my hands on some of these yarns! Let’s talk about the fabulous colorways. It’s going to be impossible to narrow it down to just one favorite. I really love the neutrals Pearl and Pearl Ten. I never tried Plomo, but it looks to be so amazing. If you didn’t try Black because you think it’s ordinary, try it! It’s not just Black, it’s more like Power Black, the deepest you ever seen. I love vivid colors too! Sunset, Solis, Bergamota, I never got to try Bobby Blue but it looks gorgeous. I’m into pastels too! I love Water Green, Butter, Apricot and I have so many more colorways to try and to love! Thank you so much Geneviève! You can check out Geneviève's blog here or see all her work on her Ravelry page. We can't wait to see what you come up with in the future! (And I highly recommend the Finito! And Twist. And Arroyo. Aw heck, all of 'em.) (And a little bonus sneak preview of her upcoming design, New Tower: )

- Alex

 

Designer Interview: Joji Locatelli

This entry was posted on 30th May, 2012 .
Today I'm pleased to introduce a true Malabrigo Junkie designer- Joji! Almost half of Joji's patterns are in Malabrigo (including her recent MFPP ebook, April Showers,) and they're all absolutely stunning. She has a fantastic eye for color and proportion...and is also just about the nicest gal you'll ever meet. In her words: How did I became a knitwear designer? Pure luck, I guess. I studied and graduated as a Physician, and thought very little about knitting until my studies were over. While working as a doctor, in 2004, I rediscovered this craft. I started remembering what I had learnt from my mother and internet opened a whole new world of knowledge about this art to me. I was absolutely hooked by knitting and I couldn't think of much else during my work hours... When my first son was born, I left my career to become a stay at home mom. And found that I could work from home while taking care of my family. I never got back to medicine…Haha! I started doing all kind of things here in Argentina. I worked (and still do, but in a smaller scale) as an independent dyer for my LYS, and I also work there as a product manager. But designing just came by chance! I wrote the instructions for a sweater that I really liked and then new ideas started to pop up in my head. And people liked them! What can I say? I am a lucky girl.... :D Hi Joji! Thanks so much for letting us interview you. Can you tell us about your first experience working with Malabrigo yarn? Well, I live in a country where it used to be very hard to get any imported yarns... So it took me a while to get my hands on some Malabrigo... A friend of mine once travelled and she brought me my first precious skeins of Malabrigo Sock. And that was a point of no return! The colors were so amazing. And the feel of the yarn was completely new to me. I had never touched something so soft. I guess I'll always remember my first project in Malabrigo. That's when I became a fan!
What was your first design in Malabrigo? A little after I finished my first project with Sock, I managed to get myself a sweater quantity of Worsted. As I said, it was really really hard to get Malabrigo in Argentina at that time, so my skeins deserved to become something special. I kept browsing patterns on Ravelry, trying to find something "Mal-worthy", and I just couldn't make up my mind. So I decided I would make exactly what I thought those skeins should become. And that was the first time I ever designed with Malabrigo... And the first time I wrote a pattern for self-publishing in Ravelry. That pattern was Pole. I never expected people to actually like a pattern written by myself, but they did! And that changed my life, because from then on, I decided I wanted to continue designing more and more.  
Pole is a beautiful way to start! Why do you choose to use Malabrigo in so many of your designs? I just love these yarns. They are everything I could hope for as a designer. You have all the colors, all the textures, and all the yarn weights you can dream of. I know the bases, I love the way they behave. I feel comfortable knitting with yarns that I know so well. And also... I feel like they are neighboors! We do not have internationally famous yarns made in Argentina, so I feel like Uruguayan yarns are the closest thing to "local" yarns, hehe. I totally get the names they use for every color, so sometimes it is fun to know what the story is behind them. (I don't think that is a reason why I use their yarns so much, though... Just another thing I love about Mal!) What would you say is your personal favorite Malabrigo project to date? Well, that is hard to say, because I love them all so much! I probably love my Opposite Pole the most. I love the color I picked for it (Simply Taupe.) It's the perfect beige. The cables turned out just as I was hoping when I wrote the pattern, and I wear it all the time. And it is soooooooo soft!
  I love Opposite Pole- the detailing just blew me away the first time I saw it! And finally...what is your fave colorway and/or base yarn? Regarding colors, I tend to love neutral tones. I'd say my favorite color is Pearl. I just cannot imagine a more delicate and feminine shade of gray. And as for bases... I love them all! But if I had to knit with something for the rest of my life it would definitely be Twist. I have never seen such a twisted yet soft and flexible yarn. And so soft, Oh my Gosh!  
  Thanks so much Joji! We can't wait to see what fabulous things you come up with next. You can peruse all of Joji's patterns on her Ravelry page, or follow her adventures on her blog!

- Alex

Designer Interview: Jennifer Dassau

This entry was posted on 19th May, 2012 .

You may know today's designer from her gorgeously intricate MFPP ebook, Sailing to Byzantium, or maybe her creepy-chic Arachno-shawls! Her portfolio abounds in rich color and fascinating textures. Jennifer came to knitwear designing in an interesting way (and I'm sure we see a bit of her experience in her work!): Knitwear pattern designer is my third incarnation; I started out as an attorney who crafted on the side, then went back to school at Parsons to study fashion and spent a long time in production on Seventh Avenue, although in wovens rather than knits. I liked the production side for the challenge of taking a design to reality; my part was in developing the actual “how-to” of the idea, so it could be sent off to the factory and produced for the stores. Eventually I wanted to focus on my own designs, and while taking time off when my kids were small, I taught myself to knit, which gradually replaced sewing and draping as my main interest. At first I knit other people’s patterns, but I began modifying things almost right away, and of course that led to designing my own. I’m really fascinated by technique; short rows, sideways knitting, seamless construction – interesting ways to knit things to achieve a certain result.  
Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for letting us interview you! We'll start at the beginning: what was your first experience with Malabrigo? As a newish knitter, I had attempted the Clapotis with sock yarn and failed miserably. Trying again, I looked at people’s projects on Ravelry and saw some beautiful ones made with Silky, with notes raving about how amazing the yarn was. I ordered some online, and four skeins of Mint Frappe became my Clapotis – without a single problem or mistake. Oh it looks so luxurious! So from there, when did you first begin designing with Malabrigo yarn? My first real designs were a reversible-cable series of a hat, fingerless mitts and a cowl. I just rephotographed and revised those patterns, actually, to bring them into line stylistically with my current pattern look.
Beautiful! What draws you to Malabrigo for so many of your designs? Malabrigo is my first and best yarn love; I started publishing my designs because of the encouragement in the Ravelry Malabrigo Junkies group, and I think that support has a lot to do with the positive and very enthusiastic community that surrounds Malabrigo. The company is very approachable – I’ve chatted with Antonio and Tobias at Stitches East – and the product is for real yarnophiles. Really, there’s a Mal for everything - the incomparable Worsted; superwash Rios; Lace and Sock and now Arroyo for lighter weight things. No matter what design I see in my head, I keep coming back to it.
Aww, we're so glad you did decide to publish! Now...what is your personal favorite project that you've made with Malabrigo, to date? Up to now, that would have been a tie between my Arachnophilia crescent shawl, and the Crimpy Mitts. The dk shawl is Silky, which is just the best weight for wraps; the mitts are fingerless with a long cuff and tucks, and they’ve worn really well in Rios, while still being amazingly soft.I have a new favorite, too; the prototype for Plica, a cardigan knit in Blue Graphite Worsted, using the Contiguous method. This construction lets you knit top down in one piece like a raglan, but gives the look of set-in sleeves. This one just needs a little tweaking, then it will be ready for test knitting.
Oooh, pretty. Now for the last, and hardest question: what's your favorite colorway and yarn base? Those are impossible questions, of course. My all time favorite color is probably Polar Morn, so much more than just grey, because it’s lavender and blue and sometimes pink too; I wish it came in every base. I love Abril and Purpuras, too – are you sensing a trend here? But the thing about Mal is that it’s made me try colors I never would have thought I liked before, like Cumparsita and Applewood. In bases, there’s one for everything, but I really like the superwash options for sweaters. Rios makes a great garment, and I have plans for some Arroyo sweaters next.
  Thank you so much, Jennifer!! You can check out Jennifer's full line of patterns on her Ravelry page or at her website, The Knitting Vortex.  And we'll be back soon with more fabulous designers to question!  

Interview with Terri Kruse

This entry was posted on 13th April, 2012 .
 
  Our designer interview series is back! And we're starting with the delightful Terri Kruse. I first discovered Terri's work when she published her Momo sweater during Malabrigo March of last year- my first thought was "I would wear the HECK outta that!" Since then, it's been a joy to keep an eye on the beautiful work she puts out. I asked Terri to tell us a little about herself before we start in on the questions, and this is what she said: I always had an interest in knitting and crocheting. I had a friend who knit and she made the most beautiful things. She also had a huge collection of yarn and I was absolutely fascinated with it. In 2005, I decided that I was going to make it my New Year resolution to learn how to knit and I did, literally overnight. It just clicked. I had been artistic and craft obsessed my entire life. I inherited it from my Grandmother, she was an amazing quilter and embroiderer. It wasn't until I started knitting that I found my true love. I started modifying patterns immediately and then that led to designing things.  
  You've made so many fantastic designs and projects in Malabrigo yarns- can you tell us what your first "Malabrigo Experience" was? I had been using big box store yarns when I first started knitting. I had no idea there was anything else out there aside from the yarn I had seen in my friend's stash. She posted some pictures on a forum (my pre-Ravelry days) of her new Malabrigo purchases. I nearly fainted. The colors were unlike anything I had used yet. They were gorgeous even on a bad computer monitor. She mentioned how soft it was and well, she had me. I had to try it. The yarns I was using were not soft. So, I scoured the internet to find this gorgeous yarn and I ordered a bunch of worsted. I immediately fell in love. I don't even remember my first project. It was likely a hat. We have a lot of hats and I would say 3/4 of them are done in Malabrigo.  
  I think my first "non-big-box" yarn was Malabrigo too, hehe. So can you tell us about your first design with Malabrigo? My first design ever was with Malabrigo. I did it for an October Stockpile Design contest held in the Malabrigo Junkies group in Ravelry. It is a little baby/toddler hat called the Aviator Jack or Jill. It's called Aviator Jack or Jill because my daughter thought it looked like a combination of an Aviator hat and a Lumberjack hat. That was also my now toddler's first modeling gig. He has a lot of Malabrigo in his closet.
  Hehe, it's totally an aviator-lumberjack! Love it. You use Malabrigo pretty often in your designs- what it is about Malabrigo yarns that draws you to them for design work? They have a yarn for everything and the colors are amazing. We use worsted for hats and adult sweaters. I love Rios for washable kids stuff. Sock, Silky, Arroyo, and Rasta are all fantastic yarns for different things. There is a lot of versatility in the yarns lines that they have. I also love the way Malabrigo treats its knitters and designers. They are a very generous company. I've seen donations to charity raffles, giveaways, contests in the Junkies forum on Ravelry.
  This seems like a good time to mention that anyone who hasn't checked out the Malabrigo Junkies group on Ravelry definitely should- there are lots of opportunities for prizes! But moving on- what is your personal favorite Malabrigo project to date? Oh that's tough. There isn't a project that I've made with Mal that I don't like. Maybe, I'd go with my pattern sample for Kinsale. It's so cute and looks so amazing in the Malabrigo color palette. I need to make a new one though as my son has outgrown the sample. He's 3 and it's a size 18 months. It's something I will always keep.
  That one is a beauty- and I love the model's facial expression, haha. One last question- do you have a favorite colorway or base yarn? Oh that is tough, too. I like the different bases for different things. I love worsted for hats and cowls and adult sweaters. I love Rios for kids. I love silky for scarves, shawls, sweaters. I like sock for shawls. My favorite colors run the gamut too. I love Bobby Blue in worsted and silky. In Rios, my favorite color is Lettuce. It really shines on the Rios base. I also really love the color Manzanilla Olive. Another favorite is Verde Adriana on worsted. I would like that green in every base!
  Thank you so much, Terri! It's a pleasure to talk to you and have you on the blog. Keep up the fantastic work, I know I'm not just speaking for myself when I say I can't wait to see what else you'll come up with.  
  You can check out all of Terri's work on her Ravelry page and follow her adventures at Through The Back Loops.  And be sure to watch this space, because we've got more fabulous designer brains to pick!  

- Alex