It’s been a tad quiet here on my blog for the past few weeks, apologies. I’ve been busy putting the final touches to my preparations for a big conference that I help organise every year, going to the conference and having a few days to recover from the hustle and bustle of this time of year.
As part of the Indie Design GAL, I’m delighted to have been asked to interview a number of very talented designers – and I’m excited to kick my mini-series of interviews off with an interview with the incredibly talented Janelle Martin – Antheras on Ravelry.
K: How did your first design come about?
J: I started designing just to see if I could do it. A number of people had suggested that I should design but I had never really thought of myself as creative. I took a class with Joan Kass (joanknits on Ravelry) on charting lace and I was inspired by one of her stitch patterns. That lace pattern was the “jumping off point” for my Amplification Stole.
K: Did you find that you had ‘overnight’ success, or did it take some time to begin to make a name for yourself?
J: I’m slowly building a reputation but I certainly wouldn’t say I have success yet. I was lucky early on to have a piece published in Knitty – my Cartouche Shawl. That brought attention to my work. But since then I’ve been publishing a piece at a time and working to raise my profile. The Gift-A-Long is helping new knitters discover my work which makes me very happy!
K: I’ve read elsewhere that you have a great interest in Japanese stitch patterns – what is it about them that you find so appealing?
J: I’m drawn to their complexity. Japanese stitch dictionaries show stitches that are combinations of smaller elements joined together and there is such beauty and complexity in their presentations. These stitch dictionaries approach knitting with a different eye and that is what I’m drawn to. I tend to combine patterns that share elements and can build cohesive designs out of these stitch patterns. An example of this is my Flower Bell Stole. The cohesive element in this design is the raised flower bud. It appears in the attached edging, the bottom border, two different sizes in the left/right borders and in large form in the centre panel. The use of this element in various sizes creates cohesiveness of design. Of course, these stitch patterns “eat” yarn just like cables do and so I had to work through several iterations of this design before I found a final version I liked that didn’t require excessive amounts of yarn.
K: Where do you find your inspiration for new projects?
J: I spend a lot of time looking through stitch dictionaries. I’ll see one and something about it will remind me of a stitch pattern I’ve seen before and I’ll start charting them together. More recently I’ve found a lot of inspiration in landscape and geometric patterns. After a recent trip to Newfoundland I went into a bit of a designing marathon.
K: What are you working on at the moment?
J: Currently I’m working on a sizable collection of accessories to be released in late August 2015. The collection is inspired by the arctic/coastal landscapes of Newfoundland, Iceland and Ireland. Just over half the collection will be in the natural fibres of Bare Naked Wools and the rest will be in yarns from Indie Dyers, most of them in Indigodragonfly yarns.
K: Which of your published patterns is your favourite?
J: Each new design that I release becomes a favourite at the time, but I feel special love for individual pieces. I keep coming back to the stitch patterns most recently used in the Cartouche Stole (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cartouche-stole) and I have two other designs in the works that utilize elements from the stole. Obviously I’m not done with these stitch patterns yet!
K: What’s your favourite type of pattern to design?
J: My favourite item to designs is shawls/stoles. I like the large amount of space which I can use to incorporate multiple stitch patterns.
K: Which other designers do you admire?
J: Anne Hanson and Hunter Hammersen, because they all have very organic design esthetics – what I strive for in my designs.
Thank you, Janelle, for giving us an insight into your designs!
You can find Janelle’s website here: Eclectic Closet
Janelle’s design portfolio is on Ravelry here
All pictures in this post are copyright Janelle Martin and used with her permission.