An Interview With … Allison Britt


Firstly, I must apologise profusely to Allison for the delay in posting this – life has unfortunately managed to run away with me over the last few weeks and I’m behind on everything I had planned (it’s now New Year’s Eve and I haven’t yet managed to get my pre-Christmas finished – see, I’m really behind).

Allison, known as Spartz on Ravely, has some fabulous designs in her portfolio.  Read on and find out more!

K:  How did your first design come about?

A:  Pre Ravelry: My first design was a yellow turtleneck jumper with a blue flower border along the hem. It came about because I loved the colours together, wanted a jumper for my then two-year old daughter and had bought a knitting magazine with a special article about borders. A happy combination and I’d like to publish it some day because it ended up being very cute.

Post Ravelry: I don’t remember how Rainbow Ridge Beanie came about but I strongly suspect I was looking at scraps and wondering what to do with them! It’s a terrific scrap buster and it’s free 🙂

K:  Did you find that you had ‘overnight’ success, or did it take some time to begin to make a name for yourself?


A:  Definitely not. My first patterns made barely a ripple even though I had terrific feedback from my testers. My first real successes were Farm Beanie and Sideways Dude, which made the front page of Hot Right Now. What a shock! Then I was suggested for a KAL on the Budding Designers Downunder forum which further boosted my profile and then after a few more successful publications I felt I had “made it” enough to start my own group SparrowPlay.

K:  Where do you find your inspiration for new projects?

A:  Definitely my daughters. What do they need next? What yarn would I like to knit with (cotton, wool?). What colour do I want to use? What stitch and/or colour combination do I want to try? My design process starts off very whimsically and organically, and then I get very technical.

K:  What are you working on at the moment?

A:  Breezy Tee, a gorgeous cotton tee-shirt that I am tempted to try and upsize for adults because I want one!

K:  Which of your published patterns is your favourite?

A:  Probably Zephyr. It’s so practical and so pretty. It’s one of my best sellers too so I guess I’m not the only one who thinks that!

K:  What’s your favourite type of pattern to design?

A:  Practical. It’s got to have a purpose. And I really like patterns that have “segments” – I’m a bit impatient and I like instant gratification so “segments” help me feel like I am making progress.

K:  Which other designers do you admire?

A:  Georgie Hallam (a.k.a. Tikki) can take the credit for me designing even though she wouldn’t know it. Also, Elena Nodel (a.k.a. Anadiomena) showed me how it was done, though she wouldn’t know that either. I try to emulate both these ladies for their sense of style and professionalism.

K:  Can you tell me a bit more about your lack of self control in yarn shops?

A:  Lol. Before Ravelry I didn’t know what a stash was. Now, well, my stash would be up there with the best of them. I’m always trying to design using something from the stash but I never have what I need and it’s back to the yarn shop and somehow I seem to have picked up three or four balls of yarn to “try”…

I blame Ravelry and all the enablers that hang out here. Life will never be the same again… and that’s a good thing.

Thank you, Allison – that was a very refreshing insight into the mind of a design genius!

Please note, all photographs in this post are copyright Allison Britt.


About katiepopsmartin

I'm a busy 40-something, juggling many things at the same time, including a very rewarding and challenging job in the NHS, being the founding partner of a small company manufacturing business and craft rubber stamps, a hobbyist enjoying the challenge of working with yarn and paper (not usually at the same time, obviously), trying to get the house sorted out, studying for further qualifications and being a harrassed single Mum.

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