Monday, November 30, 2015

On Float Planes, Symmetry, and Great Gift Ideas

Happy Cyber Monday everyone! This is the last big day to get those online savings, so I hope you are filling your cyber carts and getting in on the action.

Over in the Ravelry Indie Gift-a-long 2015, people have been creating a gift frenzy. Really. The threads for things that will be gifted for hands, arms, and heads are officially out of control. We'll be creating gifts right through the end of the year, so don't think you're too late to get in on the yarny gift action.

In order to celebrate the remainder of the gift-giving season, I have the first in a series of interviews with some of my fellow knit and crochet designers. The first is Cynthia Levy, a/k/a Reg Tiger Designs. I had the pleasure of pinning her designs to the gift-a-long Pinterest boards, and I was immediately drawn to find out more since she and her husband get to fly a float plane everywhere. Of course, living in the Northwest Territories of Canada, a float plane (as well as a snow machine named George!) sort of come in handy.

Snow Flurry Mittens designed
by Cynthia Levy
Now while it's true that I don't do socks (sorry Cynthia!), I do make mittens and things for hands, and I was instantly taken with her Snow Flurry Mittens, which I am going to make a little later in December. Cynthia also has some wonderful accessory designs for men, so if you haven't seen them, I hope you'll check them out over on her Ravelry design page. Without further ado, I present:

The Artfully 
Voie de Vie 
Questionnaire with Knitwear Designer 
Cynthia Levy

Can you tell us a little bit about your background before you started to design and knit garments and accessories?

I’m a lawyer in real life, which is reason enough to need a creative outlet!  I grew up in Nova Scotia, went to university in Ontario, taught in Newfoundland, and now live and practice law in the Northwest Territories.  In addition to knitting and designing, my leisure time is over-committed with float-flying, fishing, camping, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, pottery, quilting and gardening.

When was the moment you knew you wanted to become a designer?

I don’t really think there was ever a moment when I woke up and decided to become a designer.  I just started designing my own socks to prove to myself that I could and then I realized that I could share my designs by publishing them on Ravelry and other online platforms.

Please describe your personal design philosophy?

I strive to create designs that are attractive and wearable.  Symmetry and balance are important to me, so I try to ensure that each element of a design flows smoothly into and out of the next element.  I like to create designs that look complicated but can be made by the average knitter exercising moderate care and attention.

What is your greatest knit (or design) memory?

It was very exciting to have my design for Resonator Gauntlets accepted by Knitty.  Seeing the design in print on the Knitty website made me feel like a legitimate designer!

If you could have dinner with any three designers, dead or alive, who would they be, and why?
I’d love to sit down to dinner with my online friend Jennifer Wood of Wood House Knits.  She designs the most amazing cable and lace sweaters with incredible attention to detail and fit.  I’d also love to have dinner with Cookie A and Stephanie Van Der Linden.  They have each authored several fantastic books on sock knitting and construction from which I have learned many useful tips and tricks.
Pit Railway Socks - lovely
cable here!
Throw or Pick?

Throw, except for stranded colorwork, for which I hold one color in each hand and use a technique that completely eliminates floats.

It’s your last object to design (or make). What is it, and what fiber do you use?

I’d design and knit an epic blanket using laceweight qiviut.  It would be a sampler featuring every stitch pattern in my Japanese stitch dictionaries.  Since it’s my last project ever, I’m assuming that cost of yarn is no object, and I want to make something that will keep me knitting for a very long time!

Vertigo Fingerless Gloves
What trait do you most admire in designers?

Most knitting designers are willing to engage in frank and helpful discussion of all sorts of issues related to the fibre industry.  Ravelry has enabled the development of a community of designers that is supportive and knowledgeable and it’s wonderful to be able to access their collective intelligence.

What trait do you most detest in designers?

Some designers who are trying to make a full-time career in the fibre industry have a tendency to disparage those who design on a part-time or hobby basis.  Such designers have strong opinions as to the proper way to develop and publish patterns and allege that other approaches are less than professional.

You are recommending a design gift in response to a friend’s inquiry. Other than your own designs (which are quite lovely!), what would you recommend?

My favorite designs for gift projects are Tree Mittens by Elli Stubenrauch, Comfrey by Sara Gresbach, and Bonaventure Baby Sweater by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne. I’ve made each of these projects multiple times and every recipient has been delighted with their gift. I’d highly recommend any of these patterns.

1 comment:

  1. I love the strategy on the last ever project... and would love to wrap myself in it. :-)