One of the best parts about putting together our Kith & Kin Collection of mitten patterns was getting to work with knit designers from all over the world.
First up for our series of blog interviews is Josie Mercier from Belleville, Ontario here in Canada. Josie designed the wonderfully addictive Frost and Twilight Mitts for our collection.
Was there a specific inspiration for your mitten design?
Definitely the stitch pattern. I knit up a swatch of the slip-stitch pattern used in the Frost and Twilight Mitts and once I felt how thick and squooshy the fabric was, I wanted to use it in a pair of mittens.
I knit my favourite pair of mittens early in my knitting career, so while they’re not technically perfect, they’re fantastic to wear. I recycled a chunky Lambswool sweater, then knit and felted a pair of mitts. Then, I recycled an angora blend sweater in an unfortunate shade of green and used that yarn to knit a liner for the felted mitts. The finished product is so warm and windproof that I don’t even mind the bits of angora fluff that keep getting caught in my wedding ring!
Which type of needles do you usually use to knit mittens: double-pointed needles, two-circulars, magic loop…?
Double-pointed. I have a favourite pair of metal double points that are just the right length for mittens and are nice and smooth.
What is the fall and winter weather like where you live? How many months of the year do you wear mittens or gloves?
I’m in Southern Ontario, so the winters aren’t bad, by Canadian standards. It still hits -25C for a while every winter, though. My hands get cold easily, so I start wearing mitts to drive when it’s less than 10C or so in the morning, so I end up wearing mitts from October to April, easily.
Do you do any other fibre-related crafts besides knitting? Crochet, spinning, weaving, sewing, quilting...
I crochet toys for my kids from time-to-time, and I can sew pajama pants, but I’m primarily a knitter.
Where can we see more of your design work?
Thank you Josie!
It's a little bit hard to believe, but Sweet Paprika has been in business for exactly 10 years this month! We have a few things planned to celebrate our anniversary, but I thought it would be nice to start off with a little look at where we started, and where we've been, over the past decade.
It all began way back in 2007, when Elizabeth and I, and our other sister Margaret, were all living in Ottawa. We knew we wanted to put our skills to work in some sort of business, but we weren't exactly sure what direction that would take us in yet.
A few years ago Elizabeth proposed that we make the month of February each year "Finish it February": a time to pull all of our unfinished objects (UFOs in knitter slang) out of the closet or from under the bed and dust them off.
This is the third year we've done this, and I still have quite a number of projects to pull out and deal with each year, but I've noticed that although I still have many very old ones (which I keep swearing I'll finish one day), I've been much better about not accumulating new ones since we started this.