I recently had the opportunity to interview designer Gabriella Henry (sweetp on Ravelry). She has some lovely designs. I really like her Wayside hat! You can visit her blog at Mahi and Aroha or her designer page on Ravelry here.
Gabriella has graciously offered to award a pattern of the winner's choice to one of my readers. Leave a comment telling me which of her patterns would make a great Christmas gift. On Christmas eve, a random commenter will win his/her choice of pattern from Gabriella!
Hi Gabriella! Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you started designing?
My first design was a child’s earflap hat that was inspired by my
nephew who had just been diagnosed with leukemia. It was a hat for him
while undergoing chemo, but also a design that kept on giving (free on
my blog but I asked people to donate to a local children’s hospital).
That was almost 6yr ago now! (Happy to add my nephew has been in
remission for several years and is a wonderfully healthy 11y old now).
forward a couple of years, and the designing bug bit again. I started
selling patterns and taking a more serious approach to designing.
is a creative outlet while being at home with my kids, a great way to
stretch my brain while also indulging in my favourite crafty past time!
What inspires you? Where do you get ideas for your designs?
was my first paid pattern and was inspired by my need to “do something”
after the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch in 2011. 25% of sales
from this pattern are donated to the Red Cross who provided support
direct to families (including mine) during this time. We moved away from
Christchurch a few months after the big February earthquake but I left a
little piece of my heart there and Faultline was the result!
Sometimes I have a specific yarn I want to work with and a design
grows from that - Wayside is my most recent release and was inspired by
the colourful single skeins of Aran yarns in my stash. Sometimes a
stitch pattern catches my eye (e.g Nightshade cowl). I also have several
patterns that were originally designed for yarn clubs and in those
cases inspiration has grown from collaborations with indie yarn dyers
Can you describe your design process? Do you sketch first, knit first or something else?
not a very good sketcher but I do tend to do initial brain storming on
paper first. I usually have a good idea in my head what I want it to
look like and then usually play around with swatching and maths until I
have something I’m happy with, and then go from there. I think it
depends a lot on the design itself - sometimes things just ‘click’ and
just about knit themselves! Other times things require more detailed
planning and thought processes (e.g a cardigan idea I am considering).
Do you have favorite brands or weights of yarn with which you like to work?
I work behind the scenes at Tri’Coterie yarns which is an indie yarn business based in France. We
specialize in luxury bases and gradient and selfstriping colourways so
often my designs will feature a Tri’Coterie yarn or be inspired by a
particular yarn or colourway we have worked on. An example would be the
Kaipara shawlette which was designed specifically for gradient yarns.
Since I live in New Zealand I also like to highlight local yarn dyers and bases that my NZ customer base can easily obtain.
Which of your designs are you most proud of?
is probably the one I most proud of - it’s not my most popular pattern
but I think it has something a little different - that elusive
uniqueness that can be hard to achieve when you are publishing patterns
to a database with many thousands of patterns.
Can you share anything that’s in the design pipeline?
have a new hat pattern that is currently being tested and hopefully
will be ready for release before the end of the year. It grew from my
need to make some man friendly Christmas gifts and is a nice quick knit
in worsted weight yarn. Lately I have been exploring diagonal stitch
patterns and have released a series of hat patterns that play with this
idea in different ways (Sideline, Lineside and Wayside) and this hat
continues that trend. (I think it is out of my system now!!!).
I also have a shawl design in the final stages of prototyping and two
patterns that will appear in publications next year. 2014 is looking to
be a busy and fun year!