Designer Interview and drawing with Jessica K. Larsen of GooseBear Knits

Now that the Ravelry Gift-A-Long is in full swing, I would like to introduce you to one of the participating designers, Jessica K. Larsen, the creative force behind GooseBear Knits. You can see all Jessica’s designs here and the ones discounted for the Gift-A-Long here. Please read to the end of the interview for a giveaway. Now on with the interview.

Hi Jessica, how did you come up with the name GooseBear Knits? There has to be a good story in there.

Hah! I was trying for a fun name that was unique but easy to remember. My first few ideas were already taken…so, apparently not that unique ;-)

I was kicking around ideas with my husband and he came up with some outrageous suggestion just to make me laugh. My pet name for him is Mr. Bear, but when gets silly like he did then, I always tell him he’s a GooseBear (Mr. Bear + Silly Goose = GooseBear). At that point he said “How about GooseBear Knits?”, and as they say the rest is history.   It should be noted that he doesn’t actually knit, but he’s extremely supportive of my knitting and designing!

From reading about you, I know you learned to knit when you were 5 or 6. Who taught you to knit?

My mother and my grandmother. I don’t have any specific memories of learning to knit but I know they were both involved. My dad also did some knitting around that time of my life. When I picked knitting back up about 10 years ago, my Grandma was really excited. She oohed and aahed over everything but especially the lacy projects, claiming that I was a far more accomplished knitter than she ever was, which is just plain silly ;) I’ve still got a couple of sweaters she made for me, they don’t fit anymore, but I still keep them. Every time I pull a new design off the blocking mats I really miss her. She’d get such a kick out of me designing knitting patterns.

Snark

Has your engineering degree been helpful with knitting?

I travel frequently for my job and I’ve found that my best designing time is on a long flight. Have yarn & needles, will travel ;-)

That’s probably not what you meant when you asked the question though…as a design engineer, I’m used to starting with a set of parameters, usually dictated by a customer. When I’m designing a new pattern I tend to create a set of parameters for myself as a starting point. For example, when I was designing Snark, I wanted to have a shawl that highlighted the beautiful gradient of Call Me Sally’s Annablle Sock, it needed a little something to keep me interested, and I wanted people to be able to use as much of their skein as possible without having a bunch of leftover yardage.

Engineering is all about optimization. I work in the aerospace industry, so when I’m designing airplane parts it’s all about finding the best balance of size, weight and cost. This definitely reflected in my pattern writing style and my design aesthetic. I strive find the balance between providing enough information to make the item without bogging it down with unnecessary ‘extras’. My designs tend to highlight one or two design elements a time.

Larchmere Hat

Which design of yours is your favorite and why? I adore Larchmere!

Oh gosh! That’s a hard question to answer because I love them all in different ways for different reasons ;-)

When something comes off the needles and/or back from photography, I have a tendency to wear it all the time….especially shawls. Right now that would be Glenridge. As fall starts turning toward winter, I find that it’s just the thing for wrapping around my neck. Plus my sample is such a bright color it’s kind of helping me keep some green in my life now that most of the leaves have fallen.

Glenridge

Do you have a knitting group that meets regularly?

I have a fantastic LYS (River Colors Studio in Lakewood, Ohio). They have regular sit and knits scheduled throughout the week. Since I’m not lucky enough to be retired, my options are limited to Thursday evenings, all day Saturday and all day Sunday. If I’m having a really great week, I do all three and if life is really busy it might be several weeks between visits. We have a really great knitting community there, so it’s my home away from home. Oh and there’s a fabulous bakery next door. There’s nothing better on a cold winter day than hanging out all day at the LYS with friend and the occasional trip ‘next door’ for my favorite chocolate chip cookie in town and a warm beverage!

My husband wants to know if LeBron’s return to Cleveland has an impact on your designing?

Hah! No, but sometimes it negatively impacts my commute home from work, which means less knitting time L

Actually I’m more of a baseball fan. How many more days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training?

Needles for blog

In conjunction with the Gift-A-Long, Jessica is giving away some goodies in her Ravelry group in this thread. And speaking of goodies, she has donated a pattern, winner’s choice, for me to give away here. Just leave a comment about the interview and on December 1, I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner. A big thank you to Jessica and good luck to all!

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Gift-A-Long 2014 – Not to be missed!

gal tag big

 

Perhaps you have noticed gift tags on Ravelry that look like the one above. That is because the Indie Design Gift-A-Long is underway. This is a push to complete holiday knitting with games, prizes, sales, knit alongs, plus lots of camaraderie and cheer. Almost 300 designers will collectively offer 3,822 patterns at 25% off. The sale period ends at 12:59 p.m. (US EST) on November 21. Use the code giftalong2014 in your Ravelry shopping cart and you will save 25% on every participating pattern. I have decided to include all my self-published designs in this promotion and you can see them in this Ravelry bundle. Once you have your patterns, mine or those of another designer, please consider joining one of the many knit or crochet alongs in the Indie Design Ravelry group. This is when the fun begins! Rav members have put in countless hours to organize the Gift-A-Long, no small feat, and participating designers alone have donated 1,866 patterns to be given away. To date, there are more than 90 physical prizes including an interchangeable needle set, pattern kits, yarn and other notions. This really is not to be missed so I hope you will participate. Drop into the Gift-A-Long group to learn more about the schedule and all the events. Enjoy!

 

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New pattern – Piet on Point

Piet on Point
Piet on Point was inspired by the color blocked paintings of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. By rotating his work on point, I was able to fit it into a triangular shawl, and that also inspired the shawl’s name. Piet on Point is a modular garter stitch shawl that is worked in three separate panels. The panels are joined together with a three-needle bind off and finished with a wide outer border. The pattern includes yardage information for each rectangle, triangle and trapezoid. That way you can use up to nine different colors for the interior and arrange them how you want. You might be able to find some colors, if not all, in your stash. This is not a difficult pattern requiring the ability to cast on, bind off and pick up stitches.

The pattern is on sale at 20% off through midnight October 19. Also, there is a KAL for it here. Thanks so much and please let me know if you have any questions.

PoP

 

PoP 1

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Save 10% Tosh Merino Light Grab Bags!

TML Grab Bags

 

You pick the color family and I pick four skeins of TML that fit into that family. A few days later you get a fun surprise in the mail and save 10% off the retail price. There are ten color families to pick from, but only a limited number of grab bags are available. You can get as many as you want from the remaining stock and, regardless of the number, all domestic orders ship for a flat rate of $7.49. If you like a particular color family, but prefer those colors subdued or intense, just include a note with your order and I will accommodate you. You can see all the grab bags here.

Needles for blog

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All new tosh inventory plus new colors!

On Tuesday, eight large and heavy boxes of tosh yarns arrived and they include the new colors for sock, pashmina, vintage, DK and tosh merino light. Have you seen the new fall colors? To my recollection, this is the largest introduction of new colors yet, 17 in all, and there is more emphasis on exploring new types of combos. There are some multicolor mixes like Magic and Shire, tonal mixes like Blue Nile and Aura and some very intense colors like Fluoro Rose and Neon Peach. What stands out to me is the number of yarns that are flecks of color on a neutral background. Cosmic Wonder Dust, great name, and Holi Festival are pictured here. Modern Fair Isle starts with a neutral and punches it up a bit with some bright flecks while Optic is a black and white mix. There really is something for everyone.

See all the new colors and inventory here.

Big Sur

Blue Nile

Cardinal

Cardinal

Cosmic Wonder Dust

Dachshund

El Greco

Fluoro Rose

Holi Festival

Moonstone

Neon Peach

Shire

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New pattern release: Bocce

Bocce angled on wallBocce is my latest pattern. It’s an easy stockinette and slipped stitch shawl that can be completed with a pointed or plain garter stitch border. It’s shown in tosh merino light, but can be worked in any fingering weight yarn. Bocce is a great stash buster because the colored stripes use less than 75 yards each, and you can use up to ten contrast colors. The more colors you use, the less yardage you will need for each individual color. It is available now through August 18, at a 20% off introductory price of $4.80. If you want to knit Bocce with company, please join us here for a knit along.

Bocce back 1

Bocce balls

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Summer Knitting Fun!

 

High Street Shawl

High Street Shawl

Summer at Whitknits.com is all about getting a jump on gift knitting. With the advent of warm weather, gift knitting is perhaps not at the top of your list of things to do. This summer, I am running a long and lazy knit along to give you a chance to complete some gift projects. By the way, my definition of a gift is anything you give to someone, including anything you give to yourself. This is a two-month KAL and you can pop in at any point. At the end, there will be a contest to win yarn and a drawing for patterns. The more projects you complete in those two months, the better your chances of winning. Along the way, there will be inspiration plus lots of fun and encouragement. You can get all the details here. Please just post into the thread if you want to join.

Thanks so much!
Nancy

Whitman Sampler

Whitman Sampler

Rushmore Hat & Cowl

Rushmore Hat & Cowl

Yarden

Yarden

Needles for blog

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Whitman Sampler Knit Along

WS cover

Come join a fun, stash-busting knit along that will be run by the lovely mswannie on Ravelry (aka Margaret). Whitman Sampler can be knit in as few as two colors plus a border color, or as many as eight colors plus a border color. It’s a great way to use up both favorite and not-so-favorite leftovers from previous projects. Two separate garter stitch strips are joined with a 3-needle bind off. Top and bottom borders are stockinette stitch, worked in the round, so they curl and reveal the reverse side. A simple slip stitch design makes for some fun borders between the colors and could easily be omitted if you prefer.

When I saw Margaret’s post about the KAL, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. That brings me to the One-Skein-Short Drawing. If you create a Ravelry project page and add three yarn pictures before midnight on Mother’s Day, you will be entered into a drawing for your choice of a skein of Tosh Merino Light to use in Whitman Sampler. You can always edit your color selection so you are not bound to your original choices. Also, at the end of the KAL, there will be a drawing for two free patterns from the completed projects. The KAL is here and the first post contains all the details and important dates. I hope you will consider joining in the fun!

WS 2

My apologies for the lateness of this post.

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Madelinetosh spring colors are here and on sale!

Medieval

Medieval

A little over a week ago, I told you about the new spring 2014 tosh colors. Just in case you didn’t see that post, I’m including some of the pictures here.

Hosta Blue

Hosta Blue

There are ten new colors available in TML, Vintage, Sock, tosh DK and Pashmina.

Ember

Ember

Plus, I just added another 500 skeins of TML to the site.

Chicory

Chicory

Everything is still on sale at 15% off through the end of May.

Cape Town Rainbow

Cape Town Rainbow

Click here or on any of the pictures and you will be taken to the madelinetosh page on Whitknits.com.

Purple Basil

Purple Basil

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15% off all Madelinetosh Yarns!

Hosta Blue

Hosta Blue

Mad May is a month-long celebration of all things Madelinetosh. This is an annual event in the Madelinetosh Lovers Group on Ravelry. Not one to be left out of a celebration, I got an early start by putting every Tosh yarn on sale at 15% off. There is a great selection in stock right now and more is on the way, including the new spring colors! Just to whet your appetite, I’m including pictures of the spring colors. Yes, I’m very, very bad!

Sale ends at midnight on May 31.

Sun Rose

Sun Rose

Farmhouse White

Farmhouse White

Red Phoenix

Red Phoenix

 

Chicory

Chicory

 

Medieval

Medieval

 

Cape Town Rainbow

Cape Town Rainbow

 

Purple Basil

Purple Basil

 

Ember

Ember

 

Black Walnut

Black Walnut

 

 

 

 

 

 

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