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.
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.
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.
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?
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!