Friday, November 22, 2013

Indie Designs GAL Designer Interview: Jenn Wisbeck

In the spirit of gifting and the Indie Designs Gift-a-long, I'll be writing a series of indie designer interviews.  Jenn Wisbeck (ravelry: MidnightSky) volunteered to be my first subject, so without further delay, lets delve in and learn about her and her interesting connection to eco knitting.
To put a face with the name
"hi, Jenn!"
If you could only knit/crochet one item type of item, what would it be?
Hats, without a doubt. Hats are a great way to use up that special skein of travel-yarn, the partial skein leftover from a sweater, or combine several yarns and use up your bits and pieces.

What is your favorite workhorse yarn?
I keep coming back to Cascade 220. It comes in a wide variety of colors, has decent yardage for the price, doesn't pill too much, and has nice stitch definition. You can use it for everything from color-work to felting. 

Aside: 100% peruvian highland wool

Which of your patterns make for really great gift knitting?

available for $3.99 on ravelry
Bokeh is a great easy-to-knit hat, and doesn't take much yarn (or time)- one of those projects you can make when you realize you need a birthday gift for a friend and you have less than 48 hours to finish it.

available for $0.99 on ravelry
The cat toy pattern is along really fast, and makes a cute gift topper. I make them for all my friend's cats.

This is a Puddles, the Great Dane, public service announcement:
Cats are playmates, not chew toys!
Aside, despite the fact that he is at this very moment, staring down a trespassing cat through my office window, Puddles wants to  pop in to reiterate he is a lover of all animals and doesn’t find the above suggestion offensive in anyway.  So be sure to check it out and make it for your cat friends!

Have you every knit with eco yarns (organic, sustainable, socially responsible, or alternative fiber)? If so, what pattern (including links)? Please provide a quick review on the yarn, too!
I interned with Earthues, a natural dye company in Seattle, and used to naturally dye yarn and fiber. I've knit with lots of unusual yarns- recycled wires, yarn spun from soda bottle fiber, and aloo- a yarn made from nettle fiber. I knit a lace doily in the nettle yarn- I am not sure I would recommend it for that, since it is quite scratchy until it has been worked with or washed quite a few times, but it looks fantastic! My favorite eco yarns come from unraveling sweaters- especially cashmere, when I can find sweaters in a thick enough yarn. 

Aside: just checked out Earthues and oh my goodness, did you see those buttons!  I know where I’m headed for my next button splurge!  If you dye your own yarn, be sure to check out their natural dyes too.

Do you have any questions about eco fibers you'd like me to answer in the course of the blog?
Jenn Wisbeck: Tell me about your favorite unusual fiber- maybe something most people wouldn't think to knit with?
As far as “unusual” fiber, I’d have to say milk yarn made from milk protein.  I first came across milk as a fiber when shopping for a sweatshirt in sub-zero Toronto a few years ago.  The absolute cashmere like softness enticed me immediately.  The warmth and coziness compelled me to search out yarn made from milk.  I came across several brands, but as often happens when forging into unknown fiber territory, there is a “milk yarn scam” in the yarn industry, so make sure you check out your source first.  Geometry in Motion feature’s Kollage’s Milky Whey (50% milk and 50% soy).  I will definitely be designing in milk in the future – goes great with cookies too!  

To conclude, I leave you with a sneak peek at Jenn's nettle project:
knit in nettle fiber by Jenn Wisbeck

To find Jenn around the knitting world, check her out at these links:

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