Designer Spotlight: Meg Myers

We are lucky enough to work with Meg Myers here in our Billerica office. She is not only an accomplished knit and crochet designer, but also our graphic designer and web administrator. She is the most willing of all of us to get in front of a camera, which pretty much makes her our permanent de facto Web-Letter model. Visit her Ravelry designer page to get an idea of just how prolific she really is (36 original designs and counting)!

How long have you been designing?
I taught myself to knit during my senior year of high school in preparation for the long commute from my hometown in southern Colorado to college in Boston. I've been "designing" ever since.

I grew up in a rural farming area without a LYS, and Ravelry didn't exist yet, so I had no idea there were so many patterns and resources available. My choice was either to knit garter stitch scarves and dishcloths forever or make it up as I went. Do you know how many cool things you can make (should I say design?) with just a rectangle and a seam or two?!  Purses, pillow covers, sachets, table mats…

Eventually I happened across one of the Stitch'n'Bitch books and learned read patterns. However, I never developed the discipline to follow patterns as written. If I hadn't grown up in such an isolated area that forced me to be creative, I may never have started designing.

How did you get started publishing designs?
While in school, I got a job part-time at my LYS and was finally introduced to the endless array of yummy yarns, magazines, patterns and talent in this industry. It was consuming (in a good way) and I wanted a way to combine what I was studying at school (advertising) with the craft I loved. I already had original designs, so it felt natural lay them out and offer them to the online world. 

What's the first piece you ever designed (not necessarily for CEY)?
The first piece I set out to design was the Soft Linen Beret for Web-Letter 135 in April of 2010. I knit two at the same time, one to practice the stitches and decreases, the other to confirm the design was working. It was comically difficult – the lace panel up the side was my solution for a double decrease that would have required moving the beginning-of-round marker. Now I know that moving the marker would have been no problem, but at the time it seemed like an impasse.

However, I didn't feel like a real knitwear designer until finishing the pattern for the Soft Linen Wisteria top from Perennials. Designing one sweater was easy. Designing a yoke, top-down sweater in six sizes was a feat! That was for CEY's Spring 2011 collection, and I haven't slowed down since!

What pieces did you design in the Fall 2011 Collection? 
In the CEY Fall 2011 collection, I have one sweater, Watercolor in Magnolia, and accessories: Delicious in Chesapeake, Painterly in Magnolia, Crystal in Ariosa, Sheaf in Woodland and Adorn in Wool Bam Boo. 

What is the time line for one of your designs, from swatch to pattern to sample?
I like to sketch, swatch early and let the design grow in the back of my mind for a few weeks. Then I write a tentative pattern and begin knitting, modifying the pattern as I go. Recently I wrote a cap pattern and knit the piece in two days, all based on a few swatches from months ago. An upcoming wrap pattern took me three weeks of swatching and charting before the pattern was ready to be knit, then the knitting took a few more weeks.

Do you use test knitters? 
Normally I do all of my own knitting so the design can evolve. Occasionally when the stitch and not the shape is the feature of a particular pattern, I will swatch until it is just right, then pass the pattern on to a test knitters. Watercolor was knit by a test knitter and she did a beautiful job!

What is your "design process"?
When a design comes to mind, I sketch first and write a few important design notes with the sketch. Usually I sketch with a yarn in mind because what makes the yarn special is often the same thing that makes a pattern work. Then it's on to swatching, swatching, swatching. I put the sketch and swatch away to ripen for a few weeks. Then I write the pattern and only after that, do I cast on. While knitting, I tend to make a few more changes the pattern – another reason I try to do most of my own knitting.

Where do you do your design work? What does your "creative space" look like?
I keep my notebook in my purse at all times, just in case inspiration strikes.  For pattern writing, I have a desk below a skylight with all of my tools at arm's reach. My home is I decorated with yarn that is organized in cubes, just like at my LYS, with swatching yarns in bowls. I also have lots of plants, light and one very interested kitten.

Recently I started a blog to be my online space – It's just a place for my daily musings, inspirations and random photos. Like my real space, it's simple and full of fiber.

What is your favorite design? What was your inspiration? 
"Whatever is new" tends to be my favorite, only to be replaced by the next new design. This week I really like the Kumara Filigree Cap, but I still think the Magnolia Healthy Heart Hat is pretty great. I just finished a lacy design for the Web-Letter and it might be my favorite design ever, stay tuned to see the whole thing!

Liberty Wool Print Log Cabin Blanket

In their wonderfully funny book, Mason Dixon Knitting, Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne explore knitting their way. The subtitle says it all, "The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes and Pictures Created for Knitters Everywhere Who Share the Give 'em Hell Spirit of Picking up the Needles and Making Stuff".

The Log Cabin Blanket is based on the construction of a traditional log cabin quilt. You start with a garter stitch rectangle in the middle, and pick up stitches around it in gradually increasing concentric rectangles. With 25 solid and 19 available colorways, machine-washability, AND super softness, Liberty Wool seemed like a logical choice for Betsy's Log Cabin Blanket (that's Betsy Perry, the owner of CEY). And it's gorgeous.

Also introducing her adorable granddaughter--she's modeled for us before, you may recognize her! I love the combination of prints and solids...

And its not just for people-lounging. It's for the whole family!

Pick up a copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting, if not for the patterns, then for Ann and Kay's sharp wit, funny stories, and sometimes self-deprecating knitting humor. One of my favorite lines captions a photo of a large log cabin blanket covering a queen size bed. "Don't be shy about letting company see that you've knitted an entire bedspread. (They already know you're crazy.)" Ha!

CEY, Past and Present, with Patternfish

Julia Grunau approached us a few years ago with a simple vision...she wanted to get all the great out-of-print and discontinued patterns into the hands of knitters and crocheters across the world! As a company that has always been known for outstanding pattern support, we had plenty. Boxes and boxes of printed pamphlets to be exact. Julia deserves all the credit in the world for painstakingly scanning, cataloging and writing descriptions for hundreds of our patterns on her site, Patternfish. Visit this link to see all our patterns in chronological order, and check out some gems below.

Some are famous...
Uma, is that you? 
Some are eminently wearable, even today...
Rainy Afternoon, by Norah Gaughan
Some look like a lot of hard work.
At Rest in the Garden, from Kristin Nicholas
 Some are for entire families...

And some are for the quieter members of our families.

Some have incredibly cryptic titles (can't help but wonder if this is a statement about knitting in general!)
Pattern 845, The More You Know, The Less You Understand
Some are really old...
The Elite Sheep Sweater, 1985
While some are completely new.
The Short Row Triangle Scarf in a new color of Liberty Wool Print
When did you start knitting? Have you ever picked up one of these classic patterns? 

New Liberty Print Patterns and Colors!

Every month this spring, we are releasing two completely new colors of Liberty Wool Print and patterns to support them. It's all part of our Liberty Wool Subscription Program for retailers! Here's how it works: a shop signs up for a subscription, and is guaranteed to receive a bag of each new color as it's released, delivered automatically to their shop. They also have access to exclusive patterns to give to their customers when they purchase Liberty Wool Print. Is your LYS a subscriber?

Our new colors released in January are:

7860 Liberty Print
7860-Berry Brambles7861-Golden Pagoda

I love the bright pinks and reds of Berry Brambles, and the wild color variations of Golden Pagoda really caught my eye, so much that I cast on a cowl right away (this free pattern is awesome!)

We released five new patterns in the new Liberty Print colors, all available for download now on Patternfish for $3.00 each.

LWP Mitts
Fingerless Mitts
Easy Granny Hat Granny Patchwork Hat

Striped Short Row Scarf Short Row Triangle Scarf