Interview with Jil Eaton

Jil Eaton has been a longtime friend of Classic Elite Yarns, lending her name and fabulous designs to the Minnowmerino and CottonTail lines. She is known for her bright colors and timeless children’s designs and has written over 10 books on knitting including All Dressed Up, ParkAvenue Kids and Knitting School. Additionally she is the author of a column in Knit Simple called ‘Ask Jil’, where she helps readers with their ‘needling’ questions about knitting.

She recently redesigned her website and has been busy adding her patterns to the Ravelry database. In celebration, this week’s web letter is a republication of a pattern that originally appeared in the Fall 2010 Knit Simple. A beautiful baby layette using 2 colors of her signature yarn MinnowMerino.  We are only able to offer this pattern for a limited time, so make sure you download your copy today!



I sat down with Jil to ask her about her knitting and everything she is juggling at the moment.

CEY: How long have you been knitting? Who taught you to knit?

Jil: I’ve been knitting since I was 4 years old, taught by my beautiful young mother. We recently found a trunk full of my earliest creations, sweaters and coats and pantaloons…quite a few holes here and there, but pretty cute just the same. I even tried to knit an 8 armed sweater for my stuffed octopus!

CEY: You studied design at the Graduate School of Design. Tell us about that.

Jil: I studied Landscape Architecture at the GSD. I think the principles of design are inherently the same no matter the practice….color, shape form, balance and creativity reign.

CEY: Did you ever knit during lectures while at GSD?

Jil: No, but I got my undergraduate degree from Skidmore, and we all knit in class. My photographer’s daughter is a student at NYU, and she says everyone knits again…and if the deny it they are lying…

CEY: When did you start designing knitwear?

Jil: I guess in kindergarten, but seriously when my son was born. At that time the only patterns available were in soft pastels on size 3 needles. I made one sweater and realized he’d be in college before I finished another one. SO I made my own designs in bright colors and bulkier yarns, and voila, my business was born as well.

CEY: You are known for your iconic children’s designs that are fun and classic at the same time. Where do you get your ideas from?

Jil: I think my biggest influence is the grown up fashion world. I adapt design details for my easy to knit silhouettes. My color influences are from the art world. I think so often designers design down for kids; I like to introduce some sophisticated ideas in delicious colorways.

Top row: Beach Boy, Popcorn Dress & Fair Isle Sweater & Hat
Bottom Row: Romp, Classic Garter Pullover & Tee Playdress

CEY: The color palette for MinnowMerino and CottonTail are so bright and cheery. What makes you want to put a color into the rotation?

Jil: I’ve always been drawn to richly saturated colors…my undergraduate degree was in painting, and my work was all about color. I was delighted to work with CEY on my yarn lines, where I could produce colors that are exactly right for my designs.

CEY: I noticed your new updated website and that you are now offering some of your patterns as PDFS on Ravelry.

Jil: Yes, I have been working hard on getting my website redesigned. There are a line of Jil Eaton Classics available as pdfs, as well as Park AvenueKids and All Dressed Up as e-books, and you can find many of my single patterns on Ravelry as well.

CEY: You write a column for Knit Simple called ‘Ask Jil’ where you help people with their knitting questions. If someone has a question for you, where can they send it to?

Jil: You can send questions to jil@minnowknits.com. I love helping people with their knitting.

CEY: What is currently on your needles?

Jil: Right now I am working on lace swatches for a triangle scarf for my new line called Jil Eaton Studio, which will only be available on my website. It will consist of simple projects such as scarves, cowls, mitts and other accessories, all my trademark QuickKnits, done in MinnowMerino and CottonTail.

CEY: Thanks Jil. It was a pleasure talking to you!

Make sure you check out all of Jil’s designs on her new website.


Knit on!

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