Designer Rachel Henry

Did you see the free Valais Blacknose Sheep Mittens pattern in yesterday's Web-Letter #418? They're an adorable knit by designer Rachel Henry. The cute little sheep are added last, so these would also be fun in 3 contrast colors with bright stripes as the focal point. Two layers of knitting thick, these mitts use soft Fresco which ensures that they will be warm and gives you nearly forty colors to choose from.

Rachel is a prolific designer and has written many other popular designs for our CEY Web-Letter and pattern books. She has a head for colors, construction, and how the two combine to make interesting stitch patterns really pop. Both her Flying Colors Wrap and Flying Colors Cardigan were released in our 'All Seasons' pattern book. See how masterfully she combines printed spaced dyed colors and a solid in both Alpaca Sox and Liberty Wool Light below. All this while raising her 3 sons (currently 10, 13 & 16) and traveling with her border collies Gromit and Clewe for agility meets. She and Gromit placed 6th out of 132 teams at Cynosport World last week. Congrats, Rachel!

Cardigan in Liberty Wool Light and Wrap in Alpaca Sox.

Designers tend to have parts of the process that they're especially good at. Having spent a little time with Rachel, it's clear that she has skills in all areas of design. Still, it's the way that the math of both shape and lace construction seem to come to her naturally that strikes me the most. She says, "I would say my MIT education informs my knitting in important ways. One thing they teach, above all else, is how to take an unknown subject and dive in headfirst, consuming information and making it part of your own knowledge base. New yarn, technique and ideas are exciting...I'm rarely intimidated by something I don't yet understand". I think this all shows in the ease with which she seems to master lace motifs and then frame them in beautifully shaped wraps and scarves. Wavelength and Kudzu Shawl both sprung from her creative mind.

Here is Wavelength in Alpaca Sox, and Kudzu Shawl in Cerro.

Rachel's patterns span the seasons. Love Lane is a great for the warmer weather, while her Braided Cable Vest can be paired with ever thicker layers underneath to span from early fall right though the deep cold of winter weather.

Love Lane in Provence, and Braided Cable Vest in Chalet.

Since her talents can be applied to so many different kinds of creative pursuits, you never know what she's got just around the corner. That means it's always a treat to see what she'll come up with for the next new design.