Announcing the winners of the
Oblivious Knits' giveaway...drum roll please!
First Place - Grace wins the Seymour Shawlette Kit
Second Place - Catsmum aka Susan In Stitches
wins the Cleves Shawl pdf pattern
Ladies please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
with delivery information
And Thank You to everyone who entered!
Enjoy Deborah Glaser's patterns at
At the start of this new year I asked, "What type of knitter will you be in 2012?" and the response was fantastic! World wide hand knitters told me they're looking forward to learning new techniques and discovering new yarns and knitwear artists. Since Sandrasingh.com opened its virtual doors in May of 2005 I've been committed to helping hand knitters transform their creative inspirations into beautiful realities and 2012 is off to an exciting start!
Quite a few knitters reported they're looking forward to enjoying more lace projects and as I'm always searching for new talent to introduce to you I immediately began to research designers who specialize in lace. Its with great pleasure I introduce my first new knitwear artist of 2012, Deborah Glaser of Oblivious Knits!
Meet Deborah Glaser: A mixed-media artist, Deborah taught herself knitting in 2004 while working on songs with her fiancé and their band, Spokes. She has rarely picked up her guitar since, but married her fiancé. When not making secret art projects and obsessively watching TV, Deborah self-publishes knitting patterns under the name Oblivious Knits. Oblivious Knits can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, Ravelry, and Google +.
Besides the intricate beauty of her designs what caught my eye was Glaser's theme, she's writing an entire collection of lace shawl patterns based on the torrid and bloody history of the Six Wives of Henry VIII. The first two are complete and are absolutely magical!
The first in the series is Glaser's Cleves Shawl, based on Anne of Cleves, Henry's 4th wife in 1540, she survived the union with a divorce! Designed in a top down triangular shape the stitch work of Cleves reflects upon Anne's life, her brief marriage to the King January to July 1540 and her subsequent peaceful life at Hever Castle with the honorary title the "King's Sister." It is worked in a lovely combination of two DK weight yarns to further showcase her transitions.
And of course Glaser includes instructions to knit Cleves in a lace or fingering weight yarn by simply adjusting your needle size.
The Seymour Shawlette is the second in the series to be offered. Jane Seymour was Henry's second wife and she died shortly after giving birth to their son Prince Edward. She is also the only wife to be buried with the King in his tomb at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The shawlette has an interesting three quarter square shape and is knit from the top neck down to the bottom edges. Its comprised of three triangular sections that are worked identically, the triangles are made of solid stripes of stockinette interrupted by a lace stripe that evokes tiny forget-me-nots and crowns, flowing into overlapping ovals and hearts at the bottom edges. Special Estonian stitches are described in the pattern. The design evokes Henry's love for his bride, it was well known that he felt Jane to be his first "true wife."
The pattern includes both written & charted instructions with stitch counts provided for every row. Seymour is knit with only one skein of Jojoland's silk and cashmere lace weight yarn Consonance and its a lovely light-weight accessory perfect for year round wear.
There will be 2 winners:
1st prize is the Seymour Shawlette pattern and a skein of Jojoland Consonance in color #1618 Light Sage to knit it in.
2nd prize is the Cleves Shawl pattern.
And Glaser cordially agreed to do an interview for us and of course the first thing I asked her about was...
1. Why design a series of lace shawls around the Six Wives of Henry VIII?
I read the Allison Weir book, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, many years ago...which lead to a summer of obsessively reading everything the library had on everyone from Henry VIII through Napoleon. I was captivated by the descriptions of clothing and fabrics, too. I reread Six Wives, and also Queen of Fashion (what Marie Antoinette wore to the revolution) (also a good book). Then the Tudors series came to TV, and I thought "this is NOT how I pictured these women!!" It moved from there to wanting to make portraits of some sort, so what one thing would I make to represent the woman if she was who I've read about merged with how she's portrayed on screen? I decided on shawls, and the only thing decided on right then was color. Each Wife was given a color on an index card that went on the mood board. The part of me that wanted order, wanted them made in order. I saw Aragon as a black lace rectangle, but I had just worked with black lace weight on an Estonian shawl and *clearly* needed to save money for glasses first!
I made the first version of Cleves in white, because I saw her as pure from having been untouched by the King. The first few repeats were very free and loose, and then became rigidly organized flowers inside of diamonds (to represent the marriage and the restrictions therein), then broke free into leafy diamond repeats (to represent her riches won from learning to play cards and win), then into fields of flowers (to represent the land and given to her by the King as part of the annulment), then I crocheted picot "crowns" on the bottom edge. I showed it to the lys owner, but she said that knitters didn't want crochet mixed with their knitting patterns. So Cleves sat on the shelf for a while.
Last year, I had the opportunity to work with Artyarns, and chose the very dark red color for Boleyn, which was the first shawl released in the series. She was very simple and easy, and had a unique border and edge. It's a very clearly written pattern, but some knitters had problems understanding the math. I say, trust the pattern, because the designer has spent countless hours working on the math for you.
I then simplified Cleves, so she would only have four motifs and no crochet edge, and worked her in mossy greens, because moss is so fresh to me, and yet some people look at it like it's an eyesore, or a weed...something that doesn't belong.
The Jojoland for Seymour had been picked out years before the design. I was sketching with yarn and made all sorts of stitches with three motions in them, and they looked like columns in architecture or something. I loved them, but the stitch count wouldn't expand to the size I wanted without disrupting the flow of the motions. So I used stockinette stripes for building width. I love the shape that blocked out. And in the Jojoland the points blocked and didn't stay rigid, because the cashmere/silk blend just melts. It's so soft!
The next was to be wife 5, and I had her in Jojoland as well, in a peachy blush color. For some reason, I kept seeing her as ruffles. I couldn't make myself knit plain ruffles. So I've been reworking her lately in my head. Part of me still thinks she's ruffles. My husband and I are watching the Tudors series again, and I'm getting new ideas. I'm working on a ridiculous piece right now that I want to be wife 5. The fiber looks like cotton candy, but it wouldn't work for the series. I'm starting to wonder if she might want to be fuchsia mohair?
Wife 6 is ready on paper. But I want the order to be 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1. Because if I'm going to lose my vision, it'll be on the last piece, and Aragon is black.
I'm hoping to get them all ready and released by the summer. Originally, I had it in mind to release them all, and a second collection, by the end of last year. My body and mind don't work at the same pace as the ideas, though. If there was some way to use a sketch, scan it into a computer and have a finished pattern come out, that would be ideal!
2. Every knitwear artist has an interesting story about how they began designing. Please tell us about yourself and what got you interested in knitting and designing knitwear.
I’ve been making things all my life and decided that I would teach myself to knit by age 34 (because it was a random number). I bought a “learn-to-knit-kit” and got bored immediately, I actually thought “that’s all there is?” I made baby things for my niece when she was born, but didn’t get the reaction (or pictures) I was hoping for. I read every magazine and every pattern, and started obsessively knitting swatches from the patterns. If a pattern didn’t make sense to me, I’d read it over and over for weeks until it made sense.
Sweaters were hard to get to fit right, with my proportions at the time, and with limited access to yarn (and an allergy to lanolin that made me afraid of wool) I lost interest in knitting kitchen-cotton sweaters. I started knitting lace swatches from charts in a book from the library and fell in love. It was like completing a puzzle.
My mother lost her job, and money got even tighter, so I was not going to be able to spend as much on magazines and yarn anymore. I went through my magazines to the patterns I had marked and knit a square lace shawl by Annie Modesitt, and a silk lace stole with beads by Karen Joan Raz. This was how I learned that certain fibers have no memory, and won’t hold their shape after blocking.
I fell in love with Elizabeth Freeman’s lace shawls in Knitty (Laminaria and Aeolian), and wanted to make them with yarn that would block. There was baby alpaca lace yarn for under $8.00 at the new LYS. I loved the Estonian stitches! I loved the charts and the symbols and making holes in my knitting, and the way decreases would pull the holes in one direction or another. I loved blocking. Well, it’s more love/hate.
I made two lace shawls from scratch and charted the patterns. The LYS owner approached me about designing for her for money, and being broke, I thought it was a way to save us from poverty. It didn’t - It made me feel like I was worth nothing because I spent 12 hours a day knitting and pattern writing, and then half a year chasing down the money. So I created Oblivious Knits last year to be a place where I could create anything I wanted, and publish it myself.
3. What is your design philosophy?
I like one size fits all – and that’s where shawls come in.
I don’t like to use stitch dictionaries for patterns or motifs. I use the yarn and needles to sketch and experiment and play….or I use graph paper and mechanical pencil and draw symbols and see what happens. Very often, I don’t like what comes from graph paper and pencil alone. I usually knit something, and then have to do forensic knitting to figure out how I got the end design.
I love shawls because they’re light on the wrists and hands, which are places I deal with pain, and I know other knitters may experience this as well. I also love that a knitter can buy a skein of baby alpaca lace or Malabrigo lace for very little money and make a beautiful thing for themselves or someone else and it doesn’t matter what size the person is. Shawls fit everybody, and can be worn so many ways…or hung on the wall.
I’ve drawn some cables, but don’t know how I want to utilize them yet.
I’ve also been crocheting since I was in my early 20’s, and made some shawls a few years ago. I don’t have a program to help with diagramming crochet patterns, which may be good, because I’d want to draw shawls too. There’s not enough life left to do everything I’d want to do!
4. Who or what inspires you the most in your design process?
Whatever I’m obsessed with at the moment…a book, a biography, a song, a movie, a revolution, and I make associations. At the core, it’s something dark in me that I need to expel, and I associate it with something else to try and make it beautiful. Also, it’s just a need to create things – if I’m not knitting something, or creating something, it’s not a good sign. With anger, it is easier to use it in a song than in knitting. It’s hard for me to just say “I have to design something now”. It has to come from play, because it won’t be forced, no matter how hard I try.
5. What direction do you see yourself heading in as a designer?
I have the Six Wives series to finish, and have two more collections in mind. I would love to keep playing with lace and different textures and fibers. I’ve thought about making some one of a kind pieces and selling on etsy. It’s so much fun to play with the yarn, but translating what I’ve made back into a written/charted pattern for someone else to follow is not my favorite thing. Being a “designer” - It’s a little like being a teacher or a leader. I’m more of a “does not play well with others” sort. I have problems with getting my ideas out and feeling they’re good enough, so it takes a very long time agonizing over something and reworking it and over thinking it. My therapist says “paralysis by over analysis”. I always want everything to be perfect, and that’s kind of the opposite of what’s good for me. I need to be able to express myself creatively, because if it doesn’t come out that way, it becomes destructive. I know there are lots of ways I can express myself as an artist, and so many ideas I want to experiment with, but I don’t know for certain that writing knitting patterns is a large part of the future.
6. How have the advances in technology and the internet helped you (or hindered) you as a knitwear designer?
Without the internet, I wouldn’t have started ObliviousKnits, or self-published any designs. I still find Ravelry very intimidating, actually. But through Twitter and Facebook, I’ve met other artists, and it makes me feel like there may be some people who have something in common with me. When there are times where a company isn’t paying you for your work, there is likely someone else who has had a similar experience and has advice. If there is someone dealing with a design lull, or they feel stuck, there is usually someone paying attention with tips to get the spark back. If there is someone with a beautiful yarn you have an idea for, there is the possibility for collaboration. I’m homebound, but I’m able to converse with other creative people I would never have met or had access to in my life, because of the internet. I met my best friend, Kim, who is an indie dyer (At Knits End Yarns), and we’ve had giveaways with our friend Chris (Knitting Glass Guy) who makes glass knitting needles and other yarnie tools. Hey, I even found my husband on the internet. Or he found me. I forget. It was 10 years ago.
And back to the question - because of the internet, I was able to get my ideas out of my head a little bit.
Deborah thank you so much for sharing your story with us. And I'm so glad you decided to share your amazing inspiration, insights and design process for your Six Wives of Henry VIII collection and I look forward to the next 4 shawls!
There will be 2 winners for this giveaway and they'll be announced on Feb. 19th. Both patterns will be emailed to the winners as PDFs.
Enter this Giveaway: The more ways you enter, the more chances you have to win and make sure to leave a comment telling what you did to enter. And please make sure to leave your contact information.
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