Meet the Designer: Angela Tong

Over the last month or two we've been introducing you to Stitch Sprouts designers who participated in the pattern book project that features three of our most popular yarns - For Better or Worsted, Cricket, and Squishy. Today's spotlight is on Angela Tong.

How do you encourage a novice to take up knitting?

I tell them all it takes is to learn 1 stitch and you can begin knitting. I recently taught my 6 year old how to knit and she was hooked immediately. She was so proud of herself and announced "I am a knitter!"

What's your favorite LYS?

I don't have one favorite LYS. Every yarn store carries different types of yarn so it's great to have so many choices. I try to visit as many as I can.

Favorite Anzula colorway?

Oh I could never choose a favorite color. I love the variety of colors that Anzula dyes.

Tell us about your project in the booklet! 

The Ginto Shawl is knit with 2 skeins of Squishy. I wanted to design a large shawl with a Faroese-style center panel for the spine of the shawl. Although this is a large shawl, it can fit a variety of sizes depending on how it is worn or styled around your neck. Another neat thing about the shawl is that it can be easily sized down or up. The knitter won't have to do any math. The modification is noted in the Notes section of the pattern.

The Tekstur Hat and Cowl was designed with beginner knitters in mind. Each project takes only 1 skein of For Better or Worsted. It's simple but has an interesting stitch pattern which creates a beautiful textured knit fabric.

Do you teach classes? Where?

I teach at yarn stores in NJ and I also teach online. I am the instructor for the Rigid Heddle Weaving Class on Recently, I filmed 2 videos for Interweave called Structures of Shawls which is available as a DVD or video download and Pin-Loom Designs which is a video download. Both available through

You can catch up with Angela on her blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.

Thank you to Angela for the interview! You can get your Stitch Sprouts pattern booklets right now on Ravelry, or soon at your LYS.

Meet the Designer: Faina Goberstein

If you haven't heard yet, we are so excited about the pattern booklets that were recently released by Stitch Sprouts and feature 3 of our most popular yarns - For Better or WorstedCricket, and Squishy! We have been introducing you to some of the designers who contributed to the booklets. Today's spotlight is on Faina Goberstein.

What drew you to designing?

I was designing my own clothes as far as I remember. I lived in Soviet Russia and to find something nice and different in the store that also fits you was an impossible dream. I had to take professional courses to learn how to design, sew, and knit if I wanted to have a stylish outfit. I got so interested in designing that I continued doing it when I came to America over 30 years ago. Since I was teaching math at the college and was a design engineer before that, it is natural for me to enjoy the whole process of designing. Planning, drawing, creating, calculating, charting, using computer programs, and finally working with your hands knitting or crocheting is still very enjoyable and fulfilling to me.

How do you encourage a novice to take up knitting?

I always say that from my experience knitting is very interesting and a great stress reliever. You have to not worry about what people think about your ability to knit, just concentrate on getting that yarn through the loop and watch how the fabric is forming in front of your eyes. You will fall in love with knitting in no time, I promise. 

What's your favorite LYS?

This is not an easy question for me. I love different stores for different reasons. At the moment I teach and hang out at K2tog in Albany, CA and Bistitchual in Pinole, CA. They are different, but very good stores. There are many more stores that I love to visit. It would be unfair to list only few.

Favorite Anzula colorway? Line?

How can I answer this question? It is no such thing for me as a favorite colorway from Anzula. It is the whole range of colors together that I love. They have great taste in colors and I would work happily with any of them. 
Depending on the project I needed, I worked with For Better or Worsted, Cricket, Cloud, Oasis, and Vera. I love them all.

Do you have other patterns available in our yarns?

Yes, I do.

Santorini Cowl in For Better or Worsted.

Eilat sweater in Cricket.

East Bay sweater in Cricket.

Simon sweater in Oasis.

Al Fresco hat in Oasis.

Vera's Skirt in Vera. 
I also have new designs coming soon. 

Tell us about your project in the booklet!

I am obsessed with slip stitch techniques lately. In fact, I have a new book coming out in August where I and my co-author Simona Merchant-Dest are offering very unusual stitches similar to what you see in the Kara-Kum hat. The name of this hat was inspired by the look of the resulting fabric. It looks like some dunes of sand in a desert.

Kara-Kum is a famous desert in Central Asia. The translation of this name is "black sand”.   The fabric has a lot of texture, which is always good for a hat. The yarn worked perfectly for this project giving this slouchy hat just enough drape and the color plays as you look at the “dunes”. I am grateful for working with this beautiful yarn.

Favorite TV show to watch / music to listen to while knitting?

Netflix is my friend when I am working on a deadline project. I love movies that I can listen to and do not have to watch at all times. 

I also choose TV shows that have a lot of episodes, so I do not have to spend time looking for what’s next. Recently, I watched Gilmore Girls, Friends, Mad Men.

What's the most overlooked aspect of designing or knitting a finished piece?

I would say finishing for knitting.

Do you teach classes? Where?

I teach at guilds, LYS, Stitches, KnitLab, and other venues. Right now I am preparing for Madrona Fiber Festival where I will be teaching 8 classes and I teach at K2tog and BiStitchual regularly. I love to travel and teach around the country and abroad. If your readers would like me to teach at their venue, I would love to talk to them about that. They can find me on Ravelry, Facebook, my website, and Twitter.

You can catch up with Faina on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Craftsy, or in her Ravelry group!

Thank you to Faina for the interview! You can get your Stitch Sprouts pattern booklets right now on Ravelry, or soon at your LYS. Watch for more designer spotlights coming soon!

Pattern Highlights: February (part two)

In February so many great patterns were released I thought it would be a little easier to split up the party into two posts. See the knitting patterns from February here, and read on for crochet patterns!

Janet Brani of OneLoopShy released a delicious cowl called Möbius Eleven. Crocheted in Cricket, it's shown here in Lipstick and Temperance. 

This lovely shawl is called Bellamy, and it was designed by Sara Kay Hartmann. It's crocheted in Nebula - elegant and glittering!

Also in Nebula, from Tian Connaughton, is the luscious Candeo Shawl in a lovely and easy-to-wear boomerang shape. 

To round out our selection of crochet patterns from February, we have three from designer Jill Wright. Enola is crocheted in Haiku:

Diana is crocheted in For Better or Worsted:

and Icarus is crocheted in Cloud.

You can always find more pattern suggestions on Ravelry or through our Pinterest page.