Wednesday, 19 October 2011

An interview with Tiny Owl Knits

Today I have an interview for you with Stephanie from Tiny Owl Knits.
I happened upon Tiny Owl Knits patterns when I was unable to get the Parseltongue hat out of my head until I had downloaded it and knitted it, which I have done, and I will show it to you when I have woven in the ends. Then I looked at her other patterns and was blown away; they are so unusual and beautiful, and have a real ethereal, other-worldly feel which is incredibly alluring. Also they are some of the few patterns I have seen that have made me want to knit intarsia motifs, I think the animal mitts are lovely.

Stephanie is also a very successful musician, and I am having visions of my brother Dan reading this interview and thinking, Susie, somehow you manage, through what nefarious means I do not know, to lure someone into being interviewed for your blog who has been on Jools Holland, and then you ask her about knitting. You are no sister of mine and now I shall never teach you the F chord and I am even considering withdrawing husky-stroking privileges (Dan has a husky, although I have to say I think it would take some fairly intensive training to make him shun people). Well, yes, but to this I must answer: Stephanie is also the designer of the Hexipuff. Yes! If you have been on the knitting bit of the internet recently, you may know (and if not, ready yourself!) that the current pattern craze is for making little hexagon shapes out of leftover sock yarn which you then make into a quilt. They are all over Ravelry looking very beautiful and inventive. I am resisting this as strongly as I can, however much fun it might look, because I do not need another epic project, although I will not be resisting other Tiny Owl Knits patterns. I have particularly got my eye on the sheep mitts. Actually, I think I might have some wool that would work…

Take it away, Stephanie! (All the patterns in the pics are available on Ravelry or on Etsy).

1/ Stephanie, you’ve taken over the known world with your hexipuffs. It’s one of the coolest patterns I’ve seen, but doing an entire quilt out of them must be quite an undertaking! Why do you think the pattern’s been so popular? Is it nice to think of there being little collections of hexipuffs all over the world?
Thanks! I really had no idea anyone would do it! the whole thing has taken me so much by surprise.  I didn't imagine that the pictures could show the concept of the puffy hexagons so I did a little video talking about them. That was really fun and I plan to do lots more videos (even though I run the risk of frightening people with my weird.)  Anyway, I think making the hexipuffs is actually fun. I became totally addicted to making them myself, so now I feel a little less crazy because it seems they have that effect on others too! I love to peek around ravelry and see all of the creative things people are embroidering on them. I'm not going to say that I haven't actually wiped a tear away at some point! haha
Beekeeper's Quilt. Hexipuffs-in-progress, proving my theory that where a beautiful, complex, time-consuming knitting project is, there also will a cat be
2/ Your patterns have this wonderful, ethereal vibe. Are you attracted to fairytale, otherworldly things in general?
I love fairy tales!  I think I have always had a tendency to want to hide away in secret places and dream about faeries and magic. I think its actually becoming a bigger and bigger part of our culture to think about magic as well. Everyone seems to be joining together to find something really special in the otherworlds. Life is so hectic and moves so fast. Real magic happens when a person is able to center themselves and put their mind on something that brings them joy or peace. That's why knitting is so magical. My goal when I'm knitting is to stay calm and centered. No it's not always easy! But what a great medium for rolling around in the power of joy. Magic Magic Magic Joy Joy Joy Ü• 
Fairy castles for storing hooks and needles. Look! With little windows in too!
3/ Lots of knitwear designers combine knitting with a day job, but I’m not sure there are that many whose day job is being an extremely successful singer, and I’m reasonably sure Elizabeth Zimmerman never played Glastonbury ;-). Does one feed off the other, or is knitting completely separate?
Some days it's easier than others. This very minute I'm trying to finish up a record and I REALLY want to release my version of my "Mr. Fox Stole my heart" pattern. So this morning I'm fighting the urge to finish the pattern when I'm really supposed to be in the studio in an hour. But most days I have time for both. Its like doing dishes and the laundry. You just do them both. OH ELIZABETH ZIMMERMAN AT GLASTONBURY!! She would be by far and away the most interesting thing there. :)

4/ Have you ever worn something you’ve knitted on stage?
I used to make pretty much all of my clothes for stage. I do a lot of sewing so I made all of my skirts and customized all of my t-shirts.  I'm sure I've worn something I've knitted for sure. Oh I wore the woodland hoodlet at a show at the Royal Festival Hall in London last year. At that time it still had a wonky hood, but I wore it anyway. Then I came home and ripped the hood off and started over before I released the pattern.
Woodland hoodlet. I love anyone who wears their creations proudly. Get out there in your woollies
5/ Post-internet and especially post-Ravelry, it’s much easier for designers to meet the people knitting their patterns and get lots of immediate feedback. You have a very popular Ravelry group: is this link with your knitters something you enjoy?
It is absolutely a huge deal to me and I love being connected to everyone. I used to work in a knitting shop so I would be helping people with my patterns all day long. After I quit and moved to London to pursue music I missed the community aspect so much. That was right around the time that Ravelry started. I couldn't believe it! I jumped right in to a virtual version of the lifestyle that I had grown so accustomed to and it has totally changed my life. Thank you Ravelry!

6/ Which of your designs (current or upcoming) have you most enjoyed making?
I loved making the beekeeper's quilt and I love wearing my meow mitts :) They are my favorite thing I've ever designed because the little kitties on them just make me happy!
Meow mitts! I've even got some wool that colour. Hold me back
Thank you very much for doing this interview, Stephanie, you were a great interviewee and when you have taken over the world with your small puffy hexagons I’m confident you’ll be a benevolent dictator ;-). You can find Tiny Owl Knits on Ravelry or on Etsy. Please do go and have a look at her patterns, they are beautiful and I think you will like them although if you find yourself a month from now with baskets full of puffs and muttering 'just one more' to yourself at three in the morning, do not come and tell me off.

Thanks again Stephanie and best of luck with the new record xoxo


Ivy said...

Thank you for this great interview! :-)

GirlAnachronismE said...

Geat interview, and thank you for introducing me to a designer I didn't know =)

Tink said...

Great interview! I will not succumb to the hexipuff craze, as I do not knit socks and therefore don't need a use for sock yarn scraps. But her free rapunzel hat is next on my list!

Ms C @ HappyElastic said...

Wow,very talented lady! I didn't know she is a musician too. I will go and have a better listen,it might distract me from my current infatuation with the Britney Spears Criminal video (the shame!)

I am deliberately shunning the hexipuffs as I don't have any sock scraps and I'd end up just buying new which defeats the object a little. Maybe in a few years!

Marushka C. said...

It's been fun watching the hexipuff craze take over the knitting world -- and feeling relieved that I can be totally in admiration of the pattern & projects without needing to start one for myself :-) She does beautiful work, I'm glad to know more about TOK.