Meghan Jones designs such fun bright styles for kids (and adults!) it’s hard to resist not getting every single pattern by her, even though I have no children to knit for! And her adorable daughters modeling them doesn’t hurt in the least. She is such a talented designer & we are so pleased to have some her patterns in the IDP program!
How long have you been knitting?
About 4.5 years now, although before picking up knitting needles I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Fibres and Textiles from the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary AB, Canada. I specialized in weaving on the Computer Loom, and natural/chemical dyes with brush applied wax resist dyeing on silks and cotton. I also worked with natural and chemical dyes on yarn, and having my own dyed fibre company is a dream I currently nurture. I think this past experience inspires my knitting hugely and indeed a lot of my Fair Isle designs are created on a weaving design program.
What motivated you to learn to knit?
I started knitting when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter Abby, something about that Baby Bump makes a gal want to create warm snuggly clothes to swathe a baby in. It helped that at the time I was living in Edmonton Alberta and it was the middle of winter, that would make most anyone want to knit up a storm, because Baby that is COLD.
Who taught you to knit?
My mom showed me the basic knit and purl and coaxed me through my first couple of patterns. She is an accomplished knitter in her own right and was a great teacher, gave me just enough instruction but also let her headstrong daughter run free through the fields of loop over loop over loop.
What was your first project?
A fingering weight stockinette stitch sweater with drop sleeves, not a project I will ever replicate as I was bored to tears. It taught me that knitting takes perseverance as well as knowing what your knitting style is, mine is; the more complicated and interesting the better.
Do you knit mainly projects for yourself or for other people?
I have only ever finished one sweater for myself to date, and I hate it, really it should be frogged. I do a great deal of knitting for my two girls and just recently finished two sweaters for Hubs the Great after he so astutely pointed out that “the girls get everything”. I do enjoy working lacey scarves for myself, and have another sweater in the works which I will hopefully love.
What is your favorite pattern you designed?
Hmm.. I think that Norah’s Joyful Sweater and Hat is one of my favorites, and after that Slip Stitch Swing Dress. Norah’s Joyful Sweater and Hat is my favorite because I designed it for my youngest daughter Norah who is just so sunny and joyful with a feisty character that the design really seems to encompass her personality. Every time I see that sweater I think about Norah and how much I love her. And Slip Stitch Swing Dress because it was a big leap in my mathematical pattern writing, it has a lot of different techniques in it that were eye opening for me. It also took a long time to design and at times I felt totally lost, so to have a successful pattern after all that work was amazing.
Is there anything in particular that inspires your designs?
Colour, shape, and technique. I love colour and spend a great deal of time thinking about what colours to use and what combinations give the designs the correct look and feel to match the graphic elements. Norah’s Joyful Sweater was all about capturing a feeling through colour and design; my feelings about Norah, who she is and who she will become.
All of the Fair Isle designs are worked on PCW Weaver, a weaving software program that I learned to use in College, this program actually hooks up via computer to the Compu-Dobby; a computerized weaving loom. Weaving jargon aside it basically gives you greater patterning ability in your weaving. I think it gives my Fair Isle designs a unique flavour, with unusual graphics and images that cycle rather than repeat.
I think about the shape of garments a lot, techniques for making that shape and how can you tweak a basic sweater and make it something more. A good example of this is the Baby Epaulette Sweater that is a basic short sleeve sweater but the gathered sleeves give it a new look. Also the Polar Rivulets sweater where the cable band on the main body is worked sideways, and the upper body is worked from cuff to centre back and then the two halves are grafted together.
I think that knitting design should be courageous and innovative, that there are multiple solutions to a problem and that a designer should constantly be researching techniques and new ideas. I often reference techniques that I have been researching in my patterns and try to teach knitters a new way of doing something. There have been many times when a test knitter replies that they have never before used such a great technique and were positively thrilled to have learned it while knitting my pattern.
Who are some of your favorite designers?
Kristin Nicholas for her amazing colour work, Cat Bordhi for disregarding the proverbial box in its entirety, Nicky Epstein for going the extra six miles with her design sense and Norah Gaughan for making every sweater that I have ever wanted to wear.
How long do your designs take to create from start to finish?
Depending on the design, some take a week, and some take months. Fabulous Hat was about 2 weeks, as was the 4 of Hearts Hat, a new design coming out in September titled Debonair Jacket took 2 months to get it just right. They take less time the more experience I get but then I have to make them more challenging to keep it interesting.
Anything else you would like to add?
Knitting and Designing have been such an incredible part of my life for the past year, it has only been one year since my first design for sale was published to my blog and I feel like there are only bigger and better things to come. My Husband is a medically retired Iraqi Veteran who requires a lot of emotional, mental and physical care; designing from my home gives me a sense of purpose and creativity. In essence, this is my chosen career and I am completely in awe that I get to pursue it and love my creative life.