This brisk and bustling month, Ginger Twist Studio has the distinct pleasure of featuring very clever designs from Dagmar Mora, the brilliant mind behind Fingertips. Read on and take a gander at her stunning designs!
- GTS: How did you first started knitting? Who taught you?
DM: It’s a long time ago! I do remember being taught knitting at school. But I was probably taught by my mother before that. She definitely taught me crochet, as that was her preferred choice, and that’s what I mainly remember. I myself soon preferred knitting. I’m not sure why. Just as an early act of rebellion?? Or because I liked the patterns better? Or because it was easier to go a while without looking, which made it more suited to do during lessons at school (yes, we did! The teachers grumbled a bit but never forbid it outright)?
- GTS: What was your first design, and what motivated you to start designing?
DM: A friend had introduced me to ravelry, and seeing other people self-publishing their designs I thought I could give it a go too. My first pattern was Funky Fingers: I wanted a pair of gloves, that were plain stocking stitch, but still with a twist.
- GTS: Where do you get your inspiration from? Are these pieces that you crave in your own personal wardrobe?
DM: First and foremost it’s the customer I want to make happy, not myself. So no, my designs aren’t always what I crave for myself. I try to strike a balance of what I like to design, and what I think other people would like. For example, I’m not so keen on variegated yarn myself. But I know, that lots of knitters have variegated yarns in their stash which they love dearly, and that they are searching for the perfect pattern for it. So I always make sure that I have some designs for variegated yarns as well as for solid coloured ones. It seems to have been the right move, as some of my designs for variegated yarns have become extremely popular, such as the free Spatterdash Wristwarmers, and the matching Spatterdashette.
- GTS: Why gloves?
DM: I love knitting them! I used to knit only sweaters. But they took up all the space in the wardrobe, so I had to find something smaller to knit. I tried both socks and gloves. This was a long time ago, when knitting socks wasn’t anywhere near as popular as it is now – let alone knitting gloves! I liked the socks, but I preferred the gloves. I like knitting the fingers: They have so few stitches, so they grow really fast. That way you can really see your progress, and it’s like a countdown: five, four, three, two, one – zero, one glove finished! (unless you knit the gloves top-down, of course, then you will still have to do the hand) I also like the challenge of designing gloves. There are a lot of options for the shaping. And a LOT of calculations, especially since I like my designs to have lots of sizes. Some of my designs, like the His & Hers Gloves, have seven sizes, from Women’s XS to Men’s XL. Luckily I always quite liked maths!
- GTS: Double-pointed needles or magic loop?
DM: Double-pointed. Exclusively!
- GTS: Cats or dogs?
DM: Dogs. Not exclusively. Cats are quite nice too.
- GTS: Do you find yourself inspired certain colours?
DM: I wouldn’t say that colours are my starting point for inspiration. I’m more inspired by textures, or shapes than by colour. But it is extremely satisfying, when I find a colour combination that I really like, and which goes with the theme. Such as the sand and sea colours in my Texel Gloves and Fingerless Texels.
- GTS: Could you please describe your design process?
DM: The design develops in my head first. Then I look for the right yarn for it, and start swatching. During swatching and sample knitting a lot can happen, and the design can still change quite considerably. That’s how I like to work best, it’s what comes naturally to me. But a few of my designs were done for yarn clubs. In those cases, I am given a yarn to work with, plus the theme for that particular club parcel. So I have to work completely differently! I start swatching to try what kind of stitch works best for that particular yarn, something that works both technically and brings out the quality of the yarn. At the same time I am starting to think about the theme, and what would go with that. The Crème de Noyaux gloves are an example. Some stitch patterns I tried didn’t work for the yarn at all. The ones that worked didn’t seem to go with the theme. So I developed the “almond” stitch pattern exactly for this yarn – at the same time keeping in mind the theme of the “Pink Squirrel” cocktail, and one of its main ingredients, the almond flavoured Crème de Noyaux liqueur. I later used the almond stitch pattern for lots of other designs – it seems to work with every yarn!
- GTS: Some folks don’t want to wear gloves and they cover your fingers and you can’t access your mobile or tablet. What do you have to say about that?
DM: Everybody can wear fingered gloves and still use their touch screens! There are two options to do so: a) Conductive metal thread is available on the net. Finish your fingered gloves, and then just sew a few stitches into the relevant finger tips – that’ll work, I know lots of people who have done it. Or b) make a button hole towards the ends of the fingers, on the inside, for a flip top – here is an example of His & Hers gloves done like that: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Kazyuk/his–hers-gloves-2 (apologies: This link is only available to signed in ravelry members. Unfortunately I am not aware of any similar pictures that are publicly available. To see the His & Hers gloves without the buttonholes/flip tops, please go here.)
- GTS: We are now in prime mitten wearing weather. Which pair are you most proud of that you have designed?
DM: Of the mittens, I think the Rowan Mittens are my favourite. The ribbing makes them very thick and warm, but also ensures a good fit, moulding itself around the hands. The stitch pattern is striking, and very popular.
- GTS: How do you balance designing with other aspects of your life?
DM: I keep my work/life balance by choosing the type of design work I do according to what fits in with the rest of my life. Eg, I don’t do patterns for magazines (one “knitty” pattern being an exception), as I wouldn’t be able to cope with the deadlines very well. Especially since you usually don’t know the dates in advance. I have been working for a wool club and a small yarn company though. They approached me for designs, and were able to tell me in advance, when I would receive the yarn support, and how much time I had from there. That made it a lot easier to decide, whether I can do it. Self-publishing is of course the most flexible of all design work, and therefore my favourite choice.
- GTS: Tea or coffee?
DM: Green tea! It’s so refreshing, and charges up my concentration powers during designing.
Thanks so much Dagmar for the more in-depth look at your patterns and design inspiration. It was really interesting! I don’t know about you readers, but I’m itching to cat on a pair of Rowan Mittens! They look so cosy. If you want to take a closer look, there are oodles of Dagmar’s samples in the shop for the rest of the month!