Rule Britannia: Interview with designer Andi Smith and GIVEAWAY

One of the best things about creating Lace Yarn Studio was the chance to work with so many talented designers. Andi Smith designed the lovely A Little Luxe Gauntlets

andi 3

that so beautifully use twisted stitches and pleats, techniques which look particularly good in fine-gauge yarn. (My favorite part about writing a curated book is getting packages in the mail from designers sending in their sample garments. When I opened the package from Andi, I screamed — the gauntlets were just so amazing.)

andi 6

Andi has been knitting for over 40 years (apparently she started in utero) and she originally hails from Yorkshire. She now lives with her family in Ohio and teaches, designs, writes and tech-edits. You can find her on Ravelry under the name “knitbrit,” and she’s got lots of gorgeous patterns there for sale. I chatted with Andi recently about her knitting, working with fine yarns in particular and other fun stuff.

andi smith

CS: A lot of knitters are intimidated by the thought of working with very fine gauge yarn. What’s your favorite thing about lace weight?

AS: I have two favorite things about lace weight yarn. First has to be the flexibility it gives me to manipulate the fabric created. Working with 9 or 10 stitches per inch creates a versatile fabric that has boundless possibilities without bulk. For Lace Yarn Studio, the fabric created for the Little Luxe Gauntlets was so fine and delicate that I was able to add pleats and keep the delicate aesthetic. The second thing I adore about lace weight is the actual knitting. To me, working with US#1′s or 0′s is utterly pleasing. The zen of knitting each stitch is exponentially increased the smaller the gauge.

CS: Have you always used lace weight and other fine yarns in your knitting?

AS: When I started knitting in the early ’70′s, I used whatever my mum would give me, and that tended to be fine, fingering weight yarns. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I truly fell in love with lace weight yarns, and again, it was their versatility that intrigued me.

CS: Tell us about how you came to design the Little Luxe gauntlets.

AS: You mean other than begging you to let me design for you? :D

If I remember correctly, I wanted to do a wrapped stitch gauntlet, but it wasn’t until I was able to play with the yarn that I came up with the row of buttons, and the pleats. Trendsetter/Lotus Mimi is such a classy yarn, and so I thought about classy gloves, and images of 1930′s and ’40′s silk gloves, with long, long rows of buttons and clever manipulations of what is essentially a tiny scrap of fabric came to mind.

CS: What did you think of the Trendsetter/Lotus Mimi yarn? It’s 100 percent mink (a Chinese breed — the fiber can be collected without harming the animal).

AS: Oh! The hand! This is such a blissful yarn to work with. I’d take the gloves in progress to my knitting group, and everyone would pet and swoon over how soft and delicate the yarn was.

CS: Any tips for people making the gauntlets?

AS: Don’t be daunted by the pleats! When I was figuring out how to make them, and write directions that are easy to follow, I used scrap yarn, and practiced a few times before working the Mimi. Work a swatch or two of just the pleats in a larger gauge. Turning those dpns clockwise and counter-clockwise can seem awkward at first, but it’s easy to do, if you work step by step.

CS: What are you working on next?

AS: I’m currently working on my second Synchronicity collection, and hope to have it published late summer/early fall. Much like the Little Luxe Gauntlets, I love to manipulate the fabric our knitting creates and see just how far I can stretch the bounds of traditional knitting. You can see the first collection here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/synchronicity/patterns

CS: What is your favorite cocktail?

AS: Oh, that has to be a Moscow Mule.* Utter deliciousness.

Giveaway!

A huge thanks to Andi, both for being a part of Lace Yarn Studio and for doing this interview. Make sure you check out her beautiful collection called Synchronicity, which features some stunning two-color cable patterns.

andi cowl

The collection also includes a tutorial to help you with the two-color cable technique. If you’re a sock knitter, I often recommend Big Foot Knits, Andi’s sock book which gives all sorts of valuable information about fit, particularly for designing socks that fit larger-sized feet. And her Queen Street Cardigan is just gorgeous!

queen st

In honor of Andi’s visit, we’re going to do a giveaway. We’ve got a copy of Lace Yarn Studio and a skein of the Mimi yarn you’ll need to create Andi’s gauntlets.

To be eligible, leave a comment and make sure there is a way for me to get in touch with you (either by being registered with an email to leave comments or including your Ravelry user name in the comment — no way to get in touch, no way to win). Leave a comment by midnight on Monday, May 11th and on Tuesday, I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner.

*Squeeze about 1/2 an ounce of lime into a glass, add the rind and ice, then add 2 ounces of vodka. Fill to the top with ginger beer.


33 Thoughts

  1. Tracy says:

    I love your new book and the gauntlets are definitely my favorite project. I haven’t had the chance to pick it up yet, what a dream it would be to get the book and yarn to make those beauties! You can find me on Rav at elephantsknit.

  2. Maggie B. says:

    Interesting interview, already added a pattern from Andi’s Ravelry page to my favorites for later.

    msbohlander at gmail dot com

  3. Wendy T says:

    Thanks is for the give-away! And the Moscow Mule recipe…I’ll be able to use my own limes once my baby tree’s fruit matures this summer.

  4. catspawlace says:

    Such lovely work – I’m glad there are others out there who prefer the finer gauge yarns. The drink sounds good too although I think I’ll substitute rum for vodka.

  5. Karen says:

    Great interview! Gorgeous gauntlets!
    Love hearing about the submittals process! ❤️

  6. Meg Roke says:

    I had the pleasure of seeing the gauntlets knit up in person and OMG! Swoon! Love the pattern, love the yarn, and love Andi. (Mooch on Ravelry)

  7. Anne says:

    I love Andi’s Queen Street Cardigan, and I’d love to win Carol’s book!

    I’m Anne Hamilton Bean on Facebook. Thanks!

  8. melanie says:

    I love the mitts! teabird on ravelry…

  9. Analiese (liesef on Ravelry) says:

    Love all of Andi’s designs and the mitts make me swoon-Thanks for the giveaway too!

  10. Natalia says:

    How classy are those gauntlets? Then again, Andi is awesome, so no surprise there. I am usually good up to fingering weight yarn, then get flustered with the lace weight, but for mink and pretty gloves, I am willing to give it another try. I am moonrat on Ravely.

  11. I just love Andi Smiths designs. I have had the honor to meet her and have purchased Big Foot Knits and The Salt Hill kit. Andi’s designs are always easy to follow and fun to knit. I would love to win this giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity. I am trot26 on Rav

  12. Elaine in NYC says:

    Love those gauntlets! The latest photo of Boris is not to shabby, either.

  13. Zoe says:

    What an elegant match of pattern and yarn!

  14. janice says:

    loving what I’ve seen from the book and looking forward to seeing you next month in both Lancaster and Newark!

  15. Cori says:

    Gorgeous!

  16. Dianne says:

    I just finished spinning a lace weight quiviut and silk yarn that would look and feel great in those gauntlets. This book will soon be mine–one way or another.

  17. Gina in the SF Bay Area says:

    My yarn preference has been getting skinnier as the years go by. I have only glanced at the book but it is so lovely.

  18. Rachel R. says:

    Love the gauntlets!

  19. Josiane says:

    Those gauntlets are lovely! And the little bit Andi said about how the pleats are worked intrigues me. That’s a technique I was already curious to try, and now even more so!

    (I’m kimianak on Ravelry.)

  20. Sheila says:

    Lovely gauntlets!

    SheilaOKeefe on Rav

  21. NicoleS says:

    Love the gauntlets! For all the time I’ve spent working with fingering-weight yarn, I’m still a bit scared of laceweight.

  22. Gail says:

    I LOVE Mimi. Your book is great too.

  23. Faith says:

    LOVE Andi’s work! I’m FaithEllen on Rav…

  24. craftyone says:

    I am a beginner as far as knitting goes and would like to try these fingerless mitts.

  25. Renee says:

    The gauntlets would be wonderful to try and the pleats just add that special touch. Would love to win this giveaway. Ravelry name is rbebla.

  26. VeryBadDogs says:

    Andi was just in Chicago – and I missed her class! I need to pay more attention to fiber events.

  27. Kim says:

    Love, love, love those gauntlets – would love to win! I’m Sanityknit on Ravelry…

  28. kristi zemas says:

    Nice interview, the gauntlets are lovely, the cardigan is to drool over, thank you for sharing your work. I am kazlove on ravelry.

  29. Susie Collins says:

    I just love working with the fine-gauge and lace-weight yarns. The gauntlets are stunning. I’m Susan-Joy on ravelry. Thank you!

  30. liz says:

    I love these gauntlets – they’re beautiful!

  31. YvonneMW says:

    i love learning new techniques and can’t wait to try these gauntlets out!
    Knitwitch39 on Rav.

  32. Marianne says:

    Those little buttons, they’ll get me every single time, and the pattern is gorgeous! Thanks for the opportunity AND the recipe!

  33. Jenni says:

    Those mitts are so gorgeous!! KazKitty on ravelry

Reply to YvonneMW