Wednesday, December 4, 2013

UkeeKnits Interview

Today I am so excited to publish my very first designer interview! 

Faye from Ukeeknits was kind enough to answer some questions and share with us a sneak peek of her new design. Faye has been one of designers hard at work behind the scenes of the Ravelry Gift-Along and it has been awesome finding out more about her and her work. 

 The impressively awesome Lumberjack pattern by Faye Kennington.

Faye, you have some ‘instantly recognizable’ designs in your portfolio. Tell us how the Lumberjack and Sasquatch patterns came about, …. How DOES one come up with an idea like a beard hat?

With media being so globalized, sometimes trends just seem to take off all over the place at once. If I see a trend developing that has a Pacific Northwest angle, I try to think of a knit interpretation.

After binge watching Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet, I published Sasquatch!. At about the same time, Annie Watts had a similarly themed pattern for the slippers Big Foot + Yeti, in the works. The world is being exposed to the same pop-culture references all the time, so even seemingly fringe ideas can influence a large group of people.

Since Sasquatch! came out, Annie and I have been thinking about how we could collaborate.  Right now and until December 8, 2013, when you buy Sasquatch! Balaclava pattern or Big Foot + Yeti slippers pattern from either of our Ravelry shops, you get the other pattern free. 

2. Your designs aren’t all quirky and whimsical though…. What other things are you inspired to design? Tell us a little bit about your latest release - Volt Toque and Mitts. Do you have anything in the pipeline you can tell us about?

I can tell you exactly how these “other” patterns develop – I fell in love with the yarn first!  Like all good fiber lovers, when I go to an LYS and squish all the lovely yarn and see the amazing hand painted or kettle dyed rainbow of colours, I want them. So really, these designs justify the impulse purchases in my stash.

Volt Toque and Volt Mitts were made from Manos del Uruguay Maxima.  The “Highlighter” is insane and the “Foil” has such beautifully subtle nuances of tone it could bring a crafter to tears. I have 3 other accessory patterns to be released in December 2013 to complete the collection– Ampere Toque; Ampere Mitts and Watt Toque. Each pattern combines fluorescent and neutral coloured yarns with a short-carry stranded geometric design.

When I get the idea to make a specific balaclava first, and then go looking for suitable yarn, I don’t get to pick the prettiest colours or smooshiest feel.
Here is a sneak peek of Faye's soon to be released Ampere Toque and mitts. 

3. Complete this sentence: Being part of the Indie Designer GAL has….

Introduced me to so many great knitters and got me more involved with a fantastic on-line community.

4. You live on Vancouver Island in Canada. How does where you live influence your design work? (and have you ever seen a sasquatch in real life?!!)

My jumpstart in designing came from our local LYS when we had one. Ucluelet and Tofino are popular tourist destinations, so the owner and I worked together to create souvenir yarn-and-pattern kits with local themes for travelling knitters. Tuff Love and WhaleWatching Wellie Warmers were designed for these kits.

The Pacific Rim National park and surrounding areas are so beautiful; I can’t help but be influenced by them. The trees on the sweater pattern Ucluelet are based on ones I pass by every day.

Fortunately, no, I’ve never seen a real life Sasquatch, though the island does have reported sightings. I’d jump outta my skin if I didn’t have a heart attack first.

5. If you were stranded on a (cold) desert island and were allowed 3 knitting/yarn related things, what would you pack?

That’s tough because I can’t think of any one skein that has enough yardage to knit an SOS sign visible from air.  I guess I’d need to take that some of the Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Highlighter to try and catch the attention of a passing aircraft or freighter.

I’d also need my favourite needle, a size 8 (5 mm) 40" (100 cm) Addi Turbo Lace circular.

Lastly, get me the cutest, friendliest and fluffiest tobacco-coloured alpaca you can find. 

6. What is your favourite colour jellybean?

I can eat way more than my share of buttered popcorn flavour jelly bellies. They’re light creamy yellow with yellow spots.

7. Is there anything you would like to ask me about New Zealand?

I keep seeing this The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug promo on the internet with a prize trip to New Zealand. The footage makes me wanna pack my bags right now! Since I probably won’t win, I guess I first need to know if I can stay at your place. Next, where’s the best place to get some yarn around there? In particular are there any farms or small-scale yarn producers that offer tours to the public? I’m a nerd like that when I travel.

-----> Of course you can come and stay with me! I live in North of the North Island which isn't exactly the best climate for yarny crafts (it's often wet in winter and humid in summer) but there are a few yarn shops around. For a crafty road trip around the country check out  Crafty Girls Road Trip. Come in August and we'll go to Knit August Nights in Napier. As well as being in a beautiful part of the country you'll get to indulge in crafty classes, yarn markets, factory tours and enjoy some down time with kiwi crafters from all over the country! 

PATTERN GIVEAWAY!! Faye is also working on a new fingerless mitt design and she is currently looking for some help naming this new pattern. Check it out in her Ravelry group!
Faye is generously giving away a copy of this pattern to one lucky reader. To go in the draw please leave a comment with the name of one of Faye's patterns NOT already mentioned in this post. I will draw one random winner this time next week :)

Thanks so much Faye!


  1. Fabulous designs - our new place will be cold enough to warrant my partner wearing a lumberjack haha

  2. Love that you do quirky and "normal" - Marina the Mermaid is one my daughter would like me to do!

  3. Nautica! Very cool - looking forward to giving the new pattern a go :)

  4. My BFF was a test knitter for sasquatch and it makes me giggle every time I see a pic of it. My favorite patterns of hers though I think are the Pronto Hat and Cowl! But they are bulky weight yarns!

  5. Awesome interview sweetp. Faye love your work.

  6. Great patterns! The Urchin Hat is so cute!

  7. I love Garden Path slouchy beret and Urchin .....can you tell I like hats ? lol

  8. Very interesting would be neat to see what you and Annie Watts can collaborate on. Keep designing!! Teh 2 hour smocked toque looks like it is fun to make! Rav id tweetee.

  9. Ooh I like sasquatch, could double as a wookie!

  10. I like Tuff Love; but then I have a weakness for colourwork.

  11. I really like the Pronto hat and cowl, but me and bulky yarns don't agree most of the time, cause they hate being frogged! I also like the Garden Path Slouchy Beret pattern!

    Thanks for the great interview! I learned so much about a new designer! Lovely Sasquatch!