In celebration of the release of the Echoing Green Shawl, the first design from the Four Seasons collection which you can find out more about in this BLOG POST, we wanted to get to know Jaya, the collection's designer, better and for you all to do the same. That is enough from me so I will hand over to her!
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to become a designer?
I was a software professional before I quit work to start my family. I picked up on some crochet and knitting during my free time at home. After a few knitting and crochet projects, I felt I liked knitting better and continued to learn more. I browsed a lot of knitting websites and that’s when Ravelry happened. I began doing a lot of test knits and learning as much as I could about yarn, about designing, and even grading. Slowly, I found myself looking at magazine submissions, writing proposals and once the first proposal got accepted, there was no looking back!
What’s your favourite garment or accessory to design and why?
Cowls are my favourite as they are easy to design and quick to knit! Once I’ve figured the stitch pattern, the yarn and the gauge, I can get down to pattern writing and knitting. I’d like to say, cowls are design nirvana 🙂!
Where do you go to for inspiration? How does this influence what you decide to create within a design?
For most part, what I design is what I love to knit, what I’d like to see in a knitted piece and how I’d like to pair a particular yarn with some interesting stitch pattern that also results in something wearable.
I love the whole mental process of imagining designs in all of those glorious yarns and shades, and trying to think what would be the best combination of yarn, color, design and texture!
I extensively use Ravelry and social media to seek and understand new trends. I’m constantly learning new techniques and trying out various stitch patterns, whether it’s lace, cables or just plain texture. So, each of my designs is a result of those small learnings whether it’s shawl shapes, intricate or interesting stitch patterns, or even those small fascinations about where and how I’d like to use beads or fringes or even buttons 🙂!
Can you tell us about your process when you design a new piece?
Once I’ve figured out the yarn and know what I’d like to design, I work up a swatch in the chosen stitch pattern, check the drape, take measurements, make notes etc. If I’m satisfied, I then make a quick plan of how I’d like to approach, what cast on/bind off, what stitch count, what kind of increase/decrease methods, etc. There are times I finish pattern writing and charting and then knit the piece. But, I usually prefer knitting the piece while also making notes and editing my rough drafts on the go.
Who are your favourite designers that your admire most?
Where are your favourite places to go for tutorials and guides for your knitting or crochet? Do you have a tutorial you would recommend?
What’s your knitting nemesis? Is there a technique that gives you the shivers?
Brioche! It’s something I haven’t tried yet and is on top of my learning list, and the day I’m able to knit brioche and have designed at least one accessory using the technique, I’ll have conquered the fear!
What attracted you to Eden Cottage Yarns?
Does the yarn selection influence what you decide to design? If the answer is yes, why?
The yarn and the people! When I first began designing shawls, they were so kind and generous to offer me yarn support for a whole lot of my designs! I so love working with them and their yarns, and my upcoming Four Seasons
collection just takes this further!
Yes! Yarn is something beautiful and when you look at it as a knitter or a designer, you almost always instantly or instinctively know what you want to make of it or what you want it to be 🙂!
If you had to pick just one ECY yarn and colourway, what would it be and why?
Without doubt, my favourite is Titus 4ply in the shade Dianthus! I love the yarn for its shine, strength and feel. If you ever want to treat yourself to some good yarn, go for Titus 4ply! You won’t be disappointed 🙂
All of the team at ECY Shedquarters are thrilled to have been a part of Jaya's design journey and we hope that her story inspires other designers to take that daunting step of asking us for yarn support; we really do welcome everyone to get in touch with your ideas and we carefully consider every request that we get. For more information on our yarn support policy click HERE.