Many thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for BritYarn. If you are sitting comfortably with a beverage to hand lets begin!
Could introduce yourself to BritYarn’s readers?
I am Jane and I design knitting and occasionally crochet patterns whose magic lies in the simplicity. Knitting time is precious and I help knitters make projects that have an easily achievable wow factor. Until recently I worked full time designing for the UK knitting magazines, and now I have now started my self-publishing journey.
What started your journey into designing knitting and crochet patterns?
Like many designers I had a ‘chance’ entry into the industry. In 2009 I owned an online knitting shop (specialising in sock yarns) and Let’s Knit Magazine approached me and asked if I designed sock knitting patterns. I had designed a couple of patterns as yarn support for the yarn I stocked, so I jumped at the opportunity.
What are your favourite woolly / fibre crafts?
I am a knitter, I would probably still be knitting night and day even if it were not my job. A few years ago I taught myself to crochet as an alternative way to relax. Knitting had become my full time job, I thought crochet would help me unwind. But shortly after I was asked to design some crochet pieces….
You have just launched your new book ‘Lazy Sunday Knitted Socks’. Could you tell us a little bit about it?
I wanted to design a collection of socks that were indulgent. Knitting time is precious and we rarely spend that time knitting projects to pamper ourselves. This is a collection of beautiful beaded socks to knit. The book teaches you how to apply beads using a crochet hook, which is by far my favourite method of applying beads to knitting. . There is a range of patterns; whilst some of the designs look incredibly complex, if you can knit socks and follow a chart they really are quite simple. For example, ‘No Room For Ravers’ may look a little daunting but in reality the chart has only an eight row repeat, coupled with some simple cables and eyelets you have some stunning socks, that are achievable for most sock knitters. And if you are not a fan of reading charts, the book includes full written instructions for ‘No Room For Ravers’.
Many people (including myself) may never have used beads in socks before…. can you share any hints or tips?
Find yourself a good video tutorial, there is one on my blog http://janeburns.co.uk/2016/04/learn-to-bead-in-just-26-seconds/ seeing this technique demonstrated will leave you addicted to beading. Most people watch the technique and say, ‘that is so simple’.
All hooks and beads are not made equal, I highly recommend purchasing a Clover Soft Touch Steel tipped crochet hook, I have tried a lot of hooks and in my opinion these are the best. Good quality beads such as Debbie Abrahams beads or Matsuno seed beads are also highly recommended.
Is there one thing you couldn't live without when designing a pattern and why?
Stitchmastery! Stitchmastery allows me to manipulate stitch patterns easily, it has saved me many hours of drawing charts on paper and rubbing them out! It also has a fantastic chart ‘checking’ facility that is a life saver.
It’s tea break time…. what is your favourite biscuit?
Oh Isla, I am a biscuit-o-holic, it is easier to tell you which biscuits I do not like…. Ginger Nuts! Ginger Nuts are pure evil, I think this may be a deep rooted psychological issue. I was the only red head in my primary school and it was harsh! I needed Catherine Tate and Tim Minchin when I was growing up, if I had heard the Tim Minchin song, ‘Only A Ginger can call another Ginger, Ginger’ life would have been so different.
Are there any future plans / projects you can share with BritYarn?
Yes, throughout the year there will be more sock patterns, not all of them beaded. But even more exciting I am working on my second book. I am sitting here resisting the urge to tell you all about it, but I must be strong…..
You can purchase Jane's book here.
Images used with kind permission from Jane Burns.