Miranda Jollie is a fellow London designer to whom I was first introduced during last year's GAL. I asked her some questions about her designs - here's what she said.
Me: How did you first get started in knit design?
Miranda: I unexpectedly had a few weeks off work a few years ago with something called vestibulitis, which affects your balance, so I was spending vast amounts of time just sitting on the sofa and knitting. My brain needed a bit more work out than just following a pattern and after experimenting with writing & publishing a very basic phone cosy, I designed & published my first proper pattern, Pendleton Fingerless Cycling Mitts - though I couldn't really cycle at the time!
Miranda: Probably cowls. They're so versatile and I also wear them all the time. The only disadvantage is they're one sided and I really enjoy the challenge of designing scarves that work from both sides - my Cricket Sweater Scarf is one of my favourites for that reason.
Me: Which of your designs is your favourite, and why?
Miranda: My favourite, for sentimental reasons, has to be the Cat Walk Shawl which I designed to raise funds for the PDSA charity which helps people afford quality vet care for their pets. Our cat Bluey was diagnosed with cancer last year and we were lucky enough to be able to cope with a sudden bill but I really wanted to help people who aren't in that position do their best for their pets. Bluey did incredibly well for over a year after he was diagnosed, but sadly we had to say goodbye to him this autumn, so this one is very meaningful for me. I'm afraid the photoshoot for the shawl ended up being more cat than knitting...
Miranda: For most of my patterns, I can put my finger on something I saw or read about that inspired the stitch pattern, but this one was more an internal design process. It's really a prettier, lacier progression of the zig-zagging that started in my Skillion Cowl and then Joni Scarf. I love circular yokes and find them very flattering so I just wanted to make something that was quite simple and elegant. I'd also bought the most beautiful Shilshadair yarn when I was in Be Inspired Fibres in Edinburgh and wanted to make something that would do it justice! The name is from the area where the shop is where I bought the yarn.
Miranda: I love to work with British wool where I can and have made a lot of patterns recently using the Blacker range of yarns which are dedicated to supporting the British wool industry. They're also very good for making the rather structural ideas I quite often have.
Me: What designs do you have in the pipeline that you can share some news about?
Miranda: I've just been swatching for another sweater idea which is inspired by the Gillette Corner building on the A4 road in West London, which I hope will be ideal for the marled John Arbon Textiles wool I bought at the Unravel show this year.
Me: Now that does have me intrigued! Thanks, Miranda, for answering my questions.
For these and all of Miranda Jollie's designs, click here to go to her Ravelry pattern store. Plenty of garments and accessories there to choose from.