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Focus on Design



Last week, we found the most wonderful pattern for a beautiful Thrummed Outer Vest.  After visiting with the designer,Lisa Ellis, we decided to feature her here and let you get to know her, too.  First, though, look at this gorgeous vest created with Burly Spun!  When designing this vest, Lisa tells us she was looking for a super bulky yarn that would be heavy enough to work as an outer vest but not so bulky that it would could only be worn in the harshest of climates.  She also needed a yarn that gave good yardage to keep this vest price affordable.  This vest uses as little as 1 skein (child's 12 mth size) and as much as much as 4 skeins for the size 2X.  She has since knit up 5 of these vests -- each one more exciting than the first!  Her vest pattern also comes with a You Tube tutorial link on "how to thrum".

Lisa Ellis is a freelance knitwear designer and owner of a wholesale knitting pattern line since 2007.  Her patterns can be found in over 150 yarn shops across the country and in some of the largest online e-stores.  Lisa has two publications with Leisure Arts and is also a contributing designer to over a dozen other books and magazines.  Lisa has designed for several yarn companies and has just expanded into writing "How To" magazine articles for Creative Knitting and Love of Knitting magazines.  In her spare time, she travels around the Seattle-Tacoma area guest teaching at several local yarn shops and fiber festivals.  Lisa is a native of Washington State, currently living in Gig Harbor.  She is married and she and her husband have 2 girls.



Lisa learned how to knit from her mother in grade school.  She is an English knitter, but can Continental knit, too.  She later re-learned to knit in college while living abroad in Spain.  This is where she was introduced to knitting without a pattern. She says, “When I was in Europe in the early 80's, most European knitters didn't use patterns.  They were taught to knit by their grandmothers who didn't have the luxury of a knitting pattern.  In fact, my Spanish host mom didn't even measure my 2 front panels of the cardigan I was knitting.  She would simply place the panel up to my back, eye it and tell me when to begin the armhole decreases.  When it came to any decreasing, we would decrease until it looked right.  Nothing was ever written down.  I also lived in France during this same time frame where a Norwegian girl would sit in the back of the class knitting gorgeous Fair Isle sweaters and she too didn't have a pattern - she would just drop and add color as she wished.  I don't think I learned a thing in class as I was mesmerized by her knitting!”

 Lisa tells us that her inspiration usually comes from yarn itself.  It can be either the fibers in the yarn or the color that inspires her.  She usually has the yarn in her hand and will visualize the yarn as a garment.  How would it drape, would cables compliment it or would a simple textured stitch pattern be better with this yarn?  She also thinks of how she would wear it, with what or where.  She says, “Sometimes I will get an idea for a piece and sketch it out and then search for the right yarn, but generally fibers inspire me first.”

childsthrummedstanding_1-1I asked Lisa how she feels about working with Brown Sheep Company Yarn.  She tells us, “I initially began using Lamb's Pride when I was on the Felted Clogs and Felted Boots craze (pattern by Fiber Trends).  I must have made 20 of them and the Lamb's Pride felted better than all the other comparable brands out there.  Lamb's Pride was also the only one that left a fuzzy halo (that's where the mohair comes in) on the slippers that made them soft, cozy and prettier than the other wool brands.  From there, I went into my "made in America" and "Go green" and "family owned" phase which IS Brown Sheep Company!  Need I say more about that?  When I submit a design to a publisher, one thing that I am always looking for is a quality fiber with tons of color options for the knitter that is also fair priced.  Brown Sheep yarn is all of that.  The cotton fleece is probably my first choice for children's clothing and the Lamb's Pride for all felted projects.  The Lamb's Pride Bulky is one of my favorites for holiday stockings and pillows.”

What's next for Lisa?  She has 2 new designs using Lamb's Pride Bulky --coming out next year (it's still in the hush stage....).  One for a child and one for everyone!

Lisa’s patterns can be purchased through her page on Ravelry.  She has several to choose from.  Click on this link to see all of her great patterns.