Jennifer and I first met at TNNA last year. Since then, we've been chatting over Twitter and email about design business. It's been great getting to know her and I'm excited to share more about her and her beautiful Karner Butterfly socks.
Jen Lucas: How did you get started in designing knitting and crochet patterns?
Jennifer Raymond: My first pattern I officially designed (with sizing and the right abbreviations) was Isis Wings, although it wasn’t my first published. I was on my third pair of socks, had seen a similar pattern knit flat, and decided to modify it and knit it in the round. At the same time, my then-boyfriend (now-husband) was encouraging me to look into doing the knitting and crocheting for profit, so I decided to start submitting my designs to be published. It took me a while to get the hang of things, though.
Isis Wings. Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Raymond.
JL: What was the inspiration for your Karner Butterfly Socks?
JR: Karner Butterfly stemmed from my interest in garter stitch as a stitch to use in the place of ribbing: i.e., wrapped around the ankle. I’d been fooling around with it, and had finally come up with something I thought might work. I then started to look into garter stitch patterns that would work with the idea, hence the patterning on the leg.
I originally had swatched in very similar colors to the colors used in the socks, I thought they looked like the colors of the Karner Butterfly, a butterfly that’s native to my hometown, as well as being endangered. I thought naming the socks after them would be a good way of honoring that part of my past.
JL: Can you tell me a little bit about the design process for these socks? How did you come up with that brilliant idea for the cuff?
JR: Ah, well I mentioned that a little bit beforehand, but I’ll go into more detail… I originally wanted to do a beaded cuff, like the one in Knitty’s pattern Rani. I love using beaded garter stitch – the beads don’t lie against the skin! I love beads in knitting, but I hate the feel of cold glass beads against my skin. I also think a lot of beaded patterns are lacy, and I wanted something warmer, originally.
Well, I was playing with this idea, and then also had been playing with garter stitch lace edgings, like the one in Sylva Shawl. This was the stitch pattern that resulted. The original pattern only had two rows of garter between the lace, I added more so I could do the contrast color – which I think makes it pop! Then it was a matter of figuring out if I could size the ankle in enough sizes to do it for a commercial pattern.
Funnily enough, I’m still working on some other beaded socks. A prototype was made for my mother for Christmas… she loved them, but has been finding the sock yarn doesn’t hold up as well. So… still thinking about it.
Karner Butterfly Socks. Photo courtesy of Sockupied/Harper Point.
JL: What’s your favorite sock yarn?
JR: I have three.
I love Mountain Color’s Bearfoot is a merino, nylon, mohair blend. It's sturdy, wears well, is really warm, and I enjoy Mountain Colors’ palette. I made myself a pair of socks in this yarn, and my mother loved them so much I ended up giving her that pair, and making another pair for myself.
Dragonfly Fibers Djinni Sock is also a merino and nylon blend, except their yarn has a dash of cashmere! I’ve used Djinni Sock on a variety of patterns, and I love the depth of color Dragonfly has! Again, I find myself returning to this yarn over and over.
Anzula’s Squishy is my final favorite. Like Djinni, it’s a merino, nylon and cashmere blend, but it seems to have just a touch more loft than Dragonfly’s yarn. I love Anzula’s semi-solid colors, hence the use in Karner Butterfly.
JL: What’s next? Anything upcoming you can share with us (new patterns, classes, etc.)?
JR: Next week I have Ravelry 102 on Interweave as a Webinar. I got a great response to my first class, and I’m looking to following up with the second.
I’m working on a bunch of patterns this month that will be coming out in the fall. I wish I could share pictures!
Thanks, Jennifer! I love talking to other designers about their design process!
Want to know more about Jennifer? You can check out her website here. You can see all her designs on her Ravelry designer page. And she tweets too!
Want to read more designer interviews? I have several on the blog for you to check out.