We got a chance to chat with Arella Seaton. this month!
She’s the designer of the Lonely Blooms Socks from this issue, as well as numerous others!
Tell us a bit more about yourself. Where do you live? How did you end up there? Where are you from originally?
I was born in Estonia, a tiny European country by the Baltic Sea. I was lucky to learn the basic skills of needlework at home and school from very young age. We learnt knitting, crochet, embroidery, cross-stitch, sewing, all sorts of crafts. At secondary school everyone had to knit a pair of socks and colorwork mittens. Even today they still do this! I remember it being quite tedious to knit a row of colorwork and my mom helped me out sometimes. My most favorite craft at that time was sewing. There have been times my entire wardrobe was handmade by me.
Working in accountancy and banking for many years, I reached the point in my life when it seemed I wasn’t happy and needed a change. It was a now or never moment, maybe a mid-life crisis?
Currently, I live in England; I’m happily married and divide my life between England (where we live), Spain (where we have another home which we may, one day, move to permanently) and visiting Estonia occasionally.
Does the fact that you live in 2 different countries have an impact on your designs?
Living in two different countries has widened my horizon. Handicrafts aren’t so visible in England, not practiced so widely as in Estonia. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any knitting groups in the city I live. There are some yarn shops in our city, but they stock acrylic mostly. I love to visit big yarn and craft shows, like Yarndale, Knitting and Stitching Show, Yarningham. I hope I can go to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival next year.
I’m still part of Estonian knitting community via forums and social media. Some of my patterns are at first released in the forum as a mystery knit-a-long and after that in Ravelry.
What are your favorite things:
- Yarn weights
- Types of objects (e.g., shawls, hats, etc.)
My favorite colors are different shades of blue. I mostly work with fingering weight yarn, but it depends on a project and an idea I’ve got. I prefer natural fibers, wool, merino, alpaca. I mostly design accessories, shawls, cowls, mitts, socks, and items for home.
Why do you like to design?
When I grew up there wasn’t many patterns available and I had to improvise often. Even working from a pattern, I make changes. Designing is my creative outlet. I prefer to be different, not to follow a trend, not to make and wear what everybody else does. Perhaps I am the cat that walked by herself.
What made you originally choose to submit to Knotions?
I was quite new to designing when I first saw a call for submissions in Ravelry over three years ago and over the moon when my design got accepted. I think it was because the process was made quite easy and straightforward. Jody is always quick to respond and excellent to work with.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get a lot of inspiration from traditional Estonian handicrafts. I collect stitch dictionaries and brows them often. I take photos of floor tiles, knitwear in stores or worn by someone, even graphics on packaging can be inspirational!
Can you tell us about your process when you design? I’m curious about your inspiration and how you bring that to life?
The process can be different. Sometimes I find a pretty stitch pattern and want to use or alter it, another time I have an item, construction or technique in my mind. My current obsession is mosaic knitting. I love to create charts on StitchMastery software. Mosaic charts are so addictive, I start with one and modify it endlessly.
Who are your favorite designers? (both craft and non-craft)
I don’t really follow the trends and don’t get the hype.
I admire Kaffe Fassett and Marie Wallin for their sense of color. I love Jennifer Steingass’s finely patterned circular yokes and Jennifer Beale’s unusually constructed sweaters. It’s not fair to name just some when there is so much (undiscovered) talent around.
What is your nemesis? The thing that makes you want to run and hide when you think about it.
I would rather run and hide from social media! I’m only there to promote the work I do, to be seen. Would be great to have someone who does the job for me, I just sit and knit.
What do you do in addition to being a designer?
I like walking and nature, swimming in the sea, travelling, pottering with my orchids, reading, learning Spanish. Last summer I tried snorkeling and loved it!
What does a typical Arella-day entail?
These days designing is my part-time job. I work in the computer on charting or pattern writing some hours, walk an hour or two, knit in front of TV at night.
Other than knitting and designing, do you have any other creative endeavors?
I mostly knit, sometimes sew. I’ve done cross-stich and beading. I’ve still got the tools and some beads left. If I need more stitch markers, I get my tools out and make some. The same with project bags; if I need one or find an interesting pattern or fabric, I sew a project bag. I must confess that some of my wip’s live in plastic bags. Time to get sewing machine out again.
Do you have a stash? Or if you buy it you make it up pretty quickly?
I have a stash and I try to reduce it but haven’t been very successful. Every now and then some pretty skeins come home with me from craft shows. Usually I have an idea what I want to do with them but then I get distracted by new ideas!