We got a chance to sit down with Janine Le Cras this month and get a bit more info about her. It was great to learn so much about another frequent Knotions contributor! FYI, she designed this month’s Asagao Shawl as well as several others.
Tell us a bit more about yourself. Where do you live? How did you end up there?
I live on a beautiful little island in the middle of the English Channel, about halfway between England and France. The island is called Guernsey and is supposed to be the original origin of the Guernsey or Gansey Sweater.
I was born here on the island and have never lived anywhere else.
When I am not knitting and designing I am doing the day job, IT network manager at a local independent college, or reading (I am often to be found knitting on a design and either tapping through a Kindle book or listening to an Audiobook). I go through dozens a month. I also love to swim (handy when surrounded by water), kayak, paddleboard and windsurf.
What are your favorite things:
I love jewel colours, especially blues and greens: turquoise, emerald, sapphire, jade, peridot.
- Yarn weights
I mainly prefer to work in Laceweight and fingering weight. Although I have even designed for bulky weight, it felt like I was knitting with rope and tree trunks 😉
- Types of objects (e.g., shawls, hats, etc.)
I knit all sorts of things. Hats, gloves, socks, sweaters, blankets. I even knitted a one-off tea cosy with a moose on the top 😉
What do you like to design?
I mainly design shawls and socks, but I can turn my hand to anything I am asked for.
What made you choose to submit to Knotions (if you can even remember that far back – it was YEARS ago)?
I honestly can’t remember, it feels like I have been designing for you forever (a good thing – honest).
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from all sorts of places, sometimes a mood board, sometimes a stitch pattern in a stitch dictionary, other times it can just be my surroundings.
Can you tell us about your process when you design? I’m curious about your inspiration and how you bring that to life?
Once I have decided what I want to design I tend to sit down with stitch dictionaries to look for suitable patterns. If I am designing a shawl I look for stitch patterns that have the same or multiples of the same stitches. Then I chart everything using a computer charting program, format a written version and then sit down with sticks and string and knit it. Most of the time it just flows, but occasionally things go horribly wrong and there is much gnashing of teeth and recharting before it goes right.
Who are your favorite designers? (both craft and non-craft)
Knitting-wise I love classic wearable designs by people like Melanie Berg, Joji Locatelli and Isabell Kramer, but I also love intricate lace designers like Romi Hill. I also love the intricate designs of Kaffe Fasset, both his knitting and his needlework designs.
What is your nemesis? The thing that makes you want to run and hide when you think about it.
Honestly? Problems with a published design. I do my best to make sure that all my designs are error-free, but when someone spots a mistake I am mortified.
What do you do in addition to being a designer?
I probably covered most of that further up, but I did miss that I live with my hubby of 38 years and two cats and have two children, a son who is a heavy metal guitarist and a daughter who has a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics.
What does a typical Janine-day entail?
I work full time as Network manager looking after all the IT systems of an independent college. So it is up early, check my emails for any messages from my test knitters or the Ladies from the Unique Sheep. It is useful being on the opposite sides of the Atlantic. They are up when I am asleep and vice versa, which means that we can work more or less a 24 hour day. Then it is off to the day job. When I get home it is a quick stop in the kitchen – I cook all our meals from scratch and then it is time to curl on the sofa with my Surface Pro, stitch dictionaries and my knitting.
Other than knitting and designing, do you have any other creative endeavors?
Before I turned to designing knitting, I used to design Cross Stich kits of views of Guernsey. I also love needlepoint and sewing. I even made a full classical Tutu for my daughter when she was 15 as well as many dance and drama costumes, including a life sized crocodile for a production of Peter Pan!
Do you have a stash? Or if you buy it you make it up pretty quickly?
I have a huge stash, a double wardrobe full. I’m not quite at SABLE but I am getting there.