We sat down with Mary E. Rose this month! She’s a prolific designer of gorgeous patterns! She’s the designer who’s been in Knotions the most (we say with more than just a bit of pride). And on top of that she’s a good person (it’s possible that we’re even more proud of that one).
Read on to learn a bit more about Mary.
Tell us a bit more about yourself
I live outside Columbus, Ohio with my three kids, who are actually all young adults now (and a socially unacceptable number of cats) but I have lived all over the place. Growing up we moved a lot, so I have lived in Canada and England along with multiple states in the USA.
What are your favorite things?
I tend to reach for the lighter-weight yarns; fingering, lace and cobweb, more often than not, but along with a passion for intricate lace I adore cables and texture in my knitting. I like working with just about all the colors, but if I am knitting for myself I am drawn to shades of blue or very neutral colors. When knitting for my family, as they all have definite color preferences, I get to work with a lot of reds, greens and purples. I like to have one “epic” project and some smaller projects all on the needles at once…so a travelling project that I can pick up and put down without needing to drag out beads or a pattern, something that requires my full attention and something somewhere in between. (Today I have a very intricate shawl, a pair of fingerless mitts and a more basic shawl in my knitting rotation.)
Why do you like to design?
I like the challenge of creating things! From coming up with a concept to exploring how to turn it into an actual knitted piece. There are so many choices that can be made. Sometimes I will find that I design on a common “theme” for a while, where all the pieces are different, but came from the same basic idea, or question that I found myself trying to answer through knitting.
Why do you keep coming back to Knotions?
Knotions was the first third-party publication that I ever submitted to! It was a great experience from beginning to end, and really set the bar, as far as I am concerned, with how I want to be treated as a designer. From the professional tech editing, through coaching me on how to take better pictures to truly show my design, pre-publication was so helpful to me in all aspects of my design life. Now Knotions even provides professional photography and lets me use those photographs and tech edited pattern once the (very short) exclusive period is over. More than that though, the team at Knotions has always treated me, and the other designers I know who have worked with you, with the utmost respect, fairness and…well let’s be frank…you pay on time!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
It would probably be easier to say where I don’t get inspiration! I find that everything around me can provide the inspiration for a design from the look and feel of the yarn, to the music playing on the radio, or just random “what if” thoughts that pop into my head while sitting in rush hour traffic.
Can you tell us about your process when you design? I’m curious about your inspiration and how you bring that to life?
It can vary a bit from design to design but typically…I have an idea or a question that I am trying to answer through knitting and swatch to get a general feel for how the fabric will work. It could be one swatch or ten before I am happy with the actually stitches I want to use. Then I put my needles down and chart and write before actually knitting the full piece and making any adjustments to my written pattern that I need to as I go.
Who are your favorite designers (both craft and non-craft)?
Herbert Niebling, Anna Dalvi and Andrea Jurgrau have to top my list of favorite lace designers. I learned a lot about how to put lace stitch patterns together by working their patterns. Annie Malloney has some fabulous cable creations, Cat Bordhii with her unique construction and of course no “classic” list could be complete with out Barbara Walker or Elizabeth Zimmermann.
You’re a knitter (and a prolific one at that). Have you considered getting into crochet as well?
I keep saying I am going to learn how to properly crochet and then…oh look, new shiny knitting idea!
What is your nemesis? The thing that makes you want to run and hide when you think about it.
Bulky weight yarn!
What do you do in addition to being a designer?
I tell people I have multiple full time jobs! First and foremost…Mom to three, then there is the designing, coaching micro businesses around goal setting/accountability and the purely business side of running a business, working with non-profits to help at-risk youth have an understanding of finance. Like many designers, while I would wish that designing was my only job…it takes multiple income streams to keep a household running these days.
What does a typical Mary-day entail?
I get up at oh-dark-thirty and can generally put a couple of hours of designer type things in before the rest of my family is up and awake. (So, maybe pattern writing, social media, checking on test knits, maybe a bit of knitting as well over coffee and breakfast.) Depending on the day I might be driving one or more of my children to school/work, then working my full day, check social media etc. again at lunch, then the rounds of picking people up, a bit more design or coaching work before making dinner and any household stuff that needs to be done. Then it is knitting and listening to a lecture or watching whatever the rest of the family wants to see until bed time and I do it all over again the next day.
Other than knitting and designing, do you have any other creative endeavors?
Sometimes cooking is a “creative endeavor”! But, seriously, I spin, diy home improvement, and used to have a pretty serious cross-stitch habit.
Do you have a stash? Or if you buy it you make it up pretty quickly?
I tell people I have a yarn store in my basement! I reached SABLE many years ago, but that hasn’t stopped me from buying more yarn on a whim! (Usually in sweater or blanket quantities at a time because I wouldn’t want to run out when the yarn decides it is time to be knit!) I believe that everyone has a comfort level for how big (or small) their stash can be…my comfort level is pretty high!