Kith & Kin designer interview: Joan Beebe
Posted by Elizabeth
The second in our series of blog interviews is with Joan Beebe from North Carolina. Joan designed the Macon Mittens for our collection and was kind enough to knit two samples for us: one adult and one toddler size.
This design really caught my eye with combination of Latvian Braids and cables and my toddler could not wait to try them on when the samples arrived in the mail!
Was there a specific inspiration for your mitten design?
Not really. I tend to design things I like or need, and I knew I wanted new mittens for the coming winter.
Can you describe your favourite pair of mittens that you've ever owned?
I think these Macon mittens might be my new favorites! I really love the way they turned out. I am a big fan of kettle-dyed and semisolid yarn because of the interest the color undulations add while still allowing you to see pattern texture.
Old school… double-pointed, but sometimes I use magic loop, too. Depends on which needles are available!
What is the fall and winter weather like where you live? How many months of the year do you wear mittens or gloves?
I live in the piedmont area of North Carolina, so it's not too cold compared to many other places. Mittens are in order from Nov through March, especially at night.
What was the first thing you ever designed?
I was on maternity leave and designed a collection of 5 pullover sweaters and sold them to the needlecraft publishing company where I was working at the time. Sounds kinda like insider trading, doesn't it?
Joan's cheerful workspace - I wish mine looked this tidy!
When you aren’t knitting and designing, what are you doing?
I have a full-time telecommuting job in the IT industry, so designing and knitting are a welcome break. I refer to our home as a "micro farm" – I used to tell people that we live with the birds and the bees (er – that would be chickens and honey bees), but, sadly, the recent non-stop rain and flooding on the east coast ruined the hive. We have a good-sized veggie and fruit garden and several backyard chickens, and I enjoy getting dirty in the flower beds, too. On any given day, I play fetch with the dogs, or I could be canning or freezing or baking or hanging my laundry outside (c'mon, you know sheets smell better when they dry in fresh air!)
Tickler: I have a super stealth non-yarn project in the works that goes along with knitting and crocheting, but that's all I can divulge for now.
Hmm, you've got me curious now. You'll have to keep us updated!
Do you do any other fibre-related crafts besides knitting? Crochet, spinning, weaving, sewing, quilting...
I have crocheted for many years and started weaving last year. And I am a binge seamstress. Knitting trumps them all, though.
Where can we find you and see more of your design work?
Thank you Joan!
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The story of this pattern starts back in 2008 when Elizabeth and I, along with our sister Margaret, decided that we wanted to make a blanket for our parents as a gift for their 25th wedding anniversary. Elizabeth suggested we base our blanket design on the traditional Attic Windows quilting pattern, and she came up with a simple technique to knit the squares.
We wanted to share the basic technique for the Attic Windows squares, because it's so adaptable, and so much fun to play with! So, we decided to create a free "recipe" version of the pattern, that shares the basic technique as well as a step-by-step guide on planning your Attic Windows project.