Posts Tagged ‘Interview’

February 7, 2013

Getting to Know You…

What happens when you take simple, clean designs + a dash of vintage-inspiration + a rich, sumptuous fiber like Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Alpaca?

You get our Royal Petite collection!

A one-ball wonder!

This collection features Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Alpaca yarn in petite 100-yard balls paired with seven lovely petite patterns.

Three of the patterns are mitts, designed by my friend and coworker, Colleen Powley! Let’s find out more about her and her inspiration for these dainty designs!

BSA: Thanks for this fun, quick interview today.

If nothing good is on TV, I pop in _____. I never get tired of that movie.

Collen: Pretty Woman

BSA: You get one free plane ticket, anywhere in the world, you would go to _____.

Colleen: Australia

The Details

Pattern: Mitini Mitts
Designer: Colleen Powley
Size: Mitt Length: 5”
• Mitt Width (across palm): 3½”
Needles: Size 2 (2.75mm) double pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Petites, shown in Alabaster #1700
Pattern available at your favorite LYS, or in the Blue Sky Alpacas Pattern Store

Clean lines are created by simple twisted stitches.

BSA: In three words, my simple mitt patterns were inspired by _____, _____, and _____.

Colleen: Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Yarn, beauty, and affordability

BSA: When I’m not knitting, I’m _____.

Colleen: Quilting

The Details

Pattern: Windsor Mitts
Designer: Colleen Powley
Size: Mitt Length: 9¾”
• Mitt Width (across palm): 3½”
Needles: Size 2 (2.75mm) double pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Petites, shown in Patina #1707
Pattern available at your favorite LYS, or in the Blue Sky Alpacas Pattern Store

Lovely lace in lovely yarn.

BSA: The piece I loved designing the most, ever, is _____.

Colleen: Peruvian Cabled Scarf

The Details

Pattern: Countess Mitts
Designer: Colleen Powley
Size: Mitt Length: 8”
• Mitt Width (across palm): 3½”
Needles: Size 2 (2.75mm) double pointed needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Royal Petites, shown in Laurel #1713
Pattern available at your favorite LYS, or in the Blue Sky Alpacas Pattern Store

Thanks again to Colleen for the great interview.

And a special note I just want to add: Did you notice that size 2 (2.75mm) double pointed needles are needed for all three mitts? Get gauge and you can make all three with the same set of needles! That clever Colleen!

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July 4, 2012

Thea Interview (And A Giveaway)

Thea Colman is a prolific designer. She has a beautiful aesthetic and the construction methods she chooses create wearable garments.

Thea’s Pullover in BSA TECHNO

The Blue Sky Alpacas team recently met Thea in person at TNNA. It was a great time and we did a fun interview to boot.

BSA: What is your geographical story?

Thea: I’m from Princeton New Jersey, and went to school at a small liberal arts college in upstate New York. Right after college, I had the urge to be somewhere totally different and moved out to San Francisco. I lived in the Inner Mission, the Castro, and Haight Ashbury, which were hilarious and crazy and exactly opposite from the J. Crew catalog life I had known. I loved San Francisco and stayed there for ten years, but…the East Coast beckoned, and since I missed both the seasons and my family, it seems I’m staying in the Boston area for the foreseeable future.

BSA: Cake or pie? Which kind and why?

Thea: Both. Because nobody should have to choose.

White Sangria in BSA Skinny Cotton. Photo © Caro Sheridan

BSA: What is your favorite color? What color is your toothbrush? If they are not the same, why not? If they are the same, how did that come about? Was it a conscious decision?

Thea: Purple and purple. They’re the same because I left my green one at TNNA and this was the next one in the pack!

BSA: Is there one person/company with whom you have previously worked that you would love the chance to work with again?

Thea: I worked in advertising for an agency called Goodby Silverstein and Partners in San Francisco for a number of years. It was one of those funky little companies, in a brick warehouse where everyone had a great time. My clients were a cruise line, a beer company, and Got Milk. I worked on print and TV advertising, and our team won awards. Best Job Ever.

Sweet Vermouth in BSA Worsted Hand Dyes. Photo © Caro Sheridan

BSA: What do you enjoy doing during your downtime?

Thea: With my girls and husband, I love getting in the car and going to a new beach or town we haven’t been to before – as long as it includes food and something outside. We can kill a whole day and sometimes go into the night. (I get to knit in the car). Or, with my friends I love to hit the rummage sales, second hand shops, or the garage sale circuit on a Saturday AM. This always involves coffee.

BSA: What drives you? What question do you find yourself trying to answer?

Thea: What’s next? This applies to life and work and dinner and everything. I have to remember to stop and enjoy the moment!

Cherry Vanilla in BSA Skinny Cotton. Photo © Caro Sheridan

BSA: Do you have anything you would like to ask me?

Thea: What’s your story? What did you do before Blue Sky? Were you already in Minnesota? And did you make that adorable little barrette you were wearing at TNNA?

Katie: Before Blue Sky I worked at my LYS and went to school for Textile Design and Development. Both the yarn shop and move to Blue Sky Alpacas have been perfectly suited to me and my passion. I lived in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and worked in Milwaukee. The move to Minnesota has been an exciting new chapter for me and happened really quickly. Sometimes, in the car I have to remind myself, “This is Minnesota, you live here.” I didn’t make my barrette, but I did get it at Darn Knit Anyway, a shop I had to check out in my new home state.

BSA: What’s next for you?

Thea: I have no idea! I do have lots of plans, but I am not sure which one is going to happen. For the next year or so, though, it’s going to be more of the same – my girls, some designs, my knitting life with travels and some amazing friends, a separate life outside of knitting, and my family. All of which is pretty awesome, so I don’t think I want to change anything just yet.

Blue Monday Set in Spud & Chloë Sweater. Our sister brand.

Thank you Thea for an interesting and fun interview!

And now, for the giveaway information!

Planter’s Punch in BSA Skinny Cotton. Photo © Caro Sheridan

Thea has released another design in Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton.

This design, Planter’s Punch, is featured on Thea’s blog right now.

Click on over for your chance to win some Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Cotton and the Planter’s Punch pattern for your very own.

Good Luck!

Just keep knitting, knitting, knitting…


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January 27, 2012

A Curious Mind: Olga

I’m sure that I am not alone in saying, I consider myself a fan of Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s amazing design work. Olga’s Jazzy Cardigan has been a fabulous and popular pattern within the Spring 2012 Collection. She has done a number of designs for Blue Sky, many of which I consider personal favorites. I am pleased to share an interview with Olga, I hope you enjoy. I was very excited to get to know her more.

Olga’s most recent Blue Sky Design, the Jazzy Cardigan in Blue Sky Alpacas TECHNO.

Katie: Olga, please tell us a bit about yourself.

Olga: I originally come from an Eastern European county of Belarus. I have been living in the United States for almost a decade and all over the globe since my spouse is in the service. Currently, I reside in Japan – a country I have always admired and was eager to explore. Different mentality and cultural differences are quite a lot to learn, but it certainly helps to learn more about oneself through this cultural interaction and I’ve discovered new potential for my creativity with this new experience. My husband and I are the lucky “staff” to one bossy Russian Blue cat.

Katie: How and when did you learn to knit? When did you know that this was going to be your career?

Olga: I have my first recollection of being around four years old and having my mom teach me to knit some garter stitch in a rust orange wool yarn. I have been dabbling in it, on and off as a child, as a teenager my grandmother introduced me to crochet and I have been doing it for awhile. Growing up in a household of a seamstress I was exposed to learning all kinds of hand crafts – beading, macramé, tapestry weaving, embroidery among many others. I have started knitting on a regular basis in my senior year of high school, winters were brutally cold and wool layers were a necessity. While traveling and living in Italy, I have learnt about various existing yarn brands and companies that had their innumerable range of yarns for sale to the general public; compared to when I was growing up, all we knew were conventional cotton, acrylic and wool – no name, no brand, just whatever kind was available to us. Occasionally, a mill in town would have an odds and ends sale – that was a treat! Where I come from no pattern support was ever available, so whatever we knit we had to make up ourselves. My mother taught me the basics of construction and calculations and we had an ancient book on knitting that contained several stitch patterns that we could utilize in creating our own garments. But only years later I wrote my first pattern in English after teaching myself through book’s various tricks and methods applied in knitting today. 2005 is what I refer to as the starting year in my career as a knitwear designer. And ever since then I have been trying to perfect my style and my writing.

The Pleated Jacket, a personal favorite in Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino.

Katie: As someone with designs reminiscent of architecture, flying buttress cables and rose window lace panels, was that your intent? Does architecture inspire you? Were you thinking of building yourself as a niche designer with complex, architecturally themed pieces or did it naturally happen as an extension of your personal style?

Olga: I have been admiring and have always been transfixed by the linear textures of architectural structures, it felt to me that is something I want to translate into my designs and wear personally. I am a follower of fashion styles and trends. They provide great inspiration and clue to details, but the biggest problem is that the fashion theatre does not transition well into street life. I pick things I like and prefer to wear myself. My goal is to make modern, sometimes edgy, knitwear turn conventional. I strive to find that balance in my designs and present it to knitters, so they can feel contemporary, elegant, comfortable, yet unique. Part of the reason I knit is that I can create garments that are customized and one of a kind.

Aprés Vest, a great layering piece in Blue Sky Alpacas TECHNO.

Katie: What do you love to knit, for yourself?

Olga: I am a sweater knitter, full sized garments take longer to construct and knit but they present a full range of challenges that I enjoy taking on and enjoy wearing once finished.

Katie: What’s your knitting space like?

Olga: My living room has been transformed into a mini-office, but it provides necessary light throughout the day that I need for knitting. I also enjoy the light since it provides lovely display for my yarny goodness nested inside my bookshelf. I miss having a friendly yarn store nearby, so I try to showcase the yarn by color families and let it provide me with ideas, what it wants to become. A lounge chair and a couch are both favorite places to knit while working on the projects. Coffee table and a big desk – both never show their surfaces since they are littered with swatches, skeins of yarn, pattern notes. As well as baskets scattered around the floor with projects half-done or with yarn waiting to be knit.

The Fitted Lace Pullover, romantic and feminine in Sport Weight or Melange and Brushed Suri.

Katie: What are your favorite materials, fibers, needles, a specialized gadget or tool you cannot live without?

Olga: When it comes to yarn to work with I do prefer ones that are soft and easy on the hands, I don’t have an absolute favorite fiber any more since there are so many available these days. I love working with most for their hand or simply admire the fabric that they can produce. Being what you call a Combination-style or Eastern European-style knitter I prefer sharp tipped knitting needles, metal or wood circulars and dpns are my go-to tools. A gadget I can’t live without would be my measuring tape.

Olga, our fabulous designer wearing her Foggy Hat in Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino.

Katie: What’s your favorite color? What color do you gravitate to knitting with?

Olga: My favorite color is orange, only I don’t necessarily wear it a lot. It’s a strong color, so I try to incorporate it in my accessories – a bag or a bracelet or a hat. I love all shades of grey, it’s probably that it is the best neutral color that looks good against my complexion and it’s easy to layer with other complimenting colors. But I do enjoy brights – shades of yellow, lavender and turquoise are other favorites of mine.

Katie: Do you have an outside influence? As in, some people quilt, crochet, etc. so that when their knitting mojo goes on the fritz you turn to it in order to re-energize your work. Something you admire that you feel energized by/makes you want to translate it into knitting?

Olga: As a daughter of a professional seamstress, I sew. But I am not very fast or very good at it. I like to be very meticulous with my work and in sewing it takes time and practice to acquire good skills. I do end up making some clothing items and accessories and I also make some small jewelry pieces for myself or friends from time to time. Being in Japan has re-kindled my love for making origami and I credit it for a lot of my knitwear inspiration. I have always admired it because I have been making it since I was a child, but nowadays I see more and more potential in it through my eyes of an adult and a knitwear designer.

The Knot Sleeve Blouse, with a stunning, three dimensional, architectural sleeve detail in Blue Sky Alpacas Royal.

Katie: As someone living outside the U.S., what knitting do you bring on the airplane?

Olga: It’s a tricky question, since usually while traveling internationally many air carriers still don’t allow knitting needles on the plane, but if they do I try to bring bigger garments, like sweaters that use circular needles.

The Cabled Cowl, a deliciously cozy accessory in Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino.

Katie: Do you have a special tip/trick/finishing technique you’d like to share?

Olga: I don’t think I use any special ones that aren’t used already but my advice would be for any knitter to learn how to graft – it’s a technique that opens lots of boundaries in all senses of knitwear construction as well as comes in handy in finishing.

Katie: Is there something you don’t like about knitting?

Olga: I had to think about this for a long while and the answer is no. I have been knitting in various places and knitting has broken boundaries and created so many friends and made so many sweaters. It’s common knowledge that many knitters might not be keen on finishing/seaming their finished knitted pieces into a garment, but there is a variety of methods that one can turn what used to be a garment knit in pieces into a piece to be made seamlessly. And both of them have their purposes and uses. I personally enjoy finishing and I think it’s exactly through that process that can transform a finished project into a perfect state!

A punchy way to use color from our sister website, Spud & Choë’s the Trifecta Scarf in Spud & Chloë Fine.

Thanks to Olga for sharing answers to all the Blue Sky questions. It was a pleasure getting to know her more. Just wait and see what Olga is working on for our next collection! You’re going to love it!

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