Patchwork Mittens

My newest pattern is just released! “Patchwork Mittens” is a great introduction to intarsia since there is just one join and 2 colors used throughout. I designed these mittens with Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Mohair. I love this yarn! The 30% mohair content gives it both a  lovely sheen and a warm, cozy fuzziness. I also decided to make a pair for my own chilly hands with some of my beautifully colored balls of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted. It also has some mohair – I really want mittens to be warm! It was fun to use 6 different colors – some from very small balls of leftovers that had been around my stash for years. I was also excited to see the color combinations my test knitters chose. This is a mitten I can see making again and again – and it’s quick too! You can read more about it here on my website, in my Ravelry Store, or on Etsy.

Patchwork Mittens in Six Different Colors.

Patchwork Mittens in Six Different Colors.

 

Interview with Designer, “Meanest Mommy”

Meanest Mommy Wearing her "Late for School Cowl"

Meanest Mommy Wearing her “Late for School Cowl”

How can you not be curious about a designer with the name “Meanest Mommy”? Lisa Houchins designs under that name and sells her patterns through her Ravelry Store Meanest Mommy Knits. I recently interviewed Lisa as part of the Ravelry Independent Designer Gift-a-Long  (see previous posts).

I just love your Ravelry name! Can you tell us the background of that? How many children do you have, and what are their ages? 

Thank you! The username MeanestMommy is a nod to my old blog that I called MeanestMommy.com. One day I found myself saying something ridiculous like “When I’m already carrying a purse, a diaper bag, a cake, a knitting bag, and a 2 year old, I will not also carry your coat.” As a result, I started posting similar parenting rules and observations that I never thought would be necessary before I became a parent. I no longer update the blog, but it’s still out there and is good for a laugh. I use “MeanestMommy” or some variation as my username on Ravelry, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media. My daughter is 14, and my sons are 10 and 7.
Up All Night Socks

Up All Night Socks

I also love how all your design names keep with the parenting theme. As someone who raised four children, I recognize a lot of the situations you have chosen! “Bubble Gum in her Hair Cowl” and “Up All Night Socks” are two of my favorite names – and designs! Are your designs inspired specifically by these events? Which is your current favorite design and why?

Yes, my designs are inspired by universal parenting experiences (School Pick Up Line Socks, Late For School Cowl, etc.). My current favorite is Up All Night Socks which are designed with children in mind. They were designed in honor of the babies you nursed, the toddlers who climbed into your bed, the kids with ear infections, and the teenagers who stayed out past curfew. They look fancy, but the pattern is easy to memorize and is super easy to knit. Best Babysitter Socks are also one of my favorites. Those are designed for my dad who I think is the best babysitter in the world.
How long have you been knitting? How long have you been designing? And how do you find time for it as a busy mom?
I have been knitting for 8 years. I took a knitting class when I was pregnant with my youngest child. I started designing about 3 years ago when a friend asked me to make her a custom pair of legwarmers (Moira’s Legwarmers). As a busy mom and a relatively slow knitter, I actually don’t have a ton of time for designing. I have only released 3 or 4 patterns per year over the last few years. As my children get older, I hope to increase the number of patterns I can release per year.
I noticed from your website that you are also a birth activist. Tell us a bit about that.
Over the past 10 years, I have volunteered quite a bit for the International Cesarean Awareness Network both at the local (Central Iowa) level and the international level. (http://www.ican-online.org/ICAN is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). I got involved with ICAN as a result of my own children’s births. Working with women and their families on processing past birth experiences and improving future birth experiences has been extremely rewarding for me.
Can you give us a bit of a preview of what new design ideas are in the works for 2015?
I have so many ideas, and I’m not sure which ones will turn into actual new designs in 2015. I am easily distracted since I like to knit other designers’ patterns too. Current ideas include a unique cowl and several different sock designs. I also plan to make Late for School Mittens to match the Late for School Hat and Late for School Cowl.
Do you have any coupons or sales going on?
I am having a Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday sale right now. 30% off all patterns by Lisa Beth Houchins and Meanest Mommy Knits with the coupon code MeanestMommy30. The code expires at the end of the day on Wednesday, December 3, 2014.
Moira's Legwarmers

Moira’s Legwarmers

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GAL Pinterest Boards

GAL14_logo-800One of the best things about the Ravelry Gift-a-Long (GAL) for me, as an independent designer, is the opportunity to meet and work with other independent designers all over the world!  Almost 300 designers participated this year and for weeks the planning forums were hopping, with threads being updated faster than you could keep up! As part of the “Pinning Team” team for the event, I helped pin thousands of images of beautiful designs. The eight Pinterest boards separate designs by category to make it easy to browse. Each pin links back to the Ravelry pattern page to learn more about the design and to purchase the pattern. The boards themselves are incredible eye candy for anyone who knits or crochets! Check out the links below and be prepared to drool! And remember, the GAL event is in full swing until December 31st, with games, contests, prizes and knit-a-longs (KALs) and crochet-a-longs (CALs) for all eight categories. Join the fun HERE.

Hats & Head  

Cowls, Scarves, and Neck

Shawls & Stoles

Sweaters and Other Garments

Hand & Arm

Feet & Legs

Baby & Kid

Toys, Home & Miscellaneous