2014 Gift A Long Designer Interview

Today, on the blog, I am featuring an interview with another Indie Designer participating in the 2014 Indie Designer GAL. I will be doing two of these, today, we meet Arlette of Arlette’s knits.

I think one of the coolest things about the Indie Designer GAL, is that I have been introduced to many talented designers that I had never seen before. Arlette, is one of them. She has beautiful designs.

© 2014 Arlette Thibodeau

© 2014 Arlette Thibodeau

When did you start knitting and how did you learn?

I learned about ten years ago. A friend tried to teach me to knit, and I couldn’t understand it for the life of me. That made me so mad that I bought a copy of Stitch ‘n’ Bitch and pretty much didn’t leave the house for six weeks. I just parked on the couch in front of Adult Swim and threw myself at the whys and hows of knitting until I felt like I could do a half-decent job.

© 2014 Arlette Thibodeau

© 2014 Arlette Thibodeau

How did you begin designing?

I think I always did? I always came up with my own stuff, anyway. A fringe benefit of my “I WILL KNIT UNTIL I HAVE SOLVED KNITTING” approach is that I really, truly understand how knit fabric works. Once I’d made a couple of ribbed scarves and stockinette hats, I kept throwing myself at projects just above my skill level, just so I could sweat and frown my way through a new skill. It was an incredible education, but it also meant that for the first several years of knitting, I thought people who knitted because it was “relaxing” were completely crazy.

From there, my secretly competitive nature led me to design. I used to do layout at a small newspaper, so I already had a pretty decent set of the skills you need for self-publishing. I couldn’t just invent a hat; I also had to throw myself at writing out a pattern, photographing it, laying it out and publishing it, just to see if I could do it.

© 2014 Arlette Thibodeau

© 2014 Arlette Thibodeau

What inspires you to design something?

Shapes from nature, or from my environment. My ADD means I’m often awash in mostly useless extra information, especially visual, so design gives me a way to pin down whatever it is that’s distracting me and properly examine it. If I can’t stop looking at a mountain, for example, I start to wonder what exactly it is about the mountain that keeps drawing my eye. Once I figure that out, it’s a pretty short hop to figuring out how to knit it.

My “Flatirons” pattern came from the Boulder Flatirons: they’re made from the same giant chunk of sandstone sticking up out of the ground at a sharp angle, so when the sandstone eroded away, the peaks that were left were similarly shaped, and the layered sandstone they’re made of is all pointed the same direction. It’s so orderly! It’s like someone took a giant comb to the mountain and tried to brush its hair.

Any quirky knitting habits?
I spit-slice everything I can. It’s the perfect join. If I’ve knit you something and it’s made of something that’ll felt even a little, you should know that it’s got a little spit in it.

What knitting notion seems to go missing for you (for me it’s tape measures and of course, stitch markers)?
Tapestry needles. Every few months I do a roundup and check all the odd little corners they disappear to, and end up with about a dozen of them.

What is your favorite thing to knit?
Hats! They’re so low-stakes, they don’t take a bunch of yarn, and you can try out new techniques really easily on them. Plus they’re easy to give away — a lot of the time, once I’m done weaving in ends on a hat, I’m already bored of it, so it’s nice to give it to someone who’ll appreciate it.

© 2014 Arlette Thibodeau

© 2014 Arlette Thibodeau

Hobbies aside from knitting?
Photography, and … hmm. The occasional sewing, beading and screen printing? I actually got rid of a bunch of hobby supplies not long ago so I could focus on just a few. There isn’t time enough in the world for all the crafts I’d like to try, so I might as well get as good as I can at a handful of them and ignore the rest.

What an awesome interview and I can so relate to the spit splicing thing. It is my favorite, too!

Remember knitters, you can knit the GAL until the end of December. So, please check out Arlette’s patterns, they are gorgeous. I want to knit Double Dutch, the brioche hat!


An Indie Design GAL, What is an Indie Design GAL?

Have you heard whispers? Have you seen some posts? Have you stopped by the GAL group and wonder what is going on? Well, I am here to help out a bit with this. Show you some info that can answer your questions. An Indie Design GAL is a gift a long/ knit a long put together by Independent knit wear Designers. A BIG gigantic group of us have gotten together to offer a discount on our patterns and run a ginormous KAL. It is really big and there are a lot of prizes. A lot of prizes might be a bit of an understatement.

So, first of all…the designers who run the GAL have a very informative group on Ravelry. In this group, they have this awesome and very informative thread. This will tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the Indie Designer GAL.

Here is my image for the GAL…It includes 11 of my 20 eligible patterns.


They had us bundle all of our patterns with a feature on Ravelry called, “bundles”. It is quite handy! Here is a link to that bundle. Now the sales start November 13th at 8pm EST and will run until November 21st 11:59 pm EST. You use the GAL code, giftalong2014 at checkout. The discount for every pattern offered, is 25%.

To go along with this gigantic sale, I will be featuring other designers on my social networking sites, including here on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So, if you don’t follow me on those, you might want to. I can’t promise that I will be terribly interesting, but I will try!

New Pattern: Hydrophile

I am just rolling them out here, aren’t I? Well, this one has been a long time in the planning. I actually got the yarn for Hydrophile almost 18 months ago! It does not usually take me that long. Shocking, I know. It is one of those things that happens. You start the design and then other things with deadlines get in the way. When I did finally come back to it, it was like a whole new design to me and I was excited to finish it. I am excited to show it to you now!


While I did the sample for Hydrophile, the lovely yarn made me think of water and how much I wanted to be at the beach. In fact, most of this sample was knit while sitting on the beach. So, I chose the name Hydrophile. Hydrophiles are molecules that are attracted to or dissolved by water. I thought it a very fitting name for it.


The cardigan is top down, knit flat. It is almost a shrug, but not quite. The body has some slight shaping and a ruffled bottom edge pays more homage to water echoing the waves hitting the shore. The open front is edged with a garter collar to give textural interest. It hangs beautifully when worn open. The collar is wide enough that you can use a shawl pin to wear it closed.


The cardigan is worked up in Malabrigo Arroyo, which is a favorite of mine. It knits up so beautifully. The colors are so saturated and vibrant. It wears beautifully and is just so soft.

New Pattern: Highlight

I told you I would be back this week. Well, here I am! I have a new sweater design for you. Highlight is a top down raglan pullover with a few extra details. It’s not your run of the mill raglan, by any means.


Yes, that is me modeling. This sweater is a pullover design that utilizes brights and darks, color blocking and stripes. I am really loving bright bold colors and patterns lately. Maybe you noticed with my last shawl design (Flouro). This sweater has a few details, that are not entirely as obvious as the color.


The sweater has a lowered neckline in front and also faux saddle shoulders. It is still all one piece, worked flat and then joined. No seaming involved, though you do have to pick up stitches for the collar.


Look down at my hip. The seams are split and the back is slightly longer than the front.  I especially love this detail. I think I will really like layering this with a cami in the winter for extra warmth. It gets really cold here in North Dakota.


The color and yarn choice are definitely elements that I thought very hard about for this design. I wanted brights and I wanted to pair them with something dark. I like the contrast. The brights are toned down a bit by the dark. Now, that’s not to say that this wouldn’t be great in another set of colors. It would be. You could have fun with it. Think about it a little. It could be a great stashbuster. Or something to use those minis up on. Each stripe could be a different color. RAINBOWS!!!!

The yarn is Rain City Knits Organic Merino fingering weight. It is a gorgeous yarn and really a pleasure to knit with. Krista has some of the most vibrant colors I have seen. In fact, when I was thinking about this design, her colors were what I had in mind.I do have some leftovers. I might be thinking of a hat.

Now, sometimes when I release a pattern, I put it on sale. I decided to put this one on sale, too. I have a promotion going right now to go along with Stockpile, too. This sweater pattern will be 35% off with the code HIGHLIGHT at checkout until October 5th.

Please check out my group! I will be putting together some fun giveaways this next few weeks and you wouldn’t want to miss out on yarn!!! and patterns!!! and extra stuff!!! Oh, and the next KAL. I also run my test knits there, so if you want in on one of those, let me know. I will be putting up a new one…hopefully next week. Maybe two, even. So, please stop by.

Book Review: Kung Fu Knits


Today, I am not writing about my stuff (though, I will be later this week). I am writing about a new knitting release called Kung Fu Knits by Elizabeth Green Musselman published by Cooperative Press. Now, being that my knitting nickname and business name is Ninja8tofu Designs, you would have to figure that I would be interested in something called Kung Fu Knits.

Kung Fu Knits is unlike any other knitting book that I’ve ever seen. It combines knitting patterns and a story. I really enjoyed how this was put together. The illustrations and story are just perfect. The photography is also fabulous. The book is aimed at a demographic often ignored in knitting: boys, but its not only for boys. I would have enjoyed everything in this book when I was a kid.



What kid wouldn’t love this? I can say that I have very little knitting time that I get to knit other people’s things, but I am definitely going to be knitting myself some nunchuks and throwing stars! Yes, I am knitting them for me! You don’t need to be a kid to enjoy this. In fact, those pants look pretty enticing, too.

So, really…if you have a kid who would enjoy anything Kung Fu related or a neat story…or if you might be a little bit of a kid at heart (like me) I would recommend checking out Kung Fu Knits. I can guarantee you that it’s unlike anything you have seen before.

I also just want to put in a word here about Cooperative Press, the publisher. If you haven’t checked out their knitting books, do so immediately. They are really great and quite unique. The themes are all wonderful and there is literally something for everyone.

Pricing Information
Digital download: $9.95
Paperback: $15.95 (comes with the digital download if purchased through Cooperative Press

Stockpile and Sale.

Some of you may know that the Malabrigo Junkies group here on Ravelry, runs a KAL every October called October Stockpile. This is a huge event and every year I usually do a coinciding sale for all things Malabrigo. So….

First off, they are spotlighting “Quickie” patterns. Quickie patterns are patterns put out by independent designers in conjunction with Malabrigo ya]rns. They are patterns that specialize in using between 1 or 2 skeins of yarn. My “Quickie” pattern is called The Roseway. It’s a garter stitch shawl, knit on the bias with a scalloped edge and eyelet detail. It’s quite simple, but goes very quickly! Perfect for a quick knit. It will be on sale for 40% with the code Quickie at checkout.



Also on sale, will be all of my other patterns using Malabrigo as a main yarn. These will be 25% off with the code Stockpile14.

Some of these patterns include:
Lime Gelato






Hyde Park Cardigan
The Vintage ice cream Truck Ebook ( these patterns can also be purchased separately)
Little Momo
The Phoebe Hat
Twin Leaves or the Ebook

Please continue to stop by the Ravelry group. I have some fun things planned coming up! Including free pattern giveaways and kit giveaways. I also have some new patterns coming out in the next few weeks.