Hello, Bev from Boo Knits!

We had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing the ever-so-sweet Bev from Boo Knits. She is best known for her cobweb-like shawls that are drenched in delicate beads. If you haven’t already fallen in love with our favorite British knitwear genius, Bev, you will after reading her answers to a few of our questions!

Tell us about yourself.  
BevI live with my husband in Staffordshire, England – the very green bit, right in the centre of the country.
I totally and utterly fell into designing. I didn’t have any plans or ambition to design but one day I wanted to make a shawl from a skein of Fyberspates Faery Wings – I had one skein, only one skein. I wanted a shawl that was shallow and very wide but not quite a scarf. I couldn’t find a pattern that ticked the boxes on my wish list, that would use just the one skein, so thought I would have a go at making one myself. I created Dragonfly Wings (only named so as it was the colour of the yarn and wasn’t going to be a pattern). When it was shown on Ravelry, I was asked time and again where the pattern was from. When I explained that I had made it up, I was asked to write the pattern and offer it for others to knit. I did, I released it and then I was asked when the next pattern would be released. Little did I know what had started.

Who taught you to knit? 
My aunt tried to teach me when I was a child but gave it up as a bad job when I just couldn’t hold my yarn properly. I still don’t! Many, many years later I taught myself with the aid of books, YouTube and a fair bit of trial and error to find the easiest way that worked for me.

What does your designing process look like?
I would love to tell you that I am super organised but I would be lying. I have notebooks with jottings and small sketches. I stick in the odd picture that will jog my memory – usually small pictures torn from a plant catalogue, home décor magazine or a travel brochure. These are usually colour inspiration, sometimes shape or an atmosphere I want to capture in stitch. I sometimes work small swatches to see how a stitch will work best and these get stapled into the notebook too. It makes things easier if I keep everything together in one place – in theory anyway!

How do you choose what you will design next?
I find inspiration everywhere, leaf shapes, flowers, clouds, ploughed fields, the ocean, snowdrifts, books, old churches, gravestones, windows, locks and keys, architecture … Other times I will look at a skein of yarn and know exactly what it is going to look like knit up.

Your bead choice is flawless. Where do you find the best beads and how do you choose which to use? 
beadsThank you for such a lovely compliment! I buy beads when I see something I like, not for a specific project and I always buy lots of them as I don’t want to worry about running out. I have my beads on shelves in my yarn room and match yarn and beads as and when. I always thread five or six beads onto the yarn, usually five or six different options too, and leave the cake or skein for a couple of days so I can see the beads in different lights. Those that I don’t love are removed during this time and I am usually left with two or three to make a final decision. Then I ask Mr. Boo what he thinks; luckily this is usually the one I am leaning to too. When I get down to only a few beads in a jar I mix my own bead mixes so nothing goes to waste.

What are you currently knitting? 
WorkspaceI have just finished the sixth pattern of the Boos for Beginners Collection, Mojito. Just leapt onto the needles is the prototype for the Halloween MKAL for 2017 so unfortunately, not something I can describe to you or let you see but it will be lace and it will be beaded.

Your MKALs are always so popular and well thought out. Can you tell us about how you prepare for these? 
My patterns usually start with the name of the shawl and evolve from there. I will know exactly how it will look and then have to find the yarn that already exists in my mind. MKALs are different from a regular pattern as it is very difficult to substitute a yarn when a knitter has no idea what the pattern will look like or how it is to be blocked. Different fibres behave differently ie. Alpaca won’t hold a block as well as silk and it is not as strong. For a floaty and light shawl with more of a frill than a point, and not too many beads, Alpaca is perfect but for heavily beaded shawls with definite and strong blocking then silk is the one to go for. This decision is easier to make when you can see the finished item and this is why I usually work with a dyer to create special colours on a specific yarn for the MKALs. It also gives everyone the chance to use a yarn that they might not have tried otherwise and I get some reassurance that everyone will be happy with their finished shawls.

What is your favorite design and why? 
wintersweet2_medium2_mediumMy favourite changes but I think if I had to narrow it down I think my favourite of my patterns is Wintersweet, it has a kind of faded elegance to it; as though it belongs to a different era. The shawl I wear the most? There are two really, Rum and Cola and Puck. Both are really simple shawls, one light for warmer weather and the other in DK that makes a fabulous shawl/scarf for dog walking. Rum and Cola is the first shawl in the Boos for Beginners Collection and is aimed as those wanting to start to knit lace shawls. With a beaded body and a little bit of lace, it is super simple but not boring for more experienced knitters and is just so wearable! The shawl I knit the most often – a tie between Voodoo and Spellbound. Difficult to pin down

What designers do you admire? 
All of them! Designing, whatever you are designing, is not just a job or hobby, it is a way of life. I think all designers have to live with the ‘what if’ thought constantly in their mind. All of those questions, trials and endeavouring to find the best and easiest way to do something and translating that to a chart and/or written instructions so that it is crystal clear and easy to follow doesn’t have a switch to turn it off; it is something that you live with and is in your mind constantly.

In the sphere of knitting I especially love the flamboyance of Stephen West and his love for bright colours; the boldness and geometry of Veera Välimäki and the beautiful lace of Romi Hill! I shouldn’t forget that a large part of my work is inspired by the wonderful indie dyers who create the most magical colour combinations on some fantastic yarns.

When you’re not designing, where would we find you? 
lilI live in a beautifully rural area so if I am not designing I am either out in the lanes walking my dog Lil, baking, chatting on Ravelry (usually in the Boo Group) and, of course, knitting. I am a knitter first and foremost. What can I say; it isn’t really a hobby or even an obsession but it is a need. Definitely a need – something I have to do each day.

Do you have plans to expand? Would you ever stray from your beautiful lace shawl designs? 
Ha ha – never say never! I have plans; I always have plans!

What is your favorite thing about designing knitwear?
I love the excitement of transforming a skein of yarn into something that can be worn. The texture, colour and luxuriousness of fibre and the putting together of colour, pattern and beads. I am amazingly lucky to be able to play with colour, yarn and beads on a daily basis.

Are there ideas you have that just don’t translate into patterns? If yes, what happens to them? Do they just hang out in the back of your brilliant mind waiting to be used?
Well, if my mind was brilliant I would be able to translate them into patterns right away. These ideas linger in my mind. They are those elusive answers/solutions similar to the forgotten name of an actor or a song; as soon as you think it is within your grasp the answer runs away again. I make some notes and sketches and leave the idea for a while and work on something else. Usually they get solved but there is always one or two that just refuse to make it to reality.

We would like to thank Bev so much for taking the time to answer our questions and giving such thoughtful responses! You are truly a gem and we so admire your design skills.

Luxe Inara

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Inara Wrap by Ambah O’Brien is a hugely popular pattern because it allows you to really show your personality with the colors you choose. Spaulson’s (Sara) Luxe Inara does just that, shows off her bright, happy, and fun personality! Read along as we dive deeper into the inspiration behind Sara’s color choices and hear the feats & foibles of her 903 yard quest to completing an Inara Wrap.

Was their any inspiration behind choosing this pattern, yarn, or
color combination?

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I saw the pattern at some point last year and loved it. I’m a wrap kind of girl, and I love using multiple colors, so it was right up my alley. I’m also a blues-and-greens kind of girl, so using those colors was a given.
Using Madelinetosh Pashmina came from a desire to make it big and from the fact that I’d picked up a skein of the Leaf in Pashmina on a whim when it went on sale. I used the Leaf for 2016’s Black Locust Mitts FKAL and just LOVED the feel of the Pashmina. It is so, so soft on the skin.

How did you like the pattern? 

The pattern was well written, although I had to ignore some of the directions because I used an extra color (Birch Grey) instead of mirroring the colors.

Would I make it again? Probably not exactly the same — I’d make it a straight-up rectangle. It is super minor, but it bothers me that when I wear it wrapped around my neck the long corners aren’t symmetrical. Talk about first-world problems.

How did you choose your color combination? 

I had Leaf and Havana already when I decided to do the Inara, so I started
plotting out colors that would fit in a gradient alongside those two. I
spent a lot of time playing with the Color Picker tool on the ESK website.

There were some I ordered that I ended up not using — Cobalt, I’m looking
at you — and others I wanted to use that I just could not find like Big Sur.
Another kind ESK customer helped me out with a skein of Big Sur on Tosh Sport,
but the color on that base didn’t bridge between Havana and Leaf as well as
I wanted.

The best part? Now I have a whole bunch of pashmina leftovers begging me to
find more multiple-color projects! But there was one setback as seen in my project page notes:

Holy hells, the Havana was tangled beyond belief. Two parts of the skein looked like my 5-year-old had gone at them with both hands and feet. It took me HOURS, but I managed to painstakingly hand wind the darn thing. Good for a badge, at least?

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We would like to congratulate Sara on winning a Kitty Pick & thank her for taking the time to give us all the details on her project. It is always so fun to hear other knitting stories & know we’re not the only ones who get super frustrated at tangled yarn or spend way too long debating the perfect color combination. In the end, a project like Luxe Inara is worth all the worry and work!

August Featured Yarn – Beefcake Sock

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So many of you fell in love with Beefcake Sock from Squoosh Fiberarts in our Candyland mini-skein sets that we added full skeins of Beefcake Sock to our Squoosh line-up! If you are looking for pattern inspiration, check out the project pages on Ravelry for Madelinetosh Twist Light, Malabrigo Sock, or Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock as all of these knit up similarly to Beefcake Sock. Obviously, this is the perfect sock yarn so here are a few of our “non-socks” favorites:

Mookraker

Honestly, majority of Melanie Berg‘s patterns would look lovely in Beefcake Sock. This light fingering weight is so much more versatile than your typical sock yarn. It packs a punch with 25% Nylon and a super tight yet springy ply. Squoosh’s color palette lends perfectly to the blips of dashed color created in Moonraker. Choose 2 skeins of a coordinating color, light and dark grey shown here, and add pops of color that make you smile. Maybe you even have a set of our Beefcake Minis which would work wonderfully with any of Melanie’s very popular shawls.

lulu 2

So many of you loved the strangely satisfying technique of dropping stitches with our Clapotis FKAL that we thought we would suggest a similar pattern. Lulu by Anthony Casalena creates those same dropped stitches and mixes them beautifully with garter & slipped stitches. We would suggest pairing a solid/tonally variegated color with one of Squoosh’s few variegated colors. We would love to see how the drop stitches show off the expert dyeing in colors like Black & Blue or Steel.

Nalu Mittd

Nalu Mitts by Leila Raabe would be ideal knit up in Beefcake Sock. Think about it, anything worn on the hands needs added sturdiness and durability just like socks. Throughout the day, your hands come in contact with so many different things – grabbing coffee cups, pushing door handles, picking up kids, reaching in your bag – fingerless mitts need the added Nylon that Beefcake Sock boasts!

Q2 Kitty Picks

 

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Here we are again for Q2’s Kitty Picks! You all made some beautiful airy projects for our Summer Yarns KAL. From heat-friendly tanks using Nerd Girl Yarns Winning to some amazing delicate shawls, you all knocked our kitty socks off. As we expected, this was another hard choice to make but here are our final selections:

KittyAmy

Amy 
Prize: Free shipping coupon

Pick: Wolfpak’s Winning Linum
Why? It seems like Winning is always sold out, and this is why.

 

 

 

KittyEmily

Emily
Prize: Feature your project on ESK’s social media

Pick: spaulson’s Luxe Inara
Why? I’m can’t deny my love for another amazing color combination! Come on – Cousteau, Glass Bottom Boat, Oceana, Shire, Lead, Birch Grey, Jade, and (2015’s ESK exclusive) Tybee Island Inn – I’m still swooning!

 

KittyErin

Erin
Prize: Skein of yarn

Pick: hydrangealover’s On the Beach AND DaughterofFishes Pool and Kill it With Fire
Why? On the Beach:  this is exactly the sweater I would choose, it’s so cozy and simple and wearable. You’ve added to my queue now! Pool and Kill it With Fire: Planned pooling is so cool and I’m so impressed you made this work out, especially with a yarn like Silky Merino which is dyed with very short intervals!

 

KittyJanine

Janine
Prize: 3 stars for your team

Pick: tsukichan33’s Momi Shrug
Why? I’m sure it’s even softer than it looks, which means it’s a dream to wear! It probably goes with everything and the pattern is beautiful, clean and interesting with the eyelets!

 

 

KittyJenny

Jenny
Prize: Custom illustration based on your Ravelry profile

Pick: wingedselkie’s Spring Garden Tee
Why? I’ve always loved a frilly capped sleeve. My arms staunchly reject them, but I keep buying and returning them anyway. I would buy this one and let it hang in my closet until the return window lapsed!

 

KittyJess

Jess
Prize: Glamor-shot of your favorite yarn

Pick: luarn’s bridges and balloons
Why? Her notes take you through the emotional journey of knitting this top lol But her perseverance paid off, and her Zinone is just gorgeous, I feel more motivated to work on my own now! And I love this perfect color for summer.

 

KittyKenzie


Kinsey
Prize: Free shipping coupon

Pick: Melissa 724’s Magnus the Viking
Why? I love this Viking! It’s the cutest knit man I’ve ever seen!

 

 

KittyLindsey


Lindsay
Prize: Free shipping coupon

Pick: theirmama4sure’s The Q2 KAL
Why? Because I have a cute bag addiction.

 

 

 

KittyTracy

Tracey
Prize: 1,500 yards

Pick: Lizella’s Shockwaves
Why? I’m a fellow gray lover and this is everything I love in a shawl– the subdued colorways, the kitten soft Eyre Light…I saw this this shawl as a WIP in the shop and have been thinking about it ever since!

 

We are happy to announce that we have added a new ESK Kitty to the family – Angie! She will be helping with pulling and shipping orders.

KittyAngieAngie
Prize: Free shipping coupon

Pick: krakengoddess’s Silky Stole
Why? I love this scarf! The color is great and would go with anything. It looks so soft and warm.

 

If your project was picked by an ESK Kitty, please e-mail us at trivia@eatsleepknit.com. We will need your ESK username and, depending on the prize, some other information. We hope you enjoyed this summer weight yarn KAL. Thanks to everyone who knitted-a-long and submitted their projects!

 

July Featured Yarn – Super Sparkle

JULY17FeaturedYarn

Who doesn’t love a little sparkle added to their knitwear? Blue Moon Fiber Arts sure does! Super Sparkle takes sparkle yarn to a whole new level with their revolutionary technique of plying the Lurex into the wool. One continuous filament spun directly into the wool means the sparkle will stay put – not shedding or pulling! We can’t get over how smart this yarn is – Tina truly listened to the knitting community when creating Super Sparkle! Here are our favorite pattern suggestions for this magical fiber:

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Stolen Moments by Shannon Squire is meant to be knit in Super Sparkle. The simple pattern shows off BMFA’s wildly variegated colorways and the addition of a pompom at the ankle is such a fun touch. These toe-up socks do not require a lot of attention which makes them perfect to throw in your bag to knit on the beach, the train, or your local Knit Night.

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Up next is another Shannon Squire pattern – Slay Me. This pattern is perfect for all you Buffy fans! To celebrate the hit TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer turning 20, Tina created some amazing Buffy colorways and we are lucky enough to stock three – Bite Me, Buffy, and Sunnydale. “This asymmetric shawl starts and ends the same way: with one single stitch. Along the way, you’ll play with striping, work some simple yet effective mesh lace, and create a lovely and stretchy edging.”

traceyLastly, we would like to feature our Exclusive Candyland colorways. We initially ordered Super Sparkle just for our exclusives. Once we saw Tracey knit up Lord Licorice’s Bitter Bats in Madder Ribbed Socks by Nancy Bush, we had to add stock colors to our Super Sparkle selection! Simple sock patterns are best for Super Sparkle so you don’t lose intricate patterning in the highly variegated colorways.

We also love the idea of adding a stripe or two of Super Sparkle into patterns like Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry or any of Stephen West’s funky brioche patterns! Have you knit with Super Sparkle? Share your project in the comments below!

Something Special

Emily K here! If you can believe it, I have been at ESK for 3 years. It feels like just yesterday I was trying to figure out what a base was! I’d love to share my journey to ESK and ask for your help as we transition to the new shop in Dallas, GA.
My mom taught me to knit when I was a young teen. I saw her clicking away on cables and remember feeling fascinated that one strand of yarn could be turned into a beautiful scarf. After making a few horrendous scarves, my big red bag of awful furry yarn sat in the closet for many years. Fast forward 10 years (college and a couple of not-quite-right jobs) to me jumping out of my bed at 6 AM, running up 3 flights of stairs, and squinting at the computer to apply for the Social Media & Marketing Manager position at some store called Eat.Sleep.Knit. I immediately knew ESK was something special as no other job posting had evoked such a response…ever! I was ecstatic to get a callback from Erin, did a serious fist pump when I met and realized Erin & Dan are the most genuine, intelligent people in the world, and shed tears of joy in my living room when Erin asked, “Do you want to work here?” I feel so proud to be a part of all this…the yarn, the excitement, the fun, the rainbows, the cats, the joy, and, most importantly, the community! The customers, dyers, and friends are really what light this place up!

Now that I have been here 3 years, I’ve fallen even more in love with this place. My co-workers are fantastic, my creativity is finally encouraged, and I laugh on the daily! So, my brain went nuts trying to think of a way to show my love and appreciate for all things ESK. I thought and I thought…I’m a pretty crafty person so a few decorative projects came to mind. The letters E, S, and K wrapped in yarn, eh. A painting, no. A giant ball of yarn, maybe. Then, I saw this adorable yarn mobile one morning on my daily scavenge of the online knitting world and thought, how can I make this special enough to hang in ESK? Hmm…the light! You all are what light us up so how could I incorporate yarn and our community into something that we could cherish in the new shop?

This is where I need your help! I would absolutely love to use your scrap yarn to make the yarn balls for a mobile like the one seen below! Whether it be your very favorite colorway, scraps from your first project, or that yarn from the bottom of your stash, I’d love to make it (and YOU) a permanent fixture at ESK! All you need to do is send your scrap yarn (any amount will do as the yarn balls vary in size but the more the merrier) to:

Eat.Sleep.Knit.
Attn: Emily K
1060 Cedarcrest Road
Dallas, GA 30132

Please include your name (legal name, Ravelry handle, whatever you’d like) and city/state on a paper/card with your yarn. I will write them on two knitting needles that will stick out of your yarn ball! If you live locally, feel free to drop it off! The end result will look something like a mix between the two pictures below but your names will be added to the needles. You all are so important to us and I’m so excited to see the finished product when all of your pretty yarns combine!

yarn mobile 2 yarn mobile

If you would like to be a part of this project, you get 3 things: my extreme excitement and appreciation for helping, a permanent home at the new ESK shop (not that you didn’t have one already), and the opportunity to be featured in one of our blog posts! Simply write BLOG on the paper/card you send with your yarn and give us a little back story on your yarn…what it was used for, why you love it, etc. You will then be entered into the random drawing to be interviewed by yours truly! I’ll ask you all kinds of fun questions and you can share your knitting journey too! Thank you in advance and stay tuned for a ‘Tour of the NEW Store’ blog post!

June Featured Yarn – Nerd Girl Yarns Winning

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We have not been able to keep Winning from Nerd Girl Yarns on the shelf. This amazing 65% Silk / 35% Linen yarn absolutely flies out of here the minute we get a restock and we totally understand why. A few garments have made their way into the shop via awesome customers and the kitties lose their minds when seeing it knit up. Tracey, who is traditionally a wool-only knitter, cannot believe how much she loves this yarn. The blocked fabric is soft, airy, and light as a feather, making it the ideal summer yarn. Here are our suggestions for this delightful yarn:

Herald by Janina Hallio lends perfectly to Winning with the flowy eyelet repeats. Asymmetrical in design, Herald is knit diagonally with increases on one side and decreases on the other. This type of construction allows you to adjust the size with ease. Simply stop knitting once you achieve the size you desire. Chose a solid or variegated color of winning – any dye-style will show off in this pattern! We love how versatile and simple Herald is and can be worn with a cool tank top, airy tunic, or neat button-down. Use it to add a splash of color to all your outfits!

Winning is THE summer top yarn. There are dozens of patterns that would knit up beautifully and keep you nice and cool as the summer months approach. We saw CherryCokeKissez’s version of Otherside by Melanie Berg and had to share! Knit at a lose gauge, Otherside is a flattering boxy top worked flat, starting at the front hem. We adore the addition of a lacy yoke knit in a contrasting colorway – it truly sets off this pattern!

Leafy Baby Blanket by Leyla Alieva would make a lovely gift for a little one expected in summer. The leaf motif is precious and the pattern comes with written and charted instructions. Though this pattern is written for a sport weight, it would translate perfectly into a lightweight blanket using Winning. Just go down a needle size, swatch, and see what size needles creates the fabric you are looking for. Winning will also provide for a small amount of sheen and is machine washable which is an absolute for babies!

 

Estuary by tincanknits allows you to wear your beloved knits even when it’s not snowy and grey. Bring this lacy shawl with you when you head to the beach to throw over your shoulders when you head to your favorite seafood dive. We love how the designer described the inspiration for Estuary: “An estuary is an in-between place, not ocean, yet no longer river. It is a fertile habitat where sweet and salt water mix,and many species thrive. Estuary combines two lace patterns to create an ambiguous shape: not quite a shawl, yet something more than a scarf.”

Can you tell there are too many wonderful Winning patterns to share? Here is a quartet of patterns that are too good to not mention:

  1. Dulce de Leche by Heather Zoppetti
  2. Byssus Cocoon by Bristol Ivy
  3. Sirena by Julie Turjoman
  4. Poetry in Motion by Elena Nodel

Have you worked with Winning? Maybe started your Summer Yarns KAL? Share with us in the comments below.