Meet the Fellows: Shelby Hamden


I’m Shelby, I live in Houston, TX with my husband, three kids, a cat that acts like a dog and a dog that’s a scaredy cat. I work part time in a cosmetics store and I sketch far more designs that I could possibly ever knit. My favorite things to knit are hats, with shawls as a close second.

86970078_3054907674561289_850878285997932544_nHow did you get into knitting & designing knitwear?
I started knitting in middle school when I read hundreds of books in one year and won my choice of a gift from a selection donated by the local community. I chose a Learn to Knit kit and taught myself with only the instructions from the book. My first design was years later when I wanted to knit a baby hat for a friend. I couldn’t find a basic pattern at my local yarn shop and I didn’t know anything about Ravelry at the time.

What designers do you admire & why?
I love Veera Välimäki for her unique designs and mixed textures, and Stephen West for the same, but slightly more eccentric reasons. I also adore Jessie Mae Martinson for her clean and simple, but beautiful aesthetic and size inclusive designs. And not last, or least, but last for this list, Jen Maynulet, because their designs are unique and well written. I am excited to see more from them!

20200219_073518What does your design process look like?
It looks like insomnia most of the time. I tend to have trouble sleeping and I learned several years ago that coming up with the next thing I want to make helped me work through it.
Once I have a somewhat formed idea, I open up a photo app on my phone, use the drawing tool to sketch out a very rough image, and text it to myself with a short description to help me interpret it in the morning.
After that, it goes into my sketchbook and in line for a future cast on. Every once in awhile, a design will be born by casting on for a specific object and just letting it become something along the way, but that’s not often.

What type of project do you like to knit/crochet most?
I will always love hats the most! They are simple and quick to knit, but I really love knitting shawls as well.

What are you (or hope to be) best known for as a designer?
I think my goal has always been to publish designs that look beautiful and detailed but are relatively simple for the beginner or advanced beginner, designs that do not intimidate but leave the knitter feeling like they have accomplished something fantastic when they are finished.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community?
I love many aspects of the fiber arts, including spinning, dyeing, and some crochet. Outside of that I try to make time for my vegetable garden, I love to read, especially historical fiction, and I also enjoy cooking. I am currently searching for the perfect buffalo cauliflower recipe, know any?

Is there anything else you would like our knitters to know about you?
Although I am a city girl in SE Texas now, and have been living in large cities since I turned 18, I grew up in a very rural area in the coldest parts of Northern Minnesota. I moved around a lot since then and have met so many people and enjoyed so many different cultural experiences. As a result, I know and can recall a lot of random & weird historical facts and have the ability to speak in quite a few regional accents – often times accidentally!

Shelby is the first of 7 Pattern Academy Fellows we will be featuring. Learn more about Shelby on Ravelry or follow @yesthatshelby on Instagram. Stay tuned for more designers!

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