I’m Jen and I spend entirely too much time every day thinking about yarn. I live in the greater Los Angeles area with my partner and a lot of air plants. We are indie game developers for a VR title featuring six-foot-tall sentient hot dogs with guns. (No, really.) When I’m not drawing hot dogs, I’m knitting, stitching, or playing games not involving processed meat products. Occasionally, housework rears its ugly head, but I try to ignore that.
I have a degree in Fine Art and 2/3 of a degree in Biochemistry. I love dinosaurs, donuts, things with tentacles, and naps.
How did you get into knitting & designing knitwear?
Knitting: I learned how to knit about 15 years ago while I was living in Spain. I asked my mom to teach me because one of my friends online was an avid knitter and crocheter. I started off with garter stitch scarves, then quickly moved on to colorwork hats, mainly because no one told me colorwork was supposed to be hard. Then YouTube was a thing, so I learned everything else I know about knitting from that.
Designing: Because I work with pixel art in my day job, it was a pretty natural transition into making my own colorwork charts. There was a bit of a void when it came to finding cool, quirky colorwork motifs, or at least there was to me. I wanted to do something with stranded knitting that wasn’t just more snowflake or floral motifs. I wanted to do something that was strictly me.
What designers do you admire & why?
Andrea Rangel– her AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary really helped me reimagine what a colorwork pattern could be. Also, her pattern writing is incredibly clear and (from what I’ve seen) size-inclusive.
Tin Can Knits– where do I even begin in describing how awesome they are? Their patterns are so clearly written that they’re basically the first ones I recommend to anyone who wants to knit their first sock, sweater, hat, etc. Whatever you want to knit, they have a pattern for it, and they make it so easy to follow.
What does your design process look like?
I begin by coming up with an idea, then sourcing inspirational images online. Once I find some images that speak to me, I make a rough sketch with pencil and paper. Assuming the sketch isn’t terrible, I import it into Photoshop and create a “linocut” version of it, refining lines, breaking the illustration down into two colors.
Once I’m happy with the results, I move on to the next step, which is importing it into my pixel art program. I make sure the design fits the stitch count which depends on what item I’m making & what weight I’m using.
After I have my pixel breakdown saved, I import it into the design program I use to create a gridded/numbered chart. From there, I usually knit my sample(s), figuring out shaping as I get to it. Hopefully I remember to take good notes.
What type of project do you like to knit/crochet most?
I’m definitely a sweater knitter. Not surprisingly, I like colorwork a lot, too.
What are you (or hope to be) best known for as a designer?
Loud, non-traditional, modern colorwork.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community?
I do embroidery, cross-stitch, painting, printmaking, gaming (both tabletop and PC). I enjoy reading, though I don’t do it as much as I should. I’m a weirdo who doesn’t watch movies or TV.
Is there anything else you’d like our knitters to know about you?
– I’m a first generation American.
– My favorite animals are cephalopods.
– My pronouns are she/her or they/them.
– My favorite colors are green, orange, and about 15 different shades of almost-black.
– I am totally not 3 cuttlefish in a trenchcoat.
Learn more about Jen on Ravelry or follow @tentacularly on Instagram. Stay tuned for more designers!