Meet the Fellows: Tiffany Pendleton

Hi there! I’m Tiffany and my Ravelry favorites list is nothing short of extensive.  I spend most of my free time plotting color options for many things and sending color ideas to friends. I am a social worker by trade and work with veterans with traumatic brain injuries at the VA in Atlanta. When I’m not at work, you can most often find me somewhere with yarn in my hand. Once upon a time, I’d knit on patios with friends, and now I zoom with them instead. I love cookies & cream ice cream and things that are just a little bit ridiculous, like Barnaby, my navy-blue acrylic bison head on the wall in my bedroom. 

How did you get into knitting & designing knitwear? I am pretty sure that I became a designer by accident. Due to my proportions, I was often modifying patterns to work for my shape. I did this more and more once I had a better understanding of construction, why certain techniques are used, and when. My very first piece was my Rhinebeck ‘sweater’ last year, a one-piece jumpsuit. It was also my first swatch, but that’s another story.

What does your design process look like? My design process, for the most part, consists of me obsessing over an idea, tearing it apart and putting it back together. And don’t get me started on choosing colors. Gah! I can stay wrapped up in color options all day.

What type of project do you like to knit/crochet most? I have found that I am almost entirely a sweater knitter. To be honest, I learned to knit to make clothes and I rarely pick up the needles to make anything else. Though, I have made a few hats…maybe 3?

What are you best known for as a designer? I am hoping to be known for garments that are a little bit unexpected but very wearable. I want my pieces to incorporate well into daily life. I want the pieces that are made from my designs to be something you just toss on and go about your day in. I don’t want them to be ‘knitwear,’ I want them to be just ‘the pretty dress I decided to put on today.’

What yarns do you prefer? So far, I find that I prefer a wool/nylon blend. For me the addition of the nylon minimizes the sag around the, ehrm, bum to be sure that the garment keeps its proper shape. Because no one wants a saggy bum, amiright?!

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community? In general, I am a pretty crafty person. I always have been. I get it from my mom, though she’d rather die than knit or crochet. Since I just bought a house, I think I am mostly preoccupied with decorating. I love it! Time I would have spent obsessing over yarn colors, most recently has been spent picking paint colors and furniture choices. My downstairs is mostly done, and I have been saving the craft room for last. Chartreuse anyone? Because what is a craft room without chartreuse?

Is there anything else you’d like our crafters to know about you? I am a collector of things. Probably much more than I need to be. At the moment, my collection of owls and elephants can almost compete with my stash, almost.

You can find Tiffany on Instagram @theobsessiveknitter or on Ravelry as theobk!

Meet the Fellows: Shana Cohen


My name is Shana, I live outside of Denver, CO with my husband and son. I am an architect by training with an extensive background in college design education.

How did you get into knitting & designing knitwear?
I started knitting while studying for my architecture licensing exams in 2008. At the time, I was spending all of my free time preparing for the multi part exam, and decided I needed a study activity break that was portable. I took a 2-week class at a local yarn store and made my first scarf. I joined Ravelry a few months later, and I have enjoyed knitting ever since.
My first design was a collaboration with my son in 2018: a superhero cape! We talked together about the design, and I created a version he loves. I worked through several iterations, experimenting with color and construction technique. The design comes with a blank coloring page, something that many of my subsequent patterns also include. Over the next year, I created a few simple hat designs. In early 2019, the spark of an idea to create a multi-fit poncho came to me, and through several iterations, I created Moduloncho. I reconnected to a creative problem-solving part of my brain. The design was met with open arms and lots of excitement when I released it at the Zombie Knitpocalypse retreat in 2019, and through that experience, I gained some confidence to try to execute other designs that up until that point were just ideas and quick sketches in my notebooks.

IMG_0937What does your design process look like?
My process is heavily analog, involving pencil sketches and words, then experimenting with scaled models and later full-sized mock up pieces. My years of architecture teaching and practice experience guide my process, which often gets messier before it gets neater. I find inspiration in shapes and colors.

What type of project do you like to knit/crochet most?
I love knitting shawls and lately ponchos with interesting styling. I also enjoy knitting hats and cowls for quick palette cleansers!

Shana CohenWhat are you best known for as a designer?
Within my work, I strive to create designs that are easy to follow and allow for multiple styling options. I create designs that fit many body sizes without needing lots of extra yarn. I bring an architectural sensibility to my designs, paying careful attention to the amount of yardage in a skein, for example, just as one would pay attention to amounts of building materials. I work diligently to maximize yardage without needing to add extra. I love being able to showcase the work of my test knitters and others that create their own versions of my designs. I always enjoy working with others to help them create the best creative versions of themselves.

What yarns do you prefer?
Lately I’ve been using a lot of DK weight yarn. I enjoy working with superwash merino DK, and I also really enjoy combining 2 strands of leftover fingering weight yarn to achieve a DK gauge.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community?
I love hiking and socializing with friends over a cup of coffee or a craft beer.

Is there anything else you’d like our crafters to know about you?
I am a textbook extrovert, I laugh at my own jokes, I have no poker face, I love iced coffee and most snacks from Trader Joe’s, I like hiking, Zumba, and knitting garter stitch, and I have difficulty saying no to helping friends.

Shana is super active on Instagram so follow her there and check out her designer page here!

Meet the Fellows: Olya Mikesh

I am a stay-at-home mom of 5, living in Milwaukee, WI. My fiber journey began in childhood, when I learned to knit and crochet from my mom. I have been creating most of my life, and studied Art in college. I am ethnically Russian, having lived in US all my adult life, enjoying discovering the rich heritage of fiber arts of Eastern Europe.

How did you get into knitting & designing knitwear? A couple of years ago, I was challenged / inspired by the Fruity Knitting podcast to knit and modify an adult garment. This challenge helped me to overcome a fear of not following a pattern exactly, as well as knitting an adult garments, something that I was still reluctant to do, even after decades of knitting! I also became a test knitter for other designers, and have knit 28 garments before taking the plunge of designing my own.
image1 (1)What does your design process look like? I love to study stitch dictionaries, looking at interesting textures, lace, and colorwork patterns. This is especially helpful if I am designing for a particular theme/mood board, in a pattern submission to a publication. But occasionally, I just pick up the yarn and “play” with it, creating something that is inspired by the colors, or an idea I had, developing design as I go.

What type of project do you like to knit/crochet most? I enjoy variety of projects, sometimes alternating between a smaller and larger project, but my favorite category would have to be garments.

What are you (or hope to be if you’re just starting out!) best known for as a designer? I hope to be known for designing wearable garments, that are enjoyable to make, with interesting details or embellishments. I love color, and like to play with bold designs for accessories. I am also interested adding embroidery to knitted, or crochet projects.

image2What yarns do you prefer? I believe that there is a place for all types of yarns in a maker’s world, and finding the right project is a key for a successful outcome. I have yet to come across a yarn that I would not use in some way, be it a man-made fiber for a home decor project or a toy, or a luxury blend for a special accessory. I am probably
a lot like my mother in this regard, practical and frugal. I just love yarn!

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community? I love to learn alongside with my kids. Homeschooing them over the last 9 years has been a very enriching experience. It also helped me to become a better communicator, which is important for pattern writing. I also love to sew, garden, and do some painting.

Is there anything else you’d like our crafters to know about you? I have done some natural yarn dying in the past, and hope to do more of it in the future.

See all of Olya designs on her designer page or see what she’s up to on Facebook!

Meet the Fellows: Jennifer Parroccini

I live in Portland, Oregon, with my husband, my daughter, and my Great Dane, who is approximately 1 billion years old. I grew up creating handcrafts (I think I could sew a running stitch before I could tie my shoes!), and am one in a long line of fiber artists.

How did you get into knitting & designing knitwear? I’ve always toyed with the idea of designing and I improvise on my projects all the time, but I hit a tipping point last winter when I couldn’t find the perfect colorwork hat. I found designing to be the perfect marriage of knitting & spreadsheets and was immediately hooked.

What does your design process look like? My design process is very nonlinear. I am constantly swatching new yarns and patterns, just to see what comes out. At the same time, I’m often thinking about how a line could lie across the body, or a feeling I’d like to evoke, or browsing/creating mood boards. Eventually, some mix of the perfect texture, feeling, and shape comes forward.

What type of project do you like to knit/crochet most? I’m a sweater girl! I love knitting sweaters, and I love designing sweaters. Right now ,I’m really engaged in skill-building children’s sweaters and size-inclusive wardrobe staples for adults.
What are you best known for as a designer? I’d like to be known for writing patterns for garments with maximum wearability, and for writing patterns that create high impact with low complexity. I want knitters to finish my garments and think ‘that looks really amazing, and it was actually super easy!’

What yarns do you prefer? I gravitate towards DK weight wool. I love solids and lightly tonal yarns and tend to lean towards either neutrals or deeply saturated colors.

J Parroccini

 Sharing a design space with a three-year-old means that my swatches get tons of use!
They play frequent and important roles in many, many games.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community? I work as a nonprofit CPA by day, and I have a preschool-aged daughter, so a lot of my time has to do double duty. If I’m not working, you can usually find me trying to squeeze in a bike ride, grubbing around in my garden, listening to non-fiction audiobooks, making soup, or endlessly reading out loud about the solar system.

Is there anything else you’d like our crafters to know about you?
For me, all the hard work that goes into wring a pattern is worth it when I see someone knit up one of my patterns and show it off with joy. I want to see as many people as possible find the joy and satisfaction that comes from creating – and wearing – knitted garments, and for that reason, inclusion is really important to me.
In my design practice, that means I grade all sizes as I write the pattern so that I know before I even pick up the needles that every element will work perfectly for every size. It means being intentional on how I source my yarn, notions, and services. Finally, it means creating testing spaces and other groups that are intentionally welcoming of people of all races, sizes, and incomes. There’s a lot I’m still learning in all of these areas, but it’s important to me that I’m explicit and vocal about these values.

See all of Jennifer’s designs here and check her out on instagram @JP_Knits_Things!