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.
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!
I enjoyed this interview and getting to know Jennifer.