Meet the Fellows: Sierra Morningstar

I’m Sierra. I was born and raised in Michigan, and I’m a water-loving Michigander at heart.  I love spending time with my family and my pets.

How did you get into knitting & designing knitwear? Slowly! I knit for a long time before I started designing, and, when I did design, it wasn’t with a specific goal in mind. I just started dabbling with small things for myself, and slowly fell in love with it.

Maverick is constantly stealing half-knit projects & balls of yarn!

What does your design process look like? My design process includes a little bit of everything. Often, I start with a vague idea, inspired by colors or patterns in nature. Sometimes, I’m looking through a stitch dictionary for an entirely different reason, and get inspired by something I see in there. Other times, I’m looking for a pattern for the perfect skein of yarn, and that’s what leads me places. Some days, I work up ideas based on submission calls and find things I really want to create for myself. I’m also inspired by things I personally need or want to wear– a new pair of mittens or a hat to match a coat, a sweater that just makes me feel comfy.

What type of project do you like to knit/crochet most? I love a cozy hand-knit sweater, especially with a shawl collar, and they are definitely my favorite finished projects. But my favorite thing to actually knit is probably hats. I love wearing them, I can experiment with fun colors I might not want a whole sweater out of, and most importantly, I can finish them quickly! And anything cozy. I love cozy!

What are you best known for as a designer? As a designer, and even knitter, I don’t have one thing that attracts me. I love it all – color, cables, texture, (though maybe especially cozy texture.) I hope to combine simple versions of these elements in a straightforward style to create classic pieces.

What yarns do you prefer? I like worsted and DK weight yarn. I knit a lot with non-superwash yarn. I just love the woolly, I just came off a sheep, feel of it. But also, I’m absolutely mesmerized by the vibrant, gorgeous colors achieved by dyers on superwash yarn.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community? I love all kinds of crafts, though I don’t have much time to get into them as I would like. I enjoy dogs, outdoors, and wine. And I really like all three together! Also, cuddling dogs. If I have one true talent, its dog cuddling. 

Here’s Mav on the dock at our cabin in northern Michigan. This is my favorite, most productive place to knit. The beds are the dogs, but they let me use them.

Is there anything else you’d like our crafters to know about you? I am a ridiculously slow knitter. I truly embrace the ‘slow’ in slow fashion. (Though not willingly!) This is one of the reasons I gravitate towards the heavier weight yarns.  I’m trying to accept it, but each time I see a testers and people on Instagram fly through projects, I feel an acute pang of jealousy.
Also- I’ve never knit a pair of socks. I feel like that might be sacrilege for a knitter – but I have my eye on a pattern so maybe soon.

Find Sierra’s design profile here and, if you want to see more of Maverick, follow her on Instagram @sierra_morningstar!

Meet the Fellows: Brittany Garber

I’m Brittany, the maker behind KnotBadBritt. I am a self-taught crocheter and I’ve been crocheting for the past 6 years. During that time, I have become a dedicated pattern tester for leaders in the field. My love for testing has led me to begin creating my own designs and establishing KnotBadBritt, while highlighting BIPOC makers at The Makers of Color Collective.
I am a stay at home mother of 2 two brilliant girls with another one due in November and a standard schnauzer named Caprica – they keep me very busy. When I’m not crocheting, I’m cooking large meals for my family and friends.

How did you get into crocheting & designing crochetwear? I started crocheting 6 years ago as an attempt to make a blanket for my soon to be born daughter. I made the most ridiculous blanket for her in blanket yarn. It’s oddly shaped but she loves it and still carries it with her to this day. As my interest in crocheting grew, I became a pattern tester. I learned so much from the designers I worked with and gained quite a few friendships. It was with their encouragement that I begin designing.

What does your design process look like? I like to work on graph paper and my iPad to sketch out ideas. I’m a terrible artist so sometimes I’ll import a sweater shape in and add detailing to what I’m trying to accomplish! My mind often runs at a million miles an hour so when something pops in I have to write it down.
I use stitch dictionaries often and am constantly learning through testing patterns. This way, when I want to create something, I’m able to more quickly construct it in my head before even picking up a hook. I would say my most valuable resource is my group of friends I’ve made in the fiber community. Their honest feedback is invaluable.

What type of project do you like to crochet most? I love to make shawls. There are so many different styles, shapes, and techniques you can use. The options are endless. Especially when you incorporate Tunisian Crochet.

What are you (or hope to be if you’re just starting out!) best known for as a designer? Since I’m just getting started, I’m hoping to be know for approachable designs that elevate one’s already acquired skills. I love how modern crochet has become and I want to help propel that along with clean lines, interesting textures, and creative design elements.

What yarns do you prefer? I love designing with DK yarn. I think it provides an excellent drape to speed ratio! I tend to gravitate towards merino and merino blends. I have also been known to grab some super bulky yarn and make cozy accessories.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community? Outside of crocheting, I enjoy curling (yes, the sport with the brooms), cooking large meals for friends, and craft beer.

Connect with Brittany on Instagram as @knotbadbritt or on her Ravelry designer page!

Meet the Fellows: Victoria Zhong

Artboard 5In the online spheres, I’m Semicolon or SemicolonExpected. I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Science in my little hometown of NYC, a home I never intend to leave. My aesthetics is basically: if Dungeons and Dragons took place in a period drama, with a little pinch of Lovecraftian Horror. I believe that the best treasure is the friends we made along the way because the magic of friendship is the most powerful magic of all.

How did you get into knitting & designing knitwear?
I had an on & off relationship with knitting when I was a teenager; my grandmother taught me how to cast on and make knit stitches, and I used them to make weird scarves, or tiny square panels for Minecraft animals. I soon grew bored of little garter pieces and then began the off portions of my relationship with knitting. I didn’t get serious until college, where I discovered a knitting subreddit: r/knitting, and I saw all the wonderful things I could knit, all the wonderful stitches, and finished objects I could make. I was hooked – is there a more knitting appropriate pun I could use instead?

For a while, I loved knitting other people’s designs, but there was this hunger inside of me; I wanted to create my own! I want to share what I find to look pretty or cool! So, I just tried. I found that my Computer Science/programming background meshed perfectly with knitwear designing, as pattern writing is comparable to programming and there was a fair bit of logic & math behind shaping the fabric. It all just fell perfectly into place.

What type of project do you like to knit/crochet most? This is really dependent on the time of year. Sometimes I love sweaters, other times shawls, sometimes socks (usually that’s out of my system by the end of Sock Madness). I’m a fickle knitter, I don’t really have a type of project I love the most. I think the best estimate is one that has one or two difficult areas, but it’s mostly a mindless knit with an easy to remember repeating pattern.

What yarns do you prefer? I don’t have a real preference weight-wise so long as it’s between fingering and worsted. If every fiber could work for every project, I think I’d have to say I like working with silk and cashmere the most. Second to that would be something with Stellina or Lurex in it because I like sparkles. I think a sparkly Cashmere would be my favorite.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community? What aren’t my hobbies? I love video games, Dungeons and Dragons, collecting fountain pens and stationery. Magic the Gathering, I dabbled in embedded systems like Arduinos and Raspberry Pis — it was a bit of an expensive hobby to maintain.

Connect with Victoria on Instagram as @semiknitting or on Ravelry!