Designer Interview & Review Series featuring Janet Brani
Throughout 2015 I had planned to do one designer interview and review each month. With our move and then my knee surgery, I put this series on hold for the summer, but am now returning to it.
Each month I will feature one industry designer, ask them some questions, and then I will actually make something from one of their patterns and do a review of the pattern.
For September I am featuring Janet Brani from OneLoopShy Designs. Last fall I received my issue of Interweave Crochet (Fall 2014 issue) and I fell in love with the Canyon Cowl. I started it right away but sometimes I have too many projects going on and, well…. let’s just say it sat for a LONG time. When we moved this summer I made a decision that I was going to finish this scarf – along with my other UFO’s. I was just about done when I decided to look up the designer and ask her if I could do an interview with her along with a review of the pattern. Imagine my surprise when I looked at Janet’s shop only to realize that I already owned a couple more of her patterns! As I looked through her designs I realized she has so many more designs that I would use/wear. I love when a designer just resonates with me and I can see their style in everything they do!
Kristine (Me): How did you get started designing?
Janet: I worked for several years at a yarn shop, and a good friend and coworker encouraged me to write out the patterns I created for my crochet students. I began submitting to magazines after attending a CGOA conference, where I was able to meet with several magazine editors and take classes from published designers. There was no one time where I thought “I want to be a crochet designer” . . . it just evolved rather organically. And, fortunately for me, at a time when crochet was resurfacing as the hot trend it is!
Kristine: Do you remember the first pattern you ever designed?
Janet: I’m pretty sure it was my “Nine-to-Five Convertible Cowl”, which is a free pattern on my Ravelry site. The purpose for this pattern was to use one skein of a silk/wool blend for a simple cowl that my beginning crochet students could do.
Kristine: Where do you get your design inspiration from?
Janet: I love to browse through the catalogs I get in the mail (Sundance, Anthropologie) and enjoy looking in the trendy shops at the mall (Lucky, Free People, etc.) I have a huge folder of pages I’ve torn from fashion magazines and a big, system-crashing file of photos I’ve saved on my Mac over the years.
Kristine: How long between when you first have an idea to the finished pattern being released?
Janet: I would love to know the answer to this one! I don’t track how much time I spend on any one design (it would probably be a bit depressing!) and I tend to have multiple projects in the works. Releasing a pattern now, with all the digital options available (I sell on Ravelry, Craftsy, Etsy and LoveKnitting/Crochet) is so easy to do. My biggest stumbling blocks are photography and editing . . . there’s always one more thing I want to tweak or change. (I agree with Janet on this! The amount of hours designers spend on new designs from beginning to end is staggering!)
Kristine: What makes your designs unique?
Janet: For most of my designs, I work hard to achieve a look and drape that is usually associated with knitwear. So, I avoid some of the typical stitch patterns and incorporate techniques such as slip stitch, tunisian, and linked stitches (my current obsession). I love it when a knitter asks what size “needles” I used for one of my samples!
Kristine: Any advice to crocheters that want to keep their work fresh and exciting?
Janet: Try some wonderful natural fiber yarns, especially in the smaller sizes . . . lace, fingering and dk weights. Size up your hook and then see what magic happens when you block your project! Reserved Seating Wrap, Surround Sound, and Countervail are patterns of mine with simple stitches that block out looking like lace. (I’ve linked to those patterns for those that would like to check them out.)
Kristine: Favorite part of designing?
Janet: The crocheting!
Kristine: Least favorite part of the designing?
Janet: The pattern writing!
Kristine: Favorite yarn?
Janet: Anzula Yarns “Cricket”, Phydeaux Yarns “Soie”
Kristine: Do you have a crochet “hero” or someone you look up to in the industry?
Janet: I will always be grateful for my grandmother, who taught me when I was 8. She did not have any of the resources I take for granted (a library of books, youTube videos, Ravelry) yet she was so skilled, creative and best of all, eager to share her love of it with me.
For my review, I used Hobby Lobby “I Love This Yarn!” in Brown, Hot Rose, and Ivory. I’m still on my fiber diet, so I used skeins from my stash. The only thing I was cautious about was making sure I had more than enough. There’s nothing worse than running out and not being able to match the dye lot! TIP: If you’re going to substitute the yarn called for, check the yardage on the yarn label and make sure you will have enough. Read these 2 articles I’ve written for more info and help.
- 5 Tips for Substituting Yarn – overall help for choosing a different yarn
- Tips for Substituting Yarn – info based on yarn label
I love how the scarf turned out! I don’t wear a lot of pink, but it’s just the right amount so that it’s not overpowering to the overall effect. And I’m a fringe girl. I love anything with a western and/or cowgirl feel to it. The pattern was super easy to read, and once you get the pattern and color changes down you can work on it while watching tv, at your child’s sports events, etc. It’s perfect for those times when you want something to work on but don’t want to have to try to focus too much on the pattern itself. The only thing I changed was that I left my fringe at 10″, which is slightly longer than the 8″ that pattern calls for.
Because I love so many of Janet’s designs I want to make something else! There are so many to choose from but I think my favorites are her boot cuff patterns. I bought her Swift Kick Book Cuffs pattern last year, so I’m thinking that will be my next project. I’m wonder if I use the same colors as the cowl if it might make a good set? What do you think?
For more information, you can visit Janet at the links below:
If you have any questions you’d like me to ask in upcoming interviews, leave a comment and let me know. Make sure you come back next month!
Other designers in this series: