Meet Lisa Ellis! Lisa has been teaching knitting for over 8 years in LYS’s, Knitting Guilds, and several large venues. She has 2 knitting books with Leisure Arts and is a contributing designer to over a dozen books and magazines. She just began writing “How To” articles for a few magazines. In addition to owning a wholesale knitwear pattern line, she has designed for several yarn companies to include Cascade yarns, Simply Shetland, Fiesta yarns and Frog Tree yarns.
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What was the catalyst that took you from knitter to designer?
While I was studying in Europe, I re-learned how to knit by my Spanish host mom. While there, she never measured anything, never wrote down any stitch count, any measurement, nothing. She would simply hold the cardigan panel up against me and eye ball it. Then she would either tell me to keep going or decrease! And in France, a Norwegian student sat in the back of the room and knit grabbing any color she felt like and dropping others and never once looked at a pattern, a chart or any notes. This free-form knitting opened my eyes to a whole new concept of knitting!
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever knit?
Well – it’s not the strangest place – it seemed perfectly normal to us to knit with wool while we tan in the hot sun at our local waterpark while watching our kids. Hey – it’s like killing 3 birds with one stone! I will forewarn you though that our gauge became very tight as the day went on and our sweaty palms were beginning to affect our tension.
What is your biggest weakness?
I can’t sketch a design to save my life! Sketching out a design is just as crucial as knitting the design in so many ways. If you can’t relay your thought process, concept and idea to the potential publisher or yarn company, you can’t convince them to accept your design. No matter how hard I tried, my sketching looked like a child drew it. Luckily, I fell upon a fashion sketching course at the local technical college so my daughter and I signed up. We initially signed up just to “do” something together for a mother-daughter moment and it ended up being the best class I could have ever taken! I can safely say that I sketch with confidence now – and actually even like it!