The Knitwear Designers
While I like to think that both sides of my brain are functional, I have come to the conclusion that the left side is dominant. This is not all bad - science and math did not strike fear into my heart at university; emotional stability (not the same thing as boring) has its advantages; and I can usually get my head around complicated knitting techniques without too much difficulty.
But I am the first to admit that creativity is not my strongest suit. While this would seem to be a decided disadvantage for someone who hopes to earn their livelihood in knitwear designs, to quote a line from a once popular Beatles song - "I get by with a little help from my friends". In this case, I have had the good fortune of knowing and working with some very talented knitwear designers. Their work is featured in our custom knitting kits where they have worked with our Soft Touch yarns to create interesting garments using a range of knitting techniques. We also carry some of their designs as separate custom knitting patterns.
If you want to learn more about this talented group of individuals, we have provided a short bio on each, as well as links to their websites where appropriate.
Deb and Lynda Gemmel (view their creations)
After several summers of sitting on the deck of their “cabin” by the lake, knitting and speculating about owning a small business, the Gemmell sisters (Deb and Lynda) decided to put the two together and opened the Cabin Fever studio in September 1997. They have gradually expanded the business to include yarns (with a focus on cotton), knitting kits based upon their own designs, book and pattern publishing and the writing and publishing of their own excellent patterns. They attend many of the same shows that we do, and have an extensive wholesale as well as a retail business. We have developed a good relationship with them - we carry their patterns to sell with our yarns, and they carry our yarns to sell with their patterns. Deb and Lynda can be reached at
D34 – 256 Hughes Road
Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Elizabeth Falllone (view her creations)
Elizabeth gives the credit for her “Gram", who taught her how to knit before she started school. Her love for good fibre and well constructed garments in a classical style, comes from her work experience in retail promotion at a high-end clothing retailer in Toronto, and from her formal education in Retail Management/Promotion. The Fallone household is a busy place with four children and her husband's demanding business. She finds the feel of yarn very soothing for her hectic life style. Throughout the day she will always find time to knit. At the local fair in Barrie (north of Toronto), Elizabeth won 1st place awards for Most Original design, Aran techniques, and children’s intarsia original design. She has no favourite styles of sweaters working with Aran, Norwegian Cut and Sew and Modular Knitting she is adept at all techniques and fanatical about proper finishing of her projects. In designing Elizabeth loves to visualize a creation, and then see it come to life. Often she will have three or more projects on the go at the same time, preferring to knit in the round or back and forth on circular needles. Being one of the founders of The Barrie Knitter Guild, she found she was in demand to instruct at both the Barrie and North York Regional Guilds. This led to teaching at weekend retreats and at knitting shows in Canada and the U.S. Locally she has held classes at the yarn shops. Her teaching ability is available for both hand and machine knitting.
J C Briar (view her creations)
J C Briar of J C Briar Knitting is an accomplished knitting designer and teacher. A self-professed technique freak or skill junkie, J C not only collects knitting techniques, but she is constantly seeking to develop new ways of doing things better. She prefers to use natural fibre yarns, and we are really pleased that she had started using some of our yarns in her designs. From test-knitting her gorgeous Molly design, I very much appreciate the detail that goes into her instructions and charts. I am more of a colour knitter than a cable knitter, but I had no trouble following her pattern.
Lucy Neatby (view her creations)
Lucy started knitting with ever-increasing enthusiasm as a teenager, and then knitted her way across the seven seas with the British Merchant Navy as a navigating officer on cargo ships and oil tankers. After eight years of the salty life, Lucy came ashore in South Wales, where the arrival of three children was interspersed with ever more challenging knitting. When husband John (also a seafarer) was transferred in the early 1990’s to Halifax, Lucy agreed to move, but only after first ascertaining that Halifax did indeed have a good yarn shop. It was at this shop that she first began giving knitting classes, and discovered the joy of sharing techniques and passions with people who did not feel that her delight in a wonderful skein of yarn was unnatural! A subsequent series of happy accidents ( a hand-me-down computer, the challenge to "knit a sweater to express my ancestry" from a friend) led to the designing of sweaters with a meaning attached to all the design elements included. It suddenly became clear that all those years of knitting were practice for a new vocation: designing very special knitting patterns, giving workshops, and developing a wide range of educational materials. Tradewind Knitwear Designs was born!
Lucy has grown to be one of the most in-demand teachers in North America. In the past few years she has also developed perhaps the definitive series of knitting instructional DVD’s. There were 10 titles of her very professionally produced disks at last count, but more under production all of the time. I consider myself a very experienced knitter, but have learned a lot from her DVD’s – even the ones dealing with basic techniques.
One of our happiest accidents was a request from Lucy to try our yarns soon after she moved to Canada. Our first design and kit (Rainbow Sheep Sweater) was by Lucy, and although she has since taken on a much broader range of design and teaching activities, w continue to work closely with her. We also sell a full range of her custom patterns in addition to the kits developed from her designs. Her enthusiasm for her craft, and her combined skills as artist, technician and teacher makes her a joy to work with. Her kits are not easy to produce (colours upon colours), but even test knitting her preliminary designs has been a learning experience for me. Try one of her designs, courses or one or more of her excellent instructional DVD’s – to say they are inspirational is no overstatement!
Maureen Mason-Jamieson (view her creations)
Maureen is a native of British Columbia, but came east to attend, and eventually graduate from the Fashion Design and Merchandising programme at Ryerson University in Toronto. While she learned to knit at twelve years old, she concentrated on sewing for a long time. She ran her own small business sewing for others, and also taught sewing. When her children were born however, she took up knitting in earnest, looking for an activity that was portable - one that could be picked up in idle moments and dropped when "Mommy" was needed. Her children are now grown-up, but she is still knitting.
She has been interested in all types of colour knitting, but particularly enjoys modular knitting. She attended a workshop with Horst Schulz in October, 1999, and assisted Mr. Schulz in his workshop for the Toronto Downtown Knit Collective in October, 2000. She conducts workshops in modular and other knitting techniques. She taught for Toronto-area guilds and the Canadian Sewing and Needlework Festival, and was a guest instructor at Shirl the Purl's Knit-With-Us in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in June 2001. Her appetite for teaching whetted, she has now gone on to be a regular at all three of the Stitches events in the U.S. annually, as well as a very in-demand guest workshop leader at various guild events across North America.
Besides her design work with us, Maureen has also had designs published in Knitters' Magazine and other publications. Maureen's business is called Kinver Beach Knitwear Designs, and working with her son Jack, has developed an excellent website where she provides information and markets her custom patterns and knitting kits that she has developed in collaboration with us. Maureen continues to develop a few custom patterns/kits with us each year. She is a joy to work with – careful attention to detail combined with a great sense of humour.