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  • March’s Designer of the Month – Chelsea Berkompas
  • Post author
    Josh Hutchison

March’s Designer of the Month – Chelsea Berkompas

2016 is the "Year of the Designer" for Feel Good Yarn Company.  The first Thursday of every month we will feature an interview with one of our favorite knitwear designers and the following week we will release a pattern designed exclusively for our SilverSpun® yarn by that designer.

On March 10, 2016 we will be releasing the pattern that Chelsea designed using SilverSpun® Sport to our subscribers.  Be sure to sign up here so you don't miss it.

Chelsea Berkompas, from Chelsea Berkompas Designs , is our March Designer of the Month. Chelsea is an artist-turned-knitwear-designer who loves making loops of yarn into compelling designs that are just as enjoyable to knit as to wear.  You can find her on Instagram , Ravelry, and www.thewoolproject.com .

And with that, I give you Chelsea....

Can you give us a little background intel on yourself? Where were you born? Do you still live there? How long have you been knitting? Who taught you to knit?

I was born in Middleton, TN, however, I only lived there for the first 6 weeks of my life, so I always feel like that hardly counts! I have lived all the rest of my life in Washington State and feel very lucky to call such a beautiful place home.

I have been knitting for almost 8 years now. Growing up, my mom (who is an amazing knitter) was always trying to get me to knit and I would have absolutely none of it. Knitting was just not cool enough for my homeschooled 16-year-old self. My creative outlet for many years was art – watercolors, oil paints, pencil, pen and ink, you name it! After my first child was born, I realized just how challenging it would be to continue my art. I didn’t have room in our first little house to spread out my artwork for days on end like I used to, and with a new baby, I couldn’t easily jump between taking care of her needs and drawing or painting. So swallowing my pride, I asked my mom to teach me to knit. After she picked herself up off the floor from laughing, she did-and I haven’t put the needles down since! I transitioned fairly quickly from knitting other people’s patterns to designing my own, partly because I just couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to knit and partly because I’ve always enjoyed creating my own art with paintbrush and paper; why not do the same with needles and yarn?

Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair?

Fast forward to present and I am now a mom to 3 wonderful children with one more on the way in June. In truth, one of the most attractive things to me about knitting is how easily it can be picked up and put down. I homeschool our kids, so the majority of my day is spent teaching and spending time with them and much of that time I am also knitting. My knitting and designing goes with me wherever I am needed at that particular time, however, it is most often in our living room. We are a bit cramped for space at the moment, so my “office” ismy coffee table and couch. In truth, as much as I’d love a studio space (or even a whole room!) someday, having a small space helps me stay organized and on task with my designs. Usually you can find me during naptime with a cup of coffee curled up on the couch with my “sheep” (as we all lovingly call my Icelandic fleece), jotting down notes on my favorite moleskine notebooks and knitting away.

Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art, what?

I am most inspired by nature or the yarn itself and the creative process of turning that yarn into something unique. The PNW is a gorgeous place and there is no end to inspiration when you look around outside. My husband and I love camping, backpacking and hiking and many of my designs come from those trips and experiences. But also, because of my art background, I am often inspired simply by the color and texture of the yarn itself and love creating something with that yarn that shows it off in the best way possible.

Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn't have to be knitwear designers)?

My favorite designers are the ones who are truly passionate about their work and who really think outside the box. Bristol Ivy is a truly inspiring designer and I love seeing how she just thinks differently about achieving a certain shape or texture in her design work. I also absolutely love Annie Rowden and Ashley Yousling’s commitment to natural dyes and yarns and their passion for telling the often unheard stories of the wool industry.

What is it about designing that gets you to jump out of bed (or in your case, maybe stay put) every morning and grab the needles?

I love the mental challenge of designing. As any mom of young children will tell you, you do start to get a bit of “mom brain” after re-reading all the Dr. Seuss day after day! Even though my kids are in school now and are entering the age of having more in depth conversations, I feel like designing really helps me keep my mind sharp. I also love interacting with the knitting community about the creative process of knitting and inspiring other knitters to try new things and grow their own skills and knowledge.

What do you have on your needles right now?

Currently I am designing a three-colored lace shawl inspired by the much anticipated blooms of springtime in Julie Asselin’s gorgeous new worsted weight yarn, Nurtured. I also have a sweet baby cardigan for my new little one knit in Woolfolk Tynd – baby knits are like candy to me and I seem to always have one on the needles for somebody!

While designing your piece for FGYCo, what qualities of SilverSpun® did you find most appealing?

My favorite thing about SilverSpun® was how different it is from any other cotton yarn I’ve ever knit with. It is so soft and has such incredible elasticity, it almost feels like wool rather than cotton! Plus, it has silver in it and that is just plain awesome!

Do you have any other passions besides knitting?

As my husband would tell you, I am interested in just about everything and very passionate about “a few” things in particular. I love gardening, farming and raising animals (and kids!). I love creating just about anything and have recently picked up drawing once again. I love yoga and spending time outdoors especially with family and friends. I have an even longer list of “things to try someday” and I am certain, no matter how long I live, I will never be bored!

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On March 10, 2016 we will be releasing the pattern that Chelsea designed using SilverSpun® Sport to our subscribers.  Be sure to sign up here so you don't miss it.

  • Post author
    Josh Hutchison