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 January 14, 2016 we will be releasing the pattern that Courtney designed using SilverSpun® Sport to our subscribers. Be sure to sign up here so you don't miss it.
Courtney Spainhower, from Pink Brutus Knits, kicks off the year for us and we couldn't be more honored. Courtney is a prolific designer, mom, wife and now author. She has just recently released her first book, Family-Friendly Knits. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter and Ravelry, as well as at her website.
And with that, I give you Courtney....
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 a tiny town called Fairplay, CO. My parents lived in a small cabin in a gulch and my mother had initially wanted a home birth. Her doctor was out of town when she went into labor, so they had to hike up the gulch to their car and head to the closest town. I was born in a retirement home which was the closest place with medically trained staff.
My parents left their mountain home when I was a couple years old and returned to their families in North Chicago. We lived there until I was in my early teens and we came to Indianapolis for my father’s work in the racing industry. I’ve been here on and off since.
I cast on my first stitch in 2006 and was mostly self-taught. I learned everything from either books or YouTube videos.
Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair?
I’m notorious for sprawling my work all over the house. I do have a small “office area” that houses the majority of my tools, samples, and yarn – it’s in the lower level of the house where natural light is rare and fleeting. All of my computer work is done there, however it’s no surprise to find a wet sweater in the bathroom, a pile of yarn in the living room, swatches sprawled on the kitchen counters, and notebooks stacked up on the night stand. Cozied up in bed is definitely my choice knitting spot.
Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art, what?
I take inspiration from everywhere. I do a lot of publication work for magazines or book contributions so I rely on my editor’s theme for a lot of my pieces, merging it with patterns or techniques I feel are well-suited to the concept. It can also be something as simple as seeing a sweater in a movie and thinking, ‘Oh my goodness – that’s exactly the edging I’ve been dreaming of for that neckline!’
Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn't have to be knitwear designers)?
This is a tough one. Because I love so many various mediums, I have traveling obsessions. Right now I’m in love with Silvia Song’s Indigo-dyed bowls. Wood and clay are mediums I miss dearly and so I get a little fill from her right now.
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’m a bit of a workaholic and having idle hands makes me crazy. That’s really the core of what drives me. I come at design from a lot of different angles and so I may have a shape or collection of stitches I’m itching to put together and it will haunt me until I sketch and swatch.
What do you have on your needles right now?
I’m currently working on an Imperial Yarn kit review which is always fun. The reviews I do are my break from the grind and sometimes it’s a refreshing change to follow the path rather than carve it. I’m also working on a pattern for Berroco, a pattern for Kettle Yarn Co, and about four proposals which means swatches, swatches, and more swatches. All of my holiday knitting is finished and so I’m actually considering knitting myself something! (It won’t happen. Ha!)
While designing your piece for FGYCo, what qualities of SilverSpun® did you find most appealing?
I did a review of the SilverSpun® Sock a while back and loved the versatility the elastic brings to the cotton straight away, especially because I don’t typically love cotton as a knitting fiber. Again and again I came back to that fascinating elasticity that transforms a fickle fiber into a deliciously soft, versatile and altogether satisfying strand of yarn.
Do you have any other passions besides knitting?
I was a ceramicist and print maker in another life. I also did some wood work and jewelry casting. Knit design became a quick passion because it was the only medium with two small children in the house that I could work on in the living room and didn’t involve dangerous tools or volatile substances.
On January 14, 2016 we will be releasing the pattern that Courtney designed using SilverSpun® Sport to our subscribers. Be sure to sign up here so you don't miss it. And believe me, you don't want to miss it. It's a stunner!