18 Aug Meet the Makers: Andrea Mowry of DreaRenee Knits
We’re so happy to have Andrea Mowry of DreaRenee Knits joining us on the JPKS blog today to talk about her work–just as we reach the zenith of our Find Your Fade Shawl Knitalong (though it’s never too late to join in)!
Andrea is the talented designer behind this incredibly popular and beautiful pattern, among many others with a contemporary, but nuanced appeal that have found an ever-growing and enthusiastic reception on the knitting scene. She embraces a passionate use of color and form while striking a satisfying balance between relaxing knitting (or, as we think of it, the holy grail of “wine + tv friendly” knitting) with techniques that help knitters grow in confidence and expertise. Really though, what more could you want?!
Kate: Thanks so much for joining us here Andrea, we’re thrilled to have you! When we hosted our first knitalong here at JPKS, it just happened to be your FunFunFun Shawl which was a big hit! And now, two years later, it’s great to be working with another DreaReneeKnits pattern, the Find Your Fade Shawl that took the internets by storm this past year. We love that both strike such a balance between interesting/relaxed knitting and a great wearability factor. As the popularity of your work has grown, how has the knitting community’s influenced or inspired what you design or how you compose it?
Andrea: I am so thrilled to have another pattern as part of your KAL! Thank you! The amazing response from Find Your Fade has definitely inspired more “Faded” pieces in my work! It is so much fun and so inspiring for me to play with color, so I am ecstatic that other knitters love it, too!! I’ve got at least 3 more faded patterns coming out this year 🙂
A: I am finishing up a faded cardigan right now using my very own colorway from La Bien Aimee called Drea! It has been so much fun, and well – I just can’t wait to wear it!! I’ve really been loving designing more garments, so am definitely focusing on that, but I’ve also always got a shawl on my needles!
A selection of Andrea’s designs, clockwise from upper left: So Faded, Sheltered Poncho, FunFunFun Shawl, and Go! Hat.
K: We love seeing that you teach alongside designing as we’re big fans of supplying knitters with approachable education in addition to all the yarny goodness. Can you give us some insight into what your teaching philosophy is like?
A: I was heavily influenced by Elizabeth Zimmerman when I first started knitting. Her books made me feel like a capable knitter who could tackle anything I wanted! My biggest goal when teaching is to impart that same empowerment to my students. I hope that they leave feeling inspired and motivated and maybe even itching to step a little bit out of their comfort zone whether it be with a new stitch pattern or some exciting color!
K: Ok, everyone in the shop wants me to tell you that you have some of the best knitwear photos! Do you have any tips for capturing such great shots?
A: Wow – thank you!! That means so much to me!! I don’t think I can take too much credit, as my husband, Peter, is the genius behind the camera! I will say we almost only shoot on overcast days, as that really gives us the best result with lighting and showing gorgeous stitch definition!
K: I’m a Michigan born and raised girl myself so I was delighted to see you are as well! How has moving back home influenced your career and life in the knitting community?
A: Yay! I love meeting other Michiganders! Before moving back to Michigan I lived in Austin and LA, so getting back to the cooler weather has been amazing and definitely upped my knitting output! I also feel like it helps me stayed balanced as a knitter, being able to design for all the different seasons!
A: To be honest, I think for me the most important thing is to have my yarn out where I can see it! I used to be a baker, and I feel the same way in my kitchen. If you pack away your food processor in the back of a cupboard, you aren’t ever going to use it. It is too easy to forget about it or not want to put in the effort to dig it out. So I keep all of my knitting tools – yarn, needles, books, and notions, super accessible! I find being able to look at it all keeps me so inspired, and using what I have invested in!
K: We also love peeking inside the workbags of different makers to see what their favorite go-to tools are. What special notions do you keep on hand?
A: I actually did a whole blog post about this, because I am totally obsessed with the tools I love! Among my must haves are the cocoknits row counter, a sharp pair of scissors, lantern moon sheep measuring tape (which I have had since I began knitting!), and my chibi tapestry needle holder! And don’t even get me started on my obsession with pens and notebooks!
K: And because we ask all our staff this, we’re dying to know, what three words/people/things describe you best?
A: LOL – this is hard! I think my family would say – shy, colorful, and indecisive 🙂