Knitting Contrissmas: Day 20: Robyn Schrager

Day 20, we’re getting so close to the end of Knitting Contrissmas! This means that I have fewer and fewer days to knit those beensy weensy gauge Fair Isle fingerless mitts too, sigh!

WINNER of Natalie Servant’s latest .pdf pattern, “Deco Raindrops” is CAROLYN!

Today we have the privilege of hanging out with Robyn Schrager, knitter, designer, yarn shop partner, magazine contributor and self-professed “pattern savant”. (Which I have tried when describing to her any pattern she always knows the title and designer!!!) You’ll love spending time with Robyn!

She is giving away a Kirkwood Knitery Tote Bag with patterns from the Overtures Collection as well as some yarny surprises! Yay! The random generator will choose a number from the comments at Midnight CST December 26th!

KC: Thanks so much Robyn  for taking the time to hang out with us a little bit! You’re one of my favorite accomplished knitters, a generous and thoughtful teacher of knittery and crochetery, a LYS co-owner, a contributor to Creative Knitting Magazine and a designer making your mark in the yarn world! My first question is what is your favorite piece of the pie?

RS: How flattering it is to be included in this talented group!  Thanks for thinking of me.

Kirkwood Knittery

RS: Teaching is probably my favorite from the list above, specifically, I love it when the mantle of wisdom descends upon a student (a phrase from my old geometry teacher, Bill Marsoun), and she not only understands something new, but feels more empowered to unlock her own creativity.  Too many women come into the shop believing themselves “too dumb” to calculate gauge, adjust a neckline, follow a chart, do cables or lace, etc. If even one woman feels better about herself when she leaves my class, then my day has been a success.

Clementine Cloche

KC: Then of course, what are your tips to squeeze in more time to be creative? Especially now, we are all pushed to the limits trying to make time out of none—– any thoughts?

RS: I don’t waste time putting away laundry. I don’t play games online or on the phone. I try to only watch TV with a project in my hands.

Configurations Cowl

KC: Your designs are growing in number (so exciting!) What was that path like?

RS: As far back as I can remember, I’ve never worked a pattern exactly as written, but I only recently considered that I was already “designing.”  As my adaptations became more extensive I realized that I no longer needed the framework of a published pattern, but could start entirely from scratch by myself.  It’s only been the last few years that I’ve been writing the designs so others could make them, too.  Winning a design competition from Skacel Yarns (Cross Hatch Wrap) was the first step in considering myself as a professional. I’m fortunate to have Kirkwood Knittery to display my projects, and to stock such fabulous yarns.

Diamonds are Forever Infinity Shawl

KC: Do you have a favorite pattern you’ve created??? Or is that like choosing one child over another?

RS: I made a sweater for my step-mother’s birthday a few years ago (Not So Wicked Stepmother Sweater) which features a knitted bodice and a crocheted lace skirt, which is one of my favorites.  It hasn’t been written yet, but I love the way it turned out. Clementine Cloche is my favorite hat, and I have a bolero pattern coming out as part of the spring collection of one of my favorite yarn companies (still a secret) which is my current favorite.

Tam's Tam

KC: What comes first the yarn or the pattern?

RS: Usually a stitch pattern, or shape or construction technique comes first, then I have the fun of  choosing the perfect yarn to allow the pattern to take shape.  Sometimes though, the yarn comes first, especially with a highly textured or mathematically dyed yarn.

 

EntreLoops Cardi/Vest

KC: You are wonderfully creative and seemingly inspired by many things. Tell me, what does your process of inspiration look like?

RS: It begins with a purpose:  class project, sample of a new yarn for sale, submission for publication, or purely personal for me.  Then it involves a lot of stitchionary page-turning, followed by an incredible amount of swatching and frogging.  Then there’s math and graph paper. Finally, there’s the knitting or crocheting, and the writing. In conclusion, there’s the celebratory libations.

KC: There are so many talented people in the world of knit and crochet— who is it that particularly inspires you?

RS: My Great Aunt Sarah (who recently died at age 100) taught me to knit and crochet, and was my greatest inspiration as a child. I still remember her beautiful work. Of course I am always inspired and awed by my talented business partner and design mentor, Brooke Nico. There are many more, too numerous to name without offending someone I inadvertently left out!

Greentrelac Beret

KC: Of your many accomplishments in 2011, which one stands out to you?

RS: I first dreamed of owning a yarn shop in the early 1980s, so becoming a partner in Kirkwood Knittery is truly a dream come true.  The only thing that would make it better would be to find someone to pay me to watch soap operas and read cozy murder mysteries!

KC: Are you making any handmade gifts this year?

RS: A number of years ago we stopped giving gifts, and instead make charitable contributions, particularly in the arts in St. Louis.

Habu Cocktail Shawl

KC: Do you read any blogs in the creative community?

RS: I often read specific blog entries when a friend directs me, and my Google Reader subscribes to about a dozen sites.  The reality, however, is that I am not comfortable reading a screen for very long.  My pleasure reading is all from actual books and magazines, and only my referential reading is primarily online. My New Year’s Resolution is to update my own blog more often – maybe this year I will really do it!

Lacy Muffler

KC: You’re  very active on Ravelry, what is your“name” there and how do you see Ravelry continuing to grow into a role as  the place for knitters and crocheters?

RS: I am rms on Ravelry, one of my favorite time-sucking websites.  I confess to being a ravelry heart-tart – I used to send thank you notes to everyone who added one of my projects to their faves. Now I simply revel in ravelry’s great gifts to stitchers everywhere. The community is always inspiring, and so generous with their time and expertise and good humor.

 KC: You’re  an avid knitter and crocheter—- is one more favored than the other?

RS: My time is filled approximately 2/3 knitting and 1/3 crocheting, but I prefer to crochet.  Single crochet through the back loop is my calming, meditative activity – it never fails to restore my spirit.

Mardi Gras Hairpin Seduction

KC: The past year has been a big one for you, what is coming in 2012? Please share with us some of your upcoming news!

RS: I’m afraid a lot of the highlights still are being kept secret.  I am looking forward to traveling more, beginning with TNNA in Phoenix, and VK Live in New York City.

KC: What words do you have for your many fans in the world of all things YARN? For those knitters and crocheters who follow you (and are about to)?

RS: Always do a gauge swatch.  Always work a selvedge edge. Get a comfortable, supportive chair. Get up out of the comfortable chair every 30 minutes to walk around and stretch. Be your own cheerleader, and don’t point out your stitching mistakes.

 

KC: You teach a wonderful class for beginning knitters, what advise do you have for knitters (beginning and otherwise) to stay on track and achieve success?

RS: You must practice every day until the muscle memory is fully developed. Then, choose projects you really want to do, in yarn you really want to work – if you don’t, you’ll never finish it. If you do, you’ll manage to acquire the necessary skills for success.

 KC: Thanks so much Robyn, we look forward to the many exciting things that are coming your way in the next year!

Remember to comment by Midnight CST on December 26th to win a Kirkwood Knitery Tote Bag with patterns from the Overtures Collection as well as some yarny surprises!

 

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35 Comments

  1. Posted December 20, 2011 at 6:54 AM by Francis Berryhill | Permalink

    I wish I was at Kirkwood. I agree with her about folding laundry.
    Francis

  2. Posted December 20, 2011 at 7:16 AM by melissa | Permalink

    Robyn rocks! Love her designs!!

  3. Posted December 20, 2011 at 7:24 AM by Diane | Permalink

    Great interview with my shared birthday girl. And congrats Robyn!!

  4. Posted December 20, 2011 at 10:53 AM by Carol | Permalink

    I am a new knitter. How I wish I lived near “Kirkwood Knittery”. I have so many questions and want to try many things, but have no one to help me. It seems like a great place to knit.

  5. Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:27 AM by Sheila | Permalink

    If she ever finds someone to pay her to read cozy murder mysteries, can she pass on the contact info to apply? Cuz that’s my dream job too.

  6. Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:49 AM by Chris | Permalink

    Wow, what an amazing person and designer!

  7. Posted December 20, 2011 at 12:15 PM by Anna | Permalink

    I love the greentrelac hat! It may get me to try entrelac finally!

  8. Posted December 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM by Savannagal | Permalink

    Thanks for another terrific interview. I was not familiar with Robyn, but I’m going to check out her patterns now. Happy holidays!

  9. Posted December 20, 2011 at 12:49 PM by Maggie | Permalink

    Congrats, Robyn, on the interview. Love your patterns.

  10. Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:02 PM by Heather | Permalink

    Yay! Love you Robyn. You are my favorite knit-lebrity!

  11. Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:26 PM by Kellyl | Permalink

    Great designs!!

  12. Posted December 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM by Holly | Permalink

    congratulations to Robyn! A talented, intelligent, and intellectual woman–and also a fun gal!

  13. Posted December 20, 2011 at 2:17 PM by reola | Permalink

    I took a class with rms and she is very patient…didn’t mind repeating until I got it.

  14. Posted December 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM by Chantelle | Permalink

    Kirkwood Knittery looks like an amazing place….

  15. Posted December 20, 2011 at 2:44 PM by pawdua | Permalink

    Yeah, Robin, So glad to see you getting the recognition you deserve. Plus you promote wonderful crochet.

  16. Posted December 20, 2011 at 4:38 PM by terri | Permalink

    Great interview! Her designs are beautiful!

  17. Posted December 20, 2011 at 5:00 PM by BigAshDog | Permalink

    I LOVE Robyn.

    I am still determined that once I meet the right yarn, I’ll make that wonderful Habu Cocktail Shawl and the incredibly flattering Bambloom Beanie.

    http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bambloom-beanie

  18. Posted December 20, 2011 at 5:00 PM by Jean | Permalink

    Congratulations, Robyn! A great interview and patterns shown. You are one talented gal!

  19. Posted December 20, 2011 at 6:08 PM by Karen | Permalink

    Such a celebrated, wonderful knitter/designer/friend. Now all the blog readers will know what a treasure you are :)

  20. Posted December 20, 2011 at 11:49 PM by Margaret | Permalink

    Definitely a fun person to be around and a wonderful knitting instructor. She actually taught me to knit backwards … although I may have to take a refresher course!

  21. Posted December 21, 2011 at 2:57 AM by Tricia | Permalink

    I’m so impressed with Robyn’s designs!

  22. Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:31 AM by Tammi Schrager | Permalink

    Considering Robyn is my sister/
    yes, everyone who knows her is lucky
    and what a fantastic sister
    Plus designer.
    Finally getting the kudos.
    I love you Robyn
    Tammi Schrager
    Humble forensic therapist in Austin Tx.!!!

  23. Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM by Kathleen | Permalink

    I love her designs! And I really like the idea of local charitable donations in lieu of gifts.

  24. Posted December 21, 2011 at 11:42 AM by Denise | Permalink

    I had a chance to visit Kirkwood Knittery recently. The staff was extremely helpful, and I found some really nice yarn for my project. I didn’t realize until now that many of the display items are your original designs.

  25. Posted December 21, 2011 at 2:59 PM by KittenWithAWhiplash | Permalink

    The beautiful Lacy Muffler makes me realise how much I miss being able to crochet, but inspires me to create a similar look in kniting. Bet of luck on your mitts, and thanks so much for all the splendid giveaways.

    • Posted December 24, 2011 at 8:14 AM by Robyn Schrager | Permalink

      The Lacy Muffler inspired me, too! This design actually belongs to Robyn Chachula, one of my favorite crochet designers. I worked this almost a dozen times, in different yarns with a few modifications, and taught a class in it when it was first published in Interweave Crochet. I love to work designs in both crochet and knitted versions.

  26. Posted December 22, 2011 at 5:57 AM by lynette milles | Permalink

    Thanks Robin for being there for us. I really like your designs. I must learn to do more crochet. Its reallly beautiful.

  27. Posted December 22, 2011 at 11:43 AM by Lennette Daniels | Permalink

    This is a great interview and the photos are awesome

  28. Posted December 22, 2011 at 2:41 PM by Anne Lorri | Permalink

    I love the Mardi Gras Hairpin Seduction! Robin’s designs are beautiful.

  29. Posted December 22, 2011 at 6:19 PM by Kira | Permalink

    This is the first time I’ve read the blog–found it through Jackie’s podcast (Positively Overcommitted). Love it!

  30. Posted December 22, 2011 at 8:17 PM by Suellen | Permalink

    Oh how I wish I lived close to the knittery – what fun I could have!!!

  31. Posted December 23, 2011 at 10:14 AM by Jenn | Permalink

    OMG, her work is so fabulous it makes me salivate – seriously!

  32. Posted December 24, 2011 at 6:18 AM by Roni sher Barbuto | Permalink

    Robyn’s work is amazing. Her designs are professiona and always seem to have a fun element. I love knitting but lately Robyn’s work is tempting me to try crochet. Do I dare?

  33. Posted December 25, 2011 at 11:25 PM by Cat | Permalink

    I love that Cardi Vest…. so AWESOME

  34. Posted December 26, 2011 at 6:59 PM by Beth Wilkinson | Permalink

    Great Patterns! I especially like the configurations cowl! Looks like a great project to get my knitting addiction restarted!

One Trackback

  1. By Knitting Contrissmas: Day 23: Brooke Nico on December 23, 2011 at 4:19 AM

    […] a lot of swatching and ripping before I hit on a combination that works! (My business partner, Robyn Schrager, will attest to the amount of ripping I do.) It usually takes about 3 days of swatching before I […]

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