Meet Our Amazing DIR Applicants

Cider & Fire knitting pattern by Tabetha Hedrick

A couple of months ago, we opened the doors to up-and-coming pattern designers to apply for our pilot Designer in Residency program. It has been an idea percolating in the back of my mind for a couple of years now. My goal of having fresh pieces to offer our customers (and give my knitting fingers a tiny bit of a break – haha!) is just a small piece of the larger hope of enabling newer designers a way to improve their skills, gain confidence, learn the ins-and-outs of broader publishing opportunities, and all with the idea of sustainability for us and them.

I am thrilled, and honored, to have been able to review the submission materials of sixteen amazing designers. Each one charmed me on video, inspired me with their backgrounds, and delighted me with their pattern ideas. In short, it was INSANELY difficult to narrow it down to the two spots we had open. No one was lacking – each designer is infused with so much energy, determination, and creativity that you can’t possibly not be uplifted.

Which is why, before we present the first two Residents in our first term, I want you to get to know everyone who applied. Visit their sites, browse their shops, and above all, savor all the beauty they bring to the world!

Agnieszka (Agnes) Pankiewicz

Agnieszka-Agnes-PankiewiczIn the late 70’s, into a lower-class working family, an objective and creative feminine soul entered the world. Named Agnieszka, she grew into an inquisitive and crafty human being. In pursuit of a better life, she ventured into an unfamiliar continent and educated herself at the University of Manitoba as a Registered Dental Hygienist. Never losing the spirit of learning, she continued by diving into a knitting/crafting world. She discovered the vast love of textiles and texture, fiber and yarn and her fingers never stopped. Being ambidextrous, and adventurous was a plus that lifted her into a passion beyond her wildest imagination. She lives happily married to a wonderful caring man named Wojtek and has 2 amazing daughters Izabela and Alexandra, not forgetting the fury pets of Harley and Edward. Her portfolio grows each day with people she loves and designs she creates.

Find Agnieszka’s work at: www.ravelry.com/designers/woolly-hooligan and follow her on FB at: facebook.com/1madknitter/

Carolyn Lisle

Carolyn-LisleCarolyn Lisle is a a self-taught knitter living in downtown Ottawa — home of the Canadian federal government, massive outdoor events in the middle of winter, and gorgeous Canadian Shield scenery. Her design concepts are sometimes connected to the local landscape; however, as a former science teacher, natural phenomena and the diversity of life on Earth are also major sources of inspiration for her. The teacher in Carolyn is also why her patterns are clearly written and full of helpful resources; she wants to make it easy for others to enjoy making the things she creates. Carolyn loves to experiment with bright colours, unique textures, and sometimes even unusual construction, but “easier than they look” is always the goal!

Find Carolyn’s work at: www.periwinkledragon.ca/patterns and follow her on IG at: @peridragon_designs.

Christine Young

Christine_M_YoungChristine is a disabled, chronically ill, white-passing, multiracial, cis female and gos by pronouns of she/her. She has loved creating things, anything and everything, since childhood. Her family may not have had a lot, but they always made the most of everything they had -from reworking hand-me-down clothes to creating something entirely new with fibers. After becoming chronically ill as an adult, knitting and crochet became very important parts of Christine’s life. She realized she may not always be in a place where she can make, but seeing and using things made during those down times keeps the spirits up. Now when she makes and designs, she keeps her disability in mind by having projects on larger needles or with meditative stitches. Christine believes there is a place for makers of all abilities and aims to design in a way that makes everyone feel seen and included.

Find Christine’s work at: www.ravelry.com/people/youngheartcollect and follow her on IG at: @youngheartcollective

David Van De Kamp

 David-Van-De-KampDavid is a knitwear designs, fibre artist, and textile historian with a great passion for historical clothing and textiles. A devout knitter since childhood, David spins, dyes, and weaves his own wool in order to keep the tradition of the crafts alive. He does not see his work as creating and selling patterns, but rather as a way to encourage and teach people the craft of knitting and thus, share his passion, love, and skills with everyone.

Find David’s work at: www.ravelry.com/designers/david-van-de-kamp and follow him on IG at: @van_de_kamp_designs

Duke of Nikko

Duke-Of-NikkoDuke Akiba (under the designer name “Duke of Nikko”) is a knitwear designer based in Memphis, Tennessee. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan. He moved to the U.S. shortly after college and established his career as a project manager in Automotive, IT Services and Banking industries. He started knitting in 2010 and released his first knitted designs in 2019. In December, 2020, he made a publication debut with “Midori Hat” in Nomadic Knits Issue 8. In February, 2021, his “Kaze Hat” design was included in Ancient Arts Fibre’s Lascaux Fine 2021 Collection. Duke enjoys colorwork knitting. He is especially interested in incorporating his Japanese heritage in his designs.

Find Duke’s work at: www.ravelry.com/designers/duke-of-nikko and follow him on IG at: @nikkoduke. Also, check out Duke’s YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/channel/UCbxjR5chx7DMLdOi7m6–cA

Francoise Danoy

Francoise DanoyFrancoise is a Franco-Māori Australian-American living in San Antonio, Texas. Her designs document her journey to connecting with her Māori heritage. She also teaches knitwear design and helps aspiring and beginner knitwear designers feel confident about publishing patterns and establishing a strong foundation in the fibre industry through her signature program, the SWATCH Studio Circle.

Find Francoise’s work at: www.arohaknits.com and follow her on IG at: @arohaknits. Check out Francoise’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyxU3tT1xdKNUZbXNGOLuOw

Jill Wolcott

Jill WolcottJill is trained as a fashion designer with a focus on garment construction and pattern making. She turned to hand knits to be able to create both the fabric and the shape. Jill is always thinking about knitted things and how to guide knitters toward a successful knitting experience. Jill’s classes blend her wealth of knitting knowledge with a sense of humor and fun.

Jill taught line development and portfolio development classes, among others, at FIDM, from 2000 to 2016. She was an award-winning faculty member. Fit is critical to Jill’s view of garment design; she teaches grading to knitwear designers and has developed sizing guidelines for industry companies. Jill has her own line of knitting patterns and eBooks. She is co-author, and illustrator, of YNotKnit: Step-by step instructions for Continental knitting and knitting basics.

Find Jill’s work at www.jillwolcottknits.com and follow her on IG at: @jillwolcottknits.

Joanne Bint

Joanne Blint - Snowy Thistle KnitsJoanne is a Scottish knitter and knitwear designer, inspired by colours and textures in the world around. After moving to Canada in 2009 and leaving a career in dentistry behind, Joanne turned to knitting as a way to stay connected to home and family. Many hours were spent on Skype calls discussing patterns and techniques with her mother and grandmother and she continued the family tradition of a handmade wardrobe for her children. Twelve years later and she’s fully immersed in the world of fibre, delighted with the posibilities of just a single skein of yarn or mixture of colour. Joanne seeks to encourage knitters to discover this same passion and create something unique.

Find Joanne’s work at: www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/joanne-bints-ravelry-store/patterns and follow her on IG at: @snowythistleknits.

Karina Sweeney

Karina SweeneyKarina Sweeney is a passionate knitter and sewist who loves to explore use of color and texture in her work. She enjoys finding new artistic expressions in fiber and fabric, and loves knitting a variety of matching sweaters for her three children. She began designing in 2020, and has released a small collection of hats that explore the use of color through leftovers! Her designs are focused on clear instruction while encouraging new techniques and bold color combinations. Karina is also a professional opera singer and music educator who teaches musical expression through opera and story telling. When not knitting, she can be found cooking, canning, running and spending time with her three children and husband.

Find Karina’s work at: www.ravelry.com/designers/karina-sweeney or www.etsy.com/shop/AHobbitsTailDesigns and follow her on IG at: @ahobbitstaildesigns.

Kate Barrios

Kate BarriosKate Barrios is a Colombian lawyer who, in her last year in university, discovered knitting. There was no coming back for her. In knitting she found herself as a creative person, eager to create beautiful knitwear and inspire others around her to do the same. She has been designing full time for the last couple of years, bringing to life her ideas that combine color and simplicity in pieces that everyone wants to wear. She spends her day-to-day life knitting, doing math for her designs, indulging her mutt, Chloe, or shaking the booty to music.

Find Kate’s work at www.katebarriosdesigns.com and follow her on IG at: @kate.barrios.designs.

Katherine Lee

Katherine LeeKatherine Lee is the Southern California based designer behind SweaterBabe knitting patterns. Ever since learning to knit and crochet when she was 8, she’s been designing and making hundreds of items, from adorable baby cardigans to gorgeous lace shawls. After a successful post-MBA career in online retailing, Katherine jumped off the conservative career path to turn her long time love for knitting and crochet into a full-time endeavor. Since then, she has self-published over 300 knitting and crochet patterns. Her designs are known for their artful combination of gorgeous lace or cable stitch patterns with modern, versatile silhouettes. Katherine has a loyal following who love her straight-forward written patterns and her skill for integrating beautiful stitch work into lovely, very wearable accessories and knitwear.

Find Katherine’s work at www.sweaterbabe.com or www.ravelry.com/designers/sweaterbabe and follow her on IG at: @sweaterbabe.

Madeleine Windsor

Madeleine WindsorMadeleine Windsor is passionate about knitting, creating, crafting excellent patterns and helping people with tips, tricks and tutorials to help them feel confident and in control of their projects. As a designer Madeleine enjoys creating elegant yet fun designs, which bring luxury to daily life. Madeleine is a lifelong scientist, with a PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge (UK), who nonetheless always loved art class. These facets of her personality combine in her attention to well thought out and logical pattern writing, with an eye for both consistency and “knitability”.

When not knitting or being nerdy, native Brit Madeleine is a homebody who loves being in the kitchen with her Italian husband (whom she married for the food! ;-) ) and three children. They recently relocated to the US from Switzerland and life always seems to be full of new adventures with and no shortage of things to do!

Find Madeleine’s work at www.madeleinewindsor.com and follow here on IG at: @kingfisherknits. Check out Madeleine’s YouTube Channel at: www.youtube.com/channel/UCZXuK5HC1vJAmrtNLb4erfw/videos.

Matt Akers

Matt AkersMatt Akers, the designer behind Makers Knitting Designs, has been a passionate knitter since picking his needles back up after a long hiatus in 2017 as a way to cope with the stress of college. Matt transitioned into designing to satisfy his curiosity of how simple knits and purls can make thousands of beautiful creations. Most of Matt’s designs can be described as a personal curiosity project. Matt’s favorite knitting tool is the ability to frog his work being able to continuously edit his work in order to make each design uniquely perfect. Outside of knitting Matt is also an avid equestrian, runner, and has a deep love for reading.

Find Matt’s work at: www.ravelry.com/designers/matt-akers and follow him on IG at: @makers_knitting. Check out Matt’s YouTube Channel at: www.youtube.com/channel/UCDzUQXn76CFuqsfZsdYhYfg.

Nina Talbot

Nina TalbotNina loves creating timeless, classic designs that inspire knitters to try new techniques and make their family heirlooms. Her inspiration comes from many sources, including artwork, nature, and every day objects. Most often, the ideas come from the colours and textures of the precious skeins collected over the years. Nina was born and raised on a beautiful coast of the Russian Far East and now lives with her husband and children in the equally beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Find Nina’s work at: www.ravelry.com/designers/nina-talbot and follow her on IG at: @knit.share.love.

Ruth Nguyen

Ruth NguyenRuth lives with her family on 60 acres in rural South Carolina. In her spare time she enjoys theology, history, and medieval literature, with a side benefit being that big fat books lie open while she knits. She loves experimenting with unique yarns and special techniques; her design style is an eclectic mix of traditional and modern with just a bit of quirkiness thrown in. As a designer, her work has appeared in publications by Knotions, WeCrochet, Quince & Co., and others. She has also successfully worked with independent dyers to produce self-published knitting and crochet patterns, which can be found on Ravelry and Lovecrafts.

Find Ruth’s work at: redearthdesignstudio.com or  www.ravelry.com/designers/ruth-nguyen and follow her on IG at: @redearthdesignstudio.

Stephanie Klauck

Stephanie KlauckStephanie lives by the words; a creative life is a happy life. She finds creativity in all aspects of her day to day life and firmly believes that doing something creative everyday fuels her soul and genuinely makes her heart happy. Rainbow is her favourite colour and If she had to pick one end, the cool tones have it. When she’s not making rainbows or playing with yarn, she’s spending time her family and camping whenever possible.

Find Stephanie’s work at: www.ravelry.com/designers/stephanie-klauck or www.etsy.com/ca/shop/TheCreativeKnitterCo and follow her on IG at: @thecreativeknitter.

Please, give these wonderful designers a visit!


About Tabetha Hedrick

Tabetha Hedrick is a knitwear designer and writer raising a family just outside the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee. As the Design Director for SweetGeorgia Yarns, her days (and heart) are filled to the brim with knitting, art, writing, editing, planning, and finding ways to put it all together. In the midst of that fibre-filled life, you'll find her living simply in the sweet spot where creativity, discovery, parenthood, and life intertwine.

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11 thoughts on “Meet Our Amazing DIR Applicants

  1. Beverley Wright- Wright says:

    It is so good to see men involved in the fiber arts community.

  2. Mary Hardy says:

    What a beautiful, talented group of individuals.
    Choose them all!!

  3. Caryl says:

    What a wonderful response to your call for designer in residence!!!! Fabulous choices and a difficult decision to make along with getting to know these fabulous artists. Thank you for sharing. Will look for their work in the future when I am looking for a pattern.

  4. Jamie Joy Throgmorton says:

    The DIR idea is absolutely wonderful! I can see why it was hard to choose the first two! I’m a big fan of people with an established career or talent who use their confidence and position to boost others. I’ve seen it in music and business and the arts. This is a beautiful example of that generosity in action, another sign of the true, heartfelt professionalism of Felicia Lo. Sweet Georgia is one of the most impressive businesses I’ve ever seen in the fiber arts world. Thanks for all the colorful inspiration!

  5. Kay martin says:

    I like the shawl in the first picture that’s in oranges and yellows. What is the pattern and is it available

  6. Kay martin says:

    I like the shawl in the post on April 6th that’s in oranges and yellows. What is the pattern and is it available

    1. That is our Cider & Fire blanket (or shawl!) – https://sweetgeorgiayarns.com/shop/cider-fire/

  7. Thank you so much for the mention! I am truly humbled.

  8. Winnie says:

    Wow…I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes, Felicia <3. This is beyond hard to just pick two DIR for the first term…almost impossible. They are all amazing, so full of diversity, talents and range.

  9. Nancy Jacobson says:

    OMG! What an incredible group of designers. Even with the quieter lifestyle the pandemic has forced on us, there aren’t enough hours in a day to do all I would like in knitting.
    I look forward to getting to know the work of each of you. I can’t imagine how one would make a choice.

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