Hello my friends! I have a treat for you today … a chance to “meet” the sweet and talented knit and crochet designer, Grace Akhrem, and a chance to win one of her gorgeous patterns! I fell in love with her work after making her Robin Hood Hat (shown below bottom right). I just love her style, don’t you?! Here is a small sampling of some of her designs … as you can see they range from everything from shawls, to blankets, to cowls, to hats, and more. You can see all her patterns in her a Ravelry shop here, and as a special treat for all P2P readers, all her Ravelry patterns will be 15% off from 11/21 through 12/5 (pacific time). Just use the coupon code P2P2014sale at checkout to get your discount.
But first, let’s get to know Grace a little better and get a glimpse into her beautiful and creative world …
How old were you when your first learned to knit and who taught you? How about crochet?
I first learned to crochet when I was in third grade. I was in after-school daycare and one of the teachers taught me how to chain stitch. I did hundreds of chain stitches… I made cat’s cradle and Chinese jumprope, necklaces and bracelets, etc. All I knew how to do was chain stitch. Then when I was a senior in high school I saw a friend of mine knitting at a get together, and I thought “How fun!” So I went to my local craft store and picked up some Lion Brand Homespun and a hook and had my mom show me how to crochet. For a year all I knew was how to do a double crochet.
After about a year (or maybe a bit more, I can’t quite remember), now in college, I thought it was time to learn to knit. Again, I went to my local craft store and picked up some Red Heart Acrylic in a worsted weight and in black, and purple Boye aluminum needles. I asked my grandmother to teach me how to knit. She showed me, but it didn’t take. For two whole days I sat there trying to figure out the motions, then finally the “Ah ha!” moment hit me.
What are some of your other passions and interests?
I actually have a few other passion and interests. I love spinning (yes, I know, predictable), but I very rarely have time… so little time in fact that I have been working on the same spinning project for over a year. My other passion is cooking! I love to cook, and luckily I have to eat, so I get to cook pretty much every single day. When I cook, its similar to my knitting style – no pattern and no recipes, it’s all from the heart… and it all tastes very good. I just started sewing, so far I have made a tote bag and pajama pants, I hope to graduate to quilting my 2015.
Describe what a perfect day would be like for you?
It’s Sunday, the time of year is winter. Its cold out, so I have to wear my hand-knit socks (of course) and the perfect cup of coffee is waiting for me. After coffee and breakfast, I knit for a bit and catch up on my tv shows with my very sweet boyfriend (who also knits) and the dog (who only sleeps). After about an hour or two, we would head out and go over to either the local flea market or the local farmer’s market…. or both! A leisurely day spent walking, shopping, tasting and perhaps a little lunch too. Then we would come home, get in our cozy clothes and cook dinner together. After dinner, we make a cuppa tea and put in a Mel Brooks movie, and alternate between cuddling and knitting on the couch with the dog of course, whilst drinking our tea and eating our chocolate chip cookies that I magically baked while we were at the farmer’s market.
Which design are you most proud of and why?
I would have to say hands down, Triangles, Diamonds, & Squares… Oh My! The entire pattern is knit using short rows, which allows for the ease of two colors per square. The option for color allows for the versatility of the pattern layout. When I first published this pattern in 2010 I decided to make it a baby blanket and I committed to one layout, since then I have re-knit the squares… many many many more than the pattern called for. I wanted to show my followers and other knitters that this pattern has so much more potential than just was is seen in the original 2010 version. There are probably over 100 different layout options for this pattern, to create different motifs and themes. I think it is one of the most versatile patterns out there and definitely one of my more exciting patterns as well. I plan to re-release this pattern with all the layout options and the new yarn options as well once I decide on a layout. Maybe your followers can help me with a vote?
What are some of your favorite projects to work on (e.g., scarves, afghans, hats, etc)?
I use to big a big hat person… and I still knit a lot of hats. I have starting knitting more garments lately, lighter garments. It seems that over here in sunny LA there isn’t much use for hats, scarves, and warmer pieces. Even though I would love to bundle up with my socks, sweater, hat and mitts, sadly it isn’t very realistic here. So I have been mostly knitting lighter weight lace shawls and warm weather garments, like Crashing Waves, Haru, Aviva and Silver Lining. Maybe someday I’ll move to a colder place (like the north pole), so I can knit with delicious wools and cashmere without suffocating from the heat, but for now, its linens, silks, and lace weight for me.
Would you want to share some of your future dreams and aspirations with us?
Sure! It seems like there is always the dream of a book. It used to be that there was so much prestige that came with a book… now I’m sure thats the case anymore. I would still love to have a book someday, but I’m not sure it means the same thing as it did 10 years ago. So I guess the answer is I would love to do a book, I’m just not sure when the time would be right. In the meantime I can aspire to continue to design and teach full time– That’s a dream job.
…But as long as I’m dreaming, I’d love a humungous studio space with tons of natural light. Custom built shelving and drawers for my yarn, needles, notions, books, etc. All my needles would be Lantern Moon Ebony and I would have an endless stash of yarn. A huge table that adjusts in height (oh yeah!) for knitting or blocking. The most comfy chairs and couches for knitting facing a large flat screen tv with DVR. And a personal chef that always has fresh cookies and yummy cheeses with crackers ready for me at all times. And I would also like for my dog to be able to answer all emails so that I can have more time to knit. And more time… that’s all 🙂
Feel free to drop by and say hi to Grace or connect with her on your social media outlets …
And now for the giveaway … 5 lucky winners will be picked to received their pattern of choice: either the Maid Marain cloche hat or the Bobble Bee clutch. The giveaway will run from now through 12:00 am EST on 11/29/10 and the winners will be announced by 11/30/14. Giveaway is open worldwide. Good luck!