If you have been hoping to add more colors into your knitting, this cowl will give you the chance to try out stranded colorwork with a small, portable project. The angora yarn also adds a soft, misty look to the cowl.
We also had the chance to interview Ruth Roland, the designer of this pattern. Ruth's teaches knitting at her local yarn store and does test and sample knitting for yarn companies and book authors. She learned to knit when she was expecting her first child and especially enjoys using new techniques. A relatively new designer, she is also a violinist, composer, lyricist, and teacher. Her designs been published by Galler Yarns and Tangled.
You can find Ruth online as kangath on Ravelry or through her Ravelry designer page. She also blogs at Kangath's Roux. You can also email Ruth for pattern support.
Galler Yarns (GY): How did you first get started knitting?
Ruth: I'd always wanted to learn how to knit. I'm a violin teacher, and one of my students had a mother who came in and sat down right across from me and knit. Seeing her every week motivated me to teach myself to knit. The first thing I knit was a baby blanket pattern from the back of one of the yarn bands. It turned out shaped like a trapezoid. The very next thing I knit was a sweater I designed for my husband. It isn't beautiful, but he still wears it!
GY: What was your original inspiration for publishing your designs?
Ruth: Up until a few years ago I was a professional violinist, and even when people would stop me in the street and ask me where I had bought something I had designed and knit, I didn't think of writing the pattern up to sell. But in 2009, at the age of 37, I had a stroke and lost the use of my right side. It was over a month before I could even lift my arm. Today, I can walk and knit and even play violin, but my right arm is still not what it was and I am unable to do the orchestral work I did before my stroke. I needed something to fill that creative and financial gap. Knit design is extremely satisfying and I am pleased be working in this field.
GY: Where do you generally find your creative inspiration?
Ruth: I usually get my ideas from the yarn itself. The yarn is first. Stitch pattern, colorwork ideas, garment shapes all come from the yarn. Other things contribute to my development of a design. I may see a hauntingly beautiful pattern on the back of an upholstered chair, or my daughter may need a long-sleeved dress that fits. Sometimes the movement of the fish my son's tank strikes a chord. But this is always in conjunction with the yarn.
GY: Why did you choose Belangor(TM) for this design?
Ruth: Belangor(TM) is not only extremely soft, it comes in a wide range of colors and values (the lightness or darkness of a color). It also comes in small (10g/33yd) balls. This seemed perfect for stranded colorwork. As I thought about the fluffiness of the yarn, the image of birds flying through a mist came to me. And so the Mountain Flight Cowl came to be.
GY: How does your background as a knitting teacher and sample knitter impact your design process?
Ruth: I love directional knitting, interesting reversible stitches, and fun ways of putting a garment together. I try to limit the number of new things I put in one pattern, and to carefully word my explanations of unusual techniques.
GY: What's next for you as a designer?
Ruth: I have a collection of designs based on a Greek meander which are now available on Ravelry. And I have two exciting designs forthcoming in Clotheshorse online magazine--both colorwork garments. One is a sweater with a reversible water lily pattern, and the other is a miniskirt montage of Louisiana wildlife.
Thanks, Ruth, for stopping by the Galler Yarns blog for an interview!