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Get to know Sachiyo Ishii, Laura Telfer, Jo Allport and Lynne Rowe

Get to know Sachiyo Ishii, Laura Telfer, Jo Allport and Lynne Rowe

We’re one big family here at Let’s Knit Together and we hold no secrets! That’s why we’ve caught up with a few of your favourite knitting designers so you can get to know them a little bit better.

We’re one big family here at Let’s Knit Together and we hold no secrets! That’s why we’ve caught up with a few of your favourite knitting designers so you can get to know them a little bit better.

Sachiyo Ishii was born and raised in Japan, but now lives in West Sussex with her family where she designs and makes knitted and crocheted toys.

I first started knitting…
In my 30s, after my second son was born. I couldn’t knit a stitch until then! I had very little experience in crafting altogether – but I thought dressing my boys in handmade clothes was trendy. I asked one of the other mums in my toddler group to show me how to knit, and that’s how I began.

I love knitting…
Cute little things rather than big garments. You don’t need to invest in a vast amount of time or yarn for toys – they’re quick, and best of all, lots of fun! I started designing my own patterns when I couldn’t find any to achieve the look I wanted.

My most treasured knitting-related memory is…
With my mum. She was great at knitting, crochet, sewing, and cooking – she was a domestic
goddess. It is such a shame I didn’t even try to learn these skills from her when I was growing up. She used to knit me and my brother jumpers and some are now undone and transformed into jumpers for the teddies.

My favourite Let’s Knit Together patterns would have to be…
My Mini Chameleons, Norbert the Sloth, Sherbet the bear, and the Woodland Friends. Designing for Let’s Knit Together gave me the opportunity to work with eye-catching, colourful yarns that I might not use elsewhere. They certainly gave my toy making another dimension!

Sachiyo’s Tip for YOU
“There will be many trial and errors and you may often feel you are just wasting your time and energy, but you will get there. If the first go didn’t work too well, you will do better the second time. There is no such thing as bad knitting.”

Jacinta Bowie lives in an old mill worker’s cottage in the birthplace of the UK textile industry, Saddleworth. She has been knitting for 50 years, having been taught by her grandparents as a child.

I always knew I wanted to be a designer…
After creating my first commissions as a teen I went to Nottingham Trent University, where I earned a first-class degree in knitwear and fashion. I love the satisfaction of mixing a great shape and fabric – pattern cutting is very important to me. I am obsessed with sleeves!

I never stop knitting…
If I’m awake I’m crafting, unless I’m on a walk. I have lots of precious memories associated with crafts such as knitting at my grandma’s bedside while she was ill – working and caring – it perked her up no end.

My advice for anyone who wants to become a designer is…
Do it in bite-size pieces. Don’t be overwhelmed. If you have a specific vision of what you want, you are more likely to achieve it. But most of all, enjoy it!”

Laura Telfer lives in the rolling hills of South Wales with her family, where she designs and creates knitted toy projects.

I’ve been knitting since childhood…
I’d nag my nan to let me knit a scarf or a doll blanket. She would cast on and show me a few knit rows and off I’d go… though by the time I’d finished, it was always full of holes and I could never figure out why I had more stitches than when I started.

My funniest knitting memory…
Was when I must have washed about five balls of wool with the washing. It was everywhere like a giant multicoloured spider’s web tangled in all the clothes. It took me and my husband ages to untangle everything. It was pretty funny but to this day I have no idea how it got in there!

I always tell other knitters…
Never give up. It can be very disheartening when a project has had to be frogged for the tenth time because it just won’t go how you wanted it to, but try to enjoy the process. Designing a pattern should be fun because you are passionate about it, not a chore.

Lynne Rowe designs and knits creations out of her workroom in Congleton, Cheshire.  She’s been knitting for at least 50 years, after being inspired by her grandmother.

Having learnt to knit and crochet as a child…
I then had a long absence from it but started knitting again for charity in the mid-2000s. I started writing up my patterns and realised what a great skill it was to have. I submitted a few patterns to Let’s Knit, who was the first to publish me in 2008 when the magazine launched. Eventually, I gave up my old job and set up my business, The Woolnest, in 2011.

I love making anything quick and simple…
If I could only make one item forever, it would be knitted socks, or crocheted amigurumi. Socks are so practical and cosy, as well as being great fun to knit. Amigurumi makes children so happy, I love giving them a little friend to cuddle and take on exciting adventures.

My fondest memories are of…
Watching my nan knit and crochet. She would always have something on the go and her hands would work so fast that you could barely keep up. No sooner had she started, she would be finished, with a new jumper or poncho for one of us. I loved to go yarn shopping with her – there were only a few places to buy it at that time, and I was always inspired by the colourful balls of yarns stacked high, and the possibilities of what you could make.

Starting 13th January! Join Lynne’s Rowe’s exclusive knitalong just for members

Jo Allport lives in Stirling with her family and takes inspiration from the light, textures and landscapes of the Scottish countryside.

Becoming a designer was a bit of an epiphany moment…
My kids were small and I never seemed to be at home. I wanted to do something more creative and always found myself changing the patterns I was about to knit, so the natural next step was creating my own. I took the plunge, and have loved it ever since!

My most vivid knitting memory is…
Of an intarsia 7-colours-to-a-row jumper with Fair Isle cuffs in cotton that was a masterpiece. I still have many of the patterns from this era, but that one is missing. I thought it was a Kaffe Fassett design, but I’ve searched and searched for it unsuccessfully. Maybe one day I’ll find the pattern again, and knit it up!

I love to make socks…
They might be simple, but they will always be loved and I never worry that they won’t fit, or that I won’t like them! I knit every evening, and have done for years. It might be something for me, a friend, for a client, or a swatch. I’d love to have more time to knit, but between my family and the dog, time seems to be in short supply. 

You can find all of these lovely designers at Let’s Knit Together. With over 2,000 patterns, you’re going to be spoilt for choice. Join the club now for £1

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