We are excited to be hosting designer Andrea Rangel for a lace class in November. We’ve long admired her designs, many of which are in one of our favorite yarns (Hazel Knits, anyone?!). In preparation for her class, we thought it would be fun to get to know her a little bit better. Please enjoy this interview!
When you were little, what did you want to be? Are there any activities or aspects of this you still enjoy as an adult?
I had a pretty wide variety of aspirations as a kid, but by the time I was a teenager, I had settled on wanting to be a teacher. I taught elementary, middle and high school in two countries and in two states in the US for several years before I took up knitwear design. While I don’t teach kids very often any more, I love how my understanding of curriculum planning and learning styles helps me plan and teach knitting classes.
Why do you knit and design? What does it do for your soul?
I’ve been very surprised at how knitting has captivated my imagination so thoroughly. Even after knitting somewhat obsessively for more than ten years, I still find it completely fascinating. I know other people feel that way too, so it’s rewarding to be able to be a conduit for their enjoyment and creativity. I love empowering others to express themselves and make useful and beautiful things through a craft we’re so passionate about.
How does the Pacific NW inspire or influence your designs?
Aside from knitting, the thing I love best is riding my bicycle. Being outside in the PNW is always inspirational. Of course I think about what I’d like to be wearing, but I also pay attention to colors and shapes. Living in Victoria, I see so much traditional Cowichan knitwear around as well, which makes me really happy and is a great source of inspiration.
Fill in the blank:
When I need inspiration, I practice yoga.
My guilty pleasure is international travel. (Guilty because of jet fuel.)
Every knitter needs lots of wool on hand.
What’s a typical work day look like for you?
My work days vary quite a bit. Some days are almost completely full of knitting and others I don’t knit a stitch, but just sit at my computer all day with spreadsheets, schematics, layout, and email. It just depends on where I’m at in my process and which projects have priority.
How do you try to balance work and personal knitting goals?
Work comes first, but I do regularly plan personal knitting into my work schedule. Knitting from other designers’ patterns is an important part of my professional development, so I do it as often as I can. That might be just a sweater or two a year, but I buy and read a lot more patterns than that. I’m always trying to learn as much as I can. I also knit from my own patterns so I have garments and accessories that I can actually wear since my samples are often on the road and I rarely wear them anyway so they stay pristine for display.
What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?
Personal knitting and a nice cup of green tea.
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Thank you very much for taking the time to chat with us, Andrea!
You can check out Andrea’s beautiful collection of patterns here. Even better, you can meet Andrea in person at her upcoming Intermediate Lace class at Stash! Details here.