Saturday, January 11, 2014

Feature Designer: Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits

I'm opening this series with the beautiful, and magical, Stephanie Dosen.  Her designs are intriguing and whimsical, and easily transport one to a place of instant happiness.  I dare you to search through her designs and not "oooh" and "ahhhh".  My favorites include the Moonbeam Duster and this wonderful Gypsy Petticoat.  And who isn't working up hexipuffs for this amazing blanket?!

I recently got a chance to ask Stephanie my spotlight designer questions. She was so lovely to chat with and will continue to be an inspiration to me; and probably you too!

Me: What is your first thought when you awake? 
SD: OOh definitely coffee! Then I take my kitty Ruby outside to graze in the yard. Normally I’d want to get straight to my computer to start answering emails and working on patterns, but Ruby squeak-meows at the top of her lungs until I take her out. It’s nice though because then I get to spend some time under my favorite tree.
What does the perfect knitting evening look like for you? Needles, yarn, environment, music, tv? 
It definitely involves a big puffy chair and lots of blankets and pillows. Candles and cinnamon/patchouli oil burning on tiny lamps around the room. I’d have my best friend by my side and we’d be having a Harry Potter marathon.
What /who inspires you? 
I’m very inspired by nature and animals, trees and flowers. I’m inspired by the shapes and structure in knitting more than the stitch patterns. I get inspired when I wander flea markets and see old color patterns in furniture or stained glass lamps. Then I cant wait to get home and pick up the needles.
What is your favorite part of the design process? 
I love starting, and I love finishing. It’s the part in the middle that gets us all isn’t it? But then, that’s what creating is all about. I think the major goal of creating is to be comfortable with the entire process. The ideal scenario would be to enjoy every single stitch and every single mistake along the way, which for me are many!
What is the part you most dread? 
Having the guts to start over when it doesn’t work out perfectly the first time. That moment when I look at it and realize that it would have been so much better if I had done “this or that”. Then ripping (or throwing it out if its felted) and starting from scratch. That’s the part that can really break your heart if you don’t just kind of shrug your shoulders and say “oh well, no biggie!”
What was your first knitting experience and how did it influence you? 
I got hired at a yarn store as a crochet teacher, but I didn’t know how to knit. Some of the ladies showed me and I went home and made this weird looking random poncho in the round. When I brought it to the store everyone loved it for some reason and they helped me write up the pattern. It was so surprising and strange to me that people wanted that pattern. I think that really got me started on my way. I just couldn’t stop making things up and bringing them in the shop for everyone to join in!
Is there anything you’ve yet to tackle, knitting wise? 
I know there are always lots more things to learn. I tend to take a crack at whatever looks like it might stump me. Maybe that’s my personal form of self torture. “That looks really hard, hmmm… let’s try it!”
What’s your favorite FO to date? 
It’s either the meow mittens or the faerie wings.

Who is your favorite person to knit for and why? 
Oops. It’s me. That’s so terrible isn’t it!!?? I always mess up or knit the wrong things for other people. It never fits them or it’s not quite what they were imagining. They never wear the things I make. It’s always more frustrating than fun for that reason. Except I knitted my Grandmother a pair of socks once and she loved them.
Favorite knitting book, magazine or festival? 
When I was working at the shop we would get so excited when a new shipment would come in with magazines, or the new Rowan books. We would squeal and rip open the boxes and all sit around and pour over them. I worked with some of my best friends and I honestly think looking through a new Rowan mag is maybe the most fun thing ever. Wait, do I need to get out more? :)
Do you have any Tips or tricks for aspiring designers? 
Don’t worry or take any of it too seriously. Only make things that you love and you want to wear. If you really really want to design, then just do it and never give up even when you hit brick walls and feel like you are failing. It’s natural! Keep going and good luck!

Want more Stephanie? You can find her (and all her helpful videos) at You will probably spend hours there!
Big thanks to Stephanie for being a part of this series! 

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