Lisa Craig, the talented brains behind Honeycakes original knitting patterns, has had a passion for yarn right from her childhood. “Ever since I was a child I have knitted. I grew up playing with buttons, trims, ribbons and yarn. Once I started knitting I never stopped making and creating, so went on to study textile design. I knit anywhere, anytime, and I’m always thinking of new ideas and designs.”
Living in rural Auckland with her husband and three children, she works from home in her design studio on a hilltop surrounded by farmland and the sea, looking out to islands in the Hauraki Gulf.
What do you make?
I am a textile designer, knitting is my thing… I design knitting patterns for babies and children and have started working on a women’s wear range too.
How did you get into your craft?
My mother was always knitting and taught me to knit when I was about seven years old. The first thing I made was a blanket for my doll.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I studied in Wellington; a three year diploma in Textile Design. I then worked for Feltex Yarns designing knitting patterns and learnt to write patterns.
What is the process of pattern-making?
I keep note books full of ideas, sketches and notes… from there I will develop the idea, chose a yarn and knit a swatch. I then work out the maths (repeats and sizing) for the pattern. The pattern is written, a sample is knitted up and the pattern checked. Next step: photography – and then publishing the pattern!
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Merino wool and alpaca are my favourite fibres. My favourite process is knitting a swatch and designing as I go – it gives me a chance to be more creative.
What inspires you?
My children inspire me. I started Little Cupcakes when they were young. I couldn’t find knitting patterns that I liked, so started designing for them.
I am passionate about knitting and the process of design and creating. I love pattern, texture and colour. Inspiration comes from everywhere – from fashion stores, magazines, books, museums, art galleries and landscape – all inspired by the beauty that is New Zealand.
My family all play a part in the design process. My children model the knitwear and my husband plays his part as the photographer. Each photo shoot is an adventure that captures the essence and heart of my designs, from snow covered alps to sun drenched beaches.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
To create original patterns to inspire others to knit and fill their lives with colour and creativity.
Describe your workspace:
On the top of our hill is home with a large studio attached. We have the most amazing view of the sea river and farmland, a perfect place to be creative.
I share the studio with my husband, his side has his photography gear and my side there is a lot of wool, knitting needles, buttons, threads, sample garment, books and works in progress.
Five words that describe your mind:
Colourful, creative, detailed, busy and inventive.
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“Fantastic seller! Pattern is just gorgeous… I have knitted it up four times so far… one for a friend, one for my daughter’s dolly and two for the beanies for babies… thanks!”
What are you currently listening to? The Paper Kites.
Recommend an album:
Paper Cranes – Little Darling.
Your favourite childhood book?
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading the Famous Five books with my children and just finished Jeffery Archer’s The Fourth Estate.
“To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.” ~ Pablo Picasso.
“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” ~ Albert Einstein.
galleryDo you have any pets?
Three Siamese cats called Bella, Boston and Piko and three lop-ear rabbits called Mouse, Diamond and Pickles. Boston the cat used to eat wool – thankfully he has grown out of that now!
What was the last handmade item you bought?
Hand dyed, hand spun wool/mohair that I crocheted into a scarf for myself.
What’s coming up on your calendar?
New designs in Vogue Knitting Magazine Early Fall 2013, Noro Magazine Fall/Winter 2013 and Noro 1, 2, 3 book. I’m also working on a new range of womens’ accessories: hats, scarves and mittens.
Lisa has very kindly offered one lucky Felt blog reader a prize of five Honeycakes PDF patterns of the winner’s choice, worth $40! Leave a comment below, telling us why you like Lisa’s work or how it inspires you, and you’ll be in to win. The draw will be made on Friday 5 July and is open to New Zealand residents only. Make sure you have a look at the rest of Lisa’s beautiful work in her Felt shop.