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Blog

Our third KAL in our series with designer Tanis Gray begins on tomorrow, March 8th with the Gotham Cowl

Tanis GrayTanis has over 350 published knitting designs, and her work has been featured in many major publications and books worldwide, including 12 covers. She also edits other knitting books, photographs knitting books, plans and executes social media for numerous yarn companies and teaches advanced knitting often in and around DC.

If you’ve been following along and participating in our year-long KAL series, so far we’ve done the Charles Wristers and the Nordic Fair Isle Slouch Hat. In just these two KALs, we’ve learned so much from Tanis. We are enjoying all the conversations and interactions from our knitters on our Ravelry page. The threads are still up in the group, here and here so you can go back and see what you’ve missed.

Tanis has gotten to know many of you thru the KAL’s and we thought it would be nice for you to get to know more about Tanis... 

Let’s start at the beginning—where are you from? 

I was born in southern New Jersey but grew up in Boston. I went to school in Providence at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), lived in New York City for 7 years, then we moved to Capitol Hill in Washington DC and now we live in the DC Metro area. Whew! That’s a lot of cities!

When did you start knitting? 

My mom wanted to knit me a sweater when I was 8 years old. She had knitted in her youth and wanted to get back into it but it had been a long time and she needed someone to help refresh her skills. She had tried to relearn after she got married, but couldn’t find anyone willing to help her so she gave up. We moved to Boston and she found someone to show her. While she re-learned, she taught me. With the help of her, a knitting neighbor and my LYS owner, I quickly became obsessed and fascinated that I could make something that was both beautiful and useful. I never looked back!

What inspires and influences the designs you create? 

Inspiration has never been an issue. I'm fortunate enough to live near DC, where the architecture, landscape and museums we have at our disposal are bursting at the seams with inspiration. My mother is a painter and pastel artist and has taken me to museums my entire life. She taught me to always be on the lookout for inspiration and I do my best thinking and working out of patterns and ideas at night when I’m on the elliptical or out taking a walk with my son.

Why Knit A Longs? 

Learning in a group (and there’s something really fun about a virtual group who meets up from all different locations) is a fantastic way to make new global knitting friends, meet up when it’s convenient to your schedule and be able to go back and read everything as many times as it takes for the light bulb to go on. It almost feels like a secret club of knitters cheering each other on, sharing ideas and tips and coming together all knitting the same project. It’s a really fun experience!

I’m particularly excited about the next KAL with String. We had a fantastic group for the January project, a cashmere Fair Isle hat. Now we’ll be dipping our toes into the lace waters and knitting a gorgeous lace cashmere cowl inspired by a bird’s eye view of New York City. I hope you’ll join us! Another great thing about KALs is that room never runs out because it’s virtual!

Everyone that knits has their “special” knitting spot. Where is yours? 

We recently moved to another part of northern Virginia where I have an actual office! Before we lived in a tiny little row house and my “office” was a closet. I could stand in the middle and touch both walls and it was about 5 x 8’. It’s such a novelty to have space to block things, have my books accessible, and be able to leave WIPs out and lay out the next few projects with their yarns and not worry about tripping over them. I can close the door at night and walk away and come back refreshed and inspired the next day. I couldn’t do that before and it always felt like my work stuff was everywhere (because it was) in our previous home. I have a window that faces the street and I can watch the dogs and kids running around. I have breathing room. It’s an extraordinary change and I love it.

Tanis’s new special spot to create, design and write.

Each week in the month-long KAL, Tanis will be explaining and demonstrating different techniques which will help you make this lovely lace cowl (and become a better knitter). Ravelers participate by posting in the group thread. We hope you’ll introduce yourself, ask questions, post pictures, comment on your fellow knitters’ work, meet new friends and of course, learn something new.

String Yarns is offering the yarn Tanis used to create the Gothan Cowl, String Yarns Classica, 100% cashmere yarn, at 15% OFF [HERE]. The pattern includes a discount code for the yarn.

Every-other-month following our March 8th KAL launch, Tanis will introduce a new project exclusively for String Yarns. She’ll be there every step of the way posting tutorials, photos, offering support, tips, tricks, knitting along with you and continuing our String KAL events!

Photos courtesy Tanis Gray.

March 05, 2016

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