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CraftSanity Podcast Episode 128: A Conversation with Knit Designer Jean Moss

Yesterday I made a last-minute scramble to interview British knit designer Jean Moss via Skype. I had previously agreed to be part of her blog tour for her new book “Sweet Shawlettes: 25 Irresistible Patterns for Knitting Cowls, Capelets and More” and had planned to post a Q&A with her today.

But then I started reading her bio and thought better of it. I wanted to hear her tell her story and thought you might enjoy that, too. It worked out for all of us that Jean has a fun and spontaneous spirit, otherwise I don’t think this podcast would have happened on short notice.  (A special thanks to my husband, Jeff, for helping with the speedy turnaround.)

Jean has been a knit designer for 30 years and her career was launched after a chance meeting with one of Ralph Lauren’s agents. What happened next is quite a story that you’ll have to tune in to hear.

Since her big break, Jean has gone on to design for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Laura Ashley and Benetton. She contributes regularly to Rowan Knitting, Crochet Magazine, The Knitter, and Vogue Knitting. She also writes a “Ask Jean” advice column for the U.K. magazine Knitting.

When she’s not knitting, Jean likes to cook, lead tours, garden and sing. And this episode includes a musical treat. We let Jean play us out with her song: “More Yarn Will Do the Trick.”

She has written 10 books and is currently promoting “Sweet Shawlettes” ($21.95 US), a book filled with 25 patterns for beginner and advanced knitters. The patterns are divided into four categories: country, couture, folk and vintage, so there’s a nice variety of projects to pick from.

Lovely photos by Alexandra Grablewski as well as detailed charts and illustrations accompany the written patterns. A helpful “techniques and stitches” section at the back offers knitters additional information to get them clicking away on the projects right away.

When I get my next non-work related knitting break, I want to make the Harlequin Cape, shown on the cover.

I  also like the Arabesque Scarf on p. 64. (above)  It can be made in two sizes and makes lovely use of the feather and fan stitch pattern.

And while I will probably not get time to knit the challenging leopard print Kitty Capelet on p. 84 anytime soon, it’s very cool and would be  fun to sport around town.

I could go on about “Sweet Shawlettes” but I’ll stop here and give you all a chance to win a copy of the book.

ENTER TO WIN: Post a comment below about your favorite stitch or technique and we’ll get you in the random drawing for a copy of “Sweet Shawlettes”. The deadline to enter is Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. Good luck, everyone!

BECOME A PODCAST SPONSOR: This episode was sponsored by CraftSanity Magazine. That’s right, I sponsored it myself. : ) If you’d like to sponsor the next episode, you can find sponsorship info here.


Comment from lorraine
Time: January 9, 2012, 12:48 pm

amazing book! my favorite technique is top down knitting.. :)

Comment from Ellie
Time: January 9, 2012, 1:04 pm

My favorite (currently) technique is modular knitting; I enjoy learning and trying new techniques. The book looks like a wonderful resource for gifts and trying new things.

Comment from diane
Time: January 9, 2012, 1:42 pm

I love Norwegian stranded knitting. Hm, I think it’s time for some mittens on the needles.

Comment from Debbie M
Time: January 9, 2012, 1:52 pm

I’m very much into lace knitting right now. Thanks for participating, Jennifer!

Comment from Heidi K
Time: January 9, 2012, 4:34 pm

I am really enjoying lace work and the patterns in this book look amazing! Would be so exciting to win a copy of the book, but if I don’t I know it will go to the top of my wish list!

Comment from Kate B
Time: January 9, 2012, 4:46 pm

I’ve only been knitting for a couple of years, and still consider myself a relative novice, but I really enjoy lace knitting and recently completed a cape worked back and forth on a long circular, with ample use of lifelines!

Comment from Sharon Rawls
Time: January 9, 2012, 6:39 pm

I love knitting lace!!! and love this book!

Comment from Debbie
Time: January 9, 2012, 7:35 pm

My favorite stitch is the one I’m currently working. Right now, it’s the daisy stitch, which I’m working on the Sagano Shawl.

Comment from kristin
Time: January 9, 2012, 11:00 pm

I love knitting with cables!

Comment from Jennifer R.
Time: January 9, 2012, 11:02 pm

I love trying anything that challenges me!
I really love lace work right now….
I would love to knit “Kitty” from this fabulous collection!!!

Comment from Diana
Time: January 9, 2012, 11:18 pm

I’m currently knitting a scarf in the “winter flame” pattern, and I love it. Would love a book of caplets! Thanks for the chance, looks like a lovely book!

Comment from Brandi
Time: January 10, 2012, 10:27 am

I’ve been knitting alot of small wraps and neckwear recently good timing for a contest.

Comment from Carol
Time: January 10, 2012, 11:52 am

I love it when the yarn cries out for entrelac. My absolite favorite pair of socks are in that technique and an entrelac hat is on the needles.

Comment from Teresa
Time: January 10, 2012, 9:20 pm

I love cabling. I find that it keeps straight knitting interesting. The next thing I wast to try is lace knitting. Thanks for the giveaway!

Comment from ellen
Time: January 11, 2012, 1:26 am

Although I do lace when I really want the item in question, I like fairly simple stitch patterns the best. Right now I am working on Jared Flood’s Geurnsey Wrap – simple stitch patterns yielding lots of texture.

Comment from Kati
Time: January 11, 2012, 10:01 am

I’m starting my first cowl this week in a waffle stitch pattern (Honey Cowl by madeline tosh). We’ll see if it’s a new favorite! I tend to enjoy the repetitive knit stitch a bit too much, so I thought this would be a nice variation of that. This looks like a beautiful book, and I can’t wait to enjoy the podcast on my iPod later this week!

Comment from Ellen M
Time: January 11, 2012, 10:16 am

I just discovered the Hurdle stitch. Never heard of it before, but it’s so easy and perfect for the manly scarf I am knitting for my husband.
Thanks for having the giveaway!
Off I go to check out your podcast.

Comment from Bonney
Time: January 11, 2012, 12:43 pm

This book looks wonderful! I’m enjoying the brioche stitch right now. New to me and lots of fun!

Comment from p lynne
Time: January 11, 2012, 6:00 pm

I loved the interview with Jean Moss. I’ve been knitting for a couple of years now and my favorite knitting is lace– the beautiful yarns and challenging patterns. Cables are becoming a favorite also.

Comment from Jane Prater
Time: January 12, 2012, 2:08 pm

I’ve been bitten by the brioche bug. Seed stitch is always a joy to wear.

Comment from Lisa
Time: January 12, 2012, 5:35 pm

I have only been knitting a little over a year so I have not gotten much farther than the knit and purl stitches. However, I would love to try knitting cables. They look like fun. I now want to start expanding the techniques that I know now that I have the basics down. :)

Comment from Anne
Time: January 13, 2012, 6:24 am

I love this podcast! It’s always exciting to hear the story of other artists and this episode again featured a wonderful person.

To answer the question: At the moment I’m all into stranded knitting. Not so much the traditional fairisle ones, but funny motifs on mittens, or larger motivs on jackets.
My favorite stitch is the linenstitch. It creates such a wonderful fabric and if knitted with a colourful yarn, this stitch blends in the colours really well. No striping but a colourful textured fabric. I really love it!

Comment from Kristyn
Time: January 13, 2012, 9:12 am

I love cables and lace but my lace knitting really needs some work. One of my goals is to learn fair isle so I can make Eunny Jang’s beautiful fair isle vest.

Comment from Teresa Fussell
Time: January 13, 2012, 10:11 am

I love knitting socks and am currently doing Cookie A’s Monkey socks.

Comment from Twig
Time: January 13, 2012, 10:20 am

Jean Moss’ story is inspiring — thanks so much for sharing it with us. I’m inspired to give her designs a try. She makes it all sound so easy. Right now, I’m learning the magic loop technique because, quite frankly, double-pointed needles make me want to run for the hills.

Comment from MzTallulah
Time: January 13, 2012, 12:47 pm

I look forward to listening to the show! I’ve long loved knitting lace, but these days, as a busy mother working outside the home, I tend to opt for simpler projects! I’d also like to have a chance to explore Fair Isle and entrelac more.

Comment from Dani Vilella
Time: January 13, 2012, 1:05 pm

so excited for shawlettes. I love the instant gratification of knitting smaller projects.

Comment from Carmen
Time: January 13, 2012, 2:58 pm

I’m a beginner-ish knitter, so I haven’t tried too many stitches, but right now I’m into lace.

Comment from Céline
Time: January 13, 2012, 5:02 pm

Great show and great interview !
To answer Jean’s question (and let’s face it, try to get my hands on her inspiring book ;-), my all-time favorite are cables for the effect with minimal difficulties and very readable charts, but when I tried lace I found it addictive, when I discovered double-knitting and applied icord I wondered how I could have lived so long without them and I feel the kitchener stitch is simple magic. So many things to experience with and then again so many more to try !

Comment from Ilina
Time: January 14, 2012, 1:16 am

I like to knit lace but also like learning new techniques – entrelac is great fun too!

Comment from Ellen
Time: January 14, 2012, 2:42 pm

I really enjoy lace knitting, but my goal for this year is to explore double knitting.

Comment from Lisbeth
Time: January 14, 2012, 4:59 pm

I am a very, very beginner knitter, so right now my favorite technique is just to knit! I am inspired by my sister who is a beautiful knitter. She would love this book and I would love to share it with her:)

Comment from Curious Art
Time: January 15, 2012, 10:34 am

It’s fun to experiment with different stitches on small projects– otherwise I tend to get bored. These shawlettes look perfect for that approach! As to particular stitches, I like the one that creates two layers of fabric as you go– it feels like magic! Also spiral knitting for the same reason. Really anything that has a sort of surprise element as you knit it up. So much more entertaining!

Comment from MonicaVereana
Time: January 15, 2012, 10:44 am

All of knitting fascinates me, especially those techniques that make something better or easier. When making socks, I love Judy Becker’s magic caston combined with magic loop (to knit two-at-a-time, toeup), with an afterthough heel, then Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy bindoff. All of these make knitting socks JOYOUS!

Comment from Elizabeth Trantham
Time: January 15, 2012, 10:51 am

I love to knit, however I’m learning. I am trying to learn cables right now.

Comment from Tian
Time: January 15, 2012, 11:58 am

I like cables and lace. Bug some days plain stoxkinette is my favorite

Comment from Crafty Caitlin
Time: January 15, 2012, 5:32 pm

I love to switch back and forth on techniques – right now I want to knit lots of stockinette because I’m working on a lace doily. But then I will want to knit something lace.

Thanks for showing us the great patterns in this book!

Pingback from Welcome to the Sweet Shawlettes Blog Tour
Time: January 16, 2012, 9:10 am

[…] of the Needles  Joanne Conklin Sun 8 Jan  Knit Purl Gurl  Karrie Steinmetz Mon 9 Jan  Craft Sanity  Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood Tues 10 Jan  Planet Purl Beth Moriarty  Wed 11 Jan  Sunset […]

Comment from Cindi
Time: January 16, 2012, 10:45 pm

Darn! I think I missed the drawing but I just finished listening to the interview and just wanted to say it was fantastic! My favorite stitch is not that interesting but I LOVE seed stitch.

Comment from Deb Goslin
Time: January 17, 2012, 8:00 am

I am new to knitting. Last winter my mom helped me knit and purl a great basket weave pattern scarf. This winter the project is even easier. Knitting with Pomp-A-Doodle (yarn with balls every 2″). It knits up super fast and is The softest!

Comment from Sonja
Time: January 18, 2012, 8:22 pm

Just now listened to this interview. What a great interview! Both of you. Thank you.

Pingback from CraftSanity – A blog and podcast for those who love everything handmade » A few things before I get back to work…
Time: January 19, 2012, 3:39 pm

[…] CraftSanity Podcast Episode 128: A Conversation with Knit Designer Jean Moss […]

Pingback from CraftSanity – A blog and podcast for those who love everything handmade » Great Little Gifts to Knit
Time: September 20, 2013, 6:32 pm

[…] CraftSanity Podcast Episode 128: A Conversation with Knit Designer Jean Moss […]

Comment from Johnb313
Time: April 29, 2014, 9:40 pm

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