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Thursday, 10 January 2013


Louise Zass-Bangham, also known as 'inspiration' on Ravelry has long been a fan of MillaMia yarn. She designed her first published pieces with our Naturally Soft Merino, and has since created many more beautiful, wearable accessories as well as a fabulous blanket. Louise is now enjoying the prestige of being requested by well known UK knitting magazines such as Knit Now which featured her 'Winter Shadows Wrap' in November. You can see more of her stunning designs at recently met up with Louise and asked her about her first year as a knitwear designer, her love of MillaMia merino and what exactly provides her with 'inspiration.'

Max: Louise, can you give us a bit of background about yourself? 
Louise: I studied textile design at Manchester University, specialising in knit. Later I went to Central St. Martins as a postgraduate to learn pattern cutting (pattern making for US readers). The tutors there dropped me straight in at the deep end with London’s catwalk designers. It was highly creative, full of fun challenges but equally high pressure.

I’m also a trained garden designer and used to write about sustainable design. It’s a cliche but I got back into knitting when I was pregnant, making things for my son. He’s still my biggest fan and drags his baby blanket around like Linus, even though he’s nearly five! I like the “slow fashion” of hand knitting; it sits better with my environmentalist heart. It probably goes without saying that my favourite fibres are natural.

Max: What is it about MillaMia yarn that inspires you to design with it?
Louise: The MillaMia colour palette is really inspiring. I love that it’s possible to create both modern and vintage colourways with it. It’s very flexible, and the colours all go with each other so it’s possible to make lots of fresh combinations. The colours have a retro 50's feel that is totally modern. It’s also addictive to knit - bouncy, it doesn’t split and the stitch definition is unbeatable.

Max: Which is your favourite design in MillaMia yarn so far?
Louise: My favourite MillaMia design so far has to be my Ice Storm pieces. I can’t choose between the long cowl and the mitts since they’re so closely related - I tested my cowl swatch on the back of my hand to see if the idea would work as mitts and it looked perfect! I still have people asking me to do more things with the idea...maybe one day.

Ice Storm Long Cowl
Ice Storm Mitts

Helios Headband
Max: What was your first design in MillaMia yarn?
Louise: There are two answers to that question. The very first design I published on Ravelry was actually in MillaMia Naturally Soft Merino: my Helios Headband. I wanted to start really small, with an easy accessory. It had to be in a yarn that I knew was great to knit and excellent quality. So MillaMia it was.

Secondly, although it wasn’t the first thing I published, my first design in MillaMia yarn was actually the Inspiration Blanket. I designed it for our knitting group to make for our lovely fellow-knitter who was expecting her third baby. She already had two girls and didn’t know what she was having this time around. I devised a neutral colourway with a vintage feel in MidnightSeasideForget-me-notPlum and Fawn. It was deliberately more on the boyish side of things since their house was already awash with pink!

I also had a request from the knitting group to include garter stitch. I got a bit carried away, so the blanket became a garter stitch adventure. Some of the squares are really easy, because I had to cater for the beginners in the group, and some are interesting for intermediate knitters. It’s a good project with which to develop your skills.

Max: Have you got any exciting new designs in MillaMia yarn planned for 2013?
Louise: My sister-in-law, who teaches young children, has requested a particular style of scarf for chilly playground duty this year. It has sparked ideas for a group of designs for kids, young and old! They are wintery and fun pieces, intended for Christmas. There might even be a knitalong if I'm organised!

I'd absolutely love to do a sweater or cardi but will have to see if time allows in 2013 - I'm in the middle of planning what I think I can achieve this year.

Max: What are you working on at the moment?
Louise: The list is too long, as usual. I’m in the middle of an exciting group of accessories for a new yarn which is launching this month. I want to do far more with the yarn than time allows! I have an idea for an intriguing cowl (of course) buzzing around my head. I think it might even be a mystery knitalong. I’m in the middle of sampling for a spring shawl, sweater and cardigan. Oh, and I’m thinking about April 1st already, but I’m not giving anything away on that just yet! (for those of you who haven't seen Louise's Aprils Fools joke on Ravelry last year click here The Emporers New Mitts)
(posted by Max)

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