The Yarn Alchemist Spotlight series on the Aroha Knits blog was started up by Ash Christine. She wanted to use the Aroha Knits platform as a way to shine a light on the hidden gems in the community and give them the opportunity to share their story.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in knitting
Hi there! My name is Andrea Mowry and I design knitwear under the name DreaReneeKnits! I was born and raised in Michigan, and returned with my husband to raise our family here. We have a daughter—Olive, Son—Levi, and little pup—Fargo. I consider myself so lucky to have learned how to knit from my grandma, when I was about 9 years old. She planted the seed all those years ago, and I am grateful everyday! I came back to knitting as a teenager, and haven't set the needles down since!
2. What type of Fibre Muse are you?
This was tough! It is so hard to only pick one answer for each question. But apparently I am a Mystic Fibre Muse :)
3. What first inspired you to start designing your own patterns?
When I really jumped into knitting full on, it was pre-Ravelry and the main books in my knitting library were by Elizabeth Zimmerman (one of my heroes!). She really empowers the knitter to just find their gauge and knit. So I started off by creating my own patterns, with the help of her recipes and guidance. When I left my job as a pastry chef, while pregnant with my first child, I found I finally had the space in my life to get back to designing my own patterns and thought, why not try publishing them to see if anyone else wants to knit them, too! I had so many ideas flying around in my head of knits that I really wanted in my wardrobe, so I just jumped in and went for it!
4. Where do you draw inspiration from in your designs?
I am most often inspired by the yarn I am planning to work with. I believe if we listen, it tells us what it wants to be. So I start there. But I also always try to be present and take in the world around me, as it is full of inspiration—color, texture, style—it's really endless! I'm also drawn in by techniques. So, often if I try something new (ahem, brioche), and I fall in love with it...then I will try to find different ways to manipulate it in my patterns.
5. You have a lot of unique designs available—if you had to pick one technique or project type as your favorite to design, what would you choose?
Right now, I am all about sweaters. I find that is what my mind keeps going to, so if I could only pick one then that would be it! (Followed up closely by shawls, of course).
6. How do you see your work making an impact in the knitting and fibre community?
It's challenging to know how my work will impact the knitting community in the future, but as for right now, I think it has helped draw more people to playing with color and indie dyers, which is really special to me! I love supporting indie dyers, as so many of them are super awesome women supporting their families with their dye business. I am doing the same for my family with my designs, and definitely want to support others in any way that I can! I am also a huge lover of brioche, and have had so much fun introducing other knitters to brioche through my patterns and workshops!
7. What is your favorite part about being a knitwear designer?
KNITTING! I always say I knit all day for work and all night to relax ;) But beyond that, it is absolutely being a part of one of the most kind, genuine, and thoughtful communities ever. Knitters want to support and connect with each other, and they truly are just the nicest people! I feel so, so lucky to be a part of this ever-growing community!
8. What’s in store for the next year of your life and your designs?
This year I am doing a lot of traveling to teach, and I am also trying to make more space for independent design. I love collaborating with other people, but I find that some of my best work comes out of creative freedom. I am really excited to take down any constraints, and just see what flies off of my needles! I've also been trying out some new-to-me yarns from people that I really admire, which is bringing another level of love to my work. As I mentioned earlier, I have sweaters on the brain, so they are at the top of my list, along with playing with new and interesting constructions. Oh—and socks! I am determined to become a sock knitter, as my sock drawer is feeling really sad at the moment!
Where can we find you and your work?
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/dreareneeknits
Website - http://www.dreareneeknits.com/
Ravelry shop - https://www.ravelry.com/stores/dreareneeknits
To support Andrea Mowry, I'm going to gift a copy of one of her patterns to a lucky winner! To enter you just need to leave a comment with which design you would love to knit (and perhaps what yarn you'll do it in!) along with your Rav ID and give Andrea a follow on Instagram.
You have until March 23rd, 11:59pm EST to enter! I'll pick and announce the winner right here <3