Welcome Marie Greene

Petra Marie Greene

We’ve had a crush on Marie Greene’s sweater designs for quite some time; her style is classic yet modern with a focus on everyday wear, which we just love!  So it is with great excitement that we will be hosting her this month at Monarch for two sweater workshops.  Along with her visit, she has designed a special pattern just for us and has graciously taken the time to share a bit about herself…

How did you get started knitting/into fiber arts?

My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 10 years old and I took to it immediately. I’d always been a crafty kid and loved embroidery and sewing, as well, so I’ve pretty much been a fiber artist as long as I can remember.

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What led you to Olive Knits/designing full time?

Prior to pattern design I was a hospital finance project manager (and occasional freelance writer).  I started moonlighting at a yarn shop just to support my hobby, and customers started asking about my sweaters. I’d designed them for myself and had never really written anything down, but was intrigued by the prospect of turning them into patterns. Before I knew it I had a willing team of testers that helped me hit the ground running.

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Your sweater designs are so lovely!  Where do you draw inspiration from or what inspires you the most?

I love classic, timeless style with modern features. I draw inspiration from my home near the Oregon coast, from my travels around the world and especially from architecture. I love clean, crisp lines and strategic details that showcase texture. Most of all, I design garments I really want to wear and that work in my wardrobe.

When you’re not traveling and teaching around the world, what are some of your other hobbies/interests?

I love to cook. If I’m really stressed, I’ll lock myself away in the kitchen with a glass of wine and some good music and just chop, simmer and whisk away an evening. Time alone in the kitchen, especially if I don’t have to hurry, is the most soothing thing in the world – it’s serious zen.  I also love learning new things and am constantly on a mission to improve my French speaking skills (I’m really rusty).

What’s your most favorite fibers and colors with which to knit?

Lately I’m on a dusty pink kick, but in general I’m obsessed with grey, yellow and rusty oranges. I’ve loved orange and yellow since I was a child, so it’s really nothing new for me. But as I’ve grown up I lean toward sophisticated versions of these colors.

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Current WIPs, FOs or any sneak peeks into what’s next for Olive Knits?

I’ve just finished writing my first book (Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks), and have already embarked on book two with my publisher, so right now being an author is consuming the bulk of my time and energy.  That said, I’m working on several new indie projects, including a series of fundamental sweaters for the capsule wardrobe. But I always have twenty designs percolating in my head, and it’s just a matter of needing more hours in the day so I can design and knit them all.

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We love taking peeks into people’s knitting & notion bags!  What’s in your notion bag? Or which bags do you like to use?

I love ALL THE BAGS. I think I was born a bag lady. My project bags house everything from extra hair ties to Starbucks instant coffee packets to extra pairs of earrings. You’ll also find ear plugs, ear buds, a Tuft lotion bar (Bay & Olive scent), lipstick, a notebook, Excedrin and and an extra phone charger. (Can you tell I travel a lot?) And of course there are at least two knitting projects and all the useful knitting tidbits I may or may not need.

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Favorite thing to listen to/do while you knit … podcast/book/movie/show/etc?

I love to binge listen (or watch) true crime documentaries, Chef’s Table or Food Network Chopped.

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You’ve taught countless workshops and classes, do you have any favorites?

I think my favorite class is The Pick-Up Artist. It’s actually quite demanding to teach because it’s so hands-on, but the content is incredibly unique and students always leave SO excited about the new ideas. I think all of my classes are terrific, but that one is just extra special. Ironically, it’s probably the hardest one to teach, too, because there’s so much one-on-one time, but the results are worth it.

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Congratulations on your upcoming book!  We bet you’re just so excited!  Any sneak peeks? Where can our readers find details?

Thank you! I’m excited, too. It’s actually already available for preorder: Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks

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Many thanks to Marie Greene for indulging us on our blog!  We cannot wait for her visit this month.  If you didn’t get a chance to sign-up for her workshops, let us know so we can bring her back next year!  And now for our something fun…

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Welcome Cecelia Campochiaro

We got to chat with the wonderful Cecelia Campochiaro, the designer behind our September projects, the Corrugated Shawl and the Parallelogram Scarf.  She’s also the creator and author of Sequence Knitting: Simple Methods for Creating Complex Reversible Fabrics, a brilliant book that “introduces a radical and simple approach for creating amazing fabrics by working a sequence of stitches over and over again.”  We first met Cecelia while she was touring and teaching with her book and we’re now so pleased to host her here on our blog…

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How did you start knitting? Have there been any particularly inspiring instructors along the way?

I learned to knit as a child, but didn’t really knit in earnest until around the year 2000. The most inspiring knitting instruction was surely Elizabeth Zimmerman and her books, especially Knitting Without Tears. It has been a privilege to work with Meg, Cully, Michelle at Schoolhouse Press, who distribute Sequence Knitting. I also took a workshop from Catherine Lowe in the early 2000s which was an amazing time of ahas and learning about what knitting really means.

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How did your interest in Sequence Knitting begin, and how has it evolved?

When I was traveling a lot for work and wanted easy knitting, I made Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s One Row Handspun Scarf. It’s a 1-row pattern that repeats a simple sequence of stitches, but the fabric was surprising and beautiful. After that I just started experimenting to see what would happen…

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We know your day job is in the tech industry, please tell us about your work and how it might have influenced your love of Sequence Knitting?  

I worked most of my career on microscopes used to inspect computer chips. It was really interesting and involved many different aspects of engineering and science, including the use of algorithms to both control the microscopes and also to interpret the results. I almost called Sequence Knitting “algorithmic knitting” because an algorithm is just a rule, and sequence knitting is about following a rule to make a fabric.

When you’re not working and knitting, what are some of your other passions/hobbies?

Travel, food, photography – there are so many joys to pursue.

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Your Instagram account is filled with some amazing travel photographs, is there any place that has inspired you and your knitting?  

I’m not sure if a place has inspired me, but some people I have met on my travel have inspired me a lot. Two notables are Britt-Marie Christoffersson and her incredible geometric fabrics, Marianne Isager and how she uses inspirations randing from African textiles to manhole covers…

What are some of your favorite knitting tools that fill your notions bag?

I really like having sets of the same needles so I can optimize my gauge without changing anything else about the needle except its size. Interchangeable sets are nice, but just having a complete set of 24-inch non-interchangeables is really nice.

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What’s currently on your needles and what have been some of your most enjoyable projects?

I’m making a scarf with a beautiful breed-specific yarn from Daughter of a Shepherd. I like projects that play with color or have strong graphic qualities. Colormill is the first pattern I published and I still love that piece and the memory of making it.

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Are there any hints about what might lie ahead for you? Perhaps a new book in the works?

I retired from high tech at the end of May and I am focused on the next book, which is all about making marls. It has that element of color play, and I hope I have more to say this coming winter.

Wonderful!  Thanks for being a guest on our blog, Cecelia!  Follow along with her at her website, SequenceKnitting.com.

P.S. Just for fun…

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