Welcome Candice of The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers

We’d like you to join us in welcoming Candice English, the brilliant creative behind The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers.  We are so overjoyed to now carry a selection of her yarns at the shop: Squish Fingering, Craggy Tweed DK, and Squish Worsted.  It’s been such a pleasure working with and getting to know Candice!  We hope you’ll find this wonderful post just as inspiring as we have…

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Your story behind your brand is rooted in history.  How did you get started with fiber arts? What motivated you to start dyeing yarn?

My paternal grandmother did about every fiber art you can imagine, her craft room would put all of us to shame! I grew up doing a lot of cross stitching with her and I think the fiber arts was pretty embedded in me. It wasn’t until my early 20s when a friend taught me to knit, I was pregnant with my daughter and I became immediately obsessed. My Mom, sisters, and cousins are all extremely artistic – they can turn nothing into something beautiful. Whether it’s food, buckskin, wood, painting, beading, we all use an instinctual guide to our art. I knew almost nothing about dyeing yarn besides some plant dyeing I had experimented with, but woke up one day to find myself 30 something years old, working 60 hours a week in a corporate job, never seeing my kids, and my marriage kind of falling apart. I had this vision in my head how to put all of this creative energy I had pent up, and knew my color palette was fairly unique. So I dove head first into creating The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers. It was all out of place of desperation, cultural heritage, instinctual creativity, and a passion for knitting and yarn!

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Your yarns are beautiful!  Can you tell us a little more about Squish Fingering, Squish Worsted and Craggy Tweed?

Thank you! Squish Fingering and Squish Worsted are great workhorse yarns. They will basically do just about anything you ask of them. I love them for gift knitting, because they are easy to care for. Craggy Tweed is one of my favorite yarns to knit with, the little tweedy neps are so fun to work up.

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Which patterns do you recommend for these yarns?

There are just so many to choose from these days! My current favorite in my closet and in my queue are Caitlin Hunter’s Ninilchik Swoncho for the Craggy Tweed. I wear that sweater at least three times a week, and I think everyone needs a swoncho! I also have some Squish Fingering stashed away for Caitlin’s Marittimo, it is going to be my Spring time knit! I am also dying to cast on the Nightshift Shawl by Andrea Mowry with some Squish Worsted. Too much to knit, so little time!

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When you’re not dyeing, creating and being all around stellar at running your business, what are some of your other passions and/or hobbies?  Knit, crochet, weave or all of the above?

Knitting of course, I still like to cross stitch once in a while and weaving is so relaxing. I am an avid reader and try to get up to the Mountains as much as I can to hike and explore! It’s my happy place.

We’re always looking for pattern inspiration, what’s currently on your needles or in your queue?

Right now I am currently working on the Rug Sweater by Junko Okamoto, not in FDF yarns but I think it’s important that I do some selfish knitting! Also, I’m desperate to knit everything in the new Winter issue of Pom Pom!

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Favorite thing to listen to/do while you work and/or knit?

I typically watch TV shows and movies when I am knitting and I have been watching a lot of oldies lately. I think it must be the weather! John Wayne and the Cowboys is my current favorite, Lonesome Dove is another classic I watch every December. I just watched Urban Cowboy for the first time last weekend, now I want to take some two-step lessons! And while working, I typically don’t have a lot of background noise, boring but effective for me to stay focused.

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It looks like you’ve had quite the busy last year (we love your studio space!), what’s in store for FDF for next year? 

2018 was such a crazy whirlwind! We have a lot of fun events planned in 2019, our upcoming ones are VKL NYC, Stitches West, another trip to the East Coast in May, and our retreat in June. I am also super excited about some upcoming collaborations in 2019 with my near and dear fiber friends, stay tuned!

We can’t wait for your upcoming announcements!  It’s always such fun and so inspiring to follow along with you on IG – always gorgeous shots of your yarn, projects, and Montana!  Where can our readers find you online?

Thank you! We are so excited to be apart of the Monarch Knitting community!

Instagram @thefarmersdaughterfibers and our website, www.thefarmersdaughterfibers.com

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Welcome Marie Greene

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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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