Jen Hagan

Meet Jen Hagan, a knitwear designer and writer with two pattern lines— Figheadh Yarnworks and Mirth— has been published in several books (Julie Turjoman'’s Brave New Knits, Clara Parkes’ The Knitter'’s Book of Yarn and The Knitter’'s Book of Socks, Kim Werker’s Crocheted Gifts, and The Perfect Finish, by Kara Gott Warner, and more) and magazines (Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knitting, Interweave Crochet, and Creative Knitting, among others).  Jen graduated with BA and MEd from the University of Montevallo and taught high school English for eight years, a background which helps her produce clearly written patterns that inspire and challenge crafters. Jen is teaching Beginner Pattern Writing at Knit Fit! 2012. For more info on Jen's Designs, see her website or find her on Ravelry.

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Tell us about your design process. Sometimes the design will be something I want and do not see in the world. Sometimes a stitch pattern will possess me and demand to be put into some object in a reasonable way--I think some of my favorite projects have come from making various stitch patterns work together in the same piece. Other times a type of construction will challenge me and I just want to see if I can make it happen. It’s always all about the challenge. If I could just push my brain farther out into the outer reaches of wherever it needs to go and do this more often maybe I could really come up with something fantastic. That’s my goal, anyway. Until then, sometimes the simplest things catch on. There’s room for everything in this world.

What was the catalyst that took you from knitting to designer? Stubbornness.

What’s your favorite mindless knitting entertainment? X-Files, for sure. I’ve seen almost every episode, so I don’t need to pay strict attention. Besides, I love the eerie background vibe it lends. For some reason I can think better with it playing. Does that mean I’m an extraterrestrial? Or that I am an abductee? Or that I’ve been impregnated by an alien? Or that the truth is still out there, at the very least?

What are some sources of visual inspiration for you? Period costumes, architecture, patterns in nature.

What’s the best bar to knit in in Seattle? Hilltop Ale House or Fado—my favorites, so good places to knit.

Favorite recent project? Brackenhill Shawlette designed for Ravenwood Cashmere.

Most useful knitting tip you ever learned? Russian join.

What’s the most unreasonable request you’ve made of your spouse/partner/companion to enable your knitting? Oh, it never gets that crazy…right hon? At least not anymore. There was that span of time when there was nowhere to sit or even put anything down because there was knitting on every conceivable surface. We’ll forget that…someday.

Tell us about the project you’re most proud of. Wanda Nell. She keeps amazing me. Look at what people are doing with her. It makes me most happy when a pattern I write makes other people happy.

Wanda Nell Cardigan