Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Jean Moss Interview, Great Little Gifts to Knit Giveaway


I was recently asked to join the blog tour for Great Little Gifts to Knit, by Jean Moss. It's a wonderful collection of knitted items that are designed to be knit up quickly, and with the holiday season only 4 months away, it doesn't hurt to start thinking about our gift knitting! Here are my top faves from the 29-pattern collection: 

This Shower Set is an absolutely perfect trio of super fast knits: 

And these classic yet cool cushion covers are awesome, they would be awesome on my couch (and probably yours, too!):

I love these zebra mittens, they are so cool and (I think) pretty unisex in their appeal: 



And this Toran is gorgeous, what a fun way to celebrate good news, parties, holidays! 



Check out the full project gallery here,  to see all the amazing patterns included in this lovely book. (warning: the page background colour is a little hard on the eyes!) 

Jean was kind enough to take some time for a mini interview, which was lots of fun: 


According to your bio, you are a self-taught knitter. How did you come to be interested in knitting, and how did you learn? As you have been a prolific designer since before the age of the internet, I'm interested to know how you sorted out the challenges of learning new techniques or problem solving when there were no YouTube videos or Ravelry forums to offer help. 

JM: In my family all the women were knitters, so I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t knit.  When I was about five my lovely grandmother taught me how to knit drop stitch scarves from recycled yarn. I had no concept of where yarn might come from other than from other people’s old sweaters! You can imagine my delight when years later I discovered yarn stores. My design skills were learnt on the job. In the eighties when I was working with Ralph Lauren and other international US designers, there was a lot of pressure to produce accurate patterns fast. It was certainly an amazing learning curve for me.

I have to confess I’ve rarely learnt a technique from a YouTube video. I’m quite impatient and much prefer doing to watching - I seem to have tunnel vision when I need to learn something, channeling all my energies into it for a short period. Before the internet I would just experiment until I got it right, or consult Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook to help me along. She was an amazing knitter -  it’s very sad that she died so prematurely. 

Your newest book, Great Little Gifts to Knit, has wonderful projects for babies, women, men, and the home. Looking back over your amazing patterns in the Ravelry pattern database, you've designed plenty of beautiful knits in very diverse yarns, and in very diverse styles. Do you have a particular favourite item that you most enjoy designing (i.e., shawls or hats)? What is your favourite pattern out of this new collection?

JM: My favourite pattern is always the one I’m working on. I love designing for me, and couldn’t imagine publishing anything I don’t actually like (I’m not saying here that I like every design I do, but those I don’t like go straight in the rubbish bin). Similarly I can’t say I’d wear everything I design, as some designs have a strict brief which may or may not be my style, but I like to think that my handwriting shines through in every piece. To answer your question I wear a lot of sweater dresses, shawls and scarves (a passion that inspired my last book, Sweet Shawlettes) and adore knitted hats, so if pressed I’d say these are my fav items.

The design I had most fun working on in Great Little Gifts is the Welcome Toran. In my opinion every home needs one, both to welcome guests and celebrate the meaningful moments of our lives, such as births and weddings etc. I love the idea that knitters can adapt the concept to fit their own skills, lives and interiors.  It’s based on a traditional Hindu/Buddhist door-hanging, said to bless all who walk beneath it.

I think all knitters and crocheters have made something to give as a gift, but either the recipient wasn't a good match for the item, or it didn't fit, or they just didn't appreciate it. Tell me about a time when you knitted a gift that just didn't work out, and how you avoid those sorts of knitted gift missteps now.  

JM: My friends and family generally seem delighted to receive my knitted gifts. I hope and trust they’re not just being polite.  Personally I’d be delighted if someone made a gift especially for me and would cherish it. However, a couple of Christmasses ago I knit lots of necklaces  and bracelets, each with its own unique colour and style to compliment the recipient . I wondered why my fairly new daughter-in-law didn’t seem overly pleased with hers and I never saw her wear it. I only found out a month or two ago that she has a thing about jewelry and wouldn’t even wear a watch. I like gifts to be exciting to open and hope there’ll be a nice surprise in each parcel. I just cross my fingers and hope that on the whole those surprises don’t turn out to be shocks!

I'm curious to know what's on your knitting needles. What are you working on now? 


JM: I’m afraid knitting was put on hold for me nearly seven weeks ago when I broke my wrist teaching the grandchildren how to ride a unicycle! I know – you couldn’t make it up! The cast came off last week and I’ve picked up my needles once or twice since, but I still can’t do very much as my hand is still painfully weak and swells up like a sausage when I try to use it. I’m finding playing guitar is the easiest therapy at the moment. All very frustrating, but it gives me lots of time to dream up new designs to try out once I get going again. 

Thank you Jean, for taking the time to thoughtfully answer all my questions! 


Interested in winning a copy of this lovely book? Then it's your lucky day! Please leave me a comment (include your email or ravelry ID) telling me which person in your life really needs for you to knit them a gift.  The winner will be announced Thursday, September 12th! And should you not win, take heart- the book is available for sale on Amazon.com here, Amazon.co.uk here, and there is even a blog tour for this amazing book, be sure to check out the other blogs for more chances to win! 


The Rest of the Great Little Gifts to Knit Blog Tour 


Wed 11 Sep    Black Bunny Fibers Carol Sulcoski

Thur 12 Sep    Rhythm of the Needles Joanne Conklin

Fri 13 Sep       Tiny Owls Knits Stephanie Dosen

Mon 16 Sep    Just Call Me Ruby Susan Crawford

Tues 17 Sep   Zeneedle Margene Smith

Wed 18 Sep    Redshirt Knitting Erika Barcott

Thur 19 Sep    A Friend to Knit With Leslie Friend

Fri 20 Sep        Craft Sanity Jennifer Ackerman Haywood

Mon 23 Sep     Connieleneknits Connie Lene

Tues 24 Sep    Knitsofacto Annie Cholewa

Wed 25 Sep     Ulla Bella Anita Tormoen

Thur 26 Sep     A Really Good Yarn Julie Schilthuis

Fri 27 Sep        Urban Yarns Alexa Ludeman

Sat 28 Sep       Linda Marveng  Linda Marveng

Mon 30 Sep     Yarnings Jen
Tues 1 Oct       Tentenknits  Margaux Hufnagel              


80 comments:

Melissa said...

Oh wow... who needs a knitted gift? Probably one of my teenage daughters. Thanks for the chance to win.
melissake1022@yahoo.com

Alison Makin said...

Anyone in my family would love something from this, I'm the only one who knits m

Rebekah said...

our baby who arrives in december!

rebekah[.]diehl[@]gmail[.]com

onesharplady said...

Everyone always needs knitted gifts, but I have some friends with a new baby who are having a rough time right now. They could use some knitted love. (I have a cheerful blanket in progress, but less isn't more... more is!)

Linda Rumsey said...

My teenage daughter is having a tough time right now. So I'd love to knit her something to cheer her up!
lindarumsey on Ravelry

Jersey Shore Deb said...

I would like to make something for my mother. She taught me how to knit, and she is now 92 years old and still knitting, but she is really only able to do garter stitch squares for charity due to poor vision. I think she deserves and would appreciate a knitted gift.

gelert said...

My brother could most use a knitted gift; he gave away all the hats I sent him when he was deployed before he came back.

Rav ID: gelert

Kelly Ramstack said...

I would love to knit my co-worker a little gift. She's going through an emotional time right now: her brother-in-law is dying of cancer, her mom was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and, in the meantime, she's helping her daughter plan her wedding. Stressful!

Tobie said...

I love that toran.What a wonderful idea---to knit one.

Rav:trl710

Knittingdancer on Ravelry said...

My manicurist, she appreciates all of my knitting. She even framed a couple of dishcloths I made her. She wants me to bring all of my finished projects to show her. I don't mind knitting her gifts.

Melinda said...

The galway beanie would make great gifts for the boys in my family, who are all receiving hand made hats this holiday season.

mjmknitting on ravelry

Anonymous said...

Love the little shower set for babies.

deblyn153 on Rav

Rhea said...

My daughter has a birthday coming up. I really need to knit something for her.

Rhea said...

My daughter has a birthday coming up. I need to knit something for her.

Barbara said...

Just spotted the Jean Moss tea cozy... may have to go buy a teapot!!?? Thanks for the chance to win her book.

allama said...

My mama's going through a tough time at the moment and I'd love to shower her in knitted presents for her birthday. This book looks gorgeous! hjtipple@gmail.com

Pauline H said...

The person who might need knitted gifts most is my sister-in-law, who is expecting her second child but can't knit: I like being the special auntie who will gift a beautiful sweater or blanket to the new baby girl... :-)

mvink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mvink said...

Great interview & the book looks awesome! The person who needs a knitted gift most would have to be my closest and dearest friend. Another would be my 4month old nephew! Thanks for the chance!
Ravelry ID: mvink
Email: melissacorivink(at)hotmail(dot)com

Renee Anne said...

Who "needs" a knitted gift? No one. Who "deserves" a knitted gift? A lot of people in my life...my husband (who doesn't want one), Little Man (who has several), my best friend and her kids, my two nieces, me, charity...we all need one sometime!

renny1780 on Ravelry :)

Agnes said...

A dear, sweet friend of mine just told me the other day she was pregnant (first baby), so this little shower trio is the perfect gift for her. It is so cute.
And I have to find something for a colleague at work who is also expecting her first child.
And the cushions? Perfect gift for our sofa.

missagnes on Ravelry

Savannagal said...

Sadly, not too many people in my family are interested in handknits. I've given a few items, but have yet to see them worn. So I mostly knit for myself and the pure enjoyment of knitting. Savannagal on Rav

LauraH said...

My son needs a knitted gift. He has started college and has always encouraged me to knit and I'd love to encourage him back with a wonderfully knitted hat! Thanks so much!

Renee Thielman said...

My mom needs a knitted gift. She's going through a painful divorce from my dad who left after 20 something years of marriage. She needs a reminder that she is loved and what better than a knitted gift!

Anonymous said...

Wow, love the mittens. Ravelry ID is Khendra.

Christina - a Babys Smile Knits said...

We are very lucky to be welcoming another baby into our circle of friends early next year, the parents would certainly deserve a knitted gift.

mrsmommy on Rav

Rebekah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebekah Evelyn said...

Siblings, parents, cousins, the list goes on...

Carmen N said...

My daughter! She's almost 3 years old and I have yet to knit her a gift. I've made gifts for other people but not her!

katherinelynn_04 said...

One of my friends has the oldest child in the group. He was born before I got into Ravelry and knitting as a serious thing, so he never got a baby blanket or a sweater like the other children have. I know that I should make him something, but sometimes kids of his age are hard to make things for.

katherinelynn04 on ravelry

Heather J said...

I have 2 babies coming in the spring they definitely need something.

Josiphine said...

I'm Josiphine on ravelry.

My nephew is turning three--the day after tomorrow! I'd like to knit him a little something...but he already has like a dozen handknit hats.

Chaya said...

My daughter would love so many of the above patterns...

ChayaCrochets - Ravelry ID

Anonymous said...

I'm always trying to find something to knit for my tween daughters...hoping they'll gain an appreciation for handmade gifts.
twinsknit on Rav

Nicole said...

I would definitely make a little something for my Grandma! She is going on 90 and can no longer knit due to arthritis. No one appreciates my knitting more than her.

Rav ID: scays

Alli said...

Love the idea of a blog tour and how nice to learn more about a new-to-me designer!

That shower gift set is darling and I'm sure I could find someone who's having a new baby to give it to!

StitchyAlli on Ravelry

Naycha said...

I would knit something special for my Oma. She's passed on and I don't remember her, but I met her once when I was little. I would knit for her because I think more than anyone else, she would have loved to have something handmade from her youngest daughter's daugther. She lived in The Netherlands and my mom didn't get to go back home very often after she moved to the states at the age of 19 and I know my Oma must have missed her very much.

camby said...

I would like to knit something new for my husband. He's one of the few people who actually seem to like what I knit for him!
Camby on rav

Chantelle said...

My husband does, he needs a knitted gift because of everyone, he appreciates them the most.

ravelry - brighidgreen

slmiller8 said...

Wow, that' an interesting question. I think the answer is my husband, maybe he needs a nice hat!

Anonymous said...

I would love to do something special for the care worker who helps take care of my husband.
Joanneperrow on ravelry

zenitude said...

My daughter, whom is soon to have her third child would be in need of a wonderful knitted gift from me! She's an exceptional mother and a little TLC would be appreciated.
Rav: zenitude

adodds said...

My mom would be appreciative of any knitted gift. She has knitted all her life and I have been the recipient of many of her lovely gifts..

christine m. said...

hmmm.... I think the person who most needs a knit gift from me is hard to narrow down. But if I went with who would most APPRECIATE a knit gift, I think it would be those near to me who are soon expecting a new arrival. :) baby love xo

Bronwyn said...

My husband needs me to knit him something because he always seems to get left out! Poor guy!

Anne said...

My husband has been asking me to make him a hat. However, my mom taught me to knit, and she never makes anything for herself. So I'd probably make her something first. Her birthday is coming up...what a great idea!

Anne said...

Ravelry ID: IllinoisHawkeye

jessica said...

I'm expecting a little girl and she needs lots of knitted items! The list is growing.

I'm expectingsam on revelry.

Karen said...

I think it's my son's turn for a knitted gift. I'd like to make him some socks.

Anonymous said...

A friend who is having a baby needs a baby gift. Hand knit, of course.

Thanks!

Julia (jagl on Ravelry)

Christine Lima said...

My husband could really use something knitted. He always sees me knitting for everyone else, but he hardly ever gets anything made for him.

cmf said...

My son can always use something knitted and always appreciates the time and effort required.

Kerryellen said...

My brother :)

Rav ID: kwilla

Anonymous said...

My husband needs new knits. I have knit for almost everyone but him. My girls usually request new knit projects and his always get bumped to the bottom of the que. grandymom on rav.

Anonymous said...

My eldest daughter really needs something lovely knit for her. She has 3 boys that keep her busy and she looks after them so beautifully. She deserves a gift.

fibbermcphee@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

My niece would love the swirl beret!

Cartucha on ravelry

Anonymous said...

Our younger daughter is at university in northern Ontario, and we love to send surprise packages to her. Something cozy and very warm would be perfect for her!

sandi-go9@hotmail.com

toffeepops said...

There are two people I really need to knit something for... First of all, my wee girl, who has some knitted goodness from friends and family but not yet from me. Second, my mum, for all her love and support through those early weeks of motherhood.

Mary Jo said...

My husband deserves a hand knit surprise from me. He has had a stressful two years. He had heart surgery last year and his best buddy helped him through rehab afterwards. Now his best buddy is sick and had surgery for a blown out knee. My husband is super stressed and worried about his best buddy. I wish I could insert a picture of him with his best friend here. It is our dog Meva - she kept him going and was the perfect physical therapist for his rehab. My husband misses his long walks with his favorite companion so maybe I could knit him a warm hat for the cold weather that is coming.
Almost forgot I am mjm on ravelry

amchart said...

I would love to knit the baby set for my niece who just had a baby girl who had to have heart surgery less than 48 hours old. Rav amchart

Anonymous said...

I have a niece who has been married for a year now. She and her husband are now talking of starting a family would love to knit her something so that when the times comes she have a beautiful knitted piece. email jeanninejeffords@yahoo.com

forevermore said...

I would love to make something from this collection for either my brand-new grandbaby or for friends who just need a special pick-me-up. My Rav ID is Forevermore. :)

Barb said...

My niece Susan bugs me constantly to knit something for her, so if I win this book, I will make her a quilt.

Sarah said...

Lots of people I know are having babies lately and a hand-knitted gift for a new baby is really special, I think. Something like a blanket can even become a family heirloom!

M Hardy said...

My nephew is getting married in the spring and a throw pillow for the couch would be a great gift!!

britgirlknits said...

My ravelry name is britgirlknits
My best friend is expecting a baby after overcoming cancer and many years of wishing and hoping, I would knit for her if I won

Marilyn a.k.a. Merry said...

How about a gift for myself since I've been knitting Christmas socks for months now? I want to make the shadow knitting pillows.
wahoomerryf on Rav

Tagati said...

Hm, I've been knitting tons of items that my mother sends to relatives in Japan, so I'd say the vet who's been taking such great care of my dog needs a gift!

Mille grazie for the giveaway.

karen alho said...

I love the toran. I'd make it for my daughter. Or maybe I would buy the yarn and give it to her to make! She's a fabulous knitter. But - more than winning the book I'd love to meet Jean Moss! She sounds like a remarkable, fun lady. Unicycle? Oh my!

rav id: intavira

Shannon Yeaton said...

Ah, Jean Moss, she's a knitting icon. I loved the Toran pattern. Hmmm, I would probably knit this pattern for a friend, she would love it!

skywoman.59@twc.com

KimW said...

Right now I'm planning some gift knits for a few of my daughter's college friends. They have had some challenges and disappointments lately and of course I believe that some cozy mittens or a soft headband will make it a little better! I'm KimW on Ravelry.

Anonymous said...

What a fun blog tour! I love Jean Moss' designs (and incredible range of styles) and have a couple of her books.
I'm lining up Christmas gifts - maybe the very cool odalisque hat and headband for my daughter, the checkers cushion for my son, and I might have to squeeze in the whimsical tea cozies for myself. lindawriting@gmail.com They crack me up - look like live characters!
Glad you got picked for this tour, Julie. I love your blog.

Laura said...

Id lOVE to get this book because I am a small project person.. and the first thing I would make would be the TORAN! such a festive way to celebrate. and you can use it year after year!!!!

Thank you
Laurabal25

Laura said...

laurabal25@gmail.com ( did not know if I needed to post my email address?)

Anonymous said...

I would have to say my 82 year old mother with Alzheimer's would benefit from something cozy!

Lee (mamagiff on ravelry)

Sam said...

Someone I think who needs a knitted gift would be my Baba, she crocheted afgans for all of her grandchildren and now I'm trying to pay back the kindness in hand knits.

Rav id: anthronerd

Anonymous said...

Who in my 'family' needs a knitted gift? They ALL insist they do! That's why this book would be perfect for me-this could be the holiday season that I get MY wish- that everyone gets THEIR wish.(this gets it pretty darn close!)
Love the Toran!
All this and she plays guitar too?!
Great interview and generous offer.
Thank you so much.
RavID:frogginfool

Karen said...

I think my sisters need me to knit for them for reasons I cannot say here. This book looks adorable. Would love to win it. Thank you.

Karen
yarnygrl on Ravelry

Anonymous said...

My granddaughters love to get knits.....new hats and mitts for the winter would be lovely. Nice interview and thanks for chance.
lyn41 (Ravelry)

Drae said...

someone who is expecting another bundle of joy
alcbrooks on Rav