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Designer Challenge: Rachel Coopey

Filed under: Design Process,Interviews — Tags: , , — Elly @ 5:35 pm on December 29, 2011

The second designer interview is with Rachel Coopey, who designed the fabulous Zena Mittens. She blogs at Coop Knits and tweets @coopknit. This design, and the others in the series, are knitted with one ball each of Lanaloft Sport, in Rose Marquee, Deep Violet and Black Bear.

Together they make up the Deep, Dark Night which is available for £13.49. (Currently there is only one Deep Dark Night pack left, Deep Dark Night is now all sold out, but other colourways are available. More stock of Deep, Dark Night will be arriving mid-January, so I recommend that if you want one, purchase it now, and it will be reserved for you. Please see this page for more info.)  Deep, Dark Night is back in stock!

Zena Mittens by Rachel Coopey, © Practical Publishing

Tell us a bit about yourself, and your fibrey pursuits. For example, where are you from, do you work as anything else other than a knitwear designer? When/how did you you learn to knit? What made you decide to design a pattern for publication? 

I’m from Worcester and I’m a full time designer. My mum and Grandma were always knitting when I was little and I used to make them cast on for me and I would knit garter stitch squares. When I was about 16 I managed a whole scarf. In 2007 I bought a book and re-taught myself the basics and I haven’t stopped since!


What was your inspiration for the design? Did it come from the colours, or the yarn structure, something else?

The colours were the starting point for me – I started with the colourwork cuff and I wanted a cable pattern to co-ordinate with it, this is the first time I have worked with Lanaloft Sport – but it won’t be the last! I love proper woolly yarn and this is definitely that!


Tension: I’m interested to see that across the 3 patterns, there are vastly different tensions – from 20 sts to 30 sts to 10 cm! Why did you choose the tension you did, what effect did it have on the finished project?

I chose to work at a tight tension because I wanted the resulting fabric to be really firm and warm, thats one of the lovely things about this yarn – you can use it in such a range of tensions, I’m working on a project now which is a lot looser and it’s got a lovely drape!


Do you have any extra tips for your project, or for using Lanaloft Sport? Eg. cast on/cast off. type of increase, needles to use etc.

Try not to knit the colourwork section too tightly and learning how to cable without a cable needle will save you time!



A bit of quick fire fun:

Sweet or Savoury? Sweet

Marmite, yes or no? No

Favourite fibre? Wool

Crochet? I wish

What are you reading now/what was the last book you read? The Magicians.

Music tastes? Eclectic

What annoys you? Wasps

What makes you happy/helps you relax? A hot bath

Favourite colour(s)? Green, Yellow and Grey


That’s all for this year! After the New Year check back for Sam Parfitt’s interview, and a couple of exciting announcements – but in the mean time, I wish you a happy and hygge New Year!