Today we’re sitting Alex Tinsley on the other side of the table and it’s her turn to get interviewed! Being that she has designed patterns using Malabrigo for quite a while, we couldn’t pass the opportunity to let her share her experience and thoughts with us.
Thank you for accepting to do this, Alex!
Alex lives in Michigan, she is happily married and have two very cute dogs. She has a degree in psychology, that she’s not really using for now, and claims to be one of the few people who actually likes white chocolate. I have one other friend who likes white chocolate too. One.
To say that she specializes in hats is an understatement. She has designed a LOT of them, each one really different from the other, applying techniques that makes the knit a learning experience as well as fun times. The first one that caught my eye, a long time ago, was Wabbit Season, designed with Malabrigo Twist, that is part of an e-book called Go Go, Malabrigo. Those ear flaps are both endearing and useful on cold days, the pom-poms adds to the cute , and the pockets definitely gives a very original touch to the design.
So Alex, tell us, how did you get to know Malabrigo?
I bought my first skein of Mal Worsted at a shop called Busy Hands, in Michigan. The color was “Dry Blue” which doesn’t exist anymore, but I think it was kind of like Stone Blue. I was still a pretty new knitter at the time and it was one of the first high-quality, not-from-Joann’s yarns that I used, and I was just blown away! It just felt really good in my hands. Soft, but substantial. I crocheted a not-very-good hat and scarf with it… and then promptly went out and bought a bunch more in all sorts of colors.
I have been told this happens to quite a few people! Not to me, of course. Never. No (ahem)
What was the first thing you designed with Malabrigo?
My first design in Malabrigo was called Golden Boy, and it was a hat I knit for my now-husband shortly after we started dating. It’s knit flat, and then finished off with a short-row wedge, because at the time, I only had size 10 needles that were straight, haha. I did the first version in Chunky, in Loro barranquero, and then another in Worsted in Lettuce and some leftover Dry Blue. It’s never gotten much attention, but I still kind of like it- especially the Chunky version.
I really like this design. It looks simple, but then you look closer and see the short row wedge, and now that you explain why that design feature is there, it goes to show how a little thinking outside the box and using what you have at hand can create something beautiful and original.
Many of your designs are done in Malabrigo, why do you choose Malabrigo for your designs?
I think Malabrigo is the perfect combination of soft texture, great colors, and availability. It’s a luxury yarn without being wildly expensive. It’s sold (and loved) just about everywhere, which is great for designers. But most of all – it still just feels good in my hands! Mal Worsted and I are like old friends- I know how it will knit up without even needing to swatch, and it’s wonderful for hats, which are my favorite things to design. The colors are always so rich and beautiful- especially some of the new “watercolor” shades, which have been tempting me away from Worsted into some of the other bases, hehe.
If you had to choose one project done with Malabrigo as your favorite, which one would it be?
Oh man, that’s hard. I think the one that gets the most wear is my Bespeckled hat. I love the color, I like how it fits, and pom poms are awesome. I recently had to make a second one for a workshop I was putting together, so now I own it in two colors, Frank Ochre and Polvoriento. Yay!
That is definitely a hat that will put some sunshine as well as warmth on a cold winter!
You could say you have knitted with most of Malabrigos bases and colors. If you got stranded on an island and could take only one base and one color with you, which would it be?
I love all the bases but Worsted will always be closest to my heart. I would happily roll around in a pile of Finito though! My favorite colorway is, hands down, Frank Ochre. I want it to come in every base, and then I want to pile it up and make myself a fort out of it, where I will live happily forever. I also really like the neutrals- Pearl, Simply Taupe- and some of the other gold/chartreuse colorways like Glitter and Mostaza. Some of the new watercolors are amazing too- Volcan and Marte and Peacock, oh my! This question is too hard.