Woodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen - interview & giveaway

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. 
WB Yeats

How true this is and if you've spent any time at all with the delectable miss d, either listening to her music, reading her blog, or knitting her patterns, you'll know as well as I do she's on a mission to open our eyes to her wonder-filled world in the enchanted forest.  If this is your first encounter with Stephanie, then you're in for a treat. Her first book, Woodland Knits, will put a smile on your face. It's inspired by the spirit of the woodland and faerie tales - a magical collection of quirky, amusing and beautiful knits.
Cover with Deer With Little Antlers Hat 
Holiday knitting is definitely on the horizon now, so first up on my needles will be Mr Fox Stole My Heart  - x4, for my four little grandchildren, each in a different colour to reflect their personalities. As well as the one for wee folk there's a larger version, both adorable.
Mr Fox Stole My Heart collar
Mr Fox Stole My Heart scarf
Stephanie has kindly agreed to join us for a chat today and has also donated a copy of her book to a lucky reader. If you'd like a chance to win, all you have to do is join in the conversation and leave a comment on this blog saying which is your favourite design and why. The draw will close at the witching hour on Wednesday, 2 October and the winner's name will be pulled out of the Midsummer Night's Dream hood the following day. However, if you can't wait, you can order your copy here.
Midsummer Night's Dream
Jean  Hello Stephanie and welcome to my bosky den in Wales where I’ve got faerie cakes, made with a secret recipe passed on to me in a dream - berries, angel crisps and some delicious flower nectar tea for us to share.

First thing to catch my eye about your book is the graphic design and how it reflects the contents perfectly. I love the woodland colours and how each design has its own magical leaf, fern or twig border. How much were you involved in this and how important do you think book design is in a pattern book?
Stephanie  Thank you! I was always afraid to put out a book of my designs because I didn’t want it to turn sterile.  A few publishers had approached me previously and I had to turn them down because they wouldn’t give me full artistic control.  I had previously learned in the record industry that when you give that up you are done for!  When Quadrille approached me they just seemed to “get” my vision right away. One of the first things they said was that they want to have little owls all around the book and make it woody and magical.  I was still nervous but I was on board!  I’m excited about how the book turned out.  It ended up being a real collaboration between artists.
Faerie Wings
Jean  You’ve used such a wide variety of gorgeous yarns, so which comes first, the yarn or the design? What are your fave fibres for attracting the attention of wee faerie folks on woodland walks?
Stephanie  I have to admit, it’s really hard for me to choose yarn!  I generally come up with a design and then feel the need to start right away. I will impulsively grab whatever is closest and get to work.  I’m usually too impatient to even go shopping for what I need!  That’s terrible isn’t it?  Good thing I keep my yarn stash positively loaded. I’m a sheep wool maniac. In general I love using wool in tweeds and heathers.  I want my work to look like a Welsh hillside went to Oz on the way to Narnia. 
Catching Butterflies mitts
Jean  If you were setting the mood for a catwalk show of your current collection, what would the story, music, food and colours be?
Stephanie  I think maybe we’d have a midsummer night’s eve setting. It would be twilight. The music would be crickets, forest noises, A little pan flute, jingle bells, owls, harp and branches breaking. We would come out of mist and prowl around a little bit. There would be a tea party and tiny feathers floating in the air.  The food would be nuts and berries and string cheese.  String cheese is fun to eat!
Wanderwillows
Jean  Do you have a muse? If you could chose one notable person from past or present to dress in your designs, who would it be?
Stephanie  Oooh, that’s a toughie. I really only design things because I want them.  I’ve tried to make things for other people but I always miss the mark!  I do work with a sweet little faery though.  She has a harvest dress and her pockets bursting full of ideas and acorns.  She has wild braids and helps me formulate all sorts of things.  My other muse is a grandmother. She sits in a rocking chair and helps me with technical aspects and staying calm.  Her energy is very grounded so I lean on her to keep me from buzzing right out of the ceiling when I get too excited or impatient. I suppose I am very impatient!
Woodland Hoodlet
Jean   Several years ago my son Felix introduced me to your music in your first album, A Lilyfor the Spectre, and I’m so looking forward to Snowbird, your upcoming CD, next spring .  I haven’t come across many people who share with me the twin passions of music and knitting. Can you say a little about any crossovers between the two?
Stephanie  Thank you! I’ve just received the masters for the record and I’m really excited about the way it sounds.  It took over 6 years to get the record to this point and I can’t wait for it to finally be out!  It is very woodsy itself and honest and ethereal.  It’s about animals and wishes and the theme of ghosts runs through it again.  I think music, poetry, painting, dance & design all work together to give us freedom from heaviness that life can sometimes become.  They are the feathers on the bird, the custard in the doughnut.  I’ve always liked the custard part the best.

Faerie Wings
Jean  Tell us a secret?
Stephanie  I obsessively arrange the books on my bookshelf according to height.

Thanks so much Stephanie and good luck to everyone in the draw!
All images © Tiffany Mumford

The drawing is now closed.

Comments

  1. This book looks so cool! I love the Deer With Little Antlers Hat, but that Fox Stole is a close second! I can't resist accessories with animal features. :)

    -Meghan

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  2. I love the Catching Butterflies mitts. Such a clever idea to make you smile the whole day long.

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  3. Catching Butterflies mitts - how clever to have the motif on the palm.
    wahoomerryf on Rav

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  4. I would knit the Catching Butterflies Mitts because I think butterflies are so beautiful and graceful.

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  5. the fox stole is my favorite too. I would not have thought about making it different colors but how fun would a pink fox be!

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  6. I love the Deer with Little Antlers hat! I think that's what I would knit first... and then the Wanderwillows.
    Thanks for posting the interview!

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  7. I love the fox stole. It's playful and sophisticated all at the same time!

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  8. Mr, Fox Stole is so unique, I love it. Love the Wanderwillows, the Butterfly mitts are adorable. Looks very different from the ordinary. . Nice book!

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  9. I love the Midsummer Night's Dream hood. I love the flowers dangling from it.

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  10. I love Mr Fox, so much nicer than the ghastly, and definitely not nice at all, fur stoles which plague us here in rural Ryedale in the so called "War weekend"!
    I love the wander willows too, and I know someone who would adore the wings!
    Good luck for the book, thanks for the interview!

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    Replies
    1. Know just what you mean. I remember as a child my mother had one and I always thought how elegant it was until I realised it had once been an animal - then I hated it. Much better to have a knitted one.

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  11. Midsummer nights dream is my fav. I am going to make it and wear it to the next reading!
    I attend.

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  12. NancyKnot on Ravelry27 September 2013 at 17:05

    I have to say, I know a young lady who would smile all day, knowing what little secret her palms held. She looks like a wee forest fairie herself and cherishes bugs critters and all manner of furry friends.

    I love the whimsy in this book and can't wait to enjoy what forest treats are held within its pages. Thank you for sharing.

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  13. The fingerless mitts with the butterfly in the palm are adorable. Love all the photos.

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  14. Oh, I couldn't possibly pick just one. So I'll say the antlered hat on the cover for its childlike wonder, the fox collar for vintage whimsy, and the Garden Gate and Ivy cowl because it looks so wearable and fun to knit. :) Wonderful interview. I'm yarnstruck on Ravelry.

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  15. meredith MC mermcoelho@hotmail.com29 September 2013 at 18:03

    I love the catching butterflies mitts- they are gorgeous and delicate. Also, the cover hat steals my heart.

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  16. How delightful. Choose just one? I don't think so! I'd have to knit Mr Fox for young friends 'cos he's so cute but for myself I would choose Midsummer Night's Dream as it is exactly my style and I would need to make some Faerie Wings to wear when I run my next marathon ;-)

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  17. Cool ! I like the Little Antlers Hat

    Anna

    anna_k67@yahoo.com

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  18. The butterfly mitts and the antler hat are hands down my favourites - not sure I could choose between them! I have only just learned to knit and I am a little obsessed with it so I would absolutely love to try out some of these patterns. Such a lovely looking book.

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