Monday, November 1, 2010

Designer of the Month: Erssie Major!

Tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos, and what better time could there be to feature Erssie Major as Designer of the Month? Based in the UK, Erssie is a well-known knit and crochet designer, whose work often includes skeletons and skulls. Some of her patterns were created to celebrate the Day of the Dead.  (see below)


Erssie Major

Erssie's designs are sometimes goth and sometimes folkloric--all with her unmistakeable style. She has a way with color and pattern that only an artist could accomplish. She designs knit patterns, and has recently added crochet patterns to her site.  And if that weren't enough, she is prolific in her creation of marvelously designed stitch charts, which can be found here.

Here are some Dia de los Muertos patterns by Erssie:

Las Calacas Danzantes
(The Dancing Skeletons)










Calavera
(Skull Chart)








Los Pequeños Relojes de Arena
(The Little Hourglasses)










The Samhain Collection:
Skull & Ghost Charts E-book











Erssie has kindly answered some interview questions for us, and she did such a great job of it, that I'm going to publish them as a series. Every Monday this month, there will be another installment. Here's the first:

How did you get started designing patterns?
I started making my own toys and clothes for my action figure doll (a boy’s one) when I was very young. I was the only kid to have an action figure soldier that had a crochet dressing gown, felt slippers and duvet for his camp bed.

What is your design preference: knit or crochet?
I don’t actually have a preference for knit or crochet and really I don’t like to limit crafts by dividing them into technique categories because I think it limits the design. I feel the same way about categorizing within knit or crochet, e.g. lace v. colour work, texture v. smooth, etc. I prefer to just use whatever is needed to make the piece work at that point.
I understand though that it is necessary in pattern designing to divide the craft because that is what the customers expect and not everybody has a range of textiles techniques. However, when I am given a free rein I just like to use the technique that best suits my purpose. For example, if I want a fabric with fantastic drape and a smooth surface I pick up the needles, but if I was working on a sculptural piece that needed to be freeform or have shape in any dimension, then I would pick up the hook. I am happy to mix my media and flit between the two.

Who or what was your earliest inspiration that started you on your way to being the designer you are today?
The grandmother I never met, was an inspiration to me. My mother could knit well but she used to tell me stories of how my grandmother was good but also really speedy. She grew up in a kids home in the early 1900’s and being the eldest girl in a family of 13 kids (my great granny had 16 kids but 3 died) she was allotted the family knitting in the home. Often she had ridiculous deadlines and she learned to knit, in the dark, under the bedclothes at night. The punishment for not completing was to be locked in a dark cupboard with no light visible, and creepy crawlies, and her closest friend there died of heart failure whilst on one of these punishments. When I think of some of the setbacks I have, I just think of her, and I wonder how on earth she still managed to enjoy knitting for the whole of her life.

Part 2 of Erssie's interview is here.

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You can keep up with Erssie's new designs by visiting her website, Erssie Knits.
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