Stitch Exchange: Interview with Andrea Rangel

Hi everyone!

As you probably know, our Pro-Verbial Yarn & Fiber Club is just starting out on its fifth year! Sign-ups are currently open, and we would love for you to join us. Click here to read more and sign up.

We have four amazing designers on board this year -- click here to read about all of them (as well as last year's designs). We thought we'd offer you a glimpse into their lives by interviewing each of them in turn!

Our first designer interview is with Andrea Rangel of Andrea Knits! Andrea was taught to knit by her grandmother when she was 8 years old, and currently lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Andrea wearing her new pattern Dutch, coming out this fall

Andrea loves to bike, and many of her designs are perfect for biking. We asked her a few questions about knitting, yarn, and the design process.

What’s your favorite thing about designing shawls?

Shawls are certainly functional, but their main purpose, in my opinion, is to be beautiful. They’re wonderful blank canvases and can be extravagant or restrained; they can be delicate and spidery or lavish and cozy. I’m a bit omnivorous when it comes to design (I like to make everything!) and crafting shawls allows me to stretch myself creatively, which is always a thrill.

Do you have a favorite fiber to work with? 

I know I’m not alone in loving wool and I certainly knit with it more frequently than anything else. But I don’t know that I have a favorite fibre because I also adore the crunchiness of linen and the softness of cashmere -- each fibre has its place and I wouldn’t want to give up any of them.

What are you looking forward to the most about working with Verb yarn?

Knitting makes me feel connected with all those before me and around me who have also used textile arts to clothe themselves and their community, while adding color and beauty to the world. Because of that, I relate strongly to the Verb philosophy and love to see Verb's unique work. I know that the yarn and pattern we create together will be special and inspirational.

Can you give us a quick look at your design process? 

All my shawls start with a decision about shape, followed by extensive swatching. It often takes me at least five or six swatches before I settle on which stitch patterns I’d like to use, and the decision is usually informed by the feel, look, and color of the yarn. When I design garments, there’s a lot of math to be done before I can even cast on, but since shawls only have one size, I just do a few basic calculations and write a quick draft of the pattern before beginning with the knitting.  Some day I may need to use sample knitters, but I haven’t done it yet because I love to knit and because I often adjust the pattern while I work.

Out of all of your amazing designs, which do you yourself wear the most?

Last summer my husband and I took a month-long bicycle trip around the Netherlands, but before we left I designed Dutch [see photo above], a sweater just for the occasion. It turned out to be perfect for the trip -- made of lightweight wool with an oversized fit and happy color work. I wore it every day while traveling. The pattern is currently in testing and will be published this coming fall. Another design I wear all the time while cycling is my pair of Kalaloch leggings -- they’re perfect for winter riding and are actually one of the most functional things I’ve made.

Andrea in her Kalaloch leggings

We are thrilled to have Andrea as part of the Pro-Verbial Club this year, and can't wait to see what she designs for us! Thank you, Andrea, for answering our questions.

-- Sarah