As part of the original Around the World in 80 Skeins tour, Poland was our 18th stop, to visit knitwear designer Hanna Maciewjewska.
**Hanna is participating in the Indie Design Gift-A-Long on Ravelry with 292 other designers from 21 countries. 20 of her beautiful patterns are 25% off through November 21 @11:59pm EST with code giftalong2014 – come join us!
Hi, Hanna – welcome to our tour! Where do you live and what’s the best thing about your town?
I was born and grew up in Poland and have lived here for most of my life. I have spent a few years in the US and UK, but I missed my hometown and came back to Poland. Now, my family and I live close to the ancient town of Toruń – the most Gothic urban complex in Poland, with numerous beautiful historical buildings, lots of museums, and other unique attractions. It is the birthplace of the famous Nicolaus Copernicus. Toruń with its largest and oldest university in the North is also one of the most important scientific and cultural centers in Poland.
How did you get started knitting and how did it turn into designing?
My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was a little girl. In High School, I perpetually knit sweaters – all from my own imagination, because books and knitting magazines were hard to come by in my country back then. If you wanted something – you thought it up yourself and made it yourself, and then you had something unique.
After moving to the US and then to the UK, knitting temporarily became less important for me since there were so many other exciting things to explore and places to visit, but when I returned to Poland, I realized that knitting and designing knitwear is truly my biggest passion!
How does where you live influence your designs?
Where I live indeed influences me a lot, though it is not that obvious when you look at my designs. The serene place in the countryside near Toruń I live in, my big garden (I am a huge fan of gardening), and the forest nearby are quiet places to think about new designs and life in general and to look for sources of inspiration and get new ideas. I also like to wander around the Old Town of Toruń, feeling history and watching people.
Do you have a favorite local yarn store?
There are no real yarn shops near where I live, so most of the time, I shop online in Poland and abroad. Sometimes, I do get invited by yarn stores to meet with knitting groups, but they are not so close that I could shop in them on a regular basis.
Who are your favorite designers?
Well, I have many favorite designers. I like the designs of Barbara G. Walker, Nicky Epstein, Martina Behm, Ysolda Teague and many more. Each one of them has their recognizable style: simple lines, smart construction and always that special something that makes their garments interesting and unique.
Where is your favorite place to knit and design?
This would definitely be in my garden! Whenever the weather permits, I love to sit on the porch and knit. During the colder months, I usually knit on the living room couch. But, honestly, I can knit everywhere, and most of the time I have my knitting with me wherever I go somewhere.
What is your design process like? Do you plan it all out before you pick up your needles, or do you let the yarn show you where to go?
Actually, both. Most of the time, I make a sketch and a swatch before I start. I also collect a few stitch ideas. However, my ideas do not always work out and I sometimes change them as I knit. I’m a hands-on designer, and very often, useful ideas for improvement come to my mind while I knit up a design.
What is your favorite working snack/beverage?
Well, I have a sweet tooth. 🙂 I really like the gingerbread Toruń is famous for. I’m even known for offering some of it as KAL-prizes in my group! Definitely, gingerbread and good coffee are what sustains me through lengthy knitting episodes.
What are your favorite designs in your portfolio?
At the moment, my favorite one is my Wink Cardigan. It is the worsted weight version of one of my most popular patterns, Ink, and cabling is my favorite knitting technique. I also like the Wisteria Lane pullover because of its subtle lace panel on the back. And, of course, I love Moyen Age – this is my most favorite pullover of all! I just love the expressive neckline and the overall shaping of this garment. At the moment, I am knitting lots of hats and smaller projects, for example All that Jazz. I am even hosting a 2 Skeins or Less KAL on Ravelry for all projects that use 2 skeins or less.
It was wonderful chatting with you! Thank you for sharing your beautiful designs and inspirations with us.
Check out Hanna’s designs on Craftsy: Hada Knits and Ravelry: hada131 where you can join her Ravelry group: Hada’s Little Corner