#Giftalong2014 Interview: Trappings & Trinkets

Image (c) Nicole Montgomery

I’m delighted to welcome to the blog, Nicole Montgomery, from Trappings and Trinkets. Nicole is one of the designers participating in this year’s giftalong! Her Giftalong patterns can be found on Ravelry here

Tell me about yourself

I have a cat that thinks he’s my husband. I have a husband who I started dating when I called in to a college radio show I knew he helped with and dedicated a song to him. Music has always played a big part in my life – I graduated college with a music education degree and taught in a public school for 3 years before I had kids. I have taught private piano & voice lessons for 20 years now. I’ll be 40 next year and plan to do something big to celebrate. My kids probably think I’m the scroogiest mom ever because I hate decorating for all celebrations (it’s not that I hate celebrating….I just hate clutter. There are no Easter wreaths, Halloween skeletons, or St. Patty’s Day leprechauns at my house. And I will definitely be one of those older ladies that just puts up a tiny tree on a tabletop for Christmas once my kids are out of the house and won’t care!)

Do you have a favourite yarn, or colour that you cannot stop knitting?

If I was headed to Noah’s ark before the flood and could only save one yarn, I’d have to bring madelinetosh sock yarn with me. I gravitate more toward thinner yarns than chunkier knits, and tosh sock is soft, sturdy, wears well, and comes in so many beautiful colors. My personal favorites are in the blue & purple families., but I also love a good gray or brown!

When and why did you start designing?

I learned to knit about 8 years ago. A friend hosted “Knitting and Sangria Night” – I think I was the only one who stayed sober enough to learn the craft! When I started following patterns, I found myself always thinking, “This is ok, but I’d like it better if I could just change this, this, and this.” So I started designing because I tend to have a very specific idea of what I want to make, and typically I can’t find a pattern for that exact thing, the exact way I want to make it.

Sock Monkey Ear Flap Hats, Image (c) Nicole Montgomery

My first pattern, the sock monkey hat, was a request from a friend of mine who is a photographer. She was describing a hat to me that she saw and I remember saying, “So it’s like the monkey head goes on top of the baby head?” She assured me it was adorable. I went home and looked for a pattern – a few crochet patterns were available, but google only gave me one link for a knitting pattern. I clicked the download link and killed our computer with a virus. This was before I knew about Ravelry and I should have known better than to trust a website that looked shady and had Cyrillic characters in the web address. So, the computer was dead and I still didn’t have a pattern. I decided I’d just figure it out myself, and got such a positive response from friends that I thought, “Maybe I can sell the pattern to help contribute to the cost of replacing the computer.” Then knitters who bought the pattern were so encouraging that I decided I’d continue to write up the things I made because I was having such good experiences interacting with them. And I was happy to be building a career that had flexible hours and still allowed me to be available for my kids, which had always been a priority for me.

What is your favourite design?

Favorite that I designed? It’s like being asked to choose between my kids. But if I have to, the one I’m probably proudest of is the Orchard Pullover. (But the Beekeeper’s Tank and World War G{loves} are tied for a close second!) Favorite from another designer? I just made a Rock the Lobster cardigan this summer and it turned out beautifully. It was a rare pattern that I don’t think I modified at all because it was so beautifully designed, very well-written, and just aligned perfectly with my own taste.

Orchard Pullover, Image (c) Nicole Montgomery

What inspires you?

Just about everything. Sometimes I look at a skein of yarn and know exactly what it should be. My World War G{loves} is an example of this. I might see someone wearing something I love while I’m out running errands and I go home and draw it, then decide how I can make it my own. Siesta Tee was based on the idea of a mesh sweater with long set-in-sleeves that I saw on someone in a restaurant. I re-imagined it as a looser-fitting garment that you’d wear in the summer – something to throw over a tank top or a bathing suit at the beach. Sometimes I look through stitch dictionaries and imagine those patterns on finished projects – the cables on the Orchard Pullover and the lace from my Grazioso Wrap are examples of this.

Grazioso Wrap, Image (c) Nicole Montgomery

Do you have a favourite designer?

I can’t say I do, but it’s not because there aren’t a lot of really great designers out there. It’s mostly because I just don’t get to knit from other people’s patterns as much as I’d like to. And like I said before, I think my particular-ness in what I want to make means that I often find a pattern or two by a designer that I absolutely love, but the rest of their catalog might not appeal to me. It doesn’t reflect badly on them – I just recognize that I tend to march to my own drummer when it comes to what I want to create.

Anything else you’d like to add?

For me, the most rewarding thing about being a knitwear pattern writer is seeing that other people have gotten some pleasure out of my work. It always puts a smile on my face when I see a new project uploaded to Ravelry that is linked to one of my patterns or if someone sends me a link to a blog they wrote about one of the projects they made from a pattern I wrote. I am grateful for the knitters who have supported what I am doing because they have allowed me to indulge my creative side in a way that fits beautifully with what I want for my family.

Thanks Nicole for the interview! And remember this year’s Indie Giftalong will be running until 11:59 (EST) on November 21st 2014.

You can find Nicole’s blog, Trapping and Trinkets here, and her Facebook group here.

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