Interview with Sheila Schneider, Onami Cowl Designer

If you look around, ombré seems to be just about everywhere these days—from fashion design to home decor, and even to nail art. A French word for shaded, ombré refers to a graduated color scheme that moves from light to dark. Despite its current popularity, ombré has been around for quite some time. Ombré shading was originally used in the early 19th century as a form of fabric painting. Since then, ombré has graced various textile treatments—pre-Civil War quilts, furniture, ribbons, and now, yarn.

The American Sock kits from Pigeonroof Studios come in five beautiful ombré shades. Using the ombre yarn as inspiration, our very own Sheila Schneider designed the Onami Cowl. The Onami cowl pattern gently blends the colors of the Pigeonroof Gradient Kit, with both a striped version for beginners, and a stranded version for more adventurous knitters. Sheila and I sat down for a moment and had a chat about her captivating color-shifting design.

Knit Purl: Your design is beautiful, and has such a lovely rhythm and flow. Did you have a particular source of inspiration for this design?

Sheila Schneider: I wanted a design that would meld the colors together without being too fussy. Something that would be interesting enough but not too difficult for the average knitter to accomplish.

KP: I really like the name Onami. Can you tell us how you chose the name for the pattern?

SS: Once complete, the pattern and color reminded me of waves, which in turn reminded me of the famous Japanese painter Katsushika Hokusai. The name comes from one of his woodblock prints and means Billow Wave.

KP: Do you think the Onami cowl would be a good project for newer knitters, or someone wanting to try stranded color work for the first time?

SS: The stitch pattern is an easy one to memorize, so I think an advanced beginner could certainly knit the stranded version in this cowl and a beginner could knit the simpler striped version. A more experienced knitter should find the pattern interesting enough to stay engaged.

KP: Who are some of your favorite designers, and where do you generally find inspiration?

SS: As with most knitters, Ravelry is inspirational. However, I love fashion magazines and find lots of inspiration in the latest trends. In regards to the favorite designer question … though I wouldn't say I have a favorite, I seem to have a fair amount of Jane Richmond, Hannah Fettig, Veera Välimäki, and Bristol Ivy patterns saved in my Ravelry Favorites.

KP: What are you knitting these days?

SS: I am presently knitting the Holden shawl, though I must admit I have more than a few other knits I should be finishing.

KP: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

SS: I really enjoyed working with yarn from Pigeonroof Studios so much so that I have since purchased another set in her Sherbet colorway.


Thank you, Sheila! Your Onami cowl pattern is exquisite. Ready to knit your own Onami cowl? Find the Onami Cowl kit here.


September 30, 2015 by Oleya Pearsall
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