My Design Inspiration: Janina Kallio

Being from Scandinavia, minimalism and simplicity are in my backbone, and also the North Star of my knitwear design. In an industry traditionally defined by heavy Aran sweaters, wildly colored Fair Isle, and intricately romantic Estonian lace, I want to offer calmness and lightness with a refined contemporary aesthetic for today’s knitters.

I’ve been knitting since childhood, but my love affair with knitting didn’t start until I bought my first luxury yarns from a local yarn store in Helsinki (and never went back to market yarns!). My customers share my love of quality yarns with soul, and value designs that showcase their finesse. Yarn is the beginning, middle and end of my design process.

I start with a sketch, followed by lots of math and illegible scribbles, but the design always takes its final shape in the knitting process. Very rarely do my designs end up exactly like I had planned and sketched them. I feel like the design process is a collaboration between me and the yarn. Sometimes she has ideas of her own and it’s best if I’m the one to give in and let her have her way.

I always design with knitting instructions in mind, and if it’s starting to look like you’d need a map to read the instructions, I know it’s time to simplify. Keeping things simple is not as easy as it sounds, and often requires a lot of discipline. Hello shiny object syndrome!

Some of my most loved patterns are the ones that were the easiest to make, where the design practically created itself. Antarktis and Rosewater are designs that I just started knitting without any clear plan and simply enjoyed the ride while seeing the design take shape on my needles.

For my new design for Knit Purl’s Month of Lace, I had initially a completely different design sketched and swatched with stripes, eyelets and bias construction. But as I was knitting the final shawl it just didn’t feel right. And so I was back to the drawing board with more simpler and classic design in mind, and Starlight was born.

For me, knitting is most of all a way to relax (and let’s face it, an excuse to buy more yarn!), and I want to keep my patterns simple, straightforward and relaxing, while at the same time resulting in a gorgeous, contemporary accessory. I love the idea of combining this wonderful age old tradition of knitting to today’s aesthetic and lifestyle.

Ravelry: Janina Kallio
Instagram: @janinakalliodesign

All images © Janina Kallio.
August 08, 2016 by Guest Blogger
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