We’re starting a new series on A Woolie Tale of our Featured Designers – folks who have patterns, yarn or other fiber-y goodness that we love and who you might want to know a little better. For our first post, we’re welcoming Marie Mayhew of Marie Mayhew Designs. You’ve seen her patterns for felted animals and accessories in our store and now it is time to get know her!
1.) What has been your inspiration for your designs? Do you have any particular artistic styles or fashion designs that aid you in your design process?
Nature has always been my inspiration. I am fascinated with nature, its endless color combinations and never-ending details. I am also very practical and love practical-like things. Thus objects of everyday use can take on a special meaning, especially if done in a different texture and medium.
2.) What does a typical day of design work look like for you?
I have an office out of my home, so nothing is very typical for me unfortunately. I have two kids and a husband. So when they head out the door to school and work, that is when my day begins, my designing time. Some days it seems like every waking hour is work-related, depending on where I am with a design. I love to knit, so working on a pattern doesn’t necessarily seem like work. But proofing and getting the pattern ready for the printer can seem very tedious and then suddenly, everything is a lot more interesting to do. My whimsical mantra is a saying by Mary Kurtz. She writes: “The only place where housework comes before needlework is in the dictionary”.
3.) Do you have another job besides designing? Does that influence your designs in any way?
No other job at this time. My pattern business is my full-time work right now. Whether it’s designing or filling pattern orders or researching new ideas, it takes up most of my day. I do teach a few classes, mainly my patterns, at a few local yarn stores in my area. And yes, it influences my designs because it keeps me in close contact with my customers, other fellow knitters that like the same things I do. That can be very inspirational for me. Plus they have lots of fun ideas to share that keeps me going in the designing department.
4.) How long have you been knitting?
I learned to knit when my son was 6 months old. He is going to turn 17 this summer, so to be exact 16-1/2 years. I started to knit to be able to make mittens, hats and little sweaters for my kids (again, the practical side of me).
5.) Do you have any fiber guilty pleasures? Favorite fibers to work with?
I am not a yarn-aholic, believe it or not. I do have quite a bit of stash, mind you, but it’s odds and ends from designs I am playing with. But I do have A LOT of embellishing stuff: embroidery threads, beads, buttons, needle felting tools, felt squares of every color, etc. You just never know when they might come in handy for a future project!
6.) Favorite food?
I love salads of all kinds. I love the crunch, the crunchier the better. And I love the dressings that only enhance any salad. If you follow me on Pinterest, my ‘salads’ board says it all. Fresh and exotic flavor combinations that I would never come up with on my own!
Note from Jenn: All of Marie’s patterns have a little recipe included at the end. I’ve tried the tomato butter from the Woolly Bunnies pattern and it is delicious!
7.) Any non-fiber hobbies?
Not really, mainly because knitting and felting have become lately so dominant in my life. I used to watercolor, but now needle felting has replaced that simple sweet pictorial expression for me. I also like to bake and do a little gardening.
8.) Do you have anything new in the works?
Yes, I am working on for this next autumn season a golden beehive with buzzing-beaded-bees, a tooth (or pocket) bear with a certificate for your child’s first lost tooth, a sitting-up calico cat, and hopefully two ornament designs. Keeping your fingers crossed, of course!
9.) Do you ever travel and teach classes?
Yes, I am starting to. I have been to Billings, Montana, the Chicago area and to Denver, Colorado. On the road I have taught more workshop-like classes such as finishing your snowman, embellishing woolly eggs or ornaments, needle felting and embellishing classes. Most of my patterns require what with the knitting and felting time, more than a couple of hours to teach so it’s more finishing related classes. I have even taught seminars on using my patterns for holiday decorating, such as turning the Woolly Holiday Ornament into a place card holder.
10.) Which of your designs is your favorite or most loved?
Hands down it would have to be my Woolly Nest & Eggs pattern. I love the addition of novelty yarns and everyday materials that can be thrown into that little nest. Feathers and raffia. Plus the eggs being knitted lend themselves to a lot of play and embellishing. I never tire of knitting and felting it! I love that it fits into your hands and can be touched as well!
Thanks so much Marie!
I’ve knit up a few eggs from the Woolly Eggs pattern and two bunnies from Woolly Bunnies (Have you noticed that my knitted bunnies seem to be multiplying as fast as real bunnies?)
The eggs were super-fast; maybe 25 minutes of knitting per egg? I had a lot of fun whipping those out. I used Ella Rae Classic in colors 92, 73, 53 and 88. ER Classic felts wonderfully and quickly. Marie provides a lot of detailed instruction on various ways to embellish the eggs, but I was short on time, so I left mine plain and let the pastel colors take main stage.
The bunnies were also quick to work up, about 45 minutes each. The genius of this pattern is that Marie tells you to work a few stitches in purl ridges throughout the pattern and these end up being the places you pick up the stitches for ears, arms and legs. No more guessing where to position the limbs evenly!
I keep calling the one on the right Quasimodo – he has a little bit of hump.
Let’s get to the extra fun part! Leave us a comment telling which of Marie’s patterns on our website is your favorite and we’ll randomly choose a winner to receive the Woolly Nest and Eggs pattern. Comments close Thursday April 5 at noon Central.
p.s. If we are sold out of a particular pattern, we are always happy to order it in for you, just let us know by e-mailing or calling at 972-424-3163