Introducing: … Adrienne Fong! Knitwear Designer!

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At the beginning of this year, Isabelle and I had a great surprise when Adrienne Fong, of Bellybuttonknits contacted us offering to be one of our designers. As you will see in her interesting interview, she is a very experienced, talented sock designer who lives in California.

We were really happy to see how eager she was to start designing a new sock pattern using our fingering-sock weight yarn, Prairie Crocus ( a blend of mohair, wool and nylon). She had a unisex sock pattern in mind but couldn’t resist working a more feminine version that includes beads.

As she said, “This unisex pattern is manly enough for the guys in your life but can be beaded to add a little pizzaz for the gals who might enjoy a little “bling.””

So we all know why she has named it To Bling or Not To Bling!

This flexibility makes it the perfect sock pattern to use when planning presents for Everyone on your list! A quick knit that creates an attractive sock with a cabled design, you are sure to love the cosy socks you make up using To Bling or Not To Bling. After making sure everyone else’s toes are snug you’ll want to make a pair all your own!
The best part? We are proud to announce that today is the day we are releasing To Bling or Not To Bling! (Look for To Bling or Not To Bling kits in the next few days, but in the mean time check out our gorgeous Prairie Crocus yarn in a selection of lovely colours when you pick up the pattern! Knitting needles and beads are also available on Les Belles Bouclettes so you can get everything you need in one quick shopping spree!)

But now, do please take the time to read Adrienne’s interview, we’ve found getting to know about her and learning about her wonderful creations a real treat, and we know you will too!

If you want to checkout more of Adrienne’s fantastic designs, or stay up to date with what she is doing then please click on any of the links below:

What first drew you to knitting and when did you learn to knit?

I don’t even remember when I started knitting or who taught me the basics. My first real memory of wanting to knit was in high school when I saw my neighbor knitting a gorgeous afghan in strips. I wanted to make a scarf in that pattern stitch. My mom took me to the department store (back in those days, they still sold yarn) and I came home with the wrong weight yarn. (Yarn is yarn, right? LOL) Don’t think I ever finished that project.
My next one was a fingering weight reversible lace pullover from a pattern in the newspaper (one mailed away for the pattern) knit on size 1 and 3 circulars and double
points. I didn’t realize that it was hard and did manage to finish that and wore it proudly.

How did you progress to designing your own patterns?

After completing a few pairs of socks, I saw a pattern stitch in a magazine and thought it would make a great pair of socks. With encouragement from Soxie (who had a sock yarn club), I designed my first sock, Oh! My! Gecko Eyes, which had lace, cables, and beads. From there, I started designing for other sock clubs and yarn companies.

Which fibres do you prefer to work with and why?

For socks, I prefer wool with nylon. This is the first time I’ve knit with your yarn and I love the stitch definition and the bloom after washing.

Are there specific types of garments and/or stitches you enjoy working more?

My favorite knits are socks and I love lace, cables, and beads (quite often all in the same pattern). I initially resisted the idea of knitting socks and couldn’t understand why anyone would want to spend time doing that. Can you imagine? Then, curiosity got the better of me (along with the influx of fun yarns, like Opal, which had just started making its appearance in the US.) and I was hooked.

What inspires your pattern designs?

Sometimes, it’s the yarn. Sometimes, it’s the stitch pattern. If the pattern is for a
club, I try to find a stitch pattern that will compliment the yarn and colorway.

Is there a particular part of the process that appeals to you or do you enjoy it all from project conception to lifting the blocked item up and trying it on (when possible)?

My favorite part is seeing what I envision turn into the finished product. It doesn’t always work and I may have to change the yarn or the pattern. There always has to be a plan b.

Do you have favourite tools (a specific knitting needle brand for example) that you prefer to work with)?

I love knitting with circular needles with really sharp points. My current favorites are the Hiyahiya sharps and the Chiagoo lace.

Any amusing anecdotes associated with you learning to knit or design that you would like to share?

I am a self-taught sock knitter and knit my first ones on double point needles (yes, it did feel like wrestling with porcupines). It was the pocket sock from Knitter’s magazine. I happily looked at my first finished sock only to discover that I had kitchenered the toe SIDEWAYS! I love designing new patterns. I, however, get bored easily and now have (what I lovingly call) my one sock collection.

Do you make other crafts?

I’ve done crochet, needlepoint, counted cross-stitch, rug hooking, and sewing.

What do you do when you aren’t designing gorgeous patterns?

I enjoy cooking and baking. My current craze has been trying to make dim sum (ie. baked/steamed bbq pork buns, cocktail buns, sui mai and other dumplings). It takes so long to make a batch that unlike restaurants where you can get one of this and one of those, I have what I call the “dim sum of the month.” When I am not knitting or cooking, I like reading medical mysteries, historical fiction, sci. fi., romance, knitting based fiction, almost anything.