Designer Q&A: Josie Mercier
Josie Mercier started designing knitwear in 2005 and has since been featured in multiple Interweave publications. The Point Judith Pullover from Interweave Knits Spring 2017 will quite possibly be her last magazine submission. We are devastated to see her go.
When and why did you start knitting?
I learned to knit a couple times as a kid but forgot each time. But in my last semester of college I had been really sick. So after I graduated I was at home with not much to do during the day—and I started knitting again. It just occurred to me out of the blue that it was something I could do during the day while I was sitting down and I’ve been knitting pretty constantly ever since. I went to a department store and I got a book of knitting patterns. I wanted to make a sweater for my very first proper project. The one I chose used worsted weight yarn, but I picked out some really nice forest green chunky weight yarn—and so you can see where this is going to go. The sweater turned out enormous and it did not fit my husband but his father was kind enough to take it and pretend to wear it at least.
How long was it before you started designing?
That first sweater was supposed to be plain stockinette, but by the time I got to the front I decided I wanted to put cables on it. So just about every pattern I made, I modified in some way. And I rarely knit the pattern with the yarn specified and had to learn pretty quickly to do the math to get the fit right and account for gauge issues. It wasn’t a very big jump from changing elements of patterns to writing my own. I think I liked the challenge and trying all of the different possibilities with knitting. I also really love going online and seeing projects that people have made from my patterns. I just think it is such a compliment that people will spend that much time on something that I have written. There are thousands of knitting patterns out there and no one could ever hope to try all of them. To make a sweater could be months of work, and there are only so many big projects a person will take on in their lifetime,so it’s always an honor when they choose one of mine.
What inspired the Point Judith Pullover for Interweave Knits Spring 2017?
I always enjoy designing men’s patterns because I think that a lot of people knit men’s patterns either for a man or because many women like the fit of men’s sweaters. My inspiration for that one was definitely my husband; he’s a grow a beard, build a log cabin, sitting around the campfire kind of guy so he appreciates handcraft and hand knit things. It’s got a beautiful weight to it—there’s something very cozy about wearing a sweater that you can really feel on the body. I was thinking this would be a classic piece, one that you would put some time into and want to wear for quite a few years to come. And that it would be moderately interesting to knit but the real challenge would be putting in the time to finish the garment because it is a substantial project.
How are you feeling about the end of designing for magazines and what has it meant to you?
I am sad to be moving away from that but I will keep knitting and I might self-publish. I’ll still definitely be around in the knitting world even after I’m not actively designing. I have been unable to work outside of the house for quite a while so it’s been really nice to have something that I could do from home that felt like I was contributing in some way both to the outside world in terms of adding something creative and bringing a little bit of income in at home. I feel lucky to have been included in this world because there are very few people who get to publish in a magazine that shows up on newsstands all over the country. My mother loves getting to run into somebody in the grocery store and drag them over to the newsstand and say, “Look, my daughter’s in that magazine right there!”
More of Josie’s Work