Designer Q&A: Lana Jois

Lana Jois is a regular contributor to the Interweave knitting titles. Her Pivot Tank is on the cover of knitscene Summer 2017, and exemplifies her design style. Read on to learn about Lana’s knitwear design journey and to get a look at her first design.

Q: When and why did you start knitting?

A: Isn’t that the first thing you do as soon as you have a baby? I had learned to knit on the commute to work a few years ago but picked up my needles after my son was born. I made him exactly one pair of booties, a vest, and a sweater (I didn’t even get to the sleeves) before I discovered lace.

Q: What was your first knitted project?

A: A sweater-blouse for my mother. A colleague was making one on the way to work and I was interested enough to buy yarn and needles to join her in my first ever knit-along. She taught me to “cast on a goodly number of stitches” and how to do step-ladder bind-off decreases for the armholes. In thick acrylic yarn in a deep olive green (perfect for hiding all my mistakes), it remains the most hideous thing I’ve ever made. I took forever to finish it and could just not be induced to weave in (the rather long) ends.

Q: When did you start designing?

A: It was my “what if” attitude that got me started with designing. I never had the discipline or the follow-through to complete projects. I used to begin things, learn something new, and quickly get bored with it. Or I’d get a “what if” idea and end up doing something completely new, usually just a swatch. From there to actually designing useful stuff took some work, though.

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The Vismaya shawl. Photo by Lana Jois

Q: Describe your first design.

A: My first design was Nesara, a scarf with a provisional cast-on and lace knit in two directions. But my first “real” design was Vismaya. Short-row crescent shawls were popular at the time and I noticed they all had lace only in the borders and stockinette for the body and short-rows. I wanted to see if lace could be carried into the short row section as well and made Vismaya. My Amakihi shawl in knitscene Accessories 2014 is a similar design.

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The Amakihi shawl.

Q: What is your favorite thing to knit? Why?

A: Lace shawls. A girl just can’t knit enough lace shawls. Even if she has nowhere to wear them. I love watching the lace pattern take shape, stitch by stitch, row after row. And the way the lace opens up on blocking is always a joy to behold, filling me with a sense of “Oh my, did I make that!” That said, I have recently started to appreciate the value of good old stockinette and the lovely, understated fabric I can make with it. That has got me very interested in making sweaters and garments and several are in the pipeline.

The Catalina Shawl from Interweave Knits Summer 2016.

Q: What is the most challenging part of designing?

A: You know how ideas come to one at the most unexpected time and place, when you are least prepared for them? The most challenging part of designing for me is to refrain from filling up stationery at work with design sketches.

knitscene Summer 2017

Q: What was it like to knit the Pivot Tank from knitscene Summer 2017?

A: The Pivot Tank has turned out to be one of my favorite projects. I had the sketching done almost as soon as I saw Hannah’s lovely and inspiring moodboard. The different construction made the design process very enjoyable while the lovely yarn (in gorgeous colors) and all the little details made it a very interesting knit.

Thanks Lana! We can’t wait to see what you’re going to come up with next!


Knit a Project by Lana Jois


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