Throughout 2017 we will be hosting the FGYCo Monthly Design Challenge where we introduce a “design challenge” project using one of our SilverSpun® yarns. Designers will have approximately 2 1/2 months to complete the project. Entries will be voted on by the general public and the design with the most votes wins.
Our January challenge was to design a cowl using a maximum of 2 skeins of SilverSpun® Sport. We had 8 gorgeous designs submitted and after a popular vote we had a TIE for first place (what are the odds?). Taciana (Taci) Simmons was one of the winners with her beautiful entry, Northwest Shore - inspired by the northwest beach shores of the Pacific Northwest where she lives.
In addition to a $100 FGYCo gift certificate and having her winning design published on our website, Taci also won a guest interview on our blog.
And with that, I give you Taci ….
Can you give us a little background intel on yourself? Where were you born? Do you still live there? How long have you been knitting? Who taught you to knit?
I was born in Brazil in a historical city in North East Brazil called Recife. I have been surrounded by art, crafts and very artistic people my whole life and I have loved every aspect of it. Both my parents were always very artistic. My dad was a journalist and writer and and my Mama, a nurse by trade, taught me and my 2 sisters to knit and crochet when we were 5 years old. With her I also learned to sew, up-cycle, recycle and find use for everything before you decide to throw it away. Both my parents inspired me to always find beauty even where we least expect. My two sisters have also kept me motivated by supporting even the craziest ideas I have had.
I have lived in the US for 27 years now and I would never have changed a minute of my life. I met my husband 26 years ago here in Oregon. We have 2 beautiful children, a daughter and a son and they are growing up to be such beautiful adults who bring blessing in our lives every day. My husband and my children are my biggest fans they love everything I make for them and they are the reason I am who I am today. They keep my “wheels going”. I also am encouraged everyday for the beautiful gift of friendship. I’m blessed to have so many great friends. We have a fabulous knitting group that we meet at least once a month and I know that without their support and encouragement my ideas would've never become reality.
I went to school for Psychology in Brazil and I’m a social worker by trade here in the US. Although that is a rewarding profession I do love knitting and it has always been one of my biggest passions. I have never been able to fully follow a pattern and I always modify it a little. After a few years of knitting and “modifying” some patterns I decided it was time to start designing my own and share my ideas with this beautiful community. The FGYCo was my first opportunity to have a pattern published and released. I have released a couple of free patterns on Ravelry.(ravelry name is taciravelry)
Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair?
I have a small area in an extra room we have in my house which I share with my daughter. She loves to paint and make jewelry and I have all my yarn, my computer and my sewing machine there .. we seem to share it very well and live in harmony in the little space we have. But I have to confess I do most of my knitting and my best designing ideas come to me while I’m sitting in the couch in our living room or in our deck. We live in an area in Oregon called Happy Valley and I’m very blessed that from our living room I can see the whole valley and beautiful Mount Hood. In Spring and Summer especially, I cannot believe that I get to see this beautiful view every day.
Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art, what?
I also get inspired by everything in nature and all the beautiful landscapes that surround me every day. Sometimes it is the waves at the beach, sometimes a little branch in the ground and sometimes the color or shapes of a beautiful flower.
Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn’t have to be knitwear designers)?
There are so many fantastic designers out there that it would be too hard for me to single out who my favorite one is. I think we are so blessed to have so many beautiful and talented people in this community it is impossible for me to narrow one single person. What I can say is that I really love modern and clean designs with yet a romantic flair. I also really like pieces that have an elegant flavor to them.
What is it about designing that gets you to jump out of bed every morning and grab the needles?
My day is not complete until I see my husband, my children, talk to my family, and knit - if only for 15 minutes. For me knitting is like a good medicine when you are sick, it makes everything better. I love art, love expressing my ideas and feelings and I see knitting as a daily opportunity to express my creativity and the artistic side of my brain and my heart.
What do you have on your needles right now?
I’m not a monogamous knitter. To be honest, I’m always working on too many projects at a time. I strive to try to only have 2 or 3 projects going at the same time, but most of the time 4 or 5 and is more truthful. I’m always working on a blanket, and right now I’m also working on 2 shawls. I am also always working on a crochet baby blanket (I make at least one every month either for a gift or to donate for a mother in need in Brazil). I sew a flannel blanket and trim it with a crochet edge - which is another one of my passions.
While designing your piece for FGYCo, what qualities of SilverSpun® did you find most appealing?
Being from Brazil I have always loved cotton, but I had never found the perfect cotton to work with until I worked with SilverSpun®. Plus I love the surprising fact that the yarn has some flexibility which makes it absolutely perfect … the final piece is not only soft, but it has a smooth stretch that makes each garment more comfortable than you expected. I cant wait to make some baby hats with it. I think that it will be a perfect combination of warmth and comfort … now I can say I have finally found the perfect cotton.
Do you have any other passions besides knitting?
When I was younger I loved painting, but this days I find that painting with yarn is what I really love to do. So, I have to say that knitting and crocheting are my 2 very favorite things to do. I also love watching good movies ( while knitting), going in hikes (and knitting in the car while my husband drives us there), doing Yoga and drinking a good cup of coffee or tea.
One of my favorite things is to seat in our deck with a good glass of wine, with my knitting in my lap while looking at the beautiful view we are blessed with. As you can see I love lots of different thing, but as crazy as it can appear knitting is in one way or another always present in my daily life and I love that my husband, my children, my family and my friends support me and that I feel completely happy while I’m doing it. Thank you so much for the opportunity to share a little bit of my life with you and I hope you enjoy knitting with SilverSpun® as much as I did.
◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊Find Taci's award winning design here.