Mona Schmidt is another lucky soul: she designs and crafts for a living. Originally hailing from Deutschland, Mona now lives in Montreal, Quebec, where there is plenty of cold weather to keep her knitting to stay warm.
When I asked Mona about a blog interview, she kindly agreed… she is just sweet like that! She has even prepared TWO tutorials, hosted on her blog, that help with the Embossed Leaves pattern.
Can you tell me more about your design process?
Designing socks is more an intuitive conception – often I just start with the yarn I feel like knitting with and cast on. Sometimes I have a certain stitch pattern in mind, other times I just start knitting and get the idea for the pattern while still working at the cuff. I do design other things than socks, but since this is Socktoberfest let’s concentrate on those.
Where do you find your design inspiration?
Especially for socks it is often a stitch pattern I like and has a stitch repeat that’s good for socks – and if it doesn’t fit right away, I’ll make it fit. Funnily enough I do think of people, too, when designing. It’s rather like: If I would knit a sock for so-and-so, what would it look like?
Your Embossed Leaves socks are so intricate and beautiful – how did this idea come to you?
I had seen the leaf pattern on the cover of a book (I actually bought that book just because of the pattern! It’s called Beautiful Knitting Patterns, by Gisela Klöpper) and knew right away that I wanted to use it for socks. Then Regia Silk came my way and I had just tried the tubular cast-on. It was an easy calculation. The kicker was of course the toe. My Mom had just written the instructions for me. I had never used it before. (Admittedly, I was a one-trick pony when it comes to socks, same heel and toe forever, till I realized that there are so many possibilities to mix it up!) Once the foot had the length I thought would fit me I just started knitting the toes as instructed. It really was a lucky coincidence that the star fit the pattern to portray the whole leaf at the end of the sock. Honestly, I couldn’t have planned it any better. Now it sounds preposterous even to me but I only realized that it looked like a completed leaf once the sock was done. The reason it was knit in Koigu (lovely, lovely yarn!) for the magazine is that at that time Regia Silk was not readily available in the US.
When did you first knit socks?
I only started to knit socks when I was 21. I knit my first pair to match a wool sweater I owned (store bought, from ESPRIT). I still have the socks while the sweater is long gone. After finishing these there was a long break and no sock knitting for me. When I started my second pair I was studying and living away from home. Came the time to turn the heel I couldn’t remember how for the life of me. I never had written any instruction down, because if I had a question I would ask my Mom, who was always available and she was and still is pretty much a walking talking knitting dictionary. She’d say: “now you knit 2 together and knit to the end, next needle knit to the last 2 sts and do ssk…” That’s how I learned from her even when I was little, she’d let me knit a row or round and then tell me how to go from there. And I would find afterwards that I had turned a heel, knit a gusset or, when I was like 11 years old, knit a vest for a doll. Strangely enough it worked. Well, most of the time. She had to explain the heel turning once more.
My most precious possession to date is a pair of socks my then boyfriend Rolf knit for me. One of the socks has hearts knit into it and the other my name. Makes me smile every time I think of or look at them. Oh, and no, he hasn’t knit a thing since.
Do you have any designs in the works now?
Oh, there are always designs in the works. Finished are the “Bells and Whistles Socks” in the Holiday '06 edition – and I do have some socks at home that might get published one time or another. Then there’s my work for JCA where I did and do design garments, published this Fall, next Spring and hopefully a lot more seasons to come.
Thank you so much, Mona, for being a part of Socktoberfest!
As you can see, your design is quite popular! These are a random sampling of Socktoberfest participants who have made your Embossed Leaves – so many colors and adaptations!
If you see yours, let me know I did a random search and came up with all of these!
Now you have to help me decide which of these lovely yarns I should use for Mona's amazing Embossed Leaves socks, one of my next projects in the queue:
Let me know what you chose by leaving a comment!
I will knit the socks in the yarn with the most votes