Be my Valentine: Jane Richmond

It seems like we're just letting the dust settle on the holiday season and already I'm seeing banners and adverts going up for the lover's holiday: Valentine's Day. Who stole January? 

Here in the playful house, we're not really much for celebrating Valentine's and tend to do our own little nod to it with something sweet, possibly hand made and a dinner.... AFTER the 14th February.
So whether you're coupled up, loved up or planning to show yourself some indulgence, I'm going to feature 4 Valentine's posts over the next 2 weeks with some ideas for crafty gifts that will work especially well for Valentine's but also, for gift giving in the future.

First up, is Jane Richmond, a favourite designer of mine with beautifully fashionable garments and to die for accessories. I'm definitely a fan of accessories when it comes to gift giving as they're fast, lower cost and instant gratifcation. The patterns that really caught my eye were these 3 hats: Bailey, Christopher and Elizabeth

Bailey is a lovely textured hat which I think is perfect for men and women alike. It's knit inside out from 1 skein of Cascade 220 so there's both interest in terms of a different construction method and ease in terms of 1 skein of readily available yarn.

Bailey, Image Credit Jane Richmond
Following on from the theme of interesting construction is Christopher, a top down striped beanie. Again this struck me as unisex and super warm and snuggly and I just loved the fact it was reversible. Two hats in one!

Last but not least is Elizabeth, my personal favourite. A friend on mine once knit me a Jane Richmond hat and I've worn it to death. I see this hat in my very near future! Elizabeth is a bulky weight yarn so super speedy and with cabled textures that just makes my heart sing. 

While I ruminate on which hat I want to knit myself first for Valentine's (the giant doesn't wear hats so more for me I say), I will share some lovely answers Jane gave me to an interview earlier this month. I found her warm and charming and I love, love, love her web pages design style. Yum.

Christopher Image Credit Jane Richmond

Tell us a little about you and your designs
I am very mechanical (in another life I worked in the garage of a car dealership and desperately wanted my trades ticket as an auto mechanic) so my interest in knitting construction isn’t surprising. I love both math and art and never thought I would find a career that marries the two so well. I am both a process and product knitter so enjoying a well written pattern is just as important to me as the end result. I often sacrifice design elements in order to deliver a headache free knit.

You have a very fashionable look, how closely do you monitor trends?
Thank you! I don’t really follow trends too closely. I love fashion and admire people who do it well but I’ve always just done my own thing, regardless of trends. My look doesn’t really change very much from year to year, I think because my style is simple and minimalist it never really feels outdated.

You describe your designs as classic and simple, could you explore this a little further?
I think this is a result of my process & product duality that I mentioned above. I don’t think that knitting needs to be overly complicated to be beautiful and I always try to think of the knitter and their level of enjoyment. I am drawn to classic looks because they cross over current trends and will always be fashionable.
Elizabeth, Image Credit Jane Richmond

Many of your patterns are named after family members and loved ones. As this is a Valentine's post about clothing your loved ones, perhaps you could explain this inspiration.
In the winter of 2008 I challenged myself to hand knit Christmas gifts for everyone on my list. Not only were the gifts handmade they were all designed from scratch. These designs became my first self published knitting patterns and over the years I have continued to name pieces for their intended recipients, most of which have been family members.

Describe YOUR perfect Valentine's date
A homemade meal that was well thought out and from the heart would certainly make me feel loved ...And maybe the ultimate sacrifice of sitting through a sappy romantic chick flick!

What was the best Valentine's gift you were ever given? Or perhaps one that sticks in mind (mine is a dead frog. I was 5 and it was the boy next door. I screamed blue murder)
I always loved exchanging those cheesy Valentine’s Day cards at school (and keeping tabs on just how many you received!). I also loved candy grams and secret Valentine’s... who doesn’t love to know that someone somewhere is secretly crushing on them!


You can keep up to date with Jane on her blog, Ravelry or on Facebook.