Meet the Woman Behind Mr. Fox
Connie Mitchell is a participant in our Independent Designer program. She used Peter Pan DK to create the adorable Mr. Fox. Her published designs on Ravelry include all sorts of cute stuffed critters, blankies, and baby items. We interviewed Connie so you could get to know her better. Please take a look at her work, and consider buying one (or more!) of her patterns!
Sasha for Skein Shop (SS): Hi Connie, could you please introduce yourself to the Skein Shop community?
Connie Mitchell (CM): Hi, I'm Connie Mitchell, and I love to create fun things. I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother.
SS: You designed a knit toy for us. How long have you been knitting? How did you learn to knit?
CM: One day when I was sixteen years old I saw my Grandmother knitting. She made beautiful things and was always knitting, so I asked her to show me how. She said she would if I showed her how to crochet! I made granny squares at the time. I fooled around with knitting over the years but never got serious until after I married! So I have officially knit for many years, but I've known how to knit for many, many years. No, I'm not going to tell you how long, because then you'll know how old I really am!
SS: That's interesting that you knew how to crochet before you learned to knit; I did, too! Do you do any other fiber arts besides knitting and crocheting?
CM: I do cross stitch, embroidery, and I love to sew. I have made wedding dresses for people, and I love how pretty the bride looks in her new dress! My favorite thing is to see how people enjoy what you made. Sewing is just not as portable as knitting, so I rarely sew now. I have made quilt tops, but I hate to quilt them! I'm not very good at quilting. I do other crafts besides the fiber arts, too. For example, I paint, and I love to sing.
SS: Wow! You are really multi-talented! Do you find that your knowledge of other crafts influences your knitting?
CM: Yes I feel it does. For example, I use my embroidery skills to add facial features to Mr. Fox and my other toys.
SS: So what made you want to start designing?
CM: I have always wanted to do "something different than what the pattern shows". It's just in my nature to create something unique and different from the last item. I rarely do something the same twice; it's just more fun that way! I have never been afraid to try to make what I see in my thoughts, and sometimes it even turns out that way! My motto has become, "Let's go create something, even if it turns out lousy". My first pattern design was my "Diaper Cover" in 2014. I wanted to make a diaper cover that was cute, simple, quick, and seamless! I found that sharing my patterns was another way to give to others. I do charge a minimal amount for most of my patterns because I feel like people are more likely to work my pattern (instead of just downloading it) if they have to pay.
SS: Please never apologize for charging for your work. Writing up good, clear patterns takes a lot of time and energy, and you deserve to be paid for that! Do you have any words of wisdom for budding designers?
CM: I truly suggest that any designer, or even any knitter, just enjoy the ride. Like I said, my motto is "Let's go create something, even if it turns out lousy". So don't be afraid; start experimenting!
SS: Speaking of people who are experimenting, who do you admire in the fiber arts world right now?
CM: I really admire Judy Becker for coming put with Judy's Magic Cast On. I started using that cast on when making socks, and it opened a whole new attitude towards knitting for me. It made one less thing to sew up! Sewing knitting items is just not in my DNA. I also love Cat Bordhi's sense of humor. I watched a ton of her YouTube videos, and she makes up the funniest ways to explain how things work.
SS: I totally agree. Both those women are true inspirations! On a more personal (and sillier note), I have to ask, do you work on one project until it's done, or do you have multiple WIPs going at a time?
CM: I don't have a lot of time right now in my life, so I usually work on one project at a time, and it has to be a small project. I have knit some cardigans, vests, dresses, etc., but I tend to get restless when it takes months to see the end product. Also, I have to many people I want to make gifts for, so I have to hurry. I am not a knitting snob, nor do I have to make big or amazing items to feel like I have accomplished something. I admire the person who made a potholder for me, and I admire the sweaters I have been given. Similarly, if the person I give something to loves it, I am thrilled.
SS: It sounds like you really have a generous and giving spirit. Thank you so much for sharing some of your time and creative energy with us! Do you have a blog or website where people can follow your future work?
CM: I currently do not have my own website or blog, but I put most of the things I do on Ravelry, either as new designs or personal project pages. I also have a Pinterest account if you would like to follow me there. I will let you know if I decide to start a blog!
SS: Well if you do we will edit this post so people can find you. Thank you so much again for working with us and designing such a cute toy!