Dec 13, 2018

Interview with a Designer: Ranee Mueller (Arabian Knits)

Another week, another interview:

 It was my pleasure to interview Ranee Mueller (Arabian Knits). Ranee is another participating designer in this year Gift-a-long.

I really love the design of her cowl Rabi photo bellow:

photo by Ranee 

     1.  What inspires you to design? 

          My design inspiration is at its heart my ethnic heritage and background. My parents are from Saudi Arabia, I was born and raised in the United States, and my designs are much like me in that sense. They are American/Western, but formed on Middle Eastern genetics and culture. So, the art and architecture of the Middle East can often be found mimicked in my work. Likewise, weather patterns are interesting to me, and I have done a series of accessory patterns themed on the Trade Winds found in the Middle East and North Africa. Trade Winds Collection: Texture

     2. If you could knit/ crochet one thing - anything in the world what would that be? 
          Ever? Or just a dream project? If it was ever, it would probably be cowls. If it were a dream project, I think a lace wedding veil for each of my four daughters. One day, I hope, they will want something like that from me. I would work with them and incorporate the traditional designs of their heritage, both Saudi and German (their father is predominately German, with a bit of English and French, and then a little of everything else), in the knitting. 
photo by Ranee

      3. Describe your ideal day as a designer, what would you do and what would you prefer not to do? 
          My ideal designer day begins with coffee or tea in one of my collection of knitting themed mugs. If we are talking truly ideal, it would be set on either the Adriatic coast (I recently visited Croatia and fell deeply in love), or the southern Mediterranean coast. I would be outdoors, knitting in sunshine, by the water, with my notes and a laptop or iPad so I could check in with other knitters on Ravelry and IG. I love to cook, so I wouldn’t mind breaks for food shopping and cooking, but if I had a day entirely devoted to design, I would definitely skip cleaning! 

       4. How do you start a project, with yarn, pattern, idea or what

        It depends on many things. Often I have a theme or title already in my head. Sometimes I see a pattern in nature, or on a comforter or even a shower curtain that sets me off designing. Recently, however, I purchased a few skeins of what I can only describe as a cloud in yarn form. It gave me the idea to make a soft, fluffy, thick cowl, using cables, which are some of my favorite things to knit. A cloud for one’s neck. However, I realized that clouds were so much not a part of my Arab culture and language, and I didn’t remember the Arabic word for cloud. We used it so rarely. I had to call my father and ask him what the word was! (It’s sah’aab, by the way).

5. What inspires you to pick up needles and start on the project? 

 Often an immediate need. We have eight children, and someone will need socks or mittens or gloves or a hat or a scarf or ankle warmers (we have ballerinas) or something like that. Designs, however, often tell me which direction they need to go. I really dislike stuffing dolls, but when I went to design a pattern inspired by the name of a child we lost, no matter how many ideas I brainstormed, I came back to a topsy-turvy, lovey doll. I struggled with that design, but in the end, it was exactly what it should have been, and permitted me to remember that child along with my other children who have patterns named after them. Rayan

photo by Ranee

     6. What do you enjoy the most about the designing and what you dislike the most? 

  I love the creative process of coming up with design elements and ideas and knitting them up to see how they work together. I hate writing the “romance” text describing the design. It always seems a little precious to me.

7. Are there any particular techniques you find challenging or impossible to work with? 

  Intarsia! I have still never done it. Also steeking, but that is just plain fear. I need to conquer that. Other than that, I really can do just about anything I want in knitting, though some things take more time and concentration than others.

     8. What is on your needles now?
          Actively? I have a pair of socks from the GAL almost finished. My designs get put on the backburner each year so I can focus on the GAL and take a little vacation from the work of designing. I have lots of projects that I have set aside for the moment, including a design for a set of hat and mittens that interprets the Eye of God Nebula with color and short rows. Lots of swatches are waiting for my attention, too.

photo by Ranee
     9. Do you work on multiple projects at the same time or single project?
         I get more finished when I work on one project at a time, but like any other knitter, I am often distracted by a new idea or pattern. However, I try to limit what I am actively working on to three, or four at the most. Usually, that includes something small or simple that I can knit while talking to people or out in public, something larger or more complicated that I work on at home, and something of another designer’s work that I knit on my weekends.

photo by Ranee

Where to find Ranee Mueller:

No comments:

Post a Comment