Indie GAL Interview: Allison LoCicero of frecklesandpurls

As part of the Indie GAL of 2014, I have been talking to Allison LoCicero (aka frecklesandpurls) about her experiences as a knitter and designer.  She is a relatively new designer, which means all five of her patterns are part of the GAL sale! (The sale ends this Friday at midnight EST, hint hint.)

I’ve had one of her patterns queued for a long time, so I took advantage of the GAL sale to buy myself a copy of Pesto:

It seems like it would be perfect for just about any single skein of tonal-ish sock yarn … something I have a habit of acquiring.  It also seems like a pattern I could use with some handspun — it would look good in just about any weight yarn, and the sideways construction means I can just knit until half my yarn is gone.

Allison was kind enough to answer a few nosy questions from me …

What got you started designing?  Was it intentional, or did it “just happen”?

It sort of “just happened!” I wrote my first pattern (my Entrelac Scarf pattern) back in 2006. This was before Ravelry (in the dark ages of knitting…) and I was teaching myself Entrelac and looking for a simple scarf pattern online. I could really only find one and it was so unclear and filled with mistakes that I thought to myself “I can write a better pattern than this!” so I did just that and offered it for free on my blog in case someone else was interested in it! It was downloaded a LOT more than I expected! And then when Ravelry came along, someone added it to the pattern database in the very beginning and its popularity grew from there. Once I got on Ravelry (I was still waiting in line for an invite while my pattern was already inside partying it up with everyone!), I moved the pattern from my blog and made it a free Ravelry download. Fast-forward about three years and my husband and I were moving to Mississippi for his job. I had been a medical librarian for years and liked it but didn’t love it. I knew I wanted to see if I could crack into the knitwear design industry and this was my opportunity to do it. I read and studied everything I could get my hands on about design and took classes offered by knitting greats like Stefanie Japel and Shannon Okey and finally got the confidence to release my first paid pattern (Flower Market Shawl) in October of 2011! It was thankfully well-received so that helped me breathe a sigh of relief! But I still didn’t release another pattern for two years! Ack! It was hard for me to put my work out there and hope that people liked it enough to actually buy it! But my confidence as a designer is growing! And the list of designs in my head is really growing so I’m designing more regularly now and loving every minute of it!
Of your patterns, which are you most proud of?  Why?
I will probably say my Flower Market Shawl because, like I mentioned, it was my first paid pattern and a TON of work and love went into making it as perfect as possible and releasing it into the world was kinda scary. I’m so happy to see that it’s still one of my most popular patterns. I wear my own Flower Market Shawl a lot! It’s a very special knit to me. Like my “first born” or something! 😉
Any upcoming publications you’d like to promote?
Not at the moment! I have three self-published shawls in various stages of design that I hope to have ready in the coming months. I’m going to slow things down a little over the holidays and do some holiday knitting and enjoy time with my family and friends and will really ramp back up with those in January!
What’s on the needles? 
At this moment I only have ONE project actively on my needles (which is super rare for me!). It’s a gift for a friend’s daughter (pattern is Bláithín (junior) by Kate Davies). But I’ve just wound up a ball of Vesper Sock Yarn in the colorway “Twinkle Lights” to make myself some fun stripey Christmas socks (just plain vanilla ones). I’m also waiting for yarn to arrive for two Christmas gifts and one shawl design so I know that all of those will be cast on in the coming days! Then I will be back to my usual mess of WIPs! Having only one active WIP makes my itchy!
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