Knit Designer Natalie Servant

Knit Designer Natalie Servant was today’s guest on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird. Natalie says she is (in her own words) ‘lifelong crafter. I’ve been knitting for decades and am an avid spinner. I work as a software tester and think that many of my work skills are also helpful to me as a designer. I’ve been actively designing knitting patterns for the last seven years. My patterns range from simple to complex and reflect my exploration of varied inspirations including color, techniques, and texture. A great deal of my patterns draw from my love of Art Nouveau and Art Deco era designs, objects, and architecture.’

Natalie Servant

Natalie says when she was involved in Brownies/Girl Guides, as a left-handed knitter, she really tested the patience of the ladies who were hoping to teach her. Even though she finished her scarf, she dropped it until high school, as an exchange student. She says she found some pastel colored yarn, used pencils with the ends taped off because she didn’t have needles, and knit to keep busy. Dropped it again until University, when she admired a sweater in the window and thought since she couldn’t afford it, she could knit it herself. She found books and worked on swatches until they looked like the book. Natalie didn’t make the sweater she saw in the window, but she did create an intarsia sweater for her (now) husband.

Natalie is a mom of two, worked for 20 years as an engineer/software  (which she tried to retire from) currently is doing this as a contractor. In 2007, while Stephanie Pearl McPhee (aka Yarn Harlot) was promoting ‘Knitting Olympics’ Natalie challenged herself to create a floral pillow. This was followed by inspiration from Knitty… She finds the more she challenges herself, the more she becomes inspired. For instance, a little quiet time at the car dealership became The Chrysler Crown Shawl which is a lovely, subtly designed rectangle of lace, followed by the Eiffel Tower Shawl that pays tribute to the angles and curls of that Internationally known landmark.
LyleOwlPillowNatalie finds inspiration in buildings as she travels, which could be from the floors, the moldings, the shapes architecturally, and from books she reads. For instance, the beloved ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series inspired Marilla’s Shawl, which was included in What Else Would Madame DeFarge Knit. So, traveling to see buildings in Canada that she’d read about, and going to see the buildings in person, even the little detailsCanadianArtDecoKnits12_small. The Lyle Owl Pillow, was inspired by a bit of detail near a window of a (used to be bank) now pub that was designed by John MacIntosh Lyle, who often incorporated native Canadian animals and plants. The floors she’s has found are the inspiration in the double side intarsia cowl, Marble Floor. Both of these are part of the collection Natalie has self-published, Canadian Art Deco Knits which includes intensely graphic pieces that include intarsia or lace, in shawls, scarves, hats, mitts and the lovely Lyle pillow we mentioned.
You can follow Natalie Servant on Ravelry, and on Facebook.


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  1. Lori Biamonte says:

    I enjoyed the podcast today. Natalie’s designs are lovely. I’m eyeing the Eiffel Tower shawl since we were just there. I so agreed with what Natalie said about making reversible scarves for non knitters! That’s a pet peeve of mine. I can’t stand seeing a handmade item inside out.

    I have never been to Ottawa but would like to go.

  2. Shaunna Bryant says:

    Today’s podcast was fantastic! Natalie has a wonderful eye for turning architecture into wearable items. Art deco is my favorite time period. Would love to visit Ottawa to see her inspiration in person!!

  3. Cindy says:

    I try to listen every Tuesday and Thursdays but sometimes, sadly I miss one. I too love to see a cowl or scarf that is reversible. I live about 3 hours south of Ottawa and I think it is a lovely city.

  4. bonniejane says:

    Thank you for sharing with us from Ottawa. It was fun to get inspired by learning about your patterns and ebook. They are amazing designs.

  5. Thekla says:

    Ottawa would be a great place to see…Thanks for the interview. It was very good. I have heard of Natalie, but had not seen her designs…they are lovely!

  6. Christine says:

    Natalie and I are both members of the Ottawa Knitting Guild and it was awesome to get to hear her tell her knitting story on the show!

  7. Cheryl Clemons says:

    Ottawa is just over the border from Dexter, NY. I enjoyed the podcast and learning about Natalie’s designs.

  8. Vicki says:

    I’ve never been to Ottawa and didn’t realize there was a collection of art deco style buildings in Canada to visit some day. Thank you for offering the coupon code for your designs.

  9. Janet says:

    Hooray for Can-Con!

    I haven’t been to Ottawa for ages, but I am fascinated by the carvings in the buildings in Toronto.. thought I was the only one! lol.

  10. Heather says:

    The Anne of Green Gable shawl is so lovely! I’ve never been to Ottawa, but I think it would be a wonderful trip to try some time.

    I think my favorite tidbit was the part about the owls in the Art Deco design of a building (I think it was a bank?) I love little secrets like that, hidden in plain sight.

  11. Mary L. says:

    I think Natalie’s Albert Street Tam is my favorite – so beautiful! I would love to visit the National Gallery of Canada is Ottawa someday!

  12. Rachel Catherine says:

    Art Deco is such a great inspiration for knits! I too take pictures of interesting tiles, carpets, or patterns for inspiration. I would love to see the inspirational place in Ottawa!

  13. Kim Schroeder says:

    I have never been to Ottawa, for that matter I have never been to Canada. But I would love to knit some of these Art Deco designs from Canada.

  14. Suzanne says:

    I think Natalie is so smart to research Art Deco whenever she visits cities within Ottawa and out. Her designs are captivating because she interprets the details that may be overlooked. The owl pillow is a perfect example. Good to hear more about her process!

  15. Ashleigh Eden says:

    Loved the podcast! I’ve never been to Ottawa but I’d like to be to visit one day. I’m really loving the Lyle Owl Pillow, I may have to make one myself! But really, how can you choose with all of those gorgeous Art Deco patterns?

  16. Ramona says:

    I’m a proud Canadian. My sisters came home from the US and Hong Kong last year and we all drove from Toronto out to Quebec to watch my nephew compete in the Canadian National Triathlon championships. One of the highlights of the trip was showing them the capitol buildings in Ottawa. So great to hear successful Canadians on the podcast.

  17. amy says:

    Ottawa sounds like a wonderful place to visit. I also loved the Anne of Green Gables books growing up and she was another Canadian like yourself.

  18. Anita says:

    I was an art history major in college and then regretted that it wasn’t architectural history. . Art Deco is a fascinating period. I would love to spend a long vacation in Canada and after listening to Natalie I would love to visit Ottawa and see her inspirations for such great designs.

  19. savannagal says:

    I’m a bit behind but have finally listened to this episode. I love Art Deco too. Natalie has some very lovely designs. I’ve only been to Canada once when I was about 16, though not Ottawa. I drove across the border with a friend just to say I’d been there. We had been visiting family in Detroit. Back then crossing the border was no big deal. Neither of us had passports.

Marly Bird

The One and Only, Marly

Marly is a knitwear and crochet designer (and yarn addict) that is here to help you learn how to knit and crochet in a way that's fun and approachable.

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