Ysolda, Knitwear Designer and Author

Ysolda, Knitwear Designer and Author was the Guest to open October on the Yarn Thing podcast with Marly Bird.

YsoldaTYsolda Teague revealed a big secret, but when she learned to knit at age 7, she hated it. One of those ‘throw it across the room’ in frustration episodes. When she was a teenager, she was approached by another student as ‘Your the crafty one, can you make me a hat’ and in the end she loved it and was on to make a jumper (or sweater). When she went to University, she made a How-to booklet for all of her friends and realized that she had been twisting all of her purl stitches all along…

Ysolda posted her finished projects on Craftster… Remember Craftster? She was often asked for the pattern. Her first pattern was published in Knitty and realized when a few people made her project, she found her people! That pattern she drew out on graph paper and then counted every stitch, grading by hand.


Ysolda created a chart for sizing that designers find helpful. It’s important to her that multiple sizes fit correctly in smaller as well as larger. She finds that a lot of sizing charts are outdated, based on measurements from decades ago. Knitting patterns are based on a different set of standards as well, and still standards don’t take into account things like shoulders. This is a current project of concern for her.

Ravelry has been wonderful and surprising for Ysolda in that it has been a great boon for her pattern sales, but also in that just when she thinks everything has been done, something new and different comes along. She now has over a hundred patterns listed there, CLICK HERE to view the list.

Last year, The Rhinebeck Sweater collection was created by Ysolda to gather favorite designers and create pieces inspired by the yearly gatherings, the yarns, colors and fibers found there.

Follow Your Arrow Shawl was Ysolda’s project, a Mystery Knit – A – Long that consisted of 5 intriguing clues with two options, which meant the end results were ENDLESS as is apparent because nearly 3,500 projects are listed in Ravelry. She also created a collection of pieces to knit for babies, Wee Ones, for which the idea came to her by projects people knit of her patterns. Of the babies used as models she says her ‘friends make really cute babies!’ which is always great inspiration.

KNITWORTHY is a new subscription pattern service she’s begun available through Ravelry to replace the ‘Ugly Christmas Jumper’ Holiday knitting. So far, three patterns have been revealed but it promises to be ideal patterns to warm the ones you love.

Ysolda has a really sweet blog at https://ysolda.com/

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  1. Linda says:

    I loved listening to Marly and Ysolda today. I have to admit that I have never knit a swatch.
    Lmecoll on Ravelry

  2. Alison says:

    As soon as Ysolda said the word ‘swatch’ I had to laugh. I remember from doing an online sweater class with her, that she is very enthusiastic about swatching. She made all (or maybe most) of us feel like swatching was a step that should be considered essential.

  3. Tammy says:

    I enjoyed your interview! I was knitting Ysolda’s Garter Stitch Mitts while listening to this podcast. I thought Ysolda’s comment on her blog about the gauge for this pattern was funny: “I certainly wouldn’t bother swatching for these, your swatch would be almost as big as the mitt”.

  4. Priscilla says:

    It was great to hear Marly and Ysolda compare how they learned to knit and how they approach new projects. I am not big on making a swatch before I start a project but I think I need to start. Great interview and would love to hear a “Part 2”.

  5. simone says:

    I enjoyed MArly’s interview with Ysolda Teague. Ysolda’s designs are lovely. I am going to really knit a good swatch from now on, I promise.

  6. Jamie says:

    I loved the episode, I’ve always admired Ysolda and her designs, but haven’t knit one of her sweaters yet. I’ve never had good luck with sweaters, so I think I’ll have to get one her books soon (and swatch more).

  7. Pat says:

    Thanks for yet another interesting interview! I have to confess, I love to swatch – it’s like a little taste of the pattern before I get started. And Ysolda’s patterns are beautiful and fun!

  8. tophat8855 says:

    I am totally kicking myself for forgetting to listen live today! It was great to listen to Ysolda talk about how she got into the business. I’m not the best swatcher, but I do know it’s important. I mostly knit things that don’t need swatches: scarves, shawls, toys. I definitely knit a swatch for clothing, though!

  9. emilymarianne says:

    Enjoyed the interview. I’ve yet to knit a Ysolda sweater, but when I do, I will most certainly swatch.

  10. Ruthie says:

    Such an entertaining and educational interview! I admit I do not always swatch, but I also admit I have had to do plenty of ripping out too-big or too-small projects. I have knitted one of Ysolda’s patterns and loved it. I love to see all of her new designs!

  11. hotknitter says:

    Love Ysolda! It was great learning about her backstory. I do not swatch for shawls or socks, but definitely do so for sweaters. I understand its criticality but making a swatch is not the funnest thing in the world for me.

  12. carrotmusic says:

    Fascinating interview. When I first started knitting, I never used to swatch – it worked out fine if I went down a needle size. Now sometimes I find patterns where I can’t make the swatch have the right gauge. Very frustrating.

  13. B. Brenner says:

    I’ve actually just finished making my first swatch; before this my projects didn’t really require it, such as scarves and a blanket. I’ve finally gotten to the point that I feel confident enough to knit sweaters so now I must tackle the swatch 😉

  14. SandraR says:

    I promise I will swatch when I knit one of Ysolda’s beautiful cardigan/ jumper patterns. Great podcast as usual.

  15. Susan Crosby says:

    I get that it’s best to swatch for things you want to fit. But also agree with The Yarn Harlot who wrote “swatches lie”. Or something like that. Loved hearing Ysolda’s sweet voice. Thanks for another great interview Marly.

  16. Vicki Lynch says:

    I’ve learned through mistakes that making a swatch is really important. I have 2 swatches done for sweaters, but keep telling myself to wait until I have some of the projects on the needles off the needles. Loved the interview.

  17. Emilynn says:

    Thanks for a great show. I have always wondered, do you block your swatch before you measure gauge? And do you undo it or keep a pile of swatches for a swatch blanket?

  18. Shelly says:

    I always hear how people hate to swatch. Personally I think it is one of the most important steps in the yarny process. Fun interview. I really enjoyed the good listen.

  19. Kristen W says:

    I loved the interview. I found Ysolda when I was looking for an elephant patterns a few years ago. Needless to say, I did swatch before starting. Thanks again for having her on.

  20. cathymk says:

    I really enjoyed listening to this interview – thanks so much Ysolda and Marly. I have only knit one sweater but you can be assured I did swatch before I started!

  21. RC says:

    Loved this podcast. I’ve been a huge fan of Ysolda’s for years. I took a class with her a couple of years ago and she definitely preaches the importance of a swatch – a LARGE swatch! 🙂

  22. Tracy says:

    I learned the hard way how important it is to swatch. My first few sweaters were so disastrous that I’m surprised I didn’t give up knitting entirely!

  23. Sandra says:

    Love Ysolda’s work, and love hearing more about her. Her book, Little Red in the City, has taught me so much about knitting! Mostly how important it is to swatch.

  24. pmack17 says:

    Ysolda’s designs are so creative I’m willing to swatch before knitting one. Thank you for the fun interview. You both make me smile!

    pmack17 on rav

  25. Suzanne says:

    This was a great episode. You and Ysolda are kindred spirits indeed. I heard Ysolda interviewed once before and she stressed making a swatch. I was struck by her comment that if you don’t mind spending all the time to knit a garment that doesn’t fit in the end, go ahead and skip the swatch. That has stuck with me. little red is on my bookshelf. It’s a great resource.

  26. Monica Shin says:

    Love Ysolda and love swatching! I know it’s controversial to some, but it’s so nice to knit up a big one to wash and play with =)

  27. Kirbiebird says:

    Thanks for a great episode! I love hearing about other knitters journeys in becoming a knitter. I know that I need to be a better knitter and swatch more, but sometimes I’m just a lazy knitter.

  28. Dawna says:

    I love Ysolda’s designs and think it is awesome that she is conveying to knitters how important it is to swatch.

  29. Thom Emberton says:

    Thanks for the podcast! I have to admit I’m in the goody-two-shoes (likes to swatch) camp… as long as I have plenty of spare yarn! I’ve recently started spinning and have found the importance of sampling/swatching really gets amped up when you add that extra step to your projects. I’ve made so many swatches lately my partner has started using them as coasters!

  30. Robbie (photoknitgal) says:

    I made my first swatch recently for a sweater I’m knitting for me. I hope I don’t discover that it lied to me (more likely that I did it wrong if that happens)

    This was one of my favorite interviews ever. Thanks.

  31. wendy says:

    Swatch is a bad word at my house. However, I do it when necessary. Some yarns I have been using for so long that I know how they will be have on a variety of needles. I don’ t swatch with them. I will do the dreaded deed when working with a new yarn or need to figure out a stitch pattern. I try to fool myself by calling them something else like wash cloths or blanket squares. It doesn’t always work. Ysolda is one of my favorites to hear interviewed. Thanks to you both for keeping my day job fun and educational.

  32. Tina G says:

    I really enjoyed this interview! I am learning to appreciate the importance of making a swatch for every new project! Thanks for the great info!

  33. Alison M says:

    Swatch, don’t get me started. As a mentor i can’t tell you how many times I hear “I never swatch”. My response is you would not need me as much if you did.

  34. Rita says:

    Great interview. I have been an Ysolda fan since the first Whimsical Little Knits. Was motivated to purchase Knitworthy after listening. Ready to swatch!

  35. Jennifer Gaddes says:

    Wonderful interview! The information about sizing was very interesting. I do like to swatch, but I find my knitting relaxes (and loosens up) as I work on a project. Well, oversized and comfy sweaters do look good on me!
    Jennxpt on ravelry

  36. Martha Donley says:

    Loved hearing Ylsolda. Would love a copy of “Wee ones” as my first grandbaby is due in March. And I promise to always swatch.

  37. Kelly says:

    I loved learning about why it is so important for us ‘larger’ ladies need to make bigger swatches to see how a sweater will behave in a larger size.

  38. Lisa Nixon says:

    I love listening to your podcast Marly – though instead of making a swatch during that time of listening – I am usually gardening!

  39. Judith Bailen says:

    Swatch. What a great interview with Ysolda. Never knew how much a designer had to consider when creating their patterns. Thank you. I’m a new Ysolda fan.

  40. joyce says:

    I enjoyed listening to Ysolda on the podcast today. She was so interesting. I am learning how important it is to swatch before you begin a project.

  41. YarnGiraffe says:

    What a fun interview! It was great to learn more about Ysolda.

    I learned the hard way that a gauge swatch is essential. Especially when knitting something like a Rhinebeck sweater!

  42. Colleen says:

    Ysolda is so right about the importance of the swatch and about the feeling of knitting for a new baby. As an Auntie soon-to-be, I can’t wait to check out her Wee Ones patterns =) Thanks for all you do Marly, you soothe my soul nearly every week =)

  43. Wendy Senter says:

    Doing a swatch seems like it slows me down when I just want to get to knitting the project. I’m slowly learning to enjoy the whole process though! It was a great episode, I always love listening to Ysolda!

  44. Liz Fox says:

    Love Ysolda’s designs! I am not good about doing a swatch, but I know that to make it fit, you have to do it!! Thanks for a great episode!

  45. Mary (kinoknits) says:

    This is the first episode of yours I’ve ever listened to, Marly, and what a delight!! I loved the interaction between you and Ysolda, especially since I just knit one of her patterns for the first time, the wee Envelope. (I have to confess I didn’t swatch – I figure babies will eventually grow into whatever I make!) I found the discussion about grading and writing sweater patterns for a wide range of sizes absolutely inspiring and plan to go find Ysolda’s chart and books. I will definitely go find your episode with Diana Gabaldon and subscribe to your new episodes from here on out. Thank you!

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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A cartoon image of a joyful chicken, sitting comfortably in a green armchair, knitting happily with blue yarn, surrounded by pink and white flowers, looking for DIY project ideas. -Marly Bird

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