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Designer Spotlight: Heidi Gustad

February 25, 2015

Heidi Gustad currently resides in Chicago; she enjoys spending her time blogging, pattern writing, knitting and crocheting. Recently, two of her patterns caught our attention: the Quad Cable Scarf and the Long John Cowl, both of which are available for free and knit with Spud & Chloë Outer Yarn. On today’s post, you can get to know Heidi a little better and get inspired to give cabling a try, too!

1. How did you get started knitting?
My grandma knew I loved crafts as a kid. She also knew I was pretty anxious. She’d tried giving me journals to write in and meditation tapes to listen to, but I was still having a hard time sleeping at night despite being 8 years old. One day when she visited, she brought some old aluminum knitting needles and leftover yarn from a baby mitten project. I still have the needles – they’re pink and the color has worn off the tips. The yarn was variegated acrylic, flowing between pink, white and blue. Unsurprisingly, I was a very tight knitter at first! Obviously, I fell in love with the craft after I loosened up a bit, in more than one sense of the word. 🙂

2. What are your favorite projects to knit for yourself? Does that differ from what you prefer to design?

I feel like I swing really wildly in what I like to knit for myself. I like a good sweater, but so often find myself knitting on deadlines and rarely make time for stuff for just me. I’m more likely to knit a gift when I’ve got a lull in deadlines instead of tackling a cardigan my wardrobe desperately needs. It’s ironic how many worn out, store bought sweaters I wear!

I love knitting and designing with lace and cables, but I also love knitting completely mindless projects too. Working lace and cables with long repeats is something I find really meditative – I just love getting completely lost in focusing on the pattern. I think the process of designing with lace and cables is my favorite. Then again, I love putting on an audiobook or a tv show on auto-play and plowing away at some garter or stockinette too!

3. Your newest pattern, the Quad Cable Scarf, features intricate-looking cables that might be intimidating to newer knitters. What are some of your best tips for folks who are new to cables?  

Always use a cable needle! I used to think the only cable needles out there were the ones shaped like a shrug, sort of like this shape: ¯¯¯__/¯¯¯, and I hated them. I felt like I was always dropping stitches with them or dropping the needle itself on the floor while my hands were full of live stitches. Then I discovered cable needles shaped like a shepherd’s hook, and my cable knitting life was saved! You can hook these needles in the collar of your shirt to keep track of it while you work, and they’re so much harder to drop stitches with. I recently found a cable needle necklace that has a similar shepherd’s hook shape, and I think I might have to splurge on it for myself since it looks like it might be even more convenient than the hook/collar trick I currently use.

Heidi’s Patterns are available on Ravelry: the Quad Cable Scarf and the Long John Cowl.

You can visit www.handsoccupied.com to see more of Heidi’s work and read her blog.

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