Monday, January 19, 2015

Let me introduce... ITTYBITTY - Nadia Crétin Léchenne

Hi everyone! I am happy to announce that today I am opening a new post serie called Let me introduce... interviews with interesting people I met on Raverly: knitters, designers, yarn shop owners etc. Every interview will be a little different, I am not going to put the same questions over and over. I hope you will enjoy it!

My first guest is... Nadia Crétin-Léchenne aka ITTYBITTY on Ravelry (Ravelry, blog)! A fabulous knitter, and very talented designer living in a tiny village in Switzerland. You can see and buy her designs on her blog or on Ravelry. She also released a two e-books Totems and Emmitouflage(s), a book Layette: 15 projects a tricoter and took part in a magazine Pom Pom Quarterly, issue 10/2014. How is it possible to manage all the work with six children around, what are her plans for 2015 and how popular is knitting in her country - you can read below... 

1)     Why have you chosen knitting among other handicrafts?

I learned to knit when I was 10 years old, at school. My mother and grandmother were knitters too. I was used to have needles and yarn around me. It was something really familiar. I tried other things, embroidery, cross stitch, even sewing... but nothing feels as comfortable as knitting. When I think about that, I love to imagine that I didn't choose knitting : it was just meant to be ;)

2)      What is your profession? Are you a professional knitter/knitting designer?

I was graduated from Business School 10 days before my oldest daughter was born. I was only 20 years old. Becoming a mother was really something big for me, and at this time, I didn't had the wish to have a professional career. I was happy to be at home, with (and for) my kids.
Little Ancolie - I love it, must-knit for me!

At first, knitting was just a hobby. You know : hats and scarf for the kids, a blanket for the baby etc... Over the years, it took a more important part of my life, mostly because it is something that I can do with the kids around... I never had the feeling to have to make a choice between my family and my passion, and that was perfect for me !

I'm designing patterns for nearly 3 years now... but is it enough to be called a professional ? That's not for me to say ;)

3)      You are a mother of 6 children, wow! :-) How do you manage your life with such a large family? I have only 2 kids (3,5 and 1,5 years) and I can´t imagine when do you find time for knitting. Please, could you share some tips how to balance family and work life?

I don't have the feeling to have to "find some time" for knitting. I'm knitting. Point. Seriously, that's not negotiable. As a stay-at-home mother, I find that there are very few things that you can't do while knitting at the same time. And also, I have no remorse to leave the laundry alone or to forget about the vacuum cleaner for a little while if my knitting feels more important.

4)      You are also a knitting pattern designer, you have released 48 designs so far. What are your plans in that area?

Pei - a hat by ITTYBITTY:
I'm not into plans. I can't stick with them, so I'm avoiding making some. Designing patterns is something fun and exciting, and I want to keep it that way. I don't want to push myself to have a new pattern out regularly. I don't want to have to much pressure.

For now, I'm taking things as they come, and it works well. That's fine enough for me.

Personnal reward

5)      Let´s talk about your project gallery on Ravelry.  It is generally known that photos „sell“. However, they can be very deceptive. Your most favorited project is a stripy shawl with a lace border (called Personnal reward) with over 650 faves. What is your opinion about that popularity, does the shawl deserves it or is it surprise to you? (To explain: My most favorited project is a scarf that I am not crazy about, I didn´t wear it much and I actually frogged it.)

I love this question :) To tell you the truth, I don't understand the popularity of this project. I made it a long time ago, the photos are small and not very interesting. The shawl is cute, but really small... in fact my daughter is using it as a blanket for her dolls !! This isn't MY favorite project at all :))

6)      How do you take photos of your FOs and designs? Do you like that part of your work or is it just must-do?

Lady Marple - the most popular, most favorited,
most projects of Nadia´s designs.
My husband is my "official photographer". In real, he's not a photographer at all (he's a farmer). I know that taking pretty pictures is an important part of the work, mainly if it's for a new design. And when it's done, I'm really happy to have lovely photos of my knitting. It's very rewarding. But I'm very tense during that part. I'm not really loving to see myself in photos, so I don't feel comfortable in front of the camera.

But my resolution for 2015 is to be more indulgent with myself... so who knows ? Maybe one day I'll be more comfortable with this part of the work :)

7)      What is your favorite fiber/yarn? I mean yarn which you want to knit with over and over?

My most favorite yarn is Madelinetosh Merino Light. I find it just perfect ! It's super soft but not too slack. The colors are incredible.

I love simple fibers. Wool mostly. And I'm not against a little bit of "rustic" feeling too.

8)  How do you choose your projects? (Do you have any plan at the beginning of the year regarding number of FOs, garment type, knitting technique you would like to learn/master, for example? Or do you knit on a request, on a whim, according your/your family wardrobe needs?)

I try to alternate. Not to knit always the same type of garment. But once again, I'm not really planning. Often it's the weather that decide for me. I've very influenced by the nature around.

9) You live in Switzerland. What about knitting in your country? Is it popular there? Here in Czech it is usually connected with a stereotype of an old-fashioned, uggly, baggy, scratchy and non-professional looking garments made by an old grandma...

Same here. There's a lot of grandma who are knitting socks and socks and socks.... But you won't meet much "young" people knitting in public for example. I find it hard to get rid of this stereotype.

One of the things that I would love to do one day, is to teach about how to knit "not like a grandma". Most of my friends would love to try knitting a shawl with a beautiful yarn (not acrylic !) but they don't know how to do, how to chose their yarn etc...

10 ) Who would you like to read the next interview with? :-)

Oh I'm an endless fan of Veera Välimaki. She's THE example for me. I love her universe, her sensibility, her way to use colors. She's a great designer and knitter... when I grow up, I want to be just like her ;)

Thank you for your time, Nadia!


  1. Thank you so much for this nice interview, it was a pleasure to answer your questions :)

    1. Thank you, Nadia! It was a pleasure for me too! :-)

  2. Fantastic interview.. 6 kids and still knitting... WOW!