Meet Tanja Osswald
Tanja Osswald has loved crochet ever since she started at six years old. She is well known on Ravelry for her friendliness and her beautiful slip stitch designs. My favorite of her designs are the fingerless mitts that use her innovative horizontal cabling technique. Comet, which is perhaps the most well known of Tanja’s designs, showcases this technique beautifully. Shown on the left below, this design was also the deserving winner of the Flaming Hook of Justice Award for the Best Fingerless Mitts Design of 2015. Besides fingerless mitts, Tanja has several lovely geometric shawl designs that also use slip stitch crochet. Of these, one of my favorites is Igel, shown on the right below. Be sure to check out her designer page on Ravelry here.
Q: If your favorite design was a robot, what would it do and how?
A: My favorite robot would wind all my hanks into nice and neat yarn cakes, ready for me to use – and it would work slowly and diligently, a pleasure to watch and meditate. My favorite design is always the next I come up with – so it is hard to imagine a matching robot.
Q: Where is your favorite place to crochet?
A: My favorite place to crochet is anywhere I can sit comfortably. That can be a couch, a seat on the train, in a cafe… good light is a bonus.
A: In 2008 I played around with hotpads and oven gloves (see right). I worked these at a tight gauge, so they are thick and insulating. A friend at the Häkelclub (an internet forum) brought up the idea of making projects just from slip stitches (like in Bosnian crochet) and that got me started. It was interesting to explore different stitch patterns, but I had no idea it would become such a big love for me.
Q: Describe the time you invented horizontal slip stitch cables. Was it intentional? Did it take a while to figure out?
A: That was in the spring of 2010. I wanted to make a pair of fingerless mittens for my mother. They were supposed to be just plain and mindless. Then, work stress kicked in and I just had to be creative to relax a bit. I love cables because they are pretty and mathematical (all those permutation groups) and ancient (the Celts had awesome cable patterns). What more to wish for?
I like to work my mittens sideways so I can use the stretchy back loop only slip stitch rib. I also wanted the cable to run along the whole length of the mitten. Topologically, it should be possible to make a horizontal cable with a continuing thread – so why not make one in real life? My commute was about 45 minutes. On the way to work, I tested the principle of making horizontal cables, and on the way back, I made my first cabled mitten.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give someone trying one of your designs for the first time?
A: Enjoy! 🙂 And just contact me if you need help with anything.
Sneak Peek and Giveaway
As a special bonus, Tanja has shared a special sneak peek of one of her upcoming designs! She has also generously offered to give away a copy of one of her patterns. Enter here and tell Tanja which of her designs is your favorite!
The giveaway ended on July 29th at 23:59 PST.