Nina Machlin Dayton loves Malabrigo -- if you look at her design profile on Ravelry, you'll see that most of her design work has been done in at least one of our yarns. Some of her designs, like the Dean Street Hat, which has been designed for both Chunky and Worsted, are well into the hundreds of projects (499 for the Worsted version, with a whopping 171 of these knit from Malabrigo Worsted.) Nina is always willing to give advice for everything from designing to lace-knitting (one of her favorite past-times), and is active in introducing new knitters to the world of yarn and fiber.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="184" caption="Dean Street Hats by Nina Machlin Dayton"][/caption]
Nina talks knitting and yarn in lots of places - on Ravelry, she's Ninaknits, and she can also be found on her blog of the same name. Her latest design is the Cardinal Neck Warmer, an introduction to cables with buttons and seed stitch. We were lucky enough to track down this knowledgeable, talented, designer for an interview here on the blog!
What was your first experience with Malabrigo?
Nina: My local yarn store is WEBS, and around six years ago, when Malabrigo first started making it to the American markets, they called me and told me that they'd gotten in this amazing new yarn -- super soft, super luxurious -- they said I should come check it out. So I went over too see it and just fell madly in love with a skein of Merino Worsted in Vaa. The softness, the complexity of color, the versatility at all gauges -- it was the perfect yarn for me, and still is.
What was your first Malabrigo design?
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="193" caption="Faberge Hat by Nina Machlin Dayton"][/caption]
Nina: I released two designs at roughly the same time - the Dean Street Hat and the Haymarket Mittens. The Dean Street Hat really took off -- I think it's been downloaded thousands of times.
Why Malabrigo for so many of your designs?
Nina: Well, for me, it's all about the color, at least at first. Malabrigo is my basic palette -- any color I could possibly want is available in at least one base. But Malabrigo just has such great versatility: there's a yarn for everything. Worsted especially gives great stitches at almost any gauge. I use it to teach new knitters because it makes them feel like they made something beautiful every time - it's hard to make the yarn look bad, and it's so soft and wonderful that it makes people feel confident about using wool yarns.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="411" caption="Shetland Triangle in Indecita, by Nina Machlin Dayton"][/caption]
What is your favorite project in Malabrigo to date?
Nina: My favorite personal project would definitely be one of my shawls in Silky - it makes such lovely lacework. But my favorite designs right now are in worsted - the Orvietto Hat and the Medici Hat. I just love the softness of Worsted combined with an ultra-drapey shape.
Do you have a favorite colorway?
Nina: I couldn't possibly pick a favorite! There are too many I love. I always feel drawn to the classics, like Sunset and Lettuce, or Polar Morn, in worsted, but lately I've really fallen for the more intricate Sock colorways, like Persia and Aguas. I can't forget Cape Cod Gray in Silky, either -- my favorites really change every day!
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="374" caption="Dean Street Mitts by Nina Machlin Dayton"][/caption]