Cactus Mittenettes You’d never guess it, but these lovely cactus mittenettes were dreamed up on a Gallic pillow. Sylvie lives in the French Alps, not the Southwest United States, but she does a great job of conjuring up ghostly cactus silhouettes. She also makes some quirky and quite lovely patterns, which she sells on her blog, Chez Plum (download her fabulous free pattern for summer sandals to while away the hours before good weather!). Or, you can buy her Vroomies (crocheted automobile toys), mittenettes, baby booties, etc., on her etsy shop. Arwen: How did you first get involved with crafting? Sylvie: It’s as if I’ve always been crafting. I always loved to make thing as a kid: went to a pottery class, spent hours dreaming in front of my local craft supplies shop, knit, sewed stuff for my dolls. Then later as a student I started to knit again. Hats, all sorts of crazy hats for my friends … and then my friends’ friends … that’s when I started feeling like a “designer” although I never dared to aks for more than the actual cost of yarn at the time ! Arwen: Why mittenettes? Sylvie: I’ve wanted to make mittenettes for quite a while, collected all sorts of pictures and links … and as usual, ended up designing my own “perfect” ones based on the pattern I’m currently working on. They’re so quick to make they’re really a rewarding project, especially whith a baby and toddler at home. Arwen: How did you learn to knit? Sylvie: I guess my grandmother taught me when I was 8 or 10 … Arwen: What inspires you? Sylvie: Many things. I browse a lot, cut images in magazines … and suddenly ideas pop up in my head and I write it down in a little sketchbook … A lot of my designs are inspired by ideas in 3D for garments/accessories. The pleasure for me is to translate that idea into a choice of stitches and techniques to give the best rendition using either knitting or crochet. Arwen: What’s one tip you’d give to other crafters? Sylvie: Trust your own visions ! Arwen: What are your favorite crafting books/magazines/websites? Sylvie: I live in France, so I don’t have access to most “usual” books and mags. These days I love my Happy Hooker though, and always keep an eye on Craftster and Wists to see what other people are up to… Arwen: What are some of your most important influences? Sylvie: Yarn. More often than not I’ll look at a skein of yarn and wonder what would be the best use for it. You really don’t want to look at my stash … Friends say it looks like an actual yarn store !