Interview – Knitwear Designer Ryan DeBonville

I have known knitwear designer Ryan DeBonville way longer than I would like to admit. We met when we were freshmen in High School and have been friends ever since.  Ryan has been knitting for over two decades and is sharing his insight, thoughts AND giving away one of his gorgeous creations!

Ryan DeBonville – Wearing one of his Circle Scarve

Talk to me Ryan!

1. How did you learn to knit?

I taught myself after watching my Grandma knit. I began by casting-on with a crochet hook, looping a needle through that and doing the continental stitch.

2. What inspires your patterns?

I always look for more classic, basic patterns. Anything with too many bobbles and fringes and cables makes me want to scream-for a number of reasons (not just the difficulty of hand-knitting those patterns).

3. How do you choose your yarns?

Trial and error. I generally use acrylics, and pick out a line that has a really good color selection. I could make something I consider to be a really bad design, but because it’s in the right shade of blue-THAT scarf will be my best seller.

4. If you could afford any yarn what would you use?

A Cashmere-Nylon-Silk blend. The Cashmere, well, because it’s Cashmere. Silk gives the yarn a bit of a sheen and a little weight, so the finished piece will hang well. And a bit of Nylon in any blend
tends to strengthen the yarn a bit.

5. How are you staying ahead of the fashion trends?

There’s no exact science to it, really. I pay attention to what people wear when I go out dancing, I ask people questions about what they’re wearing and why. Magazines, blogs, movies-I pay attention to all that stuff too. But essentially, I see what’s missing or try to think about things that I haven’t seen on the runways in a bit-and go from there.

6. Where are you headed next?

Website! I don’t even have that up yet! Etsy will be up and running again soon, and I have trunk shows every month in San Francisco. Beyond that, I’d love to start working with machines and get down to
LA for production.

7. Do you see yourself doing any other clothing design in the future?

I wish I had picked something easier-like accounting. But yes, I’ll be designing clothes in some capacity or another.

8. Do you pick or throw when you knit? Why?

All the time. Because I don’t like it. I generally buy yarn, knit up a piece and work out a pattern that way. I don’t do a lot of planning, gauge, measurement stuff beforehand. My friends go crazy when they see
me unravel entire sweaters. But hey, it’s my process.

9. Do you take the time to make gauge swatches and check your gauge?

I guess, see above. But more so now, than before-yes.

10. How long does it take you to write a pattern?

Based on just knitting up a piece? About 20-40hrs.

11. Have you sold any of your patterns yet?

No.

12. Is pattern selling something you are considering in the future?

Of course! Anything I can do to help pay the rent.

13. How long have you been knitting?

Oh man. Since I was 6? 7? So, about 24 years now.

14. Have you ever tried any other fiber crafts like crochet or tatting?

I prefer knitting just because of the draping. Crochet I have done, as well as felting, but knit is where I’m going to stay I think.

15. Knitting is typically classed as a woman’s craft. How do you
combat that stereotype?

I knit on the bus. I knit at coffee shops. I knit whenever I have a minute to do so. I’m busy-and I have orders to fill. People usually stop me and ask questions, or ask if I’ll teach them. It’s usually an entry point into a sale for me-so I try to knit in public as much as possible.

16. Tell us more about your non-profit work.

There’s a lot. Back in the beginning of 2010, I started a small knitting group at St. Anthony’s (a homeless shelter in San Francisco –www.stanthonys.org) and we met once a month, collecting hand knit scarves from friends and family to distribute on Christmas to the 3,000+ people that show up for Christmas dinner. We ended up with 7,000 scarves-well above our goal of 3,000 and made the front page of the SF Chronicle. I was also interviewed on all four TV networks on Christmas day.

I also donate pieces every year to FACT/SF (www.factsf.org) for their annual fundraiser. This is a great, local dance company started by friends.

I am also a teacher at for Veteran Artists (www.veteranartists.org). This is a non-profit that teaches arts to Veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Those are the top three right now, but I’m always donating pieces to different organizations and volunteering my time to help out as well.

Ryan’s work is amazing and if I had the money here are a few of my favorite pieces that I would invest in:

These pieces are SO Gorgeous and living in the Pacific Northwest…need I say more!

Ryan is giving one of our lucky readers a scarf of their very own.  This one:

This is Ryan’s Rose Colored Infinity Scarf. It is 100% acrylic yarn and machine washable.  There are approximately 6,000 stitches total and it took him 6 hours to knit.  This piece retails for $60.00

You have three opportunities to win. Here’s how:

  1. Go like Ryan’s Facebook Page and tell him that we sent you there, come back here and tell us you did it.  While you are on his page check out his work and tell us what pieces you can’t live without!
  2. Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryandebonville, come back here and tell us you did it.
  3. Follow Love Affair with My Brother, comment telling us you are a follower.

The winner will be selected on Friday, May 6th just in time for Mother’s Day! Good Luck!!!

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21 Responses to Interview – Knitwear Designer Ryan DeBonville

  1. Bright Angel says:

    I "Like" Ryan on FB. I love his hooded infinity scarves!! 🙂

  2. Bright Angel says:

    Following Ryan on Twitter! 🙂

  3. Bright Angel says:

    I follow "Love Affair" on FB and on Blogger! Is there anywhere I am missing to follow you? 🙂 This is so much fun!

  4. Sunni says:

    Bright Angel, Thanks for being such a loyal follower. You can also get e-mail updates if you are so inclined!!

  5. Kimberly R. says:

    I'm following Ryan on FB, love the checkerboard scarf!!
    Thanks 🙂

  6. Kimberly R. says:

    I'm following Love Affair With My Brother – Thanks!

  7. Bright Angel says:

    Thank you for your awesome posts and tutorials and for being here to follow. :)How do I get e-mail updates? Must have my daily "Love Affair" fix!! 🙂

  8. Sunni says:

    Bright Angel- It is in the top right corner of our blog, just under the About Us Tab. Just enter your e-mail address in follow by e-mail.

  9. Cathy says:

    Hey there
    I just read the interview and "liked" Ryan on facebook – I told him that Ssunni and Melissa sent me – and that I was glad they (you) did. He is totally tallented 🙂 His circle scarves are WOW.
    Cheers
    Catie

  10. Cathy says:

    Hi again
    I "am" a follower
    Cheers
    Catie

  11. Evelene S says:

    Hi, I liked Ryan on facebook and told him you sent me and that his work is gorgeous.

  12. Evelene S says:

    I am an email follower and google reader follower of Love Affair With My Brother. Thanks for a chance to win.

  13. Pattyer58 says:

    Went to Ryan's facebook page and "Liked" him. Told him his scarfs are amazing, etc. Loved the blue scarf on his page. Simply beautiful. Thanked him for his non-profit work. Thank you ladies for helping him get some exposure. Really, really love the pink scarf. This experience was fun!!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    The items he makes are gorgeous! I think they would also help keep me warm out here in cold Iowa!!
    -Ashley DeLayo

  15. Michele says:

    Of course I follow Melissa and Sunni's blog! I read Ryan's interview and I "liked" his Facebook. I absolutely love the Heathered Creme Infinity Scarf! It is absolutely gorgeous!

  16. Lindsay Conner says:

    I stopped by his Facebook and my favorite is the loose blue knit cowl. 🙂

  17. Lindsay Conner says:

    I follow on Twitter and tweeted about the giveaway @lindsaysews

  18. Lindsay Conner says:

    I'm a new blog follower! Thanks for linking up your giveaway at Craft Buds!

  19. Mary Jo says:

    I'm following you!

  20. Kaytee says:

    I liked Ryan's fb page! I love the way people are wearing the cowls as a shrug!
    katelyn.j.stephens at gmail dot com

  21. Heathery says:

    Liked! (Heathery H.) I love his hooded scarves!
    myheehaw at hotmail dot com

Comments are closed.