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Variegated Yarn Tales: Tracey, Knitter and Crocheter!

Tracey Maniluwhua-Rivers is a designer who loves both knitting and crochet. She is a talented fiber artist, and I’m happy to have her share her wisdom today of “taking one stitch at a time and one day at a time.” Get to know her and what she has learned from her design mentor, Shirley Paden. (I’m currently using Shirley’s Paden’s book to help me learn to design!)

What inspired you to start knitting or crocheting?

My mother taught me how to knit and crochet when I was 7 years old.  Mom was a gemologist by trade, and she also knit and crocheted for movie sets and for dance companies and Broadway when she had time. My dad was an architect, and he also knew how to knit and crochet. 

Has knitting or crocheting got you through a difficult time in your life? If so, how did it help?

One stitch at a time, one day at a time … first when my dad passed away, and then when my mom passed away.

What keeps you obsessed?

I’d say I’m pretty much obsessed with promoting positivity, encouragement, and being kind in this world that we live in. Not one of us is perfect, but we can all practice loving kindness.

What’s your favorite project that you’re working on right now? 

I’m working on my own designs with colors based on the autumnal color palette, which is my absolute favorite. 

What project are you most proud of? Why?

That’s a hard question…I guess I’m proud of all of them, because it’s amazing how we can turn yarn into beautiful garments and accessories. But if I had to pick one, I’d have to say that it’s the sweater that I designed using the beautiful charcoal grey alpaca fingering weight yarn that my mom had in her amazing yarn stash. My mom asked me to go into her yarn stash, pick out a sweaters worth of yarn that I loved, and design a sweater. I followed her instructions, and I cast on while I was visiting her. I would return each time, and show her my progress, and I finished the sweater at one of our visits. She loved it!

What’s the best knitting or crochet advice you have received?

My parents always taught my siblings and I to take lots of pride in whatever we did, and absolutely keep in mind that all gifts and talents come from a source that is so very much higher than us, and that we are all very much instrumental in making a positive difference in the world. I’ve most definitely applied that advice to life, work, as well as knitting and crocheting. More excellent advice was given to me by knitwear and crochet designer and author, Shirley Paden, who is not only my design mentor, but she’s also a wonderful warm spirited, zen spirited, friend and confidant. She told me to always be true to myself and follow my own dreams, and be confident in the decisions that I make in life, and as a designer. The magazine publication route isn’t really what I want to pursue, but perhaps I will follow up on another opportunity to try and get at least one of my designs into the magazines, and I’ve decided to independently release a couple of pattern booklets in the near future.

Have popular patterns had an influence on your knitting or crochet?

Pattern: Find Your Fade by Andrea Mowry

I’m not one to make what everyone else is making, but I did make two very popular shawls, using my color choices as motivation. I’m totally for keeping the love of the art forms alive, and making sure that everyone who wants to knit and crochet feels absolutely included in these world wide art forms. I’m a firm believer in the fact that it’s excellent to know how to both knit and crochet, and it’s excellent to have the mechanics of both art forms in the muscle memory of our hands, and not neglect either of the two, because both art forms are beautiful.

Follow Tracey on Instagram.

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My name is Monica Rodriguez and I can’t stop fidgeting with yarn. I live in Albuquerque, NM with my husband. We belong to two terriers who manage to cuddle us just enough to keep us from revolting.

Let me know what you think!