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Interview series 38 – Ursula Almeida

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In 2017 we ran a survey of Stitchmastery users and one response particularly caught our imagination – someone told us they would like to hear from other Stitchmastery users and how they make use of the software. We’re delighted to bring you a series of interviews with designers, tech editors, magazine editors and teachers – we hope you enjoy reading them!

Interviewee – Ursula Almeida


1) When did you start designing? Could you give us a potted history of your yarny and designing background?

I started thinking about designing when my nephew asked for a dinosaur hat. I say thinking because I had no idea where to start. Sometime later, I took a designing class from Mary Scott Huff at my local guild. Her quirky style and encouragement to do something different resonated with me. It built up my confidence in my ideas that aren’t always traditional when it comes to colorwork.

2) Do you have any recurring sources of inspiration or unusual muses for your design work?

I don’t really have a traditional inspiration or mood board method to my design work. I think what it comes down to is a challenge. My Classic Christmas Stocking series started with my son’s request for a train stocking. Trains are complex and detailed but that was the challenge and I had to do it for him. Further on in the series, when I asked my triplet niece and nephews what they wanted on their stockings: horse, easy; truck, easy; dinosaur, easy… “but not a dinosaur, just the fossils.” Oh, wow. Okay! So that’s the origin story of my most unusual pattern, Dinosaur Dig, and it was definitely a challenge!

Photo of knitted Christmas stocking with design featuring dinosaur footprints and fossilised bones

3) When you have an idea, do you always work to a set workflow (eg swatch-knit-chart or chart first then knit) or does your approach change with each design?

Honestly, my first step outside of the idea popping into my head, is to open Stitchmastery. I do a loose “sketch” of the motif then refine – take away, add in, take away, etc. Then, when I think I’m close enough, I cast on. There’s more to the knitting part, of course, but that’s how I get the design ball rolling.

side-on photo of woman wearing fair isle hat in white, grey, blue and orange


4) What made you choose to use Stitchmastery? Is there a particular feature you use most regularly or couldn’t do without? And is there anything you wish Stitchmastery could do?

Not being particularly computer savvy, I wanted a program that had good, responsive support and user engagement. The Stitchmastery Ravelry group had a lot of questions with timely responses, some answers even coming from other users of Stitchmastery.

If I could request one thing, it would be cell fills that look more like a background, say a dot texture or bubble texture, crosshatching. I think this would help when creating a black and white version for color charts for when knitters want to print their pattern.”

Photo of knitted Christmas stocking with houses and mugs in the design

5) Please tell us about your latest publication or next exciting project!

I’ve been working to increase my worsted weight Christmas stockings because worsted knits up so much faster than fingering weight and sometimes time is of the essence! Next up in the worsted series, Steamer Train!

Learn more about Ursula:

You can find Ursula’s designs on Ravelry and she can be found as UrsaMakes on Instagram.

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