Meet the Maker: Along Avec Anna 🧶 (ad)

Like many people, I consider myself a bit of a Francophile. When I started uni, I initially enrolled on a French course (with Philosophy as a joint honours. Yes, I was *that* teenager 🙄). I didn’t stick with that degree – I couldn’t resist the lure of medieval studies – but I did maintain a deep appreciation for French culture and style, which brings me to today’s interviewee in my Meet the Maker series: Along Avec Anna!

I first came across Anna’s beautiful patterns through my friend Sarah earlier this year and have been a fan since then. When I learnt that she was bringing out a range of yarns, I was very excited indeed. The range consists of a merino and a mohair yarn, which is my current go-to combination, in 6 beautiful colours. The blue in the image above is Royal, and the rusty shade is Châtaigne. I’m happy to say that Anna’s don’t disappoint. I’ll write up a full review as soon as I’ve had the chance to use these beauties properly, and the mohair will be included in my TKPG Guide to Mohair (which should be ready soon!). For now, know that I’m chomping at the bit to play with them.

To celebrate the launch of the Along Avec Anna yarns, I’ve asked Anna a few questions about her brand and I’m happy to share her answers with you now! Let’s get into it…

Image credit: Along Avec Anna

How would you describe Along Avec Anna?

It’s a small business (we sell ethical yarn, knitting patterns & goodies) that cares about its customers, partners and suppliers, based in Exeter, Devon. I was first of all a passionate knitter before making this passion into a business! I’ve always been keen to share with and support all those who are active in the knitting industry. Along Avec Anna is there to push people to explore their creativity, always putting accessibility first in the way we write our patterns, in our size range, and even in our price range. The idea is to use knitting as self-care and to support you to push your limits and to be proud of what you accomplish!

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?

Often in my everyday life. When I create a new pattern, I always think of what I would like to wear every day, or what could be nice and easy for my girls to wear. I like timeless but interesting pieces, so I often add a nice textured stitch or lace pattern!

When I create colourwork patterns, I usually get my inspiration from my travels, or from traditional Scandinavian motifs. 

Image credit: Along Avec Anna

You work in both French and English (and offer patterns in many other languages!); do you have a preference? Is there a difference in how you approach writing in the two languages?

I like to use English and French in a similar way and try to use them both equal amounts. I live in England, so I speak English daily, but I speak French to my little girls and with my partner (who’s British) so I can use my own language as well. I usually switch constantly!

In my work it’s quite funny because I learned to knit in English, so when I designed my first pattern and I had to write it in French…. I was totally lost! I didn’t know any knitting words!

I would say that now, as I work with a french speaking tech editor, I usually start with writing the French version and then I’ll translate it myself into English. But if I knit from my patterns or someone else’s, I will always choose the English one!

Image credit: Along Avec Anna

What are your crafting essentials?

First of all, my wicker basket that I carry everywhere with me. It’s so easy and I love it. My Chiagoo interchangeable needles kit as well… When I started knitting I read that they were the “Rolls Royce” of knitting needles and I have to say that ever since I first tried them, I couldn’t imagine using another brand! 

And can I add our own yarn? I’ve loved working with a lot of different yarns in the past, but developing your own range is so special, they will definitely become my top crafting essential!

What’s your all-time favourite project?

I love knitting sweaters!!! They do take a while, but I find that knitting in the round, especially stockinette stitch, is very meditative. [TKPG edit: Yep. This is very true! There’s nothing better to sooth a racing mind.]

Image credit: Along Avec Anna

Where’s your favourite place to sit and knit?

Probably my living room where I feel nice and cozy! But I love meeting crafty friends for coffee to sit and knit all together. I have the same nice and cozy feeling as in my living room, but with friends it’s even better! 

What’s a product that every crafter should keep in their stash?

A couple of balls of yarn of the same colour. I would say around Aran weight, so you can whip up a little accessory when you want to knit but don’t have the motivation to do a sweater!

Image credit: Along Avec Anna

What’s your top tip for new crafters?

Do not be afraid to start! Don’t tell yourself that you won’t have the time to learn, that it seems too complicated… Trust me, you will find the time to add some crafting into your life and it will become such an important part of your self-care routine that you won’t stop!

Try to not start with a project that’s too complicated, but knit what will motivate you! Don’t start with a garter stitch scarf if you don’t fancy it! Go straight to an easy and well explained simple top-down jumper if you know that you will want to finish it! [TKPG edit: I whole-heartedly agree with this! You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in knitting with some motivation and a good pattern! Anna has a great selection of beginner-friendly patterns here.]

How did you learn to knit?

I learned with my nan and mum when I was younger, but never really liked it. I was mostly into sewing. In 2015, I was living in Montreal, Canada, and met a few crafty friends via Instagram. We used to go to La Maison Tricotée, a lovely yarn/tea shop in the Laurier neighborhood. And you may not believe it now, but I was the only one not knitting! That’s when my friends introduced me to knitting in the round, circular needles, Ravelry…. What a new world!

I started with a couple of baby cardigans as I was pregnant with my first little girl, and I have literally never stopped since! They were a massive help as I learned to knit and I was always looking for tutorials on YouTube if needed. My third project was the Riddari jumper, an Icelandic lopapeysa with 3 colours on the same row (a bit optimistic for a beginner knitter?) and I loved every step of it!

Image credit: Along Avec Anna

Quick fire: Knitting or crochet? Tea or coffee? Cotton or wool? 

Knitting! Because I don’t know how to crochet yet.

Tea! Always, Yorkshire tea with milk 🙂 

Wool forever! Even in Summer because I’m always cold!

And that’s it for today! You can find the new Along Avec Anna yarns here if you’re based in the UK, here if you’re based in the EU, and her beautiful patterns in a wide range of languages here.

If you’re keen to meet more makers, you can find the other blog posts in this series here.

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