I've come to know Andrea Rangel as a very thoughtful designer. Each of her designs and patterns are crafted with a lot of intention and inventiveness, and I think that comes through in each of her pieces. (Psss... she's also working on a book! I personally cannot wait to see it!) You can find her on Instagram HERE and Ravelry HERE.
First, would you tell us about your knitting history- ie., where did you learn to knit and how long have you been knitting?
My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 8. She died shortly after she taught me, though, and I didn’t know any other knitters, so I didn’t keep it up. On a Thanksgiving trip during my first semester of college I saw my aunt knitting and she inspired me to try it again. She gave me yarn and needles and my hands just remembered how. I’ve been pretty obsessed ever since then. There hasn’t been a period in the past 14 years or so when I haven’t been knitting almost every day.
Where does your love of shawls come from, is there anyone in your memory who wore or knit them, or is it something that happened when you started knitting them?
I started designing shawls because they were another thing to knit. The way I love knitting is that I want to explore every part of it, so I’ve knit socks, scarves, and sweaters, but also leggings, bloomers, dresses, and a tiny elephant. My first shawl design was a super bulky lace triangle that’s still one of my most popular patterns (Pembroke.) Since then I’ve come to really love designing and wearing shawls. They’re this wonderful opportunity for creativity and they’re one of my favorite mediums for exploring lace.
Is there a shawl in your personal collection that stands out as most-worn or favorite?
A lot of my samples are currently on the road for a trunk show, so the ones I want to wear aren’t necessarily available to me. But, I knit myself a version of my Sunlight on the Forest Floor shawl in Anzula Oasis, this incredible silk/camel blend. The colors are really neutral, so it goes with everything and is probably the warmest neckwear I own. It’s definitely been my go-to this past winter.
Do you have any favorite patterns or yarns when it comes to shawls?
Shawls are so versatile that I love a lot of really different patterns and yarns. I think it’s really fun to do a super bulky blanket-like shawl - those giant stitches are so fascinating. (I’m thinking of Sentiment worked in Malabrigo Rasta.) But then the squishy joy of garter stitch worked loosely on a fingering weight yarn is irresistible too. (Ume in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock is a great example of this.) This is a theme in my knitting life - I love all the things!
Finally, any tips for styling or wearing a shawl?
I have two shawl-wearing styles. I usually just wear them as a part of my everyday outfits (even the frilly, lacy ones) by wrapping them a couple times scarf-style and tying the ends at the front. I love this look because it gives little peeks of the lace, but looks pretty casual and cozy (and it’s really warm!) My other style is to dress up a cute or fancy outfit by wearing the shawl sort of kerchief-style with the lacy bit draping in the front and the ends draped around my shoulders. I find that’s a great solution if it’s too warm for a sweater, but too chilly for completely bare arms (pretty much all my dresses are sleeveless.)