It has been an absolute pleasure to dive into the workings of La Maison Rililie Designs, and Yarn Loop is happy to create this Designer's Spotlight on such a unique design house with an equally wonderful repertoire. Rililie, the principle, was trained in the Fine Arts, resides in Europe, and has always had a passion for making. Her specialty is intermediate to advanced women's knitwear like sweaters and cardigans, but her ability extends into accessories such as hats and shawls. She is well-known for stripes, texture, and innovative techniques aimed to keep the well-seasoned knitter interested and intrigued. Each piece is fraught with tailored details to delight the advanced knitter who has done it all.
La Maison Rililie Designs is always busy creating new knits, and the newest cardigan, Diane, was published this month. Yarn Loop hopes to be one of the first to show you this fantastic design and point out its delicate yet bold features. Built on a luscious alpaca/merino blend to create drape, Diane features wonderful broken lines at the shoulders as well as a delicate pattern across the back that wraps around the sides. Instead of breaking the pattern with a side seam, the pattern continues to the central bust where the front is worked in simple stockinette stitch to provide a little simplicity to a very sophisticated cardigan. The sleeve hems are also shaped to fit down over the back of the hand without impeding mobility. Diane is another example of the excellent products designed by La Maison Rililie.
Rililie completed a short interview with me at the end of September, but I want to take my time and really examine her work in extreme detail because she is one of my favorite knitwear designers. The further I delve into her work, the more intrigued and excited I become. While I have never believed that I am an advanced knitter, especially after knitting for only 4 years, the proof is there. I have mastered colorwork, have no problems with short rows or shaping, and can crank out a hat in about 4 hours. When did all of this happen? Who knows! I just make what I love! If you are the same, and no challenge is too big, and nothing will get in the way of you making the pattern you want, then you and I can play with Rililie and have fun in her design house!
There is an artistic and amorphous genius behind all of Rililie's patterns. She says, "As a young child, I was always very interested in using my hands to produce things. From a very young age, I was constantly drawing (on every possible surface to the annoyance of my mother)". As Rililie grew, every medium imaginable (including knitting and crochet) captured her attention and directed her towards the arts.
Rililie has a Masters in Fine Arts in Painting "with some training in sculpture" which gives a unique approach to designing that "helped immensely with three dimensional thinking and the knowledge of the human form." Her bio at lamaisonrililie.com brings the sculptural aspects of clothing design into perspective, where she states, "I adore finding new - or stumbling on old - ways to construct something in a different way. It is like sculpture: a three dimensional work that allows you to produce an object (with the proper calculations), that not only might be practical, but also is an expression of creativity and design!"
Rililie greatly enjoys women's fashion and has always loved making things, especially for her own body. "I love designing garments, mostly jumpers or cardigans, simply because I love wearing those myself. Whenever I am dreaming up a pattern it is always something I would like to make for my own benefit." La Maison Rililie's cardigans are among the very best knitting patterns by any designer. The unusual bell shape of the BlueSand Cardigan with its swooping hem, bold stripes and spacious pockets has made it a favorite again and again.
This swooping hem makes a re-appearance in La Scarabee Bleu (shown below) with the additional distinction of a central back dart, wonderful texture and delicate horizontal striping down the sleeves.
The MarlOn may seem like a pretty straight forward striped cardi, but with 2 strands held throughout to create the marled effect and varying width striping, this pattern will keep anyone on their toes. (Expected Release Date at Yarn Loop: Spring 2018)
Rililie prefers the lighter weighted yarns like sock and fingering yarns "but worked with slightly larger sized needles, because I find that these kind of fabrics fall nicer in a finished garment. I like it when the fabric can bloom and drape and when it’s not a stiff and dense material, especially if it is a light and airy yarn to start with." Cinecitta is the perfect summer weight top with delicate patterning on the sleeves and hips, raglan shaping, and rolled hems around the neck. (Expected Release Date at Yarn Loop: Spring 2018; images below)
Moroccan Nights was one of La Maison Rililie's first releases and is a favorite because of its swooping textured torso, fitted shaping & cabled shoulders on a boat neck sweater in fingering weight wool.
The BeauB distinguishes itself with subtle striping, gorgeous textural hems, big pockets, and sheer sleeves made of silk & mohair. The cardigan is built on DK weight Merino Wool with Lace Weight Kidsilk Haze striped throughout. This thoughtful combinations of fibers gives the cardigan a slight halo while creating and extra pocket of warmth despite the finer material. Please watch our Instagram Feed as I craft this sweater from Malabrigo Arroyo and Rowan Kidsilk Haze! The project will start on November 24th with sneak peeks of the colors and preparations beforehand.
Rililie is a highly intelligent woman who doesn't like boring and monotonous crafting, so the concentration on detailed pattern-making is an essential part of her work. She enjoys "any kind of challenge in technique or construction - any innovative solution or different way to work something up is immensely intriguing to me. I have always adored mystery novels and this might be another (and much more crafty) way to follow in Sherlock Holmes foot steps! So I definitely love to make 'interesting knits' that also are elegant and chic!"
The NoShow Socks solves the universal problem of socks peeking out of shoes. The ingenious solution is profoundly simple; she uses short rows to shape the sock so that the top of the foot can be exposed while still encased in a well-fitted sock. This pattern has been wildly popular and is Rililie's current favorite pattern. She says, "The NoShow Socks are a fun little pattern for tiny socklets. I wanted something like that for years but was afraid to publish the pattern for quite some time, since I was thinking that there were too many techniques involved to produce this small, weird little ankle sock! I finally took the plunge and posted it on Ravelry, and I was overwhelmed by the incredible response I got! People seemed to have exactly the same (slightly neurotic) issues with short socks I had myself and so it immediately was a hit!"
We love these socks so much that 2 lucky people can win a pair to make by entering our drawing! Click here to enter. (Drawing opens November 24, 2017 and closes November 27, 2017 at midnight Central Time.)
La Maison Rililie accessories have also made a big impression with knitters around the globe. All of La Maison Rililie's hat patterns have wonderful sculptural details to keep your head warm, your ears covered, and excellent shaping. Rililie says that "the tightly knitted and thicker fabric [for hats] can be quite useful, because it shields from cold and wind". The Vulcan Spy Hat is shaped to completely cover the ears using short row shaping. It is knit on striped DK weight yarn, has lots of texture for capturing pockets of warmth, and a small pom pom dolloped on top for a playful and feminine detail.
The Quadrifurcus Hat displays basketweave textured striping with a completely unique brim that tapers towards the back of the neck to prevent rolling and pooling.
Mrs. Jeckyll & Little Hyde (below) is a gorgeous, reversible hat created by 2 distinct layers held in place by a singular band of ribbing around the face to reduce bulkiness. The hat is perfectly named because each layer is distinctly different--one side is a delicate lace pattern while the other side is bold stripes. The two layers act as a wind barrier and provide needed warmth, while allowing the hat to drape beautifully.
Rililie spends most of her time between Vienna, Austria and Athens, Greece when she is not traveling to teach classes. The last time we corresponded, I could tell she was very excited to be in Italy where she was giving a workshop. Anyone who has ever seen her patterns knows that she cares so very much about her knitters because her attention to detail is superb. While the patterns are challenging, many have commented that her instructions are so precise that the intricate patterns always come out exactly as planned. She always includes photo tutorials on new techniques in each of her patterns (make sure to go to her website to see the Stretchy Increase Bind-Off Tutorial as well as the Hat Blocking Tutorial!). She makes sure that nothing is left to chance and that every step is explained, especially the lesser known techniques or construction methods.
This responsive relationship between designer and knitter makes Rililie a wonderful teacher and pattern designer. Rililie increased the range of sizes in her pattern making by knitter's request. While this takes extra dedication, Rililie makes sure that each size will fit correctly on different body types and will adjust details accordingly. Rililie really enjoys hearing from her knitters which makes her feel like she might "offer something useful to this amazing community. I love to be able to share what I find with fellow knitters!".
Rililie has proven again and again that experimentation with construction and innovative solutions to age old problems are key to well-fitted and well-loved garments in this modern age. I love Rililie's dedication to this art, and her careful crafting of the smallest details. While she says she is overprotective of her designs, especially her WIP's, I am flabbergasted that she would share her wonderful creations with the world.
In the effort to highlight and showcase La Maison Rililie, some of her work was edited from the Interview. All of her work can be seen at lamaisonrililie.com. Kits coming in Early Spring 2018!
Dessine-Moi Un Mouton (above)
MissBrummell-decadent cowl with a longer front section to keep the chest warm
Gilda-wonderful sweater with varied stripes, texture, and matching hand warmers; Designed with the intermediate knitter in mind
Granemones Shawl-half moon shawl with varied width stripes and delicate lacework. Also shown as Rililie's portrait image (first photo)
Rililie currently has 2 new patterns in the works that are still being tech edited and tested. We will let you know when she releases her new shawl & colorwork hat (which we will call Tuku for now; sneak peek below with the Diane cardi).
A Special Note from Yarn Loop: Because La Maison Riliie is based in Europe, many of the yarn lines are not easily accessible in the USA. Yarn Loop has spent hours sourcing readily-available yarns including American made equivalents that will do her patterns justice.
Images by La Maison Rililie
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