We’re thrilled to offer you this peek into Mina Philipp’s richly patterned, colorful world of textiles. A knitting and crochet designer who lives in the UK, Mina’s Any Gauge knitting method is opening up a new way of thinking for knitters all over the world. The designs in her recently released ebook, Cowls: A Colourwork Sourcebook and Patterns, draw inspiration from Persian rugs, a phrase that never fails to perk up our needles.
Welcome to MDK, Mina! We can’t wait to see what you do next.
—Ann and Kay
Knitting scrappy blankets was one of those things I initially resisted doing. But after I had amassed a collection of scraps and leftover yarns, the lure to cast one on became too great.
Knitting for my daughter has been such a joy! And she loves her handknits so much. I’ve adapted many of my patterns for child-sized versions as well and Layla always likes to point out when we are wearing our matching sweaters.
2020 was a hard year for everyone, myself included. On the surface things were ok, but I did struggle a lot with my work mostly around feelings of not being good enough, doubting myself and my ideas. In the end, I decided to focus on one main goal for the year—to design a collection of colorwork cowls which incorporated my Any Gauge knitting method.
I decided to draw on my heritage, which is Iranian, and more specifically I focused on Persian Rugs as my inspiration. Cowls was a true labor of love and I did it on my own, with the help of my tech editor and layout designer. My family modeled for me which was very fitting and tied in with the theme of the book.
One of my favorite things about anything handmade is that it’s not perfect. Sometimes it can be hard to get past a perfection mentality with our making, but Persian rugs wonderfully demonstrate the beauty of handmade imperfection. The one in the photo is an antique flat weave Persian rug that was a wedding gift.
I love it so much, but it is far from perfect. There are spots where the wrong color yarn was used, others where a random motif was added because there was space. And my favorite thing about this rug is that its overall dimensions and size are not even all around, because the weaver’s tension changed over the course of making the rug. But these imperfections tell you this rug was handmade, and make it more valuable as a result. I feel this about handknit items as well—those little “mistakes” add value!
Spinning was a skill I was always fascinated by and knew someday I would get to learning. I can be impatient, so I knew a spindle was not going to be what I wanted to use if I was to spin long term. Towards the end of 2018 I was able to get an amazing spinning wheel. I have loved it ever since.
Sock knitting and I have a funny history together. When I first learned to knit I lived in Dubai and I remember thinking to myself and even saying out loud a few times to people “Why would I ever want to knit socks?” Well several months later I had cast on my first pair of socks and a year later I was a die-hard sock knitting obsessed knitter!
I’ve had many different types of storage options for my yarn over the years as our circumstances and size of my stash have evolved. However I really enjoy my current setup with these metal and glass cabinets from Ikea. I use one for my yarn and one for fiber.
My design process is a little all over the place to be honest. It really depends what I am designing. Sometimes it’s very much a take-notes-as-I-go-along process and at other times I plan everything out and even write up a rough first draft before I cast on.
Nowadays, I typically start with a rough sketch of what the overall shape is going to be with some key design features marked out. One of the overarching elements in my design process has always been inclusivity and customizability, not just with sizing, but also in terms of allowing knitters the opportunity to adapt and modify a pattern to suit their needs.
Typically you can find me in my cozy yellow arm chair with my laptop working away during the day or knitting in this little corner in the evenings.
I have been lucky over the years that my family have been very supportive and proud of my creative endeavors and achievements. My husband in particular has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and do what I love for work.
When anyone asks me what my favorite color is my usual answer is, “Does rainbow count?” I love all colors and I’m especially attracted to bright saturated rainbow hues. I equally love a good neutral, and softer color palettes, but nothing inspires me quite as much as saturated jewel tones!