Melody Hoffman is one of our favourite independent designers here at Tangled Yarn. Born in France, Melody now lives in Riga in Latvia; she has been designing full-time under her label Mandarine's since 2015.
I was lucky enough to chat with Melody recently about her work and her love for knitting.
How did you get started with designing? And when did it become your full-time job?
I think that I got into designing when too many ideas started to clutter and overflow my brain a little bit too much, and I felt the urge to put them onto paper. It pretty much became my full-time job straight away as I was unemployed at that time. I had recently graduated from University and moved to a foreign country, so I had quite a bit of time in my hands to do plenty of knitting! And I must say that after my very first shawl was published, I kind of got hooked on designing. I just wanted to make more things as the possibilities were infinite!
Canopy by Melody Hoffman knit in The Fibre Co. Road to China Light
How would you best describe your design style? What inspires and influences your designs?
That’s such a good question! I find inspiration from so many different things: from Japanese culture to other fibres arts, minimalism, and maybe fairytales. I think that my designs are modern and quite minimal but with a little bit of something whimsical. It’s always so difficult to speak about my own work, as I feel that I’m not objective! I should probably ask my partner and ask him what he thinks!
Out of all of your designs do you have an all-time favourite?
That’s another tough question!!! I think that I might have a few! Maybe Little Twigs, Woodsy and Iris.
Iris by Melody Hoffman knit in Blacker Yarn Samite
Do you have a favourite knitting technique you couldn’t live without?
Hum, I don’t know if I would say that I couldn’t live without them, but I have a couple of techniques/stitches that I’m currently obsessed with: the lateral braid that I have used for a couple of my designs. I find it so elegant and quite fun to execute. I also love the look of reverse stockinette a lot! And the last one might be surprising because a lot of knitters actually despise this technique a lot, but I absolutely love doing a Kitchener stitch! I don’t know why! Maybe because I find it so meditative to execute, and that I’m always in awe of how neat and beautiful it looks.
Fir Shawl by Melody Hoffman knit in L'échappée Laine Shetland
If you were stranded on a desert island which three items would you take and why?
Are we talking about knitting tools? Because I hope that I can also have a little luggage with some clothes and such like! Knitting wise I think that I would need my set of interchangeable needles (Chiaoogoo are my all time favourites). Maybe a darning needle because I don’t know if I would be skilled enough to craft one myself! And lastly, some lovely wool of course! Maybe something undyed, so I could potentially forage or dye material and experiment a bit!
Hollows by Melody Hoffman knit in Blacker Yarns Swan 4ply
Can you share a little about what you’re working on at the moment?
All the projects! I have half a sweater on the blocking mats ( I blocked the body but I still have to work on the sleeves), I just finished a shawl in beautiful Kettle yarn co that I have yet to write, and I have a few swatches that I’m doing for new designs!