Meet Tanis Gray!!
How long have you been knitting and how’d you get started?
I have been knitting since I was 8 years old. My mom was knitting a sweater for me and I had always seen my grandmothers knitting and crocheting. I wanted to do it, too! My mom taught and got me started on the obligatory garter stitch scarf. We would spends our winter breaks in northern New Hampshire and she and I would go knit at the local knit shop up there to learn new skills and buy yarn. The woman who ran it immediately put me on DPNs and had me knitting mittens weeks after I learned to knit. The following year she had me knitting fair isle sweaters.
How did you start designing?
I started designing my own mittens almost immediately after learning how to knit. I could never find exactly what I wanted and having an artist mother, she encouraged me to design for myself. It was a great lesson in trial and error because if it didn’t work, it was just a mitten and I could rip it out. If it did work, I could knit up another and have personalized mittens. Having an unusual name meant I could never get little things with my name on it like my friends could, so I was thrilled to be able to make things my own.
What was your first design?
My first published design was an aviator scarf done a few months after starting my Yarn Editor job at Vogue Knitting for knit.1. I now have over 150 published patterns and also enjoy self publishing patterns on my own or in a bundle with friends as well as through knitting magazines and books. Designing each pattern is a unique experience.
What did you design for Vampire Knits? What inspired you?
I designed a head scarf, Tru Blood bottle cozies and a got blood? pillow. The head scarf idea came from my long hair always being in my face and the constant need for sparkle in my life. The red and silver were a nod to blood and silver bullets. The Tru Blood bottle cozies came from watching the show while drinking tea. The idea was like the paper cuffs Starbucks puts around their cups, but this was more fun. I’m fascinated by blood types and thought it was an interesting twist. The got blood? pillow was an inside joke since I am very lactose intolerant and the constantly successful ad campaign milk has is still prevalent. Everyone knows the tag line and there are so many spin offs.
Who’s your favorite vampire, or what’s your favorite vampire story?
My favorite vampire is a toss up between Dracula and Eric Northman from Tru Blood. One one hand you have the original bad ass vampire, the granddaddy of the undead and on the other an attractive vampire with authority issues. It’s a tough call.