Published on March 20th, 2015 | by Angie


Indie designer of the week: Thea Colman

This week, we dove into the designs of Thea Colman. She designs sweet, chic garments and accessories with a vintage twist that are sure to please and delight anyone who knits or receives them.

Designs by Thea Colman - get them at LoveKnitting!Above: Bailey’s Irish Cream

Hello Thea – what’s your story?

Hmmm,  this is always the hardest question, because what to tell?  The basics:  I’m married,  live right outside of Boston and have two girls.  One is 11, the other 15.  I spent my early years in the corporate world – in advertising and left that when my first daughter was born.  I’d met my husband at the office, so we both had the same unpredictable schedules and one of us had to go.   I made less money, so the decision was easy.   After that, I tried a few other careers, but this one seems to be the one that’s going to stick!  

When and why did you first start knitting?

I started knitting as a teenager – there was a very traditional clothing and fabric shop in my town that sold things like pants with whales embroidered on them and madras shorts.  It was called Clayton’s, and downstairs the most wonderful bunch of older women taught classes. In that class,  I knit a terrible peach and white striped nubby cotton sweater and wore it all the time.  Both my Grandmothers had knit and I’d always wanted to learn, but neither of them lived close enough to teach me themselves.  Whenever I saw them it would be a big family event and not the time.Designs by Thea Colman - get them at LoveKnitting!

Above left: Irish Coffee; above right: Chocolate Stout

From a peach and white striped sweater to a leading knitwear designer – talk us through a day in the life of Thea Colman, knitwear designer extrordinaire!

There are the fun days where I leave the house to meet up with other designer friends or get to teach or attend an event or something, but most of my days are spent home alone, either writing or knitting or working online.  Showering is optional, and the goal is to stay out of the kitchen.  I try to make a Friday AM coffee date just so I have to shower and speak to an adult at least once a week.  Sometimes I go to shops and take secret photos of sweater details on my phone or measure things that I like in a dressing room, and my friends are amused by that.

On writing days, I take over the dining room table with measuring tape and notes and graph paper and pencils, and on knitting days I take over the sofa with mugs of coffee, yarn and a notebook. 

On days when I am figuring out a new design I take over the whole house with stitch dictionaries and sticky notes.  And in nice weather, I move the whole operation out to the patio.   I keep my stash of yarn and books in a back office, but you can find stray skeins lying around and stitch markers or darning needles live between all the cushions in the upholstery in this house.   

Designs by Thea Colman - get them at LoveKnitting!
Above left: Ommegang, above right: Cassis

Well, we all know the perils of stray knitting accessories! So, Thea, how would you describe your design style?

I try to design things that I will enjoy both knitting and wearing.  My goal is to hit that spot between unique and classic where it does not look like everything else out there, but it’s not so different that it won’t fit into your wardrobe.  I love vintage details, and I don’t like things to be either too fitted or very big.  And I don’t have one type of construction or sweater that I stay with.  I love to keep trying new things. 

Are there specific techniques, like lace, cabling, or colorwork, that you like to incorporate in your designs? 

I love a good cable.   And a lace panel.   I try to keep my details out of the shaping so that people can make modifications to their garments.  And  I want to do more colorwork, but I don’t love it (all those bits!) so I often end up with little motifs instead of bigger ones. 

What are your most popular patterns?

Vodka Lemonade,  and Dark and Stormy.  And Cassis.  And Irish Coffee.

Thea Colman knitting designs - get them at LoveKnitting!Above left: Vodka Lemonade;  Above right: Dark and Stormy

Which of your patterns would you recommend for a beginner,  and  which for someone looking for a real challenge?

I think that Vodka Lemonade is very straightforward —  as well as Bombay Sapphire,  and Vodka Gimlet. I’m  not sure that any of them are a REAL challenge, but more complex would be Bailey’s Irish Cream or Chocolate StoutDesigns by Thea Colman - get them at LoveKnitting!

Above left: Bombay Sapphire; above right: Vodka Gimlet

 What do you enjoy knitting for yourself?

What I really WANT to knit for myself and I plan on taking on the road this summer are shawls.  I wear the few I’ve designed all the time, and I want to work on more construction methods.  I want to knit OTHER DESIGNERS patterns, and I never have the time.

If you were a yarn, what would you be and why?

A tweed.  I love the hidden flecks of color and the texture of tweed.  It’s down to earth and not fussy and there aren’t hidden surprises in how it’s going to behave when blocked or worn.  It can take a few year’s wear.   I think I’m that way – what you see is pretty much what you get – I’m not high maintenance or fussy, and I can do whatever’s asked of me usually. I’m dependable, pragmatic.  

My daughter is here and she agrees.  Tweed.  She also said something nice though – the hidden colors are like me because there’s all kinds of things I say and do that you may not have thought I’d say or do if you just saw me on the street.  She thinks I’m interesting (Surprising comment from a pre-teen about her old mom!).

Designs by Thea Colman - get them at LoveKnitting!Above: 2 Glasses of Pink Zin

That’s all, folks! Check back next week for our next installment of indie designer of the week. In the meantime, check out all of Thea Colman’s fabulous patterns by clicking here. 


About the Author

Jack of all trades, Master of Netflix and video games. A musician by passion, a gamer by choice, and a crafter by chance: I write about knitting and crochet and design fun patterns!

Last updated: March 20th, 2015.

13 Responses to Indie designer of the week: Thea Colman

  1. +Ann McCrea says:

    I have been trying to buy the Lemon Vodka Pattern and yarn without success and there is no contact number to call you.
    Can you please let me know how by e-mail or phone (01557 870038) (internet not good at present!!) how I can purchase both and the cost of the yarn.
    I like the look of lots of the patterns and yarn on the e-mails sent but am finding it impossible to purchase them

    Best Regards Ann

  2. Teresa says:

    I’d just like to say what great patterns. Is Thea planning to publish a book?

  3. Sally Richardson says:

    I have several of Thea’s patterns planned for future projects (Vodka Lemonade and Cassis) and have Dark and Stormy on my needles now. What I especially like are sweater patterns that work from top down and aren’t too fitted. And because she designs them to be easily customized as to length I can fit my 5’8′ height and my short waisted torso. Love the names too!

  4. francie says:

    I Love Love Love the Vodka Lemonade sweater!.. Hope to be able to find the yarn at Yarn Fest and get started on it.;-)

  5. casg says:

    Absolutely love and would wear all of these patterns! (Love the names too).

  6. Judy mills says:

    I love almost all these patterns. I bought Baileys a couple years ago but didn’t get time to knit it yet. There’s always someone else who wants to knit or make them something. I’d like to knit Vodka Lemonade too.

  7. Dulcie Lawes says:

    How can I get the kitting patterns by Tha Colman .They look fabulous .Dulcie

  8. Dulcie Lawes says:

    Beautiful patterns would like to have them.How can I order them?

  9. Elizabeth says:

    These are the hands down favorite patterns that need minimal adjustment. LOVE reading BabyCocktails!!

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