With just a couple more sleeps until the iKnit7 Hilja Mitts KAL kicks off with our grand Cast On Party, what better occasion for me to tell you more about the Wonder Woman behind the Hilja Mitts (and my dear friend) Aleks Byrd.

Now don't go ahead and think that I shower everyone with superlatives like this, when I say Wonder Woman I really mean it! I'd like you to get to know her. When publishing my book last year, coming to illustrations Aleks was the natural choice. She did all the charts in Knit with attitude a 10-year celebratory collection, and she is the artist behind the limited edition temporary tattoo we gifted to everyone pre-ordering the book. (On a personal note, that tattoo is about to become not so temporarily placed on my body ...)

Aleks is an illustrator, writer and knitwear designer who loves to work with many different strands. Whether she’s illustrating, designing garments or knitting up colour work accessories, Aleks can always be found creating something gorgeous and unique. She fondly remembers choosing soft chenille yarn for her first project –  a simple scarf in Gryffindor colours (it was the height of Harry Potter mania) – when she was in primary school, and to this day she continues to be influenced by colour.

Like a special agent she holds nothing less than three passports, with a heritage tied to three countries – USA, Estonia and Canada – she has plenty of ideas and inspiration running through her, but when coming to knitting she tends to play with her Estonian roots in particular, weaving it into new patterns in order to produce modern and unique designs with a connection to the past.

As a knitting ambassador for modern traditional Estonian knitting, Aleks has shared her knowledge of the little-known traditional techniques by putting a fresh twist on them for wearable designs. She also teaches these methods in her popular workshops. It's her design background in illustration coupled with her unique ideas and love of colour that shine through in her collection of designs that are fun and rewarding to knit for all levels of knitters. The Hilja Mitts with their Roosimine technique is an excellent example of this, Aleks has also been recently published in Laine Magazine Issue 10, featuring not one, but two, of her larger designs the Seli Cardigan and the Seli Sweater.

I, for one, am ridiculously excited about getting the chance to try out the Rosimiine, with guided support from the designer herself what can go wrong? Don't forget, you can join the iKnit7 Hilja Mitts KAL at any point during the KAL. Even if you order a kit this week and it doesn't quite arrive by Friday you can still join the party and get any cast-on tips we plan to dish out. Most importantly you'll receive all the info about the Facebook group and the Live Zoom events when you purchase. Pop over to the online shop to have a browse through the Hilja Mitts KAL Kits we have on offer here at Knit with attitude. When writing up this, our FB group has reached more than 200 members - that's a lot of Hilja Mitts and even lots and lots more of fun!

Fun Facts about Aleks:
  • Aleks is spelled with a “ks” instead of an “x” because there is no “x” in the Estonian alphabet.
  • She studied Arabic, French, German and Italian.
  • Aleks lived in Brooklyn, NY for four years studying illustration at university and didn’t become a hipster.
  • She hasn’t met a potato she didn’t like. Estonians like a good potato.
  • Aleks is the owner of an extensive collection of keychains from all the places her parents and she have been to. It started when Aleks' parents would get her a keychain from the many places they went on business trips as a quick and often last minute gift.
More from Aleks:

Color & Knit, Mittens is a charming knitting pattern colouring book that features 12 mitten patterns for stranded colourwork. Each pattern is provided twice in black and white so that knitters can colour it in themselves and create their own colour combinations.

Mitten Blockers These beautiful wooden blockers have been specially created by Aleks Byrd to ensure your handknit mitts fit perfectly. Laser-cut in Estonia, the blockers come in pairs and are available in three sizes – Small, Medium and Large. The design is inspired by a glove pattern from Mustjala on the Estonian island of Saaremaa.