Designer Spotlight – Tonya Wagner

23 04 2011

Today we meet Tonya Wagner, who designed the adorable Little Fang Sweater.

How long have you been knitting and how’d you get started?

I started knitting when I was nineteen years old – five and a half years ago.  I had always been interested in learning how to knit; I love the old-fashioned aspect of knitting and the ability to make your own clothing.  My then-boyfriend/now-husband is a professional guitarist, and I thought it would be nice to have something to do with my hands while he was playing guitar.  One day in the midst of finals I decided to pick up Stitch ‘n’ Bitch and taught myself to knit.  Something just clicked.  Now knitting is a huge part of my life.

How did you start designing?

I began designing mainly because I couldn’t find patterns for the type of garments I wanted to knit.  I thought, “how hard can it be?” and figured it out myself.  In the beginning I reverse engineered commercially-produced items, but then I started reading books by Elizabeth Zimmermann, Barbara Walker & Maggie Righetti.  They helped me to learn what I needed to know to take my ideas from sketch to sweater.

What was your first design?

My first personal design was a cabled purse that I knit just a couple of months after I began knitting.  From there I moved on to publishing designs on my blog and in print.

What did you design for Vampire Knits?  What inspired you?

I designed the fang sweater for children.  When you contacted me about designing a child’s sweater, the first thing that popped into my head was the traditional yellow smiley face shirt.  I’m not sure why, but it was an instant visual.  I pictured two fangs at the bottom of the face, and then everything else kind of melted away. I decided to keep the sweater simple, with the intarsia fangs on the bottom front.

Who’s your favorite vampire, or what’s your favorite vampire story?

My favorite vampire is Alice Cullen.  She’s just so darn cheerful for a vampire!  Plus, I have to admit to being a little jealous of her ability to buy tons of fabulous clothes.

Tonya can be found at her website:




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