{Designer of the month}

The United Kingdom brings to mind many things: the royal family of course, tee time - and certainly rain. Knitting is not often an association. The Scandinavian countries with their designers and this typical Nordic lifestyle are too dominant. But it's also worth taking a look across the English Channel. Quite apart from the fact that wool is also produced in Great Britain and Scotland and that stranded colourwork in particular is a centuries-old tradition there - knitwear designers also live on the (large) island in the North Sea. One of them is Cheryl Mokhtari - and she is the subject of this text.

Cheryl Mokhtari - Salcombe Sweater
Doesn't like to show her face: designer Cheryl Mokhtari from London.
Photo: ©️ Cheryl Mokhtari

In the emails that precede our video call, Cheryl emphasizes right at the beginning that she is terribly camera-shy. After all, it's a text, not a video podcast? Perhaps it's typically British, this understatement (although Cheryl is originally from Scotland), but above all this sentence is one thing: very likeable. It also fits in with the photos that the designer takes of her designs. She wears them herself, but you hardly ever see her face.

Started knitting again during the pandemic 

The 40-year-old once learned to knit from her mother. "She did the cast-on and cast-off stitches," Cheryl recalls with a laugh. But at least she had made a start. And even if the hobby took a back seat over time because other things took priority, it obviously never completely disappeared. During the coronavirus pandemic, Cheryl picked up her needles again. "I wanted to knit my own wardrobe," she says. The children were also small - so suitable projects were at the top of the knitting list.

So one thing led to another. While she started out knitting according to existing pattern and had no plans to take the whole thing on as an entrepreneur, Cheryl soon started tinkering around herself. One of the first official results was the Mia Sweater, which she released in summer 2022. The Mia Sweater Mini followed shortly afterwards. New designs have been added ever since. Not one every week and not necessarily every month, but to date there are almost 30 designs - from tops to cozy sweaters - which we at Maschenfein think are all worth knitting.

The fact that the frequency is different is also due to the fact that knitting is not Cheryl's only mainstay. For even longer than she has been designing knitwear, she has been a yoga teacher and has taught in various London yoga studios. On first hearing or reading, this sounds insanely chic (and perhaps it is) - but the fact that she teaches yoga in a metropolis and that the whole thing almost seems like a movie cliché is not at all apparent to the teacher and designer, who is sitting in a plain corner of her house during the video call. On the contrary: if a relaxed atmosphere had a name, it would probably be Cheryl Mokhtari.

Mia Sweater
The first published design: Mia Sweater.
Photo: ©️ Cheryl Mokhtari

Yarn inspires 

Tobermory top
Two threads are also used here: Tobermory Top. The designer simply loves the effect.
Photo: ©️ Cheryl Mokhtari

The Londoner gets her ideas from networks such as Pinterest and Instagram - "and from the yarn," adds Cheryl. The designer prefers to knit with merino, cashmere and alpaca, often in multiple yarns for a "beautiful effect". In the meantime, only her own designs end up on the needles and, as far as possible, one after the other. "I have imposed the rule on myself to cast on one after the other," she says with a laugh - knowing full well how difficult it often is to keep it up.

This also fits in with her own analysis that the yoga teacher in her is very organized ("I like to work to a schedule"), but the designer is a little less structured. The two go together for Cheryl - which is why, when asked what she wants for the future, she can answer spontaneously: "To do more of what I'm currently doing." Giving up yoga for knitting? No. "I would miss it too much." At the same time, the knitting community gives her so much that she misses from yoga. So it's the balance and the mix that work so well for Cheryl. And in the end, knitting also has a meditative component - just like yoga. "The feeling is the same." It is her refuge, a little sanctuary, so to speak. She could imagine offering yoga and knitting retreats - time out for the soul and definitely a wonderful combination.

Lots of ideas, too little time 

The designer and yoga teacher is currently working on various projects, including a model for a magazine that is due to be published next spring. Cheryl doesn't want to reveal any more yet - but you can see her anticipation on the screen. At the same time, a striped shirt is being created, which is a good example of Cheryl's spontaneity and an attempt to free herself from external pressure. Just a few weeks ago, she wrote on her profile that she wouldn't be creating any summer designs this year because they have to be released early so that the knitting world can rework them to suit the warm season.

One yarn inspiration later, the beginnings of a new design lie before her: The idea and desire were simply too great. Then there are a few more test knits, so the "one project at a time" approach doesn't quite seem to work - but here, too, it's comforting. Many knitters and designers feel very similar.

Excitement and anticipation 

One problem that probably unites them all is the lack of time. Which is why her children often ask if the new project is for them. "I knit for the children during the vacations," says Cheryl and has to laugh. It remains to be seen whether the knitted pieces will really be all pink as previously requested - but a mini version of the well-known Montrose cardigan is indeed in the pipeline, she says.

But no matter what goes onto Cheryl's needles next, she always likes the first part - the beginning of a project - best. When grading the sizes, she now has the support of a so-called tech editor, as this aspect takes up a lot of time. The excitement and pure anticipation of a new design, however, remain entirely with the creator. And then, in due course, they also reach the knitting community. In this way, some of Cheryl's relaxed and unpretentious style spills back over to mainland Europe.

Montrose Cardigan
Will also be available in children's sizes: Montrose Cardigan.
Photo: ©️ Cheryl Mokhtari

Just in time for the publication of this portrait, Cheryl's latest design will also be released this weekend: the Amesbury Cardigan is a great, unusually constructed knitted piece that won't let you get bored. You can find the matching knitting kit here - you can choose between a single-stranded and a double-stranded version.. You can buy the pattern via Ravelry. And here are Cheryl's other designs for which we have knitting kits in the Maschenfein store.


About Sophia

I'm Sophia, live in Hannover and since October 2020 I've been taking care of the blog posts, the newsletter, planning the podcast and coming up with actions for social media. By the way, I also happen to be a knitting addict, which benefits me at work.

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Thank you so much ❤️! I'm afraid I've fallen in love again...There's only one thing to do: close your eyes and knit, dream (of the next knitting) and sigh🥹☺️.


Dear Tatsiana, you're just like us! 🙂 Have fun knitting and best regards! Sophia


Dear Sofia, even though you didn't write a Saturday cafe, you have outdone yourself again. Such beautiful designs, the knitting list is getting long because you can't make up your mind. Have a nice weekend in MVP.
Best regards Sandra


Dear Sandra, oh, feedback like that makes me happy! Thank you so much for the praise! We had a very nice team meeting - I'll tell you more about it in the next Saturday coffee. Best regards! Sophia


That's super fitting. A few days ago I posted the Seaside Tee and today comes an interview with the designer! Thank you so much for all the background information.


Dear Antje, what a coincidence - how great! I hope you continue to have lots of fun with your project and send my best wishes! Sophia

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