Summer Solstice Offering 2020, Interview with Jacqueline Cieslak - Ritual Dyes Skip to main content

Summer Solstice Offering 2020, Interview with Jacqueline Cieslak

Summer Solstice Offering 2020, Interview with Jacqueline Cieslak


The Summer Solstice 2020 Offering!

Summer is very nearly here and I have been so looking forward to sharing what we've been working on! This season's offering has a little something extra special. I collaborated with Jacqueline Cieslak to create a design using our brand-new base, Undine!

Undine is a fingering weight, linen and organic cotton yarn that we dyed in an exclusive, limited colorway- Chestnut Blossom! 

Sol  is a tank for the Summer Solstice - it is a beautiful sleeveless top featuring an original asymmetrical lace pattern inspired by the delicate blossoms of the horse chestnut tree. It is a double v-neck, without a front or back. The pattern includes 9 sizes with instructions for cropped or full-length, details for modifying the width of the straps, and both written and charted instructions for the lace panels. Modern in it's ease and simplicity, this will be something you'll want to wear all summer long!


 What's Inside:

Jacqui and I have been busy behind the scenes for the last few months! This Limited Summer Solstice 2020 Offering includes a printed booklet with the pattern for the Sol Tank, the coordinating washcloth pattern to use up any leftover yarn, an extra large moon pouch with artwork from our very own Irene Wachtler and three full skeins of our newest base, Undine. We took a deep dive into our inspiration for this season, the chestnut tree! Part of the distinct Portland landscape, these beautiful trees bloom with conical flowers and are a significant marking of summertime. 

  • Gorgeous full-color 24 page booklet includes a printed copy of the Sol Tank Pattern, the coordinating Washcloth Pattern, Jacqui's Sugar Scrub Recipe, Berry Foraging Guide and more! You are going to love this!
  • Ravelry Code for electronic version of the Sol Tank Pattern 
  • 3 Full Skeins of Undine in an exclusive colorway, Chestnut Blossom (1146 total yardage, enough to make all sizes)
  • Limited, printed extra large moon pouch with artwork from our very own, Irene Wachtler

 Interview with Jacqueline Cieslak

I was fortunate enough to work with Jacqui on the Summer Solstice Offering and put together this booklet which was so fun and inspiring to create. Jacqueline Cieslak is an incredible knitwear designer and friend. She writes patterns clearly and beautifully, spending extra time on the details so that the work is accessible to all. I had a chance to chat with Jacqui and ask her a few questions about her process and favorite things. 

RD: What is your go-to piece in your current wardrobe?

JC: I have a mustard cotton scarf that I throw on with everything these days! I love creative ways of layering in the summer and I've been getting a lot of wear out of a lighter-than-air white cotton double gauze duster. It's great over tanks or crop tops when my shoulders get cold and it adds some drama to otherwise very basic outfits!

RD: What first inspired you to design?
JC: My dog. There were no cute dog sweaters. All the patterns I could find were cutesy and gaudy and not particularly functional. The Harness Friendly Dog Sweater became my very first knitting pattern ever!
These days I mostly design for humans but I remain inspired by problem-solving, like how to write a pattern with a bicep adjustment for differently proportioned bodies (which I tackled in Rift). Most of my pattern ideas come from what I perceive as gaps in the knitting world — there are things that I want to exist but I can't find them exactly the way I want, so I design them.
RD: I admire the way you advocate and educate for marginalized communities inside and outside of the fiber industry. How did that begin for you?
JC: I was in the process of developing my own body positive politics when I got involved with local anti-racist organizing in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2016. So, at the time that I was learning to show up for and advocate for myself as a fat woman, I was also training myself to see the ways the oppression I felt was compounded violently for people with more marginalized intersections — Black people, indigenouns people, disabled people, trans people, etc. What began as a deeply personal commitment grew into a politics beyond myself.
I also have been blessed with thoughtful, critical, righteously angry friends and colleagues in anthropology who have taught me so much over the years. I do think that building personal relationships of accountability (a fancy way of saying true friendships!) with people who are committed to liberation is the foundation of the work.
RD: Salty or Sweet? 
JC: Salty, if I had to pick! Because oysters.

RD: What childhood fashion trend would you bring back?
JC: This question is unfair because they are all already back and I am thrilled about it: scrunchies, leggings, tie-dye... what I hope NEVER makes a comeback is low rise pants. I could stand to see more friendship bracelets though.
RD: I’m excited to see all the KAL projects. If someone was approaching your patterns for the first time, which pattern would you recommend they start with and why? 
JC: I'm so excited to see them too! Ursa and Rift were both designed to be relatively accessible first-sweater patterns (Ursa is a top-down raglan, Rift is a bottom-up drop shoulder). But I'm a firm believer in going for the pattern your heart desires over the pattern you *think* will be easier for you, because desire is a powerful motivator for learning! If Water Bearer is calling to you, maybe that's a sign that is time to learn brioche.
Thanks so much to Jacqueline Cieslak for working with me on this project and for answering all of our burning questions! You can see all of Jacqui's beautiful patterns and learn more about her work on her website here. 


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