Hailey Smedley, the name behind Ozetta Designs, is known for her “classic knitting patterns made with sustainable fibers.” Her work is full of clean cut silhouettes which you may recognize from our yarn sets or her most recent work with Wooldreamers. Recently, she helped develop the color line of this summer’s hottest new yarn – Saona. Hailey was kind enough to sit down for our Designer Interview series and tell us more about how she got into designing, knitting process, and the inspirations behind her latest works!
When and how did you start knitting?
I've been intrigued by fiber arts from a young age, watching my grandmothers and mother knit and crochet. At ten years old, I spent a few weeks with my great-grandmother during the summer and, picking up a green skein of yarn, asked her to teach me. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to pass on her skills and started me off with crocheting, followed by knitting. I slowly worked on a few simple projects; however, in college, I truly found a love for the art form. It provided a therapeutic escape from studying and life's stresses. Knitting became even more meaningful to me after my great-grandmother passed away, as it reminded me of the bond we shared. In honor of her memory, I named my brand after her - Marjorie Ozetta.
Will you share something about your knitting process?
I love waking up before sunrise, brewing my coffee, and starting my knitting. Depending on the season, I typically sit in my sunroom or back porch. I enjoy the peacefulness of the morning and find that I am most creative during this time. I accomplish more throughout the day by beginning with a positive thing I love doing.
Can you tell us about how you became a designer?
After I graduated college, I briefly heard these words that resonated with me: "A dream deferred will hurt you over time." These words inspired me to pursue my passion further. For a few years, I crafted accessories for others through knitting and crocheting, but this became more difficult when I started to homeschool my two children more seriously. I took a break from working for a while to enhance my skills and began to concentrate solely on designing garments. Designing became more manageable at that point, providing the perfect outlet for my creativity to thrive.
Will you share a little about how, or where, you find inspiration for your designs?
When I'm designing, I draw inspiration from my surroundings. It could be a compelling true story I recently read or heard, a family vacation to the numerous lakes in Minnesota, a walk around our neighborhood, some music, or even just the way the sky appears on any ordinary day. These experiences or everyday moments provide several avenues for me to build upon and allow my creativity to flow naturally.
We’d love to shine a light on your current, or upcoming, projects. Please let us know what you’re working on, where we can find it, and how we can get involved!
I was contacted by Wooldreamers last year, and we connected through our stories and our love for natural wool. When selecting yarn for my designs, I prioritize the connection I feel to both the fiber and the people who produce it, and in turn, I hope that the knitter will feel that connection too. This applies not just to the wool but to the entire garment.
With Wooldreamers, I can choose from various unique yarns that allow me to incorporate and capture the stories and significance of wool into my garments. Ramon, the founder of Wooldreamers, approached me to choose the color palette for their new Saona line, which was a great honor. I selected a color palette rooted deeply in nature's colors; each color named after a moment in my life.
For my first project with Saona, I created the Air Tee in color "Guthrie," named after my hometown. The tee is perfect for the summer, with classic details that make it easy to pair with anything. The heathered colors in the Saona line complement the Air Tee perfectly. The palette consists of four neutral shades and three colors. One of the colors, "Sarichef," is a lovely soft brown beige named after the street where my family and I lived in Alaska.
One of my favorite colors from the collection is "Ozetta," a light grey named after my great-grandmother and my brand. Another design I just finished is the Lakes Tee, knit in the color "Notes." This color represents my love for music and how it inspires me while designing. The other colors in the collection are Fratelli, 1985, and Groen. Growing up in the 80s and living in The Netherlands, my sister and I loved watching The Goonies on VHS in English, so I named one of the colors after some of the characters "The Fratelli's," a light grey blue. A darker blue option is available called "1985," which happens to be the year I was born. The final color option is "Groen," which in Dutch means green and is a tribute to our time living in The Netherlands. The Saona colors blend naturally and match perfectly with the unique cotton + wool yarn created by Wooldreamers.
A huge thanks to Hailey for her thoughtful answers and giving us a glimpse into both the knitting and yarn development processes - we’ve got a whole new appreciation for picking out a yarn’s color palette! If you want to follow more of Ozetta Designs, make sure to check out her Instagram, Ravelry, and website!
The Woolly Thistle carries yarn sets for some of Ozetta designs here!