Hispanic Heritage Month 2013 Interview Series: Marisa Munoz from al-abrigo

Today, I’m interviewing Spanish knitwear designer Marisa Munoz, also known as al-abrigo.  Marisa can be found online through her Spanish language blog, Al Abrigo; her Facebook page; her Pinterest page; and on Ravelry (as al-abrigo, on her designer page, or in the al-abrigo designs group).

All images are copyright al-abrigo and used with permission.  Click on design photos to link to pattern pages.

Marisa Munoz, known as al-abrigo.

Underground Crafter (UC): How did you learn to knit?

Marisa: I’m self-taught. I learned the basic notions from books, magazines and reference sites such as Ravelry or KnittingHelp. And I’ve improved on my technique experimenting and knitting much.

UC: What inspired you to start designing?

Marisa: The day I realized that I was analyzing the construction of clothing of people (on the street, in the subway, on TV…) I knew I had to be inevitably a knitting designer. That was the turning point!

Scabiosa Top by al-abrigo.
Scabiosa Top by al-abrigo.

UC: You have such great footwear patterns.  What is it about designing for the feet that appeals to you?

Marisa: My first designs were baby booties. I didn’t find modern and fun models in baby shops, so I decided to design them. Since then I haven’t stopped! They’re sweet and very fast to knit. The perfect gift for future moms!

Schoolboy Baby Sandals by al-abrigo.
Schoolboy Baby Sandals by al-abrigo.


UC: You’re hosting your first mystery knit a long this fall.  Tell us about your decision to do that, and what participants can expect.

Marisa: I was looking for a fun way to promote my designs when I happened to organize a MKAL. And there are already over 700 knitters attracted by curiosity! (UC comment: You can find out more about the Los Lirios MKAL here.)

UC: Some of your patterns are available in multiple languages, but all are available in English.  Tell us about how you decide what language to offer each pattern in.

Marisa: I write all my patterns in English because I think that knitting terms and abbreviations are much more visual and easier to understand than other languages. Then I translate them into Spanish because many knitters here ask me for the patterns in our language. And because it’s my mother tongue!

Wendy by al-abrigo.
Wendy by al-abrigo.


UC: You grew up in Valencia, Spain, where you currently live.  What was the yarn crafts scene like there when you were growing up?  How does it compare to the yarn crafts today?
Knitting was an activity for grandmothers when I was a little girl, but now young people are interested in learning craft as a hobby. There are several yarn shops, street markets are held regularly and crafters meet up to sew or knit. This change makes me happy!

UC: Does your cultural background influence your crafting? If so, how?

Marisa: I think that everything we’ve made and learned throughout our lives affects unconsciously to the “here and now”.

Scabiosa Shawl by al-abrigo.
Scabiosa Shawl by al-abrigo.

UC: Do you have any favorite Spanish or English language crochet, knitting, or craft blogs to share?

Marisa: Aventuras de CosturasCajón Desastre, and Noodlehead.

Thanks so much for stopping by for an interview, Marisa.  Good luck with your first MKAL!

The next interview in the series will be posted on September 19 with Christina Mershon.

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