Indie Design Gift-A-Long

Today’s interview, the last one of the bunch on the last day of the Giftalong, is with someone who isn’t a designer but is intimately involved. Known on Ravelry as squeakowl, she’s a volunteer and chief elf.

How long have you been involved in the GAL?

I’ve been involved with the event since year 1, so since 2013. My first year was doing a portion of the Designer Hunt and the Random Select Designer Trivia clues, but I didn’t write any of them. Eventually, the next year, my mom (Nina Machlin Dayton, a.k.a. ninaknits) asked be if I would be willing to do more of the games work, and so I ended up taking on the Designer Hunt and Random Select Trivia completely. The rest is GAL history. I quite like writing and designing all the clues and questions, and I LOVE playing Prize Fairy.

Why volunteer when you’re not a designer?

Well, originally, I was sort of “recruited” by my mom (who is both a Participating Designer and the GAL’s fearless leader), but since it’s fun, it turned out to not be too much of a chore. I do eventually have aspirations to be a designer, but that’s a sort of back-burner aspiration right now. Maybe someday!

How do you manage the huge set of details?

Google Docs, and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. So. Many. Spreadsheets. Plus, labeled folders on my desktop for the picture clues for the Designer Hunt.

How do you find ideas for the games? (Because I love them and think they’re so fun and creative)

Aw, thank you! I’m glad you like them. I find ideas by combing through the designer pages, mostly. Sometimes I see a pattern with a name that would make a good picture puzzle, sometimes I see one with such an interesting name that I have to go in and see why the designer picked that name. And then I sprinkle in just enough details about the designer themselves to make them identifiable…but not TOO easily identifiable. ;)

What has surprised you about the GAL? What are some funny/awesome moments you can remember?

I think the thing that has surprised me the most is how much we’ve grown as a group since the first year – the first year, I think our minds were blown when out group member numbers grew so quickly in the first year. Now we’re about 20-odd members shy of TEN thousand! It’s kind of unbelievable. And I’m also always so pleased (although not entirely surprised) at how much fun it is hanging out “backstage” with all the other Mods. We’re a really great group, in my opinion, and they’re just great to talk to. Every year, without fail, there’s not a day that goes by during this event that I don’t laugh out loud at some conversation that goes on in Mod Land!

Are you a big gift knitter? What’s your favourite knitting to give?

I do knit some gifts, and I mostly enjoy knitting accessories like hats and cowls. I just learned to knit colorwork (fancier than plain stripes), and am now addicted. I usually don’t have much time to knit many gifts, though, because I’m usually knitting samples for my mom, Nina Machlin Dayton.

If someone were to knit you a present, what would you most love to receive?

Honestly, if someone went to the trouble to actually knit me something, I’d love anything. My mom designed me a bonnet-style hat for Christmas, and I’m loving it! I’m always touched when someone takes the time to make me anything, and since I know how time-consuming knitting can be (and how much nice yarn costs), knitted items are always particularly lovely.

Tell us about your favourite yarn.

OMG SO MANY. I have a thing for many yarns. I think I’d have to go with anything by Malabrigo, or anything by Madelinetosh. I’m a sucker for intense colors (not neons, just rich and saturated) and softness, and both of those yarn lines have that in spades. My stash would be MUCH bigger if I had the funds…

As for photos, how about a picture of the view I have while I work?


I get to sit on a comfy couch, and look at my gorgeous Christmas tree, and my snowy picture window. (And I was watching “It’s A Wonderful Life” when I took this photo)


Giftalong Interview with SqueakOwl
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