On the latest episode of the podcast we're pretty excited about the upcoming Unravel festival of knitting at Farnham Maltings. Not only is it one of our favourite shows of the year and right here in our backyard, but we'll be launching the London Craft Guide there and we're thrilled that we can finally start telling you all about it.
Over the next few weeks leading up to Unravel we'll be interviewing the contributing designers from the London Craft Guide as well as showing you their wonderful projects (photographed beautifully by Juju Vail).
YITC: Tell us about the inspiration for your design.
KA: The inspiration for this design was a one-of-a-kind skein of sock yarn that I bought when I was on holiday. I do it all the time: visit yarn shops when I’m away from home, and because I’m a sock knitter, I look for sock yarn. And sometimes the sock yarn is too pretty for socks, and needs to be shown off! As it pretty typical, the sock yarn I’d bought was pretty wildly variegated, and so I although I wanted to make a neck piece, I knew that a classic lace shawl wouldn’t work. Although it uses traditional lace shawl design elements: garter stitch, and an applied edging, I think I’ve created something interesting to knit, and modern and fun to wear. And of course, because the shawl doesn’t use up all of the yarn, the rest of the skein makes a pair of fingerless mitts, which allow you to show off the yarn and use up the leftovers. They’re quick to knit, so you might even get them finished before your trip ends. You do travel with a spare set of 2.5mm needles, don’t you?
YITC: How do travel and craft fit together in your world?
KA: I travel a fair bit to teach. For me, knitting is a critically important part of travel: it’s a way to pass time and keep myself entertained, and equally it’s a way to get some very focused knitting time without interruptions. I couldn’t bear to be without a project (or five) when I’m on the road. I love that I can knit while still keeping an eye on what’s going on: enjoying the view from the train, people-watching, or indulging in a trashy movie on the in-flight entertainment system.
YITC: Tell us about you and your personal design style. How does your project fit in?
KA: Ultimately, I’m all about practical and wearable pieces. I like that they should be interesting or out-of-the-ordinary, and fun (or challenging or informative or engaging to make) but at the end of the day I want to be able to use and wear what I make. This pair of designs is exactly that: a fun project with a practical (but not uninteresting) result!
YITC: What's your favorite part of the designing/creative process?
KA: I love that first spark of an idea: finding a stitch pattern in a stitch library, seeing an image I want recreate in yarn (a wrought-iron gate in New York inspired an upcoming sock pattern), or finding a yarn that calls to me. And then I love that final finishing step, seeing the thing I imagined become real: weaving in that final end, seaming that final seam, pinning the piece out for blocking.
YITC: Do you have a favourite designer who's work you follow?
KA: There are two designers whose work I adore: Bristol Ivy, because I think she represents the future of the craft, and Susan Crawford, because she honours and keeps us in touch with the rich history.
YITC: What creative (or travel!) plans do you have for 2016?
KA: I’m travelling a lot for teaching this year, and I’m excited about it. I find that being in a new place always inspires. I love to see what yarns and projects other knitters love, and I always learn from other knitters.
Kate also enjoys walking her dog, and drinking coffee. She's always knitting, whether it's one of her designs or someone else's. Up next for Kate: she's working on a book about mittens and gloves. You can find more of her designs on Ravelry, or through her website, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram!