With the launch of the London Craft Guide quickly approaching this weekend at Unravel we've saved one last project for the book to profile for you - and it's a showstopper! The Knightsbrige Shawl by Anniken Allis is truly spectacular. Like the South Bank Shawl, it also includes an option to be beaded or not, as you prefer.
YITC: Tell us about the inspiration for your design.
AA: Being a foreigner living in the UK, I love visiting London. Seeing all the iconic landmarks I read about as a child in Norway. Living in Cornwall, I don't visit London often but when I do I love strolling through the luxurious shopping areas. For this shawl I wanted to use a luxurious yarn to create an elegant, delightful shawl, perfect for a day of shopping in London's upmarket designer stores or your local high street.
YITC: How do travel and craft fit together in your world?
AA: I love how portable knitting is and always take it with me on my travels. We do travel a fair bit, mainly visiting family in Norway. Norway is full of beautiful yarn shops and I'm always tempted to do some stash enhancement when I'm there. I knit on the plane and when visiting family and friends in Norway. We holiday in Spain regularly and even though it's hot, that doesn't stop me taking my knitting with me. I try to take light weight lace projects because the yarn weighs less so take up less space in my luggage. I do get some funny looks from the locals when I knit socks on the beach or by the pool.
We also travel around the UK to teach workshops and visiting out daughter at university, and I always take my knitting with me. My husband does most of the driving so I'm able to knit in the car. I knit every day, wherever I am! This summer we're going on a Mediterranean cruise and I'm looking forward to knitting on deck. And ofcourse I'll knit myself a beautiful beaded lace shawl to wear in the evenings.
YITC: Do you buy souvenir yarn or fabric? What do you look for?
AA: Yes I'm always looking for yarn shops when I travel and try to bring some local yarn home with me. In the last couple of years I've learnt to sew so now I'm tempted by fabric shops as well.
YITC: Tell us about you and your personal design style. How does your project fit in?
AA: I'm best known for lace shawls and my book, published in 2015, is all about beaded lace knitting (it's called Beaded Lace Knitting). But I do love designing sweaters using a variety of techniques. I'd like to do more Norwegian inspired stranded colourwork designs in the future and I'm increasingly exploring seamless sweaters.
YITC: What creative (or travel!) plans do you have for 2016?
AA: I'm teaching a lot around the UK this year as well as attending a few popular yarn festivals. As far as family holidays this year we've got a big family cruise (with my parents and my sister's family) planned to Italy, Croatia and two Greek Islands. I'll of course keep my eyes open for any yarn shops but I think my crafting on the cruise will mainly be knitting (on a lace project) onboard the ship. We're also planning a family holiday to Budapest. I've no idea what the knitting scene is like there but I'll definitely be researching local yarn shops to visit. And we're ending the year with Christmas in Norway. Knitting is huge in Norway and the small town where my parents live have two yarn shops. So I'll definitely be visiting those.
YITC: What is your crafty background?
AA: I've been knitting since I was a young child and also learnt to crochet and cross stitch as a child growing up in Norway. My Mum was a keen knitter, my maternal grandmother was an expert crocheter and my paternal grandmother did beautiful tapestry. We were also taught knitting and sewing at school. I was rubbish at sewing and only learnt to sew a couple of years ago. I had a break from knitting when I first moved to the UK but when I returned to knitting about 12 years ago, I quickly discovered the online knitting community and that fuelled my obsession.
YITC: What project do you have ongoing right now?
AA: I'm just starting to write my second book. The first job is to research and order yarns for the projects which is my favourite part. I'm also teaching a lot this year in Devon, Cornwall, South Wales, Birmingham and Berkshire. Knitting-wise, I'm working on a new shawl design and I've got socks on the needles for my husband and youngest daughter.
YITC: What's your favorite part of the designing/creative process?
AA: The knitting and choosing yarn! I do have wonderful sample knitters helping me but I prefer to knit as many samples myself as I can. My love of knitting is why I design! I love exploring stitches, especially lace, and shapes and I'm trying to experiment more with various shawl shapes this year.
YITC: Do you have a favourite designer who's work you follow?
AA: I follow several designers and like their work for various reasons. Jane Sowerby's 'Victorian Lace Knitting Today' was the book that got me hooked on lace knitting and inspired me to design my own lace shawls.
YITC: What are your designing essentials?
AA: Spiral notebook (A4) with squared paper, Stitch Mastery charting, Excel spreadsheets, sketch book, beautiful yarn and good quality needles.
When she's not busy designing you can find Anniken knitting, of course! But she also enjoys walks on the moors and beaches in Cornwall and, of course, travelling. Anniken also enjoys adult colouring and journaling.