Category Archives: Knitting and Crochet Blog Week

An Interview with Erika Knight

I mentioned today’s topic – “3KCBWDAY3 -Your Knitting or Crochet Hero” to my boyfriend yesterday and he said it conjured up an image in his head of a knitting superhero, armed with sticks and a knitted cloak. Brilliant!

3KCBWDAY3I decided to do a slight twist on this subject and conduct a small interview with my friend Erika Knight, who has been a great inspiration to me the last few years. As an aspiring designer myself, I am drawn to the stories of those that are succeeding in the industry, which is so hard to break into.

Erika Knight is an inspiration to me as she has been a big name in the knitting world for so long, and has found herself where she is through hard work, new ideas and a passion for her craft. More recently, Erika has released her own yarn collection, all sourced personally in Britain to support the livelihood of farmers and to help our industry survive.

Who taught you to knit?

I think it was my granny when i was about six, but she was pretty scary and a real perfectionist, so I think the next time I took it up and taught myself was during the punk days and it didn’t matter too much if you dropped a stitch or two.

How/when did you first get into the knitting industry?

My passion and hobby for knitting turned into a business and soon I had a cottage industry, through this I learnt importantly how not to do it as well as how to do it, because I had to control everything and create a handmade product meet the high demands of top retailers.

I had the opportunity at this time to work in Italy where I learned from couturier knit technicians, so I was working in two very differing aspects of the industry at the same time.

When did you start designing your own patterns?

From the outset, most especially when at college if a friend was into Frank Stella or Bridget Riley I would devise a sweater for their birthday and I often did the knitwear collections for friends on the fashion courses.

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Erika

What do you enjoy most about your work?

The design, creating fabric, the process .

What inspired your new yarn collection?

Wool! A natural, sustainable, renewable resource, comfortable and beautiful, and absolutely fit for its purpose.

I want to go back to grass roots, to look at the process of making lovely wool yarns in a traditional way in Britain, and to support the British hill farmers to keep sheep – not only for the meat but for their fleece.

Stockists for Erika’s new yarns can be found on her website.

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View my other Knitting and Crochet Blog Week posts here

Colour Lovers – A Sneaky Peek into My Stash!

3KCBWDAY1 – Colour Lovers

3KCBWDAY1 – Colour Lovers

“Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects – do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.”

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Day one of my first knitting and crochet blogging week!

This is the first time I’ve had a proper look at my stash, and tried to see if I have any particular buying pattern when it comes to colour. This is a tough one, as a lot of the things in here are remnants from yarn I bought to make gifts, choosing colours for other people, and yarn that people have given me.  I definately have an inclination to pick up reds and purples if it’s something for myself, as I think warmer colours suit me better, but I’m not scared of wearing bright colours.  The lilacs that you see in there were for gifts, and aren’t really a colour I think I would wear, as pinky shades don’t really do much for me unfortunately.

3KCBWDAY1So while we’re here I’ll just talk through why I bought some of this yarn, and what I plan to do with it!

I bought this lovely red Debbie Bliss ‘Soho’ yarn at the Stitches and Crafts show in Exeter about 7 years ago. I’d got it into my head that I wanted a red cardigan, so I bought about 500g and thought I’d wait until I found a suitable pattern. I had intended to make this:

However, after completing the back and sleeves, I decided that the neck coming off the shoulder would probably do my head in and gave up. So that’s all still sitting somewhere in a bag, and I’m still waiting for my red cardigan!

3KCBWDAY1Two years ago I decided to design myself a new cardigan. I chose this colour because it seemed to go well with my skin. I wanted to use this yarn specifically, as it’s a mix of wool and cotton, so I was limitied to the pallet. I think the choice was between this olivey colour or brown, but this one seemed to make me look a bit less washed out!

This was my first ‘big’ design project and to be honest was a bit of a challenge, and having made a few smaller things since I realise I made a few mistakes. Such as putting it down and leaving no record of what size needles I should be using when I pick it up again. I made all of the left front side of the cardigan, but I’m thinking I’ll have to frog it and start again, it’s been too long and I’ve lost where I was!

Most of the things I have made have been one colour. I’d really like to get practicing on my fair isle, and make something really beautiful, but I can’t see me using me using more than maybe five or six colours tops for a jumper, and I imagine most of the changes would go in the yoke rather than all over. I think I’m more of a texture person when it comes to knitting – I really love doing cables and lace, and I’m not sure either would work if you added multiple colours into the equation.

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I do love knitting these teddy bears in self striping sock yarn though, providing the stripes are close enough together.

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Manos Del Uraguay in 2444 for the Nordic Lace set

I picked the blue yarn above for the Nordic Lace set about two years before I did anything with it. I usually buy yarn with a project in mind, however this one took a bit of pondering. I love the shade of this blue and it just jumped off the shelf at me. Once I’d given it a squeeze, I knew it was going home with me, whatever it was going to become!

I don’t really wear blue so much, I think it washes me out a bit, but I am of the not really caring variety if the colour makes me happy. This yarn falls into that category. You can’t really tell from the photos, but there are multiple shades of blue in there. It has so much depth to it!

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Rowan Lichen by Lisa Richardson - I'm not sure what the yarn is!

The yarn for ‘Lichen‘ was donated to me by my Mum. Ironically she’d started a jumper in a very similar pattern, which sat in her wardrobe for about 10 years before she moved to Cyprus and realised it would probably never get finished. We both share the love of this shade – it suits us both though our colouring is different. I notice I tend to pick up this shade a lot in the shop, and have to remind myself that I don’t need it!

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Rowan Cocoon in Kiwi - used for 'Owls' jumper by Kate Davies

I was working for a short while in Purl, Brighton, on a one day a week basis. Just being in there for a whole day filled my mind with ideas of things to make, but my budget was small and the selection of yarn was not! In the end I asked the owner, Debbie, to pay my wages in yarn for a couple of weeks so I could knit myself a new jumper.

I decided on this yarn before I knew exactly what to do with it. The colour grabbed me first, it was so bright and striking it was hard not to see it! I fell in love with how soft it was when I picked it up, and after debating for a while if I could pull off wearing the shade or not, I took the plunge and looked for a pattern, finally deciding on ‘Owls‘ by Kate Davies.

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I mentioned last week that I’d inherited a HUGE bag of yarn, and as this post is about what’s in my stash, I thought I’d incude a couple of pictures.

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I’m spoilt for choice of colour here, if I ever need a small amount of something I know I’ve got it, and will probably always have it!

So to conclude, I have every colour under the sun, and I like to think I’m quite varied with choice of colour when it comes to making things for myself. Having said that, I dug out some hats last night for another post later in the week, and it would appear I go for more subdued, darker colours (browns, reds, purples, greys) mostly, rather than anything too vibrant.

I think it all depends on my mood! What are your favourite colours?

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