I intended my series of blog posts “Ten Questions for…” to be more often than every 9 months, but my first, and last, interview was last April. You can read it here.
I finally sent the questions to another favorite blogger of mine – Michele of PDXKnitterati and the blog over at Lantern Moon. I really appreciate her taking the time to answer my questions! She went to Hawaii just before Christmas (go see the pictures!)and just got back from TNNA where she helped man the Lantern Moon booth. She is a terrific knitter and designer and I always love to see her blog pop up in my feed reader with a new post! I know it’ll be interesting, with great pictures and many times, Michele’s cheerful, smiling face. If you haven’t read her blog before, be sure to check it out!
1. When did you start knitting and how did you learn?
I first learned to knit when I was 14; I spent the summer in California with my favorite aunt’s family, and my Aunt Rose is an excellent knitter. My first project was a baby blue turtleneck sweater on circular needles with two cables running up the front. My gauge wasn’t quite true, and it came out too big. But the cables were beautiful. Many years later, I tried to shrink it by felting it, and it got a lot shorter but not that much narrower! It looked very ‘80’s, and it wasn’t the ‘80’s any more. I wish I had a picture…
2. What is your favorite type of project? Why?
My favorite project is usually the one I’m working on, or the one I’m about to start! I do tend to like small, portable projects, or projects that don’t take too much mental bandwidth. I like to knit and read at the same time; I’m always multi-tasking.
3. Socks? If so - toe up/top down? DPN's/magic loop/2 circs?
Yes to socks, with a disclaimer. I’m a fairly loose knitter, so I have to go down in needle size to get gauge. I don’t knit socks with sock weight yarn because I don’t want to knit on size zero needles! Most of my socks are sport or DK weight. I even have some that are light worsted (below). I solved the problem of bulky socks not fitting in shoes by buying a pair of cute shoes a half size larger than I normally wear, that show off my socks.
I’m pretty traditional about my socks. I like to knit them cuff-down on DPN’s. It’s so “Little House on the Prairie.” I do love Judy’s Magic Cast On for a perfect toe-up toe, but I hate not knowing if I’ve started my heel too soon or too late on a toe-up sock until it’s…too late. With a cuff-down sock, the heel is always in the right place, and you know when it’s time to close the toe! Ripping back a toe to adjust foot length is much less traumatic for me than ripping and re-knitting a heel.
Yes, I design! I like designing accessories: cowls, scarves, hats, socks, fingerless mitts. All the pictures in this post are my own designs, except the worsted socks which are an adaptation of a Nancy Bush pattern in Folk Socks.
My most recent design is the Infinity Entrelac Infinity scarf, doubly named because it’s an infinity scarf with infinity symbols running up the center. I feel like I’m an engineer of a designer; I know the object I want to make, figure out how to shape it, and then I marry it to a stitch pattern or motif to make it pretty; it’s a linear process. I know other designers who come at it from the other end, beginning with art and then adapting their vision to the knitted form. It’s really interesting how many ways you can come up with a knitted object!
All Michele’s patterns can be found on Ravelry here.
5. What is your FAVORITE pattern?
I think I’ve knit Ann Norling’s fruit caps more than anything else, because it’s such a great baby gift! But really my favorite pattern is my Pacific shawl. I love the way the stitch pattern makes the edge scallop, and I love the beads knit into the border. I learned the beading technique from Sivia Harding at Sock Summit, and had to put it into a project.
6. What is your FAVORITE yarn?
I’m not very yarn driven, so I don’t really have a single favorite yarn. Knitting is more about techniques, tools and function for me. Strange, but true: I don’t stash much yarn; I’d rather choose it as I go to fit the project I want to do next. I do love semi-solid, tone on tone yarns for lace. And lately I’ve become very fond of yarns with a long slow color change like Noro Silk Garden Lite (discontinued but coming back this spring, thank you Noro!) and Crystal Palace Mini Mochi as shown above in Infinity, and Crystal Palace Taos as shown here on Athena.
7. What technique is the most challenging to you?
Intarsia! I know how to do it, but it’s not my favorite. I don’t like having all those little bits of yarn to twist around each other and leave hanging in the middle of a row. I’d rather do stranded colorwork, like fair-isle. And stranded colorwork is great if you hold one color in each hand (English & continental knitting styles), or both colors in the same hand (I carry both in my right).
8. If you could own only one knitting book, what would it be?
Vogue Knitting. It has *everything* in it. If I need to know how to do something, that’s where I go. It also has a pretty decent stitch dictionary in it, and I love stitch dictionaries.
9. Tiger wants to know: Did you see any exotic animals I might like (to eat) in Hawaii?
Yes! There were so many very cool birds. I think Tiger would have a great time chasing them down. I wish I knew their names, but I guess you don’t really need to know their names to eat them!
Tiger says, “YUM!”
10. And lastly, why do you knit?
I knit because it’s lovely to create something useful with two sticks and string. It makes me feel accomplished!
Thank you so much, Michele! It was fun corresponding with you about the interview.
Be sure to stop by Michele’s blog if you haven’t already, and if you came here from Michele’s blog, welcome and thanks for stopping by!
All photos (except Tiger*) used with permission of MIchele Bernstein.
*Tiger’s picture used with permission of Tiger.