The winner is: happycrafter207 on Ravelry
Knitcircus Subscription winner is: Catknip on Ravelry
Tune in Friday for the last hurrah of the Knitcircus Fall Return to Knitting Giveaway series, with prizes from BrooklynTweed, Sun Valley Fibers, The Elegant Knitter at Goose Pond, Handwerks and Pollika!
And now, we have the pleasure of presenting an interview with
Michelle Miller, the Fickle Knitter herself! The author of Leaves Volume 1 talks about design and inspiration.
How did you start designing?
I started writing knitting patterns when I was staying at home and procrastinating on finishing my masters degree in 2008. When you have a small child and you stay at home a lot you don't get a lot of adult interaction plus it sort of feels like your brain is leaking out of your ears from waking up round the clock and caring for some one else. (As an aside the people on campus also made my brain leak out of my ears but fortunately I was finished with grad school, all but thesis. I did eventually graduate in 2010).
So I decided why not start writing my patterns down and have them test knit? I found the experience extremely rewarding and was able to put all that math and physics education to good use. I should say that an interview given by Meg Swansen was particularly illuminating and inspiring at that time. Basically she said that once you've conquered lace knitting the next step is design. And who doesn't listen to Meg?
The one-skein idea is so satisfying; how did you decide to focus on that?
Practicality is the mother of invention? Frugality is the mother of invention? Dyers and yarn companies typically give designers a single skein to swatch with. So I decided to take all of those skeins and write patterns with them. Also this method is great for using from your yarn stash. I tend to hoard special skeins of something and never end up knitting with them because they are only one skein. I also think it's nice if you want to try a yarn that you wouldn't normally buy or work with but it's only one skein so you're not married to it. Not that I would marry yarn (I totally would).
What's your favorite kind of design to write?
I love traditionally constructed one skein triangle shawls. I can bang them out in as little as 4 days and at the end, wow I've really got something! Hats are fun too.
Which Leaves design was the most fun/most challenging to write?
The Leaf Relief cowl was the most fun to write. I have this old book meant for illustrators (A Handbook of Ornament by Franz Meyer Circa 1888) that has drawings of every kind of relief and finial in it that you could imagine. I was inspired by one of the drawings and cobbled together the cable design based on that. Stitch dictionaries are wonderful tools but it is fun to strike out on your own. I enjoy that very much. My favorite item to knit was the Waves or Particle shawls. Knitting holes on purpose feels like smoking after high school or riding on a motorcycle.
What kind of ideas are you percolating now?
I'm writing and knitting for Book 2! The theme for Leaves was leaves, natch. So I'm knitting up and writing a few things to see what direction I want to go in for my second book. This involves a lot of scientific experimentation with regular ice cream consumption and BBC America tv viewing.
Thanks so much, Michelle. May inspiration be swift so we can look forward to your next book!
You can visit Michelle at Fickleknitter.com.