I’m pleased to welcome my friend Laura Grutzeck to my blog today. Laura – along with Carol Sulcoski and Lisa Myers – is the co-author of Knit So Fine: Designs with Skinny Yarn, published this spring by Interweave Press, and she graciously answered a few of my questions.
V: What inspires you?
L: I don’t really know – I think I get ideas from the things I see around me, and it somehow translates into knitting. You know how Hannibal Lecter said “we covet what we see”, I think we also knit what we see.
V: When you say things, are you thinking specific things such as clothing, art or architecture?
L: Yes, sometimes I do get ideas from fashion or from the way people are wearing things on the street. I often think about knitting as I am walking home from work – not so much about techniques, but more about shapes. This is starting to sound kind of abstract.
V: Let’s take a specific example – can you tell me a bit more about how you got the idea for your cowlneck pullover?
L: The idea for the front shaping came from a vintage 20s pattern for a shell, which had a similar neckline. The original model’s cowl neck was also shaped with eyelets, but the cowl was very deep – the increases began all the way at the waist, so the neckline was very low. It was meant to be worn as a layering piece. When it came time for me to design the sleeves, I wanted to add something to tie them in to the neckline. I decided to shape the sleeves using the same eyelet technique, positioning the increases at the center in order to make it a decorative detail.
V: Did the design dictate the yarn?
L: Yes, I chose the Drops Alpaca to fit the design. I was looking for a soft yarn with a lot of drape, to enhance the drape of the cowl neck. We were pressed for time, so I barely got a chance to swatch with the yarn before I had to hand it off to the test knitter. I had to re-adjust the neckline once, but all the pieces fell into place after that.
V: Had you worked with this yarn before?
L: No. I have purchased it, it is in my yarn collection, but I still have not gotten around to knitting with it. Sad.
V: What did you like best about it? Do you plan on using it again?
L: I really like its hand and the palette. It is so silky soft. I would definitely use it again, probably for a lace cardigan – alpaca can sometimes be too drapey and warm, but a lace pattern would help solve both of those issues.
V: Are there any reasons why someone would not want to work with it?
L: Some may not enjoy its drape – it doesn’t have the body that a wool yarn does. I have heard people say that it is splitty, but that has not been my experience.
V: What are you working on these days?
L: I’m working on some secret knitting projects, and a personal design in stranded knitting. It’s an experiment in sleeve shaping, which is working well so far. We’ll see how it looks after steeking.
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Veronik! It was really fun talking with you, we should do it again soon!
V: Definitely! And thank you so much for stopping by!