Here we are at day three of the Blog Tour.
I'm pleased and excited to be one of the designers in Tops & Toes: A Whimsical Collection to Delight Hat & Sock Knitters, and to be part of this blog tour. This is my first inclusion in a collection of designs, my first blog tour, and my first venture into designing for adults, so we're in ground-breaking territory here. It's been a real delight for me to work with Kara from DRG, and I'm happy to share my knitting thoughts here.
Kara: Hi Erika, thanks for inviting me to your blog. I’d love to chat with you a bit about your two designs in Tops & Toes: A Whimscial Collection To Delight Hat & Sock Knitters. Can you tell me a bit about your inspiration behind the Funky Chunky Cloche?
Erika: My inspiration for the Funky Chunky Cloche came from having designed a baby beanie using the classic Quaker Rib pattern, and I wanted to play with this stitch pattern and see what other possibilities there were, especially relating to an adult-sized head.
Kara: When you designed this hat, why did you choose a chunky yarn? Do you think this would be a good project for a new knitter, and why?
Erika: I thought the pattern was better suited to a heavier yarn rather than a fine one as I envisioned a certain fabric and felt that the chunky yarn would fill this vision. A chunky yarn is a great choice for a new knitter because the project gets finished quickly; the sooner you see results, the more encouraged you are to move on to the next project or the next technique. It's a real confidence builder to hold a finished object and know that you made this.
Kara: The choice of Colinette Iona was a great choice for this design. The colors are so bright and vibrant. How did you like working with this yarn?
Erika: It's a lovely yarn. Having a project that takes just one skein really allows you to indulge and pick a special, out-of-the-ordinary yarn like this. When I began knitting seriously thirty years ago, the range of yarns available was pretty limited. Now, between the different fibers (who had heard of bamboo yarn thirty years ago?!), textures and wonderful colors, it's a fiber-ohlic's dream come true.
Kara: Now onto the Corkscrew Tam. Can you also tell me a bit about this hat. I love the whimsical corkscrew on the top. What inspired you to create this design?
Erika: A lot of my inspiration comes from vintage and classic designs, and I love to update the simple shapes with modern color choices and interesting finishes. I had used the corckscrew element in another design and thought that this was a great match of classic and whimsy.
Kara: Did you make this hat using a circular needle, or double-pointed needles? If you had your choice, what would you prefer to work with, and why?
Erika: I used both circular and double-pointed needles on the Tam. When making hats, I'm more comfortable using a circular needle, switching to double-points when working the decreases. But when I'm making socks, I'm more comfortable using double-points. It seems to be a project-specific choice for me.
Kara: How long have you been designing knitwear, and what are your favorite things to design?
Erika: Almost twenty years ago, my knitting hobby began to seque into my knitting career. That's when I began designing and making baby and children's items that I sold at regional craft shows. Five years ago, I dropped out of the craft show circuit, started my online business, kidknits.biz, and began to focus more on design than on production. I love designing baby items because they're compact, quick to finish, and just out-and-out cute. I guess I'm practicing for when I've got grandchildren to knit for!
Kara: Have you been published in any other books or magazines? Tell me a little about your background, and what brought you to knitting.
Erika: My designs have appeared in different on-line knitting publications: KnitNet, For the Love of Yarn, The Daily Knitter, in the up-coming Spring 2009 issue of Knotions; I've designed for WEBS' Valley Yarns; and last year, I put together a book of my designs for babies: Head to To Knits: 23 Designs to Knit for Baby which is available through www.lulu.com.
I grew up in a family where handwork surrounded me: my grandmother knit and quilted; my mother (an artist and illustrator) sewed, quilted, and did needlepoint (her own designs). I learned to sew and knit at a fairly young age, and while sewing dropped by the wayside, knitting has become my focus---my real calling. In terms of design, I'm pretty much self-taught, focusing on simple, classic shapes and clear colors with minimal finishing.
Thank you, Kara, for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. It's always great to get together with other knitters, virtually or face-to-face.