1 April 2010

Twisted Woolly Toppers blog tour

WoollyWormhead, a fellow designer whose work I greatly admire and the genius behind Going Straight, just published a new book -- Twisted Woolly Toppers. In this book Woolly compiled 10 new cabled [hat] designs in a variety of styles with a healthy mixture of cables, twists and bias to suit all tastes. Two weeks ago Woolly started her blog tour to promote the book and today I am very excited to have her here for some Q&A!

• So, Woolly, why cables?

I love the texture of cables – they can be so 3-dimensional and they add so much interest. They can be technically challenging, yet they can also be simple and used with great effect. Sometimes it's the simplest cables that I like the most.

• From where did you draw your inspirations for Twisted Woolly Toppers?

I don't know if I can say there was any particular inspiration for TWT, or at least I didn't start designing from a specific source. The local architecture where we have been staying in Italy has been a big influence, and it wasn't until we did the first photo shoot for the book that I realised just how much the environment had influenced the designs.

• From what I have noticed the patterns in the book fall into two categories: simple shapes that accentuate the flow of the pattern and more architectural ones that demonstrate not just the texture but also your absolute spatial ability to beautifully integrate that texture into a 3D shape. How did they happen to come about? Is it the texture/pattern that leads the way or the shape?

Sometimes it's the texture and sometimes the shape :) I am very much a 3D person – I think in 3D, and prefer form over shape. I find my most instinctive designs tend to be those that are more sculptural. Texture is very important too and can make all the difference to an otherwise simple shape, so if a stitch pattern inspires me I go with it.

• What attracts you most to work on any particular design?

Ooh, that's a difficult question to answer! I guess whether it keeps my interest as I'm developing it? Designs that take me in a another direction, or have a quirk of some kind that is unexpected please me... whether it be a technique used in an unexpected way, or a non-standard method of shaping. I like to make features of the crown shaping, as so often that's an area that gets forgotten yet it's a very prominent spot, so I'll often be focusing on that and thinking of interesting ways to shape it. How the yarn behaves plays a part too.

• Woolly, do you have a specific pattern in the book that you favour? Why and what's the story behind it?

A favourite? Possibly Brownie... I knew exactly how I wanted it to look, and how it needed to be constructed, and it worked out first time! I love that it has a bit of everything without being overly fussy... bias, cables, sideways knitting, short rows.. all mixed up to create such a cute Hat.

Brownie from Twisted Woolly Toppers

• In the synopsis that you put up on the Twisted Woolly Toppers page you mention that the book does not cover basic knitting techniques. Do you have any piece of advice for beginner knitters that are perhaps not familiar with cables yet?

If you've never tackled cables before, they're not as difficult as they look. That's easy to say when you know how, but they are simply knit stitches crossed over, nothing more. Take it easy and start with simpler cables that involve fewer stitches - many of the patterns in TWT are an ideal introduction to cables, perfect for beginner knitters or cablers alike.

• Do you include charts in the book? And do you have any advise for people that don't use them?

Absolutely, there are charts in the book alongside the text instructions. To me, it's really important to include as much information as possible in a pattern, and that means catering to different types of knitters.
I grew up with written instructions, and only ever used charts for colourwork, so it took me a while to get used to them. Now though, I find them great for checking a pattern or seeing where I'm at in a glance – with charts you can see how the stitches line up which isn't so easy with text instructions, so they are perfect for checking mistakes and seeing how the pattern develops visually.

Thank you very much for dropping in, Woolly, there is just one more thing I wanted to say: Congratulations on publishing yet another fantastic book!

Next week's stop is at Stolen Stitches and the complete blog tour calendar is as follows:

18 March - Just Call Me Ruby
25 March - BabyLondLegs
1 April - Binge Knitter
8 April - Stolen Stitches
15 April - Knit With KT
29 April - Tot Toppers
20 May - Knit Circus

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