Okay, it seems to me a bit conceded to interview myself for a series called Shawl Inspirations, but seeing as it's my blog and all, I thought maybe I should participate in the series. So there you have it. My two cents on shawls. And just as a reminder, the Lieselotte Shawl Knit Along is coming quickly to a close on May 1st! Post your FO in the Ravelry thread HERE to be eligible for the KAL prize!
First, would you tell us about your knitting history- ie., where did you learn to knit and how long have you been knitting?
I actually learned to knit from my husband! The only other real knitter in my family was my great grandmother, whom I never knew. My grandmother knows how to knit, but the only time I have ever seen her touch needles is when she is trying to show me how to fix my needle & yarn holding posture. (I've told her many times I just knit faster holding them my way!) My husband learned how to knit in Home Ec in high school, taught me, and we've been knitting together for many years since.
Where does your love of shawls come from, is there anyone in your memory who wore or knit them, or is it something that happened when you started knitting them?
I used to think of shawls as old fashioned, and have never been attracted to super lacy shawls. It wasn't until I started seeing shawls like those of Stephen West and Veera Välimäki that I became interested in knitting them myself. I started playing around with top down shawls based solely on Laylock's Knitting Cheat Sheet and then took a "Designing Your Own Top Down Shawl" class with Bristol Ivy. Now I'm hooked.
Is there a shawl in your personal collection that stands out as most-worn or favorite?
I recently took out my first ever design, my Eda Shawl. While I feel like as a designer I should keep my samples in pristine condition, it just kills me to see my handwork just sitting there collecting dust rather than being worn. So I took it out of hibernation, and I've hardly taken my Eda off since! It is just the right everyday shawl. I also finished a shawl for myself as part of the Lieselotte KAL, and I love it! I've been rotating between the two.
Do you have any favorite patterns or yarns when it comes to shawls?
I love a good wooly yarn like BT Loft, and am currently working on a shawl in Clara Parkes' Shetland 1.0. I also love the beautiful colors and springy-ness of all the Quince yarns. As a designer I don't get a lot of time to knit other people's patterns. But there are two lists I have, the first is shawls that are so fantastic and memorable (but not necessarily my personal style), like Bristol Ivy's Vienne and Winnowing, and Olga Buraya-Kefelian's Aranami. The other list is things that I personally want to knit and wear, highest ranking being Leila Raab's Sakura, Shui Kuen Kozinski's Moon & Stars and Pam Allen's Eudora.
Finally, any tips for styling or wearing a shawl?
I think wearing shawls like a scarf or kerchief is a great way to dip your toes into the waters of shawl wearing. This is just how I started wearing shawls, but I find the more I wear the the more I play with them and how I like to wear them. Now that I have some favorite and most worn, I find myself wearing them in the more 'traditional' way around my shoulders when I'm chilly working around the house or knitting on the couch. Just wear it and you'll figure out how you like to style it!