Congratulations to Carrie B, winner of the Knitted Mitts & Mittens giveaway! 😀 Thank you so much to everyone who entered and spread the word! To purchase your own copy, see the links below the interview!
Knitted Mitts & Mittens: 25 Fun and Fashionable Designs for Fingerless Gloves, Mittens, and Wrist Warmers is a new knitting pattern book just out, by Amy Gunderson. And while you might think it's an odd season to be thinking about mitts and mittens (unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere) - let me tell you, they're the perfect project for the warmer months! Small and light, they keep the yarn up off your lap, and you'll be so far ahead of the game come the holidays. Plus, if you knit as slow as I do, you can use the extra time. 😉 So today, I get to give away a copy of this fab book to one lucky winner in the US! But first, let's learn about the book and the author.
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Moogly: Hi Amy! How did you get started as a knitwear designer?
Amy: I'd like to think it all started way back when, making mudpies and other assorted crafty things as a kid. Maybe mudpies aren't considered a craft. But anyway, more recently I learned to knit about 5 years ago amidst pizza making. My husband and I owned a little pizza delivery business in Iowa City, Iowa. I needed distraction from all the drunken college kids and their shenanigans. Knitting was a great option in that situation because it's portable and I could easily set it down when the phone rang or a pizza emergency arose. The existence of Ravelry combined with my sewing background and love of clothing inspired me to begin writing patterns. First I released a couple of self-published sweaters on Ravelry, then began submitting to magazines. Shortly after my first magazine pieces were accepted I answered a posting for the design coordinator job for Universal Yarn and was hired. Now I get to do all this full time and feel very lucky!
Moogly: What inspired you to write Knitted Mitts & Mittens?
Amy: Although I've thought for some time I'd like to do a book of patterns, I cannot claim to have thought up this idea on my own! Pam Hoenig, editor at Stackpole books contacted me last year to see if I'd be interested in the concept. We decided I'd do mostly fingerless gloves, a couple pairs of mittens, and a couple of projects for guys. I'm so glad she asked me to do the book; I had a blast!
Moogly: Is Knitted Mitts & Mittens written for the beginning knitter, intermediate, or advanced knitter?
Amy: This is a topic on which I'm very passionate about. Pam Hoenig and I discussed whether or not we would include skill levels for each pattern and ultimately decided against it. I have concerns that a knitter will see an "intermediate" or "advanced" rating and be scared off. While I can see the benefit of having skill ratings at times, overall I am not a fan. I would rather a knitter look at a project and think, "I'm totally going to make this!", rather than, "I really want to make this project, but it says it's for intermediate knitters only". Some techniques might take a little more practice than others. But I believe that just jumping in and doing something new is the best way to do it.
Moogly: I like that way of looking at it! And I think a determined beginner can always push themselves to new heights! So tell me which is your favorite design in the book, and why?
Amy: I like It's a Plaid Plaid World Mitts and I'm a sucker for stranded knitting. And plaid! It reminds me of the whole 90's grunge era and those giant flannel plaid shirts.
Moogly: Plaid is indeed a popular pattern lately! I've seen it a lot in crochet too. Overall, what was your favorite and least favorite thing about writing a book?
Amy: When I first started selling knitting patterns, I was so surprised that I could actually make money doing something I enjoyed! Working on this book was no different; the novelty still hasn't worn off. I loved that I could just put these things out there for the world to see. Awesome or not, for better or worse, there they are. Maybe that's my least favorite thing, too! But I feel fairly immune to criticism. That's kind of the nice thing about creative work. There is rarely a right or wrong in any given situation. It's all subject to taste and preference.
Moogly: Absolutely! It's so true that's all just a matter of taste. What gets you excited about knitting in 2014?
Amy: Although time consuming to knit, oversized cozy sweaters are where my heart is right now. And in fuzzy yarn.
Moogly: Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring knitwear designers?
Amy: Don't worry about what you think other people are looking for. If you design what you like, other people will like it too and it will be genuine.
Moogly: I couldn't agree more! It's all about feeling passionate about what you design. And I think that passion does come through in Knitted Mitts & Mittens. Each design is different from the one before, and inspires me to think of a different person it would be perfect for! Thank you so much Amy for doing this interview!