Posted on Tuesday, July 3 2012 at 8am
In June our special summer-themed crochet magazine, Simply Crochet, went on sale, and we've had a great response from readers loving the patterns, granny square ideas, and step-by-step guides.
Some of you have also been in touch to let us know how much you enjoyed reading our interview with the super-talented Erika Knight.
Well, we do like to spoil you! As it happens, Erika has so many interesting things to say that we couldn't fit them all into the magazine. So here are the answers we couldn't fit into the magazine!
What's your earliest yarn memory?
When I was eight or nine, my gran taught me to knit. She was very forbidding – no one was allowed to touch the sewing machine except under her supervision! Using a ball of yellow tweed yarn, my gran taught me garter stitch. I made a scarf for a TV glove puppet – a tabby cat. I sent it in and got a postcard signed with a pawprint. I never saw the puppet wearing it on TV, though. I’m not surprised – it was full of mistakes.
How did your enthusaiasm for textiles progress?
As a young adult, I used to knit presents for friends. As a student, I had friends in fashion design and I did the knits for their collections. It was the punk era so a few dropped stitches and safety pins only added catwalk drama!
Tell us about your early textiles and fashion career.
I had a role as a consultant within the fashion industry for many years, doing trend presentation, brand advising, range building and sourcing. Although I loved my first job, silk-screening and festooning fabric, I couldn’t afford to travel and eat and pay the rent to do the job, so I fell back on my own resources. I started my own knitwear company Molto! A ready-to-wear hand-knit company with knitters all along the south coast. I initially specialised in men’s knits. The brand was considered a little ‘clubby’ – well, it was the new romantic era! Boy George and Band Aid sported sweaters.
What was your greatest triumph of that era?
My previous business partner was convinced that he was a reincarnation of Captain Oates – he was born on the day he died or something. Some years ago, there was a re-enactment of Scott’s expedition and sweaters were given to the sailors. They didn’t make it to the Pole because the pack ice came early, the ship was crushed and the men were airlifted to safety. My sweaters are still there, stranded in the ice. It amuses me to think that when the ice melts, my labels will float to the surface!
Nowadays, what excites you?
I love beads, buttons, stones. I'm intigued by what gives us the need to adorn, embroider and go beyond the practical – I'm fascinated by the desire to decorate and embellish!
I guess I'm always excited about design, selecting from new designs, seeing it all come together, but always thinking ahead. I like painting in white. I prefer straight lines to curvy lines.
Tell us about where you work.
My studio is a hybrid of a craft room and a professional place. I’m always drawing and sketching, people come and go. My studio is like Waterloo Station!
How did you feel about launching your new range of yarns?
Anyone who knows me knows I deliberate about everything. There is always a certain strategy to a collection, each one has to be fit for purpose and do its job. Nothing is superfluous. Each shade was a tried and tested colour that I have used in the past, such as Marnie red – the kind of red that was successful commercially in cashmere blazers in a previous life of mine.
Why do you think people like crochet?
Crafters are control freaks. Through craft, you can control your destiny in a chaotic world. I’m interested in crochet and knitting as a therapy – it’s used for easing disorders such as addictions, ADHD and dyslexia. But don't forget that you don't have to follow patterns exactly – for me, crochet is about enjoying the process.
Crochet Workshop by Erika Knight, published by Quadrille, is out now.