In Simply Knitting Issue 105 we talked to hat fanatic and designer Woolly Wormhead. We couldn't fit all of the interview in the mag, so here are some extra bits and pieces!
Simply Knitting: When did you start knitting?
Woolly Wormhead When I was three years old!
SK: Who taught you to knit? What do you remember about learning to knit?
WW My Mum taught me, and I remember most of it. I don't remember being taught the knit and purl stitch, but I do remember her showing me how to do moss stitch on a practice square. I don't remember any difficulties as such, no moments of frustration, though I always had lots of questions.
SK: What was the first item you knitted?
WW Besides the practice squares to learn the stitches, the first items I made were clothes for my dolls. I worked my way through the knitting patterns for the Sasha & Gregor dolls in my Mum's Golden Hands magazines..
SK: What are your favourite items to knit?
WW Hats! And occasionally other small things. Rarely I get the chance to knit a jumper for myself, which feels like a real treat these days.
SK: Where is your favourite place to knit?
WW On the sofa! I love knitting on the go too, whether it be a train or a plane.
SK: How would you describe your style?
WW That's a difficult question... I'm a process knitter and process designer, and style doesn't really figure into that - not aesthetically at least.
SK: Where do you get your inspiration from?
WW From nature, and sometimes from architecture. I like the structure of things; how they're formed and how it holds itself together.
SK: What music do you like to listen to when you knit?
WW I think I prefer to knit with a film or TV show on than music... it would need to be a fave TV series back to back or a familiar film, though, else it would be too distracting. Likewise, music draws me in too much and I lose track of where I am.
SK: Are you a member of a knitting group?
WW Sadly, not at the moment. We travel a lot and spend a chunk of time abroad and I haven't found any groups whilst travelling. When I'm back in the UK I like to get to whichever groups I can, usually in London. The last knit night I went to was at iKnit.
SK: Do you have any rituals surrounding your knitting?
WW I do like to keep everything with me... which is another reason small projects suit me. Everything has its place; different project bags for different designs in progress. My interchangeable needles have their case too, as do my notions, and it all stays together. I like the look of lovely fabrics for bags, holders etc but also the efficiency of them.
SK: What is your most spectacular knitting disaster?
WW A whole jumper knit from some grey cotton knitting yarn that I bought cheap somewhere. I loved the colour, and as a student, loved the cheap. But never again will I knit in cotton – I got rid of it as soon as it was finished.
SK: What do you knit when you’re on holiday?
WW Hats... I knit hats wherever I go; they're perfectly portable projects! (This child's hat is in issue 105).
SK: What is your top knitting tip?
WW It's your knitting; you don't have to follow the rules.
SK: Where do you keep your knitting stash?
WW In vacuum-packed roll bags in the small cupboards in my office (which is a 1970's retro caravan). I don't have much of a stash, really.
SK: Has knitting ever caused you to neglect your duties?
SK: Who is your favourite knitting companion?
WW I love to knit with my friends, especially Sarah Babylonglegs or Susan Crawford. Though we don't get to see each other very often and normally end up talking more than knitting.
SK: What are you working on at the moment?
WW About from several new designs for my next book, I'm working a tunic/dress for myself, 'Still Light' by Veera Välimäki.
SK: What did you want to be when you grew up?
WW An artist. Which didn't turn out to be so far off the mark!
SK: Who is involved in your family life?
WW My family consists of my partner and our little boy, Aran; you'll often see him in my pattern photos.
SK: Describe your home.
WW Home today is our double-decker bus! We don't live in it all year round, but it's the place where we spend the most time.
SK: Where would you like to live, apart from where you live now?
WW We keep thinking about buying a plot of land somewhere with a nice climate, somewhere were the winters are warm, like Portugal, and living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. We live mostly like that now but aren't completely off the grid, and we don't own the plot where the bus is parked. If we can't take our bus with us then a static caravan would do; we're not too fussed about houses really.
SK: What would you change about yourself, if you could?
WW Lots of things, but overall, I'd like better health. And a bit of self confidence.
SK: Besides knitting, what are you really good at?
WW Being resourceful. I'm especially good at finding things I need, or making them, from old bits of scrap or otherwise bits and pieces. We built just about everything in our home from next to nothing.
SK: What are you terrible at?
WW Ooh, that's a long list! First would be baking. I can cook, but when it comes to sweet stuff, I haven't a clue (though I often wonder if that's because I don't have a sweet tooth, and so the desire to practise has never occurred to me?). I'm also terrible at not telling the truth, which is both a blessing and a curse... there are times when it's better that nothing is said, but I seem to lack tact there.
SK: If you lived a different life, who would you be?
WW Someone who worries less?
SK: Who do you see when you look in the mirror?
WW Someone with life experience in their face (hopefully in a good way!)
SK: Besides knitting, what do you do to relax?
WW Book reading, and especially audio books. And films/TV. We love to watch Sci-Fi.
SK: What is your favourite girlie get-together?
WW Having a glass of wine or three, and catching up on the news. I don't see any of my girlie friends as often as I'd like to, which makes me sad.
SK: What are some of your favourite things?
WW I recently bought myself a new necklace and travel case for it – they were a joint Christmas and birthday present. These are my new favourite things – so unique and well made!
SK: Do you have any favourite colours and colour combinations? What about decorative styles?
WW Dress-wise, I'm nearly always in black. Not because of any gothic tendencies but because it's practical, and I'm not keen on laundry duties. Being able to pull clothes off the shelf when I'm half asleep and have them co-ordinate is a handy thing! As for decorative styles, I like things that are practical and eclectic.
SK: What do you secretly like that is not considered fashionable?
WW Most of my wardrobe? I've never been bothered by what's in fashion, though I love sub-culture fashions.
SK: Your favourite movie?
WW Withnail and I, and Amelie.
SK: What is your most irresistible temptation?
WW Ready salted crisps late at night when watching a film. I know they're so bad for me but I can't seem to stop the habit.
SK: Do you have a motto you live by?
WW It's the little things in life that matter.