Posted on Thursday, March 22 2012 at 8am
Ever wondered what inspires knitwear designers to come up with such inventive designs? Us too! We absolutely fell in love with Jen Arnall-Culliford’s baby blanket design, Cosy Cuddles, which features on p12 of Simply Knitting 92. Fortunately Jen (picture left, cr Amanda France) had a few moments spare to answer some questions.
How did you first discover knitting?
Both of my grandmothers taught me as a child, but I didn't really take to it. I came back to knitting as an adult when my sister-in-law (on my husband's side) was expecting her second child. A yarn shop had just opened in my town, and the lovely owner, Tina, was very patient in helping me through my first 6 months of beginner questions and dropped stitches. Once I learnt to fix my own work, I was away!
How did this lead to a career as a knitwear designer?
Well, although I do design, I'm predominantly a knitting technical editor. I kept challenging myself to try new techniques and more complex designs with every new project. Then a new magazine (The Knitter) was launched, and I wasn't being challenged in my day job, so I applied for the role of Technical Editor. My background in science meant that I was comfortable with the numbers and problem solving skills required, and I got the job. It really just developed from there.
What kinds of things tend to inspire your designs?
I'm mostly inspired by the things I want to make. I start with the yarn, and then an idea of what I need. So here I wanted to make a blanket, and had some lovely Shilasdair yarn, then the rest tends to flow fairly naturally from there. I look through stitch pattern books and see what will work.