1. Can you think about your designs when you're away from your knitting? Or do you have to have the needles in your hands?
I actually prefer to design without needles and yarn in hand. I like to get an image in my head, think about how it might be created, and then pick up yarn and needles to see if I can knit the vision into a reality. While working on Reversible Knitting, I got pretty good at knitting in my mind, and could even lie back with my eyes closed and work. I’m sure my husband thought I was being lazy and napping, but I was working hard.
2. On a single design, how much time do you spend frogging? Or do you start afresh?
It depends on the design. In the scarf book, some of the easier, straight-forward designs weren’t frogged at all, and my first attempts with working yarn, which was mostly gray Peace Fleece, ended up being the scarves used in the book.
More frogging was required for Reversible Knitting, and there would have been much more if I couldn’t knit in my mind. My working yarn for this book was Rowan Felted Tweed, because it can handle a lot of knitting and ripping and reworking without showing much wear or breaking – it has 25% viscose in it. I used the Felted Tweed for both vests too, and because it’s such a sturdy little workhorse of a yarn, after I finished the book, I frogged both first drafts of the vests and reworked the yarn into socks.
3. What sort of things do you knit when you're not working on a book? Do you knit garments for your family?
After the workshop, family members claimed two, and the third was given to my son’s girlfriend. Otherwise, for the past four years, all of my knitting has been book related, except for the socks from the frogged Felted Tweed vests.
4. I often write about films on the blog, so I'd really like to know - what is your favourite film (or favourite five)?
I really enjoy your film reviews. Do you think much can be learned about a person, knowing their favorite movies?
Some movies I really like: No Country For Old Men; The Girl in the Café (I know you didn’t care for it); Kitchen Stories; The Lives of Others; Three Iron; Reign Over Me; Chungking Express; The Reader.
‘Easy listening’ movies – ones I’ve seen and know well, with a great soundtrack or lines, that can play in the background while I knit: Gattaca; Love Actually; Parenthood; The Thomas Crown Affair (Pierce Brosnan version); Unconditional Love; Stranger Than Fiction; Defending Your Life.
Helen… can you pare your list down to your favorite five (or eight)?
Thanks very much, Lynne. I am more impressed than I can say by the answer to the first question: I had an awful suspicion that you might be able to knit in your head, but it's still stunning to have it confirmed.
I would be reluctant to come to conclusions on the basis of someone's favourite films or books, but I suppose they can be a bit of a rough guide. If their Top Five were all Godzilla films, for instance, I might jump to a conclusion there. I do find it a good way to get recommendations though, and I have added some of yours to my waiting list. I’ll write a fuller answer over the weekend.
If you live in the U.S., you can enter a competition based on the alternative designs for the book cover by clicking here.