Today we're featuring an interview with designer Mary Anne Benedetto, who designed one of the SIlverSpun Sock sweaters that will be published next month!
Mary Anne lives in the suburbs just outside of New York City with her husband and dog. She has four grown children and one precious new grandchild. When not knitting she can be found skiing, sailing, gardening, and restoring her ancient farmhouse. A priori is Latin for "from what comes before." It is an homage to all the amazing knitters and designers who have laid the path in her knitting journey. It is her hope to help continue, and pay the tradition forward to new generations of knitters. You can learn more about Mary Anne on her website: aprioriknits.com and follow her on Instagram and Twitter as @Aprioriknits and on Ravelry as Apriori Knits.
Can you give us a little background intel on yourself? Where were you born? Do you still live there? How long have you been knitting? Who taught you to knit?
As a lifelong Northeasterner sweaters have always had a place in my life. I began knitting in college, not knowing another soul my age who knit, making me a bit of a curiosity. During this time I spent my summers working on Cape Cod. As I rode my bike back and forth each day I always passed an adorable little knitting shop. One day curiosity got the better of me, and down the rabbit hole I went. Two wonderful ladies ran the shop, and they very patiently taught me to knit. Of course no simple scarf would do it for me. If I was going to do this I wanted a sweater. Whenever I was stuck, which was often, I went back and they would get me to the next step. So the journey began and continues today.
Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair?
I generally design wherever I am, there is no special spot. It can be at home overlooking my gardens, on a plane, while hiking. I often snap pictures of things that are interesting, and sometimes pull out a sketchbook to scribble down an idea.
Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the streets of New York City. The street scenes, the people, the architecture, and the art all influence the way I approach design.
Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn’t have to be knitwear designers)?
Ryan Roche and Natalie Chanin both for their beautiful garments and their lifestyle approach. Ruth Marshall who makes impactful statements through her knit artwork. London Kaye for her whimsical approach to yarn bombing. El Anatsui, an artist, whose work transforms the simplest objects into amazing tapestry like pieces.
What is it about designing that gets you to jump out of bed every morning and grab the needles?
What really excites me about knitting is the endless variety of ways to manipulate what is basically a piece of string into something functional and beautiful.
What do you have on your needles right now?
I have several things in the works at the moment. I am knitting hats with some wonderful yarn my daughter brought back from Iceland. I have a bunch of baby stuff on my needles, and some upcoming designs.
While designing this sweater what qualities of SilverSpun did you find most appealing?
I very much enjoyed working with Silverspun. The yarn has great body, holding it's shape without curling even in stockinette stitch. The yarn's memory also created a finished piece that maintains it shape amazingly well. I wanted to create a design that is straight forward and classic, which would become a go to item in the knitter's wardrobe.