2016 is the “Year of the Designer” for Feel Good Yarn Company. The first Thursday of every month we will feature an interview with one of our favorite knitwear designers and the following week we will release a pattern designed exclusively for our SilverSpun® yarn by that designer.Kate has designed 3 exclusive sock patterns for our Feel Good Summer Sock Club. These patterns will only be available to Club subscribers. Click here to find out more.
Kate Atherley is our May Designer of the Month and I must say, it is quite an honor to have a designer of this caliber working with us. Kate is the lead technical editor for Knitty.com. She contributes regularly to books and magazines, created a series of designs for Interweave’s Sockupied and she has written several books, including Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet, which is one reason why she is perfect as our guest designer for our Feel Good Summer Sock Club (see above). You can find Kate on Ravelry, Instagram, and her website.
And with that, I give you Kate ….
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?
I was born in the U.K., just outside of Manchester. I am in Toronto now, but have lived in a number of places, including a stint in NYC which I loved very much!
I’ve been knitting since I was a young girl – I was taught by my beloved grandmother, Hilda Lowe. She was a lifelong knitter and crocheter, and she managed to pass the one skill along to me, but not the other. I was in my thirties before I moved past a crochet chain!
Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair?
I design anywhere and everywhere. I spend a fair bit of time traveling, and am as happy to design in an airport, on a bus, on a train. I love trains, actually. I find it very soothing, and an excellent place to work on my knitting designs. As long as I have a hot drink, some music to listen to, and good light, I’m happy.
Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art, what?
There’s no single source of inspiration – sometimes, it’s a piece of intricate wrought iron fence, sometimes it’s a stitch pattern in a knitting book, sometimes it’s a technical challenge: how can I make a cable twist all around a mitten and into the gusset without an obvious break?
Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn’t have to be knitwear designers)?
In fashion, I adore Liberty print fabrics, and the highly structured, highly tailored clothing of early Alexander McQueen collections.
What is it about designing that gets you to jump out of bed every morning and grab the needles?
I love seeing how an idea in my head comes to life on my needles – how a thought becomes real! Also, I just really enjoy knitting, and working with fabulous yarns.
What do you have on your needles right now?
I’m working on a book about mittens and gloves, so I’ve got a few pairs of each in various stages of development and completion. And then there’s always a pair of socks on the go, as my ‘comfort’ knitting. A plain sock is ideal for when I’m tired, or distracted – by conversation, by really interesting TV or movies – or when I need a rest after a particularly complex project.
While designing your piece for FGYCo, what qualities of SilverSpun® did you find most appealing?
Although it’s cold in Toronto much of the year, I don’t want wool socks in July and August – I love that SilverSpun® is lighter and cooler for warm-weather wear. The elastic is key for a well-fitted sock.
Do you have any other passions besides knitting?
I live right in downtown Toronto, and one of my favourite things to do is just wander the city, with my husband and our dog, usually with a cup of coffee in my hand. When we travel, we tend to go to urban destinations: New York, London, and enjoy getting lost in the big city.
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