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  • New Colors & Designer Interview: Laura Chau
  • Post author
    Josh Hutchison

New Colors & Designer Interview: Laura Chau

Earlier this month we released two new colors of our SilverSpun Sport to our newsletter subscribers (if you haven't signed up, and you'd like to be the first to know about new yarns and colors, you can sign up here.)

We're so excited that SilverSpun Sport is now available in 6 colors! You can shop all the colors here.

 

Today we also have an interview with designer Laura Chau a talented knitwear designer who has designed two sweaters in SilverSpun Sport coming out next month! Laura is the author of Teach Yourself Visually Sock Knitting (released by Wiley in 2008), and has over 140 designs that can be found in the pages of Knitty, Twist Collective, and more along with her self published patterns on Ravelry.


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 Toronto, Canada, where I still live - I love it here. My cousin first taught me to knit on a road trip when we were 12, the long-tail cast-on and knit stitch. I knit a big ol’ garter stitch scarf, then put it down in favor of other crafty pursuits, mostly beading and papercraft. When I was in my first year of university, I needed something to occupy my hands, so I dug out my yarn, needles, and a book, and tried out some different stitches. Just a few months after I started knitting seriously, I got a job in a yarn shop and learned so much there.

It was a great time to pick up knitting again - Knitty was in its first few years of publication, and knitting blogs were coming up fast and furious! I started my knitting blog in 2004, and my first designs came out in 2006!

Where do you do your designing? Do you have a special room in your house, a studio, a favorite chair? (Can you share a photo of your spot?)

My office is set up in the living room, right by the front window, so there’s lots of light and I can keep an eye on the deck garden! I don’t need much, just my iMac and lots of needles and yarn to hand. I would love to have a separate studio one day, but I also love the flexibility of working from home all the time. I knit on the couch a lot, of course!

Where do your design inspirations come from? Nature, architecture, fine art?

Everywhere, of course! I design things that I would like to wear, so sometimes an idea will pop up to fill a gap in my wardrobe. I do peruse fashion blogs and magazines, but I try not to jump on too many trend bandwagons - it takes so long to handknit, I think it’s important that knitting patterns stand the test of time. I’m often inspired by the yarn itself as well - I ask myself, what would this yarn like to be?

Who are your favorite designers (and it doesn’t have to be knitwear designers)?

Norah Gaughan for sure, and Bristol Ivy - I wish I had more time to knit sweaters by other people! They’re both amazing at looking at knitting from different angles and perspectives. My friend Ysolda Teague is always striving for better fit and execution as well as fun and intuitive knitting, and it inspires me to do better things as well. Outside of knitting, I like to browse local boutiques to see what small scale ready-to-wear fashion designers are doing. In big names, I really love Orla Kiely’s patterns!

What is it about designing that gets you to jump out of bed every morning and grab the needles?

I love being able to start with basically nothing (yarn and needles) and make an idea of a garment (or accessory) into a real, concrete item to wear! I have a lot of ideas, so many of which never see the light of day, but it’s so exciting to work through a concept from beginning to end, and to write a pattern so other people can knit it too. The repetitive nature of knitting is also really soothing to me, and I really love the fact that you can really do it anywhere.

What do you have on your needles right now?

Aside from multiple secret projects for other people, I do have a few new sweater designs coming down the pipeline. I’ve been working (for rather a long time) on a colorwork sweater in all sorts of fingering weight yarns that I would really like to get back to soon! I’m also working on a small collection of wrap-style sweaters, which are so cozy and perfect for fall and winter.

While designing the these sweaters what qualities of SilverSpun did you find most appealing?

Many knitters shy away from cotton because the lack of natural elasticity can be hard on the hands. But SilverSpun is so stretchy, it’s really comfortable to knit with! It creates a lovely, soft, totally non-scratchy fabric that reminds me of terrycloth. It reminds me a bit of a discontinued yarn that had a loyal following, Rowan Calmer. Because the yarn is so bouncy, I found I could use quite a large needle size and the fabric is still dense enough for garments. And it knits up faster than you might think!

  • Post author
    Josh Hutchison