Eclectic Closet Litblog, Book Reviews & Knitting Designs

A litblog dedicated to book reviews/recommendations, as well as literary and publishing news. Now enhanced with knitting designs.

Interview: Laura Aylor

November27

I have knit several Laura Aylor’s shawl designs over the past few years so I was excited to have the opportunity to interview her as part of Gift-A-Long 2014.

Laura is running a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday sale – buy 2 patterns get the 3rd free with the code BFCMdeal (see a full list of participating designers here, I’m also participating – follow link for sale details).

Laura Aylor

Laura Aylor, modeling Sleepy Hollow

How did you get started designing?
I wanted to make an afghan for my daughter using as many different colorways of Kureyon as I could find – one for each block. I combed the internet (this was pre-Ravelry) and all my knitting books looking for a pattern that really made use of the long color runs. I just couldn’t get excited about any of them and then I pulled out my ‘Learn to Knit Afghan’ book by Barbara Walker and started playing around with her Short-Row Stripes block. I still remember pining the first one out on my ironing board after steaming it and realizing that I needed to share it. So I sent a submission in to Knitty. They loved it and I thought my knit design career had run its course :)

What inspires your designs?
Very often one design inspires the next. There’s a lot of thinking time involved in knitting (I knit all my own samples) and it’s easy to let your mind wander to variations of what you’re working on. Sometimes I just want to make something specific that I can’t find a pattern for. Sometimes I see someone wearing an awesome knitted item and try to memorize it so I can come up with my own variation. Sometimes I’m doodling and come up with a shawl idea. It’s actually a pretty chaotic process!

Hay Cove

Hay Cove

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
It’s happened both ways. For Lizard Ridge it was definitely the yarn. With Fabergé the yarn was secondary to the idea. This fall I worked on a collection inspired by a trip to Newfoundland where I just had to find yarns that supported the look/feel that I wanted.

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
Mostly I want my stuff to be different from the other designs out there. I’m not saying I’m never inspired by others’ work, but I don’t ever want my work to look like something that’s been done too many times. Also, I like to use techniques or stitch patterns that I find interesting or fun and I really dislike seaming. I will pick up hundreds of stitches rather than seam a garment! I’m still playing with Barbara Walker’s top-down, seamless, simultaneous set-in sleeve construction and can’t imagine that I will ever knit a sweater in pieces again.

Sea Salt

Sea Salt

What is your favourite type of item to design?
There are 3 things I seem to enjoy doing the most – shawls, cowls, and sweaters. I’ve been on a bit of a sweater kick lately – I’m just full of sweater ideas at the moment.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
For a desert island I’d have to say madelinetosh tosh merino light. I’ve knit that yarn on tiny needles for sweaters, medium-sized needles for summer tees, big needles for shawls, and doubled to get worsted weight. It’s lovely at any gauge, never pills, and takes color amazingly.

Dunbar

Dunbar, photo by Laura Aylor

What’s your “comfort knitting?”
Anything but complicated lace.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Robie Street I think. I released it this past summer and was SO excited about how it came out, but it’s gotten very little attention.

Robie Street

Robie Street

Continental or English?
Continental.

What’s the best thing about knitting?
Having been a science/math person my whole life I’ve had so much fun exploring my artistic/creative side! I can remember when the thing I dreaded hearing the most in school was ‘be creative’!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Be fearless! You can always rip and redo! Experiment! Have fun!

Dark Tickle

Dark Tickle

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
I need to work on life balance – I have a tendency to get all caught up in the design work and neglect things like exercising, sleeping, and spending time with my husband.

View all of Laura’s patterns here. Photography by Stan Aylor, unless otherwise noted, and are used by permission.

What is the Gift-A-Long? The GAL is a big knitting and crochet designer promotion with prizes and more than 5,000 people participating in a giant KAL/CAL. Come join the GAL group on Ravelry!

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