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: Selina S, Knotty Turtles


Today’s Gift-A-Long interview is with Selina S of Knotty Turtles. Selina is a the first of my local designer friends that I’m interviewing for the GAL (more than half the Ontario, Canada designers live in our area, something must be in the water!). Her design esthetic is quite unique – and nothing can quite compare to seeing a large gathering of her slugs (what is the collective noun for slugs?)

Selina Siu

Selina Siu

How did you get started designing?
I don’t remember when or why I started doing my own thing, but I wrote down my first pattern when a local dyer in my knit group ask for patterns to go with her yarns. I had just knit a hat to a friend’s specifications and thought the design would look good in a variegated yarn.

What inspires your designs?
Sometimes it is because someone ask me for something, like when my partner wanted a brain slug. Sometimes its because there’s a problem to solve. For example, I was wondering if it was possible to knit fingerless gloves with only 2 ends and ended up with my Platypus gloves.

Platypus Gloves

Platypus Gloves

Which comes first – the yarn or the inspiration?
Definitely the inspiration!

What characteristics do you try to incorporate in your designs?
As few ends and seams as possible! Maybe a bit of silliness now and then? I do try and make sure a few of the final photos have some ferrets in it. Does that count?



What is your favourite type of item to design?
I haven’t really designed enough to have a favourite. Toys are instant gratification, I don’t have enough sweaters, and my hands are always cold. Those are probably my priority right now.

Your desert island yarn? (if you could only knit with one yarn from now on which would it be?)
May I take my spinning wheel and a supply of qiviut? Handmaiden 4 ply cashmere if I can’t.

My Little Slug

My Little Slug

What’s your “comfort knitting?”
It might be hard to believe, but slugs and blowfishes. I know the patterns well enough to knit them during staff meetings. I have 2 nieces that I’m not allowed to buy things for, so they get a few octoslugs and blowfishes in different colours every year. They are good presents for kids and the slugs are taking over my dryer. If I don’t have anything to knit, I pull out some yarn scraps and knit slugs.

Which is your most under-appreciated design?
Tiriaq fingerlings. It may just remain lost in a sea of cable glove patterns! I made a number of these before someone asked me to write it down. The ribbing makes it a really flexible fit, and lots of sizing options on top of that.

Tiriaq Fingerlings

Tiriaq Fingerlings

Which three GAL designs are top of your list to cast on?
1. The Minimissimi Sweater Coat. I’ve wanted to knit that forever. I was planning to start it but discovered none of my stash yarn will work.
2. Saltire kept catching my eye. I haven’t done any 2 colour crochet shawls, so it is very intriguing.
3. Mostly likely what I’ll end up doing is a splat cat, because it is hard to argue against instant gratification. Plus they crack me up.

Continental or English?
I knit English when I don’t want to look, but I learned continental so I could do ribbing faster. All continental if I’m doing double knitting or stranded.

My Little Blowfish

My Little Blowfish

What’s the best thing about knitting?
Something soft, squishy, and unique made with sweat and tears!

What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to share with other knitters?
Try new techniques on toys knitted with wool. Go ahead and make a tons of mistake and watch them all disappear when you felt them in the washer!

Any knitting/designing New Year’s resolutions?
Spin more. Knit more handspun. Write down some patterns. Document my yarn and fibre stash on Rav.

View all of Selina’s patterns here. Photography by Kristina Sinzig. All images 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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My Knitting Patterns

Audrey II

Angular Path Scarf

Cartouche Stole

Fossetta Cowl

Fossetta Hat

Sargaço Shawl

Whitman Hat

Every Which Way Cowl

Every Which Way Hat

Every Which Way Fingerless Mitts

Gothic Forest Scarf

Valencia Scarf

Branching Path Cowl

Flower Bell Stole

Whitman Cowl

New Tech Cowl

Vieux Carré Stole

Stacks Socks

Anna Perenna Shawlette

Taming of the Fox

Don't Ask Y

Cantilevering Leaves

Amplification Stole

Combs Cowl

Mindfulness Cowl

Tipsy Scarf

Gridwork Scarf
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